Blood Letters My Day 2 – Second Life

I am learning there are a lot of problems with the new SL Viewer as I go through playing Blood Letters. That there is no roll of the main channel today means a lot of regions I was hoping would be restarted are not being restarted. I need to read my own posts, I knew that.

From Day 1 – Letter 10 and the Cheeky Pea: I hope the region has been restarted, but I can’t tell. I have a video of my landing in Cheeky Pea. Remember. I was there barely 12 hours ago. The mesh and textures should be in CDN and my cache. But, the region is still slow rendering.

What is not obvious in the video is the 1+ minute delay in the upper left video where I waited for things to render before starting the video. I had to decide to record the video, load FRAPS, and get it going. I stood there for a bit to let things render/rez. They didn’t.

I also tried to show the problem with finding the clue (#10), in this case a business card. I would generally not show this as I consider it a spoiler. But, I’ve watched others trying to find it and I had a heck of a time, all because the LOD in Cheeky Pea is so bad. The card should have been a prim so it would render without LOD or download issues. But, the LoD could have been designed so this would not be a problem. 

I’ll put a sofa on the market soon that has a proper LoD set. I may decide to sell the Blender files so people can learn the basic trick of making decent LoD’s…

There is the common recommendation to set RenderVolumeLODFactor (Debug Setting) to a high value. I believe the recommendation is made because people are unaware of why LoD is used or how to use it. Changing the setting means less work for them.

I think the max usable value for RenderVolumeLODFactor is 4. You can set higher values, but higher than 4 doesn’t do anything. The SL Wiki says the default value is 1. I find the viewer does use that value by default. I tend to use 1.5. I think this gives me a bit better experience and still allows me to design things that work efficiently and keep their shape as I or the camera move away from them. It helps some with poorly designed LoD without too much of a performance hit. I think Cheeky Pea is now my best example of how not to design things.

High RenderVolumeLODFactor values degrade viewer and server performance. The system has to download the high detail mesh vertices list and the hi-rez textures. None of the performance improving optimizations can be used by the viewer when high values are set. This forces SL to perform poorly. I keep hoping people will learn more about designing for virtual worlds. Now I have a good example of what not to do and what happens when people fail to optimize their creations.

OK… end of my rant.

Today (Tuesday) another problem pops. MadPeas group failed (about 10AM SLT and was still down hours later. – Simon Linden did look into it for us and found it had progressed from support to operations and servers were being restarted). It was to recover soon, but for a time Mad Pea was telling people needing hints to contact: Beccarose Collazo or Tichelle Teebrook. That worked.

Day 2 – Letter 11: This clue sends us in search of a poem to be found in Discovery Bay. Again the chat link did not work. The original opening of the letter gave me a dead link. I am sure my viewer is the problem. I opened the copy of the letter in my HUD, which had given me a working link before. That too failed. Again I was typing coordinates into the World Map. As I continued to go back through the regions picking up missed cookies, I never got the chat links to work. Most of them had worked the day before.

Discovery Bay labels their store a place with animated products for lovers. The big challenge is figuring out where they put the clues. They are not actually in the region. Nor is there a business card like we often find. So, sneaky searches won’t work. The ‘all clues in one room’ holds for this region. They are in the one place never used for its original intention of such a room in SL.

Once the clues have been found, it is back to the office. Today, Tuesday, I have to wait to get the 12th letter on Wednesday.

Did you notice your HUD letters get bloody once you find the Mysterious Envelope or find Gabe?

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