Second Life: Avatar Render Cost

This is a subject that comes around every so often. I tend to look beyond the drama and actual issue to see who is arguing and how they are arguing. Tells me a lot about them. Even more when I later learn more about them.

Avatar Render Cost Comparison - 2015

Avatar Render Cost Comparison – 2015

One of the interesting things about Avatar Render Cost (ARC) is the numeric value. Have you thought about that number? What is it? Inches, meters, light-years, weight of electrons used in the render process?

It is a nonsensical number. The Lindens used some equation to calculate an arbitrary value that is useful for comparison only. More is bad, less is better. They color the number is based on a coloring scheme that reflects there idea of good, heavy, and bad… green, yellow, and red. You can find the equation (sort of) here: Second Life Render/Draw Weight

The equation goes something like this:

ARC = (Base Wight – 200 x number of invisible textures) x 1.5 for glow x 1.25 bump x 5 flexi  x 1.6 shiny x 1.2 invisa prim x 1.2 rigged mesh x 1.0 planar texture x 1.4 animated texture x 4 alpha textures + some miscellaneous things.

That makes for a ridiculous to define UNIT… you can’t multiple ‘bump’ with ‘flexi’ and get anything realistic. But, the number has some meaning and value for comparison. The colors are useless, from my point of view (using: Second Life 3.7.27-300424). That may change.

Today stripped, wearing hair and ear rings I’m at 44,571 ARC Units. I regularly see avatars at 250,000+. I am often in the 200k range.

I changed to the Slink body and increased the ARC only a little, I come in at 59,251. And that added cost may be the demo stuff they hung on the body demo. But, it makes almost no difference if I wear the Slink body or not. I don’t have a mesh head, because I don’t like the static faces. So, I can’ test that.

A mesh body and clothes don’t have to drive your render cost out of sight. It is possible to keep a decent ARC and still look good. That makes me happy because I am finding some fitted mesh and a few, very few, standard size mesh items I will wear.

I did a comparison and made the image above. In the image you can see the Avatar Render Cost for each avatar state of dress… or undress. Starting at the right side I am wearing earrings, eyelashes, hair and a tattoo. It is about as stripped down as I can get. I’m still rated red, 44,571.

Moving left I add Slink hands and feet. That is about 2,500 units per item. I think that is pretty low. But, I haven’t been doing lots of comparing. But, 54,063 doesn’t seem that much higher for the nicer hands and feet. And my toe isn’t bleeding, I just have one red toenail.

In the center I am wearing a mesh body, hands, and feet. All Slink. The body is a Physique demo. I haven’t made the plunge yet and bought one. I am still only at 59,251. That is not much of an add for a whole body.

In the fourth I am wearing my classic body, Slink hands and feet (2.500+/- each), mesh shoes (Eudora 3D Kiania Heels – 14,000), mesh skirt, and mesh top. I am only at 89,155. That is adding 30k, which is an add of less than my basic nude avatar.

To put things in perspective, the last image (5th) is my classic avatar, Slink hands, N-Core sculpty feet and shoes. The rest is basic classic avatar stuff. I come in at 209,976… OMG! The big add is the N-Core shoes made from sculpties and the necklace. N-Core hasn’t done anything bad. Script-wise and texture-wise these are pretty nice shoes. I don’t plan to give them up any time soon. Sculpties are just render heavy. They do rez way faster than my mesh shoes. But, you can see they are a weight on the system.

From Image #5
Hair 2,200 – Mina hair – Mientje
Earrings 9,500 – ::je::suis::tente::sunset
Necklace 5,000 – *AL* collar bolas negro
Shoes 120,000 – N-Core SHARK XtremeHeel II “Galaxy”

So… mesh can be good and bad… I don’t know the polygon count on the Slink items. But, I am guessing the body, hands, and feet come in at less than 25k. But, I’ve also heard of that 2 million poly mesh body. That has got to bring things to a crawl when that avatar tp’s in.

Using ARC I know what I can and shouldn’t wear to an event.

In SL Viewer to see ARC enable it here: Top Menu->Advanced (Crl-Alt-D)->Performance Tools->Show Draw Weight for Avatar.

7 thoughts on “Second Life: Avatar Render Cost

  1. A good test would be to get 50 avatars (in all their glory) on a SIM and judge SIM and Viewer performance then have everyone go with the same Second Life default avatar and see if there is a change in lag/ performance/rezzing and then do the same virtually naked.

  2. Your hair has a really high ARC. I’m not much of a fashionista these days but all of the out fits I wear weigh in at 25k or under. That’s mesh hair, mesh top, mesh bottom, mesh shoes with mesh feet. If you get some modern hair from Truth or Wasabi or some place it should only have an ARC 10k or less.

      • I assume the … is because you said your hair had an ARC of 2200. But that was for pic 5, I was referring to pic 1 where you had a different hair.

        Since it seems like you don’t want to go in to more detail just delete my posts.

        • No… they may help someone.

          I know the problem with sculpty and flexi hair. So, I didn’t have anything to add in response to your post.

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