Second Life: Firestorm a Designer’s Problem?

We still have a debate ongoing in Second Life™ over on SLUniverse in the discussion started by Adeon Writer, Dear Mesh Content Creators: Please stop making your content on Firestorm, continues. I provided my thoughts in Second Life LoD Problems – Is Firestorm to Blame. In that article you’ll see I think designer and consumer ignorance are to blame. I also see plenty of fascist rule makers out proposing their solutions.

I prefer freedom and free market solutions over rules.

SlackGirl - Sue

SlackGirl – Sue by Rehana Seljan, on Flickr

One of the solutions proposed in:

BUG-6243Provide an informative warning when creating sculpts or mesh that may render improperly for others.

That places everything on the designer and provides no incentive for the designer to comply. I prefer something to provide information to everyone about what everything is doing to our render efficiency. That is why I filed: 

BUG-7928Information on mesh render cost.

The idea being that once the information is in front of everyone, often then people will ask questions, look for answers, and learn… with learning being demonstrated by a change  in behavior. Not a perfect solution but it allows people to make their decisions about what they want to do and buy. And buying is voting with dollars. It doesn’t mean everyone will be happy with the result.

We often get issues in SL confused by opinion offered in the form of facts, that isn’t just a problem in SL. Hana has a post in which several assumptions/presuppositions are offered for the basis of her recommendations. I am pretty sure she isn’t even aware of her unsupported presuppositions. It is just how she questioningly thinks the world is.

One is that taking time to build good LoD models puts a designer at a competitive disadvantage. Do we actually have any data to prove that is so? Or does it just sound plausible? Ask your self, is there a designer in SL that is building good LoD models that is competitive and doesn’t think they are disadvantaged? If so, Hana’s  statement is false.

Also, I think it an assumption that the people that spend the most have the least interest in products with good LoD design. Without a survey I don’t see how one can make or believe that statement. Without objective data we are dealing with what is believed… like a religion.

There is also the statement that any designer using efficient textures in place of 1024×1024 textures on jewelry is probably going to suffer from lost sales. There are too many unfounded assumptions in that one to even start with. Do you know a designer that sells well and doesn’t use 1024 textures on small items?

I do agree with the underlying idea that as things are now, unless you are a big money spender and concerned about LoD you won’t have much effect on the market. The underlying idea being designers are affected by sales/income. I agree in the sense that consumers can vote with dollars and that has a profound effect on designers. Do you think the group of big spenders in SL is homogeneous, they are all alike?

Hana also makes the assumption that more detailed items have to have a higher Land Impact Cost. (LI) Or higher Avatar Render Cost. That is not absolutely true. In some cases yes. In others high detail can come at lower render cost and LI. Which is why making rules is so hard. We are way past simple. Materials were added to allow the use of normal maps to add detail while saving polygons. Have you been looking at items made with normal maps?

Hana thinks it would be “…fabulous if SL /forced/ good practices on all creators…” Forced. Does it occur to anyone that is what fascist do? Force people to do things their way… the best way… it never occurs to them that a single way is NOT the best for everything or everyone.

Then the most fallacious statement of all is made last:

“But unless all content creators are forced to the same restrictive field (like artists who work on the same game are all playing by the same rules), then the more efficient creators *will* suffer in SL.”

This seems plausible on the surface. But, can you prove that statement is true? Would you take away or join a movement to take away creative freedoms before that idea is proven a fact? If so, what does that say about you?

How do we even deal with anyone that recommends forcing others to conform to their idea of good?

11 thoughts on “Second Life: Firestorm a Designer’s Problem?

  1. This is tricky I agree. On the consumer side of all of this, it needs to be much easier for consumers to see when things are done well vs. Poorly. LI is useful, but it’s not the whole story. Script efficiency, mesh efficiency, texture efficiency should be readily available information in world, and should include a help file so that consumers can use the tool to make an informed purchase decision. A powerful force for change is often a group of consumers taking a stand against a poor product. I think I count as one of the people who spends a lot in SL. I make decisions based on a variety of factors including build quality and build efficiency. I do zoom in on a necklace to take a look, and I zoom out to take a look as well. Lower resolution textures are not going to influence purchase just on that face value to me. But I understand that the \10′ view\ is more important there than the 10 inch view.

    I think one other important factor is that the people spending the most in world are very likely to also have hardware that obscures most if the performance issues of SL. I can go to very busy events on ultra and still keep fps well above 20. Since the CDN the texture fetch for me is a non-issue so much of the poor design simply doesn’t have an overall effect. Improving things might bump me from 50-60 fps to 80-90 but that means nothing really for me in SL.

    Hard issue to solve, but I do think the solution starts with educating both creators and consumers.

    • Good point on big spenders likely having better computers. Still, we are making an assumption.

    • When you decide not to buy something because of poor quality, do you let the creator know ? That is the whole problem with “voting by spending”. How can a creator know WHAT is wrong if no one tells them ? The dropping sales figures dont exactly tell them where the issue lies. And how many customers – especially those who decide against a purchase – will take the time to give feedback ? The whole idea of “Free market / vote by spending” is just as flawed as any other one that involves imposing rules.

      • Are you thinking voting with dollars does not provide feed back?
        Do you think voting with dollars is a rule?
        If rule systems are flawed, and free systems are flawed, which do you prefer?
        What better system do you know of?

  2. I’m not tech-learned enough to understand some of the issues surrounding SL and mesh. I think that many of the designers/creators are aware that they are not making optimal creations – i.e., using larger textures, high LOD, and so on. But if they are running a business and providing a RL income, sales are sales.
    I would prefer to see the market remain free and to see consumers educated on what is and isn’t optimal. I think your comment about voting with dollars is spot on. However, that also puts a lot of the onus on consumers, and let’s face it, many of them could give a rat’s patootie about whether/if what they are doing/buying/wearing affects others around them. Just like RL. 🙁

    • I believe we are suffering more ignorance in present times. But, I believe people in general do care about others and whether they are contributing lag. I think that because the people I meet do. That is a small data set of everyone. But, think of how many people you know ans how many of them care.

  3. Firestorm’s Display Weight is a much better indicator than land impact for telling if items will cause more lag client side.
    Many times I have seen items with 1 land impact that have a really high Display Weight. They could just rename Display Weight to something like Client Lag Impact, and make it more visible like displaying it right next to land impact.
    This way customers will be better informed with regards to how much lag it will cause for them and for others.

    • I’m not sure why you think Display Weight (FS – Draw Weight in SL) id a better indicator than LI?

      Display/Render weight is only a part of the problem with lag. LI includes mare factors. Physics is a huge factor on the server side. But, Physics is not part of the Display/Render weight calc. Wouldn’t your idea just move the problem to another place?

  4. In RL ,a system that has proven some worth for long time, ( can be debated!) , its true that the client vote with its spending . What is different in virtual reality compare to real life is the cost side to creator. I merite to be corrected but the building cost to creator does not reflect the impact of his creation on the system his creation is evolving . And there is many side to that statement. From mesh to sculpty to texture to scripts the cost structure adopted in virtual reality is a one time cost with no redistribution fee. The one time cost is bias ( example equal price for wide range of texture) . The redistribution fee specially in market place is minimal and not at all representative of the built itself. The reality of the virtuality and its price tag to client does not match its impact imposing distortion . Something similar is also happening in RL .
    Hope the above helps .
    GiMISa

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