Penny Patton has another must-read post for people who want to improve Second Life performance (looking at you, Linden Lab), a follow-up to this one, which gets pretty lengthy and in the weeds, but focuses around a singular takeaway: A lot of Second Life's poor performance (often called lag) is directly attributable to Second Life's content creation tools. For instance:
In addition to providing no restrictions preventing people from abusing sim resources, LL also does not provide users with the tools to manage their resource use even if they wanted... Without knowing how to script an object to tell you the script memory you're using, there's no way for the average use to know that they themselves are actually the source of all the lag they complain about!
This also relates to SL's overly-complex avatar customization, which not only frightens off new users, but pushes them to tweak their avatar in ways that cause lag for everyone around them: "A single avatar, by itself, can load up with enough scripts to bring a sim grinding to a halt. I've seen avatars do this on purpose. I was sitting in a sim just the other day when an avatar with about a thousand scripts entered the sim." And so on: "If Linden Lab doesn't provide the tools to do it well, the userbase will do it poorly, compounding SL's reputation for poor framerates despite looking like an outdated videogame." In other words: As currently deployed, Second Life's core user creation tools are hurting Second Life's core user experience.
Read it all here, but in case it seems too TL;DR, I included Penny Patton's final closing points below, which are too important to miss:
- The tools are important because they affect all aspects of Second Life, from performance (framerates and "lag") to Presentation, to the ability of content created within SL to engage users.
- LL needs to continue to improve those tools which allow content creators to produce interactive content, such as games and educational installations. NPC's and the ability to animate mesh would go a long way here.
- LL needs to understand how problems with the tools can hurt how well SL performs on any given hardware. Poor resource management tools lead to lag and negatively impact the overall user experience. Poor content creation tools, such as the lack of 1-bit alpha and rigged mesh releasing incomplete, lead to lower framerates and nasty, unavoidable graphical glitches.
- There are ways LL can improve existing tools to make tasks that are presently very difficult (such as avatar creation) and make them exceptionally easy. LL needs to understand that this is critical in retaining new users!
Yes, yes, yes, and yes.