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Friday, August 29, 2008


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FlipperPA Peregrine

I'm a long time advocate of tools like these, because they encourage people to learn how to be more efficient and share the precious resources of the world. However, schmucks will still be schmucks! In a world of amateur content creators, unless you put in tools which force people to learn how to be efficient, people will never learn. There are also a fair amount of people with the attitude, "Screw you all as long as *I* look good!"

One other thing I've always pushed for is per-pixel cost for texture uploads. I've seen flowers less than 0.10x0.10x0.010 with 1024x1024 textures on them in the past (at the old Ahern welcome area, no less). At the same welcome area, the path ways (which were solid textures) were uploaded as 32-bit targas, created a whole bunch of completely un-necessary computing of alpha layers... and people wondered why it was impossible to get a decent FPS there! My idea for uploading textures is simply. For a 256x256 texture, charge L$10. For a 512x256 or 256x512, charge L$20. For a 512x512, charge L$40. For a 1024x1024, charge L$160, and so on. For a 128x128, charge L$5. This would teach people to use the smallest textures possible, which in turn would use less memory on the graphics card (and less rendering GPU in general), and we'd all have an experience smoother and closer to games designed by professionals.

Just my two cents!

Scottius Polke

Flipper, the problem with your solution is that you would punish at least one group who actually need 1024 x 1024: visual artists. I tried importing my art in at a lower rez at first, and it looked terrible. And to have to spend 160L per piece would add up very quickly, especially considering visual art isn't exactly the biggest cash cow in SL...

I would instead suggest the following: when importing a file that is say, 512x1024 or larger, a pop-up would come up that would alert people to the fact they may be bringing in an unnecessarily large file, and either suggest a smaller size, or actually give them the option of selecting a smaller size that the file would be converted. I think most cases of excessive file size are simply due to ignorance, and this option would both alert the user about file sizes, as well as making it much more easy for them to bring in smaller files.

Ann Otoole

Flipper is a perfect example of intolerance.

Your computer determines if ARC is a factor. Go buy a modern computer with nVidia 8000 or better GPU and ARC becomes totally irrelevant. The Lab failed to explain in concise terms that this ARC has nothing to do with simulator lag. And the hair fair is a perfect example of how irrelevant ARC is to lag. Everyone there is trying to be low ARC and guess what? The number of avatars and child agents in the sim is what causes the lag. Disabling avatar rendering has no effect on the hair fair lag. Perhaps the Lab should pay more attention to fixing simulator lag than trying to deflect and place responsibility for lag on residents.

More than 10 avatars in a sim? you will have lag. It doesn't matter what the ARC values are or if the other avatars are even visible to you.

If the rabid mouth frothing anti ARC types had their way there would be no avatars at all.

And there is a really important point people seem to miss. You only have authority on land you own or on land the owner has appointed you the role to manage. You have no right to harass other residents if you are not on land where you have authority. Your authority ends at the parcel boundary. The Lab really should not be promoting the false idea that people should be walking around as self appointed police of any kind. Planting such ideas in people's heads leads to strife.

BJ Tabor

It figures something that was meant to be a useful tool has been turned into a baseball bat by the holyier than thou types. ARC = The new way to stealth grief.

Tateru Nino

The ARC of an avatar has no consistent relationship with the usage or load on server resources. That's not to say that there isn't a relationship at all - but it is by no means consistent or linear.

ARC directly represents viewer resources only, and those of the hardware that the viewer is running on. ARC's relevance to the consumption of server resources is quite incidental.

Thus the notion that high ARC necessarily lags servers is a common fallacy.

Peter Stindberg

Thanks for quoting me, but the link you provided is wrong. Here is the correct link: http://stindberg.blogspot.com/2008/08/avatar-rendering-cost-debunked.html

Hamlet Au

Thanks Peter, it's fixed.

Pavig Lok

Charging more for larger textures is problematic. One of the reasons artists use large textures is to map multiple things onto a single object (uv mapping style) which often requires several iterations to get right. The idea of paying 1000L to develop a texture which works efficiently in the client vs 100L to develop many smaller textures which work ineficiently is a disincentive to doing good work. Arcadia Asylums work is a well known example of this - where amazingly detailed builds have been made with extremely small prim and texture counts through merciless revisions.

Of course the opposite is true as well. Some folk just don't texture efficiently - which is why the SL client has the interesting incremental download system in place, to ensure that a 1024 texture on a microprim doesn't get prioritized over larger objects.

FlipperPA Peregrine

@Ann: that's a bit harsh, wouldn't you say? I prefaced my remarks by saying I approved of it to educate people. I'm well aware ARC doesn't really have anything to do with sim resources, but it does with client / viewer resources. Maybe in fairy tale land, everyone can run out and buy the latest rig every three months; back here in reality, there's a wide range of machines that need to be supported. As a web developer and software engineer of many years, I still have to plan on creating an experience on everything from dial-up to FiOS, from 800x600 to 1920x1200, from Internet Explorer v6 to Firefox v3. A smaller range of machines need to be supported for SL, but it is still a significant range. What would you say to the "damn you all, as long as *I* look good" crowd?

@Scottius: some people would be impacted differently, yes. I'm just really tired of seeing object boxes, smaller than 1x1, with 1024x1024 textures on them... and 50 of them against a wall! :) I also run a free tool which uses 1024x1024 frequently, http://peregrinesalon.com/anim/ - but realize they should be used so sparingly that I'd support to idea regardless.

Jane2 McMahon

Lowering my ARC to sub-zero levels will not do a thing to alter the fact that LL's platform is at issue here, not my hair.


10L for images 512 and lower, 20L for images 512 and over, plus 10L for images with an alpha layer. That to me sounds fair, and only part of a bigger idea.

We need throw away uploads, one image for 24hours for 1L or free. this I think would solve a lot of problems, I know most of what I upload is just sitting in a database never to be used. Everything would be better, people would be more aware of the impact textures have in Second Life, while unclogging the database for Second Life. 30L is not all that much for a texture upload (When you know it only needs to be uploaded once)

Not to mention I think Linden Lab is still working on http textures. Prim points to texture on the web > sim downloads texture > sim sends texture to avatar.

ARC is a splendid idea, although I think it is implemented wrong. The designers needs to be more aware of the crap they make, not so much the consumer. Punish the wicked, not the nice.

Dedric Mauriac

One way to avoid ARC abuse is to let avatars choose weather or not others can see their own ARC.


Since I built my own computer, I have never suffered lag since in SL. I tend to agree that lag isn't caused by attachments, it's caused by a crap computer. Wear as many attachments around me as you like, I do not care.

Miriel Enfield

I'd be generally okay with ARC, if it were even sort of accurate.

It's not.

Polygon count and texture size are huge contributors to client side lag. Huge. Unless your connection is horrible, most lag you experience in SL comes from these two things. Despite this, ARC ignores them almost totally. All textures have the same ARC cost, regardless of size, and all prims have the same ARC cost, regardless of polygon count.

If most textures were roughly the same size and most prims had roughly the same polygon count, this would be fine, but it's not the case. Sculpted prims have 1024 polygons each (and tori are no better), while uncut cubes have, by my count, a maximum of 54. And a 1024 x 1024 texture is 1,204 times bigger than a 32 x 32 one. An attachment with thirty sculpted prims, each with its own 1024 x 1024 texture, will cause a [i]dramatically[/i] larger amount of lag than an attachment with thirty boxes, each with its own 32 x 32 texture. Despite this, they'll both have the same ARC. LL admits that ARC is a crude measurement, but this goes beyond crude and into misleading.

And as for the story of the scripted attachment causing a huge ARC: I don't know what was going on there, but scripts themselves have nothing to do with ARC. Even a very inefficient script shouldn't boost your ARC.

Miriel Enfield

ARC also doesn't pay enough attention to prim size for my tastes (really teeny prims are often not rendered at all at typical viewing distances, but ARC doesn't account for this), but that's small fries compared to the polygon and texture issue.

Connie Sec

The ARC as a pointer to AV's lag cost is problematic at best and totally irrelevant at worst. It also gives some with a little Hitler mentality the excuse to act like self appointed lag referees. I came across that little one at the hair fair..

Eleanor Balbozar

I too ran across an ARC Nazi at the Hair Fair. I was excited to attend and didn't give a thought to my ARC but dressed in my new fluffy skirt and fabulous hair, LOL. The moment I landed I got yelled at, and tried frantically to strip while rubber band man walking away from the tp area. Then I got yelled at again because I wasn't stripping fast enough, omg. This wasn't a case of "screw you I want to look good", but rather forgetfulness on my part. Eventually I crashed just as I was *almost* nekkies. I haven't been back since, LOL.

cyn vandeverre

Sounds like ARC functions very well as a jackass detector -- anyone who is rude about an avatar's ARC is likely to be rude in other situations.

Meanwhile, I like turning it on just for curiosity.


ARC, as the Lindens have formulated & presented it, just doesn't seem to be set up to actually encourage people to design more efficiently. It's entirely about leveraging the social-smackdown...

As many people here have already pointed out, it's incomplete, inconsistent, and illogical. LL doesn't tell us what it's a metric *of* (gpu clock-cycles? power consumption? carbon units?), and we're not told anything about the computer(s) they used to establish their so-called benchmarks. We're obviously supposed to assume some sort of lowest-common-denominator machine, but then why didn't they take that l-c-d into account when they unleashed WindLight upon us??

And howcome, if this is about encouraging resource-efficiency, this 'tool' ONLY POINTS AT AVATARS? Where's the corresponding set of metrics for looking at builds in the world at large? Don't all those mega-prims and lush 1024 textures, and yeah, sculpties galore have similar effects on client-side performance? (Oh yeah, and if we're not talking about server-side lag, why do scripts other than Particles count again??)

Wouldn't a clearly-defined, transparently-benchmarked set of rendering metrics for *everything*, coupled with a fairly massive 'get-the-word-out' campaign about using them (not to mention placing the tool in the top-level of the View menu instead of burying it 2-levels into Advanced) be a MUCH better way of 'encouraging resource-efficiency'??

WTF *is* ARC good for, then?

Well, let's start with the fact that everyone can see *everyone else's* little-red-number floating above their heads, so we can all *immediately* single-out the offenders.

If this were actually about some idea of 'individual responsibility,' our numbers would only be visible to ourselves, and *not* to each-other. Taking responsibility for yourself & your actions requires informed, un-coerced CHOICE, and isn't even remotely the same thing as knuckling under to the local self-appointed (and generally self-righteous) lag-monitors (wait--what? there's people out there who'd *leap* on the little authority-kick of being ARC-police/'Community-HarrasersDefenders?? Who could imagine that??>.>)

No, it's clearly *not* about personal responsibility for use of shared resources. It seems pretty much ENTIRELY set up to get us screaming & yelling & henpecking *each-other*. Hell, even calling it "Avatar Rendering COST" (as in 'AIIIEEEE!! You're COSTING meeeeeee!!') sounds intentionally divisive, and gives us clue #1 that what LL's doled out here is a totally passive-aggressive punishment for filling up their precious "Official" (PR) blog with complaints about their failure to provide a stable, scalable platform for "Your World, Your Imagination..."

OK, this is an insanely-long comment. My apologies ^^;; It's what you get tho, for gettin me all fired up LOL

/me slinks off to start his own frikkin blog...

Gahum Riptide

The most interesting ARC I'd seen was a woman with an ARC of over 17,000. At the hair fair no less.


Is it fair to say that turning on the ARC calculator causes more lag/strain on your PC than any avatar can - regardless of their ARC?


I think Ann O'Toole's comment on the first article is worth repeating:

Oh all you have to do to make your prim attachments low ARC is put in a sculpty and make it the root prim. Then it counts as 1 for ARC.
(Yes I was surprised to make this discovery)

Is it cheating? No. I asked and was harshly informed that sculpties do not cause any additional rendering cost at all (regardless of the rather obvious additional polygons) and therefore count only as one for the attachment.

OK. So be it.

Posted by: Ann Otoole | Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 11:46 AM

Defeat the Evil ARC. Embrace the root sculpty!

Ann Otoole

Save SL fr the purty sunsets!
Delete all prims,
flatten your sims,
detach all,
remove all clothing,
make your skin and eyes from an 8*8 pixel black texture (8b8ee746-d658-1a93-065a-3ed78bc20961).
(I made the texture and uploaded it so it is free to use via uuid. I use it for box sides)
Heck even texture your sim ground solid black!

That should fix SL. Even the concurrency and asset server problems since it will be devoid of participation.

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