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Tuesday, May 01, 2018

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seph

This is out of touch.

A Second Life product is much more likely to be bought for a blog post, a Flickr photograph or just to lounge around with at 10 FPS chatting or roleplaying than it is to have any use at 30-60+ FPS.

Second Life designers don't build towards the same use cases as videogame designers. Stop assuming ignorance where a much more obvious explanation exists. Designers don't build towards the debug panels they build for the THOUSANDS of blog posts and photos shared every week, not for the few situations where 60 FPS would be nice.

Penny's explanation of things means Penny is the only smart person. Customers are uniformed and designers don't know any better. Does Penny run a successful store? If not I'd ease up on the assumptions of customer awareness and designer know-how.

Danger Gunner

Yeah,,,um no.
Most consumers don't give a damn about the frame rate and the optimization. Most SL users are on old slow computers and are happy to sit around and chat or role play in attractive stuff. You start optimizing the frame rate and you end up with Sansar and we all know how useless that is.

alice

i agree with penny patton. i would even like the designers to write the information complexity values into the product description. i would even go one step further. a filter criterion should be created in the marketplace for it. that would save me a lot of time when buying good quality products. especially for dresses.

madeline blackbart

Honestly Seph I could not disagree more. I'd also almost go so far as to say you are the one "out of touch" here. You can have beautiful items that photograph well AND Also have efficiently designed items. There's no reason for the consumers NOT to expect to have items that work well AND look nice. Even those just "lounging around" chatting benefit from less lag. In fact those on the weaker computers are truly the users who stand to benefit the MOST from having correctly modeled items. The overload of textures and poly's are more likely to crash someone with a lower end computer and weak graphics card then someone whose computer is sporting a high end graphics card lets be real here.

Penny's explanation is realistic. Most people are not game designers. At best the average SL user is a hobbyist. It's not "assuming your the only one whose smart" to say that. It's a specialist field of art. Most ARTISTS don't know about 3d modelling or more specifically 3d modelling for a game. It's the equivalent of saying most people aren't doctors and that performing surgery is a specialist field.

Not owning a successful business in SL says nothing about wither the person understands game design/ 3d modelling for a game I assure you. Conversely having a successful business in SL doesn't imply your the be all end all of 3d modelling. It means your good at marketing and can make things nice looking in 3d. However 3d modelling for games is a very specific form of 3d modelling that's different from say modelling for movies. You can make pretty looking models that aren't meant for a game. 3d modelling for a game requires careful planning of textures and models because unlike a movie that is rendered out ahead of time everything is being rendered "live" as you play it meaning the graphics card on the computer is doing more work then if you viewed a photo or movie.

Also I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I bet a large number of designers KNOW that these things are issues and just don't care/bother to do anything because there's no real repercussions for it. After all "every one else is doing it so why should I have to do more work?"

I think alice is on to something with allowing designers to add complexity value. Informing and educating buyers is a fantastic idea. Just because they don't know doesn't mean they could NEVER understand. It just means they haven't been taught yet or that the information just isn't being made readily available to them.

Also @ danger Not sure what your getting at with the Sansar thing. It's issue isn't it's looks which is in essence what this conversation is about give that we're discussing 3D models. Sansar's issue is more interactivity related which is a completely separate topic then 3d models.

Pulsar

Good idea about blogger and vlogger pointing that out, and raising awareness. Optimized content doesn't mean looking worser: if well done, you won't notice any visual difference, but you would see less texture blurring/trashing, crashes, sluggish framerates, and so on. And think it isn't just one, but all the items around you that are unoptimized. The problem is multiplied. I remember some people crashing at gacha yards and stopping to go to certain places and shops because going there was an assured crash for them. Today there is more attention to avatar rendering costs at least, it could happen to the other stuff too.

Chic Aeon

A quote from the article :

"Second Life shopping bloggers and vloggers can be expected to know more than the average consumer, and they should point out when an item has poorly textured mesh or other problems.

Performance is just as key a selling point as the way a product looks. If SL's most influential shopping reviewers started dinging products for their graphical performance, you can bet that their creators would spend more time optimizing them."

**********************************

Personally? Any item with bad LODS never sees my blog (I actually have one of the last remaining WRITTEN blogs by the way, and that's another story). I keep my LOD setting at LOD2 now and have for over two years. The day I turned it down was an eye-opener, not only as a consumer and blogger in SL, but as mesh maker.

Most Flickr bloggers ARE -- as noted in the comments -- all about the pretty pictures. They create with pixels and a keen eye -- with a little Photoshop adjustment now and then. There are some gorgeous photos taken in Second Life, but "blogging" has changed greatly over the last few years. Many photographers only list the creators and events with their photos; they are no longer writers. Opinions are saved for friends and Facebook.

Many have their LODs set at 4 or higher, hence the LOD issues are not noticeable. For them, it's all good.

Beyond any not caring or not noticing, there is a bigger issue. Most bloggers depend on content creator samples. Certainly there are those that shop before their photo shoots, but most are handed items to review --- often after agreeing to blog most or all of the items the creator passes along. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement but tenuous in its nature and easily jeopardized.

Even those of us who don't sign virtual blogging contracts (grandfathered in under past rules or perhaps rewarded for long term loyalty) need to show off the goods to our best abilities. We want to keep those good, long-term relationships -- and yes, our supply of blogables.

We can try from time to time -- we don't want to lose our readers after all -- to venture over into teaching mode. We can explain about Avatar Complexity and Jelly Dolls, When a Prim Isn't a Prim (when land impact became the standard over prims) and other noteworthy topics that affect everyone. We really can't point fingers at creators that don't know or don't want to optimized their products.

We can of course choose to not feature their work.

There will always be a market for what we call on the SL Forums "LOD4 goods". Some of the most beautiful items in Second Life are made by creators that don't plan to change their methods. They have their followers; they are doing well.

As consumers we can try and educate ourselves and at least make informed choices. And content creators? Well education is good for us too.

Chic Aeon

A few hours later I want to address Penny's comment. It should be noted that Penny and I rarely (if ever? Who knows?) agree :D.

"You simply cannot expect every SL content creator, or even most SL content creators, to have the skill and knowledge of an experienced videogame design artist. And you certainly cannot expect the average consumer to know more than the content creators themselves."

I can expect the folks that MAKE THEIR LIVING from Second Life 3D modeling -- be it home and garden or apparel to take the time to consider the COMPLETE process. If they learned how to create 3D mesh in Maya or Blender or another software program, they have already spent a good amount of time learning their craft. For me it is five years now. I knew nothing when I started learning Blender; now I feel fairly competent.

No, I don't know as much about "game asset modeling" as the pros on the SL Forums. No, I don't follow every single rule that they comply with in their day jobs. But I have spent the time to learn how to make game asset mesh. And happily the folks on the forums are VERY HELPFUL. They want folks to understand how to check and improve their LOD models, make houses where you can rez things on the floor. There are even "insider tricks" passes around to help with those processes.

Assuming that Linden Lab will become a policing force is --- well, it just isn't going to happen. If that was their intent, it need to begin at the beginning as it did in Cloud Party. There ARE new rules in the works and new tools available. Between the two we can hope that creators will make some changes. Consumers can now easily learn how to spot "heavy mesh" and help keep their SL experience better at home.

For any creators that are interested (old timers are budding newbies) there is plenty of information on the SL forums about how to create more user friendly mesh. We have discussed the new Firestorm tools extensively with many examples of what NOT to do (no names ever used of course). The purpose is to HELP people become more efficient mesh makers -- not prettier or more creative; that part is covered well already. No one is trying to shame creators; we want to help them improve their products.

Each creator decides how they want to work and where along the efficiency scale their products will come to rest. Make something too low poly with blurry textures and no one will buy it. We all like pretty. There needs to be a middle ground.

After some of those lengthy SL Forum posts, I have found at least two prominent creators that have made changes to their mesh -- one in plants, one in hair. Neither posted on the forums or asked questions. They just read the information and learned.

We DO try and help over there and often we actually accomplish our goals.

Chic Aeon

Here is the post I did in February on the new Firestorm tools. It is very easy for any consumer to check the graphics downloads as well as the LODs and physics.

There are a few (very few and the creator needs to know the tricks) cases when these number will not be applicable, but that's a very techie conversation.

Please note that I picked on of my favorite designers (not in their blogger group) to show in this post. Again, to me it is not about pointing out creators to shame them; it is about letting them know how to make knowledgeable choices.

I did send this link off to Hamlet when the article published, but maybe now the informational post is more noteworthy :D.

https://chicatphilsplace.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-new-firestorm-building-and-shopping.html

vwfan

The question is whether Second Life will end up with something like PBR graphics in the future even though Ebbe has stated that it would difficult or impossible given the nature of SL content and the rendering engine. But, if PBR is to come or even a *cough* SL 2.0, then I really could care less about this whole argument "with the current content" since it would become outdated if that were the case. Ebbe sees SL going for another 15 years. Will SL really be a relatively constant dated engine in 15 years time?

Don't get me wrong, though. I understand the importance of it. I just wonder if we're screaming about current content creation that will eventually be dated anyways.

Chic Aeon

@vwfan

SL is constantly being outdated -- and happily so.

Havok was introduced and broke LOTS of scripting.
Sculpts were introduced and prims weren't quite as important.
Mesh was introduced and sculpts became outdated (thank goodness)
Mesh BODIES were introduced and are pretty much the standard with plenty of free ones available.
Mesh HEADs are working their way into being the preferred option.
Old mesh heads (and hands) became out of date with the introduction of BENTO.

It goes on and on. I can't see PBR graphics coming to SL. That would break too much content and The Lab does NOT like to break content. They happily let the populous decide what they want to accept and if they like their 2006 avatar -- well, they can keep it. Woot.

Of course things made five years ago are outdated. I have a few products from about that time that are still very viable and sell very well, but MUCH that was created back then has issues because virtually no one understood all the working of the new SL mesh uploader and "rules" (and workarounds).

The content creators in Second Life are for the most part terrifically talented and creative people. Not all are "game asset mesh makers" by any means, but we have muddled through the last decade and a half with "hobbyist" at the wheel and for me we are doing pretty darn good. I see no reason why that can't continue.

vwfan

@Chic Aeon

Yes it would break existing content (or will not transition very well) since their current rendering approach and PBR are different. But you could run the new engine in a separate viewer/grid optimized for the new engine. The point is that it's possible.

And won't that stuff you still find viable eventually be dated? I mean, if a new engine did come along, you would create new, better content or even update your existing creations to take advantage of a new engine. The point is that it gives you new avenues to work upon and find new cash flows and I as a customer get to enjoy better looking content. And "happily so," right? Well, it's going to piss off some people but they seem to have a hard time adapting to change and evolution.

Hopefully in time we will see better tools for minimizing or even ridding the use of workarounds. It makes me think of how much the Web has evolved in time since mobile came out. Community, awareness and "advancements" has helped it come a long way. And yeah, it did end up breaking stuff as old ways aged. Some of these things being bad practices as well as workarounds.

I agree there are some informed creators in SL. I see them on the forums advocating good design for the current system and I respect that. Personally, I would much rather effort be made on a new engine in which we could set new guidelines, restrictions and design practices to follow rather than beating the hopeless, poor horse. I just feel like the current engine is a waste of time and will show its age very quickly in 15 years time even though it already has IMO.

The web saw mobile, aesthetics, semantics, designer/developer demands and the web responded. Blender saw the importance of PBR workflow and will eventually implement PBR officially into their product. Why doesn't the Lab evolve SL?

Chic Aeon

From vwfan:

" The point is that it gives you new avenues to work upon and find new cash flows and I as a customer get to enjoy better looking content. And "happily so," right? Well, it's going to piss off some people but they seem to have a hard time adapting to change and evolution."


Actually "I" like learning new things, but I am just a little fish in a big pond (well maybe a medium sized fish these days).

What would be nice and what will happen are two different things. If we look at Sansar (I haven't been there because I don't like the creator beta agreement although it is better now than originally) they had opportunities to SOLVE some of the SL issues. They did not. They actually made a few issues in SL brought over from Sansar via the all platform LL TOS.

So while I DO very much applaud Linden Lab's new community attitude of the last few years and the improvements that have been made here in SL, it really doesn't seem like they have ever adopted a long range outlook. That's understandable really. They have a bottom line and what will increase revenue NOW is important -- more important than looking into the future really since the platform has to stay viable in order to MOVE into that future :D.

And I do agree with all the folks that say "but people will always just buy what is pretty". It is the consumer's lindens; they definitely have that right. What I don't like is when those same folks seduced by gorgeous textures and tiny details then complain that "well MESH is just that way!" when there is no reason at all that it has to be. That is a creator's choice.

vwfan

@Chic Aeon

No worries. Any designer has to start from somewhere. Whether they like to stay small, go medium, or even big, is purely up to them.

I seem to think they have a large outlook going. The transition to cloud seems like a pretty large outlook to me IMO.

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