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Monday, October 22, 2018

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Pulsar

True, let alone their "10 Mbps recommended; 5 Mbps minimum." it will take ages at that speed. That was one of the very first issues the users noticed and now it gets even worse?
To be fair, Chic Aeon made a few optimized "experiences" that are faster to download (she said a download time, but not at which speed. 15 seconds download time at 300 Mbps would become 7,5 minutes at 10 Mbps, for example. However I checked them and they are indeed faster than various other experiences).
The problem is, as Second Life teaches, that many "creators" don't know or don't care. So maybe the worsening isn't entirely surprising.

I think the best to encourage optimization is how Sinespace does, weighting their spaces as megabytes rather than items, land impact or whatever. And on the list of places there is an indication of how many Mb you have to download, so you get an idea of how much time you are going to wait.

Chic Aeon

I certainly agree with this post on many levels.

Harvest ("we must never say anything bad about Harvest" is the mantra) is a killer. I only managed to get in there once (hefty machine that runs TONS of programs at once with no issues and a 20mbps connection -- good for my area). I waited twenty minutes when I first tried to get into Harvest, then gave up and went to the garden to water. When I had returned, it had loaded. So download sometime between 20 and 40 minutes.

When I ventured over to Sansar three months ago I was well aware the the biggest complaint most folks have is the download time. I purposefully did my very best at optimization (I added some cool draped cloth here and there for interest so I wasn't perfect) and went completely against the Sansar plan and used Cycles bakes rather than PBR. The technical part doesn't matter much except that by doing so I was able to use ONE texture for the look of the item and one for the normal map (contours) where other folks were sometimes uploading huge files in four slots.

Add to that the abundance of NON-user made uploads from free sites (items that were meant to be used in magazines, not in games so VERY VERY heavy) and there was a huge problem. Harvest apparently is not the worst, just "my" worst - LOL.

My experiences, tested by friends and colleges with different computers and connections load on average in fifteen seconds the first time downloaded --- about the time many SL teleports take. And they are fully "rezzed" (not a Sansar term) and ready to explore. So it is perfectly POSSIBLE to make fast loading sites in Sansar -- even fairly complex ones. But just like in SL, the builders need to be paying attention. Many are not. Many don't even understand the issues.

While Harvest is close to one end of the spectrum, my experiences are close to the other. But that being said, there are many well-crafted and engaging experiences that take less than two minutes to load. Personally, if a site takes longer than two minutes --- I simply don't visit. That solves that.

I give lots of kudos to the Sansar support team which seems to work very hard managing what they can. But they can't actually come out and say that they have no control over what folks do (the same in SL) and so you take a chance that an experience will load VERY slowly. Hence the "your computer isn't hefty enough" comment which doesn't really make since with my 30 minute Harvest download.

Eventually it would be very nice if the experience size was superimposed over the Atlas listing; that would help folks decide what to visit.

Again, just like in SL, the battle for reasonable content is much like hitting your head against the wall. I pretty much keep my mouth shut now. Everyone on Discord knows where "I" stand. A few agree with me and try to educate those that want to learn. It isn't a (technical here) PBR against Cycles battle. It doesn't matter HOW you make your textures or what program is used to craft your mesh. The bottom line is that you need GAME ASSET mesh with as small a textures as you can get to work well. Textures used in Sansar ARE larger than in SL because of the VR aspect, but still it is certainly possible to have faster loading sites.

One of the biggest problems for the future that I see happening in Sansar is the uploading of very heavy mesh to the STORE. The future plan is to have information about each piece of mesh and the textures so that people can "shop wisely", but we know what has happened in SL when Firestorm added diagnostic tools to their viewer -- very little. Most folks don't bother to learn and end up with experiences that take forever to load, much like the SL areas that stay gray for 20 minutes.

The Lab had the ability to police Sansar since they were starting over. Unlike Cloud Party (a web based virtual world from a few years ago) which had many limits that folks needed to work within, Lindens chose to make very few limits.

That was their choice and they are living with the problems.

Imma just gonna keep doin' my thang and enjoying myself. Low poly mesh, Cycles textures, fast downloads.

Things really DO look so much better "over there" !

Mondy

Oh dear, it does seem like all I'm doing is complaining about Sansar. There are things I do *like* about Sansar when I can get in.
I've had some nice conversations, met some great people and made friends there. It can just be frustrating.
I have managed to solve my login problem to Sansar itself , although still not to Harvest. I actually left it completely alone and after 45 minutes it closed down to the desktop, but I can visit the Ready player one experiences and even one of the gaming room tie ins which had 13 other users at the time which loaded perfectly, with voice and live video playing. Go figure :)

Tankgirl

The lindens where so desperate fro free content, they let anyone that was willing to work for them for free do whatever they wanted. A lot of the first artists they manipulated into this, did not have a vr headset etc. Not even talking about turbosquid content that was never even meant fro VR, being directly pumped into Sansar. So these content crearors had no clue, how bad their badly optimized content was. How it makes people sick. And anyone that tried ro raise the issue, was laughed at. Especially the euro’s that suffers most because of the distance. The lindens got the content they payed for, free crap by free artists. How much longer does the SL community have to pay for this?

Luther Weymann

After almost 15 years in SL I logged off for the final time a few weeks ago. Donated my remaining thousands of Lindens from my former SL Market store to the Firestorm viewer group, and clicked delete on my SL account. I feel better now. Today I installed Sansar and gave it a try. With my powerhouse desktop and bandwidth connection I was almost always a solid 200+ FPS in SL. My first experience with Sansar went like this: First attempt to get to that library place (can’t remember name) was about a two-minute wait. Then my attempt to get to one of the beaches went for about three minutes before I got tired of waiting and closed Sansar and logged back in again. Then I tried that Apollo moon place which I thought looked rather empty so it might load quicker. After over three minutes I logged off, uninstalled Sansar and said to myself: “its time to turn your back on this Linden Research company and go someplace else”. Fifteen years with this company in SL and their “next great thing” well, it sucks. That was my first-time user experience, there will not be a second time. If there is one thing I learned about the Linden company in all those years in SL, is that they really don’t care about the end user, and my experience in Sansar today certainly proves that.

Chic Aeon

To answer the question about speed (which actually is mentioned in my first comment)...

my experiences load for ME at about 12 seconds with 20mbps DSL connection. The folks that tested and reported had various connections speeds from 6mbps down to 50mbps and one person at something like 1.4mbps (and not in the US).

Loading times ranged from 7 seconds to 25 seconds with most around 15 seconds. The person at 1.4 simply said, "it loads very very fast" .

And there are plenty of things that I really like about Sansar too. The atmosphere is very impressive and the engine is powerful. Your experiences can be of various sizes and of course it is completely free. And you can make a little money there along they way while you are learning and playing.

It should be noted that there IS a diagnostic toolbar in the viewer and also object diagnostics for individual items. These are extremely helpful when people bother to use them.

I can't say that I have seen experiences getting slower to load these last few months. Actually the loading seems a bit faster. Building mode is now a bit slower because the inventory is now on the server (reasons for that are some future plans). But it isn't anything we can't live with.

Sansar is definitely in beta and will be for some time. Plenty of things need to happen before it is ready for "everyday" folks, ones that aren't up for that pioneering adventure -- this includes casual users as well as creators. So it certainly isn't for everyone now, but it does show a lot of promise.

IMHO of course.

Hamlet Au

I can't emphasize enough how much a long download time is a death blow to retention, especially for the mass market which isn't used to long client downloads in the first place. A well-known designer who worked on some social games told me most people start quitting a web download if the game doesn't start playing in 10-15 SECONDS.

BlueBell

I cannot resist to comment on a few points.

1st, we are talking about a beta game here. If it all went smooth it would be out of beta.

The loading times definitely got shorter. I am in Europe, so if I find some are pretty fast, they must be even faster in the US.

Sansar has, like SL, creators that optimize their items for the specific platform. When we started in Sansar we had no clue to what was acceptable or what would work. That was not lack of knowledge on the side of the creators, there was just no documentation. It did not come with a full manual, we had to test what the limits were. We did not know how objects were decimate or optimized by the engine, we had no info on things like LOD. Not even a recommended texture size. We all had to learn the hard way, trail and error. Now we are getting some insight on what the limits are. Those are not static numbers, it very much depends on a scene, the size and number of objects in it, the tri count of the items in it. Texture sizes, lights used in the scene. Sansar changes, gets updated on a regular basis, so we change with it, learning a lot along the way.

As for the "bad" creators, I guess no platform will ever be without those. Lazy ppl, yes, they will be grabbing stuff from websites that is totally unsuitable for Sansar, same as in SL. Ppl that are still learning how to optimize, yea, they will be there and they should be. They are the new blood that is needed and may grow to be amazing.

About system specs. I am on a notebook, 2yrs old, 18GB ram. My specs do not even meet the requirements for a VR set. I do meet the specs that LL advises. I can get in fine, I can get into edit mode and work on very, very heavy scenes. Sure, I have friends in Sansar with a much better rig and they will be faster and smoother. Still, if I can get in, from Europe, on a system like mine...

Yes, I can even get into Harvest, it gives me just as much "trouble" as any other heavy scene. Harvest is not the fastest loading scene, I am aware. But there are experiences that are on the same level. May I remind you Harvest is made by creators that are Sansar residents. Not by some game design studio, like many other heavy experiences, but by ppl that may know Sansar better then any design studio ever could. Why? because they work closely as a group, closely with LL support and they are working on it every single day. Working to make it faster, better and populated. If you ask me, that is succeeding. It is the most alive experience on the Atlas.

What a lot of ppl do not realize is that some experiences are build as a whole scene in a 3D app. They are easier to optimize the an experience that gets things added to them every day or week.


Mondy

@Bluebell..My whole post in the previous comment sounds like a rant and complaint which wasn't really my intention. It was born out of frustration but I'm not the only one blown away by finding out the size of some experiences. I hope my comment up above addresses that partly. (I enjoyed Harvest and Drax is a great guy. I miss it)
My surprise was that when I'd asked for help I was constantly being told by others that this is just what I should expect with my system, when I never had an issue before. In fact you and I have met and spoken at Harvest on more than one occasion :)
I also am in Europe, the UK, on a 30mbps connection. Perhaps when I finally get my 16mb Ram upgrade, I can hopefully keep one of my 4mb modules to make a total of 20 and have a much smoother experience. I'm not interested in VR with this laptop, that can wait till I next upgrade.

BlueBell

@ Mondy, pls be sure my arrows were not aimed at you :)
I remember you and our talk, it was very pleasant!

I was aiming at the author of the blog. There is no way you can compare Skyrim, a pretty much static platform and its size to download to Sansar or even SL. The last 2 are dynamic worlds, things are put in and taken out about every single minute. The fact that Sansar is in beta and getting more awesome every day is ignored totally.
I would also like to point out it is a warm and welcoming community. I know we both are aware of that fact!

Tankgirl

@bluebell Have you been there in a VR headset? From Europe? How can you possibly optimize for it if you don’t know how it feels? And that goes for most creators there. Colossos rising makes people sick for hours, same as Harvest, and many more. As a pc platform, sansar is nothing special, it was supposed to be for vr headsets. And due to the crap content, it fails at that.

Medhue

This is a personal invite to you Hamlet. Come to Scurry Waters in Sansar. Bagnaria and I created almost everything in the experience, and it is highly optimized, with hundreds of animated creatures, and a new game quest system, with games. We are really just getting started, but I think we have a pretty good handle on how to optimize well in Sansar, and still make the place engaging. The full experience is more than .5 kilometer square.

Chic Aeon

@Mondy

I just wanted to add a note to you and anyone else that may have recently felt Sansar was more power-hungry. Obviously there are enough of us contradicting that so that you know that it isn't a universal thing. That being said if you system was fine before and is not now (with better overall server optimization) then there is likely an issue somewhere. You are not imagining it, I am sure.

I had a similar problem about a month ago. --- This is NOT the download issue but a once you are there issue. --- I have a pretty hefty machine, an extremely large power supply and have run a ton of heavy duty programs concurrently for a couple of decades with no issues. Then there was one. The short version is that "for me" it was the Discord Ap. (Discord is the current "forum" for Sansar and I am hoping that changes back eventually, but hey. )

It is an extremely invasive and power grabbing ap and typically runs in the background gobbling up power even when not in active use. The minute that I stopped using the Discord Ap, all was fine. So that "could" be why you are having problems -- or perhaps someone else reading this.

The other thing is that for a bit over three months there has been an option added. Somewhat like the graphics settings in SL-- you can choose low, medium or high and that will likely help lower powered machines. So you might check that out.

And @ Hamlet, for sure visit Scurry Waters as the little creatures are so cute and it is a very good example of optimization. My two experiences are Ranch Life which is a foggy and somewhat bleak grayscale tribute to life on the prairie. That was my first experience. Snow Daze is completely different, a lodge with snow outside in all directions. Both should load extremely quickly and Medhue's isn't all that far behind.

I have to smile since Medhue and I both are big believers in optimization. I am working on a LARGE area now so we will see how our experiences compare in the future - LOL. All very friendly of course. *wink*

Eiffel

@Chic Aeon
"load on average in fifteen seconds the first time downloaded --- about the time many SL teleports take"
I don't think so. SL teleports are usually 1-3 seconds. If it takes more than 10 I start to think it failed and I retry. I ran Sansar without anything else on background and it makes you wait even to change your outfit. Optimization is always good, but with Sansar I passed most of the time waiting.

"Sansar is definitely in beta and will be for some time. Plenty of things need to happen before it is ready for "everyday" folks"
I know version naming became somewhat random in the past years, because of rapid dev cycles and marketing too, but a beta is when the software is essentially feature complete and you are testing for bugs and usability. Sansar was lacking even basic features like sitting up to few months ago. Moreover many Sansar issues that were pointed at are structural and hard to change at this point. One is the mentioned edit mode.
But let's call it beta. Beta testers are expected to give feedback. They are helpful and first experience ones are particularly valuable. Dismissing those is shooting in your foot. Linden Lab tried to put Sansar everywhere lately. Results? None. It's obviously not working so far. The graphic is nice, but that's all. It seems a modified Unity rendering engine and everyone now has one. To become promising, Sansar needs radical changes. And hope it's not too late: VRChat works.

Chic Aeon

@Eiffel

Well personally I think most folks would be fine with waiting fifteen seconds. AND when you get to Sansar it is LOADED ---- unlike most teleport destinations in SL ; just in case you want to continue nitpicking which seems likely.

Sansar calls itself "beta" so I am going with that. I have been in many of today's "Alpha" platforms and Sansar is currently WAY beyond that. So maybe we can agree to call it "early beta".

I am sure that the fact I am mostly interested in the look of things affects my assessment of Sansar. It really can be extremely lovely. Let's see where things are at in the Fall of 2020.

BlueBell

I agree on the times in SL, sure you get there but you cannot walk and bump into invisible ppl that have not rendered to you yet. And Sansar does have awesome graphics. It is just another approach, in Sansar you have to wait till most is already rendered. Just at very crowded scenes you sometimes see ppl "pop up".

@Tankgirl Sansar is not all about VR, it is suitable for both desktop and VR. I have VR friends that tell me when stuff is not working. The fact that VR can make you sick is a known problem and we have VR ppl that share the issues that make them not comfortable, like steps, so we build ramps to make it better. If you have some points to add, pls share, it is easy to rant, but it is more constructive to share info to make it work better for users in VR.

Yes, Sansar needs features like texture re-use. Placing the same tree 10 times should not have 40 draw calls, and we will get there.

As for the Harvest THING, as it has gotten to be a thing, yes, we are working on it 24/7. Bare with us. We are still the place tho that ppl find it worth logging into as we are maybe heavy but also very much alive and events are peaks in the Sansar statistics. Even me on my kinda old notebook.

LL is very, very helpful optimizing and advising. Puzzling sometimes to see what a bug makes a bug. They know a long road is ahead but at least they are paving it with our help. Harvest is the one experience that pushes LL's limits. That is a good thing, both LL and us as creators draw lessons, draw the road map. Sansar has no future if we cannot have place where ppl gather to live, or even malls, big events like maybe a Burning Man type event. Harvest pushes the limits to make a fun and better future. Both sides watch and learn. There just has to be a "Harvest" or we will slow down Sansar and the fun of it!

Theanine

Just want to correct a bit of incorrect information in one of the comments above.

I was in Sansar since the closed beta, before it was open to the public. And the limits, like texture size, lack of LODs, draw distance, etc were all either 1) figured out by the community very quickly or 2) stated upfront by LL in the documentation on their website. It was common knowledge from the get-go that LODs were not implemented and LL told us outright that they would not be implemented for quite some time. These were not secrets to anyone.

So any creator claiming that "We just didn't know, it's not our fault our models destroy your framerate" is just making excuses.

I've said for a long time that Harvest should stop being used as the main "lobby" area of Sansar, because it's too performance-heavy. A lobby region/world should always load quickly, and Harvest just doesn't fit that description - yet! I hope it does someday, because it truly is one of the most beautiful experiences in Sansar. It's absolutely stunning. But that beauty comes at too high of a cost right now.

Last year, I feared that it was actually turning people AWAY from Sansar, because of how frustrating it was to load. Over half the time, I would get kicked out back to the Atlas and couldn't even get in. In the rare event that it finally let me in, I would often crash or lag out minutes in. These are things that will frustrate new users and turn them away. I'm sure these issues are much less of a problem now, as they've been working hard to improve it.

I just wonder why it took so long to recognize the problem was there. Drax is a great guy, but he's sadly always had a really dismissive attitude towards optimization. Optimization is literally THE deciding factor for whether or not MILLIONS of people out there will be able to experience your work as a 3D artist. Any 3D artist who doesn't take it seriously should pack their bags and find a different line of work. Period. Not everyone is cut out for this work.

On a final note - optimization is not some secret, arcane art that the world hasn't figured out yet. No, it's something that's been completely figured out for a long time, and there have been countless FREE tutorials on the subject for Blender and all other 3D software, for over a decade. The problem is some people just can't be bothered to learn. Just pure, 100% laziness. Any artist who says "I just don't know how" is just making excuses. Surely, if you know how to use Blender even at a basic level, you must also know how to do a Google search. Please own up and take responsibility instead of making excuses.

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