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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

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Ai Austin

The good thing about the Second Life/OpenSim architecture is that regions can be very differently built and not impact on others. Some can be optimized for multiple users and high frame rates. Others can be high poly, high res textures for walk throughs and detailed exploration.

Taylor

The fact that this runs at only 30FPS (with only one avatar on screen!) would seem to indicate that maybe unoptimized content isn't the primary problem... SL's engine itself is. 30FPS is a ridiculously low framerate for something that looks, generously, like a AAA game from 10 years ago (and I'm not being facetious: go look at Mass Effect 2 for something stylistically similar, and that wasn't even the best looking game when it came out).

Penny Patton

@Taylor You're assuming that this sim is as optimized as a AAA game, it likely isn't. I've been able to get 30-60fps in SL on a 10 year old computer through optimization of content in the sims I was building.

I've even gotten SL to run respectably on laptops with onboard graphics.

Now, the SL engine might very well have its own issues (and it does) but for anyone who has a basic understanding of game design, there is absolutely no question at all, the lack of content optimization is a huge performance hurdle and SL can both look and run a lot better when content is optimized.

http://pennycow.blogspot.com/2019/06/just-how-much-does-unoptimized-content.html

@Ai

Don't assume that a lack of optimization means more detail. Most of the content creators in SL are churning out very wasteful textures and needlessly high poly models. I'm talking textures that are mostly blank, unused space just eating up your memory, and models with geometry that could easily be replaced with normal and spec maps. These can be optimized with zero loss in visual quality.

Pulsar

Penny is right.

Moreover, when you compare the frames per second in AAA games, keep in mind that in SL you have some limit.
In AAA games they can implement dedicated tricks for the specific conditions that are in that game to optimize it even further.
When your character changes outfit, it isn't another mesh model added over a naked body, but usually it replaces the whole model or parts of it. If a game is played in first person view only, they simply optimize for that. e.g. in Bioshock they only need you to have arms and they can skip the rest. In 3rd person view your character would look funny: https://media.giphy.com/media/URkVH44yHbwyI/giphy.gif .
In outside scenes, homes are often empty models, but when you enter inside, you load another level with the home interiors. There the scene has just the necessary parts. If there are distant buildings that you aren't suppose do get any closer, they are in fact just tiny simple models. And so on.
In SL you could try something for specific scenes. For example you could create a bubble around a "skybox" or a space station and put small things at short distance, so that, looking that from the window inside, you have the illusion of a grand scenery, you can even give the illusion of movement and simulate a spaceship.
But usually you cannot have dedicated tricks in Second Life. When you travel by train in Heterocera, all those homes around there are fully furnished inside, etc.

Furthermore, modern engines take advantage of multi-core CPUs and of modern graphic cards, which the SL engine doesn't. Plus everything in SL is essentially always in editor mode.

This doesn't mean, however, that you should worse the situation even further by wasting texture memory and polygons needlessly. Also consider that textures and models aren't being loaded from your hard disk the first time, but downloaded from the net.

So in SL you are not just optimizing for FPS but also for loading time.

NiranV

The reasons for this running at only 30 FPS (worse even according to the choppiness) could be many, starting from the very beginning with the actual recording itself, unless this is recorded with NVidia Share (Shadowplay) i doubt its the original untouched framerate. Further we don't know the settings here, touching shadow resolution can quickly decimate your framerate for apparently no reason. Then there's the fact reshade was used here for the color correction and lens flare (color correction could have been done with the Viewer itself), reshade alone lowers the framerate just by being there. We don't know the system specs either and we don't know whether the Viewer might have been still downloading/decoing something.

Sometime later today i'll go visit that place and have a look myself, with 8 year old hardware i'd expect 30 FPS there as well but we'll see, i've gotten surprisingly much FPS in several places i expected to be worse before.

Taylor

Pulsar - that's exactly my point. There's no doubt that better-optimized content would help, but we're also ultimately handicapped both by how things work in SL (like home interiors always being there) and the fact that the engine is fundamentally 15 years old.

The reason I'm saying all this isn't to say we shouldn't bother optimizing content; it's because I think Hamlet's hyperbolic comparisons, in this post and others, about how SL can simultaneously look and perform like a modern game are not only disingenuous but unhelpful. It can't! And that's okay. Hyper-visual-fidelity isn't what makes SL great. There's no need to pretend SL is something it isn't.

Pulsar

Yup. Of course you can get decent results in SL too, for what is possible. And optimizing helps quite a bit with your FPS for what SL allows, as well with the download-time. All that still maintaining the same pretty visuals. You free resources and make things run better, so you can also have more items in your region before your visitors begin to crawl or crash - or more avatars can be there without affecting the performance too much, if they optimize those too - these things are quite a bonus per se already. So it's important. Just looking at the whole picture :)

As for the 30 FPS, that's a bit relative... What are the hardware specs of the machine that got 30 FPS? What was the drawing distance? And the graphic settings? So we can compare the results better.

vwfan

@Pulsar

"When your character changes outfit, it isn't another mesh model added over a naked body, but usually it replaces the whole model or parts of it. If a game is played in first person view only, they simply optimize for that."

Yep. There's also Unreal documentation (https://bit.ly/2Pgrnsv) that talks about supporting modular characters. They mention how you can use skeletal mesh merging to help with draw call efficiency. It makes me wonder about SL and all those attachments on us. Could SL take advantage of skeletal mesh merging capabilities when not in avatar edit mode?

"In outside scenes, homes are often empty models, but when you enter inside, you load another level with the home interiors. There the scene has just the necessary parts. If there are distant buildings that you aren't suppose do get any closer, they are in fact just tiny simple models."

There are games like PUBG where players can not only walk into detailed interiors but also see outside from the interiors to see people long distances away.

"Plus everything in SL is essentially always in editor mode."

My main question is do we always need SL and our avatars to be in an editor-ready state?

vwfan

@Hamlet - FYI, there's a recent interview with John Carmack talking about VR, Quake/Doom, other tech stuff, cars, etc.

https://youtu.be/udlMSe5-zP8

JohnC

Does " It performs" as well as an AAA game, have any meaning at all when it looks like retro SL. If the great achievement is to make SL more comparable to AAA games, then that is only a plus for money making LL. It as always has nothing to do with what SL is, and proves that money and only money, drives everything.

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