[extropy-chat] SECOND LIFE info from a seasoned veteran

artillo at comcast.net artillo at comcast.net
Tue Dec 12 04:01:10 UTC 2006

Dear fellow Extropians,

I've been a user in Second Life since June of 2004 and I have seen a lot of changes and improvements over the years.  Frame rate and "lag" are very dependent on a number of factors, including what graphics card you have, how much video ram and system ram you have, processor speed, internet connection speed, certain settings within the SL configuration itself, and also client and server side lag induced by "traffic" in the sim you are walking around in. The more avatars, active scripts, objects, and texture files in a sim, the worse the lag may get.

There are many things one can do to reduce lag/frame rates to an acceptable level, in the preferences menu some of the largest  culprits are having local lighting turned on, having draw distance set very high (I leave mine between 64 and 128m and it's usually a very manageable 20-30fps with my system), having certain detail levels set very high versus what your gpu can handle, and also having particle effects set high (I usually have my particles set to less than 1024). There are lots and lots of useful suggestions by longtime users about how to reduce lag and what are it's causes if you look in the SL forums. http://forums.secondlife.com  .  Unfortunately, a sim that has 35 people in it will DEFINITELY run much slower than a sim that has 3 people in it, and also private islands tend to be run on slightly better servers so they also perform better even with a lot of people around, primarily because they dont have to bring in data from adjacent servers that comes within draw distanc

My system is about 3 years old and handles SL very well, even when I am running several other programs at the same time. My system is an ASUS P4P800 motherboard (800mhz bus) with a Pentium 4 2.4GHz processor, 1GB of PC3200 RAM, an ATI Radeon 9600 pro 128mb AGP graphics card and a 5 megabit cable connection. SL supposedly runs better with Nvidia based cards, but other than not rendering waves on water correctly for my ATI card, I don't see much difference.

When it comes to the SL community, my experience is that people judge SL differently depending on the types of people they initially meet in the world. If someone is new and happens to run across a blatantly "adult" location (and there are, admittedly, many), they might tend to paint the entire community as such. It doesn't take much effort to find people with similar interests that DON'T revolve around sex/gambling/violence. There are tons of groups about that discuss philosophy, politics, music, community, education, etc., all you have to do is look for them and ask around. In a community of over 1.5 million estimated users, SL obviously will always have a segment of the community that is only interested in the more "base" uses of the software. The beauty of SL is that it's completely up to the user to decide what they want to make of their Second Lives! :D

As far as comparing SL to a game such as WoW... that's not comparing apples to apples at all. The entire world of Warcraft is prerendered and resides in the client's computer. A relatively small amount of data is actually exchanged between the player's client machine and the game servers (such as avatar location, combat stats, IM's, etc.) as compared with Second Life which is streaming in an enormous amount of data to be rendered/handled by the client. SL does some little tricks to help things along, such as having all of it's prims as parametrically created objects that are generated by the client's computer rather than having large polygon meshes downloaded. 

The fact that you can BUILD in realtime and create all of your own unique content in SL (scripts, animations, textures, guestures, sounds, and composite objects etc.) even further separates it from the MMO gaming world, which uses preexisting libraries of objects and predetermined animation sequences for its characters.

Also, the SL economy is a real economy, not a game economy. YES sure you can buy and sell WoW gold from various websites here and there, but all that allows you to do is be able to buy or sell preexisting stuff in the game, whereas in SL, the cash goes directly to the creators of the items and can be pulled out of the world as real currency.

I am Artillo Fredericks in SL... I am primarily online as an internet DJ specializing in heavy metal, punk rock, industrial, and old school rap. I DJ live 3 nights a week at a few different locations in SL. Give me a holler some time!

Peace and Happy Building!


 -------------- Original message ----------------------
From: Randall Randall <randall at randallsquared.com>
> On Dec 11, 2006, at 12:51 PM, Randall Randall wrote:
> > On Dec 11, 2006, at 6:09 AM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> >> On Mon, Dec 11, 2006 at 03:30:45AM -0500, Randall Randall wrote:
> >>> more than 3 frames per second out of it.
> >>
> >> You should be getting 25 fps with that hardware without breaking a
> >> sweat.
> >> http://www.versiontracker.com/php/feedback/article.php?
> >> story=20050618061835830
> >> seems to indicate there are some light performance problems, but
> >> nowhere
> >> as bad as the 3 fps you've cited.
> >
> > The frames per second, although low, may not have been quite as low
> > as 3. The biggest problem, for me, was that it took so long for  
> > objects
> > (like buildings, etc) to fill in that I would have to stop and wait to
> > see what I was near.
> >
> > After some more thought about this, I think this might well have been
> > due to having to download everything, in contrast to WoW, which has  
> > the
> > static parts of the world already in the application folder.  I'm  
> > going
> > to try SL again later today, and report whether it seems to have
> > improved.
> Okay, I've done that.  The answer is "No, there's no
> noticeable improvement."
> I used SL's built-in movie maker to take a movie of just
> walking around in SL:
> http://randallsquared.com/download/movies/slmovie.mov
> Please note that this is a 36M file!
> For a control case, I downloaded a third party screencaster
> and used it to make a similar walking-around video from WoW,
> on the same machine less than an hour apart.
> http://randallsquared.com/download/movies/wowmovie.mov
> Please note that this is a 56M file!
> Interestingly, the SL video is almost exactly the same in
> speed as the actual SL environment, while the third party
> screencaster slowed down WoW significantly, cutting its
> apparent framerate in half or so (and causing me to misjudge
> in the first few seconds and fall off a staircase).  Even
> with this slowdown, though, WoW is screamingly fast in
> comparison to SL.
> I'm sure there are lots of reasons why SL can't be expected
> to be as fast as WoW, yet, including having to download most
> of the world through the internet, while WoW has the basic
> world already on one's hard drive.  That said, on a fairly
> recent iMac, SL is essentially unusable so far.
> Or maybe my standards are too high. :)
> --
> Randall Randall <randall at randallsquared.com>
> "If we have matter duplicators, will each of us be a sovereign
>   and possess a hydrogen bomb?" -- Jerry Pournelle
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> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
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