Mesh scaling to reduce prim cost – smaller scale in SL really is better now

Today’s blog gets right to the core of all the debates about scale in Second Life.

The ‘Resource Cost’ of mesh items appears to be directly connected to their -size- and not just complexity. The smaller the item you rez, the less it will cost.

This is something I’ve been noticing the more Mesh objects I get on my land.

From houses to furniture to plants to… whatever… the trend seems the same. I’m going to illustrate it with a dramatic example.

The LAQ Decor 100% Mesh Cottage:

I took this house and scaled it down to work for a ‘to scale avatar’ – making the doorway entrance 2.2 meters in clearance (the prim says 2.3, but it clears 2.2). Fitting a 7’2″ person.

Standard door size in the USA is 36″ x 80″, or 2.03m tall, so this new ‘smaller scale’ is still big. At 7’2″, it is basketball player breezing through in comfort.

Originally the house was 76 prims:

And that doorway was a good 3 meters. Fit for a giant at 9’10”. Just to give you an idea, that is -TALLER- than the Na’vi in the movie Avatar.

Scaling it down reduced the cost to 45 prims:

That’s a savings of 31 prims. NOT a trivial amount. One tiny corner of the floor went phantom, so I had to add one prim more in by putting in a floor. But convex hull linking that floor prim to another prim on my land got its cost right back (In fact 4 prims linked in a convex hall for some walls and platforms, came to 2 at convex hull).

This makes a POWERFUL argument in favor of scaling down builds in second life, and by extension, scaling avatars down to a ‘to-scale’ size, to take advantage of these smaller builds.

Those 31 saved prims can fit a lot of furniture. I could fit my entire mesh living room into that budget 3 times.

Especially when the mesh recliner chair given out by LAQ Decor -also- reduced in prim cost when I scaled it down to a human-sized avatar.

In scaling this house there were two problems. Two prims had a face at a size of 0.01 – the smallest allowed in Second Life. I had to find them (individually selecting every prim until I knew which ones were this size), and then make that one face larger (I chose 0.1 arbitrarily), and then rescale. They were transparent prims so them getting distorted was not an issue. Normally when I do this after rescaling I go back to those prims and make that one side 0.01 again.

Here they are:


(I need to rescale these images, they’re kind of big…)

This scaling down of course will only work on mod items. So make sure to avoid no-mod mesh if you want to be able to manage your prim cost.

Really you should never buy no-mod items anyway. Especially for things rezzed on your land that you will likely want to edit and adjust over time as you gain experience in Second Life, and a sense of personal virtual style.

The LAQ Decor house had to be mod, it was in a rez-box. If you pay attention to my screenshots above you’ll see I was selecting 4 objects. The house is not all liked up. This is common for houses – a smart buyer can ensure a mod-able build by buying things sold in a rezzing system like this.

To resize it I selected all of the prims and just chose the stretch option, then stretched it down with my avatar standing in the doorway until it felt like the relationship between the two resembled me and my RL doorway. Then I walked inside and stood next to the windows. BUT my avatar is 5’4″ or 5’6″ – not 8-feet like some you’ll see in SL. It helps to scale down your avatar first, so you can then eyeball everything else for your chosen dimensions.

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