Firestorm – Use Quick Prefs to set up Lag-Blocking of graphics heavy avatars

Lag Blocking of graphics heavy avatars is coming as a default feature in Second Life. I’ve covered this several times in the past, and it has been covered by other bloggers as well.

Once enabled, this feature will render laggy people as solid colors. The term ‘jelly’ has for some reason become popular in referring to this. The end result will be to protect you from crashes or slowdowns caused by people who are just wearing way too complex of items.

There is even a test viewer out there for seeing how this feature will eventually look and work.

All of the functionality for this is actually already in the current viewers, it just isn’t yet in your graphics preferences and Linden Lab is still trying to sort out things like ‘what to name the buttons’, ‘what messages to send to people when a lot of other people can no longer see them’ and ‘what should the default be set at’.

So in other words, a feature that will dramatically reduce lag and crashing in Second Life is being help up over what messages to put on your screen when you would be causing people around you to crash, so they have auto-hidden you from view… As for the default value… for the last several releases the number has not moved off of 80,000 – so the only important part of this actually seems resolved now…

On most viewers you can go into debug settings everytime you want to adjust this and tweak one of these values:

RenderAutoMuteFunctions
set this to “7” to enable all of this functionality. Any other value is treated as ‘off’.

RenderAutoMuteRenderWeightLimit – the value at which people vanish (invisible).
RenderAvatarComplexityLimit – the value at which people turn to a solid color. This numbers on this are not correct… So setting this to “54712” is the number to get ‘Jelly’ at Complexity 80,000.

QuickPrefsIconIn firestorm you can add these to Quick Prefs so that you can easily pull it up and turn it on or off, and tweak the values, if you don’t like what is happening. I often turn it off for a moment to see what I might be missing, and then turn it back it on so I don’t have lag issues. At other times, I play with numbers just to see where I can safely set it. The more crowded a place is, the lower I’ll set it (hiding more people), on a theory of using this to reduce my lag.

QuickPref_Starting
Click the wrench icon at the bottom right of Quick Prefs to add a new one or remove an exiting one. You can see here that my list is very different from the default setup of Firestorm. This is meant as a space for you to put the things you mess with a lot, and now you know the things I mess with a lot. And oops, my Draw Distance is super high there – kind of laggy to be above 96 – I just got back from sailing on Blake Sea where you have wide empty sims… and I forgot to lower it back down before making these.

Once you’re in the edit window, you can pull up a selector with all of the various debug settings. If you start to type in the name of the one you want, it will go to close to where your typing, so you don’t have to scroll through the entire long list of them:

QuickPref_Selector

Set each of them as I have in the screenshots below. Note that I set the the RenderAutoMuteFunctions to ‘integer’ and a value between 0 and 7. That’s important, because it only uses 0 and 7, and any other value used will be treated as garbage (it will work more or less like 0, but I’ve heard it can sometimes randomly hide things if not on 0 or 7).

QuickPref_RenderAutoMute

I guess at one point they had plans for 1-6… but no more.

QuickPref_RenderAvatarComplexityLimit

This is the value at which people go invisible. In Firestorm it matches to their Avatar Render Weight. In the coming changes this value is NOT included on graphics preferences, but is still in the debug settings.

QuickPref_RenderAutoMuteRenderWeightLimit

This is the value at which people turn to solid colors (Jelly). In the official viewer this matches their Avatar Complexity. In Firestorm it is a little higher than their Avatar Render Weight – but not a consistent amount higher. So you will have to ‘wiggle the values’ a bit until you find the right number to use. Setting this to “54712” is the number to get ‘Jelly’ at Complexity 80,000.

And that is basically it. Once you have these values set like this, you can pull up Quick Prefs at any time and turn this feature on or off – to save lag or prevent yourself from crashing, or turn it on to see that laggy friend you’re trying to not say something too because they really like that one thing that they’re wearing that is melting your graphics card… /sigh…

Pretty “soon” (sometime between now and the fall of the Klingon Empire) this stuff will be added to the official viewer, and then rolled out to Firestorm and other viewers, all nice and packaged into the graphics preferences. Even once it is, it might be handy to still have quick access to it like this. I find I am tweaking these numbers all the time…

So…

Why did I do all these shots off my belleza mesh body, mesh nipplesm mesh hair, mesh ears, mesh tail, prim eyes, and even sculpty teeth the way that I did?

Because as I’ve stated several times now… a lot of the mesh out there is actually pretty low on lag. With all this on, and even with clothes as well, I am quite often the lowest ‘Avatar Complexity’ person in a place I visit. You just have to start getting smart about what you put on – demo items for their avatar complexity before buying them.

Advertisements

SL Graphics Glitches when Max Particles set to Zero (Firestorm)

I don’t know if this is Firestorm specific, Mac Specific, or my own system. I’m posting this to see if others can reproduce it.

This is what I saw today when I went to my boat slip on a sim I often hang out in (well, excepting that when I first saw it, my avatar was being worn):

MacBook_nVidia_geForce

Notice the weird shape in the water at left, and how it slices into my body. The funny outline on my chest is the shape of a chair that is behind me. I took off all my attachments because my first thought was I wearing something that was configured wrong. That’s why I look so weird.

And yes… my Belleza Freya shape is THAT WEIRD when its not being used that that body. This is because Belleza Freya is pear shaped in a way I do not like… but it has the best reponse to shape dials… so while it starts out as my least favorite mesh body, once I reshape it, it becomes my favorite – enough so that I use it on all of my alts… (even some retired ones, I have bought I think, 7 copies of Belleza…)

Also notice at upper right – the inverse shadow i front of that boat.

Now, when I turn off all shaders, it goes away:

MacBook_nVidia_geForce_noShaders

So I started worrying that my MacBook is frying… This is a $2800 laptop so that’s the kind of concern that has you looking at your budget… (OK, I got a friend who used to work for Apple, so I got the thing at a steep discount. Apple friends are like crack dealers – if you’re an addict, you need a good reliable one, and nobody else gets it… 😛 ).

(PS: Normally if you hightlight transparency, things like my whiskers that are in Alpha Mask mode DO NOT get red outlines. But if you also turn off basic shaders, they do. This is a handy trick for finding lost alpha-masked prims… like that one you were editing outside your skybox and accidentally turned physical and then um… well yeah…)

So the MacBook uses:

OSX 10.11.4
Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7
Memory: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB

So I decided to load up my alt on my old iMac and bring her over to see if I saw the same thing on the iMac:

iMac_AMD_Radeon.png

Textures are a bit slow to load on my old 2011 iMac.

Same thing…

The iMac is:
OSX 10.11.4
Processor: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
Memory: 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6750M 512 MB

With some more testing I find this all goes away if I turn off ‘Advanced Lighting’, or, if with ‘Advanced Lighting’ on, I make sure ‘Maximum Particle Count’ is NOT set to 0.

Does anyone else see this? These images were shot at:
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Naked/138/153/21

But I am guessing this can be replicated in any spot with water and objects in the background.

That said… it has since gone away… and I presently can’t reproduce it. Could this be something loading into the system VERY SLOWLY?

 

Is this your desktop? Simple tricks to cut OSX lag

Hey Mac folks, this desktop look familiar? Does it belong to you, did you leave it on my computer?

LaggyDesktop

Seeing that this morning inspired me to dig up some old useful advice I’ve know for a while but never thought to share before.

Some simple advice on cutting lag on Mac OSX… Not Second Life lag, but system lag that specifically affects graphics performance… ie: Lag you will feel in SL that has absolutely nothing to do with SL…

This article’s advice generally comes from around the web. Much of it is something I found burried very deep in the pages of a forum thread on an MMO fan website through a random search some time back. The sort of place that could easily vanish someday.

It is the kind of advice useful for any Mac user, but specifically Mac users that use a lot of intense graphics. Like Second Life users.


Tip 1:

Have a blank desktop:

NotLaggyDesktop

You can have background pictures, I only removed mine from the first screenshot to make what I was referring to obvious. 🙂

This is an issue where OSX does a preview render of everything on your desktop. This includes things like text files. All of that is using up system resources… resources you could be using on SL.


Tip 2:

Don’t have 3,274 apps running at once. Don’t even have 3,273. Best to just have one. But if not that, just the ones you need right now.

To close an app you MUST do “Command-Q”. Hitting this button:
UselessButton

Doesn’t do anything but close that window. The application is still running and using up all its active resources.

OSX is NOT Windows… Hitting that red ‘X’ in Windows will close an application. In OSX it is the same thing as putting your head in the sand to ignore the lion gnawing on your left leg…


Tip 3:
I read advice that says avoid Firevault:
Firevault.png

Yes you will go faster if you avoid it, but consider that the first confirmed encryption ransom malware has now occurred in OSX. I think this one might be better to call for safety over speed.


Tip 4:

Keep your system up to date. This one applies equally to OSX and Windows users. And don’t think you can escape it by hiding on some other OS either… whatever you use, keep it up to date. Updates will keep your graphics card working with enhancements, and keep away known security flaws. Most hacked systems are systems people were not updating.

SystemUpdate.png

(You don’t need Xcode unless you’re developing applications for OSX and iOS – which is part of what I do.)

Now we get into the ‘wait what?’ weird stuff…


Tip 5:

Repair your disk permissions. Because they routinely get out of step with what they should be, and if you’ve ever run an analytics report side by side with looking at console logs of what is going on in your application… you know this is a big pain… everytime a “minor oh it doesn’t REALLY matter we can fix that next release, we got bigger bugs right now” permission warning pops up… that uses resources for your applications to decide they can keep working despite that flaw…

This one is on you though, not the developers who made all your shiny programs. This one is because you used stuff, and then other stuff, and then stuff got confused, or stuff crashed before stuffing its stuff back into the stuff box before stuff could happen…

So just run this stuff and get your stuff in order…

Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility

OSXFirstAid

Click the First Aid button

 


Tip 6:

Apple Icon -> System Preferences -> Accessibility
Reduce system UI Transparency. Those nice semi-transparent window borders in OSX… they use up a lot of graphics resources. Transparency in Second Life drives up the ‘Render Cost’ of something by a factor of 4 in their Draw Weight equation… This is done because it eats a lot of graphics resources. The same is true if you’re letting your computer’s operating system do it to all the bars on the edges of things that you’re probably not even looking at anyway. And being solid gives them more contrast to find your stuff, so its better to turn this off from a design perspective as well:
ReduceTransparency


Tip 7:

Turns off everything from Spotlight you don’t absolutely need:
Apple Icon -> System Preferences -> Spotlight
DeathToSpotLight.png
Spotlight is just going to be constantly scanning your system for things to pre-fill into all of this, and that’s slowing you down. Keep it to the minimum of what you need.

If you really want to fully kill spotlight, type this into a terminal window:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

And this will turn it back on:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist


Tip 8:

Keep a lot of unused space around in your hard drive. If you have a LOT of files of data you like to have stored for ‘stuff’… get an external drive or cloud backup and keep all of those screenshots of your avatar in the free-xxx club… off of your hard disk.

Its useful to have your data on an external not-always connected disk anyway, in case your system ever gets hacked… you just laugh at the hackers as you reformat your operating system, and then plug your data drive back in and continue (OK that is still a major hassle, but at least it is a recovery plan).

Guys: There is no need to download all of those porn videos. The stuff is free and all over the internet anyway. Don’t fill up your disk with copies of porn… Obama isn’t taking your guns, and he isn’t coming to take your porn stash away either, because its all over the web anyway… Yeah I know, you can clear up about 70% of your hard drive if you delete those files…
And it will be a lot less embarrassing in church next Sunday when Obama finally does send the FBI in to take your guns and ship you to a FEMA camp and they see what’s on your computer… 😛

Free space on the drive means more space to used for caching, and for applications to be installed without fragmentation.

Do NOT go out and get some third party “clean up your disk” application. Even if other blogs about keeping a clean system suddenly shift into marketing mode halfway through and tell you to get their app.

Guess where malware comes from?


Tip 9:

Get the application gfxcardstatus. Oh yeah… I just told you not to go out and get crazy third party apps. Now I’m telling you to go out and get some crazy third part app.

SOME OF YOU THAT IS.

This only applies to Mac users that have a Mac with a graphics card. Welcome to the reason the VR companies have said they aren’t even bothering with us Mac people… Most Macs don’t have graphics cards… but use an integrated board solution. A high end Mac is often graphically no better than a $300 PC…

It hurts to say that, as a Mac user… but it is true. For most Macs.

If you have a higher end Mac, and if you do you know about it already because you paid another $500-1000 for it and you weren’t stupid enough to pay all that without finding out why…

Well, if you do have one, you want the ability to actually tell it to use your graphics card when you load up something intense like Second Life.

Not only does OSX not tell you when it turns on your pricey GPU, it often only makse the decision to do so when its good for Apple’s marketing… So the shiny Apple apps that will run better with it will use it, many other apps won’t, and if you go into bootcamp and run Windows they will turn it on all the time so as to heat up your system and overtax things so that Windows seems to not perform as well…

I don’t have the solution for keeping it off when not needing it bootcamp side. I need to read up on that still.

But OSX side, you want “gfxcardstatus” so you can turn have it get turned on by default anytime you flip on an application that has 3D graphics, and flipped off otherwise:

https://gfx.io

You really want this one. Google it and read about it to be sure on the security issues.


Tip 10:

Disable uneeded notifications.
Apple Icon -> System Preferences -> Notifications
Notifications
If you don’t NEED it, disable it. This is just slowing you down for spam most of the time.


Tip 11:

Apple Icon -> System Preferences -> Dock
Change the dock from Genie to Scale.
ScaleEffect.png
That Genie effect may look cool, but that coolness is at a cost of advanced rendering to warp a window and slide it around.


Tip 12:

Cut out startup applications:

Apple Icon -> System Preferences -> Users & Groups -> Login Items
LoginItems.png
If you don’t need it or recognize it, uncheck it or remove it.

Also check your Library:

LibraryLaunchAgents.png

You need to look at both LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons.

Where I put “/Library” up there, also look in these two:

“~/Library”
“/System/Library”

“~/” is a shorthand for: “/Users/[your computer account name]”

In the LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons you want to delete anything that is not from apple or a source your recognize. Malware commonly gets into Macs by placing itself here.

If you find something on the list that looks like it might be important but you’re not sure – google it and look for a link that is on a support.apple.com website for info. Be wary of links about malware found elsewhere – I’ve had co-workers get malware by searching on how to clean out malware…

PS: If you are unlucky enough to get malware on your system, NEVER download an app to ‘easily clean out that malware’. Always follow the absurdly long overly complex manual instructions to clean it out by hand. They may be annoying and worded badly… but if you have to sit there and type in manual commands and find files the hard way, you can at least do so making sure you’re not adding in more malware…


Tip 13:

This one is highly technical.

PRAM / NVRAM Reset :
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204063
Shutdown your Mac:
Apple Icon -> Shutdown
NOT Restart or Sleep, but Shutdown.

Start your computer again & hold Alt+Cmd+P+R before the bootup noise.
This will reset your PRAM.
PRAM used to need regular resetting. These days it shouldn’t ever need it, but if your system has gotten a bit corrupted it will help.

SMC Reset:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295
Shutdown your Mac again:
Apple Icon -> Shutdown
NOT Restart or Sleep, but Shutdown.

From here it depends on how your battery is connected, if you have one.

Desktop or MacBook With Removable Battery
Shut down the computer.
Unplug the power adapter.
Remove the battery (if there is one – a desktop typically just needs to be unplugged).
Press and hold the power button for five seconds.
Replace the battery.
Plug in the power adapter.
Turn on the computer.

MacBook Without A Removable Battery
Shut down the computer.
Plug in the power adapter.
On the built-in keyboard, press the Shift, Control, and Option keys on the left side and the power button, all at the same time.
Release all three keys at the same time.
Turn on the computer.

A little side note for people in bad weather: Your computer can’t get friend in a power surge if its unplugged. If the power goes out, unplug all the expensive stuff in the house…

 

New Graphics Preferences Now Help Auto-hide Laggy People

Hiding those laggy people by default will soon be common in Second Life, thanks to the new Second Life QuickGraphics Viewer version 4.0.2.310127 release that came today:

This is one of the beta test viewers, not the default. But this feature will hit the default soon.

Look for “Maximum Complexity”.
NewGraphicsSettings
This is a stand in for Avatar Draw Weight – which was the replacement to ARC. Draw Weight uses math based on how taxing to render and how taxing on SL something is.

My iMac wants this to be set to 60,000. In your average SL club, the other people range from 150000 to 450000…

My top end 2013 Macbook Pro with an advanced graphics card also wants to use 60,000. So it looks like a lot of people in Second Life are going to start vanishing from people’s screens pretty soon, if 60,000 is always the default. By contrast I’ve heard the usual recommendation to be 120,000 to 150,000 for a person with ‘normal graphics’ on a mid-range recent computer.

Every time you change something worn, a little popup will let you know your new Avatar Rendering Complexity:

VisualComplexity
Clicking that will bring up a page explaining what Avatar Rendering Complexity is all about (you must be logged in to Second Life in your web browser or that link comes back with an Authentication Failure). Note that I am getting only 22,193 there, that is with booN mesh dreadlocks, the Belleza Freya Mesh body, and a few items as well. You can get these numbers to be low lag if you are militant about managing your own lag.

If you want to be sure you don’t end up being one of the folks that everybody else cannot see, read my post on How to NOT buy bad stuff in SL.

In the debug settings, this slider is found under renderavatarmaxComplexity if you want to enter a manual figure (the slider is really wild, and its hard to get a round number – which will drive semi-OCD people nuts… so that debug setting is how you make it an ‘even’ number.

This ties in with RenderAvatarMaxNonImpostors which is the number of avatars you will render regardless of how complex they are. Default on this seems to be from 8 to 12.

There is also a new display over you head when you flip on:

Advanced -> Performance Tools -> Show avatar complexity Information

(That is how they case it… S and I in cap… I don’t know why…)

AvatarComplexityHUD
The wiki page says:

This displays four values as floating text above each avatar:

  • Complexity – The numerical complexity score of the avatar.
  • Rank –  How close the avatar is to your camera. The closest is “1”, next closest is “2”, etc…
  • Attachment surface area, in square meters – This value can, uncommonly, cause an avatar to be shown as a solid-color impostor.
  • Attachment size, in kilobytes – This value can also cause an avatar to be shown as a solid-color impostor, if it is high enough.

Please remember again that to view this webpage from outside of Second Life you need to log into Second Life’s website.

Here is what happens in a crowd of people when some of them are too laggy:

AvatarComplexityHUD_CrowdZapping

And another InfoHub:

AvatarComplexityHUD_CrowdZapping2.png

Yes that dude to the right is over 158,000,000 complexity. Even hidden like this I crashed a half dozen times trying to get this image…

The advice from that experience is: Keep people who have become blobs at range. Don’t stand too close… or your system won’t be able to handle it…

While I was on the other side of the infoHub I was just fine. My crashes happened when I tried to get close to the skirt there… her avatar was also insanely complex…
– I managed to render her a few times when coming back from crashes. Which also tells me that it takes SL a moment to flip this stuff on…

Oh and she’s listed as rank 8… higher rank means further away from camera, not from YOU. Which is funny because I should have been rank 9 in this if she was rank 8… so I guess it needs some tweaking still.

Side note on proportions: If you have a kinky avatar and your arms are too short to even touch yourself… how can you not see the problem in this? 🙂

 

%d bloggers like this: