Updated: 30th October 2019

I find from time to time people do ask me general questions, these are some quick tips & hints I started putting together as a place to simply direct people too. Saves me repeating myself.

Often the question of limits comes up, well the best place is to go over and look at the limits page on the wiki. Second Life Wiki Limits.

Some generic Do and Donts

  • Do try and keep script count under 100.
  • Do try and keep MB usage under 5MB.
  • Do try and keep complexity under 130,000 – see Avatar Complexity below.
  • Dont send blind TP requests.
  • Dont send blind friend or group invites.
  • Dont click on a suspect looking hyperlink.
  • Dont accept unsolicited inventory, discard and trash it immediately.
  • Dont keep yourself logged in when not around at venues or events, its annoying for others who are trying to get into the region.
  • Dont stand at landing zones, it only takes a second to move off it.
  • Dont limit complexity if you think it helps with FPS/Lag – see Avatar Complexity below.

The information below does not assume you use viewer A over viewer B or C etc. It is generic topics I have wrote something about as they tend to keep coming up in discussions.

For transparency, I use the Catznip viewer, click here to see how I configure it. On occasions I also use Black Dragon.

Windlight Settings

The setting you use or if you allow it to just be automatically set really comes down to your own preferences. The only recommendation I would state here is when your demoing or customizing your appearance with skin appliers set your windlight to a setting that is optimal for skins. For more info on this read the skin section on my Kitten Style: Skins, Cosmetics & Nails page. Below are two skin optimized sky settings, there are several others.

  1. CalWL
  2. Nam’s Optinam Skin and Prim

Laptops with dual Graphics

If your using a laptop and it has both integrated and dedicated graphics and you feel that your running slow it could be that the integrated graphics is been used instead of the dedicated graphics card. You may need to check your laptops graphic settings. You want it running in performance mode.

Avatar Complexity

Complexity and how SL residents perceive it is one of my biggest pet peeves in SL. There is a general lack of understanding by most region/land owners/event organizers when it comes to using automated tools that eject based on complexity. Furthermore I find myself consistently amused when individuals get on their soap boxes in local/group chat talking about complexity as if they are experts.

LL in all seriousness should ditch the whole complexity feature and go back to the drawing board when it comes to informing the community what an ARC is cause its simply flawed. The fact it doesn’t take into account polygon usage is mind boggling.

Does this mean I ignore complexity, to a point YES, lowering complexity limits to punish someone as a Jellydoll is pointless since this does not prevent background downloading of the Agents textures to your local cache.

I also don’t ignore complexity, I personally try and keep my complexity between 55 – 85K, sometimes it creeps up to 115-130K. Why do I do this;

  1. The miss informed who set limits low thinking cause your a Jellydoll it will reduce lag are punishing you for no valid reason.
  2. Venues/events often eject people over certain complexity numbers, once again your been punished for no reason.
  3. If its low, then its unlikely your going to be IMed or even shamed in local chat for having such a high ARC.

Update: March 2019 – With the latest Catznip release, If you do set complexity for example at 131,000. Then set rendering as “Everyone as silhouettes”. Unlike rendering as “Jellydoll”, this silhouette feature prevents the background downloading of Agent textures to your cache folder and does have a positive effect on your bandwidth consumption.

Movement

I suggest if possible try and learn the proper movement controls. If you do you will never need the camera/movement floater, you should never have an issue with missing “endless zoom”. It also makes SL feel more like your in an MMORPG.

  1. AWSD = Move around
  2. Left click + hold your own avatar = Move your view around
  3. Alt + Leftclick = Zooming on the cursor
  4. Ctrl + Alt + Leftclick = Focus on cursor and rotating (up, down, left, right) the camera around your focus point with your mouse
  5. Ctrl while still holding leftclick after alt zooming = the same as above just easier.
  6. Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Leftclick = Focus on cursor and moving the camera around freely with your mouse
  7. Ctrl + Shift while still holding left click after alt zooming = the same as above just easier.

Camera Offsets

Camera placement is important. Game developers spent decades experimenting, improving and perfecting the art of camera placement. The developers of  SL either ignored or for monetary reasons elected to go with a camera view sitting way over an avatar’s head, angled down.

This has a fundamental flaw in that it removes the sense of immersion presenting the user with a more 3rd person spectator view of watching from afar rather than interacting within. Another by product is it has impacted scaling to the point its way off proper scaling metrics. For example how often do you see 7+ feet avatars or objects that look out of place with others due to bad scaling.

This upscaleing exponentially impacts the environment often resulting in double scaling compared to RL. For example, if we look at the scale of SL ceilings they tend to be 5m high instead of 2.5m, 20x20m rooms instead of 10x10m or 5x5m rooms. The end result is everything is much larger to compensate for SL’s horrible camera placement.

The irony of all this up-scaling is that it effectively makes SL smaller, resulting in a need to purchase more land to feel immersed within. It also negatively impacts performance due to a generic greater LI requirement. A 20x20m room tends to have a 16+ LI, whereas a 10x10m scale would be 50% less using only 6-8 LI. In some cases you could even reduce this down to 3-4LI by using Convex Hull.

The good news is you can have alternate camera settings that can be easily entered into the viewer’s debug panel to get a more immersive view. Some viewers do allow you to adjust these settings via menus, for others you will have to update the values by the debug settings. Below are the debug settings.

  1. CameraOffsetDefault (Viewer 1) or CameraOffsetRearView (Viewer 2)
  2. X: -2.000    Y: -0.400 (off left shoulder) or 0.000 (for centered)    Z: -0.200
  3. FocusOffsetDefault (Viewer 1) or FocusOffsetRearView (Viewer 2)
  4. X: 0.900    Y: -0.700 (off left shoulder) or 0.000 (for centered)    Z: -0.200
  5. In additions Viewer 2 viewers also support “Front View” and “Side View”.

Inventory Memory Usage

Doing the sums every 1,000 items in inventory consumes around 1MB of memory. Therefore if you have 100,000 items your memory usage for inventory is 100MB. If you open 2 inventory windows then you will use 200MB, 3 inventory windows would use 300MB….. get the idea! Depending on your habits in terms of opening either only a single or multiple inventory windows your looking at an inventory size of either 250,000 or 500,000 items before you start consuming 1GB of memory to support Inventory.

NOTE: Folders and Links also count as inventory items.

Any viewer that has a WORN tab feature (I.e Firestorm) effectively opens 2 inventory windows when the viewer is started. If you open what you think is the 2nd inventory window your actually opening a 3rd window in terms of memory usage.

When you close inventory windows the memory allocation is retained/reused until the SL viewer is recycled.

Bottom line is large inventories can impact in several ways.

  • It can slow down the process of logging in.
  • It can cause texture thrashing, mainly on 32-bit systems and viewers due to the hard limits on addressable memory. Generally once texture thrashing starts the only way to stop it is to recycle the viewer.
  • It can impact overall PC performance if total memory is at a level that is causing OS memory management thrashing (excessive paging).

Myth or Fact: Some people have claimed large inventories can impact TPing from one region to another. I personally have never noticed any issues and I am unable to find any threads by LL that state it does.

Viewer Cache location

If your default location is on a standard drive and you have another drive that is an SSD then changing viewer cache to write to the SSD does provide a significant increase to performance. The best solution though is to run a RAM disk as this places cache in your computers memory. I use AMD Radeon RAMdisk, it does work with memory from other manufactures. The free version allows you to create up to a 4GB RAM drive partition. Obviously you do need to have ample RAM to run a Ram drive. If you do go down this path its worth watching the RAMdisk YouTube channel.

The way I have my RAMdisk configured is its loaded from the C:/RAMdisk.img into RAM at computer start-up and then backed up to the disk image at sign out or shut down, my RAMdisk is 10GB or RAM.

Another thing to consider is configuring your anit-virus software to trust the SL viewer and not scan cache. Is this a risk? Only if some 3rd party viewer coder out there does something unethical, on that topic it did happen several years ago when the Phoenix viewer (replaced by Firestorm) was performing DDOS attacks in the background.

SL Viewers

Which viewer you use is really up to personal preference, I mainly use Catznip and on occasions Black Dragon. I have used Singularity (alpha) in the past and I would suggest this as a good alternative for low end computers.

The most popular viewer by far is Firestorm, although its certainly the most popular and feature rich viewer available, is it the most efficient viewer? Over the last 2 years, several people who have done the switch to Catznip have all told me they noticed way quicker rendering, less lag and more importantly less crashing. Weather this is their hardware or an underlying issue with viewer software is up for debate. I expect its a combo of viewer bloat, PC specs and ISP connection bandwidth. For me, I am a heavy RLVa user and as such Catznip will always be ahead in terms of RLVa updates than all the other viewers. Why, because Kitty is the person who maintains RLVa in all TPV’s. She is going to install updates in her viewer project before others.

Second Life viewer is the default viewer written and supported by LL. Its an entry level viewer that is not as taxing on your computer as 3rd party viewers. This is a strategic decision by LL so that users with low end spec computers can still use SL.

Radegast for Windows, MetaChat  for IOS or Lumiya for Android are great “Safe for work” viewers as they are text base focused.

A full list of viewers that conform with LL TOS are documented on the Third Party Viewer Directory.