Fighting Lag, a Small Tutorial II

Bandwidth. You would normally set it as high as possible.
However, if you set it to the limit of the bandwidth, that your ISP supports, you will experience the danger of packet loss (amount of lost data on the connection, which must be redelivered) and lost packets can not be redelivered in an acceptable time.
To set this value very low, will set your packet loss to zero, but your SL will become slower. You should set this value to about 50 - 70 % of the available bandwidth. For 2.27 Mb per second. With the factor 1000 that are 2270 kbps, so normally you are in SL with half of that speed and set it to 1000. For fighting reduce it to 500. The connection would still work with 1000, but when all fighters (and spectators) use the sim server to the max, they all suffer from server lag again. So, for fighting, all will be happy with 500 kbps. If your connection is slower, try a setting of 50-70 %. If you experience packet loss, set it lower, if you run with a packet loss of 0, you might increase this value.

Recommended settings for Cache Size: 200 MB or a bit more. Higher settings tend to decrease performance after a while, when the cache slowly works less efficient.
Clearing the cache will speed the cache operation, but if you do that shortly before a fight, take a bit of time to wander around in the arena to have all textures around loaded into the cache before you fight.

Press CRTL - Shift - 1 and see the window in the upper right. You will see the bar for FPS, frames per second, which shows, how many frames your computer can generate in one second. Values between 20 and 30 are normal movie or tv speed, below 20 you will notice the low rate and below 10 you should normally not play and definitely not fight.

The FPS rate also shows, how many of your keystrokes will be delivered to the server, you can hit the arrow keys like a madman, at a FPS below 10 not many of them will hit your opponent, your computer is busy with creating the screens, no time to transfer your actions.

Next bar is Bandwidth. Will be quite low, when nothing happens and you don't move. But turn around or run, and the value will change dramatically. Here you can see, what your action in SL causes in means of data transfer via the internet.

And on third place you see the percentage for packet loss. Get to 0.0 as close as possible. If you never get numbers here, you might want to increase the bandwidth speed and have more fun in SL, but change to 500 again for fighting.

Viewer settings can be accessed via the menu (Edit - Preferences) or by the shortcut CRTL - P. Open the folder "Graphics" to control all the settings that control how SL appears on your screen. You will normally have checked to run SL in a window. In the quality bar select Low or Mid and also check "Custom".

This will open the lower part of the settings, where you should do the following settings:
- uncheck Bump and Shiney
- uncheck Basic Shaders
- uncheck Avatar Impostors

Draw Distance slider bar 64m. Definitely the setting that helps most. You might want to set it higher in a raid or war, when you use range weapons (sniper, bows, …), but you should not go beyond 128 here.

Max. Particle Count = Here you can easily switch off all particles. Default setting is 4096 here, you should also set this to 1000-2000 for normal use, or to about 500 if you really want to see the blood particles in a fight instead of winning the tourney.

Post Process Quality = low, all the way down

Mesh Detail:
Objects: 1/4th the slider bar, or less
Flexiprims: 1/4th the slider bar, or less
Trees: 0, all the way down, trees are not important for a fight
Avatars: 1/4th the slider bar or 1/2 if you computer and graphics card allow you to see your opponent a bit better
Terrain: 0, all the way down

Lighting detail: Sun and Moon only
Terain Detail: low (I know, that does not look good, but you want to win, or?)

Draw distance: Well, the most important slide bar here is the draw distance. You will experience that even in quite empty sims, you will get FPS rates of only 10-20 when you set the draw distance too big. Remember, if you double the draw distance, the area of the circle that you now see, increases on factor 4! This means, doubling the draw distance will cause 4 times the data of prims to be transferred and 4 times the textures. Also, if you approach or go beyond distanced of 200 m, not only one sim server has to transfer the data, but more of them (sims only are squares of 256 m). If you go up to 512 m, more than 25 sim servers might have to do transfer data for you, which also causes a lot of data transfer between them, server communication that causes more lag. So also in normal SL use, be careful with this setting. You mostly never need to look that far, and you make a lot of servers working for you and causing lag for all others on those sims.

Bump Mapping, Basic shaders and Nearby local lights. They might cause nice effects, when used in builds and for light. But most builders do not use them, so you mostly see nothing more with those checkboxes clicked. These are normally set to on by the default SL settings, even in the lower quality settings. But they really cause lag, as every prim face has to be checked and evaluated by the physics engine several times.

You might want to try the other settings outside fights. Feel free to set SL in a way that is fun to use and not causing too much lag. It's all up to you on this folder of the viewer settings.

Graphics card and CPU. Two elements of your computer are very important for little lag. One of them is the graphics card and especially their drivers. Check the internet regularly for new drivers of your card. Drivers that are about half a year of age might cause problems for you. If you own an old computer and think of upgrading, very often a change of the CPU causes better results than a change of the graphics card. SL is an application that uses the CPU to the limits.

Running other applications: Forget it. You cannot download videos from the net and with a fight at the same time.

Think of disabling video and audio streams and voice for your fights. All these might take different ways in the internet, but they go over your internet connection and take some from the bandwidth that you need to win the fight.

Rebooting your computer before starting SL can help get better performance

Use the deruthing device, an object, that brings you into some height for some seconds, which clears your graphics cache and makes your graphics card work better. Many of the older fighters have them (blue cylinder or yellow cone) and will happily give you one.

To clear the internal ram caching on your harddisk, it helps to minimize the SL window for about 5 to 10 seconds. After that SL will run more smoothly. Also great to be done before a fight.

Defragment your hard drive occasionally.

Lag occurs most when:
- Your Draw Distance is too high
- There are many physical (physics-enabled) objects nearby
- There is a large group of people nearby
- You are moving (and therefore loading new geometry, textures, and sounds)
- You or other people are playing sounds or animations
- When many objects are moving around nearby
- You have "fancy" graphics features enabled (Anisotropic Filtering, Ripple Water, etc)
- The people that built the sim used big textures


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