Fighting Lag, a Small Tutorial I

We will always have lag, cause SL is different from all other "games", as it provides great creativity and a dynamic scenery, that can be changed by everybody at any time. What many need is a tutorial about fighting lag for fighting better. We all can do a lot to make each event, each duel, each tournament fun for all, the warriors and the spectators.

Lag happens:
~ On the server that runs the sim you are on and on the servers that run the sims next to that one.

~ On your computer, which has to calculate a lot of what you see on the screen.

~ On the way between the server and your computer (and back).

Very often people blame SL for lag, while they do anything on their computers to increase the problem … for themselves and for others. If lag happens, and you cause lag, all other residents around you will also have to bear the consequences. Even if lag in on the side of your computer, the others will feel, that you need more data than your computer can take to perform lag free. When we fight, we want as little lag as possible. So let us first start to see the settings that will help to reduce lag and to fight better and then explain those controls, and why they work. We will also add some hints on how to build for little lag and talk about the controls that show you the situation.

For fighting:
The nicer you want to see the fight, the more you will be defeated and die. The more you make your avatar and your screen look simple, the more you will win.

If you fight or participate or visit an event:
- Reduce prims of your hair
- Reduce prims of your shoes
- Don't come with furry avatars that need hundreds of prims for their hair
- Reduce the prims of your clothing.
- Switch off or better detach AOs
- Never come with a poofer or other particle scripts
- Reduce the use of radars, do not use scanners or gadgets with sensors or listeners
- Do not move, if you are not a participant. Best of all: sit.
- Do not TP into the crowd, TP outside and walk to the event.
- Use camera controls to watch something, don't go there, when the sim is full of avas
- Best would be to fight naked and bald. The less prims you wear, the less data has to be transmitted, the quicker will be the reaction of the server on your keystrokes, the more hits you will place
Find a fighting gear that is acceptable, but uses only few prims.
If you chose to fight with flexi hair, with a multi prim kilt or lots of equipment attached, that might look good, but will take you some hp for not reacting as quick as you could.

What is an avatar?
Shape, skin, animations, clothing, hair. The shape might count as some complex prim, the skin is an assembly of textures. Animations are like little vids, everything else consists of prims and textures. Plus, there are scripts and programs, scripts that run on the server and part of them on your computer, and programs, also on the server and your computer, that calculate positions, collisions, sound starts and the way, each particle texture has to take its way across your screen. Let us quickly add it up: An avatar might have 100 prims in their hair, 100 in their shoes, 100 in their clothing and 100 in their body parts and weapons etc. Makes a sum of 400 prims, all being described on the server. All these prims have a number of faces (a box has 6), let us estimate an average of 5, that means 2000 faces on these prims, 10% of them might have a unique texture, which would sum up to 200 textures for one avatar. Plus: there are animations, which count as little vids. If you come into a sim and have a nice landing animation, a nice stand up animation and a nice walk animation, that makes 3 extra ones that must be laoded, when you appear.

If you think of a prim as a data amount of 2 lines of text, you can count an avatar like a website of 800 lines of text with 200 pictures within and 3 little movies. How quick do you expect such a website to load? Well, SL can do it, much quicker than you expect from a website.

Also remember:
When you appear on a sim with 20 avatars already being there, that sim server has to send your data to all of them 20 users and also has to send their data (20) to your computer. So, in the second that you appear on a sim, the server will have the request like sending 40 huge websites in the next second … extra, besides the transfer that is needed to act in the sim. Additionally, all those computers have to calculate your appearance, your moves, your poofer and the way of all the many textures your poofer sends out. So, imagine: 40 websites, each with 800 lines of text, 3 vids and 200 pictures will have to be transferred by the sim server, when your avatar appears in the middle of the crowd. This explains, why the fighters in a tournament might go and have a coffee break, when a nice new avatar with great hair, nice shoes and lots of fur or clothing and a great poofer and AO appears teleporting into the arena. Imagining the huge amount of data that only has to be transferred on your arrival (we still don't talk about you moving), there are some easy hints, how you can help to reduce lag on events and tournaments:

Want to find out, if your avatar causes more lag than the others? Activate the "Advanced" menu. If it's not there, press ALT - CRTL - D and you will have it available. In that menu find:
Rendering - Info Displays - Avatar Rendering Cost

Avatar Rendering Cost (ARC) is a number that adds up the amount of bandwidth needed for the prims, textures, blings etc. of an avatar and displays them above the head. Green numbers are ok, they become red, when you attach many prims or weapons. Spectators on an event should never have red ARC numbers, but just look at it on the next party or tournament that you visit. You will find the causes for lag. Take some time to find our, which piece of clothing, which weapon, which textures or skins do more for the ARC and which are better. ARC is a very useful information, if you are interested to reduce lag caused by your avatar.

BTW, for cheaters:
In a war it might be useful for cheaters to activate the ARC display. They are to be seen in so much greater distance than the tags or the meter displays. Avatars cannot hide in a war, when you activate the ARC display. But think of it: is it fair to make use of it in a fight?

Viewer settings can be accessed via the menu (Edit - Preferences) or by the shortcut CRTL - P. Open the folder "Network" to control bandwidth and cash, which means to control network lag.

Recommended settings for Maximum Bandwidth: not more than 500 kbps for fighting.
(If your connection only supports less than 1 Mbps, read below, set it to half of your bandwidth)

Set it to 200 MB, or a bit more, if you have a real good computer.


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