The resource drain of mesh

Vaelissa Cortes

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Who are some of the considerate competent mesh creators in Second Life? Where are some places I can shop inworld and know that the mesh they’re selling will render fairly efficiently? Or, at least, how can I examine items in a shop to determine their render requirements and what can I compare those numbers to?
Here's a list of good creators. These shops are the examples everyone else in Second Life should follow:

DECO
Half-Deer
+ILO+
G Field
Arduenn Schwartzman - Everything is L$10 and modify with good UVs and generally sensible texture sizes.
Realist Tek - Jay Taggart
Birds-E-Mart - Raven Seraph
Knot Pocket - Arcane Portal
JOMO - Xiaoduo Abbot - Pretty solid all around.
Organica - Aki Shichiroji
Schadenfreude - Allegory Malaprop

NOMAD - LODs still suffer here and there, but their VRAM use is decent these days.
Schadenfreude
Barnesworth Anubis
UTILIZATOR - Easily some of the best modding support in Second Life, good UVs, decently acceptable VRAM.
fk0724
Lassitude & Ennui
HPMD (Sasaya Kayo)- Their newer mesh items are generally pretty decent, just make sure to set them to use alpha masking if they aren't already.
ColdLogic - ColdLogic Resident - Generally pretty decent, many things are mod and the creator responds kindly if you request something to be mod. Good example of what shops should be.
ChinRey Resident - She actually has three shops, OPQ Gardens and Landscaping, OPQ Builders' Supplies, Chin Rey Houses (OPQ House Department).
 

Vaelissa Cortes

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...and the bad

These are some of the worst offenders I've noticed. Reasons for being in the bad list include:

Single items with triangle counts higher than multiple full avatars should use.
VRAM usage for single items higher than an entire avatar should use.
Can have UV maps of 60%+ wasted space, meaning your VRAM gets used for literally nothing.

It is generally a good idea to avoid the following shops in no particular order:

-----

TonkTastic - Mod - Incredibly high VRAM per item

Catwa - Catwa Clip - No mod heads with incredibly high texture usage. If you use one, never use the teeth version since the teeth alone will add a lot of VRAM usage. 6DOO makes good replacement female teeth, men are out of luck. The heads can be made usable by end users through a lot of texture customization, merge layers to a single image when possible.

Stock Catwa teeth:

Catwa teeth with rescaled textures:

The difference between the two versions cannot be seen under any sort of normal use, but the VRAM use dropped from 16MBs down to 1MB. Unfortunately, the end consumer cannot replace the materials, so the best you can do is drop it down to a bit over 9MBs by rescaling the diffuse texture.

---

Melon Bunny - Some of the highest VRAM usage per single attachment you will ever see.

Azuchi - Sands Leavitt - Very high VRAM usage.

DRD - deathrowdesigns | Almost always 200MBs-300MBs+ *per* item. Mod.

Fashionnatic / FN Dress - Ellen Moonites | High triangle counts and VRAM. Example item: Sinder Boots 223.840 triangles and 69,636kb (69MBs) texture memory.

bonbon. - kittynapkitkat | Triangle counts in the hundreds of thousands. Mod.

D-LAB - dazai Voom - Some items are mod.

Addams - Very high VRAM usage.

KC Couture - Very high VRAM usage.

Blueberry - Some older releases are okay, but newe things tend to have very high triangle counts and VRAM usage.

Pure Poison - Very high VRAM usage.

Applefall - warehousefifteendesigns - Very high VRAM usage.

Candydoll - High VRAM for most things.

BREATHE - daisa Admiral

R2 - rei2 Aya | 1024s for literally everything. In the past you could easily reupload all the textures to 256x256 versions and drop the VRAM use by 80%, but they've moved to no mod. Ugh

Code 5 - KellyLingus | Very high VRAM usage. Known content thief. I have personally seen them copy somebody's shape and use ripped textures.

Zenith - Very high VRAM usage.

Cynful - Insanely wasteful UV maps, very high VRAM usage.

RealEvil Industries - Crashnoww Resident - Insane VRAM usage.

-.pr!tty.- - Karla Marama | Insane poly count, very high VRAM usage.

Valekoer - Bob Resident | High polycounts, high VRAM usage. Mod.

eXxEsS - Layja Vidor - Very high VRAM usage.

[ zerkalo ] - Danielestro Resident - Insane VRAM usage. Mod, but you will spend more half the item's price reuploading sanely scaled textures.

enVOGUE Hair - Casandra Rain | Very high VRAM usage.

Just Because - Very high VRAM usage.

Phoenix - 522k triangles for hair. No.

Inkubator hair | marilynmonroe munro - Very high VRAM usage.

DOUX- dam1710 resident - This shop's items are often the sole reason why many male avatars cannot achieve sane VRAM numbers.

*KUNDALA* | Kundala Resident - Very high VRAM usage.

REIGN. | kenadeecole Resident - Absolutely crazy triangle count for their shoes, the highest I've seen in SL.

^.^Ayashi^.^ | Ikira Frimon - Very high triangle counts, high VRAM usage, newer hairs are no mod. Boo.

MINA hair - Mina Nakamura - Very high triangle counts and VRAM usage. Example item: MINA Hair - Raven | Triangles: 475,452 | VRAM: 20,484kb (20MBs)

Truth Hair - Quickly becoming some of the highest triangle count hair in SL due to the awful all in one styles trend.

Mood | Silent Acoustic - Unusably high triangle counts. 800k+ for hair.

[Cosmic Dust] | bodytothestars - Very high VRAM usage. Mod. Example item: {CD&S} - La Lune Cat Backpack: 161,076 tris / 77,824 textures

Taketomi Hair - Bella Ears | 1.4 million triangles in a single hair style due to style options.

Spellbound Hair | Kohana Xue - Insane triangle counts and VRAM use. Example item: +Spellbound+ Bloody Mary, 337,385 triangles, 33,792 VRAM

*katat0nik* - Katat0nik Pidgeon | Very high VRAM usage. Very strict no mod policy.


--------

If you don't want to be on the bad list, then please learn the basics of efficient modeling. Many of the above shops could easily be on the good list if they would just stop using 1024x1024 textures for literally every single thing.

There are really a lot more shops, but this topic wears me out anymore since nothing ever gets any better.
 
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Penny Patton

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It's a statement that I've seen made before, one I've also seen some people reject, and lag is caused by multiple things, not just mesh. But so what? I don't think LL is going to do anything about it.
It's still good to know this stuff because even if LL won't do anything, you can improve your own SL experience by knowing what to look for and what to avoid. You also have to remember that content creators are users like everyone else. Putting good information out there makes it more likely they will see that information and begin to implement it in their own content.
And more details means more polygons.
False. Most of the extra polygons in SL content are redundant, not put towards any extra detail. Or put towards detail that could be more efficiently done with spec and normal maps. You see the same problem with textures in SL, where content creators will use 128x128 worth of pixels on a 1024x1024 texture map. All those extra pixels aren't adding any more detail, they're just hogging memory which prevents you from loading more detail. This is why more optimized sims not only run better, but also can look better and feature more detail.
Plus: LL has no control over the skills of the manufacturers of the goods. Everybody can upload who is willing to pay the upload fees. One of the charms of the platform.
LL has quite a bit of control over the kind of content that gets used in SL, mostly in the way they assign resource costs to content. You would not use a 50LI chair in your SL home when it's easy to find chairs that look just as good but only use 1-5LI and you only have 500LI to work with. The reason those 1-5LI chairs exist at all is because such a system incentivizes optimization, so people put in the effort to learn how to reduce the LI cost of the content they create.
The problem is, LL does not apply a similar system to texture use, or to anything worn on avatars. So people who do not understand the performance impact see no incentive on optimizing texture use or avatar attachments.

Despite what some other people in this thread have said, (and shame on them, they should know better) it would be very simple for LL to add such a resource cost system to avatars, without affecting existing content. My personal favourite approach is tying a Land Impact style system to avatars using newly introduced features. Exactly how objects using the old prim count system get changed to land Impact costs when you link them to mesh objects, apply materials to them, or try to use them with scripting features like keyframing.

LL could have done this for avatars whenever a new feature was released. Mesh, materials, fitmesh, bento, bakes on mesh, animesh, etc. Every time a new feature rolls out, LL has that option. Sure, we wouldn't see an immediate improvement. It would take a few years for the bad content to be phased out to a point where we'd see substantial fps improvement across the grid, but LL has always had the luxury of taking the long view. It's not like SL is going anywhere.
 
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Chin Rey

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HOW TO MAKE A TEXTURE ATLAS
There are certainly a lot of poor texture atlases in SL and lots of room for improvement there.

But even so, the only way to get really low lag in SL is to use tileable re-usable textures for all they are worth and reserve baked textures for those items that really need them.

Ideally you don't want to use more than 1 GB of VRAM - that is 1,000 512x512 textures or 250 1024x1024s. That is 1 GB for all graphics files within your draw distance - every single texture, normal map, specular map and sculpt map within your draw distance.

Textures also take time to download. Even with a really fast connection it may well take half a second or more to download a 512 - four times as much for a 1024. Caching helps a lot there of course, at least if you tend to stay in one place all the time, but there are limits to how effective it can be.

A carefully controlled game environment is very different to SL in that respect. It only uses a handful of textures and it reuses them in lots of clever ways that aren't immediately apparent. Even a fairly simple SL scene can easily have several hundred, even thousands of textures.

The Premium gift Winter Cottage is a good example how not to use texture atlases btw. I only looked closely at the outside wall but it has a 1024x1024 texture map. A really good base texture, I have to say that, and the texture mapping, although not ideal, is not too bad either. But it is just the same pattern repeated over and over again - no AO mapping or other kind of shading at all. A tiled 256x256 - possibly even a 128x128 - would have looked exactly the same and saved a lot of VRAM and load time. As I said, I didn't examine the other textures in detail but the data showed up with 54 txtures and a quarter of a gigabyte of VRAM which indicates that the whole build has been textured in this shoddy fashion.

Unlike Vaelissa I'm not comfortable posting a list of "baddies" here but there are two that really shuld be on it:
  • Ancient Mole
  • Magic Mole
From what I udnerstand, those two were actually hired especially to strengthen the Moles' mesh expertise and when they consistently make noob mistakes like this, what can you reasonably expect from independent builders - builders who usually can't even dream of getting a decent pay for the time they spend creating content for others?
 
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Beebo Brink

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But even so, the only way to get really low lag in SL is to use tileable re-usable textures for all they are worth and reserve baked textures for those items that really need them.
I stopped wearing one of my favorite shoes (which I had bought in four different colors), when I discovered that the (prominent) creator had used 12 1024x1024 textures for each shoe. There were separate textures for the stitching, the laces, the eyelets, the sole, etc. Even 128x128 would be overkill for some of the minute details that were rendered with a 1024x1024.
 

nebula

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Mobile/tablet usage is growing and it's taking a big bite out of desktop computer sales, and that trend is accelerating. Users who buy a "better computer" are a shrinking market. This means that the pool of casual, impulse visitors to SL is also shrinking.


This has been an impasse for me with Sansar. It's close to unusable for me, especially with the massive downloads every time I visit.
I get 30 fps on high on my Surface tablet :) I enjoy using it in bed while scripting.

Also, I cannot play new games on the computer I used to run sl on, so I upgraded eventually to a better desktop. Sl looks nicer now and that computer can no longer run it. Every so often sl gets a facelift. I remember sculpts straining my old pc when I got on in the day and had to get a new one.

People always get annoyed when I say get better hardware, but until the day comes where hardware is not an issue, people will have to update to run newer games or updates for games.

When league of legends back in the day had its VU and it made some people with lower-end hardware unable to play, they were mad. I get this, and it sucks if you cannot afford to update. It really does, but the sad fact is you do have to get more powerful hardware as games evolve and look better.

If upgrading is not an option, you will have to find a way to mitigate lag. But a lot of mesh bodies (I use kemono) are easy for even my mid-level surface to render. Being a shameless furry and being in a sim with 40 people and being able to render people (even if it is slow) on medium or sometimes high and have decent fps on a tablet pc that is mid-price range is not bad.

If people are really being affected by mesh this badly to where it is a real issue, they probably need new hardware.

Every time I say you probably need to update your rig or get a new laptop to people for other games that are demanding I get met with "sucks but okay", but when I say it to people about Sl, I always get so much push back.

As someone who owns an IT company in RL, I find the amount of push back from simply telling people it is probably time to update to be a little ridiculous.

I wouldn't use a microwave from 40 years ago and expect it to be as amazing as a new one, or a set of speakers the size of a trunk when I could have ones that sound the same that are much smaller.

Time goes on people.
 

Jupiter

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In 2012, I bought an excellent mid-level laptop. It was a workhorse for six years that did everything I needed and wanted except give me a pleasant SL experience. I could run SL on it, but it sucked. For the smoothest experience, I had to turn off all the things that, to me, make SL beautiful. And that was before mesh took off. For me, it wasn't worth it so I stayed away from SL until I bought a new desktop a few months ago. I looked for specs to have an enjoyable SL experience. I run one notch down from Ultra most of the time, with all but one of the Shaders ticked, and my draw distance at 256. I have to adjust my settings when I get to sims that have too much going on.

I know that SL isn't for everyone; I don't imagine it was ever designed to be. But I think placing the burden on users by telling them to get better hardware when clearly there are things that LL can do to improve SL is elitist (upgrade how often? spend how much?) and it lets LL off the hook far too easily.
 

nebula

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In 2012, I bought an excellent mid-level laptop. It was a workhorse for six years that did everything I needed and wanted except give me a pleasant SL experience. I could run SL on it, but it sucked. For the smoothest experience, I had to turn off all the things that, to me, make SL beautiful. And that was before mesh took off. For me, it wasn't worth it so I stayed away from SL until I bought a new desktop a few months ago. I looked for specs to have an enjoyable SL experience. I run one notch down from Ultra most of the time, with all but one of the Shaders ticked, and my draw distance at 256. I have to adjust my settings when I get to sims that have too much going on.

I know that SL isn't for everyone; I don't imagine it was ever designed to be. But I think placing the burden on users by telling them to get better hardware when clearly there are things that LL can do to improve SL is elitist (upgrade how often? spend how much?) and it lets LL off the hook far too easily.
This is also partly true. I do feel some of the hardware requirements are a bit high, but at the same time you can choose to not render people of a certain complexity. I had to do this before I put my old laptop out to pasture before updating to my surface for sl not on my desktop.

Hard to have a blanket solution for user created content. And once it's in the open its hard to police.
 

Beebo Brink

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Every time I say you probably need to update your rig or get a new laptop to people for other games that are demanding I get met with "sucks but okay", but when I say it to people about Sl, I always get so much push back.
This is because, by and large, SL users are NOT gamers. The focus on game play experience simply isn't the same. In addition, the SL audience is probably older in general and less comfortable with hardware changes than your average gamer.

I was obsessed enough by SL to take the leap into building a better computer, and I had the disposable income to indulge myself, but this is not something I would have done otherwise. For non-gamers, it's a harder sell to continue upgrading when their computer runs fine for everything else, especially if you're on a limited income.
 

Amity Slade

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Every time I say you probably need to update your rig or get a new laptop to people for other games that are demanding I get met with "sucks but okay", but when I say it to people about Sl, I always get so much push back.
First, there is quite a difference between upgrading to see better content, and upgrading to compensate for the lag caused by poorly made content.

Second, games are usually designed to run on older systems, on reduced settings. Second Life does not have great options to run content on reduced settings (missing hi-res vs. low-res textures option, for example), and many creators do not care to use the options that do exist (such as smart use of LOD).

Third, even for the big-ticket games designed to run on the newest gaming machines, professional content design is still efficient, not wasteful.

Fourth, perhaps the single biggest contributor to unnecessary graphics lag in Second Life is texture abuse. Upgrading to a graphics card with higher VRAM could help deal with that- if Second Life supported more than 512 MB VRAM. But it doesn't.

Upgrading one's computer is a good solution to experience good video games, but it is a poor excuse to cope with poorly-made Second Life content.
 

Amity Slade

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I miss our old prim world. It had a unique look and feel that challenged us to texture well and imagine more. Get off my cube!
I thought Second Life looked just fine 11 years ago. It had a flat look to it, but it was consistent. In terms of becoming immersed in the world, consistency is far more important than photo-realism.

There was far more individuality among avatars then than now. I personally find the individuality more enjoyable than smoothness.
 

Beebo Brink

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I miss our old prim world. It had a unique look and feel that challenged us to texture well and imagine more. Get off my cube!
:qft:

Much as I love mesh products, I have to agree that there were many drawbacks to that innovation. It's definitely tipped the balance of users from content creators to content consumers. I used to love to build, but my prim creations just don't match the quality of mesh and I've grown more self-conscious about building stuff.

In-world mesh tools that brought the same excitement to building would have been a better avenue to pursue.
 

Spirits Rising

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Ah yes, the old bullshit about Second Life not supporting more than 512MB of VRAM ...

Some fuckwit over on the official forum bitched about the VRAM slider and was (rightfully) taken to task for it.

That slider concerns dedicated/reserved VRAM for the texture buffer - nothing more and nothing less. Second Life will use whatever is available to it beyond that setting.
 
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Aribeth Zelin

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I thought Second Life looked just fine 11 years ago. It had a flat look to it, but it was consistent. In terms of becoming immersed in the world, consistency is far more important than photo-realism.

There was far more individuality among avatars then than now. I personally find the individuality more enjoyable than smoothness.
I agree. Back when I played Sims 2, I learned to make eyes that were very detailed. And then went back to more consistantly toonish eyes, because they looked better.
 

EmpressOfCommunism

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:qft:

Much as I love mesh products, I have to agree that there were many drawbacks to that innovation. It's definitely tipped the balance of users from content creators to content consumers. I used to love to build, but my prim creations just don't match the quality of mesh and I've grown more self-conscious about building stuff.

In-world mesh tools that brought the same excitement to building would have been a better avenue to pursue.
What's really fun is making prim based objects, putting great textures with materials on it, and then watching the high poly 1024 crowd of fashionista users be (mostly) unable to tell the difference. Materials are a prim and simple mesh maker's gift.
 

Kamilah Hauptmann

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What's really fun is making prim based objects, putting great textures with materials on it, and then watching the high poly 1024 crowd of fashionista users be (mostly) unable to tell the difference. Materials are a prim and simple mesh maker's gift.
Just remember to set that twisted torus to convex hull!
 
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