Less is More – Don’t be THAT Guy!

by Alphaville Herald on 16/12/10 at 12:36 pm

Trim your rendering cost — get more of SL greatest events

by Mony Markova

ACRComparison v2

This article has to be more useful for the less experienced avatar that to the regular Alphaville Herald reader, but perhaps you can direct it to your friends; yes those pesky guys that refuse to trim down their Avatar Rendering Cost while at concerts. Here I will do my best to make them understand.

Of course, the rendering cost is a measure Linden Lab uses to help us determine when we are too loaded with stuff. Many laggy avatars can ruin something as carefully conceived as a U2 in SL concert.

For a deeper explanation on Avatar Rendering Cost, how to cut it  and what to do if a nearby avatar refuses to trim down, read http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/ Avatar_Rendering_Cost

U2OpenView HQ

To get a taste of what happens before major SL events, take for example the Human Rights Day Celebration.

I mention this because in order to have a really important event you typically see these efforts getting more and more connected to promote open conversations or create awareness in SL, just to mention a couple please note War Child managed by Sara Caproni in SL or the 16 Days Against Gender Violence organized by Scylla Rhiandra, Paty Milot and Any1 Gynoid among many collaborators. In part those are the causes making possible the events we like so much.


Along the foundation for larger events, you need the main dish, the Bands! And in my opinion there is nothing even close to what U2 in SL is achieving. But real life events, greater causes and bands are not everything needed for a super concert, next come in the astounding, wonderful and impressive productions run along those bands. Sometimes production is related to the venue. The lighting, the ambience, the pre-concert everything is amazingly worked to professional detail.

During the Human Day Celebration this past December 10th, U2 in SL collaborated with 16 Days Against Gender Violence, with a huge concert.

U2BonoPortrait HQ

The venue was set up like a stadium with massive pictograms resembling the interior seats, something that was most impressive to me, was perhaps a fine detail, before the start the decoration stadium appeared empty, a few minutes later the pictograms changed to display a half full stadium, and of course just before the beginning the seats were all taken. In some songs with midnight settings the pictograms had public with lit candles. I was completely transported to a real concert.

We were advised that the sim was in risk of crashing, there were a few avatars that refused to take shoes off and change hairs. Fortunately as time passed by most people trimmed down and the concert rocked on!

U2GreatBonoShot BETTER2 HQ

Trimming down is not painful at all and there is good news and so I will explain how to trim down in few steps.

1. Start by seeing your numbers (varies in different viewer) Turn on your Advanced menu.

2. Enable Advanced > Rendering > Info Displays > Avatar Rendering Cost.

3. Good news: skins and clothes don’t add to your count cause they are textures so you can keep your L$1,990 skin and cool clothes.

4. What causes lags are attachements so take them all off – yes, all of them.

5. Don’t just turn off the AO – take it off and let your personality shine.

6. Hairs… do not wear hairs. I know this is tricky, but using a bald base that has hair is best, so just take your prim hair off. Be you, not your avatar for a while!

7. No shoes. Who needs them? And you will enjoy the concert much more.

8. Off with the HUDS.

Honestly a 10,000 uber cute Rendering Cost Avatar, looks ridiculous in a large event. So don’t be that blingtad, trim down since we all know your coolness is right here, right to be reached, unattached.

41 Responses to “Less is More – Don’t be THAT Guy!”

  1. edna

    Dec 16th, 2010

    Good advice but unfortunately, we live in a society where many don’t care about anyone but themselves. People trample other people to death to get a discount Barbie at Walmart on Black Friday. People invade homes to rape and slaughter entire families just for “kicks”. People hijack and crash multiple airliners into office buildings to kill thousands to get a crack at 72 child virgins in “paradise”.

    If you ask the avatar next to you to trim down their prims to make the experience better for others, they’ll likely spew hate-filled IMs at you all night. Which, I guess, is better than if it were real life and you asked someone to be polite, they’d spit in your face or blow you away with their gun.

    In general, people won’t do the right thing just because it is the right thing. The only way to get avatars to strip down prims at events is to have LL incorporate something that automatically strips down the avatar’s prims when it enters the sim.

  2. Darien Caldwell

    Dec 16th, 2010

    I hope by “That Guy” you mean the anal retentive person who thinks not using the system that SL offers, they are somehow cool.

    Attachment points are made for attaching things, and I’m bloody well going to use every one of them (multiple times if need be).

    It’s too bad LL can’t fix their system so it has no impact. ARC is the lazy man solution to the problem.

  3. Darien Caldwell

    Dec 16th, 2010

    It would also help if people didn’t cheap out and use 286 computers from 1991 to run SL. Go “splurge” and spend a couple thousand on a new computer; You’ll be helping the economy, *and* ARC won’t matter anymore.

  4. Reader

    Dec 16th, 2010

    Darien, get real. 286′s? Come on.

    You also don’t need to spend a “couple thousand” to get a computer more than capable to run SL much less REAL 3D intensive gaming.

    You should have said Pentium 4 or some shit like that.
    286′s. LOL.
    Get real.

  5. Scylla Rhiadra

    Dec 16th, 2010


    I think we can all agree that it would be nice if LL could fix the application in such a way that ARC didn’t matter in any circumstances. Sadly, that hasn’t happened, and likely won’t for some time, if ever. It seems likely to me that the demands of the available content will always somewhat outstrip the capacity of the app to handle it without bumps.

    Mony is not suggesting, as I take it, that we all run around with ARCs of under 200 all of the time, or that we don’t avail ourselves of the full benefits of things like multiple attachment points.

    What she IS suggesting is that there are occasions — and the U2inSL concert was certainly one such — when it IS necessary, for the benefit of all involved, to help out a bit by reducing one’s personal contributions to lag. The sim, as Mony notes, was near to crashing at one point. Had that happened, even the obstreperous and bloody-minded would have been inconvenienced. There’s not a great deal of point in screaming about one’s rights as one comes crashing down, dragging everyone else down with one.

    In the case of the U2inSL concert, I was able to reduce my own ARC to well under 200 by the simple expedient of changing to simpler (but still entirely presentable) shoes and hair. Really, it was not such a big deal.

    TY for this useful article, btw, Mony! And beautiful pics!

  6. Baloo Uriza

    Dec 16th, 2010

    @Darien Caldwell: What you said reads like “I’m rich and don’t know a damn thing about the technology user, so fuck anyone who knows that ARC is client side and only something the avatars themselves can work on, and fuck everyone who doesn’t make a fortune to throw down on a new computer every other year.”

    Fuck you, too, buddy. Get a clue.

  7. Tracey Humphreys

    Dec 16th, 2010

    Well said, Darien.
    “Attachment points are made for attaching things, and I’m bloody well going to use every one of them (multiple times if need be). ” Yes!

    “6. Hairs… do not wear hairs. I know this is tricky, but using a bald base that has hair is best, so just take your prim hair off. Be you, not your avatar for a while!”
    And look like Ruth?

    Why not tell that toss pot Bono to take his shades and his guitar off. Come on, Bono, take them off and let your personality shine!
    How many prims in that gutar alone? What’s Bono’s ARC?

    It would also help if Linden Lab didn’t cheap out and use 286 or whatever servers from RadioShack to run SL
    They have put a ceiling on script memory usage just to avoid upgrading memory, despite memory costs being at an all time low.

  8. Senban Babii

    Dec 16th, 2010

    I wonder just what Bono’s ARC was? I bet he didn’t turn off everything so he was just ARC 1 for the show.

    Now consider this. When people go out they like to dress up for the occasion. When I go out this weekend to see Tron Legacy with some friends (the meat kind), we’ll all make at least a little effort to look good. If we went out the equivalent of ARC 1 we’d all look like bags of crap and we’d feel like bags of crap. When we go out we want to feel we’ve made a little effort, that we look good.

    Why should SL be any different? If I’m going to a gig or something and want to be more than just a cubic pixel standing with a few hundred other cubic pixels while some cubic pixels stream music into the sim then I might as well just slouch round in my jammies eating Happy Faces and watch You Tube. SL at that point would be superfluous.

    So while I think you make some interesting points and while it can be useful to know how to keep ARC down to reasonable levels, by getting people to in effect Ruth themselves because the event organisers couldn’t be bothered considering how people actually want to live their Second Lives then you are in effect missing the whole point.

    I shall now return to nomming Happy Faces 8D

  9. Scylla Rhiadra

    Dec 16th, 2010

    “…because the event organisers couldn’t be bothered considering how people actually want to live their Second Lives.”

    Sorry, Senban, speaking as one of the “organizers,” I’m not quite getting your point.

    Your alternative would be to . . . what? Buy SL some new servers? Limit people’s access to the event? Cut down on the stage show, the appearance of the U2 avatars, etc., so that other spectators can instead revel in the glories of YOUR style choices?

    This was an event designed to raise awareness of two important and related issues: human rights, and gender violence. The point of the exercise (which was not a money-raising venture, btw) was to expose as many people as possible to those messages, which were very much a focus of the stage show itself. This was NOT a debutante “by-invitation-only” ball for the fashion elite.

    If fitting an extra 20 or 30 people into the sim so that they can not only enjoy the show, but take in information about human rights abuses means that you have to exchange your fexi hair for prim — or hell, even system — hair, then so be it.

  10. Scylla Rhiadra

    Dec 16th, 2010

    BTW, it occurs to me that I would be remiss in not supplementing Mony’s information about the event by noting the vital contributions of millay Freschi, Director of Amnesty International-E, who set the event up, and Coyote Longfall of Four Bridges, who undertook the enormously complex and arduous task of actually running most of the show.

  11. Vivienne Graves

    Dec 16th, 2010

    I really, really wish people would stop perpetuating ignorant nonsense. Avatar rendering cost doesn’t cause server side lag; scripted attachments however do (which means you should remove anything scripted although not necessarily all attachments, full stop). What kills sims at events like this is NOT ARC; it’s people with resizer scripts they’re too lazy to delete, scripted BDSM collars, animation overrides, etc etc. The average non-newbie avatar uses between 5-10MB of script memory in attachments on average; some as much as 30MB or more, and the limit for a sim is about 300MB. 50 people in a crowded sim can easily exceed the limit (which also includes any other running scripts on the sim). This causes lag, significantly more than wearing any number of unscripted prims could.

  12. Scylla Rhiadra

    Dec 16th, 2010

    Is there an easy way to determine one’s own, or someone else’s, script memory usage, Vivienne?

  13. Senban Babii

    Dec 16th, 2010

    Hi Scylla :)

    “Sorry, Senban, speaking as one of the “organizers,” I’m not quite getting your point.”

    Ah okay, I should have been more specific, that’s entirely my fault. I’m talking in general terms about general events rather than specific events.

    To elaborate, no I’m not suggesting that LL goes out and buys an extra hundred servers with pickle just so a one-off event can look its best. Any event has to basically work within the technical confines of what is available.

    “so that other spectators can instead revel in the glories of YOUR style choices?”

    You’ve obviously never met me XD I have no style choices. I don’t wear complex ball gowns with Louboutin heels. Hoody, jeans, boots, pretty simple all over, no extra shiny bits. In fact, purely to inform the debate, I’m going to log in for two seconds and check my ARC, which won’t have changed in months. I hardly ever change my wardrobe because frankly I don’t have much money and have no in-world income to buy anything (Former Post 6 Grrrl willing to work for shiny things, IM with offers lol).


    Okay my ARC is a whopping ZOMGAWSH 1562. Logging in for those couple of seconds probably caused a few fans to speed up at the server farm 8D

    Being serious again though, my point is this. Your event was for a worthy cause, there’s no question there and I hope you understand I’m not questioning that.

    What I’m questioning is this. SL has technical limitations. But the residents also have social expectations of their experiences. Telling everyone to turn everything down to Ruth-era settings would certainly shoehorn a bit of extra capacity into the technical side so as to squeeze more people in as you say. But it also robs the visiting resident of their social expectations as I tried to illustrate.

    My point therefore is that a good stage manager would balance an event between what is technically possible whilst maintaining an acceptable social experience for those visiting the event. I’ve stage managed and assisted stage managers for two different companies and in both situations we had to find that balance. Sometimes it’s very difficult to achieve and can be a real headache so anyone trying to do it has my sympathy. It’s sometimes possible to hit the desired wider audience by going multimedia so that people can access the experience through a wider range of formats such as live stream, Twitter feeds or whatever. I’m sure you’re on top of that just fine though so I won’t teach you to suck eggs :)

    My personal argument would be that if to attend an event I had to Ruth, the majority of my social expectation would be lost and so I’d simply watch the inevitable machinima afterwards on YouTube. For others, being turned into ARC 1 so they could attend an event might be acceptable and that’s great for them.

    I hope that’s better explained my point? :)

  14. The Anti Herald

    Dec 17th, 2010

    Perfectly good article wasted on a rag nobody reads anymore.

    Such a waste. :(

  15. Orca Flotta

    Dec 17th, 2010

    Ok, you all know what an awfully cheap and often badly researched mag the Herald is. No difference in this article. If only Ms Markova had taken the time to read this:


    She wouldn’t have needed to pray the gospel of crap she’s trying to sell us. Particularly the part of skins and clothes won’t add to the ARC, might be true, but adds to the confusion about what lag is. With a shiny colourful clowns costume you might not be lagging down the sim but all the people around you who are on hardware hardly able to run SL if it came in black and white. Or, like me, on a connection slower than a homing pigeon.

    So, anyway, less is not always more. If I wear a baldy or a 300 prim wig doesn’t matter. But if my 300 prims hair comes heavily scripted and with nice glowy textures, that might indeed cause lag.

    See, there is lag – and then there is lag.

  16. Van

    Dec 17th, 2010

    Amazing dudes, I just can’t believe all this negativity, I am sure none of the ppl who is complaining of being less -egoist- have ever been to a U2 in SL event. Blaming on LL, blaming on other ppl who has lousy cards and equipment. Just trim down and enjoy the event, is NOT about YOU. Lord get better life people!

  17. Surpised by Trolls

    Dec 17th, 2010

    @Vivienne you wise troll, all the things you mention that “really” cause lag are either attachments or HUDs, so the advise still holds. I would suggest to all these losers to actually get a ticket to see either U2inSL or The Stones in SL if you can and see if makes sense “being THAT avatar over 100 in ACR”. Grow’up you people! these events are not your daily DJ’ event you go to.

  18. Wyrdwolf Legion

    Dec 17th, 2010

    I’m guessing the last two posters didn’t bother to read the excellent link provided by Orca.
    It seems some people just can’t be, or don’t want to be educated.

  19. Surpised by Trolls

    Dec 17th, 2010

    Well, Wyrdwolf, I tried to read that but like 5 pages to get “Nazi ARC that live in Ruth World”? LMAO

  20. Gundel Gaukelei

    Dec 18th, 2010

    Obvious case of stockholm syndrome. Instead of blaming the service provider for offering a b0rked, largely unmaintained piece of crap server software, running on undersized and heavily overbooked servers, the addic^Wfellow customers go after each other, blaming everyone and its cat for “ruining everyones experience” just by using the service as advertised.

    Also, everytime someone is “asking” me, to do something, while for real, hes trying to give me an order, I want to punch him in his hypocrite face.

  21. Wyrdwolf Legion

    Dec 18th, 2010

    @ Surprised by Trolls

    I rest my case.

  22. Observer

    Dec 18th, 2010

    get rid of the scripts dumbasses. the scripts in your aos and dicks and vaginas and dance things and hair and shoes and fingernails and dog shitters is what is lagging the regions.

    got client lag? man up, stop eating pizza and drinking beer and smoking weed for a month, and head to the bus station bathroom to earn some quarters. And buy a $100 video card and you won’t have client lag.

  23. Observer

    Dec 18th, 2010

    @Scylla – yes there is a utility you can use to determine the script counts and mem use of up to 16 avatars near you.

  24. Kinoko

    Dec 18th, 2010

    Isn’t that supposed to say 9000! ?

    and no the real answer to fixing lag, get LL to fix the client to handle multi gpu, and multi CPU Cores :o .

  25. Van

    Dec 18th, 2010

    “When in Rome, do as Romans” I think this article is a lot about respecting all the work that comes behind these events and the fact is that the guys doing all that hard work, ask you to trim down. So, if this helps “client” or “server” side is it good or bad? I don’t know why you guys have to get so technical, just loose the HUDS and scripted attachements . From my personal experience I know its a complete difference thing enjoying a show all loaded up vs trimmed down, from crashing to being able to move around freely. And to the guy that said “lets see if Bono Vox trims down”, double doh dude!, It is their show and they have to look the part…. someone read the story by Loren Einsley “The Star Thrower” and lets make a better world, one by one.

  26. Senban Babii

    Dec 18th, 2010

    “And to the guy that said “lets see if Bono Vox trims down”, double doh dude!, It is their show and they have to look the part….”

    Yes but we also have the choice whether to attend. If the organiser says something along the lines of “you can attend our awesome show but to do so you have to party like it’s SL ’03″ then personally I’d rather go somewhere else. I can watch the machinima on You Tube later at my own convenience without crashing or lagging or being told what to wear.

    Not that I would anyway, I can’t stand U2, especially Bonehead.

    “Hey it’s a gig right but you’ve got to come dressed in really crappy clothes. Oh and you’re not allowed to dance”.

    “Wait, can you tell me what I can do then?”

    “Well you can stand there motionless so that we can squeeze a few extra people in who will also stand there motionless whilst some music is streamed inworld”.

    “Wait, wouldn’t it be easier for me to simply listen to U2 songs on my mp3 player?”

    “Yes but you’d miss the great atmosphere and the important message”.

    “Umm k”.

  27. Van

    Dec 18th, 2010

    @ Senban, try it. Maybe another large production band of your choice, you will not regret it. It’s so much fun how they work the music pre-show even has echo like stadium music. Its wow! But well, each person he own choices. Peace out! Sorry to call you Doh and dude!.

  28. Senban Babii

    Dec 18th, 2010

    “Sorry to call you Doh and dude!.”

    Hehe don’t worry about it, I get called far worse things all the time :)

    Don’t misunderstand, I’ve attended plenty of live music events in SL and they can be fun. I completely agree. The first thing I did when I logged back into SL last weekend for the first time in like three months was go see some live music.

    My only issue here is the idea of us all being told we have to strip down to basics and in effect stand there doing that horrible n00b AO thing throughout the gig. That really just isn’t my idea of a good time. Consider that a gig lasts (purely as an example) for one hour. Now the vast majority of residents will be in third person perspective, in effect viewing their avatar. They might have the camera set at such an angle that they can see themselves, the crowd and the stage to give a sense of “being there”.

    Now consider that whole crowd in effect looking and moving like n00bs for that whole hour. No dancing, no interesting avatars to check out. I don’t know about you but that’s not my idea of a fun way to spend an hour. This is why I say you’d be better off simply watching You Tube or listening to the band on your mp3 player.

    Umm, hey wait a second. If what I’m reading here is right it wasn’t even U2! It was just using their likenesses! Is this correct? So all these demands that everyone goes Ruth just to listen to a music stream and watch a replica of the band that has nothing to do with the actual band?


    From all the fuss I’d assumed that this event had involved the actual band.

  29. Van

    Dec 19th, 2010

    Haha, all I learned is that apparently Ruth has more fun ! LOL

  30. SlShapeshifter

    Dec 19th, 2010

    Okay, somebody already put up the Anatomy of Lag link, that saves me a bit of time.

    I always felt that ARC was a way for LL to get residents to blindly blame each other for lag in the first place to save them some work.

    Script time’s still a big problem though. My rule of thumb is, if you kill your own ability to teleport while wearing it, you got too many scripts.

  31. Tracey Humphreys

    Dec 19th, 2010

    …pesky guys that REFUSE to trim down their Avatar Rendering Cost…
    …and what to do if a nearby avatar REFUSES to trim down…
    …a few avatars that REFUSED to take shoes off…

    …take for example the Human Rights Day Celebration….
    Human Rights Day? You sure?
    Sounds more like an SL recreation of a 1930′s Nuremberg rally to me…

    I hadn’t seen any mention of Hitler in the Alphaville Herald recently.
    He’s been busy!

  32. IntLibber

    Dec 19th, 2010

    Unfortunately, your statement that its somehow due to LL laziness that ARC is a problem, when in fact, it is a multifacted issue of several kinds:

    a) sim physics engine calculates potential collisions based on each vertex that acts physically, the more vertexes on an avatar, the more potential collisions they create, as just one example. This drags down sim Time Dilation to a crawl, akin to being in a black hole event horizon.

    b) script time usage: if your blingtard’s typical hairdo has a color changer script in each and every prim of their hair, of their shoes, and jewelry, as well as a bling script in every prim of the jewelry or any other shiny prim on their avie, then an avatar can generate easily over 2-3 milliseconds of script time delay on the sim script engine. Multiply that by 60 avatars and that drags the sim to a crawl.

    c) frequent teleports/relogs: every time someone teleports or logs into a sim, their client has to re-download ALL of the content in that sim, as well as all the content within their draw distance in any neighboring sims. If your draw distance is at 512 meters, and you are in a mainland club, you are downloading all the content from about 10 sims (which comes to 150,000 prims just in builds, as well as all the prims and textures on all the avatars within that draw distance), which is coming through the server you are in, and loading the network at the datacenter those servers are at. If each person has to relog every 15 minutes cause they think that they’re being lagged due to a connection issue, then you are going to have a constant download burden on the sim of one avatar every 15 seconds, and when it takes over a minute to download your average sim, you see how that can be a constant load on the server.

    d) prims and textures: If you have sims full of people, and every avatar has every attachment point connected to a 256 prim linkset (and now you can attach two attachments to each attachment point), that is 64 attachments x 256 prims x 60 avatars per sim x 10 sims = over 9.8 million prims, and as many as 60 million textures. If youre average texture is 1 megabyte, thats 60 megs to download in textures… thats more than downloading the entire Second Life Client application.

  33. IntLibber

    Dec 19th, 2010

    Oh there is a fifth source of lag that you dont see: all the http requests of people trying to teleport into a sim but cannot because the sim is full.

  34. soror Nishi

    Dec 20th, 2010

    As there are other grids that mange to host more than 50 ais per sim, I am afraid I will go along with those that blame LL.
    SL is in no state to host large events,as we have seen, if they did the work and provided the necessary facilities, people could wear what they wanted.
    LL can’t even host their own birthday party properly.

  35. Van

    Dec 20th, 2010

    So, is it a good idea to tell “less experienced players” to unattach stuff in a large event or not? And apparently everyone agrees that its is Scripted Attachements and HUDs, yes? WhoooHoooo The impossible an agreement between Alphaville bloggers, is this even possible????

  36. IntLibber

    Dec 20th, 2010

    I’ve been on other grids, which typically feature with only a single av in the sim a permanently depressed time dilation (Avatar Hangout is one, due to packing too many sims on a server), an ability to crash the sim that approaches a sneeze, among other limitations.

  37. Van

    Dec 20th, 2010

    I followed the link on this article, and as it says also here…. “ACR is a MEASURE used to HELP determine…” ONLY A MEASURE TO HELP!… So what is funny is, When does Ruth become Nazi? Too funny… Guys need to create a fight where there is none; Supposedly virtual communities regulate themselves, but that is a lie, because only more combatant people express their opinions, and we continually end up with “sides” and fingerprinting… What’s good is that at least people blogging end up showing their true-colours.

  38. Tracey Humphreys

    Dec 20th, 2010

    There is the lag caused by people constantly ordering others to take their shoes off.

  39. Tux

    Dec 21st, 2010

    I can get my ARC into millions without causing lag. Plus this gives me the ability to troll the ARC Nazi’s. Not that I ever would of course!

  40. Gundel Gaukelei

    Dec 22nd, 2010

    @ Intlib a) sim physics engine calculates potential collisions based on each vertex that acts physically, the more vertexes on an avatar, the more potential collisions they create, as just one example. This drags down sim Time Dilation to a crawl, akin to being in a black hole event horizon.

    The last time I checked, attachments did not add a single vertex to the collision mesh because they were phantom.

  41. Imnotgoing Sideways

    Dec 22nd, 2010

    If my ARC is anything below 20k, I assume something is missing and go hunting in my inventory. (^_^)

    You’d think, given SL is a 3D app, that people would use computers capable of rendering 3D. (O.o)

    No lag on me!!! =^-^=

    Y’all should see my 3,000,000 ARC AV. It games the number and won’t lag anyone. (^_^)y

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