Avatar Complexity and Graphics Presets in Second Life

Avatar Complexity provides users with the adbility to
Avatar Complexity is a means to help people who may suffer from performance issues in crowd areas

On Wednesday, May 18th, Linden Lab promoted the long-awaited Quick Graphics viewer to de facto release status. This viewer includes two important new features:

  • The updated Avatar Complexity settings
  • The ability to create, save and load different groups of graphics settings quickly and easily.

Avatar Complexity

As avatars can often be the single biggest impact on the viewer in terms of rendering, particularly in crowded places, so  Avatar Complexity adds a new slider to the viewer which can be used to set a level above which avatars requiring a lot of processing will appear as a solid colour – the casual term to refer to them being “Jelly Dolls” – greatly reducing the load placed on a system compared to having to render them in detail, so improving performance.

The idea is that you can adjust the setting according to circumstance, so that when in a crowded area with lots of avatars, you can dial down the Avatar Complexity setting, found in Preferences > Graphics (and in the Advanced Settings floater), with the result that more of the avatars around you are rendered as solid colours, reducing the load on your graphics card and system, thus improving performance. Then, in quieter areas, the setting can be dialled back up, allowing more avatars to fully render in your view.

Note: this only applies to other avatars in your world view: your own avatar will always fully render in your view.

The Avatar Maximum Complexity slider sets a threshold on avatar rendering by your viewer. Any avatars in your view exceeding this value will be rendered as a
The Avatar Maximum Complexity slider sets a threshold on avatar rendering by your viewer. Any avatars in your view exceeding this value will be rendered as a “Jelly Doll”, sans attachments

If you have a good system with a high-end graphics car, you can set the value on the slider quite high and thus ensure all avatars render fully for you wherever you are.

Note: You can sett the Avatar Maximum Complexity to “No Limit”. However, this is not entirely recommended. some irritants in Second Life still use worn graphics crashers to overload GPUs and crash the viewer. If you set Avatar Maximum complexity to “No Limit”, then such tools, should you ever encounter an irritant using one, will still be effective; so it’s better to set a reasonable high value, leaving your viewer with a cut-off point which should defeat their efforts in crashing you.

There are a few other points to note with Avatar Complexity:

  • You can opt to always render or to not render avatars around you, regardless of your Avatar Maximum Complexity setting by right-clicking on them and selecting your desired action from the context menu
    You can opt to always render or to not render avatars around you, regardless of your Avatar Maximum Complexity setting by right-clicking on them and selecting your desired action from the context menu

    To help you understand how complex you own avatar is, every time you change your appearance, each time you change the appearance of your avatar, a small notice with your new complexity value will appear in the upper right of your display for a few seconds

  • The complexity value of your avatar is transmitted to each simulator as you travel around Second Life. In return, you’ll get a brief notice in the upper right of your screen telling you approximately how many of those around you are (or are not) rendering you because of your complexity
  • If you have a friend or friend you wish to see fully rendered no matter how low you dial Avatar Maximum Complexity (while out at a club, for example, where it may be beneficial to set a lower complexity threshold), you can right-click on those individuals and select “Render Fully” from the context menu
  • Similarly, and if you prefer, you can selectivity render avatars in your view as grey imposters, by right-clicking on them and selecting “Do Not Render” from the context menu.

Note: Both “Render Fully” and “Do Not Render” will only apply during your current log-in session; the options are not persistent between re-logs.

To help people understand Avatar Complexity, the Lab has produced the following:

  • A blog post to accompany the promotion of the Quick Graphics viewer to release status
  • An Avatar Complexity Knowledge Base article
  • A video tuTORial, which I’ve embedded below.


Continue reading “Avatar Complexity and Graphics Presets in Second Life”

Flowing through The Path in Second Life

The Path
The Path – Split Screen

The Path is a new installation by Cherry Manga, currently being hosted at Dividni Shostakovich’s Split Screen installation. It marks her first major Second Life exhibit in around 18 months, Cherry having largely moved to FrancoGrid in 2014. It is also just a foretaste of things to come: Cherry is working on a much larger piece which will feature in FrancoGrid’s annual Fest’Avi avatar-focused art event, which opens in September 2016.

At the arrival point, visitors are invited to take and wear a free, full-permission avatar, Line of Light, as well as a memento of their time in The Path, prior to teleporting to the installation proper. Here, against a cosmic backdrop of stars, sits a circle of meditative pose balls on which visitors are asked to sit and partake of a journey. Hypnotic music ebbs gently around travellers as animated lines radiate outward from the circle and the heavens all around are filled with wireframe figures and patterns, while a  quote from Einstein, Creativity is contagious, pass it on, drifts and tumbles through the space.

The Path
The Path – Split Screen

There is a double meaning in this quote which is, for me beautifully reflected in this preview. On the one hand, it encompasses the idea that human creativeness is contagious, passing between us and between generations, driving us forward down through the ages as much as has our desire to understand all that lies around us. On the other, there a more cosmic element: everything that has happened since the dawn of time some 14.5 billion years ago, has grown from a single creative instant. Every galaxy, every star, every planetary system – each and every one of us – stem from that single point of creation.

These two concepts are perhaps embodied in the figures to be found in The Path. On the one hand, we have the constant figure holding forth a star-like sphere in which a smaller figure sits; a symbol of human creativeness passed from generation to generation, as well as, perhaps, the echo of creativity in its most natural form: birth and life.

The Path
The Path – Split Screen

Then there are the seated figures which flare into existence, follow their own path for a time before suddenly dissipating, with new figures appearing elsewhere. They are like the massive stars of the galaxy, which burn brightly, before throwing off their bulk in a vast, gaseous nova, through which the next generation of stars are born.

Travelling through The Path with these thoughts flowing through my head, another quote sprang to mind, which would also appear to fit here. As Carl Sagan once observed, “We are made of star stuff”; we are an inherent part of the creative process which gave birth to the cosmos. A process which continues to this very day, in everything we do, again as Sagan also observed when he famously said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

The Path
The Path – Split Screen

I will admit to finding the jerky motion of the pose balls a little distracting when following the path through the installation (as was the presence of other avatars sitting with me). However, this is still a fascinating glimpse of what should be an interesting immersive installation at Fest’Avi – and it is certainly one built on ideas which strikes a chord in me.  The Path will remain at Split Screen through until the end of July.