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.
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.
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:
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.