Monday, September 26, 2011

247 of 365: Script Impacts and our Digital Environment

I didn't really do anything creative tonight inworld, but I did spend some time hanging around in front of this:

What you are looking at is a Script Impact Board.  I'm sure you have seen them before on your travels in SL.  Honestly, I never paid too much attention to them.  I'm conscious of my attachments and the scripts on my av, so I have never felt a need to see where I stand, so to speak.

But I decided to do a little experiment and see how my av script impact changes.  

In the snapshot above, you'll see my total number of scripts is 6, which comes mainly from my shoes and Meeroos hud.  The built in Firestorm AO that I use made no difference when it was on or off.  If you see your name on one of these signs and you're dot is green, you are good.  

In this next snapshot, I turned off the Firestorm built in AO, and put my AO hud on.  You'll see my number of scripts rose to 13, although my dot did stay green.

Next, I took off my AO and put on another favourite AO of mine from a popular animations shop.  Note that when I had both AO's on, they were turned off and still their script impact was the same as when I turned them on.

For this last shot, I had on my AO, my Meeroos hud, and another highly popular scripted hud that contains a radar, spanker, gift giver, gestures and many other features that are advertised as being "lag free".  This brought my number of scripts to 118, and you can see my dot is now yellow, bringing me close to the red 'danger' zone.  I don't wear a lot of scripted items if I can help it, but if I did, I'm sure I would easily be in the red this time.

My Avatar Rendering Cost is usually four digits, generally in the 1000's, sometimes 2000's. I never really understood this, but I think it is worth it to note that my ARC pretty much stayed the same the more hud attachments I put on.  The exception to that is in the last snapshot, where my ARC rose to over 3000 with the radar tool and all the additional invisible attachments that went with it.   

My sense has always been that ARC itself is not responsible for lag - for client side yes, but I'm talking about region lag and performance.  I looked at the ARC of other avatars in the area and I noted that one of them in the green zone had an ARC of over 5000.  He just didn't have on a lot of scripted items. The real culprit contributing to sim lag are all those scripts in our av attachments - resizeable and colour changeable shoes, hair, clothing, and AO's.  That is of course aside from all the scripted items rezzed out on the sim. 

I have spent some time trying to understand scripts and their impacts and I'm no expert, but I can share with you (if you don't already know), some things that I have learned from others and from my own research.  
  • if your hair, shoes or other av attachments are modifiable, you can delete the scripts in them.  If they also happen to be copiable, you can copy the original product and save it if you ever need to resize or change them.  I do this with all my hairs and most of my shoes if I can.
  • I use Firestorm, which has an AO option built into the viewer.  It also has some bonuses like the radar which you can also use to tp to other people that show up on your radar.  I believe Imprudence also has an AO option and a radar.  I find the radar handy, but it's not a necessity.
  • If you are using a viewer that has a built in AO, it is quite easy to set it up and use it.  Trust me, if I can do it, than you can too.  Just search for some easy step by step instructions or ask for help in your TPV support group.
  • If you use the SL viewer, I think there are AO's and hud attachments that have less of an impact than the ones I used for this experiment.  I just used those ones because they are popular.  
I am not advocating for Firestorm or any other third party viewer.  The last time I used the official LL viewer, none of these built in features that can help reduce avatar script impacts were included.  Maybe I don't completely understand how it all works, but this is how I understand it.  I think features like these that can replace heavily scripted items and give the users the opportunity to potentially reduce their impact of sim performance, should be a priority in viewer development.  It is my experience in life, that people like being part of the solution to their problems.  

And yes, I realize that the Script Impact Board is scripted and has an impact itself.  How much of an impact it has, I don't know, but I think this is one of those things where you have to give some thought to what kind of scripts you are wearing, or have rezzed on your land, how much of an impact they have, do you really need it, and is it really worth it? 

If I can, I like to keep my scripts low or have low script and low ARC outfits ready when I have to go to a crowded sim.  

Again, I'm no expert at this.  I'm just someone trying to do my best to not pollute our digital environment with unnecessary scripts that contribute to lag.  If you have any thoughts or ideas on the topic, please let me know.  I'm always up for learning more.  

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