Monday, January 16, 2012

Rant alert! It's like molasses in January...

It feels like I am slowly losing interest in Second Life.  Could it be so?  I’m kind of hoping I am just going through a lull and I will find a spark again.

Next month marks three years in SL for me.  I once thought I would never get tired of this place, but here we are and that’s exactly how I am feeling. 

There is one major thing that is contributing to my disenchantment... 

At three years old, my Macbook, I think is getting old.  The official SL viewer runs the best for me, but I don’t like it, and it is still not great.  I would much rather be on Firestorm.  Unfortunately, Firestorm runs like molasses in January on my Macbook.  It’s still a good machine and fills the rest of my computer needs, but for SL, it’s falling behind and a new computer is not in my budget at the moment.  Perhaps if I was really involved in stuff in SL, or a business owner or something, I would splurge on a new one, but for me, right now, it’s not worth it.

Taking screenshots and making images to share here - a huge part of my activity in SL, is getting longer and more frustrating.  I can’t use those cool features like depth of field or shadows without something else messing up my shot.  For example, I turn on shadows and all the alpha textures disappear. I keep hoping that these things get fixed on the newest updates, but usually when something gets fixed, something else breaks.  It’s Linden Law.

Even walking around on my parcel, which is usually lag free, is a pain in the ass.  I end up spending most of my time on my sky platform and chatting from there.  I could do the same thing with Skype, Gtalk, or Facebook without the chat delays which make my best jokes(which are really lame anyways) fall flat, victims of bad timing due to the chat lag monster.  I hate to waste a good smart ass comment.

When I really want to go somewhere, like a live music event for example, I set my graphics to the lowest of the low and point my camera to the floor so I don't crash and I can at least hear the music.  

I’m trying to remember if three years ago SL performance was this bad for me.  If it was, I can’t imagine sticking around for this long on something that is essentially broken.  Perhaps now that I have been around for awhile, my standards are higher?  But I have a two thousand dollar machine, I expect stuff to work on it, and really everything else I do online works just fine – except for SL.

I have tried many times in the last couple of weeks to explore and do some photos to share here, but my patience is low for dealing with lag and taking pictures with windlight in a viewer that makes you click a hundred times to change settings.  Okay, it’s not a hundred times but it’s a lot more than on my viewer of choice.

One good thing is that I started building something, which seemed to be the only logical thing to do while hanging out on an empty sky platform.  This project excited me for a little while, until I hit a snag with that.  By the way, if anyone has any time and patience to give me a few tips on texturing sculpted prims, I would really appreciate that.  Some constructive feedback is welcome.  Does it suck, does it have potential?  Something, anything.  I’ll even post the SLurl here if you feel like coming to look...

It is January, the middle of winter here in Canada.  Even though it has been a mild winter, I still feel kind of sluggish and slow, so maybe my frustrations are at a peak. Winter is coming to an end on my pixel home in the Five Islands this week, so hey, that gives me a little project to keep busy - if my laptop can handle it.

Anyway, enough complaining.

Now that I got that off my chest, maybe I will find a solution to this annoying problem. Until then, if you’re wondering why I’m not logging on very much or for very long these days, it’s because I’m over on Facebook playing Farmville.  Yeah, I know, it’s a stupid, time wasting, mindless game, but hey, IT WORKS which is a helluva a lot more than I can say for my experience in Second Life these days.

Peace out.


  1. I have a 2009 Macbook Pro too Carrie. And the thing is that it is starting to chug in Second Life too. I don't know what the average person does because most people don't have a great performing computer. Mine was $3000 too with all the upgrades and it seems to be getting worse for me as well.

    The disenchantment is part lag and crashes or voice disconnecting. The other is.. been there done that... old guard. Either get out and meet new people and do new things or it stagnates. But that is pretty hard with the crappy performance of the grid.

    Im playing Xbox more these days frankly.


  2. Carrie, I spend 90% of my time in SL with my cam zoomed into the floor. It's a frustrating way to be inworld. My home sim is lovely, and I have a house that I spent months decorating. But it's too laggy for me to enjoy.

    While I've always had a poor graphics experience, (my computer is an older desktop) I've never experienced the kind of laggy world I'm seeing today. There are some sims that seem to work better for me than others (Edloe is one that is remarkably easy on my machine) but when there are more than 4 or 5 people there, I slow to a standstill.

    I still love SL, and I wish I could explore more. I remember a time when my machine could handle sim hopping and fun, and I didn't mind the low graphics settings I was forced to use, because I was having so much fun exploring.

    Now I'm having a shitty experience with everything set on lowest settings, and still can hardly move or type on many sims. I've found a few bare bones viewers that allow me to type well in lag, if I'm looking at the floor. But that's no way to enjoy the world.

    I feel your frustrations.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I feel better knowing that other people are feeling the same frustrations. I love SL too and I love my home on Piper Point, but I can't enjoy it when my screen is all jerky and moving my av is a battle.

    I upgraded my laptop, got more memory, and it seems like SL runs even worse on it now.

    I just want to take some pretty pictures and enjoy time with my friends in SL. Now, I'm chatting on Skype and planting freakin' butter corn and gingerbread tulips in Farmville! Argh!

    I know my faith in SL is getting really low when I get a Facebook notification that a friend sent me a metal clamp to finish my pet run in Farmville, and I get all excited about it! I used to feel that excited about SL once upon a time...

  4. It's not just the old HW getting hit... even my relatively new laptop has issues with a lot of folks in a crowd. If I'm camming around Lauren's for the obligatory corner group shot, I've had kabooms... dammit... fire up Drabble Writer... cycle Voice a few dozen times... and back... grumble.

    When I do my readings, I grab a few shots here and there, but park the cam in a corner and use minimap to see if someone new comes in, just to be safe.

    I regularly grab stream urls and put them in winamp because I don't trust SL to stay up for a whole gig, even though it usually does.

    Even with the new solid state drive, you'd think I'd be instantly pulling things from cache and displaying in seconds. And for the first day or two, yes. But after that? It's like the technology's designed with texture stalls as the default, and I'm mousing over person by person, object by object playing Paint By Numbers instead of enjoying SL.

    Can't do that mouseover trick with particles... snow... sparkles... that can take a while to show up if the viewer or cache is being retarded.

    That sense of unreliability and instability is why I've rarely allowed myself to be volunteered for photography or videography gigs. The platform is inherently unreliable, and I just can't make a promise to do something like that for someone who thinks that moment's special and important.

    And I'm not just about to get yet another new system... when I got this one, I got throatpunched by the OpenGL issue for months and was really annoyed I'd just gotten a laptop only to have the Labbies and nVidia doubleteam me.

    At least I'm going to bed earlier and getting more sleep... or laying on the floor while playing ribbons with the baby panthers.