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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The Problems Bugging SL

Building a big city like SL London in Second Life causes all sorts of problems, lag being the main one. As you know lag is that evil thing that stops your avatar moving properly, plus there seems to be lots more trouble with chat lag nowadays, you are typing away and your text does not show on the screen or your text comes up out of the order that you typed it, making really strange conversations sometimes, you can only hope that ‘Lol’ (laugh out loud) that you put in a few minutes ago doesn’t upset someone who had changed to a serious subject, when it suddenly appears on the screen minutes later. Of course the SL London team try to keep lag at a minimal by working hard to reduce the amount of prims and scripts used in building, which all adds to the problem. However, SL itself and your own computer add to the sort of lag you experience.

You can expect a certain amount of problems crossing from one sim to another, say from Knightsbridge to Hyde Park, if you are walking or flying (maybe it’s best to teleport!). If I am walking or flying across I generally lose control of my avatar which keeps on walking or flying way past where I want it to go. Left alone you will find your av will generally snap back to a point where you can just carry on again and cross the sim. It is a strange feeling when your av just carries on though, actually walking or flying through buildings. I usually try to stop the process by using my arrow keys to spin my avatar around and this does sometimes work. I have noticed lately that it’s not only crossing sims where my av gets this trouble I can even get the non-stop walking problem by just walking down the road in the middle of Knightsbridge. You know you have trouble when your avatar slides her/his feet along the ground or waddles instead of walking normally. Logging on too has been odd over the last couple of weeks for me, as my av just refuses to move at all. You could normally solve this by clicking on your av or shrinking the SL page down to the task bar then up again, finding that doing this gives your av mobility once more. No so lately, though, I usually find I have to re log, not once but a couple of times. Some of this may be down to me with my set up of course. I take an awful lot of photographs, which I store to my hard drive, and as I delete them I am scattering the information in my computer’s hard drive leaving gaps. I found de-fragmenting the drive did help (windows – accessories, systems tools, then de-frag), so I will do this regularly from now on. Also clearing your SL cache (Edit in SL, then Preferences then Networking then Clear Cache), while you are in that menu see if lowering your graphics helps too!

Another annoying SL bug that happens, is when you click on something to sit down or try to teleport somewhere, you can find yourself out to sea, or under the ground instead of where you intended to go. You can try a couple of things, you can open your map and find another location to double click on, therefore teleport out, or you can click your avatar and go into ‘appearance.’ This sometimes works but not always, I had the worrying experience the other day of looking like something out of ‘The Exorcist’ film when I tried to go into appearance and my head simply sat on my shoulders the wrong way around!! This was a re-log job in the end, there was no escaping it! If you log back on and you can see your avatar fine but other people tell you you are a cloud to them, going into appearance sometimes clears this as well, so it’s worth a try. Of course sometimes when you log on you are a cloud on your screen without even the option of going into appearance, this is usually a doomed situation and time for another re-log for me.

Perhaps one of the most frustrating things is when you are trying to get ready to go out in SL by changing your outfit, you find that you click on that skirt in your inventory that you want to wear and it simply won’t attach itself to you, or it says it is attached but isn’t showing on your avatar. You might have one and a half boots on, the top bit of your left boot refusing to leave your inventory, how frustrating that is!!! Sometimes it does attach later, I have teleported out somewhere and found that the boot part has appeared, but normally if it’s a big attachment problem I re-log again.

I just know what a clever bunch of people are in SL and I would be grateful for your comments regarding getting around these nuisance bugs, perhaps you would like to share your experiences of strange SL happenings with me, or sharing your answers to the problems would be wonderful, please let me know!!!


Anonymous said...

You know most lag occurs on your mahcine not in sl. For a start your cache will be too small. Next your draw distance is way too high. The next thing and by far the most costly is all those bits your avata has, the bling and the fancy shoes.

Most peopl;e I know run other progs at the same time as SL and that's asking for it even if your graphics card is a decent one.

Sadly most people use low end pc's or worse laptops with shared graphics memory.

I run SL on a high end Mac on it's own and have no problems.

And what's happened the the theatre? That was the only decent build on the sim.

Anonymous said...

I had real problems in the Underground Club the other night - it took me three attempts to get in and even then I walked rioght through you Janey (this is Drumbo writing) and almost ended up motoring through the dj booth.

Sadly, I run SL on a laptop and I suffer for it

Anonymous said...

It's not just tht Drumbo.

The sim is set to get more than 40 avatars on it at noe time which dops the refresh rate a LOT. I suspect that this not so much to give the best experience for the visitors but to get the most potential customers for the mass of shops.

Janey Bracken said...

Thank you for your comments Anonymous and Drumbo, which are very interesting. I'm sure people's computers have a lot to do with their performance of running SL. I have noticed, however, that my problems are worse since the numbers of people on line started to go up over the last few months, with 10,000 plus extra on each night, could this also contribute to the lag overall?

Also I will try to find out what happened to the theatre and let you know.

Best Wishes

Anonymous said...

Janey, I'm curious about the theatre as well. A lot of love went into that building.

As for SL probs, I've found there are times when I'm fully dressed, but other people see me as either a cloud, greyed out, or simply not completely "all there" (story of my life!). One day Clive Hissop insisted I was bald, LOL! Other avs could see me fine, but I appeared bald to Clive.

A common saying in SL is "lag is the price of popularity." True, perhaps, but I know it's a challenge that SL teams are constantly working to improve. I have a new iMac, and I have still have lag/relog problems sometimes. I seem to have fewer probs than my friends with PCs and laptops, however.

Enjoying your blog! Take care.
MacKenzie Bluebird :)

Janey Bracken said...

Hi MacKenzie, Thank you for your comments. I've had the same with with my hair not being seen by one person and it's annoying when I want to take photos of people and they continue to have a grey outfit on, it may be only one person in the crowd but their outfit will stay grey no matter how long I wait!! I'm glad you suffer a little bit less with your iMac, I hope as time goes on things will improve, I know they work hard to reduce lag in SL London too which is great for everyone!

Best Wishes