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Viewers are changing rapidly and there is lots of new information and mis-information. For Combat RPG’s some of the information is critical. (Continued from GreenLife Emerald Viewer Review)

Update 12/3/09: This viewer updates rapidly. I have made several posts here about the different features being added to Greenlife Emerald viewer and provided reviews. There is a trail of links you can read through to read them in order. Or you can click on the Archive page and select the Emerald Viewer Reviews to see all the posts that relate.

12/3/09: I’ve added an index to all the Emerald Viewer Reviews. See: Emerald Viewer Review Index

Emerald, to Lag or Not

Emerald03

Emerald's Built in Radar

Most of the new viewers have a thing some call Radar and in Emerald it is labeled Avatar List (Ctrl-Shift-a or via menu Emerald -> Avatar List). In some other places in Emerald it is referred to as radar. In Emerald it is a handy floater listing all the nearby avatars and some handy information. See the image.

Once upon a time the mini-map was called radar, until Linen Lab renamed it for a better new player experience. But that is not the radar usually meant in comabt SIM’s.

Radar in Second Life previously was a script in a prim or HUD that used a SCAN feature in Second Life’s LSL scripting language. SCAN’s are notorious for creating lag. It’s just the way it works in SL. Good programmers avoid it as much as possible. Combat SIM operators simply ban prim/hud based radars or any high lag producers within their games. There are several reasons for the radar ban with lag being the biggest one. Since prim/HUD based radars were the only ones in existence, SIM operators never bothered to specify which types radars were banned or why, they just simply said radar is banned.

It has not been hard for SIM operators to catch players using the old style radar. They could see the scripts running on the estate management screens. Now the new avatar lists run on the client and do not need a script running in the SIM. They are nearly undetectable.

Recently SIM operators have been seeing more lag in their SIM’s. Some are correlating it to the Emerald viewer and the avatar lists. (Reference – There is no perma-link so I have no idea how long this link will work).

The idea came up that the Avatar List, radar, worked on channel  7777777 using region say. All the chat from the radars was supposedly slowing the SIM’s. Some calc’s were done to show how bad it could be and then disclaimed it by saying, “This is all still speculative data … …or that we even know what the f__k we’re talking about but the logic of the situation does tend to point to a potential severe degradation of sim performance based on channel data overload…” Right.

One of the Emerald people posted on the SLUniverse Forum what was actually happening on channel ‑77777777. I’m not really into the code for Emerald. My understanding is all of the Avatar List is a viewer process client side reading the data stream. All those little green dots on the mini-map mean AV position and name are getting to the viewer some how. (Hover your mouse over a dot in the mini-map to see a name.) One has the option to send keys on channel -77777777 for 3rd party HUD’s and is limited to llWhisper range. One can also turn that feature on or off. Open the List (Ctrl-Shift-a) and then the select the Option tab and select or deselect UPDATE and ANNOUCE KEYS TO HUD.

From the client side I can’t see any appreciable amount of network traffic generated by the AV List or a change in the FPS rates. Closing the mini-map gives me an extra 1 or 2 fps. It’s hard to tell just watching the Stats Tool how much load the List creates. But stand still in a small room in a busy SIM and eventually the fps rate climbs and the bandwidth goes down. Turing UPDATE on and off and opening and closing the List seems to make no difference client side.

Now that more and more viewers are coming equipped with and AV List (Radar) one wonders when the combat SIM managers will catch up and change their rules.

If you are looking for the fastest FPS viewer, for now I think it is KirstenLee’s S18 (207) with the shadows turned off. In places where Emerald gives me 15 fps S18 gives me 30 fps. Turn on shadows… 6 fps… but I can still walk and move to get camera shots.

Emerald still has the best set of features for builders. It has lots of neat features for day to day use by the average SL resident. For combat SIM players… it’s a personal choice call.

More Lag Information 8/27

Skills, of Gemini Viewer and Insilico fame, posted on the Insilico blog about lag in Insilico and a coming feature of Emerald. This feature will notify one of Script Jumps… a change in the number of scripts within a sim.

See: Laggy Avatars

Update 10/16/2009

See: Greenlife Emerald Viewer Breasts Review

12/3/09: I’ve added an index to all the Emerald Viewer Reviews. See: Emerald Viewer Review Index

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2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] of the Greenlife Emerald Viewer features have been added to this Imprudence Viewer […]

  2. […] Update Gemini Viewer Review for RPG’s Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Snowglobe Viewer Review UpdatedImprudence 1.2 beta […]

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