Friday, June 6, 2008
Debunking a Huge Prim Myth
One of the tiresome things about second life is the screaming harpiedom of land barrons and barronesses. As a landlady, a gongzhu, and I see the numbers from the inside. Basically, they make their living reselling Second Life as a product, marking it up as much as they can, and dealing with the inter-resident drama. That's the life of land baron or baroness. You can see why dealing with renting full sims, they would hate huge prims. First, it means they can sell each resident fewer prims. Every prim you save, is one more prim that you can't be so boiling over in frustration to pay for another large plot with its fees and rent. The other problem is that in the rabbit warren of a full size sim, huge prims create inter-resident drama. They can block "views," create large walls, be used for pictures and advertisements, and generally control the environment.
So you can see why they spew things about "huge prims burn up sim resources!" They don't. We've run test after test. Huge prims use less resources than an equivalent structure in 10x10 prims. What they do do however, is reduce baron gross margins, and use baron time resources to manage inter-resident drama. Since barons make their living reselling SL at the lowest possible amount of trouble, you can see why they don't like it. But that doesn't mean what they say is true.
Another myth about huge prims is the so called, and I say so called, "LOD" problem. This one, promulgated by the steaming cauldron of slander herself Prokofy Neva, is that because huge prims are larger, they don't LOD out, that is, aren't wedded out. Sounds like a good theory. Except, as you can see from the above diagram, it's not true at all. 10x10 prims are far clipped before they are LODed out. In the background is a tower built of huge prims. The renderfarclip here is set at 1024, and that tower is just about at 1024 meters from the camera position. Just in front of it, at about 800M distant, is a quartet of towers built with 10x10 prims. As you can see, they are there, at a draw distance beyond what is available to the client. 10x10 prims aren't LODed out before they are far clipped. So there is no difference, at available draw distances, between a 10x10 prim, and a huge prim. Both are still drawn at 1000M, which is close to the maximum that thee far clip can be set at, and much higher than most residents can walk around with anyway.
The solution to these problems is to put the size of a huge prim as an estate manager tool. Huge prims larger than this should not be allowed to be rezzed or enter that sim. This way if a sim owner wants to block huge prims for their reasons on the build, they can. People should be shown, in "about land" what the prim limit is, and it should be visible in the buy box, so that an avatar knows what the rules of this particular sim are. This could also be an initial set up option in buying and flipping a mainland sim, with the first owner getting to set this number. Ideally it could be made the option of consensus voting, where if all the owners in a sim want the number to be raised or lowered, it will be raised or lowered.
Andrew and Sidewinder and others are working on anotehr essential tool, and that will be checking bounding boxes, so that huge prims will not overlap other parcels when rezzed or moved. Personally I think this can't come to soon.
However the reality from this picture is that ordinary prims are farclipped before they are LODed. There is no "LOD" problem at distances available to the client.