Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mesh Content Creators, You're Doing It Wrong!

Mesh is filling SL, which is great! I've recently redone Milk & Cream using as much mesh as possible and already people are telling me how great their framerates are despite the detail and sheer amount of content around the island!

I get an average of 30FPS around the new island with these graphics settings.
Shadows, Ambient occlusion, depth of field, etcetera.

I got 5-16FPS around the old island, which was mostly sculpts.
However, in building this I noticed one common thread in mesh content being sold in SL. Mesh content creators are building at the same sizes as they did with sculpts and prims prior to the introduction of mesh import and using that size as the basis for their advertised Land Impact costs. (When they're not outright lying to their customers by stating the number of mesh objects rather than the prim/LI cost, but that's another rant.)

 "Well, of course they would! Avatars are still 8' tall on average, and the SL default camera is still stuck in the 90's! They have to work around that!"

 Sure, to a point. You have to remember, mesh content gains Land Impact cost the larger you make it. I've literally cut the LI cost of mesh buildings in half by shrinking them down to a realistic size as opposed to the size the creator sold them at.

I was able to cut the LI cost of most of the mesh content down anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2!
This means more content around the island, which is still occupying only 1/4th of a sim!

 Lower Land  Impact costs are a boon to content creators because customers are often looking for the most bang for their buck in terms of detail versus LI cost. Higher LI means people can't fit as much in their land, and land is expensive!

 Before people point out many SL users can't even resize a prim I'm going to agree and counter that it is simplicity itself for a content creator to include both an "efficiently sized" version, the LI cost of which is what they advertise, and a scaled up version for more typical SL users. This takes, literally, seconds to do and costs the creator nothing.

 I'd add that content creators should make it clear in their listings that all LI costs are of the efficiently scaled version, and that a larger version is included with a higher LI cost. Most mesh sellers already note how SL changes LI costs based on size so this is a minor addition to what they're doing already.

 Ideally, Linden Lab themselves should be pushing more efficiently made content by improving the starter avatars, default camera settings and Linden maintained environments such as the infohubs, but since LL seems intent on driving customers away it would benefit content creators to encourage the trend towards efficient scale because it allows them to do so much more, and allows for an SL that is more appealing to new users, who in turn become new customers of the content creators.

Don't you wish all of SL was this detailed? It could be!
 In providing both the efficiently scaled version and the large version of their mesh content (as well as an explanation of why they are doing this and instructions on how to improve the SL camera), content creators ensure that their customers have the choice to use what better suits their needs, and and customers get exposed to how they can get more for their tier just by scaling down.

"I want less land and fewer prims, for the same amount of money!"
 - Nobody, Ever

Most people are simply unaware of the issue. It's in every content creator's best interest to make them aware of how size does matter in affecting their SL experience.


  1. Absolutely!
    I make all my stuff RL scale, but always add a warning to let people know this and that when they make mesh larger, the LI goes up.
    Everyone who buys my stuff is thus confronted with their own size.
    It is a shame more creators don't realise that RL scale is LI cheaper.
    I bought some mesh building kit and was sad that it was higher prim LI then I wanted... but then I realised the objects were HUGE, yes even for SL standards.
    The builder must have been a giant, poor man sold his items with high LI descriptions while they were actually much lower when scaled to a more average size and very low when scaled to RL size.
    Mesh is another good reason to scale down.

  2. Small is beautiful... I mean, cheaper :)