The theme for last night was “Jogging Suit.” At some point just before the event it was modified to “Joggng suit/Two-Piece Athletic Wear” for reasons that are a mystery. I happened to have a jogging suit so, the event was an easy prep.
The suit itself is from KO Design and is nicely textured and shaded, given that it’s black with a white stripe. Doing all black clothing is difficult to do well and kallyfaith Rolland did an excellent job on this on. I added my best trainers – Horenbeek’s Black and Beige cross trainers to finish out the main outfit.
The outfit needed some accessories so I added an aviator style watch from Aaron, my Bukka iPod, and a pair of primOptic Crowe sunglasses.
I got my two votes.
What Would I Do Different?
Matching shoes and outfit. The black and beige look ok to me, but all the winners had matching shoes.
The poses were a bit problematic. There were a few line breaks that were particularly obvious given the open jacket.
Jogging Suit: KO Design – Track Suit
Shoes: Horenbeek – Black and Beige Trainers
Glasses: primOptic – Crowe
Watch: Aaron – Aviator
iPod: Bukka – iPod Touch
Once more we have a theme with no clear direction and a limited vernacular upon which to draw. The theme for the evening is “Casual and Sophisticated.” The difficulty here is that one person’s casual is another person’s business suit, one person’s sophisticated is another’s trampy bar fly. I went for what I thought was casual and sophisticated in a laid back outfit from Sartoria.
I like the casual nature of this outfit. It’s a little dressier than jeans and a tee shirt, but it has the level of sophistication that I wanted without being pretentious. The slacks, jacket, and shirt make up the components of Sartoria Project in Green. This is one of several color keyed outfits that Traveler Bade put together and I like the very sculptural feel of the jacket and the open collared look of the shirt. For shoes, I picked a pair of JCS Oslo Boots in a rich brown to go with the jacket. The outfit by itself needed a little help so I pulled on a pair of Role Optic Recon glasses and chose an informal style of hair — UW.St Hibiki in coffee brown.
Largely inscrutable. I got my two votes.
Don’t get me wrong. There was nothing wrong with any of the outfits. Taken as a whole, they shared almost no attributes in common that would let me generalize as to what the judge was looking for and I just have no idea why that collection of outfits was selected. It was, however, the judge’s call and with a limiting vernacular based on purely subjective criteria, this event was another of the “roll the dice and take your chances” events.
Luckily it didn’t cost me anything. I just worked with what I had in inventory.
What Would I Do Differently?
It’s possible that the judge interpreted the jacket as not casual enough, so going with an outfit of shirt and slacks might have worked better.
It’s also possible that by “sophisticated” the judge and I mean different things and I have no criteria upon which to base any kind of change since I’m unable to generalize from the examples provided.
It’s also possible, that it was just a crap shoot, and I rolled snake eyes.
Outfit: Sartoria – Sartoria Progect – green
Boots: JCS – Oslo brown
Glasses: Role Optic – Recon
Hair: UW.st – Hibiki
Skin: LeLutka – Absolute – tan
The styling theme for last night was “One Piece Bathing Suit.” It’s a theme that doesn’t penalize men too badly because, when push comes to shove, all men’s suits are one piece. The challenge is what to wear with it.
I have several suits to choose from, but I really like the AlphaMale Swirls in blue. It has just enough pattern to be interesting, and great shading and wrinkles. On the top I put the SF Designs Toulon Linen Shirt, and on my feet, Shiny Things Boho Sandals. With an outfit so simple, I needed some accessories and I started with the primOptic Crowe aviator style glasses. I added some M.R.M. jewelry – the Planet Surfer Necklace (earth), and a couple of shell bracelets. A tanned skin from Belleza, and the Ilias hair from UW.st rounded out the ensemble.
I thought it did a good job showing off the suit without overwhelming it with a lot of ancillary accoutrements.
I kinda expected it. The judge was overworked and the field was pretty large. I have no beef with the three winners. They looked good and it’s hard to rate a guy in a swimsuit against gorgeous women in scanty dress, particularly for a male judge. A different judge might have picked different winners.
What Would I Do Different?
Picked a different suit. I have several and I’ve used this Swirls one a lot.
Skin. I need some new skin. This was tanned, but not “beach” tan. It could have been darker.
This wasn’t a theme I had a lot of chance in without an outside, female judge. Luck of the draw and the roll of the dice went against me. You can’t be lucky all the time.
Suit: AlphaMale – Swirls (blue)
Shirt: SF Designs – Toulon Linen Shirt
Sandals: Shiny Things – Boho Sandals (brown)
Glasses: primOptic – Crowe
Necklace: M.R.M. – Surfer Choker (Planets)
Bracelet: M.R.M. – White Shell Bracelet
Ankle: M.R.M. – White Shell Bracelet (resized for ankle)
Skin: Belleza – Thomas 0 – Deep tan
Hair: UW.st – Ilias
Eyes: BowerBird – Posiedon
Tonight’s styling contest was one of those that sounds fair, but really isn’t. The theme was “Styling Leopard/Tiger Print Clothes.” It sounds like it would be fair. There’s lots of leopard and tiger print clothing. Yes, well. At the risk of offending those half dozen or so people out there who’ve actually made men’s clothing with animal print, let me just point out that — as with poses — where women have thousands of choices across a very broad spectrum of quality and look, men have a few dozen choices which rapidly reduces to a handful when you take out the purple leopard pimp suits, the unfinished bathing suits, and the no-mod underwear with the seam matching guides still on the bottom of the texture.
I found a couple of items that weren’t too bad, though, and I managed to put together a look.
The focal point for this outfit is the Bagor Bates Leopard Skin Jeans and Dell Battery’s DDD Leopard Heart Boots. The boots kinda grew on me, but I wish they’d been mod so I could adjust the color down a bit. The problem I ran into with styling this was that I really couldn’t put leopard on top without looking more contrived that it already was. A nice jacket and shirt would have been equally out of place. I went for the dirty biker look. And added the V-Twin biker jacket, gloves, tatts, and bandana. UncleWebs provided the long hair (Ilias coffee) and Belleza the tanned bearded skin (Mathieu 6). For accessories I added a knotted leather bracelet from Mustang Trading Post, Crowe glasses from primOptic, and the Ripped Pirate necklace. I liked that the necklace with the skull echoed the skull in the tattoo. Not a great tie in, but I thought it was a nice touch.
I was surprised but pleased to get a 3rd place finish.
What Would I Do Differently?
There are a couple of other relatively nice looking animal print items left out there to buy. A particularly nice waistcoat caught my eye, and it might have been the focus of a ‘riverboat gambler’ outfit. I also wondered if Avilon Hill might not have a leopard or tiger cloak that could work as a centerpiece for some medieval warlord style look. The problem with that is the expense. When we do this so often, and the top prize is less than the cost of a good suit, it makes it difficult to justify making those kinds of investments when the payoff is so low and so uncertain.
pants: bagor bates – Leopard skin jeans
boots: Dell Battery – Leopard Heart Boots
vest: V-twin – Biker Jacket
bandana: V-Twin – bandana black
gloves: V-twin – biker gloves
Tattoos: V-twin – Rush
Glasses: primOptic – Crowe
Necklace: Ripped – Pirate Necklace
skin: Belleza – Mathieu 6 deep tan
hair: UW.st – Ilias Coffee
Last night’s theme was “Summer Outfit” and while I know a lot of people think beachy thoughts and wide brimmed hats, I always think of the dusty brown smell of sandlot baseball.
The event really called for a new take on the idea of summer and by dressing up as a baseball fan, I think I really got what I was going for. The shirt is a gift from Atui from the Make Him Over Hunt and is a perfect jersey for wearing to a AAA game. I added a comfy pair of Elephant Outfitter Jeans, and the BeReal Canvas Shoe, also a hunt gift. The outfit really was inspired by the Billy Boston cap with hair from MADesigns and it served well as the focal point of the outfit as well as really establishing that slightly rough feel of a guy at the park enjoying the day and letting the game unfold. I kept accessories to a minimum with just a pair of Role Optic Recons and my own ear stud.
I was gratified with a second place win. It wasn’t the most glamorous look on the runway, but I did think it was pretty well executed and I hit my marks with some new poses to spice up the routine. The judge agreed.
What Would I Do Differently?
The jersey was good, but I couldn’t help but think that I might have found a better one. It’s hard to argue with Atui, but perhaps a team logo might have been better.
The jeans had just the right loose comfort fit that I wanted in the look so I wouldn’t change those, but perhaps a nicer pair of laceups — perhaps in a tall athletic shoe — might have worked out better as well.
Shirt: Atui – HIM Baseball Jersy (blue)
Pants: Elephant Outfitters – Classic Jeans
Shoes: BeReal – Fabric Sneakerz
Hat/Hair: MADesigns – Billy Boston
Glasses: Role Optic – Recon
Skin: LeLutka – Absolute tan
Tonight’s contest was “Styling Playboy Bunny” up to about an hour before the actual event, when it got changed to “Playboy/Playboy Bunny.” I had already chosen the outfit for the night based on Playboy Bunny, so I was able to keep it and not have to scramble at the last minute.
We’d done this theme before, and there was really only one choice then. Changing the theme to “Playboy” in the generic but keeping “Playboy Bunny” created many more problems but I avoided them by just re-visiting my earlier impression of the only buck hare in the hutch — Hugh Hefner.
The outfit is basically the same — Smoking Jacket from Oak Outdoor Outfitters, and Black Dress Slacks from AlphaMale. On my feet I wore a pair of Kung Fu slippers. They had the right texture and color.
My body has evolved some since then but the big changes were in hair — MADesigns, Brad — and skin. I changed from the LeLutka Pale to a Belleza Johan. I liked the facial features better for this. It didn’t really have the same kind of pale he-only-comes-out-at-night look that Hefner seems to have, but it had a bit of the smile around the eyes.
For accessories, I went with a simple pair of glasses in an aviator style he sometimes wore and a pipe. I had to make a bunny logo for the smoking jacket, but it was easy enough to add.
I’m not sure if it was a mercy vote after the fiasco on Monday, or if I actually earned it, but I got third place.
I’ll take it. And I appreciate the effort to try to make the themes at least appear fair.
What Would I Do Differently?
The problem with making this “Playboy/Playboy Bunny” is that there are a lot of ways to style “playboy” that do not involve Hefner or the brand. There is no way to style “playboy bunny” without involving the brand, so from a judge’s standpoint, the theme sets up an unfortunate dichotomy. There’s no way that a man could go onto that stage dressed as James Bond, for example. It’s certainly true that he’s probably the archetype for playboys — it was his cover afterall — but when coupled with the Bunny, it’s just not in the same thing. It would, and should, be voted down as “not in theme.” While on the surface this theme makes it possible for men to enter, being able to place in it, is really restricting men to “Who can be the best Hef” …
Which is where I come up against it. Trying to redo Hefner a third (or fourth, or fifth) time without some very serious rethinking, perhaps about what time of his life or point in his career, there’s nothing really *different* a man can do with this theme.
Tonight, the judge was not looking for best representation of a Playboy Bunny, or even the most stylish use of the Playboy logo. That’s not to take anything away from the other winners. The judge interpreted the theme in a way that made us the top three. Another judge another night might be looking for something different. A great deal of the judging is dependent on the judge’s understanding of what the theme represents and how they interpret that understanding. I’m glad they picked me, but I have no idea why. Without knowing why, it’s terribly difficult to assess what might be more effective in a contest of such limited scope.
So, what would I do different? Chalk it up to just another theme I can’t compete in and skip it.
Skin: Belleza : Johan (sk)
Hair: MADesigns : Brad
Eyes: Bower Bird : Chestnut
Top: Oak Outdoor Outfitters : Smoking Jacket
Pants: AlphaMale : Dress Pants (black)
Glasses: primOptic : Crowe
Pipe: Roland Zepp
There was a contest tonight. I participated.
Normally in this space I would talk about what I did, why I did it, how it worked out, and what I’d do differently. Along the way I’d say where the goods came from, how they worked, what I thought about it.
Unfortunately the experience this evening was so egregiously unpleasant — from the flippant comments suggesting gang rape from one of the models backstage, to the organizer not even taking my name down to participate except as an after thought, and then the awards presented for best “Styling Provocative Gown” — that I’m afraid I can’t be particularly objective in my commentary.
In the classic movie “Bambi,” Thumper is called on the carpet by his mother for speaking ill of someone and she asks him what his father had told him. He replied:
“If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say nothin’ at all.”
So that’s what I’ll say.
UPDATE: I have corrected the text above to reflect the reality more accurately. I would further like to add my thanks to those who have offered their ongoing support and sympathy for an unfortunate situation. I do have a lot of very adamant supporters in the model corps. I am blessed in that regard.
The styling contest tonight was “cut off jeans.” This wasn’t my favorite contest last time, but I’ve been keeping my eyes open over the last couple of weeks and I spotted this outfit at Mimi’s Choice for Gentlemen’s store.
I went back and took my own advice about this event from the last time around and I added a few things — like “have an idea to build the style around.” In this case it was inspired by this light an breezy tropical look from SF Designs – the bleached cutoffs and toulon linen shirt. My first thought was “Riviera” but the bold open styling made me shift to a trendier and perhaps more bohemian Miami’s “South Beach.”
From that mental picture it was a short trip to Maverick Design’s Disorder Shape (slightly modded for upper lip and hands), Belleza’s Dark Tan Mathieu 6 skin, and a cropped mop from UW.st, Hibiki in Coffee. I tossed on a pair of BoHo sandals from Shiny Things and my favorite primOptic Crowe glasses set just a bit opaque. A kitschy necklace of hardware parts – Goth1c0’s Covent necklace, and a single earstud set to ruby red.
The outfit was really the inspiration and after that the rest fell into place.
It was a small field and the judge had his hands full.
What Would I Do Differently?
I need to invest in another pair of sandals.
My accessories list is very limited. That needs to change. The Covent necklace from Goth1c0 was from a recent hunt, I need more accessories.
Poses, poses, poses. This has been my mantra lately. I’ve started stealing women’s poses to try to get some variation in my routines.
Outfit: SF Designs – Bleached cutoffs and toulon linen shirt
Shoes: Shiny Things – BoHo sandals (brown)
Necklace: Goth1c0 – Covent
Ear ring: Roland Zepp – Color Change Ear Stud
Glasses: primOptica – Crowe
Shape: Maverick Design – Disorder
Skin: Belleza – Mathieu 6 (dark tan)
Hair: UW.st – Hibiki (coffee)
Eyes: Maverick Design – Intense light blue
The finals for the Maverick Designs “Best Look” Contest were this afternoon. I’ve been looking forward to them all month. I wrote up my look and why I picked previously and also dissected the shape on in comparison to my own normal shape, so I won’t spend a lot of time on it here. In case you’ve forgotten, this was the look:
The field was very large for women with over 20 contestants, and while the men’s field wasn’t quite so large, the competition there was fierce. The region had serious challenges dealing with the load placed on it, but it didn’t actually crash. It made it very difficult to do simple things, like walk, but the 30 odd contestants all did their best.
I’ll cut to the chase, in case you haven’t guessed by now. I won the first place for men’s look. I’d like thank Ivy Maverick and the other judges for the hard work and dedication it took to actually watch all the contestants struggling with the lag, and then grade them. It was a long contest, spanning close to three hours, but it was a great deal of fun – and I confess that I have really been inspired by this foray into shape design.
I’m looking forward to perhaps working with Maverick in the future to create new looks and even new designs.
Last night’s lag-fest prompted me to do a little more research into what causes lag and what, if anything, can be done about it. As I expected, there are a multitude of opinions and some amount of data about lag.
To paraphrase Caesar: All lag is divided into three parts, one of which is comprised of the local client lag, the server lag another, the third, which we call network or transfer lag.
The statistics bar (View > Statistics) will give you good information about all three kinds of lag, but the information is not labeled “lag” so much as it gives you the numbers which describe performance. That performance is usually expressed in frame-rate or frames-per-second (fps) and in general, more is better.
Think of a movie. Typical movie films run 32 frames per second through the projector, putting 32 individual still pictures up there in a sequence that's fast enough that your eyes don't see the individual pictures, but see the images on the pictures appear to move. The human eye will translate individual pictures into moving pictures with frame rates as low as 12-15 frames per second.
The same thing happens in your local computer when the viewer translates the digital data that it has into a series of moving pictures on the screen. A good frame rate of 20-30 fps will give your SL view a pretty smooth look. Phosphor refresh rates on the screens has a bit of smoothing effect as well since the images do not change instantly on an electronic display, but rather fade in and out a pixel at a time at rates approaching 60 to 120 frames per second. (Not to bury you in numbers, but note that your computer screen is probably painting each frame in your viewer at least twice before changing to the next frame). If you computer does not have accurate data, or does not have the data it needs when it needs it, or does not have the capacity to keep up with the data that is coming into it, then your view of the world, and your ability to interact with it become choppy and unreliable. In short, lagged.
There's not much you can do about that in the short term except to make your view smaller, more compact, less complex. Let your computer work less. Bring down your draw range. Tilt your camera down so that you have less horizon and fewer objects in the view. There are some other recommendations below on how to reduce the load on your computer. In the long run, if your graphics are constantly being overwhelmed, maybe upgrade your card and/or computer.
There are a lot of servers. Most of the LL servers we have no information or control over but we see them every time we upload a file, buy something from a vendor, or look at a profile. The region servers, those portions of the computing platform that represent the region and parcel an avatar occupies at any given time, we do have some information about, and that information can help inform builders.
The Statistics Bar has regional server information and the key diagnostic there is “Time Dilatation.” Time dilation runs from 0 to 1 with 1 being “real time” or “every second of in-world time takes one second of real world time” and 0 being “stopped.”
Ideally, you want to see that number stay above .98. Anything below .8 is noticeable. A time dilation of .5 means that every in-world second takes 2 real-time seconds. Your avatar might use the walk animation, but move across the landscape very slowly.
A lot of server lag can be controlled through good building practice. Keeping the number of scripts and the number of prims down is one key practice. When addressing the prim issue, it’s important to recognize that the server only dishes up what you can “see” but it also has to dish up everything that anybody can see who is in that region.
A recommended practice where there are a lot of prims and/or a lot of textures is to rely on the aggressive “occlusion” engine that LL has developed. “Occlusion” means “blocked” and what it does is lets the server ignore anything that you shouldn’t be able to see, taking it and any of its textures off the list of things it cares about, reducing the load considerably. You do that by building solid walls.
Shops with open windows are nice, but if you have a lot of them in a small area, then the regional server needs to paint every thing in your line of sight, including the vendor-boxes hanging on the wall of the shop across the street which you can see through the transparent window you’re standing in front of. It’s scenic, but it’s lag inducing. Block those views with solid walls. Not only do you reduce the regional server load by blocking them from view, you reduce transmission lag (see below) by taking them off the list of things that needs to be sent down the pipe.
Scripts are another issue. Active scripts are a big deal. While it’s true that scripts run at a lower priority, that is, only when nothing else is running, it also means that activities that rely on scripts for interaction become very problematic as the server tries to find room in the queue for them to operate. One resource reports that each active script in a region uses up .003ms of the server frame as a minimum. Just a “Hello, Avatar” script in a box will use that much. Each class five server has the potential for 45 server frames per second – giving an updated status to everybody in the region once every 22.222ms. Doing the math, I calculate that something around 7500 scripts will fill the server frame’s time slot. That’s before anything else happens, like trying to walk across the room to see what’s for sale there.
Keeping the number of scripts down is a key to keeping regional activity moving.
Network or Transfer Lag
This is the “I see gray people” or “My hair won’t rez” problem.
Remember the viewer lag? Your viewer paints the scene on your terminal but it can only paint that scene based on the data that it has. If the data doesn’t get transmitted, you can’t see it. You might not even know it doesn’t exist because what gets painted in place looks ok.
This is everything. Shapes, textures, animations, sounds, all of it.
It will stack up and eventually it’ll all come to you, but if you’re relying on reading the vendor sign in order to know what you’re buying? Transmission lag will give you grief by not letting you see what’s in the scene.
Putting It Together
The server has to figure out what everybody is seeing and send that information to each, the network has to deliver all that information to your viewer, and then the viewer has to paint it onto the screen. Ideally, it does this 45 times a second.
If the server can’t process your view in time, then the network doesn’t have it, so your viewer doesn’t get it and you can’t see it.
If the server processes it in time, but your network is unable to handle the volume, then your viewer doesn’t get it and you can’t see it.
If the server processes it in time, and your network delivers it to you, but your client can’t process it in time, then you can’t see it.
Client lag, you can do something about. Reduce the load on your computer by shutting off other applications like Skype, or email. Turn off the audio streams – whether you’re listening to inworld or iTunes, stop that. Every cycle that your machine has to work that is not related to painting the SL scene for you to see is a cycle that might be used better to show you what you need to see.
Network lag, you can do a little bit about, depending on where the problems are. Shut off your network based apps like Tweetdeck, Skype, and AIM. Not only will you save machine cycles for your viewer to use, you’ll free up bandwidth that could be used to show the texture on that skin you’re trying to demo. Turn off your Bittorents, and close browser windows. Check to see if your kids are watching YouTube videos again.
Regional server lag, you can’t do much about except vote with your feet. If the place is LagLand, leave. If you’re a builder/designer, you can do a lot to help make your region or part of the region efficient by keeping the views discretely short, and cutting out the numbers of active scripts.
Some Things You Can Do
The number one cause of lag is avatars. If there aren’t any avatars in your region, then — well, really, you don’t care because there’s nobody there to see or do anything anyway. Without avatars, lag isn’t a meaningful construct. The old ‘if a tree falls in the forest’ idea.
As a visitor, keep your active scripts to a minimum. Any blinger that listens on open chat for “bling on” needs to be inactivated. You can take it off, or you can set the bling state you want (off is good), and then edit it and use Tools > Set Scripts in Selection to Not Running from the menus. The prims represented by that object will still need to be painted on the screen, but that collection of scripts buried in all those prims will be deactivated and removed from the region’s active server load.
Same thing goes for any script you’re wearing really. Resizeable hair? Size it and then turn off the script using the same technique. You don’t need to take the hair off or remove the script. Just turn it off. You can always turn it back on later in the privacy of your own home if you need to change it. Color change shoes or jewelry? Set the colors and turn off the scripts before you leave the house. Some jewelry can have hundreds of prims and if it’s color change and sized? That gets really ugly when you and nine of your friends show up at a party.
Builders? Reduce objects and scripts. If you have a mall or a shop, use the built in ‘set for sale’ capability of the prim. Sell a copy, or the contents without adding a script to the mix. This can add up fast in a mall. If each vendor box has an active script in it, even if there’s nobody there buying anything, every single vendor box takes its .003 ms bite of the frame slice.
Also limit the numbers of different textures (to reduce network lag) and the number of flexible building components like flags and fringes (to reduce client lag).
Finally, flexi and particles (bling) do contribute to lag, but they only contribute to client lag. The actual movement and interpretation of that movement is not something that’s handled by the server, nor is each flip and flap of a flexi skirt transmitted. Instead the description of that object is transmitted and the viewer interprets what and if you see. If your viewer is already overloaded then adding this additional load will hurt your view, but will have no effect whatsoever on anybody else’s view. You can actually shut all particles off so you’re not bothered by them in the Preferences > Graphics section. This is particularly useful for griefer attacks. Turn off the particles in your viewer. No attack exists if you can’t see it.
One last note on client lag and animations. We’ve all seen the ‘dancing fool’ who can’t stop dancing on your screen, but looks perfectly normal on their own. I believe this to be an artifact of transmission lag where the local client accepts the command to stop the animation in question, but the uploaded command gets lost before the avatar server accepts it. This is not a function of the region, altho accumulated laggings would undoubtedly effect it. Repeated attempts to stop dancing are often futile as cached copies of “current anim” are crossed up and repeatedly issuing a munged command doesn’t unmung it. Frequently one can stop that with a “stop all animations” command executed a few times until the cached duplicates can all be purged.
The infamous “model scream” pose – where an avatar’s face is deformed into a wide open mouth is probably a variation on that same problem when one person’s cached version of an avatar view includes the open mouth while others see that avatar perfectly normally using a cache that was kept in sync by a fast enough transmission and update cycle. Often the victim doesn’t know there’s a problem and frequently, even other people are unable to assist because the avatar looks normal to them. The only known solution is for the avatar to log off and back on again, which has the effect of refreshing the outgoing avatar cache so everybody gets a fresh look, one that’s complete – assuming the three lags don’t interfere again.
I owe a lot of this to various resources around the web. Thank you all for your work in helping to track down this stuff and make it available:
Pandora Wrigglesworth’s Lag101, what is lag and why does it happen. Curio Obsura. This is a particularly good explanation of why sculpties possibly reduce lag.