* note that viewer DEBUGs do change and comments this color no longer applies (2/24/2015)
Firestorm… the feature I love best… quick prefs
So I’m going to talk about DEBUG settings, Firestorm (which I use faithfully), and the things I comment may make your own relationship with your chosen viewer better as well. While Firestorm allows you to get to these in a more friendly manner, on the main SL viewer or some Third Party Viewers, you still have to find the particular DEBUG names from the master list.
Firestorm does not recommend you go around changing your DEBUG settings. Firestorm provides a feature that allows you to put DEBUG controls in place that you think are important to adjust. The DEBUG menu choices are under Advanced Menu Options. Let me link a bigger article about DEBUG options.
So seriously, once again. Be careful with all of this. Write things down, take notes, you want to be able to put it back the way you found it if you do not like the results.
Adding these controls to your Firestorm is explained in this excellent video. Again, please take notes and watch several times before trying this.
I’m specifically sharing a few things that made my SL experience stronger when 20+ avatars are around or when I’m out looking at the beauties found in SL. These are two very different situations.
First things: when a bunch of Avatars get together in a small space, turn your settings down/off in this order:
- advanced lighting (most folks do not use this, shadows, sunlight, reflections, etc.)
- particle count (all the work of particles is done by your viewer, the more kinds of particles, the worse it gets)
- draw distance (the party is just as fun if you can only see 33meters away)
Second things: still getting lagged and your frames per second are molasses?, make the big moves:
- turn off Basic Shaders (this also shuts down Atmospheric Shaders, so you will not see Windlight)
- turn down Max Avatars (this begins to IMPOSTER render Avatars that are far away from you, like those times the sim is full of 55 avatars)
IMPOSTER Avatars are cartoon quickie renders (have you ever wondered why some more distant people start walking funny or look brighter? IMPOSTERS.) of the crowd not near you, closer folks get the full render. If you turn this to Zero you do not render either. That’s bad.
These two additional changes will make a huge difference in how hard your graphic card is working.
Now, for seeing everything that makes stuff look better.
Look at my Quick Preferences box again. You’ll see several things there that need explanation (and have even more weird DEBUG names.) The names shown are the ones I made for the control box so I can remember what they do.
LOD Factor. This is Level Of Detail and determines how well sculpts and mesh look in detail and how well you see them from far away. Many viewers default this setting to 1 or 2. But 4 is excellent for general use. You should not need 8, 12, or 16 here. Why make your machine work that hard? (DEBUG = RenderVolumeLODFactor)
Advanced Lighting. This is the same control that shows up on your Preference Graphics tabs. Except it is a devil to find in DEBUG. (DEBUG = RenderDeferred)
Basic Shaders. This is the same control that shows up on your Preference Graphics tabs. Except it is even harder to find in DEBUG. (DEBUG = VertexShaderEnable)
I can tell you that being able to jump into a crush of shoppers and shut off my Basic Shaders with a couple quick clicks is awesome. You will still be able to see vendors, textures, and people. Likewise, finding a beautiful setting on the grid and turning on shadows with a click while holding a view I want to photoclick is amazing.
If you are still with me, I have three more settings that really boosted my performance experience and I am still exploring how well they work. Please understand these are experimental. Also remember I’m creating some of the control names myself, the DEBUG names are long and not always helpful.
Meshmaxrequests. (DEBUG = MeshMaxConcurrentRequests) This is the call for mesh to load/render on your machine. You may find the default is set to 32. You may read on someone’s blog that you should set this to 96 so you get more mesh faster. DO NOT DO THIS. I set this between 10 to 20. Setting it higher JAMS up your machine with multiple requests for info it cannot process in time. If it jams up —-no mesh will render. You get lots of gray.
FSmeshrequesttimeout. (DEBUG = FSMeshRequestTimeout) This is a Firestorm only setting. (see the FS start to it?) The main viewer does not have this setting. This tells the mesh request how long to wait for a mesh load before deciding to quit bothering. You should give the mesh more time to load, not less. I set between 160 to 200.
Texturefetch. (DEBUG = TextureFetchConcurrency) This is like the mesh request setting above. It tells the viewer how many HTTP pipelines to set up for loading image textures for you. If you have an old machine, or do not use HTTP textures, it will be defaulted to Zero. If you have a better graphics card, you can raise this to 2, 3, or higher. I started mine on 2 for a few months and saw big speed increase in renders. I have it at 4 these days. That’s telling my machine to go ahead and pull 4 lines of texture data at the same time.
It should be obvious that all these settings are pulling from the same source, the horsepower of your machine, and the bandwidth connection you have to SL. You should not demand more of mesh loads without expecting other texture loads might suffer. Your ISP connection can only handle so much. So all this is a balancing act.
I’m done. I hope some of this data is good for you. I’ve not seen it collected lately anywhere else. This kind of thing goes out of date, so if you find this and the year is not 2014, then nevermind.