Monday, December 8, 2014

Your Zero-Lag Events Avatar

This article was published in Fusion Magazine, November 2014. Click for the magazine!

Do you like shopping events? I do! But if there's anything that can ruin the experience, that is lag. Currently, the large amount of mesh attachments in our avatars, together with the high resolution textures that many of them use, provoke slow rez times that test our patience, not to mention all the stress over our graphics cards and viewer crashes.

All this could be alleviated if each of us stopped by events, particularly on the first days (when they're the most crowded), in an avatar prepared to use the minimum possible amount of resources.

We may think that this is not our problem and that people should upgrade their machines. But the truth is that we do not know if people could actually upgrade their machines, or if their slow connection could be upgraded to a faster one. We don't know. But we know this: with a little collaboration on our side, we will be contributing to improving everybody's SL experience, including ours, being smoother when visiting crowded places, such as shopping events.

A very easy way to do this, which will make of you the lowest lag avatar possible, both from the script side and from the mesh/textures side, is creating an outfit that will make us completely invisible, without attachments. Outfits have a great advantage: using them is immediate. We don't have to look in our inventory for all its parts, we only have to wear the outfit, to replace our current one. How do we do all this? That's what we explore now.

First of all, we may want to save our current outfit. Click on the Appearance button.

This opens a window. Then move your mouse to the bottom of the window that opens, and click the down arrow next to Save As.

Give your outfit a name and click OK.

Now, detach everything you're wearing. If you don't know what you're wearing, you can access to the WEARING tab of your inventory.

Then right click over each item, and either Detach (if it's an object) or Take Off (if it's a clothing layer). Beware that we are not able to take off our skin, head base, eyes and shape. Our avatar will always be wearing one of these items, the rest are optional. If you're a Firestorm user, you may want to leave the bridge attached. It's not going to be an issue for scripts lag.

We could now look for an already done completely transparent alpha layer, but let's take this opportunity to learn how to create our own. First, close the Appearance window, and open your Inventory. Locate the Body Parts folder, right click with your mouse over it, and select New Clothes: New Alpha Mask

Rename it as something like Full Alpha, and Wear it. Once worn, right click on it, and Edit. You will see a window like this:

Making a full alpha is the simplest case, for we don't have to drop any textures on these boxes. All we have to do is tick all the checkboxes, like the next picture shows (we'll see our avatar vanishing as we tick boxes), and then hit the Save button at the top of the window.

Once we've done this, we save this outfit as we've learned before, giving it a name as Invisible - Ready for Events (or anything along these lines that makes sense to you).

Whenever we want to wear it, all we have to do is open up the Appearance window, right click over the outfit, and select Wear - Replace Current Outfit.

This will immediately replace our outfit, and we'll be ready to visit the event, causing the least lag possible to other avatars, and of course, to ourselves.

Share this with your friends, and help events being more lag-free places!

See you in the next issue. Enjoy your SL.

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