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Styling - That Middle Ground - It Is Not Just Land Impact That Counts



The Cliffside Ranch is getting cozy -- as cozy as minimalist modern can be anyway.  As I started to take my first photo, I noted that I had some pretty heavy mesh in the mix. Not tons, mind you but my conscious was bugging me.   

We have been talking a bit on the SL forums about triangle count and "over texturing" (lots of 1024 textures on small objects). And yes, I do tend to lecture at times because I know things could be better.  So, paying attention to that practicing what you preach ethic, I pulled up the big "render mesh" offenders and replaced them with much lower triangle count items.   Did it change the feel of the room? A bit. But in my mind the new version was an improvement. 

Some of you have chatted with me inworld about not understanding the triangle count (or vertices take your pick) of objects or being able to get beyond that "well, it's only one land impact" idea.   It can be difficult to wrap your head around the concept so here is a visual  -- one more time.

The photo above is the view from the kitchen bar into the living room. Stairs lead up to a second floor.  

The couch along the far wall is 13 land impact and 54,857 triangles (what mesh looks like sort of on the cellular level)  with texture memory of 15,872.    The food platter on the right is 47, 208 with texture memory of 62,464 and ONE land impact.

The picture frame in the back has 144 triangles and texture memory of 10,244 and also 1 land impact.


Simplistically the food platter makes your computer work harder than the couch.   And the food platter IS the middle ground - LOL.   We aren't even looking at the really heavy mesh that I picked up in a fit of shame.  

So SMALLER numbers are better.  That's the easiest way to think about all of this and while land impact is important certainly, it doesn't tell you how dense the object is. To find that you need to right click on the object and then inspect it (right click > object >inspect). 



The item I used in place of the render mesh  was 1,422 triangles.  Just ONE of the pieces I replaced on this table weighed in at over 100,000 triangles.  That is a HUGE difference.  Some creators tend to offer heavier mesh, but even so within their product line there are likely items that fit into that middle ground.  PRETTY is important and details give our virtual life more spark and realism -- but careful choices can make the grid run more smoothly -- and with that a more pleasant virtual adventure.   


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So part of the point here is that it is fine to pay attention to the land impact of an object, but that isn't the ONLY important thing when you are buying mesh.   Here is an example.


These baskets do look slightly different, but does one look oh so much better than the other?  That's the question we need to ask ourselves a lot these days.

Here is the punchline. The basket on the left is 69,680 triangles and teh basket on the right is 4,410 triangles. One has over FIFTEEN TIMES the triangles of the other. They are BOTH one land impact. Both were uploaded with the same physics model and the same number of triangles for the lower LODs. 

 So while land impact is certainly important, it is only part of the story. People have been writing me wanting to understand why it matters. They want to learn and I am happy about that. Bottom line; less triangles are better for the both the grid and our computers. LI is not the only thing to consider. 

Here in my 3D modeling program you can see the underlying difference:


So if you are one of the folks that complains about lag -- and blames their neighbors.  Consider that you may be an offender too.   Most of us are to one extent or another, but it is good to temper our lustful d├ęcor cravings with some practicality and restraint -- or at least work on it (smile).  

To be the very best shopper you can be look at a variety of things.

  • Do you LIKE it (Well that's pretty important)?
  • Is the land impact reasonable for your needs?
  • Are the LODs (viewable distance before it falls apart) reasonable for you and your neighbor's needs?
  • Is the triangle count and texture use something you are willing to live with?

Moderation is good.

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