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WindLight How To - Avatar Impostors Settings | VintFalken.com
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VintFalken.com

WindLight How To - Avatar Impostors Settings

November 21, 2007 10:58 pm

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After Shoshana Epsilon mentioned not liking Avatar Impostors showing up in stead of normal avatars starting at a distance of 10 meters, the Watermelon God decided upon enlightenig us on the Avatar Imposters system. He chose to do so in the comments, so for the benefit of this valuable piece of information not getting lost, I’ll recap here that here.

But first we need to know what the avatar imposter system is. According to the wikipedia:

Impostor is a term used instead of billboard if the billboard is meant to subtly replace a real 3D object.

And a billboard is yet another word for a sprite, a three-dimensional image that is used to replace objects that might normally be modeled using texture mapped polygons, such as our avatars. As most 3D rendering engines can process “3D sprites” much faster than other types of 3D objects, this means a serious performance gain. Linden Lab claims this will even go up to a 40% better frame rate when visiting crowded area’s. They are called billboards, because they will always face your camera, just as billboards do with your car on the highway. So no more avatars turning their backs on you! ;)

And now we know what the avatar imposter system is all about, let’s get to business and tweak it!

How to control your Avatar Impostors distance:

  1. Tune Avatar Impostors distance - Second Life Graphics PreferencesGo into File > Preferences and choose the Graphics tab. If you are wearing your WindLight client, it should look like the screenshot on your right. To be able to control the avatar imposters settings yourself*, on the right next to Quality and Performance, check custom.
  2. Under Avatar Rendering, check Avatar Imposters if you want it on, uncheck if you want no avatar imposters. Yeah, I know: duh!
  3. Under Mesh Detail, find the Avatar slider. If you slide it to the right, you will increase the distance at which avatars become impostors, if you slide it to the left, that distance will decrease.
  4. Finish this tough decision - graphics quality/enjoyment ft. performance - off by pressing ‘OK’. (Don’t need me to tell you where that button is, now do you? ;))

*You can also set quality to either low, mid, high or ultra, which will result in different Avatar Mesh Detail, and thus in a different distance at which avatar impostors start to occur. But with the Second Life client graphics settings, I suggest to experiment to see what works best for you and your - beloved, I trust - graphics card.

Interesting material? I have some more tutorials on Second Life Photography / Snapshotting and texture creation for your reading pleasure.

Torley Linden’s classy video compliment to my text tutorial:

Sell WindLight settings?

(Vint's) Linden DollarMr. Torley ‘Watermelon’ Linden also says in the comments that they will be working on making the WindLight settings a sharable inventory item. This means you will be able to share, sell, trade, whatever you can do with iventory objects now. Sadly enough, this will not happen until WindLight makes it to be the main viewer, and the server side controls for this are ready. Maybe they’ll let it be controlled by scripts too? ‘Click here for a beautiful sunset!’ does sound nice, no?

High-res snapshots dislike WindLight

Cannery - the sim‘There IS a known (at least internally, haven’t seen it on public Issue Tracker yet but will link it up if I do) bug with taking high-res snapshots & glow, and high-res snapshots having seams (particularly noticeable through water). ‘

Ah well, for me that already occured sometimes when shooting with the old client and RenderGlow set to True in the debug menu. So I guess indeed the glow is to blame? But - again - for me, it’s causing less trouble then with the OldLook and I’m already used to it. Will cope with it until they fix those seams. As long as they do not take WindLight away from me, I’ll be fine.

18 Responses to “WindLight How To - Avatar Impostors Settings”

Torley wrote a comment on November 21, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

Great post, I’ve GOT to share this around. =o)

Vint Falken wrote a comment on November 21, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

Wow, that was quick! If you’re ‘here’ anyway, care to comment on Faerie’s problem too?

I have a miniskirt that is always totally invisible in WL. I know I am wearing it as sometimes when i put it on it initially and briefly appears as grey - then goes totally invisible. Others I have spoken to have also experienced this issue with other items of clothing.

Or it’s not a bug but a Linden coder whom likes naked avie girls? :p

WindLight has returned! | VintFalken.com sent a pingback on November 21, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

[…] Avatar imposter system. The claimed results: up to 40% fps increase in crowded scenes. (I’m taking a deeper look into the avatar impostors settings in a separate post.) […]

Torley wrote a comment on November 21, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

Uh, I assure you we don’t have those kind of perverts here.

The “invisible skirt” bug is:

» https://jira.lindenlab.com/browse/DEV-6181

:)

Vint Falken wrote a comment on November 21, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

jira.lindenlab.com => normal beings cannot go there, only the gods may walk that path? :p

Jira.secondlife.com is down for me. :(

Torley wrote a comment on November 21, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

*sighs softly*

Bad timing today that got in the way of my work; the Issue Tracker is currently down. Rob Linden has already contacted Cascadeo (hosting company) about it; I think some additional maintenance work must be done on it, too…

Kailie Quinn (Katarina Malthus) wrote a comment on November 22, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

I think it’s great, personally.

As far as using it as a saleable items, it’s very easy to create your own windlight presets and give them to all your friends.

Go into (vista path, for xp knock off the x86) C:\Program Files (x86)\SecondLifeWindLight\app_settings\windlight\skies, and copy an xml file, rename it and open it in your favourite XML editor (Visual Studio 2008 for me). Magically, you’re creating your own custom, redistributable lighting template. Most all settings in SL are stored in an XML file.

Sky config files are written like this:

ambient

0
0
0
1

blue_density

0.18153078854084015
0.49999505281448364
1
1

blue_horizon

0.43070217967033386
0.85394656658172607
1
1

cloud_color

0.53962135314941406
0.53962135314941406
0.53962135314941406
1

cloud_pos_density1

0.5
0.5
0.69569224119186401
1

cloud_pos_density2

0.5
0.5
0.125
1

cloud_scale

0.10999999195337296
0
0
1

cloud_scroll_rate

10.49940013885498
10.01099967956543

cloud_shadow

0.3765256404876709
0
0
1

density_multiplier

0.0003499999875202775
0
0
1

distance_multiplier

2.9846153259277344
0
0
1

east_angle
0
enable_cloud_scroll

1
1

gamma

1.6100000143051147
0
0
1

glow

4.2061538696289062
0.0010000000474974513
-0.44246155023574829
1

haze_density

2.8830769062042236
0
0
1

haze_horizon

0.49740666151046753
0.19915600121021271
0.19915600121021271
1

lightnorm

0
0.86074197292327881
-0.50904154777526855
0

max_y

600
0
0
1

preset_num
10
star_brightness
0
sun_angle
2.1048672199249268
sunlight_color

0.88526362180709839
1.2300000190734863
1.2300000190734863
0.40999999642372131

Copy that, modify the values and save as Whateveryouwanttonameit.XML.

(sincerely hopes wordpress doesn’t butcher this comment).

Kailie Quinn (Katarina Malthus) wrote a comment on November 22, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

Since it did molest the crap out of the diction, here’s a link:

http://flickr.com/groups/secondlife/discuss/72157603259141764/

CodeBastard Redgrave wrote a comment on November 22, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

Personally, okay i may be out of track. But why the hell make them as inventory items when this could be setup on a parcel/sim basis?

Don’t you guys think this would be a way unwanted overhead on the already suffering inventory system? Also woudn’t it be totally irritating to get on a themed sim and be forced to actually download an inventory item in order to see the sky and water like the sim builder intended you to see it?

Think of it. You would have to map your entire sim with spammy or buggy or at least naggy inventory givers and rely on those for the people to see what the sky looks like on that brave new sim?

It’s neither resource efficient or logical. And selling skys? Come on! That makes no sense at all. Just add a tab accessible to estate managers and sim owners in the Land settings, allowing to select any sky made with the editor. This way the viewer could upload the said XML settings to the sim for each parcel, and impose it to the visitor’s viewers. Of course the visitor can always override the sim settings with his own sky.

This makes a lot more sense than having them as inventory items. Torley, I plead for you to think about this again.

Vint Falken wrote a comment on November 22, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

Thanks Kailie. See, I knew you were going to correct me! ;) So we can improvised share them? Great! This does look like more work then just drag and drop on inventory though. :(

Codie, why an inventory item? No modify options, a script may just enable them (if we’re lucky), … . I’m sorry, but the ‘click to see sunset’ was just an example.

If now already ‘night’ settings in OldLook for instance on a sim don’t give view to everybody (did the comparison with Sho once, I saw tons, she saw nothing), what will that be with WindLight then?

As for the selling, sharing, … well, it’s up to each avatar how to use this? But I’m rather sure my WindLight settings will be better ordered and there will be less crap lying around then with my notecards and textures.

Kailie Quinn (Katarina Malthus) wrote a comment on November 22, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

Ask and ye shall recieve ; )

Might be a little more work, but not all that much. Frankly, you could write a simple webpage to output windlight xml files if you wanted to, point being, I agree with codie on a few points, mostly that it is ludicrous to pay for something like that.

CodeBastard Redgrave wrote a comment on November 22, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

@Vint:

the ONLY good way i could see windlight settings as invent items, is if you can use those inventory settings in your Land configuration, as we can choose a texture. this way, people could share windlight settings (or sell the sky if they want to), but estate managers could still manage it efficiently without relying on invent spammers. this would be the ultimate solution and everyone would be happy ^^

ok. i dont think ill go on a crusade on this. but im going to buy a sim very soon, that would be idiotic to have windlight settings spammers at each corner of the sim. i dont feel that strong about this, i just think its dumb.

as for Kitty’s XML file sharing thingy, well Kitty is a smart cat. she knows we hackish people will share our settings this way. but she knows that doesnt help the estate setting problems, most end user wont get through this to visit a sim thats for sure ;)

Vint Falken wrote a comment on November 22, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

Kailie, could we easily import them too then? Or is an SL client reboot necessary each time you want to load new ones?

Codie, using the WindLight inventory settings in the Land Configuration would mean enforcing them on people for sim exploration, no? Well, they can still change them, but they will be starting that way. Dunno.

But it would be neat that I could give winter setting sun to my liking WindLight settings with my Winter Outfit. I don’t say we need to sell them.. if we have that possibility, we might as well share them with the others for 0L$, right? Or people could put them in a HUD for activation so we do not need to go into the Second Life Client Preferences menu each time!

If kitty is a smart cat, she can help me with my little WindLight Comparison Project. (see next to come post) I’m really curious.

CodeBastard Redgrave wrote a comment on November 22, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

@Vint:

yeah thats exactly how I see it. the sim manager would impose Windlight settings on the viewer, but you can always override them with your own windlight settings. i agree it could be nice to give out (or sell out i dont really care) winter windlight settings for example with an outfit or something. could add a little plus value. but it would make little sense on a tropical island no? thats why i see them as environmental settings that every sim owner should be able to “impose” on the viewer in an easy way.

i see them as environmental settings, not personal settings, tho you can override them. the people that makes those environments should be able to streamline their vision to the viewer. on my sim i want my red sky with white clouds and white sun! (see my latest Flickr post ;)

Kailie Quinn (Katarina Malthus) wrote a comment on November 22, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

You have to reboot the client each time. SL loads configuration files when it starts. However, what you can do, is load useless template xml files, and then overwrite those in game.

Duplicate a bunch of templates, go into second life, use the environment configurator to create the preset you want, and save over one of the blanks. SL will do the writing for you.

Vint Falken wrote a comment on November 22, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

Codie: Cannes has palm trees as well as winters! :D

i see them as environmental settings, not personal settings

Ah, I think there we differ. I see WindLight as personal settings. Something to experiment with, to fool around with… not something to inforce on the others. (Especially not when I change my sees into glass etc. :p)

But I think ’streamlining’ the WindLight experience will not be possible. But I am willing to test on that. See the next post! ;)

Great idea, Kailie! You’re (close to) genius. =d So I reckon you’re in on the WindLight comparison project? *grins and tries to move the ears in a very cute begging way*

SuezanneC Baskerville wrote a comment on November 23, 2007
MyAvatars 0.2

Should “3D sprite” be “2D sprite” ?

Arrehn wrote a comment on November 21, 2008
MyAvatars 0.2

It should be obvious that they are environmental settings.. They are even labelled that way.

- Just like the creator can pick their terrain elevation layout (everyone doesn’t have to download a terrain map and apply it individually)

- Just like the land owner can set the default time of day

- Just like the land owner can set the land texture

So too should a land creator be able to set the default atmospheric lighting properties, color of the water, behavior of the clouds, speed of the wind.

This is so obvious.

I have to say that windlight won’t realize its potential until it can be an integrated part of a sim experience.. not something each individual avatar has to do extra on their own.

Care to comment?