When Linden lab reduced the amount of prim allocation for what became the ‘Homestead’ regions that was a clear indication that prim count made a difference to sim performance. But that was then and this is now, the Mesh revolution in second life.
When incorporating mesh Linden Lab have thought hard and are still tweeking occasionally the way Mesh is counted on region performance and how best to calculate for us. It wasn’t a simple task of comparing with prims, alot had changed since the creation of the prim and sculpted prims kinda added a false sense of performance that may have got out of hand.
I myself became obsessed with creating complex sculpt objects that only cost one prim against a region and not realising the increased cost that sculpty put on the viewer and servers. Soon everyone has been creating awesome looking avatars, Objects and buildings with sculpty prims. It has allowed people to have very detailed objects at a fraction of the prim count, but has inflated rendering costs which may have created more lag grid wide.
With the introduction of Mesh Linden Lab added the ‘More Info’ pop up to help us gage a sense of rendering costs alongside land impact and it’s an extremely important tool. Now when creating or placing an object we have a better indication of what that object will cost the region we are on. But what is more important? the Land impact or the Display cost?
Most people are still in the mind set of thinking about Land Impact first, and most don’t even know about ‘Display Costs’ but eventually we might all get in a habit of searching for trees with the least display cost rather than least land impact.
So heres my latest comparison. Old Sculpty Prim/Classic Prim combo Water Wheel VS New Mesh Water Wheel
Once you get used to the creating in blender, you will find you have so much more freedom to create more detailed objects compared to building inside SL. You have alot more control over things like the effects of LOD and texturing. Here are the ‘More Info’ stats showing the difference in display costs between the old and new waterwheels.
The Mesh water wheel is far more detailed model wise and texture wise, yet is half the cost to display by the viewer and takes half the time to download. But the mesh water wheel is 1 land impact more than the Sculpty wheel. In the end i can only assume that the sculpt wheel has a less accurate land impact since it costs so much more to display and Linden Lab can’t change the costs of Sculpty prims across the grid to be a more accurate representation of region costs, that would just upset EVERYONE.
So what’s the better water wheel? the one thats more detailed yet costs the viewer less to download and display, or the waterwheel that costs one less land impact? SL Users perhaps need to start changing how they think about rezzing objects inworld.