Mesh Mess – A Lesson in Frustration

Mess MeshI’m a big fan of mesh.

I wear pretty much all mesh clothes, I own a mesh body, I have mesh hands and feet, and I own about 4 or 5 mesh heads.

I love how much prettier mesh is when I’m taking photos.

Since the advent of mesh, the question of whether or not to use it when dancing has been debated.

I’ve danced in mesh clothing before.

I’ve danced with mesh hands and feet before.

I have never danced with a mesh head or a mesh body.

I’ve heard complaints from others about watching shows where headless bodies were dancing, costumes didn’t rez, set pieces didn’t rez, etc.

Never having experienced these problems (other than the occasional SL glitch), I realized I kind of dismissed the issue.

*I* could see everything fine, so what’s the big deal?

It must be their computers, or their preferences, or whatever.

After a recent fiasco at a performance, I’m re-thinking my approach.

Preferences

I attended a dance show where I knew it would be crowded.

I arrived about 30 minutes early to give myself (and my computer) time to cache everything prior to showtime.

When I arrived, I was immediately hit by a small bout of lag.

I began to make adjustments.

I lowered my graphics preferences (I usually run on Ultra).

I lowered my draw distance and particles.

I went into the advanced menu and began disabling things like sky, water, clouds, etc., that I wouldn’t need to render for the show.

The first number went okay, with only one dancer being sans hands for the entire routine.

I figured I had acted in time, and I would be able to enjoy the rest of the show.

Act Two

Mesh Mess 2The second act hit the stage, and out of 8 dancers, two of them remained stubbornly bald, naked, and without hands or feet.

I wish I understood why this happened – all 8 dancers were wearing the same costume.

6 rezzed, 2 did not.  ???

Feeling frustrated, I was going to try either tp’ing out and back, or relogging, to see if that would clear up whatever issue I was having.

Unfortunately for me, just as I was contemplating this, it was announced that access had been closed, and that if anyone left or crashed, you would be unable to get back in.

So that option was no longer available. 😦

I decided to try and tough it out, hoping that things would somehow fix themselves and I would be able to see.

Third Time’s a Charm?

Mesh Mess 3Sadly, no, it wasn’t.

Again, out of 8 or 10 dancers, the two main dancers appeared naked, bald, and missing appendages.

I don’t know if it was the same issue as the previous act, where everyone was wearing the same costume, or not.

But it’s very hard to enjoy a dance performance when literally half (or more) of the performer is missing/invisible.

Now, I know this issue is NOT the fault of the performers.

Most of them were simply wearing the costumes they were given and doing their jobs.

Mesh Mess 4(Note – some of the pictures may appear a bit pixellated due to their small size.  I tried to crop out as much extraneous information as possible in the pictures, because I am not trying to blame the dancers or the venue.)

In desperation, I de-rendered the entire audience, hoping that would help.

At this point, I was soooo frustrated.

I decided to stay for one more act.

It had already been almost an hour, and I knew that if the next act didn’t go well, there was no point in staying for the rest of the show.

What I saw (or rather, didn’t see) next, is what made me re-think my attitude towards mesh.

Mesh MessAs the curtain slooowly opened, I sighed.

Rather than getting better, it appeared my problems were getting worse.

The main dancer was nothing but a floating head.

I’m assuming she was wearing a mesh body.

I don’t know, because I couldn’t see it.

The gentlemen next to her had hands, thankfully, but no hair, and no lower half.

Argghhhhhh!

Time to call it a night. 😦

Reflections

After having some time to reflect on things, my attitude towards mesh has changed a bit.

For photography, I will continue to wear mesh so I don’t have to spend hours faffing with photos to get rid of jagged edges and such.

For dancing – I’m still not sure, but I know that I will at least put more thought into how I create my routines after my experience.

Yes, mesh looks fabulous.

But does that matter if many in the audience can’t see it anyway?

I have seen dancers who wore mesh bodies and clothing and I had no issues.

However, I’m not sure it’s worth the risk, even if it’s only one or two people who have problems.

It’s easy to blame the audience members, or their computers, or their ISPs, or whatever.

I have a good computer, a high-speed direct cable connection, and I did a ton of things to reduce lag issues, some of which most casual users wouldn’t even know to do.

It’s also easy to blame SL, though I’m not certain that’s the issue either.

Could I have arrived earlier and avoided issues?

Possibly.

But 30 minutes has generally been a good window, and quite frankly, unless the show is a one-time event, it’s just not worth sitting somewhere for an hour waiting for the show to start.

I think perhaps it just boils down to your own personal approach.

While it would be amazing to put on a show where 100+ people came, if the end result is even one person having my experience, to me, it’s not worth it.

I would much rather limit the amount of people to ensure that everyone has a good experience.

I will probably continue to use mesh props and wear mesh costume pieces, but I doubt that I will ever dance in my mesh head and/or body.

Previous to this experience, I had been considering it.

Now, I’m not sure it’s worth the possible problems.

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16 thoughts on “Mesh Mess – A Lesson in Frustration

  1. I’ve been ranting about this for a very long time because even though I have a very high powered computer (albeit a mac) with good cable connection I have this huge problem with mesh hands and feet and dancing heads. Very often I see a ton of alphas instead of those wonderful costumes they spent so much money on. I’m just waiting for to see someone who is wearing a mesh head as well as a body and I’ll have to turn name tags on to see if there is anyone on stage. Too bad Server Side Baking made it so everyone sees him or herself perfectly and assumes all is well for everyone else, but it just ain’t so.

    Just because the owner has no issues doesn’t mean that he/she should allow 100 people onto the sim if it affects the performance for everyone else. At the Empire Room where I dance, the limit is 70 on the sim and it is restarted two hours before the show begins. I know that’s not possible if you only rent or own a part of a sim, but it makes for a very smooth show for most people unless the Linden gods decide act up. Everyone rezzes the sets to cache them in the half hour before the show and changes all the costumes so they cache too.

    I think part of the problem is that dancers are in multiple numbers and doing quick costume changes. Are they caching the different costumes beforehand? Also rebaking just before the curtain goes up can help a lot.

    Not only does mesh clothing have issues of not rezzing fully but it simply doesn’t dance well or even move well in many cases, which is why so many of the mesh dresses are incredibly short. There is still the issue of breakthrough and the mesh stretching unattractively. As you say, for photography mesh is wonderful, but for dancing it’s far from perfect.

    1. SL is a very complicated place and I know it’s not possible to anticipate every problem that might arise for everyone. That said, yes, I would rather a venue have multiple shows with limited seating and enjoy the show than spend an hour or more watching mostly invisible people. :-/

  2. I have had the stance for a long time Kat. I have watched too much fall apart. Fellow troupe members I saw perfectly in the dressing room were heads on stage. I did not grouse too loud cause I recently had other computer problems. Nor do I want the dancers to feel bad, cause some people are seeing them right. But honestly it has gotten worse, instead of better with updates, and I cannot help but think that the audience might have some hand in it. If 40 of 70 people are showing up fully meshed, that has to increase the issues even if they are derezzed.

    I am not a tech person, I have no explanation for it other than 3d designers telling me that people who design mesh in sl suck at it, using too many polygons. Well fine, but that does not solove the problems. And we are all in sl to learn new things.

    Nor would I want to police people, they are out for the evening, they want to look good. I have had to ask my self, is my appearance, sitting in a chair, that I rarely look at, worth more than the performance I went to see? It is still possible to look fabulous in a system body and watch a show. Should the theater itself be less mesh and laggy? I have been to shows in a gorgeous theater that was a disaster cause of all that ‘pretty’ mesh sitting around. But I do not think the venue owner even knows that is why.

    As for the rest of it, yes I will continue to wear mesh hands and feet on stage cause the alternative is just awful, but as for the bod, I just think we have gotten ahead of what SL can handle and we need to slow down and let it catch up. In the mean time we need to be a little more reflective on the drive for the perfect look at ALL times.

    1. Yes, I agree – I am sure that the dancers were doing everything they could to ensure that things went smoothly. Honestly, I have no idea what the audience looked like, because I am usually taking pictures of the dancers, so I don’t focus on the audience or myself. I was not wearing my mesh bod or head, though I did have mesh hair and a mesh dress. I always get my scripts as low as possible as well when I attend shows. I completely agree that some people are there to be ‘seen’ and that’s fine – though I did wonder what kind of numbers I would have seen had I turned on RW values. I’m not interested in policing people either, but we’ve all gotten used to having to de-script, forgo facelights, etc. I don’t think there is an easy answer, but I will definitely be re-thinking how I approach my costuming and sets in routines!

  3. So right there with you Kat! I am fortunate and have graphics cards up the wazoo and a very high powered laptop developed for gaming that allows me to enjoy a show with 70 guests…but at Empire and Winds we do all cache before hand…and do our costumes just like Jo said…so we are doing all that we can. Even with all that….I have had a few times where I have been watching headless or hand less or footless folks…and it really does kill the happiness and wonder of it all. I have more mesh hair that Imelda Marcos has shoes, but I hate it when I dance….and again…same thing with my mesh clothes….I think you lose something when the clothes don’t move with you….or have anti-gravity effects….the stuff is gorgeous….and I love being a fashion goddess, but I miss that beautiful twirl and poof of a skirt…and when we end up spending all that money on our meshies only to go out there looking like a Barbie that’s been run over by a lawnmower….well….it’s a give and take….just don’t take my hands!

    1. I am sure that all the dancers did all the right things this time as well – rezzing sets ahead of time, pre-wearing outfits, etc. I didn’t have any issues with stuttering between dances, so clearly the animations cached. But you’ve hit it on the head – not being able to see it as intended sucks the joy out of it.
      I’ve often danced with mesh hands and feet as well. I was seriously considering attempting to dance in a mesh bod, but after this experience from the audience’s perspective, I don’t know if I will or not. I spend a lot of time making dances so that people can see them – if that is missing, what’s the point? And I totally agree about the twirling skirts – I’m even rethinking mesh hair!! 😛

  4. Well maybe if all users that use mesh hair, bodies, hands, feet and HEADS(!!!) made sure that they where using modifiable items, where one could delete non needed scripts, change textures to 512 instead of 1024, all those issues could be adverted.
    I use to sail and always use my mod mesh body hands, hair and feet and in cruises where you have over 50 avatars and their boats, does who use mesh bodies do try to make them the less draw height impact possible, be my removing no nedded layers, deleting scripts or using 512 skins.
    Of course this is only possible when you are using brands that allow you to mod the bodies by rezzing them in world, as Lena’s luch or perky and a few small others.
    I do blame not only creators that don’t allow their mesh parts to be full modded as users that don’t even know how they can make all they wear less impact.
    But lets not forget Ll screw something during last rollovers and i do only hope they will fix it asap.
    Also, by using viewers like firestorm, users are not helping themselves or others, as if one uses ll viewer you can bet you will have a lot less issues.

    1. There are so many variables that it’s impossible to know exactly what causes many issues. I could use the LL viewer, but I’ve never had issues like this before with FS, and I just don’t like the LL viewer. FS has tools I use on a daily basis that aren’t available with the LL viewer.
      I don’t know everything about modding, but I wasn’t wearing my mesh body or head. And only one of the dancers was wearing a mesh body, the rest of the rez issues were mesh clothing. Which, as you say, is often made by creators who aren’t as proficient as others at making mesh low impact/low polygon.

  5. You have touched on the very reason why I will not wear mesh for a performance, the updates and so-called improvements seem to have made seeing mesh even worse, and lately, it has been the torso missing if a person is wearing a mesh body. The first time I went to Starlite, Adam Magic’s head was missing, just a pair of eyes peeking out of a non-existent head, which was beyond disconcerting, and several numbers, all I saw on people were the alphas, with none of the costumes coming in. It’s so funny, I had a friend almost insist on buying me a slink body and I told him, not on your life, explaining the problems I am constantly having. He loves his new look, which I have to admit does look good when you can see it, but I have a custom shape I am very pleased with, and everyone seems to think the same, so why change? I do have the demo of the TMP body, which doesn’t allow for appliers, etc. I love it for strictly nude scenes, as the smoothness is better than the system body, but then again, if someone says they cannot see it, off it comes. I have long been a proponent of no mesh clothing when it comes to burlesque, and have never understood why so many insist on using it in acts. Yes I will wear it in someone else’s act, but you will never catch me asking for someone to wear mesh in one of mine. I also prefer the more fluid movement of system clothes, to me, mesh evening gowns and cocktail dresses look plastic and rigid with very little flow when walking and dancing. The few mesh evening gowns I have have prim components that ease the stiffness enough to where I can enjoy them.

    1. I’ve had several people tell me that mesh issues seem to have increased lately, so I don’t know if that’s part of the problem or not. I was surprised at my experience, all the more so because I’ve never really had any issues before. I’ve seen dancers who wore mesh bodies and mesh heads and had no problems. So it all seems to be very hit and miss.
      I love the fluid movement of flexi skirts as well, but I do love how much prettier mesh is. 😛 For photography, it can can’t be beat. But as I said, I will have to think long and hard about wearing mesh at performances. After all that hard work, I’d hate for someone in the audience to see me as bald, naked, and missing appendages!!

    2. Ariel! Thank you so much for showing me this blog post and thank you Kat for voicing the same complaints I have been shouting about for years, and being reprimanded for… just because my views are different than those who feel they are better than me! I will post a full comment in a bit.

  6. I have heard, “Clint, you are too old, and set in your ways! Get with the modern times!” I roll my eyes at people who just do NOT understand. I am a perfectionist… a “Nazi” when it comes to appearance on stage, yes! I admit it! I will pick apart any performance, and search diligently to find the root of any minor issue, it is just my way. When I think something is perfect, there must be something wrong! LOL
    When mesh came along, I was NOT impressed at all. Same with some dance tools… people go gah-gah over… Hell, I even bought into it with one such tool… and I hardly use it! “Clint, you NEED to use these things, in order to be popular like us!” Pfft!
    People do NOT get it.
    I don’t want to be like them! I want to do things right!
    We all live by certain constraints… SL region resources. They don’t get better… they only get worse! When you look at your Region Estate data, there are a limited number of scripts a sim can handle. Use up 70% of those resources, and you are screwed! It doesn’t matter if it’s AO’s.. clothing.. bodies.. buildings… dance huds… or prim male appendages! The limits are there, and we as avatars cannot ignore the data.
    I run several entertainment shows and venues in SL, mostly revolving around adult entertainment, and I am sick and tired of hearing about “you need to have mesh on stage” when the very people preaching it, have no clue how stupid they look to 70% of the people in the room with them!
    I have several systems… ranging in graphics capabilities, and it doesn’t really matter which system I am on, when LL’s servers are at their limits. My business class ISP set on Turbo.. barely helps, because that only makes my own avatar look better on my screen.

    Now, for Chippendales.. for example.. every single tiny detail (and the guys can attest to this as fact) is considered, because we are representing Chippendales USA here in SL, and we have big shoes to fill! (or should I say thongs?) The dance sequences (cringes) need work, then we use a special animation HUD which animates us actually removing the clothing.. and if timed well with the “Taking Off” of the SYSTEM clothing, can look soooo realistic, is shocks ladies in our audience! Mesh? IMPOSSIBLE! System clothing is hard enough to deal with.. but MESH!? Mesh is fine when you’re not on my stage.. you step foot on MY STAGE, and you better be prepared to step it up a notch or two.. but using the OLD WAYS, because at least they work! You want to see a “Mesh Strip Show” go to Aces! Go right ahead! I promise you, in his mesh building, filled with mesh furniture and mesh people, he goes through that 70% of region resources faster than you can snap your fingers, so if there are more than 3 people in the audience, you won’t see a show.. you’ll only see ALPHAS! hahaha!

    The minute someone enters my venue to see a show, the game begins! Everything MUST look as realistic as possible, otherwise, the illusion is broken, and we have to start again to regain that sense in their minds, that they are really experiencing a RL show!

    Same with our Trans-Siberian Orchestra Tribute! We move around freely on stage for most of the performance.. Mesh eats up too many resources to allow us to do what we need to do! Keep your mesh for the beauty pagents!

    Now, when it comes to looking good, off stage, the ladies in my family say that blending mesh and flexi works great, not only for clothing but also for hair. I tend to agree with them on that point. One creative lady I know, was sorting through her inventory, getting ready to trash all of her old flexi gowns, but she stopped and instead, kept all of the flexi prim pieces, and said she plans on adding them to simple mesh dresses, for instance, to give them more of a realistic look. I say good idea!

    Now.. mesh buildings.. I am giving those a try. We’re almost done having our sims rebuilt.. most of the casinos (Las Vegas) are mesh, but buildings, done RIGHT.. seem to be good. Clothing? Bodies? Sorry.. they have a long way to go to impress me before I will allow them on my stages!

    1. I think a large part of the problem is that when SL was first born, many of the things we now taken for granted (like mesh) weren’t even on the horizon. Technology changes at lightning speed these days and it’s sometimes impossible to make things play together nicely.
      I do like mesh body, head, and clothing, but I also make a concerted effort to not be a drain on sim resources when I go to events.
      Sadly, most people aren’t very educated about how to do that, and even some who are, don’t.

      1. You hit the nail right on the head, Kat! Oh, one thing I heard from a graphics person.. your shape should be all even numbers – something about graphics like even numbers better, and I find that I see less “points” when I follow this little rule of thumb.

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