Second Life Render Cost and Limits

Kay has a REALLY good post about render weight. Image Source:
Image Source:

This post was inspired by someone asking in a group how/if alphas, shine, and glow contributed to lag.

I had recently been researching some other topics and had come across a page in the wiki about mesh/rendering weight costs.

In fact, I had been doing some testing on my avatar with render weight, because I seem to be wearing more and more mesh lately.

With a mesh body, mesh head, mesh hands and feet, mesh hair, mesh clothes, mesh shoes, mesh jewelry – it’s endless.

Though I have a decent computer, I try to be mindful of others who might not.

When I attend dance shows or crowded events, I try to be as low-cost (render weight-wise) as I can.

I’ve even started adding the render cost of items to my LOTD posts.

It’s interesting to see how much items ‘cost’ – some I would think were heavy turned out not to be, and vice versa.

Render Weight Basics
800 ARC
I seem to have misplaced my hair. 😦

Your basic avatar (wearing eyes, skin, shape, and hairbase – all required items) should be 1000 ARC.

I got mine to 800 (there’s a note on the Wiki about some baked textures having a -200 score, but I’m not entirely clear on what that means or how it works).

However, I was surprised to see how much some ‘additions’ to items can affect their render weight.

There is a base cost for an item, but then you have to add in ‘multipliers’ based on certain features.

If you make an item ‘shiny,’ for example, it will multiply the render weight of the item by 1.6.

Glow is 1.5 and flexi is x5!

This Can’t Be True, Can It?

The question about these render weight factors was asked in a rather large clothing template group, and I was surprised by some of the responses after the render weight wiki page was shared.

Someone said, ‘Don’t pay too much attention to those.  They’re just ‘guidelines,’ not rules.”


Another person commented that the page couldn’t be right, because it listed alphas as x4, and “alphas make things invisible, so there’s no work for the computer to do.”

If you want to check your avatar render weight, go to Advanced > Performance Tools > Show Render Weight for Avatars (if you use FS).

I try to stay in the green (around 20,000) if I am going someplace laggy.

I’ve found that most jewelry has a pretty high render weight, so I tend not to wear jewelry a lot anymore, except for photos.

(Don’t forget to remove all those pesky scripts from things like hair/jewelry/shoes – those can add to lag as well.)

Kay over at Avataric has some really good posts about render weights, including the one featuring the picture above.

Should You Care?

Why should you care about render weights?

You don’t have to, of course.

But if you spend time dressing up your avatar and want others to see you in all your glory, you may want to, especially since LL is working on new tools that will let people set a baseline for which avatars will render and which will appear as ‘jelly babies,’ as Nalates Urriah termed them.

So if your avatar has a 100K+ render weight, and I have my preferences set to less than that, I will only see you as a colored blob.

Probably NOT the look most of us are going for. 😛

Image Source:

There have also been a few changes regarding limits in SL that you may or may not have heard about.

Originally, you could only wear one item for each layer (shirt, pants, etc.).

Then the option to ‘add’ items was added, allowing you to wear up to 5 items on each layer, with a total limit of 60 layers.

Additionally, you could attach a number of items to your avatar, but could only attach so many to any one attachment point.

Currently, according to the wiki, you can now wear 60 layers total, but the 5 item limit per layer has been removed.

You can also wear up to 38 avatar attachments (including HUDs), but you can now wear all 38 on one attachment point (if you wish).

I’m not sure why you would need to wear 60 layers of anything or put 38 attachments all on one point, but there you go. 🙂

(Note – you must always wear a shape, skin, eyes, and hairbase; however, only one of each is allowed.)


As I said, I am trying to be more conscious of my render cost.

One of my ‘to-do’ items is to go back through my inventory and get rid of really high render cost items that I don’t really need/use.

Or at least box them up. 😀

(Sadly, some 40-50K+ shoes may be getting binned.  But then I have an excuse to go shoe shopping, right?!)

As I acquire new items (and/or use them in LOTD posts), I am trying to keep track of which designers have low render weight items.

I’ve even seen a few designers putting the render cost on their vendor ads, which I love.

That way I can know the render cost BEFORE I purchase the item rather than after.

And now that I’m wearing sooo much mesh, it’s nice to know that I no longer have to worry about where everything attaches.

I’ve run into issues with that before, since so many mesh items are/were made to attach to the right hand.

Making outfits could get complicated. 🙂

I didn’t like mesh much at first, but it has grown on me.

Indeed, it’s getting harder to find non-mesh items these days.

Be an informed consumer, but as always – caveat emptor!

What’s Your AO?

Image Source:
Image Source:

I’ve been following a couple of online threads recently about various viewer issues – things not rezzing, Winnie’s missing left eye, etc. 😛

Weird things catch my eye, and after seeing some screen shots of people’s issues, I saw several AO’s.

I use the Firestorm viewer and I also use the built-in AO.

I love it.

No attachments to fuss with and no remembering to put it in every outfit.

When I first heard about the built-in AO’s, I remember hearing that it would help cut down on lag.

I did a bit of searching around yesterday, but I can’t find any information on that.

The little I did find said that it might help a tad with lag, but that new scripts in newer AO’s are not a lag-inducing as they used to be.

I still see venues asking people to detach AO’s, so I wonder how lag-heavy AO’s are these days.

But then I started wondering – how many people use attached AO’s?

Are they better or worse than the built-in viewer AO’s?

Do people just use pre-built AO’s or do they modify them?

I personally have modified mine – removing stands and such that I didn’t care for (like the ones where you seem to be checking your shoes for something -.-).

I have changed the basic run into another one I like much better, etc.

Now if there was just a way to add an ankle lock animation into it – is that possible?

Does anyone have a home-grown AO – one that they cobbled together?

Attached or built-in?

What animation stores are favorites for AO animations?

If you use an attached AO, is there a reason you’ve made that choice over using a built-in AO?

I’m dying of curiosity over here!

Catch Up Tuesday

It’s Tuesday and I finally have a few moments to sit down, breathe, and blog!  It’s been a whirlwind weekend, and I missed tons of stuff, so I’ll be spending part of today catching up on everything.

I was so busy yesterday I didn’t even get a chance to check out the 21Shoe event.  *pouts*  Ah, well, I’m sure my bank account will thank me later. 🙂

The Pose Fair opened this weekend, so I’m hoping to find the time to make it there to check out some new (to me) pose makers.  I’m always on the lookout for a cute pose that I can use in one of my dances.

I was interested to see that plans are underway for SL’s 11th Birthday (check out the blog here).  I read somewhere else that LL may or may not be involved.  Huh?  LL may not be involved in a celebration of their own virtual world?  *smh*

There was a recent blog post from SL Blogger Support about crediting poses you use in your SL pics.  Photography in SL is something I’d like to learn more about, and I certainly agree that poses (and their makers) should be credited.  I’ve also been on the hunt for a good pose stand.  I have tons of poses and it can get tedious to run sort through them when I’m trying to find one to use in a dance.  Is there an easier way to do that than loading them all into a HUD or pose stand?

I see a TON of posts on my feed for hunts and gatchas and fairs.  I finally had to stop reading them all, because my inventory was getting ridiculous.  However, I still have lots of gatcha items that I don’t need and won’t ever use.  How do I go about getting rid of them?  I know there are yard sales (?) but I don’t really understand how they work.  I just saw a post about a new gatcha service – kind of like ebay for gatcha items.  And like ebay, they take a % of the profits.  Honestly, I don’t even really need to profit, I’d just like to see some of the items go to people who would actually use them.  Any ideas on how I could go about that?  Just head to noob island and hand them out?

Does anyone in SL think about copyright laws?  I get lots of TOS notecards when I buy textures or clothing or whatever.  But it seems kind of hypocritical to give me a notecard that says you’ll pursue a DCMA violation if I misuse your Batman/Spiderman/Tinkerbell costume.  Did YOU get permission from DC or Marvel or Disney????  Hmmmm . . . .

I’ve been reading about other virtual worlds and wondering whether it’s worth the time to check them out.  I had an IMVU account long ago, but I found it to be a pale version of SL.  What about InWorldz?  Is there another world worth exploring?

I really don’t like Facebook.  At all.  So I found this article interesting:  A Million Little Facebook Pieces

RP is everywhere in SL.  But I have yet to find a place that doesn’t seem intimidating.  I’ve been to several sims where I can just wander around as an OOC viewer, but it feels like I am intruding on other’s RP.  Other places, you just get plunked in the middle of everything and have to figure out what’s going on.  I don’t want to ruin someone else’s RP because I have no idea what the storyline is.

I started in SL about 5 years ago.  When I stop to look back on all the changes, it is pretty amazing.  Find someone new and introduce them to SL.  Or better, find someone who used to be in SL and convince them to try it again.  Sometimes seeing things through new eyes can change the way you think about things.

With all questions surrounding Bitcoin, I’m interested to see if/when the IRS decides to consider L$ taxable.  I don’t personally make any money in SL – my taxes are complicated enough as it is!

Annnnd – there you have it, my catch-up Tuesday!

I Just Don’t Understand . . .

Someone please explain the necessity for talking and/or enormous body parts in SL to me.

I don’t get it.

I mean, I understand that in SL, you can do and be many things that you simply can’t do/be in RL.  I get it, I do.  I can be a furry dog who owns a cabaret (:P), I can be a petite elf sprite with gossamer wings, or I can be a giant red dragon who will toast you and eat you.  I can fly in SL, even though I’m not Superman.

But I just don’t understand the talking body parts.

“Ashley’s tummy is rumbling.”


If the body parts talked to their owner only, I’d be okay with that.  I mean, my tummy talks to me in RL, right?  But it doesn’t broadcast my craving for ice cream to everyone within 20 meters.  I don’t understand pregnancy in SL, either.  I get that people might want to have kids to add to the realism.  But childbirth?  Why??????

As for *ahem* private parts that talk, I don’t get that either.  I’d like to decide when I’m done, thank you very much.

I also wonder at the need for items like the boob and butt attachments.  The shape sliders seem to allow plenty of ‘oomph’ in the bosom and bottom department, so I don’t understand the need for appliers.  And, of course, it is always taken to extremes – I recently saw a woman (I’m using the term loosely here) with enormous ta-tas with a milking apparatus attached to them.


This was at a dance venue, mind you, not some adult sim I accidentally tp’d into.

I just don’t understand.