I went to a dance show recently, and during the show, I was reminded several times that things are not always equal in SL.
I have an older computer with a new graphics card. However, it is still not a great enough graphics card that I can use top-of-the-line settings when I am in SL. (That’s on my current wishlist!) I now have better internet (thank the Lord!), but I am still not able to run SL on Ultra graphics settings. I did turn on shadows recently, something I couldn’t do on my old, crappy internet.
But I still do things to limit my lag – I turn down my draw distance, I don’t run on Ultra, I lower the number of particles, etc.
At the dance show, I was hopeful the better internet would allow me to enjoy (and photograph) the show successfully.
It mostly worked.
I was able to watch the show and take a number of photos without too much trouble. However, there are always those little things.
At most dance shows, you are asked to remove scripted items, AO’s, facelights, etc. to help reduce the lag. You are also almost always asked to set your viewer to midnight.
I rarely do. When I set my viewer to midnight, I feel like I miss half of the show. I don’t think a lot of performers give a lot of thought to the lighting of their performances. I like to be able to see the performer’s face. And since most shows don’t use a spotlight, I usually end up turning my viewer back to a midday setting so I can actually see the show.
It was a terrific show, one that I enjoyed very much. But it was those little things that kept interrupting – breaking that ‘fourth wall,’ as it were. Due to my computer, even though I arrived about 20 minutes before the show started, everything did not rezz as it should have. In one number, the performer’s feet were showing (in that lovely pointy look you get when you wear the shoe base), even though I could clearly see her mesh shoes. I don’t know if she forgot to wear the shoe alpha, or if it was just my computer. In another number, the flexi parts of the performer’s costume were grey until about halfway through the set.
The show ended with an act that had a number of set changes, and my poor computer just couldn’t keep up with all the new things appearing. Just as a set would finally rezz in for me, it would disappear and I would be waiting on the next one. Although I understood the effect the performer was going for, it’s hard to enjoy a visual spectacle that you can’t see. (Something like getting seats to a great game and then finding out they are behind a post – argggh!)
Particles and effects can also cause problems. In one of the numbers, there was a point where a particle effect went off. My screen filled – with giant grey squares, completely obscuring my view of the stage and the performers. Sigh. The next time the effect triggered, I was able to enjoy the view, as my computer had finally rezzed the texture – a flurry of small, tiny snowflakes. -.-
During the show, I initially set my viewer to midnight, as requested. However, everything seemed too dark and it made it difficult to see the performers.
As an experiment, I took a picture of myself in-world, using both settings – midday and midnight. I am not wearing a facelight, and I did not edit these photos (other than cropping them).
I wonder if the performers create their sets with their viewers set to midnight? Do they wear facelights? Interesting questions – and ones I hope to pose to some of these performers!