Tagged with "vr"
Could Social VR Replace Creative VR?
Category: Elf Clan News
Tags: social VR virtual reality facebook instagram twitter



At this time virtual reality is based on the following concepts:

* Creators love building and displaying their creations.  To do so, they need land.

* Land costs money.

* In order to afford land on Second Life, creators become merchants.

* Merchants require customers who buy their wares.

* Thus we have an economic system which drives land sales.

* Other land sales are fueled by real-life businesses and organizations who want exposure in a 3D virtual environment.

* To get such exposure, they need a lot of visitors.

* Those visitors come from the same source in which merchants make their sales.

* Those visitors can become residents, purchasing their own lands not for creative but rather for social gathering purposes, ie "permanent visitors".

* Another source of land sales is groups, which rely on regular visitors to form their populations.

* Grid primary profit source is land sales, which sales depend merchants, businesses, organizations and groups-- which all depend on visitors and residents.


The bottom line is that the primary source of income for virtual worlds as we know it isn't creators... but rather visitors and residents who fuel the economy and drive creative / business / organizational force.  This brings about land sales which are the core profit of virtual reality worlds.  Thus, the primary profit driver of VR is socially-based users.



That is where the problem comes in.  What if the majority of socially-based users are attracted not to a high-learning-curve creative VR platform, but instead an easy-to-use, zero-learning-curve VR social environment in which any and all creations are available at a price... but requiring almost no work or effort on their part.   The only "creativity" required would be shopping and rezzing goods bought, which pretty much everyone loves to do.


That is most likely the environment SL2 will be offering-- a social environment focusing on groups and individual profiles (aka Facebook)-- one in which the users/customers will not need to create or build anything (in fact, such likely won't be possible).  Their entire focus will be on exploring a ready-made world, enjoying social groups, chatting, "dancing", attending parties, listening to live music, and basically doing all the things that are already the most popular activities on virtual worlds.  The difference is it will all be easy. As a bonus, griefers (now removed of their toys on which they so heavily depend) will largely be a thing of the past.*



If such a social world draws the vast majority of potential visitors and residents to their grid, what will be left for current high-learning-curve VR such as Inworldz, Second Life and OpenSim?  It is predictable that while older grids may continue on at a minimal level, catering to those who love creativity for its own sake... the economy of such worlds could well collapse, forcing creators to switch from a market-based to reputation-based format (ie, instead of focusing on sales, they would focus on reputation gained from their creations... and goods would largely be just given away for the fun of it). Why?  Because there wouldn't be enough general population interested in buying wares on an "old fashioned, difficult-to-use grid" to fuel the economy and drive a sales-based merchant force.


That's just a possibility.   Whether that would actually happen or not is anyone's guess.


If such did happen however, those who own lands paid for by sales would have to abandon those lands, reducing significantly the profit margins of the grid.   If the grid survives it would be by catering to those with a creative bend.  But even those could be sucked in by "SL2" because... what if the SL2 grid allows limited building using provided advanced shapes (such as polygonal prims) with limited authorized scripts (available in the marketplace, of course) in an attempt to draw in everyone?
So it is quite possible that a well-managed, well-presented SL2 could threaten not only Inworldz and OpenSim... but current Second Life itself.  Because the reality is the vast majority prefer simple and easy-to-use over complex diversity.   And that is where the danger-level competition would come in.  Because if there is one thing current VR is not... is simple and easy-to-use.



So how can a company like Inworldz overcome this situation?   How can they prevent a small steamroller like Linden Lab from taking (and possibly ruining) what remains of the VR market?  It's actually not all that difficult in concept or execution:


* Become a social VR system itself.  There's nothing wrong with the idea.  It makes sense.  Just don't cut the creators, merchants and landlords out of the deal.

* Totally re-design the viewer user-interface.  It needs two modes:  Beginner and Advanced.  Common concept.  Change the entire menu system so that it's divided into two systems-- items essential to navigating and using the grid-- and items necessary to create.  With an easy-to-use viewer, more people will be attracted to the grid.

* Completely re-create the IDI new user intake area. 

   1) First, change the name to something else.  "Inworldz Desert Island" is not the most welcoming name for a first-impression intake area... and the name isn't intuitive in purpose. 

   2) Make the intake area more automated so the Mentors don't get swamped during busy times, make it easy for people to find areas pertaining to their interests, make use of notecards, portals, information signs, volunteer "tour guides" and tutorial systems.  

   3) Put your best foot forward and make a good first impression.  Every business knows that.  The claim that "Everything has to be neutral!  No favoritism!" is unrealistic and self-defeating

    Consider:  When a city puts out a tourist guide, it doesn't include every strip mall, bar and pawn shop in town as attractions.  Inworldz needs to feature its best regions and attractions.   If someone wants to be so featured, they need to work to make their area top notch.  One can't build a strip mall and expect the same level of company-sponsored promotion as an incredibly-designed wondersim.  Shouting "favoritism" or "we must remain neutral!" will simply make Inworldz unimpressive and boring to newcomers, and thus restrict profitable growth. 

    How do we know this?  Look at the last three years.  "Neutrality" hasn't worked thus far and it won't work in the future.  It's not how business operates.  The best products in a store are featured.  The nuts and bolts hang on pegboards on the side-aisles.  That's just how business works.


If the grid grows, the merchant systems will prosper.  People can cry neutrality! all they want... but if the grid doesn't grow such becomes a moot point from the outset.  Newbies can only take in so much in their first visit.  It makes sense to present to them our very best on that first visit, so they are encouraged to make Inworldz their home.  Then they can see the rest on additional visits.


If anyone disagrees with these concepts, it may be good to realize that IDI as it exists now has not been effective in promoting Inworldz land growth for going on three years.  Continue to do what you are doing, and you can expect to remain where you've been.


There is more that can be done to beat Linden Lab at their own game.  All this post is intended for is to sound the warning of potential heavy competition and point to the reality there are things that can be done about such.  Beyond that, the future of Inworldz is fully in the hands of the Founders. 








What Computer Do I Need? Tags: computer vr inworldz


Note:  It has been announced that Windows 10 is not compatible with the Intel HD 3000 graphics chip.  It seems to be compatible with other graphics chips.  This article addresses PCs only, as I'm not an Apple user. 

Over the years virtual worlds have grown, development work has been done, things have improved.  We now have  better performance, faster performance, and wider computer compatibility. 



So recently I was surprised to discover that computers which I would never have used for VR before... now work.  I procured a 10.5" netbook (tablet with a keyboard) .  It's super lightweight, has a touch-screen, and cost $299 +tax.  It uses an Intel Tablet processor.  It's not a "killer" computer by any means, nor does it have advanced graphics.

What I was surprised and pleased to find was that this little, low-power tablet computer works okay with virtual worlds.  Of course it's not as spritely as a gamer desktop... but it works.  I'm able to walk around without significant lag, I can create and build, textures rez.   Before now we couldn't recommend lightweight computers.  But the industry has improved.



Bottom line it means that instead of buying a gamer system just so you can use virtual worlds... you can spend $400-$600 and have a totally suitable system.  Rather than needing Nvidia and ATI graphics systems you can get by with standard 3D Intel graphics systems (with some exceptions as noted above). 

Of course, faster "gamer graphics" systems will perform far better.



These days there are so many different processors all sporting different claims-- it's difficult to tell which is the best.  In general, Intel i5 and above or AMD Ryzen 5, 7 or above is recommended as good CPU systems.  You can get by with lower-power system like the i3... but it will be at some sacrifice in overal graphics.

The tablet I'm using as I write this article is a 1.4 ghz processor... and while it's not near the speed of my 3.6ghz i5 quad processor in my desktop, it does well enought for an ultra-portable touchscreen netbook.   But lag is to be expected in such a low-power computer.

You may want to shy away from unknowns such as A-class or E-class processors.  Celeron and Sempron are very slow; I strongly recommend avoiding such.



Rule of thumb:  A quality graphics card is more important than a high-level CPU.

There are so many different kinds of cards out there, and the numbering systems have become confusing.   The three primary cards are Nividia, ATI, and Intel HD.  Intel HD is not a "gaming" card, but it can do a reasonable job on virtual worlds.   But by all means, if you can get a quality Nvidia or ATI card, do so.  Some computers (laptops especially) have the graphics built in and cannot be upgraded.   So...

Be sure to do your research.  Visit the card manufacturing sites and compare card performance.   At this time I strongly recommend the Nvidia 1050 or above, or the ATI Radeon 10 or above. The specific card you want will depend on your needs and pocketbook.  Do your online research before buying and realize that the same model card can vary widely in price.  Don't get suckered in by graphics card shysters.  Read the customer reviews. 



This may come as a bit of a surprise... but examine the following facts (and please read it all, because otherwise some may disagree):

My prior computer:

i5 4-core CPU, 8 gigs RAM, GeForce 1050 GPU w/ 2 gigs vRAM

My current computer:

i7 8-core CPU, 16 gigs RAM, GeForce 3070 GPU w 8 gigs vRAM

Logically, the i7 system should just run rings around the much-less-powerful i5 system, yes?

Well... no.   In truth I noticed no difference in basic operation.  Textures didn't load any faster.  There was no noticeable difference in operational speed.  Worlds didn't load any faster.

What this means is that it seems there is a point at which these virtual worlds hit a performance ceiling. Beyond that, investing a ton of money in a high-level gamer system really just isn't worth it.   Instead of buying a "gamer system"... you could buy an i5 4-core with a 2060 graphics card and get along just fine... saving yourself several hundred dollars in the process (ie, a mid-level gamer system).  You can even go with a 1050 graphics card and get along well... as long as it has enough RAM.

Note that this article could use a bit more information on Radeon cards. In general however, Nvidia GeForce is considered the "card of choice".  Ask your local computer guru about Radeon graphics cards.



YES, there is some gain in having a "gamer" system.  For example, I can now crank my draw distance up to 512m instead of 256m and it works just as well (credit that to four times the video RAM).  I tried boosting it to 1024m but that got a little glitchy in heavy-texture areas. With a gamer system you can use things like shaders, or set your system from high to Ultra... which may give you better graphics... or really may not.  If you don't notice the difference visually... tech specs are somewhat irrelevant, aren't they?

Most people will get along fine with a mid-priced i5 or Ryzen 5 / 7 system.  Most people will do well with a GeForce 1050 4-gig card or a Radeon 10 (I do recommend a bit more RAM than 1 or 2 gigs).   But buying a gamer-level system just for Second Life or Opensim... is really not essential.



Due to severe damage by Covid-19, many Chinese chip manufacturers have shut down operations.   This has created a severe shortage in the graphics card industry-- and a resultant incredible increase in graphics card prices... if cards are even available.  Hopefully this will change over time and graphics cards will once again become widely available at reasonable prices.  At the original time of writing this article, shelves were cleaned of mid-priced grahics cards.   Now these cards are showing back up on the market again, at prices that aren't absolutely absurd.



There are two kinds of graphics memory:   1)  Dedicated on-card  and 2) Shared.

Graphics cards use either or both.  When purchasing your system be aware of how much graphics memory is available... and what kind it is.   Here are some guidelines:

* It is good to have 8 gigs system RAM available with Windows 10 or above.   If you get a 4 gig machine and your graphics card shares part of that RAM... you're not going to have much to use for virtual worlds.

* Dedicated graphics RAM (on the video card itself) is best in ideal situations, but avoid machines with less than 1 gig total graphics RAM (dedicated or shared).   Some machines only have 128 megs of dedicated RAM and can't share system memory; they will not have enough graphics memory to handle virtual worlds.

* As of July 2022, 4 gigs video RAM is recommended, but you can get by well enough on a minimum of 2 gigs.  1 gig will work but is pushing it.

* Shared RAM isn't as fast as dedicated RAM, but it still works. Shared RAM will often be found in laptops or cheaper desktops.

The main point is that it's now possible to buy a relatively low-cost netbook, laptop or desktop computer and have a functional computer for virtual worlds.  This is of course very good news for users with limited budgets.  Still, the more you spend (up to a point), the better the performance.  (See the summary, following.)



Recommended system is an i5 or Ryzen 5 system (or above) with at least 8 gigs RAM, and a GeForce 1050 (or above) graphics card, or a Radeon 10 (or above) graphics card with at least 2 gigs vRAM (4 gigs is better).  Go with what your budget can handle.  Because the truth is, Second Life and Opensim just isn't up to the level of octa-core, high-level graphics systems yet.  There's just no real need to to spend the extra money unless you just want to.   Of course a gamer system is very nice and will offer some advantages... but those advantages will have a diminishing level of return per dollar.






Crashing Much? Tags: crashing inworldz vr


Virtual Worlds are more stable than they used to be, but they still have some major issues.   So here are hints and tips for how to avoid such problems.  Mind you, nothing totally prevents lag and crashing.  But these hints should help reduce crashing significantly. 


CCLEANER.  (yes, that's 2 "C's").  If you use Windows, this is one of the best "cleaner" systems I've seen and has done more to help me maintain a stable computer system than anything else.  It's free.  Download and install the program.  Sometimes that's all that's required to get your system to run smoothly.  Do not use the Registry cleaner; that's a sure step to disaster.


ADJUST CACHE.  Set your viewer cache according to your system abilities.  Originally this was set low, but with today's gigs of RAM and high-level hard drives, you can often increase cache considerably.  However, cache being set too high can cause system confusion.  Adjust this to the point that it seems to work well, according to the following setting...


CLEARING CACHE.  Edit/Preferences/Network. If after time you find yourself crashing regularly or lagging extensively, simply Clearing Cache under the Avatar/Preferences/Networks setting might fix that problem.  Note that right after you do that things will run slowly for a bit as textures have to totally reload.


VIRTUAL MEMORY.  This is one few people know about, but is very important.  In Windows, Virtual Memory is your computer using hard disc drives to store constantly used information-- kind of an artificial RAM (I don't know how it works on Mac.  You'll need to research).  Chances are your VM isn't set nearly high enough.  Low Virtual Memory is one of the major causes of crashing.

   When I checked my system, my VM was 2 gigs.  I increased it to 9 gigs by using two hard drive partitions.  Any setting of 4gigs or more is probably sufficient.  There is a limit as to how much VM any hard drive is allowed, so if you have more than one hard drive you can set additional VM... although this may slow down things a bit as your system pulls info from additional drives.

Look up how to set Virtual Memory on the Internet.  Doing so will depend on your computer and operating system.

It's fairly safe to set  most hard drives to at least 4096megs (4 gigs).  Save these settings, exit and reset your computer.  When you come back in, go back to that area and double-check the new settings have been established.  Once you increase your VM, time between crashes should increase significantly. 


ADJUST BANDWIDTH.  Check your Viewer bandwidth setting.  Different systems will require different bandwidth.  After experimenting I settled on 1500 kbps for mine.  Your internet may require less.   The best way to test this is to look at the bandwidth indicator bar in the upper right corner of your screen, and see which setting keeps that bar on green the most.  If you're constantly going into the red, your bandwidth needs adjusting.  Experimentation will determine which is the best setting for your system.


ADJUST GRAPHICS.  Edit/Preferences/Graphics.  Graphics are even more important than your computer when it comes to VR performance. 

   Graphics cards.   A good graphics card is more important than a killer computer system and will have more to do with your overall performance.

   Low-Medium-High-Ultra.  These settings in your Preferences / Graphics area will directly determine how much stress Inworldz places on your graphics system.  If you have a low-power computer you may wish to use the blocky-but-adequate LOW setting.   Medium gives a bit better graphics while requiring relatively low system resources.  High will require a faster computer and good graphics card, and Ultra will require a "gamer" level system.  

   Graphics Settings. The graphics settings on your computer will greatly affect your performance.  Very few people can use the Ultra setting to advantage.  Most people find that High is best under modern home computers (2020).  For low-graphic laptops (or Intel-based graphics), lower settings may be needed.

   Draw Distance.  Withmost systems today, draw distance of 256 is a good setting. Some high-level graphicis cards can handle 512 or more.  In some situations (such as inside a store), setting graphics to 64m or 96m can cause textures to rez more quickly.

   Avatar Impostors.  Avatar Impostors imitates avatars at a distance, but it also destroys those avatar details.  Unless your system is low-performance, you're probably okay to click this off.  However if you have it off and find yourself crashing regularly, try turning it on and see if it helps.

   Detail Sliders. On the right of your graphics window are detail sliders.  If you're having crashing problems or serious lag, it is amazing how reducing those sliders to Med or Low will increase performance.  Unfortunately it will also reduce the detail of your graphics (on Low settings, cylinders turn into hexagons)... but your performance will improve significantly.

  Shadows and Advanced Shaders.  Shadows are pretty.  Shadows are graphics hogs.  Unless you have a powerful graphics card, leave shadows and Advanced Shaders off.

   Emergency only:  Basic Shaders.  Some users report serious problems using any shaders at all.  If nothing else you've tried seems to be working, turn off Basic Shaders.  This will majorly affect the quality of presentation, but if you're on an old, slow computer with minimal graphics, it may make the difference between being able to use the system consistently or not. 


CLOUDS.  Most folks aren't aware of it, but the routines that created animated clouds in the sky take more graphics resources than one would expect.   If you're having regular trouble with lag or crashing, try turning off clouds.   You'll wind up with just a clear blue sky... but it may make the difference you need.  You will find this in the ADVANCED / RENDERING menu.


AUDIO AND VIDEO.  If you're standing in one spot (like a a dance, regardless of animations), audio will likely not cause problems.  With very low performance systems, audio can increase lag.  But most people don't care at a dance; they're not physically moving much anyway.

   Video.  My recommendation:  don't use video in-world.  If you want to view a video, ask the land owner for the direct-access link (if possible). 

   Video loading can create stop-dead lag, serious performance issues, and even crash your viewer.   You can run a direct-to-computer video (such as YouTube) and your Viewer at the same time with far less drag on your system resources.

    In most cases, turn off "auto loading" of both video and music.  Switch them to manual so they're not being triggered every time you cross a parcel line.


ADDITIONAL TWEAKS.   The following changes may assist greatly in handling texture tracking and other lag issues:

Preferences->Graphics->Hardware Settings
Turn off the option Enable Streamed VBOs

Advanced / Debug Settings / XferThrottle


Advanced / Debug Settings  

Under older 32 bit computer systems these had to be regulated.  Under modern 64 bit systems these can be left untouched.

    Don't be afraid to tweak graphics settings.  You can always reset them to default if necessary.   But if you are crashing regularly, the system being stable or unstable may depend on one setting you haven't yet tried adjusting.  So take the plunge.  If it helps, it helps.  Don't be afraid to try something you haven't tried yet.  It may be just the trick.




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