I would like to preface my rant with full disclosure: My internet has been crapping out every 10 minutes for the last 5 hours and, being that I am on cable, means I can’t even throw my hands in the air and go watch TV or something. So I’m quite irritated to start with. But this rant has been building for awhile now. And I was reminded my avatar turns 7 this week. So forgive me while I have a grumpy old man day.
And what, prey tell, is Nigel up in snit about now?
Pose Fair. Fantasy Fair. Fashion Week. Relay For Life. Menstuff. Womenstuff. Relay for Life. Animations. Cosmetic Fair. Skin Fair. Hair Fair. Shoe Fair. Vintage Fair. MESH Fair. Builder Fair. Blow-Me-There’s-Another-Fair.
You get the idea.
It seems like every month is another fair to go to, build, blog, advertise, create, design, DJ, and generally prepare for its arrival. Designers have to prepare for these events when relevant to their genre and have that Extra Something Special to release exclusive to the fair. The sponsors have to pay lord knows what to get their logos splashed up prominently. Magazines sell pages and pages of advertising in the weeks ahead. Bloggers (Not bloggers like me, but the pro-bloggers out there who do this for money and sponsorship) race to sign up and get there first to get the sneak previews and drive views. Modeling agencies have to bid and gather the best of the best to walk the runways. In fact, I would wager that there are people on SL who do nothing but move from one fair to the next with little or no downtime. The cycle is endless.
In and of itself, the concept of the fair is a very good one. Gather together those that sell a specific type of item and let everyone shop their hearts out, discover new sellers, and get the latest and best releases from top designers. The fund raising fairs, especially the Relay For Life associated fairs, raise hundreds of thousands of linens (I know a few have crossed the million mark) for VERY good causes and I applaud them. Indeed, I’ve built entire sims for RFL a few years running. Dozens of people donate countless hours of time and resources to creating these fairs for no pay because they believe in the cause. Raise awareness, feel good. Get phat loots too.
It all sounds great, doesn’t it?
Now I ask you- when was the last time you went to one and were able to, oh I don’t know, just walk from one shop to the next without stuttering like a one-legged man in a cast through quicksand because everyone and their brother is wearing every script, hud and mesh item imaginable so they look their best for everyone else on the sim who couldn’t care less about anything other than the fact they aren’t fully rezzing and can’t walk?
I hate to break it to you Mr. and Mrs. 5000kb scripts and counting, but no one can bloody well see you anyway. You’re a grey blob because you’re sucking down more resources than a truck stop hooker with a bad tramp stamp. Though in fairness, she’s probably standing next to you with Ms. Jersey Shore’s pony-ride-bad-mesh hotpants, scripted cigarette, and color changing bling-tron bracelets.. at least she would be if she wasn’t an unrezzed blob of scripts.
Every year, organizers beg and plead with people to lower their script counts, remove huds and scripted clothing, wear the bear minimum. Hell, Menswear Fashion Week even made complete avatar alpha layers so you can remove EVERYTHING and just wear a single sculpted Icon they provided for you so that it would cut down on the lag.
No, you didn’t. You came to the party dressed in your finest- your latest- wanting to see and be seen like it was the Spring Collection in Milan, hoping for your big break that one of the fashion houses will see you and just fall all over themselves and want you in their next show because your styling is just so over the top original.
Guess what, sunshine? No one gives a rats ass in a blender. In fact, I’d bet dollars to donuts that most people- myself usually included- have turned down our number of avatars to render and chosen not to render unloaded avatars.
We can’t move. We can’t see you. And thus comes the undoing of every fair: We. Can’t. Shop.
“Now, now, Nigel,” you may be thinking, “..maybe you just need a new computer.” Honey, I have a brand new machine that’s maxed out to the tits for gaming. No, I don’t need a new computer. I even have all of my settings cranked down to the minimum. I still have to wait anywhere from 5-10 minutes for the vendors to rez the pictures of what you want me to buy.
The blame doesn’t fall squarely on the heads of everyone attending. Though our personal addition to the lagfest is a large one, next time you go to a fair think about all those vendors.. each one with a script.. or multiple scripts. Some fairs regulate the scripts to keep them to a minimum. Some don’t because it would force designers to rework vendors instead of just drop them in and leave.
Think about the build itself! Fantasy Fair is one of the “worst” when it comes to the builds. They are, without a doubt, the most inventive, beautiful and wonderful sims built… but do we ever get to really see them as their builders intended? It took me over an hour standing on the most exquisite of the Fantasy Fair sims – built by the impeccable Alia Baroque- before I could actually see it and really enjoy all the hard work he did. And he built the right way- minimal use of scripting, sculpted where appropriate, and a base texture theme that doesn’t require you to load hundreds of textures. And it still took forever.
“But Nigel!” you exclaim, “That’s why we have so many sims so we can spread the load out!” Yea, well, see, it doesn’t quite work that way. Even with your settings turned down to the bare minimum, the client still loads in the counts for avatars and scripts on neighboring sims. Its all weighted whether or not it hits your personal viewing (or not) pleasure. It all adds up.
I have really high hopes for the server side rendering that’s coming… but should I? Is it really going to be the saviour that we’re hoping it will be? I suppose time will tell.
One more note about the hugeness of these fairs today- 10+ sims.. 150+ different designers… sounds wonderful doesn’t it? In theory, my god it does- just think of all the shopping and the variety of goods! But, well, herein lies the rub. Outside of your cornershops- your big designers who put out the best of the best- and the occasional gem surprise- you also have 100 other sellers who, quite frankly, aren’t that good. So you have to slog through the wait and the lag and the rendering only to see a shop full of items that don’t match your personal expectation bar of quality.
In the end, its a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. But ultimately, I think its the designers and builders who lose out when we all contribute our lag to an event. Designers and creators *PAY* to be included in these events. They give away dozens of copies of their latest items to official bloggers to get some press and drive some advertising. They spend thousands on the top magazines for spreads. They sit through lagfest fashion shows and parties in the hopes their items get seen and purchased. If they’re lucky, they might break even on an event.
…and here we are making it hell by showing up in all our scripted, HUD’ed, MESHed out glory.
Get with the program. Pretend its 2006 and we didn’t have all these fancy things we do now. Trudge up hill, both ways, in the snow, and embrace the simple low, lag avatar for events. Maybe next time you’ll be able to try on demos without having to leave the sim to do it.