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Thursday, 16 June 2011

Tip Sheet: Sculpted Jewelry Pulling a Disappearing Act?

Alchemy is the art of turning something base into something of value, and that's exactly what we have in mind when we dig into the earth for raw metals and stones to conjure up collections of mystical and mythical body art.

However, there is a bug in some SL viewers (prior to 2.0) that causes sculpties in jewelry to vanish sometimes. This is not a problem with the item you purchased.

While many people will set the RenderVolumeLODFactor value higher so that sculpts don't distort at a distance, this causes the disappearing sculpties problem that you see on linked items, such as jewelry. Here's the JIRA report on this, including Q Linden's acknowledgment that Linden Lab is aware of this issue:

How to solve this temporarily:
  • Menu -> Advanced
    (not there?)     Press:
    • Ctrl-Alt-D ... on Windows
    • Opt-Ctrl-D ... on Mac
  • Sub-Menu -> Debug Settings
  • Window will open.
  • Type: RenderVolumeLODFactor
  • Change RenderVolumeLODFactor to 0.7 or lower.
This is going in the opposite direction of the advice we give people to prevent complex sculpts from losing their shape and detail at distances, which is:
  • Repeat steps 1-5 above.
  • Change the RenderVolumeLODFactor value to 4 or greater.
Unfortunately, there is no ideal setting in order to be able to see everything properly. Fixing one problem creates another, and vice versa. As Linden Lab has admitted, graphics cards are so wildly different that they simply cannot keep up with the changes, and it's tough to create an environment where everyone can cope. Here's a bit more information from that JIRA report, including Q Linden's acknowledgment:

ISSUE: Sculpted Prims in linked sets disappear when you zoom in on them.

DETAILS: You can control visibility by dropping rendervolumeLODFactor to less than 1.000. However this makes sculpted prims look terrible in normal view distance.

In addition a large number of people use a value of 4 for rendervolumeLODFactor so sculpts will look right at reasonable distances.

This defect is not present at all in v1.22.

Q Linden response (15/Jun/09 08:41 PM)

We try to provide useful system for the greatest fraction of our user base possible. The environment of computers and video systems is constantly changing, and we're constantly trying to keep up with it.

"Fine" for you is not "fine" for someone else. In particular, everyplace we try not to have limits ends up getting abused and frequently is used for griefing. We must continue to define hard limits where necessary in order to make sure that our system scales not only across an ever-increasing user base but also across an ever-increasing range of capabilities in graphics cards and computers. We simply can't stand still.

Occasionally, imposing such limits will break a tiny fraction of existing content. I'm sorry such things have to happen, but they do.

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