A not-so-gentle reminder

As has been written both here and on basically the overwhelming majority of the blogs that cover any aspect of Second Life, Server-Side Appearance (also known as Project Shining, Project Sunshine, Server-Side Baking, Server-Side Baking/Appearance, SSA, SSB, SSB/A) has been implemented grid-wide. As has also been written numerous times, if you didn’t want to see grey all around you and appear grey yourself, therefore making you look and feel like you should for having spent so much L$ (and, more often than not, real-world money that you used to buy LL’s virtual currency) on clothing, skins etc that no one can see, you had to update your viewer and use something that’s compatible with this new server capability.

Yeah, yeah, I know. The “evil” Linden Lab is forcing a viewer down your throats, blah, blah, blah, yadda yadda yadda. Drama, drama, drama. Cry me a river, see if I care. Fact is that, as Tonya Souther of the Firestorm team reports, more than 85% of SL’s users are already on SSA-capable viewers and even more people are updating as we speak. When everyone else (let’s face it, 9 out of 10 users) took the “trouble” to… “sacrifice” ten minutes of their usual Second Life routine to download a new, up-to-date viewer and readjust the viewer the way they want it, could you please be so kind to explain to me why you still haven’t bothered to update, even though you knew months ago that this was coming? Were you too busy clicking on others’ Xcite! parts, filling the atmosphere with green spam? Or perhaps were you too busy posting inane comments on blogs about how LL and the TPV developers are “evil”? Whatever your excuse, let me remind you that updating and readjusting your viewer would take you less than it’d take you to post a whiny blog comment. If you think anyone’s going to be sympathetic to you, think again.

Let me also address the “LL is evil and forces this down our throats” bullshit. You know what? All this time, you were complaining about how avatars took an eternity and a day to render, about how everyone was grey and blurry… No? Weren’t you? Be honest. You were. And you were also complaining about how LL wasn’t doing anything to address this problem, and several others. And there were complaints about how LL were unwilling to cooperate with TPV developers. And, to a non-trivial extent, these complaints were justified. Now, we see a change of attitude. They rolled up their sleeves, worked closely (yes, they did) with the TPV development teams, and implemented SSA, which was a huge change in the server code and would also break some hacks (some useless, like the invisiprims that have been plaguing SL for centuries, some useful, like the on-the-fly Z-offset adjustment), tested, re-tested, tweaked, corrected, and finally introduced a very serious and critical update that addresses one of the things people have been complaining (rightly) about for years and also have implemented numerous tweaks to the simulator code, making SL run much faster, provided you’re on a recent viewer that supports SSA and takes advantage of the recent improvements in the rendering pipeline.

I’ve been (on my first account) in SL longer than most whiners and remember the days when Wednesdays were basically offline days, when we had weekly mandatory updates, when there was no other viewer but the official one, when grid-wide griefing was often the order of the  day. Basically, what exactly seems to be your problem, people? That you can’t run SL on your 2009-era viewer that you’ve installed on a machine you bought for peanuts in 2005 and was borderline unable to run SL even then? Is that your problem? Well, guess what: life goes on, people move on. And we’re leaving you behind. And quit whining. My fiancé bought his first computer in 1988, a PC XT-compatible with an Intel 8088 CPU, a dual graphics card (Hercules and CGA modes), 640KB of RAM and two 5.25″ floppy drives, each with a capacity of 360KB. He still has it in the basement. Back then, it was perfectly relevant, and most IBM compatibles that were sold to home users and small businesses were like that. In 1990, it was showing its age, as 80286– and 80386-based machines with EGA and VGA graphics cards, and AdLib sound cards were becoming the norm. Two years after the computer’s purchase, and the machine was alreadya pile of old tosh. Then again, those in the know knew that the XT and its clones were around since 1983 (even before I was born, actually), so it was already time to say good sodding riddance, as it simply couldn’t cut it in the gamers’ market against the various versions of the Amiga or the Atari ST, machines that truly pioneered multimedia. As a matter of fact, even ancient 8-bit machines like the Amstrad CPCs and the Commodore 64 were handing it its posterior.

And you really couldn’t enjoy games like Wing Commander or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on an XT with a lousy CGA (especially if you were stupid enough to buy it with a monochrome monitor). So, in 1990, those who actually were serious about playing games on an IBM-compatible machine had no choice: they needed to get a machine with a hard drive, 2 or 4MB of RAM, an AdLib sound card, a VGA card and, at the very least, an Intel 80286 CPU clocked at 12 or 16MHz. The time had come. Everyone was moving on, and the PC XT was soon going to become a museum piece that was no longer relevant.

Did anyone complain? Yes. As I’m told, some people wrote to the PC and gaming magazines of the era bitching about why the games companies “couldn’t be bothered to write code that would make the internal beeper of the PC sound like the custom sound chips of the Amiga or the Atari ST,” or about why the games companies “didn’t want to exploit the full potential of the CGA.” Some even crafted whacked-out conspiracy theories. Needless to say, they were laughed off the face of the Earth, and no one missed them. They were stupid, and they were few. What did the rest of the people do? Either upgrade on the spot or save up to upgrade later.

Now, exactly why should I think that someone who hasn’t been bothered to upgrade their 2005-era machine (even with refurbished parts that can be acquired cheaply) and keeps refusing to even use mesh is worth being taken seriously? No, I’m not talking about people who really can’t afford to upgrade their machines; I’m talking about people who don’t want to upgrade their crusty old gear and say that, if LL wants their money, it must keep SL looking like it did in 2006. And yet, they complain that it looks ugly. OK, I rest my case.

As for the “forced” thing… Let me remind you all that no one forced you to get into SL, no one forced you to buy stuff in it, no one forced you to accumulate L$, spending your very real, and possibly hard-earned, money. You chose to use it. You have to understand that, if it is to survive, it needs to evolve, it needs to look better, it needs to perform better. The only way for you to enjoy these improvements is to be on an updated viewer and – yes – an uprated computer; it’s not like you can’t get a decent machine or upgrade your existing one for a very reasonable outlay these days. Oh, and something else… Before you resume your BAWWWWW:

  1. Remove all those stupid “search bars” that you have on your browser – speaking of which, Internet Explorer is not a real browser; it’s the browser you will use to download and install a real browser.
  2. Remove all the “performance-boosting” malware you’ve installed. Yes, it’s malware, and all it does is make your computer part of a spam-relaying botnet, while eating up its resources like Pac-Man gobbles pills up.
  3. Read the blogs and the announcements of your preferred viewer’s development team.
  4. UPDATE YOUR VIEWER. It doesn’t matter if you opt for Firestorm (did I mention Phoenix is dead?), CoolVL, Singularity, Kokua, Catznip or the official viewer. Just update it; you’ll get back to clicking on Xcite! parts later.
  5. Remember that, if you don’t update, it’s not because you can’t (even neolithical machines are supported) or “don’t have choices”. It’s because you chose not to. In that case, don’t expect anyone to offer you any tech support.

But I digress…




See also:

For more details on SSB/A, I highly recommend (as always) reading the detailed and concise coverage that Exotix (Inara Pey) has offered on Her blog ever since LL disclosed technical details about it.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-iA


8 thoughts on “A not-so-gentle reminder

  1. Completely agree with you. I’m one of the 15% but I’m not complaining and I love change and that SL continues to develop. I’m using an outdated viewer because to run any modern graphics viewer on my battered old Macbook I’d have to upgrade to Mac OS 10.6 or later. The computer is dying and due for replacement anyway or at least to be modified to an Ubuntu machine. In a month’s time I should be able to afford a modern PC and I can join the majority. I don’t mind using the last version of Phoenix that will run on Mac OS 10.5 until then. As a live musician all I need to know is how to walk to the stage and turn the animation on and occasionally type, so graphics aren’t a big deal.

    1. Even a second-hand, four-year-old laptop (with a dedicated graphics card) will be beneficial to you. And I’m sure you’d like better graphics, because you’d also be able to get better snapshots to promote your business. 🙂

  2. PREACH! I really don’t get the resistance to change, apart from technical reasons (machine not strong enough to handle newer viewer), but to each his/her own. What gets on my nerve is when these people go on and on about it. I love your write-up!

    1. Regarding the machines required, many people would actually be surprised at how old machines are still supported by SL – and, with the newer simulator software changes, actually run SL faster than before.

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