Home » A short essay on disappearance

white dot

A short essay on disappearance

Narcissism has been killing us for years. Us, and our SL. We all blame SL and LL every time we have to face a lagfest in any sim where an event is taking place. We all want to get in at once. Of course, we can’t wait to be the first to own a piece of our favorite creators’  geniuses (as if supplies weren’t enough for all), and bloggers without sponsorship are the most desperate of all, right behind fashion maniacs and other hysterical souls who can’t control their impulses for whatever personal reasons and are at risk of pissing their underwear if they can’t have that item JUST RIGHT NOW. But that’s the sweet part. Now imagine 40 avies (the few fortunate ones) with all their garments and banal attachments worth millions of scripts and pixels in rendering cost, and then you have the world on a standstill… forever. We can’t move, we can’t shop because clicking a vendor and waiting for a response takes long, long seconds instead of being instantaneous, purchases do not deliver, and again we blame SL and LL for their incompetence.

Take a look at the following pictures.

Regular me

The first one is the regular me. Yes I know, I’m too thin and far from being a beefy dream model, but that’s all my genes managed to come up with.

Shopping look

The second one is what I call my event’s outfit. “But you’re not in that picture.” Is that what you’re thinking? Yes I am. Enlarge it and notice that little white dot marking my trivial presence (that’s like the digital prove of our existence; it’s the same for all). I’m actually naked wearing a full-body transparent alpha mask; I also walk like a noob –I’m not wearing a AO–, but no one notices it, so nobody can laugh at me and pretend they know better.

Rendering cost

The third picture shows my avatar rendering cost (ARC), as calculated by the viewer. I can’t tell you exactly what that stands for in technical terms, but it somehow shows how much the combination of textures, objects, scripts and everything else your avatar is made of costs the viewer to render. Or to put it another way, how you (and those around you) affect the performance of SL and the viewer. Something like that. The higher the number, the worse it gets. As you can see (maybe with some difficulty), wearing that suit and all, I have an ARC equivalency of 49,036. That number may seem huge (and it is, that’s why it’s red), but believe me when I say that’s actually pretty low compared to most avatars in SL. Sometimes, only a single hair piece can have an ARC that high, and if you add to that clothes, shoes, AOs, etc., it can easily get to the six digits mark. A real nightmare.

ARC 1000

The fourth picture shows my ARC in the ghostly ensemble: a plain 1000, colored green (which means it’s good). Yes, I can’t see myself, neither can anyone else. So what? If I go to an event it’s to see what’s for sale, not to show off. I’m there –and you too– for shopping (even if it’s a single item), so I’d probably be camming around, looking for what I came for (most likely I took a sneak peek on a blog post already, so it’s just a matter of finding its whereabouts), not noticing who’s there doing what, with whom, or for how long. That’s to say, I –like all of you– don’t give a shit if there are more people in the sim (if there were none, the better, for practical purposes)… except in some occasions when I feel an urge to yell at someone “motherfucker” when it’s obvious his or her larger than life ego is contributing too much to the lag infestation.

So my event’s costume has a 1000 ARC. I don’t know if it can go lower than that. Obviously, our sole presences (even if invisible) must have an impact on SL performance because we’re still there, consuming resources. So maybe 1000 is the base value. Now, if everybody could do the same when visiting areas on high demand, it may help to create a more comfortable sim environment during events.

Do you still want to show the world your beautiful pixels and the thousands of lindens you have spent on yourself? Of course you want to do that: as everybody else, we’re all narcissistic at heart. But can we be more considerate and lower our ARC when going to events? Maybe it doesn’t make a big difference, but what if it does? Everybody will thank you for being so conscious, and you’ll thank everybody who acts the same. Just saying…