re: For VISITORS: How to survive Weatherstock
by Halgoreth on Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:26 pm
Some of the tips about wearing costume accessories have occasionally led to a little bit of misunderstanding about the purpose. I have encountered folks who read that and think that removing their toon's hat will speed up their system. It won't...the change in graphics load would be insignificant. However, if *300* characters in their field of view turn off their headgear, the difference could be considerable. Really, the same is true for *any* item that can be cosmetically hidden: gloves, cloaks, shoes, dresses, weapons, etc.
Every one of those items has a mesh and a texture that our GPUs need to process. Because those are already all stored in the game files on your machine, displaying the objects does not create much server-side or network lag (as the server actually sends only a few parameters, such as type and position, not the images themselves). Thus, any resulting lag the player experiences is almost entirely due to how long it takes their own GPU to render them. Having a thousand more meshes and textures to process can have a big impact. That's why we leave them off.
I suspect that, even if one item completely masks another graphical object (such as a helm covering a head), the GPU still has to process the meshes of both. (But perhaps not the texture of both...I'm not sure how their clipping algorithms work.)
Cloaks, because they have a constant animation, probably have much more of an impact than shoes or hats. And, for similar reasons, pets are probably even far worse. (However, at least for cosmetic pets, you can turn off your ability to see and hear them when they are present. I'm pretty sure that causes the client to suppress it altogether, rather than telling the GPU to render it transparently.)
Performers should probably be considered exempt from the cosmetics prohibitions (while on stage, that is), as their chosen stage costume is arguably part of the presentation. (Er, probably still no pets or mounts, unless for some reason they consider it an important part of the act. Still...best avoided.)
I would be a bit surprised if turning floating names on or off really makes much difference in terms of the graphics load.
One tip that *should* be obvious, but we often forget in these days of constant multitasking: close your other applications! (That, of course, generally impacts only your own experience. But, if you're streaming it, the recording might have pretty awful music and video quality for your viewers if you insist on running a Web browser in the background to feed a Twitter addiction.)
Another thing that can sometimes reduce music stutter and skipped notes in player music is setting Sound Effects to zero in the LotRO audio options. (To me, it seems like this has been a lot worse since U18.)
I haven't heard of anyone encountering such a problem this year, but at Weatherstock 7, many folks who tried to log back in after logging out (or after crashing or DCing) on Weathertop found it taking 20-45 minutes for their graphics to finish rendering their initial view. (Maybe five minutes for the landscape to draw, then a naked crowd would begin to display ten minutes after that, followed by perhaps ten more minutes before the clothes would start showing up.) It was a big problem for some bands who thought that parking their toons nearby would save time when they logged them back in.
(Certainly, not everyone had the problems with it. I was right next to the stage during peak crowd, when my game suddenly crashed less two minutes before our show last year, but I made it back in with time to spare.)
So, anyway, you might consider adding a suggestion that one not log out with their toon in, near, or facing the event area if they intend to log back in while the Weatherstock crowd is there. And probably for summoning, too. . .leave the Top before you blow that Rally Horn for a fellow.
It probably wouldn't be necessary for inclusion in the Visitors' Guide, because most folks seemed to catch on pretty quickly (and the Guide is long enough as it is), but it could mention the recommended behaviour for when we're re-assembling after a server crash.
And, speaking of already long enough, I'll stop typing.