Laynie Link’s Surviving Hair Fair Lag Tips

The following is a reprint of a lag survival guide that Laynie Link wrote for the 2008 Hair Fair. The advice is still sound and will work wonders at the current 2009 Hair Fair.

I know, everyone, I know. You’re dying to run around the Hair Fair, looking fabulous and buying wigs, but the lag is so bad that you can barely move! What do you do?

Never fear. I have suggestions for how to make the Hair Fair a less laggy experience for everyone, including you! You have to think about it from a technical point of view. Every prim you add affects lag, especially when those prims are flexi and/or transparent. I’ve taken some pictures of various outfits, showing how they can affect lag.

First, let’s look at the ARC. That’s Avatar Rendering Cost, a way to get an idea of how laggy your attachments are. You can find it under the Advanced options on your top toolbar (Advanced –>Rendering –>Info Displays –>Avatar Rendering Cost). If you don’t see the Advanced options, it’s easy enough to fix- just press Control/Alt/D, and it’ll show up.

Now, I know everyone’s saying, “But Laynie, ARC is a myth/is unreasonable/is unrealistic!” I know. But we’re trying to cut down on lag, and if your computer doesn’t have to render it, then your machine has less lag. So just work with me on this, ok?

Brief disclaimer- I am not saying anything here is bad, or should be avoided. But in a situation you know will be crowded and crazy, it just makes sense to try to do what you can to minimize lag, right? I’m not listing where to get any of the items, because this is about the concept, not the items in general.

Ok. I put on some of my favorite things. MY hair resembles this in RL, these are the first boots I bought in SL (and I still adore them), and the jewelry is a lot of my go-to stuff. But look at the ARC!

Yes, that ARC is 4609, for those who don’t want to click the image. Holy Moly, folks, that’s pretty high! And yet, I’ve seen ARCs at the Hair Fair of 10,000 and higher! We definitely need to avoid that if at all possible. I know, you want to look good, but I promise that more people are looking at hair than at your avatar.

So what can be done to help this? First, swap some things out. Go for hair that’s not flexi (or has fewer flexi parts) and has few or no alpha textures- the ones with the pretty painted curls. Lose the belt, take off some of the jewelry, and go for some shoes that aren’t as primmy.

Also, this may be a personal thing, but almost no one will be close enough to see your pretty prim eyelashes, so those can go as well. Consider it a dress down day!

Better. I’ve taken my avatar from the giant red 4609 to a pretty green 467 just by swapping out hair, changing shoes, and taking off some accessories. It’s a cute outfit, but could we do better? Of course! I wouldn’t be showing you this if we couldn’t!

But what can we change now, without going bald? Well, think about it… I could put on hair with even fewer prims and swap out my sneakers for ballet flats. Taking off my wedding ring (eeeek, no!) dropped quite a bit as well.

Here are several looks, taking off jewelry, wearing different hair, etc. You really can pull off a cute look with an ARC of under 100. Also, please remove things like your AO and your Mystitool. I know, I know… it hurts. But it’s for a good cause!

So this is great… there are things you can do on your own avatar to cut down on lag. But what about all those other people that are blinging and poofing and wearing 1000+ prims?

This is where changing your preferences comes in very handy. I don’t have the best computer in the world, so I usually keep my settings like this:

This usually works for me in most situations. Sometimes I’ll make my draw distance bigger, but not on mainland because you end up loading EVERYTHING. Unfortunately, since the Hair Fair is absolutely packed with people, I make a few changes that seriously help.

If you look, you’ll see I turn off everything that makes SL pretty. But textures aren’t affected, and this way I can actually move. You can still shop, and let’s face it, that’s what Hair Fair is about, right?

Tips for applying to the Hair Fair

Washu’s Tips for Designer applying to the Hair Fair.

Washu shared some general tips to keep in mind as we move forward towards the Hair Fair.

1.  Start building your hair now. Try to get more than the minimum of hair done, and you can pick your favorites to showcase.  If you wait to do your hair, you may panic and end up not getting at least 3 done.

2.  Do not plan a store rebranding/redesign/retexture around the Hair Fair. Designers do this every year and they become overwhelmed and *nothing* gets done by HF and customers miss out on your lovely work.

3.  Plan on creating a new dollarbie for your HF spot. People can make up their application costs with dollarbie sales alone.

4.  Remember that this is for charity and none of the coordinators get paid for this work. We are all helping children in need. 🙂

5.  You will be given a booth prior to the fair to design. Design this with LAG in mind. Sculpts do not rezz in high lag!

6.  If you have concerns please come to us ASAP before it gets too much to handle. we will do everything we can to help you through the fair.