What's Low Complexity? And what is the Point of Low complexity?

What is It?

So, what is Low Complexity? Complexity refers to how complex an avatar is for Second Life to draw and maintain an image of. What adds to it is of course is the basic Second Life move skeleton and skin. But then if you have a mesh avatar, then the complexity of the mesh avatar adds into the total. Then we add on all of the complexity of clothing, whether it is layers or mesh or flexi or other. And then Second Life must add in any jewelry, shoes, hats, gloves underwear, nylons or other that is also on the avatar. 

What does not add in? It does not seem that scripts nor HUDs add directly onto what SL calls complexity. However, these items affect other items on the sim and can create lag and some people will track the number of scripts you are using or memory you are using and textures in your HUD and may even refuse you entrance to their sim area as you might call lag. But in general, those items do not seem to us to be in the complexity number for your avatar that Second Life gives you -that we have noted.

How do you tell your Complexity?

Second Life will tell you your complexity some times in the upper top right of your browser. It will often tell you your complexity number as you put on or take off a clothing or accessory item since the complexity changes. And Second Life may tell you at times if your complexity is so high that some others cannot see you since their computers might not be able to handle the power needed to display all of that information.

Did we care about Complexity in the Past?

I admit that I did not. I would worry about prim count on the land since that is at times what we are charged rent for. It became a bad habit to not care what our avatars wore, since at one time that seemed to be just free stuff, that did not count against us. And perhaps at one time it did not count against us. But then Second Life went deep into mesh, and mesh hair and more complex accessories, and I suspect Second Life computer servers could not keep up. And so Second Life is trying to warn us about problems displaying avatars who are too complex.

Did this become a Problem?

You bet it did. I first noticed that some mesh hair creators did not seem to know how this all worked, and might make hair that added hundreds of thousands to complexity when nothing else perhaps in total was over 30,000. So mesh hair and others became huge problems quickly. One could look and see missing hair since it was hard to display that very high complexity. At least one mesh hair maker we know of redid their whole huge line to reduce complexity. My guess is that customers were finding out they would go invisible to others due to complexity and got mad. But this mesh hair place fixed their entire line to make it low complexity. Some others, however, did not get the message.

What Should we do?

My suggestion is that if the clothes or hair or shoe designer offers a demo, try it, and also watch for the complexity change as you put it on or take it off. If the change is too large, then we might not decide to buy. If people cannot see us, what is the point of having that super special item that no one can see?

What is a good Complexity Number

It depends on which week that we ask. At one time, I believed anything under 100,000 total was fine. But then lately I kept getting notes from Second Life that some people on crowded sims could not see me. So I went down to 50,000 max. Now I try to be no more than say 35,000, and it seems at times, that Second Life even yells at me for that. While there are some things I have bought that I love, the ones that add 9000 or so complexity, just make me angry.

Our Clothes

We try to keep our complexity low. Normally our clothes might add 1000 or 2000 complexity. We keep trying to find out how low we can go and still have our products work. We are not alone. I feel certain that the mesh hair maker went through this same thing, but even in a more difficult manner.

What should you Do?

That is up to you. Of course complexity becomes more of an issue if you got to some sims that can be crowded. With much going on for mnay avatars, Second Life can have a hard time drawing all of that complexity. I would watch for signs from Second Life regarding complexity on the top right of your screen. If you see warnings that some people cannot see you, then you might wish to look into it. Suspect mesh hair and mesh clothing more, but it can be most anything.

- Hunter Bronet

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