What’s Causing This Lag?

Second Life lag is nothing new.

If there is  lag on your sim, the natural thing to do would be contact an Estate Manager who can check out what might be causing the problems.

But an Estate Manager can only attempt to resolve what is known as server lag, caused by lag related scripts or colliders on the sim itself. There are two other types of lag in Second Life that might also be responsible for your problems and this article explains them.

The Second Life Lag Meter

The Second Life lag meter is available within your viewer to make it a little bit easier when it comes to establishing the cause of your lag. Here is how it works:-

Second Life lag

If you go to ‘Help’ at the top of your Second Life viewer, you will see an option for ‘Lag Meter,’ as shown above. Clicking on that will bring up this window…

Lag in Second Life 2

As you can see, there are three different types of lag specified there. They are ‘Client,’ ‘Network,’ and ‘Server.’

Clicking on the small arrow button at the bottom left makes the window smaller if you want to keep it permanently open and clicking on it a second time will return it to the size pictured. At the size pictured, if those lights flash yellow or red (indicating a minor and major problem respectively) you will also get a sentence underneath explaining what the cause might be. But let me tell you a bit more about what these mean in terms of Second Life lag.

Client Lag in Second Life is related to how your computer is processing the images. Second Life is graphics intensive and only certain graphics cards work with Second Life. If your client light is not green, then you have a problem in this area. The possible causes could be too many graphics intensive items in an area, such as particles, large textures etc. A possible solution is turning down your draw distance and lowering some of your graphics preferences in your Second Life preferences. If you notice you have lag on the ground but not when you are in the air on a sim, then this is most likely the cause. In the air, there are fewer objects for your computer to have “draw” onto your screen for you and thus your performance is likely to be better. Because client lag is related to your machine, unfortunately the Estate Managers will not be able to improve it for you.

Network Lag in Second Life is related to your connection to the grid. This could be flashing red or yellow if you have a slow internet connection, or if your internet service provider is having problems in your area. From time to time, some Second Life issues do cause network troubles but again, these are not problems our Estate Managers are likely to be able to assist you in dealing with. If you have file sharing software open or are streaming videos, for example (especially live television streaming), you will find that closing those will probably improve your network. If multiple computers are connecting to the same internet connection in your home, then activity on another user’s computer can also cause your network connection to suffer.

Server Lag in Second Life is what our Estate Managers should be called in to deal with. This could be caused by too many heavily scripted avatars on the sim, colliders, scripted objects (in particular temp rezzers) and so on. If you establish that there is a server lag issue on your region, then feel free to contact an Estate Manager who will be able to use the estate tools to establish the cause and resolve the issue.

And a little more advanced…

You can take a more in depth look at the performance of a sim by hitting ctrl shift 1 (at the same time) when in Second Life. Doing so will bring up this window…

statstics window in second life

This is the statistics window and gives you more detailed performance information about the sim you are on in Second Life. You can open this window on any region in world at all. I will not go into too much detail about this window, as we will be here all day if I do. However, the key elements to note here are ‘time dilation,’ ‘Sim FPS’ and ‘Physics FPS’.

These statistics here are perfect. Time Dilation should be as close to 1 as possible. More often than not you will find on lag free sims that this hovers between 0.98 and 1.00. The Sim FPS and Physics FPS should be as close to one another as possible and as near to 45 as possible too. So catching both of mine at 45 shows awesome sim stats. Again, on a good, lag free sim, you should find these between 44.2 and 45.0.

If your time dilation falls below 0.92, this will probably give you reasonably noticeable lag. 0.70 and below and that’s the walking into walls type lag! Really, in an ideal world, you would want your sim above 0.95 (or at 1.00 like this one in a really perfect world)!

If you notice a low time dilation or sim/physics FPS falling below around 43, then this would indicate something on the sim causing a problem. And this would be a good time to speak to an Estate Manager about finding the scripts or colliders responsible for the lag and resolving the issue.

Unfortunately for client and network lag, the Solace Beach Estate Managers can do nothing other than advise you of the steps in this tutorial. But if there are any server lag issues, the staff will be more than happy to come along and fix them!