[SLED] Avatar Rendering Cost Limits & Educator Events...

McLennan, Kay L kmclenna at tulane.edu
Sun Nov 2 08:06:31 PST 2008


I recently attended two terrific in-world events that included streamed media from the live EDUCAUSE conference held in Florida.  At the same time I got a lot out of attending both sessions, the problems with lag and frequent disruptions to the stream at both locations re-focused my attention on various questions related to educators in SL developing (and enforcing) best practices for event staging.
 
(1)  With the avatar rendering cost feature available in the SL viewer, a thoughtful way to stage future events (from small gatherings to large multi-sim events) includes limiting the rendering cost for each avatar attending the event.  
 
Using my own avatar as an example, I fear I came to both in-world EDUCAUSE events with an avatar rendering cost of 408.  In particular, I did not realize the shoes and earrings I had left on after a previous weekend Halloween party had a combined rendering cost of 232 and the hair I was wearing had a rendering cost of 175.  Absent the hair, shoes, and earrings, my avatar has a rendering cost of 1.  Further, the hair, shoes, and clothes my avatar normally wear equals a rendering cost of 261.  
 
Based on the above I went in search of lower rendering cost hair.  In turn, the $10L discount wall "Clipped" hair style at Goldi Locks that I like -- but renders at 175 -- was easily replaced with another $10L discount wall "Julia" hair style with a much lower rendering cost of 57.  Also, the shoes my avatar normally wears have a rendering value of 55.  In sum, at least my avatar normally has a rendering cost of 113 (and this amount could be lowered to 58 if I take the shoes off for meetings and conferences).
 
Still, I can get my avatar's rendering cost down to 1 by using LL hair or a hair style I have that was created by Robin (Sojouner) Wood.
 
Question:  What standard avatar rendering cost should educators recommend (and even enforce) at group events?  For example, should the standard for rendering costs be under 100, under 50, or 1 per avatar?  
 
Note:  For anyone that has not checked the rendering cost of their avatar, click on the "Advanced" tab, "Rendering," "Info Displays," "Avatar Rendering List" and you will not only see your own rendering cost but the rendering cost of everyone around you. 
 
(2)  It seems clear to me that limiting the number of avatars per sim is needed.  
 
Question:  Is 40 avatars per sim the recommended ceiling?  Needless-to-say, more than the ceiling number of avatars can be accommodated at additional locations.
 
Question:  What do other educators think?  Is it too early in the evolution of the introduction of 3D virtual world platforms to the educator community to enforce rendering cost and space limitations (in an effort to make gatherings a more productive experience for all)?
 
--Kay McLennan (aka Kayako Mayako in SL)
 
Kay L. McLennan, Ph.D.
Professor of Practice
 & Business Studies e-Learning Coordinator 
School of Continuing Studies
Tulane University
504.862.8000 x1360
kmclenna at tulane.edu <mailto:kmclenna at tulane.edu> 
www.tulane.edu/~kmclenna <http://www.tulane.edu/~kmclenna> 

 
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