Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Maybes of TPs

          Never, ever, ever, ever say these words:  "Oh this week there's nothing to worry about. All three destinations are confirmed and guaranteed."
           Just don't. The God of Small Things (and let's face it, hypergridding is a very small thing if you look at what else is going on in the world) will make you pay for your hubris.
What does the God of Small Things look like? It'd be nice if he was something like Thor from Marvel's The Avengers, but he's probably more like your balding brother in law, the one who says he'll help you take that old couch to the dump on Saturday, to make room for the new one, and then never shows up. Why not? Well, his story changes every time you ask him what went wrong.
          He probably has visible butt cleavage too.
          Where do Hypergridding problems come from? It could be you. Maybe Windows just decided to pass your computer a patch. Skype or Dropbox or some other program can suddenly suck up all your resources. The kid next door may be uploading to Facebook or downloading a torrent using your internet connection.
           It could be the viewer you're on. Maybe you haven't cleared your cache in a week. Jumping from grid to grid means your viewer's memory fills up with all the stuff on all the sims you've been to. That's a lot of things to remember. Singularity or Firestorm? People usually hate one and love the other, but if you regularly use and properly maintain both viewers, the truth is they are equally good and equally fast on any grid. 
           Maybe it's the grid you're on. Maybe this sim is spartan and HG visitor friendly, but it's sharing server space with another sim full of NPCs. Maybe the grid has asset server problems, so it's struggling to find all your inventory and to transmit the relevant bits to your viewer and to the grids you're bouncing between. 
        Or is it you and your clicky finger, impatiently hitting that Teleport button over and over, and sending half a dozen TP Requests to the server? 
          Here are the strategies we use on Safari  when teleports won't work.
1.  Wait! The chances are that the TP didn't work because six people hit the button at the exact same time you did. Go get a drink or something. Let the TP request storm die down. But let us know before you go afk, there's nothing more annoying than waiting around for an avatar whose typist has gone out to walk the dog and not told you.
2.  Move! even walking to another parcel on the same sim can unblock the teleport problem.  The best place to TP off any grid is the default or original sim, usually the Welcome Area. Even when hypergridding teleports won't work, you can usually tp within the grid. Learn the names of the default sims on the major grids, and make use of them.
3.  Map it! Take time to learn about hypergrid addresses. The teleport is a blunt instrument. It might not be able to find the region name you want. It may have decided it doesn't like your Landmark. If you know how hg addresses work, you can beat the system.
4. Go home! Log off or hit CTRL SHIFT H, and try the landmark from your home base. This method can cut out a lot of the middlemen in your journey from A to B.      
          Maybe it's the grid you're trying to get to that isn't configured right. Maybe they have some security protocol in place they don't even realize, because everything works out fine for their own use. Perhaps the grid's on a home computer and it can't, after all, handle too many avatars at a time. Maybe the region should have been restarted and wasn't. Perhaps they've upgraded to the latest, buggy version of OpenSim. It's good and important that some grids test the latest version from opensimulator, but for the comfort of HG Visitors, an older version is much better. Our most successful recent Safaris have been on grids running on 
          Is it something you're wearing? You may have an attachment that appears in your Viewer, but the grid could be having trouble locating it. Grid hop in that condition, and the grid you visit will spew out errors, creating lag. Do you have broken links in your Worn Inventory? And what about your "My Suitcase" folder? We all know that you can avoid the 'where's my hair' syndrome by making sure you move all worn items into "My Suitcase" before leaving home. But is that folder now bulging with items you don't really need when you grid jump? 
          Every item in every virtual world has its own UUID. This 'Universally Unique Identifier' is randomly assigned for the most part, and it's a very long string of numbers and letters, so it ought to be impossible for two objects, avatars, textures or calling cards to have the same code. But hundreds of people in open sim are uploading thousands of items onto dozens of grids every day, and we're beginning to see cases where two assets share the same UUID, causing a rift in the continuum. OK, not an actual rift, more like making a grid difficult to visit, but this post is getting boring.  
            It is impossible for you to test the HG-friendliness of your own grid by yourself. Even if you clear all possible caches, create avatars on different grids and teleport in from there, the chances are that real HG visitors are going to have lag and rezzing issues you cannot anticipate. Be conservative in your expectations, but don't let that stop you welcoming people onto your grid. If things don't work out, they aren't going to hate you. Ask for feedback. Most people are polite guests, but if asked, they will detail their experience of your grid - and it may surprise you. We were on a region a few weeks ago, and the owner happily noted that CPU was only at 6%. What he couldn't see was the IM storm I was getting of Safaristas who were frozen, rubberbanding, or could only see flat earth.
          I could go on. The list is quite literally endless, since it involves a bunch of unknowns. And one person can be in hypergrid hell while another person departing from the same grid using the same viewer at the exact same time and going to exact same places can be having a perfectly lovely time. Maybe.

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