Sian Pearl creates audience avatars for Paradise Lost in Second Life

Angels and Demons, by Sian Pearl, for Paradise Lost in Second Life
Angel and Demon Avatars, designed and created by Sian Pearl, commissioned for Paradise Lost in Second Life

We’re all familiar with lag in Second Life, especially at events. Sometimes, the lag can be so debilitating, it can severely affect enjoyment, compel us to leave these events prematurely, or worse, crash our viewers.

My general understanding is that lag is influenced by the number of avatars nearby, how many textures are visible, and how many scripts are running on a sim.

To mitigate this problem, event organisers now provide visitors with spectator mesh avatars, specifically designed to reduce the impacts of avatar-induced lag and to enhance the atmosphere of the event. These avatars tend to have much fewer textures and be free of scripts.

I first saw this approach at work at MiaMai’s Golden Thread event. The organisers asked visitors to change into mesh avatars before they could enter the event space. We were able to do our scenes with over 50 people on the sim, at a higher frame rate and less lag than we would experience while performing Romeo + Juliet, with about 30 people on the sim.

From that point forward, we were sold on having mesh avatars for visitors to large events.

In The Golden Thread event, the mesh avatars were shaped like robots as illustrated in this photo by Eve Kazan. They were designed by Sian Pearl.

Photo by Eve Kazan
Robot mesh avatars used in MiaMai’s Golden Thread Event – Photo by Eve Kazan

Sian also designed a spectacular avatar for Futurewave. Here is a further example of her inspiring work:

Sian Makes Custom Mesh
Sian Makes Custom Mesh

One of the side-effects of popularity, are much lower frame rates caused by server-side lag. Low frame rates are a killer for a theatre performance, because the character movements slow to a snail’s pace, reminiscent of a coarsely produced flip-book animation.

A couple of months ago we commissioned specialised angel and demon mesh avatars from Sian, to hand out to every audience member of Paradise Lost in Second Life. After coming to an arrangement between us, Sian also decided to sponsor a performance.

And now they’ve arrived!

Everyone that attends Paradise Lost in Second Life will receive a copy of these avatars to wear during the performance. As the play progresses, your avatar will flip from angel to demon mode depending on the scene you’re watching!

We couldn’t be happier with Sian’s work, and I’m sure you’ll love wearing what she’s created too!

Left to Right: Canary Beck, the Angel, Sian Pearl, the Devil, Harvey Crabsticks
Left to Right: Canary Beck, the Angel, Sian Pearl, the Demon, Harvey Crabsticks

Sian Pearl’s website.

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