One of the most common complaints I hear about Sansar is that the experiences sometimes take too long to load. I cross-posted my recent blogpost about the new Star Trek exhibit to Reddit, and I got the following comments back (which I anonymized):
Unfortunately, some Sansar experiences do take significant time to load, especially the first time you visit. Some popular experiences that have a lot of content, like 114 Harvest and the above-mentioned Ready Player One experience, seem to take forever to load. And right now, there’s not a lot you can do about it.
The single biggest factor affecting experience load times is internet bandwidth, which you can check using Speedtest or numerous similar websites. According to the Recommended System Specs page for Sansar, a 10 Mbps connection is recommended, with 5 Mbps a minimum. Ping time is also important (but see the update, below).
(The CPU, GPU and amount of RAM on your computer are lesser factors in Sansar experience load times. If you have a high-end gaming machine, but a lousy internet connection, you’ll still be waiting a long time.)
The good news is that once an experience has loaded, the Sansar client caches it so it loads much more quickly on second and subsequent visits.
Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab, said on the official Sansar Discord server:
There is a lot we can and will do to improve scene loading times/experience. Progressive texture loading, CDN, load in background, stream, LoD, magic, better tools for creators to diagnose and optimize their content. Some of these are sooner and others are much later. I’m hoping for one of them to make noticeable improvement very soon.
Linden Lab’s Chief Product Officer, Landon, added:
Scene load time at least the first time a scene is loaded is almost entirely a function [of] bandwidth.
Not really anything in settings to improve them. (I want to make the experience great for everyone out of the box!)
The settings that Landon refers to are a relatively recent addition to the Sansar client, and they are intended more to adjust the graphics display settings to accommodate lower-end computers. If you are running Sansar on a lower-end computer such as a laptop, you could turn off Shadowed Atmospherics and Ambient Occlusion and lower the Render Quality from High to Medium or Low to get better performance (however, with the setting on Low metal textures will turn black).
But unfortunately, none of these settings affect experience load times. We’re all going to have to wait (some more) for Linden Lab to figure out ways to optimize experience loading. Ebbe sums up what content creators and experience builders can do in the meantime:
Textures. Textures. Textures. Smaller. Re-use. Re-use in clever ways still gets you variety. Smaller. Re-use. Fewer. Smaller. More re-use. Sounds. Smaller. Fewer. Always. Keep pushing. We will do stuff to make it easier to do it better over time. We will do stuff to make it faster over time. But a megabyte is megabyte, can’t change that. There’s always a line for you to cross. And careful with the triangles. Decimate. Cheers!
UPDATE Aug. 13th: In response to a discussion on the official Sansar Discord server about the impact of longer ping times (the reaction time of your connection, i.e. how fast you get a response after you’ve sent out a request), Ebbe Altgerg said:
Those [longer] ping times are not a problem. We will soon use a CDN where you will all download content from a place near to you. We’re also fixing our implementation of how we download assets to be more efficient. These changes will come soon. Hang in there and don’t worry about ping times.