Grabbing an unexpected opportunity to spend some time inworld last Friday, I headed off to the celebration sims to check out more of the fun and grab some screenshots. Sadly, much of the hour I had dedicated to my virtual pursuits was taken up with unwanted delays and waits and, ultimately, the annoyance of being booted out of SL against my wishes and utterly frustrated.
It was pretty quiet when I arrived, which spelled the opportunity for taking advantage of less lag on site and faster rezzing, to take some decent screenshots. At least, that was the plan – things didn’t quite pan out that way. My first problem was a noticeable drop in performance as I strolled around the sims – before long, my system had crawled to almost a complete halt, with memory usage way above anything that could be considered reasonable, and CPU running scarily at an almost constant 100% – something was very obviously wrong. Restart, rinse, repeat.
This has been a recurring problem for me over recent weeks and, after some digging, I’ve finally got to the bottom of it. Techy talk bit coming up: Running Firestorm with Task Manager open quickly revealed my system resources being hogged by multiple instances of a process called llceflib.exe. Although this may look a bit iffy, it is actually normal and expected behaviour; this particular little beastie is the CEF (Chromium Embedded Framework) plugin, recently incorporated into SL viewers of all flavours to allow web based content and functionality, such as HTML-5, to be embedded within the viewer without the need for a mass of coding and customisation. Whilst this allows rich content and up-to-date web compatibility for SL residents, it also has its dark side. Like Google’s Chrome browser, upon whose code CEF is based, each new instance of the plugin is opened in a separate process – this is also seen in Chrome, where every new tab and plugin is opened in a separate process – and each of these processes gobbles resources and ultimately slows things down. As far as I know, this is to build stability – if one process crashes, the others are unaffected, but in my opinion it’s a complete pain in the buttocks. Fortunately, in Chrome at least, you can go under the bonnet and turn it off, unfortunately in SL viewers, we’re stuck with it.
So, if you’re having issues with your viewer gradually slowing and then hanging when spending time inworld, it’s quite possible you’re clogged up with plugins. The only solution is to quit and log back in… But you also might have to kill any stubborn processes too, since sometimes – and nobody knows why – they get stuck.
Great – I’d got to the bottom of that problem, but it wasn’t helping me at all. All I could do was wander round and relog whenever things became too slow to bear, (or at the point the PC started to smoke!), however my tribulations weren’t yet over, and this time it was nothing to do with things my end.
There I was, lining up for the perfect shot – Windlight sorted, annoyances de-rendered, framing just so… When – horror of horrors – ‘that’ message popped up on my screen: The region was about to restart. Dammit! I moved on, and what do you know… Same again! The restarts were following me; sims blinking out of existence like some apocalyptic virtual End of Days. My mission was doomed… with one final shake of the screen and a further 60 second warning, everything froze and that was it – I watched helplessly as, SL and myself blinked out of existence.
I can take a hint!
You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go go go, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
The Beatles – Hello, Goodbye