Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Friday Night Tournament: Seriously, WTF?

I've complained about lag before, but last Friday was an entirely new experience. I'd call it a case study of what could go wrong on tournament night. Murphy's Laws of Boxing.

Some stuff was preventable, like the massive brain cramp I suffered that had me reading a previous version of the fight card and calling to the ring two fighters who never bothered to show.

The rest was down to a crushing layer of lag. It just did not let up. At one point I checked the lag meter that Linden Labs now provides under the viewer's Help menu, and results were interesting, to say the least.

Server was green. Network was green. Client, which is to say, the box I was viewing it all through, was red.

And in the back of my head I heard the sneering voice of Johnny Rotten: "The problem is YOU!"
Thing is, though, it wasn't just me. Most of our fighters had trouble, and a lot of them were newcomers having their first experience with Averlast's tournament. No doubt there had been talk of lag prior to Friday night, and usually it contains itself within acceptable levels. But as your Mom always said, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and performance was so poor that night that I doubt that some of the people who fought (or tried to, having SL as a second, unexpected opponent) will be coming back.

So is this another error to add to the litany of Havok4's list of sins? Is Linden Labs trying to push too far ahead too soon, leaving many people's systems behind? Obsolescence is a hazard that everyone who owns a computer must eventually face, but could this have been handled better? "Havok4" has almost become a curse word among SLers, as various bugs continue to manifest on top of a heavier system load.

Things dragged out to the point that the audience got up and left, little by little. We coaxed a lot of them back for the title fight between JoJo and Dwain, but SL wasn't letting us get away with that, either, as it crashed Dwain repeatedly and forced us to reschedule for next week.

So a bad night. But hopefully as bad as it gets.

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