This post was written with bad information! The Dodie lamp shown below is actually only three prims! Just one more than my own, and that extra prim is used to make the lantern piece itself look much, much nicer than the one in my own version.
I highly recommend purchasing this lamp, it's a phenomenal piece of sculpting and texturing, and the very model of efficiency I was trying to promote with this post! Go buy one now!
I sincerely apologize to Dodie Snowbear for providing incorrect information about her product! It was very irresponsible of me to write about the lamp without seeing it firsthand.
- Penny Patton
I'm often asked how I can cram so much detail into so few prims.
Honestly, the answer is to obsess over efficiency. A part of that is to constantly use scale and camera placement to allow yourself to fit more stuff into a smaller amount of space. Another part is to be completely obsessive over prim counts, using as few prims as possible while getting the most detail out of them as you can.
When I was working on the Island of Milk & Cream I suggested lamps to light up the paths. Alyce, one of the owners, pointed me at a wonderful looking fantasy street lamp that was perfect for forest settings. I loved it, but was dismayed that the number of prims it used was not listed on the Marketplace page. Alyce went to the creator's shop to take a look and found it was 8 prims.
|[D o d i e] Log Lamp by Dodie Snowbear
This is what I came up with.
|Very similar but...
Now, I'm not doing this just show off (Ok, so showing off was a big part of it, yes. Shush and keep reading!) or to one up Dodie, it's a gorgeous design, and I won't be selling my version to compete so unless you can make your own you're just going to have to buy the [D o d i e] version, I just want to illustrate how much you can squeeze into a smaller number of prims if you try. Being able to work with sculpts, and soon mesh, is a key part of that. Being able to see just how far you can stretch a sculpt for detail is another.
Of course my much lower prim version couldn't be done without sacrifices. The [D o d i e] lamp has a much more detailed lantern, with a visible candle inside. For mine I decided I could do without that additional detail and replaced it with a single, flat glowing prim for the light source.
Second Life is all about balance, putting detail where it's most needed and cutting back on detail where it matters less. In this case I decided I could do without the detail inside the lantern so that I could save prims to put elsewhere on the island, such as more lamps!
|Yes, I was thinking of My Neighbor Totoro when I put a lamp there.
I'll figure something out.
Anyways, I don't always make my own versions from scratch if existing content is too many prims. I was able to take the Pre Fabulous "Old Barn" and cut the prim count to less than half by scaling it down and removing all of the prims that made redundant, then going through and replacing a lot more with sculpts. Once we get 64m prim sizes I intend to replace a lot more in that barn with sculpts, cutting the prim count to a tiny fraction of the original.
|Fantastic barn, but was built WAY too large.
|I also modded this one to work best for avatars around 5'7", the original worked better with much larger avatars.
So look for ways that you can reduce prims. Whether it's by making your own sculpts to replace regular prims, scaling a build down so it uses fewer prims, using megaprims where possible. Try and make a challenge to yourself not to use any regular prims unless they care cut, hollowed, twisted or otherwise manged into something far more detailed than a simple torus, cylinder or box. Look for opportunities to cut prims everywhere, return to old builds and see what can be improved!
There's always a way to make a build more efficient, you just need to look for them!