"Mikey Likes It' Commercial for Life Cereal from the 1970s.
As Rex Cronon helpfully pointed out, Jenni Darkwatch has a great explanation in sort of laymen's terms, or at least power SL user terms, about what the new (well, year-old) Land Impact readings are all about. Not everybody has come to grips with these because not everybody uses V2 or V3, the latest viewers, but they will. I resisted using V3 for the longest time and still have to "flee back to V1 to get work done" because there are so many things I can't get done efficiently in V3 (um, like find my inventory, including things I just bought, or search efficiently or remove prims from land efficiently). I do use V3 pretty much always now, however, because newest customers are on it, and I can't step them through all the oddities of the SL GUI unless I'm right on it myself, there just isn't any other way, I tried keeping two sets of notecards, making tutorials with screenshots -- the hell with it. Nobody has time for that unless they are geeks. Normal people want a simple flat instruction *right now* personally, live, in real time, they don't want to be sent to tutorials, help islands, Torley videos.
Anyway, once you read Jenni's helpful thing, and all the comments on it, and Jeremy Linden's original official explanation, if you're me, you get the politics of this situation all of a sudden, real fast.
Many people, including Shamlet ne Linden and his pals, expect the Lindens to reduce tier. They aren't going to do that. In fact, they're doing something worse -- they're making less server space available for your inventory at the same price, just like cereal manufacturers now do with making their boxes smaller and putting less cereal in them, but keeping the same sticker on them.
That really is what happened, and it explains why our Ross build could suddenly display as way over the limit, even without mesh or only a few "objects on physics".
That's not supposed to happen, according to the official propaganda. LI was only supposed to be calculated for mesh products as a way of merging them to the land/tier system smoothly. They can be built less "heavy" or more "light" (the Lindens use the literary metaphor of "gravity" in this world that doesn't have any as we understand it in real life because it helps explain "usage" of server capacity).
But what they didn't tell us is that prims can now read double, or even 40 times as much as they used to. That's not supposed to happen; in fact it does, if you read the explanations. Two boxes can be forced to render as one prim if the menu is jigged right and "anything but prim" is checked off, i.e. convex, a workaround that will ultimately likely have consequences. But two prims can also now "land impact" as four; and one torus can be a whopping 37.
Here's what I wrote on the forums, in case it gets deleted:
It seems to me, however, that what *politically* is really happening here -- once you get through all the technicalities -- is that readings of "how much prim space remains" on a leased server, i.e. "what the land impact is" -- can very likely change for the *higher* or the *lower* -- but quite often *the higher*.
Phil thinks that if an object goes from 2 prims to 4 LI while remaining the same object, or 16 prims or 18 LI while remaining the same object, merely "opted-in" or "linked differently," that "it doesn't matter". He likely doesn't want any one to stop buying primmy furniture for fear it will use up land.
But it is using up more land. The Lindens have basically just raised tier by making the existing offer of server space in fact less. They obviously want to work very hard at hiding that news. But that *is* the news. And it's bad news -- a torus isn't 1 prim; it's a whopping *37* LI.
This explains while an old legacy build from 2005, which has been obviously there mainly unchanged in its main components since then -- for more than 7 years -- and which had never been over its limits could suddenly show nearly twice the number of prims and thereby use up a buffer and make it impossible for boats to pass.
A chair that was 22 prims was now showing as 28; overall, a viewer that highlighted and showed the number of objects as 400 plus and 1800 something LI on the viewer, in fact inworld was showing 2200 on the actual land viewer, using the latest v3.
If you suddenly have to get rid of half your prims or 1000 prims, you end up having to cut the build in half, and figuring out how to fake-link prims to get them to force the "favourable reading" and all the rest described here. What a racket! What a pain! How awful!
This is exactly what I'm going through now.
Most people on a smaller parcel in a rental somewhere aren't going to notice much. Perhaps they'll not be able to put out as much stuff. Or maybe some stuff will actually book as lower now, so they cancel each other out. I've already had some tenants on the mainland get exasperated at "new readings" of their formerly prim-compliant lots. I come, and I'm perplexed, too. You count the prims in the objects by looking at edit -- but the land impact is higher, sometimes by hundreds, forcing prim overrage in a group that wrecks havocs on group rentals on mainland.
The Lindens and their chief apologists keep telling people the Party line: that the new reading system only affects mesh; that old legacy prims are essentially grandfathered; but wait, scripts might cause some different readings...and then they begin to mumble (which is why Jeremy Linden's article is so unclear -- it's deliberate -- ANYTHING but tell the customer that the product is now diminished but sold at the same price).
Everyone knows what happened to cereal boxes in the recession. The price of cereal went way up, especially after some droughts. So instead of putting higher and higher prices on the boxes of cereal so that they would become ridiculous, like US $8.00 or $10.00, to keep them at $5.82 or $6.89 or something that looked plausible, they just reduced the size of the box, and also put less cereal in it but fluffed it up with air.
When you get home and put your "new-sized" cereal box to a "legacy cereal box" in the cupboard, you see how you've been robbed -- when you open up the box and find half of it is air and there's about two bowls of cereal inside, you realize just how badly.
The same thing has happened to Second Life.
Basically, by telling this political truth, I will experience a number of things:
o snarky tekkies will tell me I don't understand the technology
o Lindens will roll their eyes and claim I am only describing one use case
o fanboyz will claim that there are only certain sets of circumstances that produce the much higher readers and they don't alway pertain
o blah blah, you get the idea
But the news is this: you land is not worth as much because you and/or your tenants cannot put out as much on it.
This news is starting to seep through people's consciousnesses, despite the enormous anti-gravity spin going on from Lindens (mainly through silence as they experiment) and fanboyz (mainly through burying the problems in enormously technical building tutorials and discussions). Most people grappling with this on a parcel-level like a 1024 or 4096 are simply fiddling around, trying to put out that new mesh thing they bought and take out that old primmy table that seems to "cost more" in land impact, jiggling until they get it right, finding puzzling things like two becoming four or one becoming 37, eyeing the prim/LI count, and just fiddling til they get it right and forgetting about it.
People with very large builds are eyeing the problem more nervously as prims return to inventory mysteriously or mystery prims appear (yesterday I took out the "145 prims" that came back to inventory from Ross in a public sandbox, and there was...on object. When the sandbox returned, it said "145 again". Maybe they are linked and up in the air, I couldn't find anything on the mini-map).
But people who own 100 islands are probably seeing this at a much larger scale where maybe they can now see that homesteads in particular are not what they used to be. Maybe they can cloak this worrying phenomenon by just steering customers to mesh, putting out mesh houses that can "take up less prims" (I think most mesh houses look like ass, even with v3, because they look like pasted on texture instead of craftsmenship, and look too round like cartoons, but it's a matter of taste).
I think mainly this unwelcome development will impact old legacy builds on the mainland, oldbies even on new islands that stuck to their own inventories. And eventually, the Lindens will get people to shake loose prims and not have to worry about wildly different readings. No more torii, no more one prim object reading 37 all of a sudden because it's twisted and the server has to groan trying to render it for you to see. I think the world will be poorer when there aren't the choices of prims, sculpties, mesh mainly because people will find it harder to make their own stuff.
But that's not the Lindens' concern now.