This post will discuss how to handle issues that come up when we play at events that have large audiences.
Many of these suggestions are useful for smaller concerts as well; they are just more important when there are bigger audiences. There are many hundreds of players in the audience at Weatherstock (and a few hundred at events like Winterstock). All their chatting, emoting, fireworks and other activity creates a lot more data than usual that has to be processed by the Turbine’s servers, sent down to your computer via the internet, and then processed on your computer.
These tips below are meant to deal with the following types of issues:
A low frame-rate makes it hard for you to move your characters around accurately.
There may be delays in interacting with your songbook and inventory (changing instruments).
The lag can cause the music to sound bad to the listener since notes are delayed coming down from the server.
The “say” channel can get very busy, and you will have a hard time following anything on a chat tab that includes the say channel.
- Other players can interact with you in ways that are distracting.
You may decide that some of these recommendations are overkill .. for Weatherstock I would recommend that really do follow all these recommendations ... for other shows, you might find that you still get good performance without such extreme measures :)
One machine per character
If you are using one (or more) alts, I recommend you run each alt on its own computer rather than running two clients on the same machine, so you have more total computer power to work with.
For Weatherstock 2014, our band members who ran alts on different computers did not have any crashes; one band member who ran two alts on one box did suffer a single crash, but was able to get the crashed client back up and running before we went onstage.
Other hardware issues
Wired Mouse: If you are doing lyrics or other dialog in Poetical, please make sure you are using a wired mouse, hopefully one that you have used before successfully in LOTRO. Using a wireless mouse with hard-to-press buttons can result in Poetical outputting the dreaded "TEST" message.
Wired Connection: A wired internet connection tends to be a lot faster than a wireless one. This makes a differerence when there is a lot stuff coming down the pipe as there will be at Weatherstock
There are also a lot of things you can do to limit the amount of processing your computer needs to do. Here are the LOTRO settings that I recommend to reduce load on your computer to a minimum.
Toggle Floating Names should be unchecked (you can toggle this on or off by typing n as well)
Player Pet Names should be unchecked
(Chat Bubbles should be checked if you want to see lyrics and other "say" channel chat above people's heads)
UI Settings / Special Effects Options
Uncheck all six of the items in this section
(last year some RK's crashed the server at Weatherstock twice by casting "Essay of Exaltation" in a crowd because people had these effects enabled)
Overall Graphics Quality should be set to Very Low
Antialiasing should be disabled
(You also get better performance if you run in Full Screen mode, since your hardware doesn't have to render the stuff on your desktop, but that isn't always practical. I always run in Windowed mode myself.)
Player Crowd Quality should be set to minimum – by the way, if you do this, this will make your Overall Graphics Quality show as Custom instead of Very Low, but that’s OK.
(Other advanced graphics settings should get set properly once you've set your Overall Graphics Quality to Very Low, as recommended above.)
Enable Kinship Requests should be unchecked
Enable Sparring Requests should be unchecked
Enable Adoption Requests should be unchecked
Enable Involuntary Emotes should be unchecked
Disable Cosmetic Pets should be checked
Audio / Volume
You need to have master volume and player music volume and user interface volume turned on. You need to have the user interface volume on, otherwise you won't be hear to hear incoming IMs. If you don't have player music on, you won't hear any band music. If you don't have master volume on, you won't hear anything.
You might get some performance benefit by turning off the other sounds that you don't need, but I'm not sure how much.
Testing your changes
Whatever changes you make in LOTRO settings, you can verify if it helps by turning on the Frames-per-second indicator (CTRL-F toggles this), though you may not notice the performance boosting effects of turning some of these things off unless you are actually in a big crowd …
‘Stage’ Chat Tab
If you don’t already have something like this, create a new chat tab that has ONLY the following filters checked:
Standard (we need this checked since the instrument sync messages are shown on this channel)
People often name this the ‘stage’ or ‘band’ chat tab, but you can call it whatever you want :) The reason for using the ‘stage’ channel is that the chat and emotes from the assembled masses will fill up the say channel pretty quick and we won’t be able to communicate among ourselves or the event organizers, or see much of anything since it will all go by so fast. So, that’s the idea behind having a tab that doesn’t have the ‘say’ channel enabled, and, in fact, only has the essential channels we need to communicate with our raid and see the sync messages.
You can actually drag the ‘stage’ chat tab to a new window so you can see your General chat tab and the Stage chat tab at the same time .. if you have room on your computer screen. I’ve heard of one person doing this, but I don’t … for one thing, I don’t know how to put it back once I drag it away to it’s own window, so I just switch back and forth between General and Stage as I need to.
Other filters to enable on the ‘stage’ chat tab
We often use a particular user chat channel (often, it’s the “backstage” channel) to communicate with the people who are organizing the event. As band leader, I need to be on this channel, and maybe one or two others should be as well, but everyone doesn’t have to be on it .. up to you. If you do join this chat channel, you will want to enable whatever user chat channel number that is in your ‘Stage’ chat tab.
Color coding chat channels
One thing that is a good general idea is to color code your chat channels so that each channel you will be using at the show is a different color so you can easily tell them apart. While you are doing this, consider setting your Chat Window Opacity pretty high so that the chat text is easily visible against the landscape.
Dealing with Griefers
It’s always possible for griefers to harass bands, and the bigger events are more likely to attract greifers. Just ignore them. Turbine staff and the event organizers will be present to deal with them. We have enough other things to focus on :)
Individual band member preparations for the day of the show
These actually apply to ANY concert, large or small .. I am just sort of including it in this post for completeness.
Before the show, you should:
Log onto LOTRO on the computer or computers you will be using the day before the show, or very early on the day of the show (like I mean hours before that show! That early!) to make sure whatever computer you are using has the LOTRO client up-to-date and working, and so you have enough time to hopefully deal with any LOTRO client update, Windows update, or similar issues you find.
Sync the ABCs to your songbook;
Make sure your costume is compete; cloaks and hats (especially cloaks) tend to add to the general amount of graphics processing required and can cause lag; consider not wearing cloaks and hats at concerts where large audiences are expected;
Get your main and any alts you will be using wherever they need to be;
Rehearse any lyrics you are going to be doing (you can do that using the ABC player to accompany you);
If you use a wireless mouse or keyboard, make sure the batteries are fresh so they don’t give out during the performance. Or better yet, use a wired keyboard and mouse.
- Generally, minstrels should not be in glowing hands (“dissonance”) mode, as it sort of looks weird for a band performance where some band members are doing it and some aren’t (and many of our band members aren’t minstrels)
- If you are doing lyrics in Poetical for the show, make sure that the Default Prefix setting is blank (if it’s blank, the lyrics will be output to the say channel). The reason I mention this is that some people like to practice lyrics in private just before a show by sending the Poetical output to some channel other than the "say" channel.
Band Preparations for emergencies
I’m mostly including this section as a reminder to myself (or whoever is organizing the particular show) to think about these issues for large concerts.
Losing band members: We can lose band members at any concert, large or small, due to people having real life emergencies or technical issues. However, the chances are higher of having technical problems at large concerts. We usually deal with this issue by having extra musicians on hand at the concert to fill in (usually our alts), and sometimes by having alternate sets of music we can play with a smaller band.
Getting into position to play: Another thing we typically do for Weatherstock is to practice getting up on the rockpile ahead of time (since it can be kind of tricky since you may get blocked at the edge of the rockpile and have to jump or detour to get up there).
Cutting songs: If we are playing at an event where we have limited time to complete our set (like at Weatherstock or Winterstock), we will usually have a plan to cut one or more songs if we need to toward the end of the set.
The “Say” bug: currently, there is a bug where sometimes the audience members cannot see information (like, song lyrics) that appears on the say channel. Usually the event organizers suggest that the audience members run around the band in a circle until the messages on the say channel start appearing, but at a large event like Weatherstock, this is sometimes impractical. At Weatherstock 2015, we dealt with this issue by having one person sing the lyrics on the “say” channel, and a different person sing the lyrics on the “shout” channel.
Last edited by Briallan on Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:55 pm; edited 5 times in total