SL project updates 2015 week 4/1: Avatar Hover Height

Coming soon: Avatar Hover Height provides a means of adjusting your avatar's graphical height above the ground / floor / objects, as seen by yourself and others  -see below for dtails
Coming soon: Avatar Hover Height provides a means of adjusting your avatar’s graphical height above the ground / floor / objects, as seen by yourself and others -see below for details

Server Deployments – Week 4

Due to Monday, January 19th being Martin Luther King day in the USA and holiday for many, the scheduled deployments for the week have been put back by one day.

There will be no Main (SLS) channel deployment for the week, as the server maintenance package deployed to the RC channels in week 3 has resulted in the snapshots-to-email functionality in the snapshot floater failing (see BUG-8223).

On Thursday, January 22nd, and as a result of this issue, the LeTigre and Magnum RC channels will receive a further server maintenance package which includes a fix for BUG-8223.

BlueSteel will also receive the same update, but with additional support for the new avatar height adjustment capability, as noted below.

Avatar Hover Height

Prior to the arrival of server-side appearance (SSA), many TPVs included a capability commonly referred to as “z-axis height adjustment”. Simply put, this allowed the height of an avatar to be adjusted up or down, relative to the ground or to an object they were sitting on, which allowed for a wide range of adjustments to be made (such as when sitting or kneeling on the ground, to prevent the appearance of hovering over it or to more finely tune the avatar’s pose on the ground, or to re-adjust an avatar’s height relative to the ground when using things like dancing posballs, etc, and so on).

This capability was lost when SSA was deployed, and as a result SUN-38 was raised, requesting a means by which greater freedom for avatar height adjustment could be given to users. While the Lab did respond to this request through the introduction of the  “Hover” slider in the Edit Appearance floater, it only met a very narrow subset of use cases for adjusting an avatar’s height, and even then would only work with Modify shapes.

In June 2014, a formal proposal was put to the Lab more fully explaining why a height offset capability is required, and offering suggestions on how it might be achieved. As a result of this, Vir Linden has been working to provide such a capability, which is now officially called Avatar Hover Height (AHH), preliminary details of which, together with notes on testing it, can be found on the wiki.

This is now available for testing on Aditi using the new AHH project viewer. In addition, and as noted above, the server-side support will undergo initial deployment to the BlueSteel RC of the main grid on Thursday, January 22nd.

Within the viewer, AHH adds a new option called – wait for it – Avatar Hover Height to the right-click Avatar context menu in the viewer. Clicking on this displays the Set Avatar Height slider / spinner which can be used to adjust an avatar’s height by up to +/- 2 metres from the nominal default height.

Note that this is purely a graphical change – there is no associated change the avatar’s height in terms of platform physics. The slider allows for quite rapid adjustments to be made, while the spinner supports finer manual adjustments of up to 3 decimal places.

The slider allows your avatar's graphical height to be adjusted by +/- 2 metres from its nominal default
The slider allows your avatar’s graphical height to be adjusted by +/- 2 metres from its nominal default

Once adjustments have been finalised, they are sent to the simulator, and then back to all viewers connected to the simulator, allowing your adjusted height to be consistently seen by everyone around you (or that will be the case once the capability is fully deployed; during the roll-out, there will be a couple of caveats, as discussed further down in this article).

The slider works regardless of whether you’re using a No Modify shape, and allows adjusts to seated poses as well as standing poses, and works with poseballs (thus allowing couples dances to be correctly adjusted to prevent one or other partner either floating over the dance floor or being buried up to their ankles in it).

Avatar Hover Height will allow you to fine-tune your apparent seated position relative to an object or to the ground when dancing with a partner, allow you to kneel / lie / sit on the ground correctly, and so on - thus meeting the majority of use cases the Hover slider in Edit Appearance fails to address.
Avatar Hover Height will allow you to fine-tune your apparent seated position relative to an object or to the ground when dancing with a partner, allow you to kneel / lie / sit on the ground correctly, and so on – thus meeting the majority of use cases the Hover slider in Edit Appearance fails to address.

As noted above, the capability can be tested on Aditi right now. You’ll need the project viewer (when available), or you can download the latest version of the viewer from the link given above. You’ll also need to be be on regions which have the necessary server-side support for Avatar Hover Height. These are any region on the DRTSIM-274 channel, and nominally Hover1 and Hover2. Please read the notes on testing (again linked-to above).

Note on Initial Deployment

As AHH requires both viewer and server-side support, a couple of things do need to be noted while it is being tested / deployed:

  • Until such time as server-side support for AHH is fully deployed, any adjustment you make to you avatar’s height using it will only be effective while you are on regions with the necessary server-side support. If you move to a region without the  support, your avatar with revert to its nominal default height above the ground / objects, and the AHH options will be greyed-out in your viewer. However, any setting you have made using AHH will be automatically re-applied when you re-enter a region with server-side AHH support
  • Until such time as the viewer-side code is incorporated into all viewers, any adjustments you make to your avatar’s height using AHH will only be visible to you and other people using viewers with the AHH code. anyone on a region supporting AHH who is using a viewer without the necessary AHH code will continue to see your avatar at its nominal default height.
Do keep in mind that until the AHH code is fully deployed across the grid, it will only work on regions with the server-side support. similarly, the function will only be available with viewers updated to provide AHH, and will only be seen by others using viewers with AHH support. Anyone using a viewer will not see your AHH adjustments , even if you're on a region supporting the capability Istead, they'll see you at your nominal default height (as shown in the image on the right, taken with Firestorm, at the same time the image on the left was captured using the AHH viewer)
Do keep in mind that until the AHH code is fully deployed across the grid, it will only work on regions with the server-side support. Similarly, adjustments made using it will only be visible to others using viewers with AHH support; those using viewers that do not support AHH will continue to see your avatar at its nominal default height, as shown in the image on the right, taken with Firestorm which shows my CTA standing on the ground, rather than hovering over it, as seen in the AHH viewer.

From the rapid testing I’m managed to do with AHH, it appears to work for the majority of cases where some fine tuning of avatar height is required, and offers a suitable level of granularity in adjustment through the spinner (although a suspect most people will perhaps finder the slider adequate for their needs. It will therefore be interesting to see how detailed testing progresses.

Assuming no major issues are found, it would seem likely this update will be one targeted for fairly rapid deployment, at least on the server-side, although the viewer code may take longer to filter through and to be picked-up by TPVs, depending upon what else is in the pipeline.

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7 thoughts on “SL project updates 2015 week 4/1: Avatar Hover Height

  1. This is good news! Meanwhile, every cloud has a silver lining: the hover slider turned out to be useful in special situations, e.g. Mermaid tails and other avatars that may float over the ground.

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  2. Will it also be possible to set hover hight via scripts? I recently tested some animations that would put smaller avatars into the ground and it would have been so great to raise avatars smaller than 180cm.

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    1. I’m honestly not sure on the issue of scripted support; I have a vague recollection of the question be asked at one meeting, but my brain has been out to lunch since then, I’m afraid! No mention of any additional SL support is given on the wiki page, which doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t there or is not coming.

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    2. No, this particular height adjustment is deliberately not modifiable through a script. Scripts can already affect height be playing animations or attaching objects that include z offsets. This new adjustment exists specifically because there are already so many things that can affect height and interact in unexpected ways; this allows the user to directly apply a correction to achieve exactly what they want.

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  3. In fact, scripts will be able to modify this Z offset, just as they have been for a very long time before SSB came and broke things in many viewers: the @adjustheight RLV command allows to modify the Z offset in real time, and the Cool VL Viewer (and later, Marine’s RLV) has been modified after SSB so to use the Hover visual parameter to adjust the Z offset.
    I’m pleased to announce that this week’s releases of the Cool VL Viewer will also allow to adjust the Z offset (with both a spin button and @adjustheight) via *either* the Hover shape visual parameter or the new Avatar Hover Height feature (I just tested it and it works great in RC Magnum and RC Le Tigre sims on the main grid).
    However, and since it will take time for that feature to be supported by all viewers, my viewer will allow you to disable the new feature (even in sims supporting it) to revert to the shape hover method (so that everyone can see your Z offset vary, at least as long as you wear a mod-ok shape).

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