Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Frequently Asked Support Questions: April 23

Added April 25:
Please note that we are not actively monitoring the comments section to reply to requests for support. If you need help or have questions with the viewer, the following links will provide you more effective ways of accessing support that are already available:

In case you didn't catch it, Firestorm v4.4.0.33720 was released yesterday, April 22, at around 3:30pm SL time. Naturally, we've been busy bees in the Firestorm Support group since then.

No matter how well a release is tested before it's sent out, it won't be perfect for everyone. It can be perfect for most people and still create problems for others. Sometimes the problem is a bug, other times it's a settings change. We've got a couple of both in our FAQ for the past 24 hours.

Black Screen

Some users are experiencing a totally black screen on login. User interface, tags, and hovertips are visible, but the rest is a sea of black. This problem has so far shown up only on machines with ATI graphics cards and older graphics drivers, both Windows and Mac. Fortunately, we have a few workarounds you can use. All this info is also available on our wiki.

  • The workaround that will probably be preferable to most people will be to disable Glow. Find this in Preferences > Graphics > Rendering. Just uncheck that sucker. Glow is an object property, so this will prevent some things from, well, glowing in your view. It's not the same as a light source, so don't worry, you'll still see lamps and torches and facelights.
  • If you want to use Glow, and you have Advanced Lighting Model on (this used to be called Lighting & Shadows), you can also disable our new Vignette option in Phototools. How to find it. What you're missing if you disable it. This option may not work if you don't have Advanced Lighting Model enabled.
  • Finally, most people will probably not want to choose this one, but it's available to you if you do: disabling Basic Shaders. This is in Prefs > Graphics > General. It'll be on the left.

Uncheck "Render glow" as a workaround to the black screen problem.

For a more permanent fix: The issue is driver-related, so installing the right graphics driver should do the trick. For Windows, we know the Catalyst 12.01 works. For Mac, it means upgrading your operating system to Mountain Lion (Lion works fine, but it isn't available from Apple anymore).

Height Offset

We anticipated that this would create a problem. In earlier versions of the viewer, we had a Height Offset option built right into our Quick Preferences. This would let you move your avatar up or down, wherever you happened to be. Feet in the floor? No problem! Hovering above your chair? No problem!

"Hover" replaces height offset
Sadly, the changes that Linden Lab are making for Server-Side Appearance (that server update that will improve avatar texture baking) are incompatible with the way Height Offset has worked up to now. Despite the fact that they never had anything equivalent in their own viewer, they've responded to our dismay at losing a popular feature by doing what they can to provide a replacement that will work with the new baking system.

The replacement to Height Offset is located in the Appearance window and is tied into your shape's parameters. Consequently, it can only be used if your shape is modifiable. Also, it can't be added back into Quick Prefs. See here for how to use it.

Dunno about you, but I give LL props for that effort. The new version may still have a couple of shortcomings compared to the old one -- perhaps with time the kinks will get worked out -- but it should be sufficient for most people.

Hidden Buttons

There are a couple of complaints/questions that we've been receiving en masse that relate to intended changes. This version of the viewer introduced the option to hide or show some user interface elements that had previously been visible but that not everyone wanted to see for one reason or another.

Specifically, this applied to chiclets (the square mini-icons that line up in the corner of your screen when you have IMs open) and media controls in the top bar.

The point of confusion is that these items are hidden by default if you log in with Phoenix Mode. This mode is intended to resemble Phoenix, so since Phoenix didn't have this stuff (the Vintage skin has the media controls at the bottom), neither does Phoenix Mode. They can be added back if you want them there. We're all about options whenever feasible.

So if you want those things back, they are both located in Preferences > User Interface > General:
  • "Show media controls in top menu" is on the 7th checkbox line down from the top, to the right of "Show lag meter."
  • "Hide group and IM chat chiclets" is the 2nd checkbox from the bottom.

Hide or show media controls and/or chiclets

Similarly, if you're on a different mode and you want to get rid of chiclets, you can find that option to hide them. It removes the IM and script dialog chiclets. The ones that remain there are the chat bubble that shows unread messages and the envelope that stores open notifications. Those are not removable at this time.

And there ya go. Help is also always available on our wiki and in our inworld support groups. We think our free in-person classes are pretty nifty, as well. We have many ways to get help!

Fired Up,