Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Frequently Asked Support Questions: May 1

(a day late because we were testing a couple of the fixes included)

The three most common issues this week addressed by the Firestorm Support Team (aside from those addressed last week) have been:
  • Inventory missing in Firestorm but not in other viewers
  • Textures never coming in (possibly in combination with inventory, voice, and/or stream problems)
  • Black rectangles in snapshots at some resolutions


Inventory problems can have a couple of different causes. If you're only missing inventory in one viewer, then the problem relates to fetching or caching it. We haven't figured out why there has been an increase in complaints in Firestorm 4.4, so if we discover any additional information that points to new fixes to apply, we will share them.

1) In the meantime, start with the suggestions on our Missing Inventory wiki page. We've organized it step-by-step, with easier steps first and longer steps later. We strongly recommend going in order.

2) An additional fix we have just hit upon is that if you can load your inventory in the Second Life Viewer (Linden Lab's V3) and if you're comfortable working in your file system, you can copy your inventory cache file from the V3 cache into the Firestorm cache. This has worked successfully with several people so far. Here's how to do that:
Fig 1: Avatar key is in profile.
Location will vary.
  • Start by finding your avatar key (UUID) while logged into Firestorm or another viewer that displays it (see Figure 1). It is a string of letters and numbers that appears in your legacy-style profile, though the exact location will vary because different skin options display it differently. If you use web profiles, you will need to switch into the legacy profile to find it (see Figure 2). You can return to the web profile style afterward if you want. When you find your key, just copy it down someplace.
    Fig 2: Your key will only show in legacy profiles.
    Make sure the "Use web profiles" option is unchecked.
  • If you haven't yet, log into V3 and get your inventory loaded in that viewer. This might work with other viewers, as well, but V3 is the only one we've tested with. Once your inventory is loaded there, log out.
  • Locate your Second Life cache folder and your Firestorm cache folder on your hard drive. Our clearing cache page will help you locate where that is (just replace "Firestorm" with "SecondLife" in the path name). Don't clear either cache! Just use the paths shown to find the folders.
  • In the Second Life cache folder, find the file named with your avatar key and ending in "inv.gz" (see Figure 3). That is the inventory cache file for that specific account. Drop or copy this file into your Firestorm cache folder. Allow it to replace the one there.
    Fig 3: Look for the zipped file with
    your key, ending in "inv.gz."
  • Log into Firestorm and check to see if your inventory is there.
  • Avoid clearing cache or you may need to do this process again.

Please note: Under normal circumstances, you should not share cache between viewers because it can cause other weird problems. This suggestion should not be read as an indication that setting your cache in different viewers to the same place would be useful. It won't be.

3) We've had two reports of a Firestorm bridge recreation coinciding with an inventory loading issue suddenly getting fixed. There isn't actually any intuitive reason for that to work, but hey, it won't hurt to give it a shot. To find that, go to Avatar menu > Avatar Health > Recreate LSL Bridge (Figure 4). For more info on the bridge, we have a wiki page on the bridge and what it does.
Fig 4: How to recreate your bridge.

4) If the above suggestions don't help, then try a clean reinstall of the viewer. A few people with inventory problems this week have discovered that a clean install fixed the issue. Take note that a complete clean reinstall includes three fulls steps: uninstalling or deleting the previous Firestorm install (or installs, if you have more than one), manually deleting your settings (and not putting the files back in afterward), and manually deleting your cache.

5) Even though there may be a difference in inventory loading from one viewer to another, it does not rule out the possibility of a network/connection component, as well. Sometimes problems have a combo cause. If this problem persists, see the suggestions toward the bottom of the Missing Inventory page concerning your connection.

6) Also see the next section, especially if your inventory loss is happening in conjunction with…

Textures Not Rezzing

In preparation for Server-Side Appearance (formerly Server-Side Baking), there have been some changes at both viewer and server ends concerning the use of the HTTP texture fetching process. It's out of scope of this post to explain what that is in detail, so I'll be focusing on fixes to the problems that appear to be related to these changes.

The problems may include:
  • Textures remaining grey
  • Textures getting stuck in a blur-rez-blur-rez cycle
  • Inventory problems
  • Mesh not rezzing
  • Voice, stream, or media trouble

These all have multiple possible causes, so you can find additional suggestions at our inventory, mesh, voice, and media pages.

If you're seeing them in combination with texture failure, though, or texture failure alone, then please see our HTTP Fetching Issues page. It will give you things to try and some explanation of the causes. One possible cause you're not going to be happy to hear about? Your router. See the wiki page for more info.

Very important: One of the best ways for us -- and for Linden Lab -- to figure out how to fix things so that you don't have to jump through debug hoops is to provide us viewer logs so that developers can get a better idea of where the failure is happening. We're collecting logs at FIRE-10020 for that purpose. If you're experiencing this issue, we would love to have your logs. We have a wiki page that explains how to find and attach viewer logs to our JIRA.

Black Rectangles in Snapshots

Photographers are familiar with the long-running issue where high-resolution snapshots come out with a "tiling" effect, with subtle lines crossing through the finished image. The good news is, we received a fix for that from Linden Lab and included it in the latest Firestorm release. The bad news is, the fix has a side effect that some people consider worse than the original problem: it sometimes creates black rectangles along the edge of the image in the saved version of the picture.

The bug report for this issue is at FIRE-9097. This report correlates with reports on the Linden JIRA (which, unfortunately, are not publicly visible): BUG-1094 and MAINT-2150.

The Firestorm team doesn't have any developers at present who work on the sort of code that could fix all this high resolution snapshot wonkiness once and for all, so we need to continue waiting for Linden Lab or other outside developers to address it. If you're about to say, "Well, why don't you get one?" then, uh… if you know any, send them our way and we just might! If only it were as easy as plucking one off the Developer Tree!

At best, our developers might be able to provide an option between the old and new behavior. That means you get to choose which bug you prefer to Photoshop around. Not the ideal solution, and they're not sure they'll be able to implement it at all yet, but if they can, it might do until a bug-free snapshot experience comes our way.

In the meantime, there are a couple of known workarounds, though the shortcomings will be obvious to photographers:
  • Sticking with the standard resolution sizes, rather than setting a custom one, will allow you to avoid the issue.
  • The problem only occurs when Advanced Lighting Model (formerly known as Lighting & Shadows) is on. In other words, you get a tradeoff between using high resolution or using shadows, depth of field, etc.

If you discover any workarounds that will be more appealing, please post them as a comment on the JIRA.

Since we'll most likely need a fix from Linden Lab for this, feel free to file reports on their JIRA under the BUG heading. Just make sure to log into and test the problem on the Linden Lab viewer first and to include the system info from their viewer, not ours. Just as we can't work with problems that aren't reproducible on Firestorm, they can't work with problems if you haven't checked for them on their viewer.

Further Help and Why No Comments?

I hope this blog post contained useful information. Last week I made the mistake of leaving comments open and unmoderated. You'll notice that's not the case this week. It's not because I don't want to hear from you but because I can't guarantee a response to requests for support here, and I don't want to leave the impression that such a response is likely. If you need help that isn't provided here, then please use the following means:
  • The wiki is a regularly updated resource with all known fixes to common problems.
  • If you can't find what you need there, join our inworld group, open 24 hours with help from support team members when they're available and from your peers at all times.
  • If your problems prevent you from logging in on any viewer, you can request support through the JIRA. Bug reports go to the JIRA, as well.
  • A one-stop list of all the ways you can get help from our support team is right here.