Monday, September 30, 2013

I Was Floored: Frequently Asked Support Question

Frequently Asked Support Question: Editing Shape Shoves Your Avatar Into the Floor

This problem appeared along with the new "Hover" parameter in the Edit Shape window. It's a variable issue, affecting some people all the time, others not at all, and the good majority occasionally.

What the Problem Looks Like:
This was me, the one and only time the bug has hit me.
I'm the fuzzy gerbil-sized clump of hair in the middle.

You're doing your regular thing—something to do with appearance, generally—and the next thing you know, your avatar has plunged into the floor, up to or over its head.

Most cases will have happened when you closed the window after editing your shape. Some folks have narrowed it down for themselves to editing certain shape parameters, such as Body Fat. But in other, more dramatic cases, people end up in the floor while engaging in some more common appearance-related task, such as attaching or removing attachments. All attachments, all the time. Serious nightmare for them.

As you can tell, this is an inconsistent bug. Although a few people are hit extra hard, many others have been editing their shapes with nary a hint of their avatars drilling for oil and are saying, "Huh? I've never heard of this. How common can it be?" As for me, it's happened exactly once—never before and never since. When a bug is not consistent, it's hard to test. Just like when you take your car to the mechanic and that sporadic noise suddenly refuses to happen, it similarly seems like you can never make a bug like this reproduce itself when you most want it to.

Why it Happens:

We know it's related to the existence of the Hover function but not to its use. Beyond that, we're not sure. But the Lindens seem to know more (based on the fact that they've been working on it), and since the issue came from Linden code, that's what matters.

"But I didn't even touch Hover!" you might be thinking. That's actually irrelevant. The only two factors that contribute to the bug are that 1) you are wearing a modifiable shape, and 2) you did something—anything—to alter your appearance.

Before the pitchforks about this new (and possibly, for some, seemingly unnecessary) shape parameter come out, let's just toss out a reminder that Hover exists because server-side appearance was to render the old Height Offset unusable. Height Offset, meanwhile, was strictly a Third Party Viewer feature. One Linden who has proven himself generous with his time and energy took it upon himself to replace that doomed feature with the Hover option (without it, there would be nothing at all to adjust your distance relative to the ground), and although it has some wrinkles to iron out, I would bet it's been more helpful than it's been a problem.
The bug can strike even if you
don't touch Hover, but this is
where it is in your Appearance

How to Fix It:

Linden Lab has been working on a fix, and they might have hit on one, but it's untested as of yet, and the code is only available in the super-experimental "sunshine external" branch of their own repository. It has not yet made it into one of their release candidate versions, much less a release, much less our release. But at least we know there has been active work done on it, and the fix is in the pipeline (albeit way up-pipe).

If you'd like to keep track of progress for Firestorm in particular, keep an eye on FIRE-9951. When the fix gets merged into Firestorm, tested, and confirmed to be working, it will all be reflected there.

In the meantime, there is a workaround, but it's really only good for people who are affected by the bug at times other than changing shape because it involves making your shape no mod. So if you're one of those unfortunate souls who can't so much as change their shoes without getting shoved underground like a Whack-a-Mole, then this will at least give you some relief:
  • Make a copy of your shape no mod by sending it to an alt account, where you can change it a teensy bit and save it as no mod for next owner. Then send it back. If you don't have any alts, you can send it to a friend to do the same thing.
  • Use that newly no mod copy as your usual one to avoid the bug.
  • This does mean that if you want to change the shape, you'll need to rewear the modifiable one on the alt account, edit it, hope you don't get sucked into the ground while you do, and then re-send the non-modifiable copy for wearing.

Like I said, this workaround is only useful for those who have the worst form of the bug. For those of us who only experience the issue when editing shape, it's not going to help much. There are no known workarounds for preventing the issue while editing shape.

As for what to do when you find yourself under the floor and all you want to do is get out, the following have worked for someone at some point; none is guaranteed, but any could do the trick:
  • Simply re-enter appearance mode.
  • Re-enter appearance mode and toggle the Hover setting, changing it in any direction and then returning it to your preferred value.
  • Relog.

So it's an annoying issue, but the fix is well underway, and there are some workarounds you can try until then.

For help on other issues, please see the troubleshooting section of our wiki, join our inworld group for assistance, or file a ticket on our JIRA. Support questions will not be responded to in the Comments section of this blog.


  1. I had Sunshine's fixes backported to the Cool VL Viewer months ago and the latter is therefore not impacted by this bug. It also uses the Hover parameter on mod-ok shapes to emulate the "Z-offset" adjustment (either via a spiner in the movements controls, or via RestrainedLove's @adjustheight command).


  2. Had this happen to me too. What's odd is that it happens in some sims and not in others. It scared the daylights out of people when my head came sliding across the floor toward them. When I did a reset on my avatar mod, I went back to normal. Another thing: I have a "modded" body for my avatar that I purchased. No trouble there. When I tried modding the body, I became the head on the floor. When I went back to my original to the avatar body (shape) I could mod till the cows wandered in and nothing happened outside of me looking strange. This may be tied to specific shapes, rather than the viewer. Happens with one shape but not the other, and it doesn't happen in every sim...for what that data is worth. Your hair looked rather nice, sort of like a Pekingese. Glad you were able to fix it.

  3. I think i found a "workaround" for the grounding bug which is easier to do than the one described here: edit your shape on a small platform floating a few meters above the ground and make that platform invisible :) So when you get grounded, youre grounded in this platform, not in the ground and since the platform is invisible, you can still see your shape .. make all modifications this way and only at the end readjust the hover .. once instead of many times :)

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