There has been some discussion for a time about how SSA (Server Side Appearance bakeing) has messed up avatar-offset. This is the offset most third party viewers provide that allows you to adjust the distance from your avatar to the ground or a chair when sitting.
Henri Beauchamp and a few others have been asking the Lindens to do something with the problem. It affects lots of pose balls and sit adjusted items in SL. As best I can tell the Lindens see this as a minor problem. So, there has not been a fix, at least not one that works for most people. The worst problems are being fixed, but…
The Firestorm Dev Team has removed the avatar-offset feature from the new 4.4.0 viewer just released. (At least I am told so in FS Support and I can’t find it) Watching the support channel this morning the top two question have to do with ATI users getting black screens (fix) and people asking where the avatar-offset feature was moved to… the answer: OUT.
This problem is related to: SUN-38 – As users of kneel/lay/sit animations and tiny/giant avatars, we need a way to change the body size in SSB sims. (I think everyone can read SUN items) Another related problem is BUG-204 – Detaching animated object stops sit animation and throws the avi into the air. (on my blog)
Nyx Linden has pointed out that the new shape Hover Parameter should help with this problem.
Hover Parameter? Henri describes the problem with using a shape parameter, “Adding a new parameter to the shape is NOT a suitable way to achieve equivalent results as what we could get so far in non-SSB sims: each time a new animation is played, you need to adjust the Z-offset: this can’t obviously be achieved by each time changing a shape parameter, saving the new shape, and then asking for a (full !) rebake: the Z-offset (and more exactly the avatar height as requested by the viewer depending on the currently worn shape and the Z-offset) needs to be accounted for in real time (like what LLAgent::sendAgentSetAppearance() allowed to do), independently of the other visual parameters; the shape wearable itself should be left untouched when the height is adjusted via the Z offset.”
And there is the problem of no-mod shapes.
Ansariel Hiller describes a good user case: “You are wearing an AO and the avatar offset is properly aligned with the ground (avatar is not floating). Now let’s say you do a groundsit. What often happens is, you suddenly end up stuck in the floor or whatever. Now you use the z-offset parameter to adjust your avatar offset.
Now try to imagine how you want to accomplish that with a wearable! You would have to go into edit appearance mode, which will unsit your avatar, and then mess with the offset slider, not knowing how it will affect the groundsit as you can’t see it live. So you save the outfit, which will trigger a needless rebake, and sit again, only to find out you’re still stuck in the ground and you have to edit your appearance again! This is completely impractical!
That being said, we need something like a server message “UpdateAvatarOffset” or so, that will instantly change the avatar offset without rebakes or having to change your appearance.”
So if you are a Firestorm user wondering where the offset feature went, it is not there because it soon won’t work.
The Lindens are looking at a fix. But, they WILL most likely rollout SSA without the fix. They do NOT consider the problem a blocking issue for the rollout.
This Tuesday’s rollout did not include SSA. So, we have a bit of time before the problem hits the wall. If you are concerned about the problem attend the 3 PM Thursday Server Beta meeting in Morris, ADITI (the preview grid).