Linden Lab announced today that the hover height improvements is now available in the latest Second Life viewer update. There is a clear explanation provided in the blog post about what the Hover Height issue is. This is good news that it’s now in the default Second Life viewer update and now everyone can enjoy this latest improvement.
One of the surprisingly difficult things to do in a virtual world is to make things come to rest in a natural-looking way. Keeping feet on the ground when standing and the right body parts on furniture seems obvious, but getting an avatar to “just touch” without either floating above or penetrating into the adjacent surface can be computationally quite expensive. To avoid some of that expense, Second Life has always used approximations, which rely on some simplifying assumptions about the avatar shape and size. Those assumptions are adjusted by a number of factors including several of your shape parameter choices, values included in attachments you are wearing, and active animations.
As we’ve all seen, sometimes these things combine to leave you floating above or sinking into the surface on which intuitively you should be resting. This is because the adjustments come from many sources and sometime interact in unexpected ways. Because they have not always been applied in exactly the same order, even if you wear the same set of attachments in the same setting you could sometimes get different results.
This Viewer, and some accompanying server changes, improve things in two ways: the order in which we make adjustments to your vertical position has been made more stable — combining the same set of attachments and animations should now always produce the same vertical offset: even if it’s not perfect, it will at least be predictable. Because it can’t always be perfect, we’ve also introduced a new final adjustment that is directly under your control: a new avatar right-click selection allows you to tweak your vertical position. This final adjustment is shared with everyone around you so that they too will see you correctly, and is saved locally by your viewer so that it persists between sessions. This new feature was inspired by a proposal from the Firestorm viewer team, and they’ve been helping with testing it.