Firestorm Viewer: Adding your AO to the Viewer and reducing server side lag.

The Firestorm viewer has a built-in AO (Animation Overrider). This makes the use of scripted AOs unnecessary, which in turn reduces the amount of scripts you wear, and so server-side lag.

Without an AO, the avatar will use basic default Linden-defined animations.

The Firestorm client AO replaces the usual scripted AO by duplicating its functions, without the script overhead.

1) First a brief explanation of the terms as they are used here.

AO: Animation Override or Animation Overrider. Generally, a scripted attachment worn as a HUD, containing animations and notecards which, along with the scripts, animate the avatar while it is in certain states, such as standing, walking, flying, etc.

Animation Set: The collection of animations which, taken together, make up any given AO.

Animation Group: One or more animations which serve to replace a single animation state. Examples of animation groups include stands, sits, walks, etc. All of the animation groups, together, make up an animation set.

AO Button

2) Understanding your AO Menus

The AO is activated by clicking on the right side of the button labeled AO; it will show a check mark when enabled.. To disable it simply click on the checkmark. You can also type “cao on” and “cao off” in local chat.

If you are using the Vintage skin the AO is activated by clicking on the AO button on the right side of the bottom toolbar.

Clicking the AO button opens the AO window.  On the Vintage skin click the arrow on the right side of the AO button.

The mini AO window gives quick and easy access to a few basic functions, such as moving from one stand animation to another, toggling sit overrides and loading a new set of animations.

This small window has a wrench icon; clicking that opens the AO window to its largest size, allowing full control of the AO.

Basic functions of the AO can be accomplished via the mini AO view

Currently loaded animation set: Referring to the image above, the currently loaded set is named  TPWtest.

By clicking the small down arrow, you can easily select another set (if others are available, of course).

The wrench icon expands the mini window to full size for greater control; more about the wrench icon  shortly..

The two arrows switch to the previous and next animation in the current group, respectively.

The “Sit” checkbox indicates whether the AO should override sit animations that are part of scripted furniture.

If this is enabled, the AO will try to force the use of whatever sit animation you have in the animation set; if disabled, then the animation in the furniture will be used.

Note: Animation priority will always have precedence; if the animation in the furniture has higher priority than the one in your animation set, it will be used regardless of how you have this checkbox set.

Animation priority is set at upload and cannot be changed afterward, not even by the creator – unless the creator uploads again and sets a different priority.

For greater control over the AO, click the Wrench icon; this will open the AO window to maximum size.

The Current animation set is shown in the top drop-down. Clicking the down arrow beside it allows for the selection of an alternate animation set (if you have others available, of course).

The check mark to the right of the animation set name will activate the animation set. Click this if you have picked a new one.

Default: check this if you wish to make the current animation set the default when you start Firestorm.

Override sits: Does the same thing as the Sits checkbox described above.

Be Smart: If this is enabled, the AO will try to determine whether the furniture being sat on has an animation; if it determines that it does, it will disable the sit in the AO, so the one in the furniture will be used instead.

Disable Stands in Mouselook: If this is checked, the AO will disable stand animations when mouselook is entered. This is useful for combat situations, for example.

+ Button: Click this button to manually define a new animation set.

Trash: To delete the current animation set, click this button.

Animation Group: With this drop down you can select an animation group, such as Standing, Walking, Running, etc. Having selected one, you can then change the order in which animations are played, by using ….

Up/Down Arrows: moves the currently selected animation up or down in the list, thus changing the order in which the animations are played in the animation group.

Trash: Clicking this will delete the currently selected animation from the animation group. This will NOT delete the animation itself, but just the reference to it, from the group.

Cycle: Enabling this will cause a different animation to be played, from the selected group, at each “cycle time” interval.

Randomize order: Enabling this causes the animations in the selected group to be played in random order.

Cycle time: Indicates how long an animation should play before the next one begins.

Reload: Forces the AO to reload the configuration of the current animation set.

Left/Right Arrows: Skips to the previous/next animation in the current animation group. These are the same arrows seen in the mini AO view, described previously.

Down Arrow: The arrow in the bottom right corner collapses the full AO window into the mini view, which was already described.

3) Preparing to load the AO

If you own a scripted AO, the type worn as a HUD attachment, you can get the animations and notecard to transfer to the client AO quite easily. You can use one of two methods to do so.

Method 1

Follow these steps if you are in a location where you can build; it requires the ability to rez out.

This is the method you need to use if the animations in the AO are no copy.

Rez a cube on the ground.

If you are wearing the scripted AO, detach it.

Cam in to the cube you made, then drag the AO onto it. HUDs are normally very small when rezzed in-world, and can be hard to see if you are not cammed in.

Right click the AO you rezzed out and select Open. A window opens which will list the contents of the AO; once this has fully populated, click Copy to Inventory.

This will result in the creation of a folder in your inventory, containing everything in the AO: scripts, animations and notecards.

If the AO is copyable, you can now delete it; otherwise, take it back into your inventory. Then delete the cube.

Locate the folder that was created in the step above. This folder can be dragged to another folder where it is out of the way but still available, like the Animations folder, for example.

Please do NOT put them on the Firestorm #AO folder in your inventory.

Method 2

You can follow these steps if you are unable to rez the AO out in-world, for whatever reason.

Locate the Animations folder in your inventory – it is at the top. Right Click the folder name, and select New Folder.

Type in a name for the folder – for example, give it the name of the AO you are transferring.

Make sure the AO HUD is worn; right click it and select Edit.

Click on the Content tab.

Once the AO contents are all displayed, select all items: click on the top one, then use the scroller to scroll to the bottom, press and hold Shift, and click on the last item.

Drag all the items into the folder you created in your inventory.

Close the edit window.

4) Loading the AO

There are two methods for loading the AO. You can either use a notecard  that is in the ZHAO II format, or do it manually. The manual method requires no notecard, just animations.

Multiple AOs can be loaded, and you can switch from one to another simply by selecting the set within the Firestorm AO.

Using the notecard method

The notecard must be in standard ZHAO II format. Most AO creators support this format so you should not run into issues.

However, it must be noted that some major vendors have extended the ZHAO II format, and thus their AO notecard will need to be edited before it can be used in the Firestorm AO. Similarly, older AOs which use the old ZHAO format will have to be converted.

Unlike Phoenix, the animations and notecard do not need to be placed in a special predefined folder. However, they do need to be together in the same place.

Please do NOT put them on the Firestorm #AO folder in your inventory.

Once imported, the Firestorm client AO creates a new special folder: #Firestorm → #AO. This folder is protected – meaning it cannot be deleted, nor items removed from it under normal circumstances.

Therefore, avoid dragging items into it. Should you do so by mistake, please click here to see how to fix this.

Inside that are several more folders, containing links to the original animations.

So do not delete the original animations used or the AO will “break”.

As noted above, the Firestorm AO supports notecards in the standard ZHAO II format.

Notice how the animation state is in brackets, followed by each name of the animation separated with a pipe character “|”. Lines should not be longer than 255 characters.

In the sample NC, the animations in the Standing group have been broken up into several lines so they are shorter and easier to read.

It is best to delete any/all lines containing comments, before loading into the client AO. Comment lines usually start with a # character.

Locate the notecard which defines the AO that you got by one of the two methods described previously.

Open the Firestorm AO to maximum, then drag the AO notecard onto the Firestorm AO window.

The notecard is parsed and if all goes well, you have finished transferring the AO.

Select options to apply, like whether this will be the default animation set, whether to override sits, etc.

Creating an AO Manually

There is no need to have a prepared AO with a notecard to create an AO in Firestorm; you can “roll your own” if you have animations to use.

You can use the animations from a scripted AO, just use one of the above methods for getting them out of your present AO.

You should have the AO window at maximum size.

Click the + button near the top right corner to create a new animation set. You will be prompted to supply a name for it.

A new, blank animation set is created; make sure it is showing in the list of animation sets. You can now begin to fill. It starts with the Standing group selected.

In your inventory, select the animation(s) to be used as stands. Drag them from your inventory onto the AO window. (Note that it is faster to drag them all in at once rather than one by one.) The AO processes, then you can continue.

Once you have dropped all the stands in, you can switch to another animation group, like Walking. Again, select and drag the animations from your inventory onto the AO.

Repeat this for all groups for which you have animations.

Select options to apply, like whether this will be the default animation set, whether to override sits, etc.

5)  AO-Related Options

There is one option related to the Firestorm AO in preferences.

Turn avatar around when walking backward: in Preferences → Move and View  → Firestorm. If enabled, when you press the down arrow to walk backward, your avatar will turn to face the camera. If disabled, then your avatar will walk backward.

The Firestorm client AO information is stored in your inventory and thus usable from any computer you log in on, just like a regular HUD based AO.

We have a video of our Firestorm AO class available for you to watch anytime at:

The following Firestorm AO videos are available for you to watch.

Even though they are based on the old version we strongly suggest watching them as they do show how to load the AO.