Cloud-Be-Gone! A geek's reference
Tired of being a cloud? Already tried clearing cache and relogging? Everyone has their own favorite techniques of what to do after that, and here are my contributions. Some combination of these solutions should work, but to know which solution(s) to apply requires understanding the reasons why you're a cloud.
You're a cloud because your viewer hasn't yet received your avatar appearance data from the region's simulator. When you log in to SL, your viewer connects to the simulator that runs that region, and the simulator is responsible for getting your avatar appearance data from the central servers, then it sends that data to all the viewers that need it. There are two main places where your appearance data might be stuck. Either:
- the simulator you're connected to hasn't yet received the data from the asset or inventory servers, or else
- the simulator has your appearance, but it got lost on its way to your viewer.
Here is how to tell which situation applies, and what to do:
Stuck between asset/inventory servers and the simulator
Your appearance might be stuck on the central servers for two possible reasons:
- the asset or inventory servers or other central databases and/or Linden Lab's internal networking services are temporarily overloaded, or
- the simulator you're connected to is overburdened.
Sometimes you can check for these problems by looking at the Statistics Bar (ctrl-shift-1). Expand the Simulator section and look at Sim FPS and Pending Downloads (here's how). If you see Sim FPS under 45 very often, then the simulator is too busy to keep up with all its tasks in real time. Solution: teleport to a different, lightly loaded region. Or relog directly into a lightly loaded region (here's how to specify your login region).
If Sim FPS looks ok (at 45 most of the time), and especially if there are still Pending Downloads for very long, then the simulator is running ok and the problem might be more in the asset or inventory servers or Linden's networking. Solution: Use any technique to change your shape, skin, hair, and eyes to items from the Library part of your Inventory (here's how). You'll be a cloud if any of those four items have not yet been received by the viewer, so replace them all. There is a good chance that the simulator you're connected to already has copies of all the Library items and can immediately send their data to your viewer without having to wait on the central servers. Then you can change shape and clothes later when the servers aren't so busy.
If there are still pending downloads even in a lightly loaded region, then the asset or inventory servers might just be busy temporarily. Solution: be patient, and relog again later.
Lost on the way to the viewer
If other people in the region can see your avatar but you can't, then the data may be getting lost on the way from the simulator to your viewer. (Similarly, if you can see your appearance but others can't, it means your baked appearance got lost on the way from your viewer to the simulator.)
Sometimes this problem appears in the Basic section of the Statistics Bar (ctrl-shift-1) as Packet Loss (more about that). Anything over zero is data lost on the way from the simulator to your viewer. Here are some ways this could happen and some solutions:
- Data arriving too fast: Solution: Lower the Network Bandwidth in Preferences (here's how).
- Sheer quantity of data: Solution: Reduce the amount of data that the simulator has to send to your viewer by reducing the Draw Distance in Preferences (here's how), then relog.
- Avatar complexity: Solution: Reduce the amount of data and work the simulator has to do to log you on by removing attachments, especially scripted attachments (here's how), then relog.
- Laggy viewer: Solution: Reduce how hard your viewer has to work by adjusting the Draw Distance and graphics quality settings to minimum (here's how), then relog to a region where there are very few objects in view. This frees up CPU cycles on your own computer so your viewer can pay more attention to the data it receives from the simulator.
- Marginal network connection: This could be a problem in your network card, cables, router, or your ISP. You can test for this by logging in to Second Life on a different computer or in a different location, use a wired connection instead of wireless, and have your ISP check out your internet connection.
Don't give up
Some combination of the solutions above should work! But if it doesn't, here are some final things you can do:
- Enable the Advanced menu and choose Debug Settings, enter
RenderUnloadedAvatar, and set this to TRUE. This doesn't solve the problem, but it replaces the default cloud with a default Ruth avatar while you're waiting for your real appearance to appear. And,
- You can try submitting a trouble ticket to the Support Staff.
Even more good resources:
And for fun: