A great success!
Firestorm 188.8.131.52744 has turned out to be a great success -- one of our best, in fact! We went from near the bottom of the Third Party Viewer Directory (meaning we had a comparatively higher crash rate) to the top of the list with the lowest crash rate according to Linden Lab stats! This could change as more people adopt 28744 and as other TPVs improve their crash rates as well, but we are quite pleased nonetheless. And special thanks to all of you who are allowing your crash reports to be sent, as we've managed to fix a whole bunch of other crashes we weren't even aware of, meaning the next release will be even more stable!
We've decided to release LL's Pathfinding work in Firestorm in two stages.
Stage 1 (next release).
Pathfinding Tools. Not to be confused with the Havok library, which is used to display Navigation Mesh (NavMesh), the Pathfinding Tools are what you will need to optimize your regions once Pathfinding goes live.
Unless LL changes the current plan, when Pathfinding goes live, all regions will have pathfinding enabled by default, and all objects that contain scripts will be treated as "Movable Obstacles." Movable Obstacles will have an impact on region performance, so region owners will need to optimize their regions by setting scripted objects that don't move to "Static Obstacles." To do this, you will need Pathfinding Tools!
So our plan with our next release is to get Pathfinding tools out as soon as we can. This will be based on our 28744 release + post 28744 crash fixes + LL Pathfinding code. There have not been many new additions beyond that since the release, and this is for the best: we expect this code will destabilize the viewer to a degree, since it will be a large merge, and we’d rather base this version on a solid release than on a wild card.
Stage 2 (follow up release).
Release with the Havok Library for NavMesh. Havok will be used to enable viewing of NavMesh, display of object types and AI Preview of object paths. So the second Firestorm release from now will have Havok + stability fixes to the previous release + more of our own goodies.
Great question, and a very tough one to answer since there are many factors involved that we have little control over. Like...
- LL's timeline to release Pathfinding;
- How much Linden code we have to merge into Firestorm;
- How many regressions and new bugs we pick up from that merge;
- How long it'll take us to fix them, etc.
But we want to get these out as soon as we possibly can once it's live on the grid.
Confusing Pathfinding is confusing!
If all this Pathfinding stuff sounds complicated and confusing to you, you're not alone. Unfortunately, though, region owners in particular are going to have to understand this stuff at least on a basic level. Fortunately! LL has some documentation on it, which I've linked throughout parts of this post (indicated by colored text). But I will also post links at the end of this post to LL's documentation and an early video. For more information I would encourage you to google "Second Life Pathfinding."
What about Phoenix?
Currently there is no time for us to squish pathfinding tools into Phoenix, as Firestorm is keeping us very busy already. Region owners using Phoenix will still be able to disable/enable pathfinding on their regions using the console, but for all else they will need to switch to Firestorm, to LL’s viewer or to another viewer supporting Pathfinding tools.
Pathfinding Links and Documentation
NOTE: Some of this documentation may change or be out of date as Pathfinding is still under development.
What is Pathfinding (early LL video): http://tinyurl.com/8xo3vsu
Pathfinding quickstart guide: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Pathfinding_Quick_Start_Guide
Pathfinding tools: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Pathfinding_Tools_in_the_Second_Life_Viewer
Pathfinding NavMesh: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Pathfinding_NavMesh
A Visual Guide to NavMesh: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Visual_Guide_to_Pathfinding