Friday, 20 July 2012

What's Next? Pathfinding!

A great success!
Firestorm 4.1.1.28744 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!

What's next...Pathfinding!
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.

How soon?
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



Jessica Lyon
Project Manager

47 comments:

  1. Awesome. Looking forward fo those nice tools. Cant wait to see things running around ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. DESTABILIZE???!!!!!

    Ok now I am so seriously wondering why are we merging anything with anything since its working fine.

    Definition of Destabilize:
    de·sta·bi·lize   [dee-stey-buh-lahyz] Show IPA
    verb (used with object), de·sta·bi·lized, de·sta·bi·liz·ing.
    to make unstable; rid of stabilizing attributes: conflicts that tend to destabilize world peace.

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  3. It will be a bumpy road to Pathfinding but in the end a very great enhancement to SL. Good luck to the Dev's in making this work.

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  4. First place in Linden Lab TPV directory, based on crash report... Well... looking in the preferences I seen that the Firestorm viewers send crash reports to phoenixviewer.com so how can Linden Lab knows about the crashes of the firestorm viewers if they send the crash reports elsewhere?
    Sounds a bit strange.

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  5. Laura Aastha Bondi writes:
    > First place in Linden Lab TPV directory, based on crash report... Well...
    > looking in the preferences I seen that the Firestorm viewers send crash
    > reports to phoenixviewer.com so how can Linden Lab knows about the crashes
    > of the firestorm viewers if they send the crash reports elsewhere?
    > Sounds a bit strange.

    No. Each viewer and each version of a viewer has a unique identifier so the Linden servers know exactly which client is connecting to them. They will also register an improperly terminated session, i. e. a crash. This enables Linden Lab to generate those crash-stats. Nothing to do with crash reports and where they go to at all.

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  6. I'd be wary of calling virual Himalyas a "bumpy road". Hitching the Phoenixviewer wagon to Pathfinding could be VERY costly.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Well thanks for working hard to keep up with LL developments. My opinion is pathfinding is feature that will get little use for a long time. Most estate managers I've talked with just plan to shut it off in their regions. Looking at the work required to set up a sim to use it, I don't blame them.

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    Replies
    1. I'm one of those estate managers Karl. To me pathfinding sound like yet another scripting tool that LL has made to lag the sims more, i will not have any part of it in my estate!

      Delete
  9. I'm being obtuse, Karl, but to clarify....An Estate Manager can simply "turn off" Pathfinding and all will be as before? I didn't think that was possible once Havok 7 was rolled out?

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  10. Any word on when second life or firestorm will fix the flexi prim issue? I love the new viewer but it breaks flexi prims just like sl's official viewer sadly. https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/VWR-28415

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. 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 tooptimize their regionsby setting scripted objects that don't move to "Static Obstacles." To do this, you will need Pathfinding Tools!

    Am I reading this correctly? Do I have to individually set hundreds of objects to Non-Movable Obstacle to maintain region performance? WTF?

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  13. And what about scripted objects set to phantom. Are they 'Movable Obstacles' by default too?

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  14. There is an off switch for pathfinding I believe. If you aren't going to use it, there's no reason to go through the work to do the navmesh.

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  15. @Karl: But that's the point, maybe I want one or two pathfinding thingies to crawl around on my sim... I'll hope and assume these Pathfinding Tools will include a list of scripted objects with a 'Select/Deselect All' checkbutton at the top.

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  16. Since this release i never had issues with your first product Emerald, then Phoenix and Firestorm, now i crash on trying to upload and several of my friends too which is for me as a creator not usable anymore viewer. I am very greatful for all your hard work but this sadens me because i dont know what viewer to use anymore...

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  17. I just want to know where the pathfinding OFF switch will be. I have no use for any of it, and to me it looks like a lot of PIA work for very little return unless you're heavily into RP.

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  18. @Jack
    Amen to that! With a cherry on it!
    What really bugs me is that the crew admit that this new code will destabilize what to my mind is the finest Viewer in SL right now.
    Is there ANY one thing that LL have introduced that did not involve the reverse waltz?

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  19. PathFinding tools have been released in the LL Development Viewer! Lead ... follow ... or get the heck out of the way. Let the journey begin!

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  20. @ Cincia

    I for one, will gladly step out of the way.

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  21. That's fine, Jack. To each, their own. But I reserve the right to wag my finger and say "I told you so" to all the naysayers who come late to the improved experience. Over the years I've watched people insist we didn't need flexi, sculpts, larger prims, better graphics, shadows, mesh, and now Pathfinding. And next will be Project Shining. They were, and will continue to be, wrong.

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  22. oops on the newest post format?

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  23. @Cincia

    Hey, Pathfinding will be great for that small percentage who both have a use for it and the wherewithal to learn to use it. This isn't something like mesh that anyone can use, it's limited to estate owners who either have or can hire somebody with the scripting skills to take advantage of it. With such a small market, I don't expect to find 'patfinding' creatures on the marketplace pretty much ever. Not only is this a very limited feature, but the roll out for it is messing up a LOT of people's second life experience.

    Parametric mesh still isn't working. How about a fix for an issue that would make a difference to a LOT of residents. The number of inputs when in mouselook mode needs increasing. How about figuring out a business model for larger than 512m sims (or fixing the sim handoff issues so border crossings were seemless.)

    Pathfinding.....snore.

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  24. I recall someone called Kingdon told us to "Get out of the way" when his "Big Idea" for SL was paramount.
    This time it's Humble's "Big Idea", and we hear the same thing.
    I have to say that LL are throwing away a solid, if reactionary userbase for one which like Kingdon's is purely in his mind.

    Someone up high in Linden Lab needs a reality check.

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  25. Where is the download link for Phoenix? When I click on the link on show just takes me to the same information page.

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  26. The download link doesn't seem to work at the moment. http://www.phoenixviewer.com/%3C?=$CFSWin_OLD_URL;?%3E

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  27. All of these things sound really great, but unfortunately, I *still* can't use Firestorm because it drops my performance horribly! Settings that work perfectly on Phoenix are simply unusable on Firestorm. Ive been asking and asking about this with no answers. What gives??

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  28. I just recently bought a mesh boat. It's fine and looks great, but at the vendor there was a warning that mesh vehicles will not be able to enter a pathfining enabled sim. Well... they would be able to enter but not leave. Just what I need in a boat. I wonder if the same will be true of mesh clothes?

    LL Great Ideas: Lets introduce some hot new item that only a select few really want and do it half way. Then, once we get it working more or less, let's introduce something that even a more select few want that messes with the first item.

    Did someone say that if you didn't turn off pathfinding it would adversely effect the sim? Oh, wonderful - yet another lag monster stomping around the place. And, I understand that all sims will have it enabled by default. Why not just make it available to those who want it and leave the rest of us alone?

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  29. When mesh got introduced, it was greatly impeded because TPVs like Phoenix and Firestorm and thus their large user-base didn’t support it at once.

    We may see a similar development with pathfinding, without the TPVs being involved. If there will be a kill-switch, I wouldn’t be surprised if sim-owners who run several or dozens or even hundreds of sims will just flip it. I admit that I have no idea how much fuss it would mean to those sim-owners because in the end it’s going to be the individual parcel-owners who will have to deal with pathfinding because it is about their objects on their land, or I am the more deceived. If setting things up for pathfinding doesn’t greatly pay off, parcel-owners simply won’t do it. If it cripples parcel-performance they will just give up their land sooner or later. One doesn’t pay that much money for a no-fun-feature. Far as I know land sales are still what Linden Lab are making most of their money with. So...

    But there might be people who will be interested in pathfinding-objects, such as in themed zones which offer special gaming-options. But in more than 2,000 days on Second Life I’ve never been on a combat-sim, for example. Or anything else which doesn’t mean human RL-roleplaying, if you know what I mean. And I have never been interested in having pets or breedables. But that’s only me, of course.

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  30. Please please please make a option so i can have my ims in bottom left instead of right.. im a old time phoenix user i just cant get used to my ims on the right and i end up missing them.

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  31. @Jack The issue with mesh vehicles is only until all sims are running on the new server version. It's a temporary if annoying issue.

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  32. @Raymond
    Pathfinding tools will be implemented in Firestorm pretty quickly I suspect. Whether it's something that the devs of the V1 based viewers consider important enough to try to tack on is anybody's guess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karl said:

      »Pathfinding tools will be implemented in Firestorm pretty quickly I suspect.«

      I don’t doubt that. I expect that LInden Lab have learned from the aforementioned inconveniences that went with the introduction of mesh, so they might find it a good idea to see pathfinding in Firestorm practically in realtime as well. If they care to handle this matter rationally, that is.


      »Whether it's something that the devs of the V1 based viewers consider important enough to try to tack on is anybody's guess.«

      Or if it’s at all possible without taking the V1-code totally apart.

      The real open question is whether pathfinding is a technology people will be craving for. Or not. If there won’t be a positive fuss-benefit ratio it might just turn out to be an available feature not many care to use.

      Delete
  33. I loaded Firestorm tonight, and to my surprise, it did not crash. It worked nice, could view web pages on a prim, most streaming media seemed to work well as long as you pressed the play button before you started. But the issues with streaming media are significant enough that I am going to continue to use Phoenix for the time being. Firestorm will simply not allow to advance to the current position of a film in online theaters such as the MST3K theater on This Island Earth sim, or on my own NAT viewer on my parcel. It's getting better, but not enough to replace my combined use of Phoenix and the SL viewer.

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  34. @Raymond
    It should be noted that you won't need an updated viewer for pathfinding objects to follow paths on your screen, just to create them and the nav mesh for the sim to use them. It's not something very many are going to feel a need to upgrade over I suspect.

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  35. ok I have a question, since the firestorm update, I no longer see my physics, and I cant find where or if there is something I have to click to activate them, Can someone please help me? thank you.

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  36. Since I updated firestorm, I no longer see my physics, I've looked all over but cant find where or if there is something I have to click to activate it. Can someone please help me? thank you

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  37. Pathfinding = More usless crap to lag and freeze our viewing experience!

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    Replies
    1. So you prefer the old School style SL? I have no problems what conditions the features are in sense people in this community are too hard to please they do not have the patience to wait for it to be "improved".

      I for one loved the Mesh they released despite its problems as long as it works that's all it mattered to me, no matter how bad condition it was in before, there's always room for improvements which people completely forgets to see the bigger picture.

      Delete
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