Firestorm announces pathfinding support

Following-on from the TPV/Developer meeting on the 13th July, during which pathfinding was discussed, and the recent roll-outs of pathfinding functionality to the Magnum  Release Channel, the Firestorm team have announced that they will be adding pathfinding support to upcoming releases. The announcement reads in part:

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 theHavok library, which is used to display Navigation Mesh (NavMesh), thePathfinding Toolsare 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 tooptimize their regionsby 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.

The two-stage release is unsurprising, given Lorca Linden’s recommendations at the meeting on the 13th July.  At this time, no time-scales are available for the releases, because, as Jessica points out in the post:

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.

Phoenix

Phoenix will not immediately be getting pathfinding due to the amount of work involved in getting the capabilities integrated into Firestorm. Region holders using Phoenix will still be able to disable/enable pathfinding using a viewer-independent console, but for all else they will need to switch to a viewer that supports the full pathfinding tool set.

Related Links

25 thoughts on “Firestorm announces pathfinding support

  1. “..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.” ”
    So, how exactly will I be able to change no mod objects into static obstacles? I own a mainland region so if it is done by the land owner maybe it will be okay, if it must be done object by object and if permissions apply I am screwed! Dance machines, game boards, sheep that go “baaaaa” are all no mod scripted objects.
    Even if I am able to make the changes, it is a heck of a lot of work for a “feature” I don’t give a F**K about!

    Like

    1. As I understand it, there is a console command that will be able to mainland and private region holders which does a broad and default switch on the basis of unscripted objects go to static; scripted go to dynamic. The tools in the viewer are then used to make further necessary adjustments (i.e. switching static scripted objects like vendor boards to “static”).

      Like

      1. There are already commands in place in pathfinding regions that allows you to update pathfinding objects – and really nice for estate owners – to disable pathfinding completely on a region. But if those will work on mainland regions since you are not the direct owner of the region but LL…

        Like

  2. Le Tigre did not get Pathfinding this week. It seems that LL were caught out by the effects of Havok 7 on existing vehicles. It changes how the ground-surface is represented, and thus how collisions are handled.
    All ground vehicles depend on collisions with the ground.
    I can’t help thinking that this is something that could have been better tested and communicated at the Beta Grid stage. We all heard about the Mesh problems, but not about this. And while some Lindens are blaming bad vehicle design, at the end of the day those vehicles were working until the change.
    The next Havok upgrade will, we were warned, repeat some of the sim-crossing problems. It is inevitable. The apparently random distribution of RC regions is going to make testing sim-crossing effects difficult. Linden Labs need to learn from what is happening. Can they?

    Like

    1. Thanks for that. I neglected to check the forum to reconfirm. LL seem to think the overall impact has been negligible.

      Like

    2. @Wolf, LL was aware of this problem since a while and Natales Urriah reported it in her blog a few times.Based on what Natales reports, not all vehicles are affected. The affected vehicles are those where builders used hacks.

      As I was not directly involved, I have to rely my judgement on Natales’ usually balanced reports. Frankly, I am not sympathetic with the idea that since things were working LL should be held responsible. A builder using a hack is responsible for that choice, including the fact that future changes to the grid may break the code.

      As for the sim crossing problem, Natales reported that LL evaluated changing the release process so to upgrade sims by whole continents, as to minimize it. They had to give up due to the big logistic problems that plan would incur.

      Like

      1. The continent-wide idea came up rather late in the day, as I recall. I am not surprised that the logistics were against it.
        The current RC layout, apparently random on Mainland regions, makes it difficult to test sim-crossing for vehicles. Some 65% of RC sims will have no neighbour on the same RC, and not every such boundary will be clear for public use of vehicles.
        A relatively small rearrangement of RC sims might have provided more distinct areas for vehicle testing, including sim-crossing aspects. This could have included a stretch of road, and a group of sims usable for sailing and aircraft. Add some in-world markers, and announce what they’re doing, and the results might be a lot more useful than anything Linden Labs are currently getting.
        Oh, but I forget: we are referring to Linden Labs, who have never been close to getting the Yellow Jersey for customer-communication.

        Like

        1. I can just add that various maps have appeared of where Magnum regions are, afflicted with the Havok version problem.

          There may be a selection bias in the maps, concentrating on sailable regions.

          Of those regions labelled “Blake Sea”–I counted 40–16 are Magnum, which is 40% of the total.

          A map of water routes between Bay City and the rest of the Grid, showed Magnum regions blocking all the possible routes, both north and south coasts. The 1-region-wide ANWR route is also blocked by a Magnum region.

          The map I saw showing the Blake Sea and other major sailing areas around the Nautilus continent showed a surprisingly low number of Magnum regions made up of land rather than water. Two blocks of the United Sailing Sims have access blocked by single Magnum regions.

          The overall impression I get is that the choice of Magnum regions as the test channel for Pathfinding has had a grossly disproportionate effect on sailors and aviators in SL. Whatever the plan was, the end results are looking rather careless.

          Like

  3. There seems to be s strong division of opinion here as to what costitutes a “hack”. For a while now it has become clear that the definition used by LL is that if it is something legitimate that LL approve of it is NOT a hack but if it is something legitimate that they DO NOT approve of then it is a hack. If it is inconvenient to LL then they DO NOT approve of it.
    My experience is that every vehicle that I possess is badly impacted by Pathfinding Havok7 code. Some were made by creators no longer in SL and cannot be modified. Are ALL of them hacked??
    Mesh boats are very badly impacted by the latest code on Magnum. It is not merely a matter of the boats entering and then being unable to leave such sims. They hang on entry to the sim and NOTHING short of deletion will budge them. If this is an example of LL’s well-thought-out policy then my name is Kees van Bodt. The implications of general introduction of Pathfinding to SL are the wholesale destruction of inworld content. I may have been new then, but I do not think introduction of Havok 4 caused this much destruction of content.
    I had thought that Mark Kingdon was the worst thing to happen to SL. It is beginning to look like that mantle will soon pass to Rod Humble, whose toy Pathfinding is.

    Like

    1. @Ayesha, I don’t have all the details for the problem you describe but based on what you say my guess is that it fits the crossing problem LL is aware of, and that was expected. If this is indeed the case, then it is just a temporary, one-time problem caused by crossing sims with different versions of Havok. Once all the sims will be upgraded to the latest version the problem should disappear. Please, correct me if I am wrong.

      As for what constitutes a hack or not, it seems to me that Lindens are in a better position to determine what is acceptable for the system and what not. Just as it seems rather disingenuous for builders to expect that the whole grid should be permanently frozen to a current state only because some have decided to use unapproved hacks to build their vehicles.

      I suggest you read this to get an idea of what is going on to deal with the vehicle problem: http://blog.nalates.net/2012/07/19/sl-vehicle-problems/

      Like

      1. Indigo:
        I am well aware of what is being touted as a “work-around” and several vehicle creators are already pointing out that this is at best a partial fix for a very limited number of vehicles. This issue will simply be spread to the whole of SL if Pathfinding is rolled out in its current form.
        Builders and sim-owners by and large do NOT expect SL to remain frozen in time (We had that debate 3 years ago) but they DO NOT expect changes to SL to break their content and destroy their carefully thought-out and created sims.
        The term “Wifful damage” would apply in the real world.
        I do not like being negative but I really cannot see what benefit the majority of SL will reap from this introduction.

        Like

        1. Ayesha, perhaps I am not understanding what you are saying or we are talking about different things. Just in case, the sim crossing problem is a temporary problem caused by sims running a different version of Havok. I don’t understand why you are talking about a work-around and partial fix.

          Like

        2. In reply to Indigo’s reply:
          The “workaround” or partial fix is all that can be done to improve a portion of vehicles within Magnum sims. It is a consequence of the change in physics type of the land to a Navmesh from a comparatively simple height field. Some other (especially off-road) vehicles appear to be unfixable and only a total rescript and re-build is likely to produce acceptable results. This is much different from the sim-crossing issue, but I am far from convinced that a general rollout of Pathfinding will sure that, since some vehicles get stuck on Magnum-to-Magnum crossings. All this for a feature which will only have limited applicability within SL.

          Like

      2. *sighs* One day I will complete a post without a typo. When and if I do I will probably die from the shock!

        Like

    2. I agree. Defining what is a “hack” is the problem. The short-term sim-crossing problems aren’t wonderful, but I have the feeling from what I see that Linden Labs are executing an inadequate plan for Pathfinding test and rollout.

      Like

        1. And I wonder how long THAT version of the “Guidelines” has been current? I assume you would say that if a vehicle pre-dates those “guidelines” then it is trash? Not many owners would agree nor many creators either.

          Like

          1. The first version of that wiki page is dated September 2007. As for the builders, if they don’t comply to best practices how can they be sure their vehicles won’t break with future changes? We are back to the same issue, Ayesha: you can’t expect to freeze the entire system because some don’t follow best practices. And there must be a trade-off at some point: Kanker Greenacre’s first Tako would not work on today’s grid.

            Like

        2. Indigo
          I’m sorry but that attitude is precisely what is getting SL into its present state. I am not suggesting a “freeze” but you appear to suggest that creators must expect their creations to break. Perhaps some do, but that still does not get around the issue of a customer who buys an item in good faith only to find its function destroyed by an update to SL’s sever software.
          You seem to me to be saying much the same as Linden Lab…just ‘cos it works today don’t mean it’ll work tomorrow. This “suck it up” attitude will not result is a prospering SL. I repeat my point:why all this breakage for a feature that has limited applicability for the vast bulk of SL?

          Like

          1. This is inevitable Ayesha, face it. The problem can only be minimized as possible, not avoided. My inventory is full of stuff that no longer works and I don’t expect differently. A good, reliable builder will provide a free update. Builders who are no longer in SL are not there to support their products, so the issue is moot.

            Think about it, this is a common problem in IT. I don’t expect, say, Windows 95 or a floppy disk to work on today’s computers. SL needs to progress or it will die. Personally I don’t care much about Pathfinding, but with it comes an upgrade to Havok and that means updating the grid to new technology and new opportunities. That’s a good thing as far as I am concerned, and the best way to deal with the inevitable change is to collaborate to minimize the problems, not scream bloody murder as some do.

            Like

        3. Well all that is fine and good, but I refute the likelihood of free updates from all and sundry. Since we are dealing with compatibility, I do expect the things I created on Windows XP to work in Windows 7, and on the whole they do. A sensible software update complements what has gone before, it doesn’t trash it. I just wish I believed that LL were actually making some effort to minimize the destrucive effects of Pathfinding. With the exception of some sterling work by Falcon Linden I have seen absolutely nothing.

          Like

        4. Also I will put the damn response in the correct place too! Same caveat.
          *goes off to bed muttering darkly*.

          Like

  4. Oh, and as a by blow if your avatar is wearing rigged Mesh (granted not usual for SL sailors) you will also be stuck on the sim boundary. Thankfully the item is not destroyed.

    Like

  5. As a second afterthought, I merely echo Shug’s point. “No Mod” objects are a big issue.

    Like

Comments are closed.