Nalates Urriah has been keeping an eye on the more technical aspects of pathfinding, and has routinely provided excellent updates and commentary on the project. Her work is largely the reason I’ve not delved overly deeply into the subject here, and why my own Pathfinding overview attempts to cover the subject from a lay user’s perspective.
Alongside yesterday’s roll-out came a lot of confusion regarding pathfinding and its impact on region performance. As a result of this, Nalates published a piece seeking to clarify matters. If you are concerned as to the impact of pathfinding, and you’ve not already done so, I thoroughly recommend you give her article a careful read.
Today, Lorca Linden took the extraordinary step of commenting on Nalates blog in order to lend further clarification on the subject. While I do not agree with his stated reasons as to why Linden Lab did not communicate more on the actually roll-out (which, in fairness, has potentially contributed to the confusion / misinformation circulating about pathfinding), the key points of Lorca’s comments vis-a-vis overall performance are nevertheless important in helping to spread better understanding of the matter. I’m therefore reprinting his comments here in full, with the key paragraph on performance underscored, in the hope that it will help them reach a wider audience.
“Although Lindens do not generally post on Resident blogs, I am going to make an “exception in this one case. Don’t expect us to make a habit of it, though 🙂
“I want to start off by thanking Nalates for what I feel has been even-handed coverage of pathfinding as a whole. While I disagreed with several of the assertions made in the “Tsunami” post, it did make us realize that there were misconceptions about pathfinding that needed clarification (particularly in regards to performance implications) and was a useful data point in identifying Resident concerns while we were still in the development phase.
“The 18% performance hit figure referenced on the Phoenix Viewer blog is a worst case scenario that will rarely be seen in practice – eg, you could see that large of a hit on a poorly optimized region that contains hundreds of pathfinding characters running simultaneously. Average perceived (viewer side) fps grid wide was actually .03 fps higher yesterday afternoon than it was the afternoon before. Average server-side performance grid wide was also inline before and after pathfinding server code was rolled out. Region crash rates – excluding a bumpy couple hours during the roll out – remain low. All of this is to say that as far as the Lab can tell, Pathfinding has not had a negative performance or stability impact in the vast majority of situations.
“I also want to make clear that the impact on some vehicles is not directly related to pathfinding per say but rather the underlying physics and terrain optimizations that made pathfinding possible and have benefits beyond pathfinding. As far as we can tell, only a small percentage of existing content is affected by this physics upgrade.
“We do not consider pathfinding to be fully released until the pathfinding viewer tools are out of beta. This is why we have not yet made an official announcement. I agree that we need to do a pass on our pathfinding related wiki as some of the information there has not been updated since we were in alpha. We plan to make a blog post in the near future that will address some common misconceptions we have heard about pathfinding. We also plan to continue updating the “Good Building Practices” guide so that it will be a useful resource for Residents looking to make optimized content.
“We understand that pathfinding can be a confusing topic at times and appreciate the effort interested Residents are making to absorb the technical details. If you have any burning questions about pathfinding, please come to our user group on Pathtest1 (on Aditi) at 4PM SLT Thursdays and ask away. Above all, we are extremely excited to see what you Residents create with the new pathfinding tools and LSL functions!”