Linden Lab has been quietly working on pathfinding, clearing a range of bugs, updating the supporting documentation (some of which is still a work-in-progress) and providing more information for users aimed at clearing up misconceptions / misunderstandings. The following is a quick update on recent activities.
Lorca Linden’s FAQ
On September 18th, Lorca Linden posted a Pathfinding FAQ to the Second Life Server branch of the technology forum. While perhaps not the most high profile place in which to post the information, the FAQ nevertheless addresses a number of core issues related to pathfinding and makes a valuable read for anyone interested in using pathfinding or who wishes to understand more about pathfinding in general, rather than relying on hearsay.
One of the major misconceptions which is perhaps missing from the FAQ is that disabling pathfinding in a region will somehow “improve performance”. In fact,m the only thing disabling pathfinding for a region does is to prevent pathfinding characters from operating; the underpinning Havok engine remains unchanged, and no Havok functionality related specifically to pathfinding is “turned off” in any way. So if there are no pathfinding characters being used within a region, disabling pathfinding will not improve the region’s performance, and any apparent improvement which may be noted is more than likely a placebo effect.
Pathfinding Tools In The Viewer
The latest release version of the SL viewer (126.96.36.1994911) now includes the pathfinding tools, as do a number of TPVs, some of which I reported upon a while back, and which have since been joined by Firestorm (188.8.131.52837+); while Singularity (1.7.1+) also now provides some of the viewer-side tools / options associated with pathfinding.
Documentation-wise, work has been put in on cleaning up the existing wiki pages (although some are still somewhat out-of-date or difficult to follow as they presume a certain level of understanding). An updated list of pathfinding wiki documentation and related resources which I’ve previously published in the blog can be found in Related Links, below.
While there is still ongoing work in relation to a number of pathfinding bugs, the arrival of the pathfinding tools into the SL release viewer theoretically marks the point at which pathfinding might be considered “fully released” (as previously indicated by Lorca Linden). As such, it would be beneficial for Linden Lab to provide a formal blog post on the subject, including links to relevant resources such as those listed below in order to make the information more readily apparent to SL users, regardless as to how well (or otherwise) LL believe their blog is read.
- Pathfinding articles in this blog
- My pathfinding overview
- Linden Lab’s pathfinding resources:
- Pathfinding optimisation notes:
- Tools to assist in building pathfinding capabilities:
- In addition, the following may be of use with pathfinding:
- Physics optimisation (improving physics performance)
- Animation Streamlined
- Best practices for Second Life vehicle construction
- Best practices for creating efficient collision volumes (links to Havok documentation)
- Good Building Practices