Information is starting to leak out about new features coming. We are getting more details on the features we know are coming. So, it has been an interesting week.
Also, meetings are overlapping with the same subject coming up in different meetings. Rather than have parts of the subject scattered throughout various articles, I’m trying to condense them. So, information in the article is from one or more meetings. Thus the title change.
The image shows the meeting place for Open Source. This is the site that is the subject of the build competition being run. See: Hippotropolis Theater Design Competition.
From this week nothing has rolled out. On the other hand the last two weeks have seen a major change to the better in stability stats. While teleporting is still a problem, the number of failed teleports is decreasing.
The maintenance package with the region crossing code was rolled back. This is still the Phase 1 version. Hopefully we will see it come back to a release channel next week.
Oskar Linden says there was not time to complete fixes to return the packages to the release channels. So, there will be no roll to the main grid next week.
Some time ago I covered the Lab’s plan to rebalance the grid. This is the process of getting adjacent regions running in physically the same or physically adjacent servers. Between the rebalancing and having all servers running the same code, this is proving to be the most stable week ever. Oskar says the rebalancing is a major success.
Coyot Linden says crashes have dropped to 1/6 of their previous level, FPS has increased, tp fails are down, and region crossing is faster. Graphs are being prepared for management. Once management reviews are complete some of the graphs may be posted in the SL Blog, ‘may’ being key here. Coyot says they are amazing.
While you may experience problems with all the mentioned improvements, the overall numbers are impressive. This is one of those number things. The numbers are real, but you may not feel them. Its like the odds on a lottery ticket. If your chances are 1 in 200 million, you can double them by getting a second ticket and doubling your chances, which would be 2 in 200 million… not much of a change, but doubling your chances sounds good. In the case of the grid, while the odds may change from 1 in 200 million to 1 in a thousand, you don’t see a win so for you in your personal experience little has changed. That’s the problem with empirical experience. While huge numbers of people benefit from the odds change, the losers still lose.
VWR-23741 – Abnormal program termination when I enter an URL to the grid selection combobox (login-screen) and press enter. If you are seeing this, just know the fix is moving to the Development Viewer, I think, this week.
Video RAM Crashes
Many of the recent viewer crashes are from a problems with video RAM (VRAM) being corrupted or the viewer requesting more than is available. Rumor is Runitai has a project viewer out with the problem fixed. Once the fix is past QA we will see it move into the Development Viewer and on the Beta then the main viewer.
Pathfinding Tools are not to be confused with Advanced Creator Tools, which are now apparently named Experience Tools, as for creating an experience.
In Pathfinding the ground and objects can be the basis for the server figuring out paths. However, what if you want to have a pet running around in your skybox? The Pathfinding Tools will allow one to create a pathing mesh for the inside of a building and/or skybox.
Lorca Linden says they will be releasing a Project Viewer for the Pathfinding Tools soon… saying ‘next week.’ Wow! An ETA from a Linden.
This viewer will allow you to play with the variable character speeds, view the nav-mesh, regenerate nav-meshes for your own buildings and terrain. People will be able to create/edit the nav-mesh as long as they can build in the area.
Lorca says in the next few weeks they will create a sandbox where we can play with the nav-mesh, pathfinding, and edit the terrain. The Lindens are going to be copying over some new regions (from where?) for testing that have more interesting geometry than the existing path-dev regions. Lorca says that will also happen next week.
Falcon Linden says the code in ADITI has been updated to handle collisions with characters. A side effect of adding the feature is we now get collision_start and collision_end events from any object, not just volume detect.
Falcon warns that some of the changes they are making may not be backward compatible. In other words this may change or break some pathfinding scripts that we have written. That happens in the beta testing world.
Stinson Linden has been working on the new floaters and nav-mesh visualization. You can see the Second Life Viewer Pathfinding Tools here.
Watch the Alpha Release Notes for more information.
Early Users Program
Lorca announced that the Lab will be opening a program, an agni opt-in channel, for region owners on the main channel, AGNI, that want to work with Pathfinding. Those that want to join should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Region owners only!
Anyone will be able to test the new Pathfinding viewer tools and LSL calls on Aditi. One does not have to join the beta for that testing.
It seems there will be a Pathfinding feature to allow an object to find the nearest nav-mesh point, which means it can find a nav-mesh. Also, the script can detect when it is on a nav-mesh and I think detect when it leaves a nav-mesh.
Terrain Change Delay
While we see terrain edit changes immediately, there is a 30 second delay for changes to reach the physics engine and affect Pathfinding.
Terrain now uses a new internal representation. It is now a mesh. So, we may soon see different collision characteristics. I have no idea if this will affect vehicles, but I would think so. It will also affect the automated terrain bulldozers. Seems there are scripted devices that change terrain. Those will apparently need to change.
Tiny bits are leaking about something to do with changing the basic terrain in Second Life. SonicAnd Miles asked, “I have a question about the terrain, when you guys redo it will we be able to make it so u can tunnle under it (like a cave)? just wondering. 🙂”
The answer: ”No, but we will be slightly closer to support proper mesh import of terrain, which would allow that. (note: that is not a scheduled project, however one that will be slightly easier.)
Open Source Release Process
Oz Linden has been working on the Open Source Release Process. I suspect this is related to his recent interview by the Firestorm/Phoenix team’s lead Jessica Lyon. I have seen the new process. As best I can tell the changes have yet to be announced.
There are some issues with the world map having problems rendering the map tiles at different zoom levels. JIRA ER-1598 – or SVC-7629 – [PUBLIC] Map tile generator not working. This fix has rolled out. I take it that it is a fix to the Map Server.