We have some news from the Firestorm Viewer Development Team today. Seems they have been suffering from burnout for a time. So, they have taken some time off and are now back.
It seems they have some new developers. Holy Gavenkrantz has apparently been a code contributor to Phoenix and Firestorm for some time. Now he is officially on the development team.
Armin Weatherwax was a lead developer for KoKua viewer. For whatever reason he has moved over to the Firestorm team and will be handling development of Firestorm for other grids, like OSGrid.
You may remember there is a thing floating round not so officially called the Havok Licensing thing. That is about Pathfinding, which if you don’t know is about creating Artificial Intelligence Characters or NPC’s (Non-Character Player) and your hopelessly uninformed, which I don’t understand if your are reading this.
Pathfinding requires the viewer to use a part of the code provided by the Havok Physics Engine people to work with the Navmesh, the path creation feature that can be used by Pathfinding Characters. Look at the image to see some of a Navmesh. The Navmesh is sort of like building roads for the AI Characters.
OpenSim does not use Havok for their physics engine. So, they do not have Pathfinding. If the viewer only needs the Havok code to render the Navmesh and there is no Navmesh in OpenSim grids, an OpenSim viewer does not need the Havok code.
The Havok Licensing appears to restrict a viewer using the license Havok provided Linden Lab to using the Lab’s grid. This means a viewer with the Havok code from the Lab can only connect to the SL grid. There is some ambiguity in the Lab’s intention in regard to the license, if not in the license wording. So, this may or may not be a problem. But, most developers are treating it as a real problem and that is really all that matters.
The Firestrom Team’s solution is to fork the viewer into two branches. One will have the Havok tools for working with Navmesh and be used with the SL Grid. The other will omit the Havok code and be used on OpenSim grids.
It will be interesting to see how this development works. It certainly sounds like the development could split into two supporting two viewers. As the Lab ads more features to their grid and OpenSim adds other features to theirs, I think we’ll start to see divergence.
So, when are you going to see a new release of Firestorm? We don’t know. BUT… they say soon. The implications in the article is they are waiting for the Lab to release Pathfinding. The word in the Pathfinding region is the PF Team is targeting mid July for a release of Pathfinding to the Release Channels. If, and it is a big IF, Pathfinding passes the Release Channel testing, we could be 5 weeks away from seeing Pathfinding rolling to the main grid. So, that could translate into a new release of Firestorm in late July.