The Lab is doing a bit of server update dance this week. The roll outs took longer than past roll outs on Tuesday, or that is the rumor from some people’s subjective experience. New roll out tools are being used. They will be optimized and get faster as time passes. One of the new features, if I understand correctly, is the ability to update the server’s operating system and roll out a new simulator package too.
So, this week we get new operating systems and simulator updates.
Magnum Release Channel
This channel was to get the Pathfinding package. Actually it did. BUT… there were problems with the package. So, it was rolled back and the Pre-rendered Avatar Textures package was rolled to the Magnum channel.
There is also a problem with the Pathfinding release in that vehicles CANNOT cross from a Pathfinding region to a region without the Pathfinding upgrade. The versions of Havok, the physics engine, are incompatible. Ouch!
Oskar Linden said, “It’s not a bug. It is an incompatibility between Havok versions. Havok is what models physics on the simulator side. Mesh objects (vehicles made of mesh or maybe like mesh bullets) will give that error when going ‘backwards in versions’. So if a mesh object goes from a Pathfinding region to a non Pathfinding region the older version of Havok cannot handle it. This issue will be resolved once the Pathfinding code is live everywhere. Until then it will be an awkward experience and we apologize for that.”
So, we are going to have a problem for a time. Sandboxes in AGNI run the Pathfinding update plus a number of volunteer regions experimenting with Pathfinding. So, we will have some region crossing issues with mesh vehicles.
As for non-mesh vehicles, they are having problems too. Oskar said, “I imported https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/SVC-8023 after confirming that the crossing failure from PF into non-PF applies to non-mesh objects as well – this is a bug.”
This release channel was to get the Pathfinding update also. Problems were detected and the decision to roll Pathfinding back However, the Pathfinding roll to Le Tigre never happened. It got the Pre-render Avatar package too.
This channel was planned to have the Pre-rendered Avatar Textures package. It got it.
This Pre-render thing is a step in the process to fix bake-fail, the blurry avatar problem.
I was surprised to see Pathfinding roll out to an RC this week. I was not expecting to see it until mid July. We may or may not see it next week, no way to tell. But, we may hear in Thursday’s Pathfinding User Group.
The bake-fail problem is complex and has many causes. The Lindens think they have identified most of the causes and are fixing special cases. I think those special fixes include some experimentation. Whatever, a general fix is in the works. The Lindens are not far enough along on the general fix to be willing to talk about it.
I’m also noticing some odd performance in the various regions. I have not been able to pin down what I’m seeing. When exploring SL9B I ran into lots of lag and found regions way lagged but almost no one there, maybe 2 to 4 people. Other times the same regions and again with only 2 to 4 avatars and some times more were just fine. Other regions would have 30 to 40 people and have about the lag one would expect.
It is common to see a region with 14 to 20 people and see the server running at 100% with very little or no server lag. Meaning the Physics FPS is 43 or better and Time Dilation was 0.95 or better.
For months now the Lindens have been mostly fixing performance and bugs. Pathfinding and Experience Tools are about the only new features we know are coming.