There isn’t a lot of news yet this week. I think everyone knows that Pathfinding rolled out to the main channel. You can find most of the information about Pathfinding in the SL Wiki: Second Life Pathfinding Category. The new Pathfinding Tools are in the Beta Viewer.
It is unclear, at least to me, when those tools will roll into the production release viewer. There is no estimate when the third party viewers (TPV) will have all the tools. I expect the Linden and TPV’s to catch up this month.
Simon noted Tuesday that the crash rate for Pathfinding (PF) regions had jumped up after the roll out. But, it seemed to be stabilizing and coming down. I suppose when one adds 5 times more regions the possibility of finding problems goes up five-fold too. Whatever, as of the time of the meeting the Lab was only collecting data and watching the system.
Today’s, Wednesday’s, roll out to the release channels has yet to complete as I write. So, I have no information on how that is going.
The Deploys thread has a number of posts complaining of problems. Some of the problems are region crossings. Until the roll out to the release channels completes the grid is still running different versions of the Havok physics engine. Crossing problems are expected in that case.
Vehicles are reported as behaving differently in various sandboxes in the main grid. I suspect the problem there, is from most sandboxes in the main grid having been moved into the Pathfinding Beta Channel. They may not get updated until Thursday. We can hope they are in the Wednesday roll.
There are more reports of problem vehicles. That is no surprise. During the PF Beta the Lindens were asking for example problem cases. They didn’t get all that many. Of those they got, the problems were in how the vehicles were constructed. Things like wheels being made from tori, which is counter to the best practices information the Lab has provided for years.
Since many older vehicles that were poorly made are not going to be updated, those drivers are now running into the problems for the first time as PF comes to their regions.
A number of region owners have decided to disable PF in their regions. Some number of them have yet to figure out they need a PF Viewer to do that. However, once they do, PF will stay disabled through region restarts and server updates. The setting is stored with other regions settings in the region information stored by the Lab.
Some number of people do not understand PF and Havok are different things. Disabling PF does not disable Havok. Disabling PF does not roll back Havok. Once Havok updates to the new version, it is there to stay.
A number of region owners are disabling PF because of performance concerns. Even the Firestorm/Phoenix team put out an incomplete warning, which some consider misleading, regarding PF performance. Most don’t seem to understand or are not taking the time to explain how PF works in regard to performance. I have an explanation in: Second Life Pathfinding Performance and back in May in: #SL Pathfinding Update Week 20. (Scroll to the heading: Size of the Problem)
Until we have more information we won’t know how well PF is or is not performing. In the Beta test the regions were doing pretty well. But, they included a load of debugging code that was expected to degrade performance. Now that the debug code has been removed, or I suspect just most of it, the regions should be near the expected performance.
We’ll probably hear something from Andrew Linden on Friday.
According to the Deploys thread the release channels are to get new packages. Until Thursday’s Beta Server meeting or an update in the thread we won’t know for sure what happened.
Blue Steel & Le Tigre
These channels are to get an infrastructure update. The Lab is not saying what the update consists of. A few comments seem to indicate this is an operating or networking system update. Or it could include hardware replacement. The Lab announced they would be moving to new hardware.
This channel also gets an infrastructure upgrade. It is supposed to be one different from Blue Steel’s. But, the release notes have not updated so it is hard to now. I suppose information would be skimpy if it is mostly a security issue or a change in the software that rolls out the server updates.
We are hearing some people complain that their region traffic counts are off.
Traffic counts are done differently SL than they are on the web. The SL traffic count includes a factor of: time in the region. An avatar adds 1 point to the traffic count for every minute it is in a region. That is every whole minute. Factional minutes are dropped. An avatar can add 1440 points per day (24 hrs x 60 minutes = 1440 minutes). See: About Traffic.
Since PF just rolled out, it is getting the blame for inaccuracies in the counts. While I doubt anything in PF affects traffic counting the development process has been known to allow bugs to creep in and problem fixes to regress. So, it is not unreasonable to make the connection to PF.
We haven’t seen much use of the HTML style of HUD. It would be nice to see the boring drop down dialogs currently used in the viewer give way to the new possibilities.