The Incomplete Pathfinding Cookbook

Hidden away on the Second Life Wiki, well not hidden very well, you’ll find the pathfinding cookbook. Described as a ready made solutions for some critters, it has some interesting concepts, it’s also incomplete or written with invisible ink.

In terms of interesting concepts we have such potential solutions as:

Sentient Treasure Chest

Treasure chest with legs. Sleeps, but runs and hides if anyone approaches.

Which makes me wonder if a wizard called Rincewind is having some input over at Linden Lab! There are sections for dogs, cats, rats, snakes, vultures which all sound like feasible critters people may want to engage with and then we get:

Hopping Scarecrow

Wanders about hopping and approaches random people, lingers and moves on.

Hmmmm!

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2013 – Hopes, Wishes And Forthcoming Improvements

Usually at this time of year, someone will post some predictions for the forthcoming year, although that seems to be light on the ground this year, it’s always a bit of fun to see those predictions and see what transpires. However predictions aren’t for me, instead I’ll post some hopes and wishes and look at what may happen.

On The Horizon

On the horizon we have some useful looking improvements coming to us from Linden Lab. Project shining leads the way and is already well under production. This includes server side baking via project sunshine, which will be a pain point for some as older viewers such as Phoenix aren’t coming along for the ride but it should mean improvements to how textures load and improved performance. This is also alongside the new http-Library project which is already being used in the beta viewer.

This comes on the back of Linden Lab improving hardware during 2012, as stated on the blog post about 2012: “in 2012 we made the single largest capital investment in new server hardware upgrades in the history of Linden Lab

So we should see the results of these hardware and software improvements during the coming months. We should also see the emergence of the open source efforts to improve graphics rendering performance such as the use of normal and specular maps during 2013.

Then we should see more work done on the good building practices wiki pages, which is turning into a bloody good resource.

Second Life expanding to Steam is still on the horizon. Changes have been made to the beta viewer, including a create account option, so it seems to be getting closer.

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Getting The Balance Right

Inara Pey’s blog post regarding the article in The Register about Second Life being a failed technology, raises some really interesting points in the comments. I’ll pick up on some of them with a blog or two. A good starting place is a comment from Ezra, who feels that in many ways Second Life has failed:

Features roll out half-ass (mesh without deformer, shared media 2 years before everyone has a viewer that can see it). Some square peg in round hole features gain little traction at all (who needs pathfinding and quasi-AI without riggable NPCs? Only so much willingness to swap sculpt maps to fake it.)

Good points, I don’t see these points as equating failure, but they are points worthy of further discussion. Mesh did seem to be rolled out with buildings and props in mind, it largely works well in those areas, but it does seem short sighted not think people would want Mesh clothing. Hence this oversight started to give birth to Qarl’s Mesh Deformer Project  and it’s still in labour from what I’ve seen! However this is a feature for which residents raised funds to bring to Second Life. although it is of course a project in co-operation with Linden Lab, the oversight is one that makes people feel that Linden Lab don’t see the big picture.

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Pathfinding Provides Builders With Linkset Conundrum

Pathfinding is now widely available, although the tools are not yet in the main viewer, they are in the latest beta viewer which is available from the main Second Life client download page. Inside the viewer you will find the build tools:

An Image Should Be Here
Pathfinding In Build Menu

Now the issue for builders to consider is whether or not they want to consider making their buildings pathfinding compatible. There are certain things to consider here, fortunately Linden Lab have a good resource on the wiki: Pathfinding Tools In The Second Life Viewer. I heartily reccomend builders read that but I’ll briefly go through some of this.

Pathfinding works on linksets, not objects in linksets, that’s a big conundrum for builders and I’ll explain why.

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Patrolling Prim Cubes Can Be Exciting

The first rule about NDA club, is that you don’t talk about NDA club. Fortunately, Pathfinding in Second Life is not in NDA club, which means I can talk about it, hurrah!

I’ve been taking a look at Pathfinding in Second Life, being able to select where my characters can walk and select whether objects can move obstacles or collide with static obstacles does not sound exciting, indeed it’s not exciting at all. However what is exciting, although it doesn’t sound it, is watching prim cubes race around your sim after you’ve engaged in a bit of setting up and scripting.

There are bugs with Pathfinding at the moment, which is no surprise as testing is only just getting extended to sim owners, we’re back into the more variables the more issues arise territory, but the support I’ve received on the issues I have had with Pathfinding, have been absolutely superb, the team behind this are extremely enthusiastic. Unfortunately I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to poke around with it, but I’m getting there.

Now, so far I’ve managed to set some paths and then with the aid of the Pathfinding LSL functions I was able to create characters and set them on patrol on my sim.

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