Friday, February 24, 2012

Eye on the Blog: "Sneak Peek at Pathfinding"

In the Official Second Life Blog earlier this week, Linden Labs offered a "sneak peek" of their experiments with "Pathfinding."

Pathfinding is a new set of LSL calls and Viewer tools that allow for smoother and smarter movement for non-player characters and objects in Second Life. These new tools will allow Residents to create objects that move around corners, climb inclines and cross region boundaries. Newly created functions such as “pursue,” “patrol,” “wander,” “evade,” and go to a specified point — all of which are particularly useful for pet, NPC and enemy behavior — will allow for non player movements and behaviors never before possible in Second Life.

Pathfinding is efficient because it allows creators to place a much larger number of moving objects in a particular area without affecting server performance. Because the algorithmic complexity is on the server side, Residents can easily script with short and intuitive LSL functions that make creating a pet that follows you around as simple as rezzing a box.

As part of the pathfinding project, Linden Lab will also introduce new Viewer-side tools that will allow Residents to more efficiently create, visualize, test and debug Pathfinding-enabled characters. These tools are not required to create pathfinding behaviors but are particularly useful to builders and experience creators in second life.

Additional pathfinding tools, and the ability to generate your own pathing data, will be put in Beta in the coming weeks. Linden Lab will begin releasing these tools to all Residents in the next several months. You can try out the new LSL functionality in select regions for which we have prepared pathfinding data.

Sneak Preview: Pathfinding in Second Life .

A video done by Lorca and Stinson Linden showed some details of Pathfinding. In the film, Lorca razzed a cube, inserted a bit of pathfinding code, and the prim proceeded to follow him around. That is until he put an obstacle between it and himself on a path up in the air. The Pathfinding-enabled cube promptly changed course and took an alternate route to get to him. Stinson Linden talked some about how Pathfinding works. Which routes a Pathfinding-enabled object travels depends on the "navigation mesh." How wide or the size of steps in a stairway alters the mesh, and determines whether or not Pathfinding takes that route to get to someone or an object, or not. Controls can put "holes" in the navigation mesh, making areas inaccessible to Pathfinder objects, or mark some objects as "dynamic obstacles."

Among the comments after the video was one referencing the changing path after the obstacle was placed in the Pathfinding object's way, "this is a gaming technique not even the most popular MMORPGs seem to know how to get right, and you guys managed to pull it off flawlessly. In games like WoW if you shoot a mob from a rooftop, it walks up the wall after you, rather then trying to find a logical path."

To check the Linden Blog entry, Click Here.

For more on Pathfinding in the Second Life Wiki, Click Here.

Bixyl Shuftan

No comments:

Post a Comment