Pathfinding…has LL lost its way?

The spate of bugs, issues and problems that appear to be associated with the roll-out to the whole Grid of Pathfinding and its upgraded Havok physics has surprised even the most hardened cynics in SL. There was a matter of whether or not scripted objects upon a sim would cause performance issues once Pathfinding and its associated physics changes were in place. In some cases this is indeed proving to be the case, but frankly those are the least problems.

Although it may be quite unconnected with Pathfinding and the new Havok itself, there has been a subtle but significant change in the way that parcel traffic is reported, and in how this figure affects search ranking. The places to first notice this have been mostly adult sims and clubs, but slowly the JIRA related to this, SVC-8099, is filling up with moderate and general-rated clubs and stores, who also depend on their search ratings. Some are referring to a “silent update” to SL server code as the cause, but in actuality, I do not think anyone really knows.
On top of this there is an unclearly defined bug which causes huge increases in the bandwidth used by connections to SL, form in some cases, under 100kbps to over 2Mpbps. Now there appears to be one clearly defined cause for this, and JIRA SVC-8124 deals with it. There are distinct suggestions that this bug is not the only cause, and as I write this it is not clear just what the other causes are.
Add to this the known issue with vehicle physics SVC-8048, and some other, as yet undefined issues and you have a picture of a virtual world in chaos. It is worth mentioning that the effects of this “bandwidth” bug are not merely virtual. If the user actually has to pay extra for more net-use, this bug has a very real financial implication. That, if nothing else ought to get Linden Lab’s attention!
It’s not QUITE as bad as that in reality, but the calls for a roll-back of the Pathfinding code (which would be very hard to achieve without yet more harm being caused) are becoming strident. It is all the more worrying since some of the vanguard of this call are not what one might call “Chicken Little” types.

Linden Lab need to hold some crisis meetings over the next couple of days and work out a damage-limitation plan before SecondLife implodes.

Edit Monday 11:30am BST: Edit to add JIRA SVC-7613, which also deals with the bandwidth issue.

Edit 2, 9pm BST Monday (1pm PDT): Deathly silence on all channels from Linden Lab. Are they in hiding, or enjoying some community singing of “La la la, I can’t hear you, I have my fingers in my ears and my head in the sand”. Or of course they may be in high-level meetings working out a rescue strategy. Pity they couldn’t spare a few moments to tell us.

~ by Ayesha Askham-Ezvalt on August 13, 2012.

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