Wherein the Intrepid Explorer Considers Pathfinding in Second Life

We’ve discussed this before – I have no background in “gaming”.  The whole “mmorp (my army can whip your army)g” genre is foreign and, mostly, incomprehensible to me.  However, when a brand new something is announced for the grid I take it upon myself to at least try and understand what it means and what the potential impact might be.

I took a break from my inworld responsibilities yesterday to explore the recent announcement about Pathfinding↑.  First I tried to understand what it is.  I started to watch the video included with the announcement and when the nice young man talked about objects that “flee, pursue, patrol etc.” or that creating monsters was “more difficult than we’d like it to be” I was not encouraged.  I went instead to that great fount of knowledge, Youtube, and found a group of schoolgirls↑  who demonstrated the concept without giving me a rash.

OK, I thought, smooth movement around obstacles programmed into some object with the potential of making the movement appear random and “natural” in the environment.  Or something like that.  I took my new (limited) understanding to the Pathfinding Wiki↑ and followed the directions to the test grid to make some first hand observations.

I found 4 sandboxes devoted to this new endeavour complete with different kinds of obstacles and sample script for those who wish to create new “monsters” which can flee, pursue and/or patrol.  The first pathfinder I discovered was a bright pink box.  Not terribly threatening but it did move around things in a polite and undamaged manner.

There are also bicycles which have their own ideas about what route they should take.  In fact they don’t require riders, they just take off and explore with apparent self determination.

On the next sim I saw two groups of brightly coloured boxes playing some kind of strange organized sport.  I also saw what I would consider to be the inevitable result of combining technological advances inworld with “boy” type mentality.  Rats.  Lots of Rats. This led me to wonder what positive and useful applications there might be for “pathfinding”.  Consider what follows to be just a few suggestions for the script wizards among you.

Ballroom Dancers.  That’s right – partners for those who wish to dress up in formal wear and enjoy a night of wonderful music without having to find a date.  No sweaty palms or heavy neck breathers – automated gigolos (and gigolinas) for the sophisticated and discerning.

People.  I want my own set of people.  An assistant who keeps track of my calendar; a guardian who takes care of im’s and other forms of chat when I’m really busy; a wardrobe assistant who does my shopping and assembles outfits according to my taste and preferences.  The possibilities are endless and then my people can talk to your people and I can get some work done.

Grooms for the breedables.  Give me a support system that takes care of cuddling meeroos and riding horses to increase their happiness.  The groom could make sure they’re fed and gather up any gifts the little monkeys dig up and just take of the herds.

Uplifting mass synchronization.  Imagine a huge marching band of pipers or dancers bringing you a positive message, one that gives you chills and motivates us to be better individuals.  Wouldn’t this be much more useful than rats?

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  1. Managing Expectations | MetaReality Podcast

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