2004/05/21 WorldForge Weekly News by: alriddoch

This is the WorldForge Weekly News for the week ending Friday the 21st May, based on what I have been working on, activity I have seen on irc, and commits to cvs.

A new version of stable Eris was released over the last week thanks to James, and the first release of the Mercator terrain library was done with code by Damien and myself, and design by munin. Thanks to James for working with me on getting these releases working smoothly.

Lots of work on cyphesis over the last couple of weeks. Big improvements in the efficiency of AI memory, and groundwork for reference counting and an LRU scheme for keeping memories updated and clean. Code for handling sight ranges has been re-worked so visibility is now based on the size of the entity being viewed. This allows far greater viewing distance in the client without causing a flood of traffic. The main loop was tweaked so that there was no longer a ceiling on the rate of processing ops, meaning the server behaves more sanely under load, but is still responsive to network traffic. Perhaps the most significant change of all was finding and fixing a bug that meant the memory consumed by all AI minds in the server grew constantly over time. This bug has been present for nearly 4 years since cyphesis-C++ began, and the fix vastly improves the length of time for which cyphesis can be run.

Cyphesis is now ready for the first release of the current series, which will happen over the next few days. This version will be recommended for all servers, as it is less buggy, more efficient, and has many more features than the previous stable version.

James has done lots of work on the development version of Eris, getting various nuances of the type system working correctly. This also flushed out some problems with the Atlas-C++ 0.6 Objects API, which I was able to improve. In general the Entity / View logic in development Eris is gradually maturing, though further client work is on hold till after LinuxTag.

Simon got alpha blended clouds working again, and add code to the renderer that now allows the window to be resided while its running. The code that controls the time of day in sear was hooked up to server time thanks to an addition to Eris by James, and sear hacking by Simon. Simon also fixed sear to work better on older 3D hardware without stencil buffers.

Simon has also done lots of work on creating a modified Knoppix distribution which includes Sear, and various hardware 3d drivers. He would appreciate testing and feedback on the ISO, and some changes to Sear have already been committed to make it run on a wider range of hardware. An ISO image of the custom Knoppix CD is available from here.

Ron has done lots more work on uclient, moving ever closer to a version with a Mercator based terrain system.