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NavigationMeshPathDebugging
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UE3 Home > AI & Navigation > Navigation Mesh Path Debugging

Navigation Mesh Path Debugging


Overview


Debugging pathfinding issues can be difficult due to the large size of a typical dataset, and the complex nature of pathfinding. This document outlines some tools in place to make this process easier.

Path debug rendering


To enable path rendering you may run the console command show paths. This will draw the currently loaded navmesh (including dynamic updates from navmesh obstacles) Here is a screenshot

showpathsscreenshot.jpg

  • Red surfaces indicate obstacle mesh surfaces ( surfaces the AI cannot walk through )
  • Green surfaces are walkable surfaces (part of the navmesh itself)
  • Purple lines along boundaries between polygons indicate connection between polygons. If there is no purple line along two adjacent polygons AIs cannot get from one to the other
  • Other lines (e.g. dashed yellow lines) come from different edge types. In this case the dashed yellow indicates a coverslip edge

On the Pylon you will find some useful options for debugging as well;

  • bDrawEdgePolys - when TRUE a line will be drawn from the center of the edge, to the center of both polygons linked by that edge. This is useful in debugging what polygons are actually being linked by what edges. Here is a screenshot with this turned on:
    showpathsscreenshot_edgepolys.jpg
  • bDrawPolyBounds - when TRUE a yellow wire box will be drawn indicating the calculated bounds of each polygon Screenshot:
    showpathsscreenshot_showbounds.jpg

Also see UsingNavigationMeshes for more information on debug rendering.

bDebugConstraintsAndGoalEvals


On the navigationhandle there exists a bool, which when set to TRUE will cause pathfinds for that navigation handle to print statistics about the path search.

Here is some example output from a simple shortest path search with bDebugConstraintsAndGoalEvals set to TRUE:

[0515.02]Log: ------- PATH CONSTRAINT STATS --------
[0515.02]Log: Processed: 43 ThrownOut: 0 (0.00% thrown out) AddedPathCost: 0.00 (0.00% total) AddedHeuristic: 0.00 (0.00% total) - (NavMeshPath_MinDistBetweenSpecsOfType_0)
[0515.02]Log: Processed: 43 ThrownOut: 0 (0.00% thrown out) AddedPathCost: 0.00 (0.00% total) AddedHeuristic: 175.00 (100.00% total) - (NavMeshPath_Toward_0)
[0515.02]Log: --------------------------------------
[0515.02]Log: TotalThrownOut: 0 TotalAddedDirectCost: 0.00 TotalAddedHeuristicCost: 175.00
[0515.02]Log: ------- GOAL EVALUATOR STATS --------
[0515.02]Log: Threw Out 10 (out of 11 processed (90.91%)) (Responsible for 100.00% of all nodes thrown out) - NavMeshGoal_At_0 
[0515.02]Log: ---------------------------------------

From this output you can get a lot of information. For example if I had a malfunctioning constraint in the path constraint list that was throwing all nodes out, I could see that it was misbehaving by inspecting the statistics. This will also print out information about what constraints are adding cost, so you can see which constraints are having the biggest effect on the path search, etc..

bUltraVerbosePathDebugging


Note: this code will be in QA_APPROVED_BUILD_DEC_2009, and was checked in with CL 408369

When you still can't figure out what's going on or why an entity can't path to a location, turn on bUltraVerbosePathDebugging. With this enabled, the next time the enabled AI pathfinds the code will both draw debug info to the screen, as well as dump tomes of information to the log keyed to the on-screen info.

The on screen debug info should help you see the overall shape of the traversal and understand where the pathfind went and what nodes it inspected. And also with the on-screen tags you can get more detailed information about specific events.

See the screenshot below:
UltraVerbosePathDebuggingScreenshot.jpg

  • Red lines - indicate an attempted pathstep which was denied
  • Red Text - Is a key to a log output line corresponding to that failed traversal. For example if you see C:21 on an edge you want to know why the AI couldn't path through, search for C:21 in your log window and you will find your reason. An example log line: [0061.15]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:21]: Edge does not support this entity (supports returned FALSE) Edge: FNavMeshEdgeBase (Len:30.00 EffecLen:30.00)
  • Green lines - indicate a successful traversal from one poly to another
  • White Text - Is a key to a log output line corresponding to a failed (non terminating) call to EvaluateGoal. An Example log line: [0061.15]Log: Poly (P:16) (polyctr:X=13905.000 Y=-13110.000 Z=129.000) was just given status [EvaluateGoal returned 0] by NavMeshGoal_At_0
  • DebugCoordinateSystem - is drawn at the SearchStart
For example, in this screenshot if I wanted to know why the edge marked with C:22 was not allowing the AI to traverse it, I would just need to search the debug output for C:22 and I would find the following:
[0132.83]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:22]: Edge does not support this entity (supports returned FALSE) Edge: FNavMeshCoverSlipEdge (Actor: CoverLink_8 RelItem: 0 MoveDir: -1)

Here is another screenshot demonstrating a wider view of the debug mode in action:

ultraverbose_wide.jpg

Lots of other pertinent info is also printed to the log in this mode, for example working set size at each path step, and reason for path search termination. Here is some example output:

[0132.82]Log: Poly (P:108) (polyctr:X=12828.750 Y=-15367.500 Z=-127.000) was just given status [EvaluateGoal returned 0] by NavMeshGoal_SquadFormation_0
[0132.82]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:221]: Path constraint NavMeshPath_WithinTraversalDist_0 EvaluatePath rejected this edge! Edge: FNavMeshEdgeBase (Len:60.00 EffecLen:90.00)
[0132.82]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:222]: Edge does not support this entity (supports returned FALSE) Edge: FNavMeshEdgeBase (Len:15.00 EffecLen:30.00)
[0132.82]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:223]: Edge does not support this entity (supports returned FALSE) Edge: FNavMeshEdgeBase (Len:15.00 EffecLen:30.00)
[0132.82]Log: +++Finished path step 108!, Openlist now has 2 nodes in it.
[0132.82]Log: Poly (P:109) (polyctr:X=12105.000 Y=-13860.000 Z=127.750) was just given status [EvaluateGoal returned 0] by NavMeshGoal_SquadFormation_0
[0132.82]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:224]: Path constraint NavMeshPath_WithinTraversalDist_0 EvaluatePath rejected this edge! Edge: FNavMeshEdgeBase (Len:60.00 EffecLen:90.00)
[0132.82]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:225]: Edge does not support this entity (supports returned FALSE) Edge: FNavMeshEdgeBase (Len:15.00 EffecLen:30.00)
[0132.82]Log: +++Finished path step 109!, Openlist now has 1 nodes in it.
[0132.82]Log: Poly (P:110) (polyctr:X=13800.000 Y=-14482.500 Z=-127.000) was just given status [EvaluateGoal returned 0] by NavMeshGoal_SquadFormation_0
[0132.82]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:226]: Path constraint NavMeshPath_WithinTraversalDist_0 EvaluatePath rejected this edge! Edge: FNavMeshEdgeBase (Len:60.00 EffecLen:120.00)
[0132.83]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:227]: Edge does not support this entity (supports returned FALSE) Edge: FNavMeshEdgeBase (Len:15.00 EffecLen:30.00)
[0132.83]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:228]: Path constraint NavMeshPath_WithinTraversalDist_0 EvaluatePath rejected this edge! Edge: FNavMeshEdgeBase (Len:60.00 EffecLen:120.00)
[0132.83]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:229]: Path constraint NavMeshPath_WithinTraversalDist_0 EvaluatePath rejected this edge! Edge: FNavMeshEdgeBase (Len:75.00 EffecLen:105.00)
[0132.83]Log: PATH_DEBUG_MESSAGE[C:230]: Edge does not support this entity (supports returned FALSE) Edge: FNavMeshCoverSlipEdge (Actor: CoverLink_48 RelItem: 0 MoveDir: -1)
[0132.83]Log: +++Finished path step 110!, Openlist now has 0 nodes in it.
[0132.83]Log: +++++++++ STOPPING PATH SEARCH -- Nodes on openlist: 0 Reason: Path finished, and DetermineFinalGoal returned TRUE.. search was a success!

Also, a quick tool to easily enable this debug mode on a specific AI in game at runtime has been built. VerbosePathDebug is a console command you can run which will trace out from where the player is looking, and set bUltraVerbosePathDebugging to true for any pawns in the path.

When this bool is on for an AI, and that AI completes a pathfind, previous ultraverbose debug info will be flushed, to make way for the new and the game will be put in playersonly mode to give you a chance to digest the info. Keep in mind that if multiple pathfinds happen in one frame whichever one happens last will be the one you see drawn on screen.