Vue Landmarks Restored in Second Life

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On the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) regions in Second Life, some landmark buildings that were previously on the “Edinburgh University” region have been restored in world so that they appear in the distance when meetings are held at “The Venue@Vue” and in other Vue locations.

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2016-09-23-SL-Vue-Forum-Night-1 2016-09-23-SL-Vue-Forum-Night-2
2016-09-28-Vue-Vista
2016-09-28-Vue-Vista-Sunset

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Pottermore – Harry Potter Online Experiences

Pottermore-Logo

Back in 2012, J.K.Rowling introduced Pottermore. See this blog post for some information from that time. A new version of the web site became available in 2017, including further experiences and games. It was possible to connect a new login to a previous account, “sorted” Hogwarts House and the wand that selected you.

House-and-Wand
Pottermore-Wand

You can then answer some questions to discover your “Patronus” and get sorted into your North American “Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry”.

Pottermore-Patronus-Bay-Stalion

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Supercar in Blender

This blog post is a resource area for a project to create good 3D models of Gerry Anderson’s Supercar and Black Rock Laboratory in Blender that can be used for a range of new applications in virtual worlds, flight simulators, etc. Applications in which the original Mick Imrie/Austin Tate 3D models, originated in Cinema3D and converted to many other forms, are too detailed or have modelling issues (such as flipped normal).

A number of people have already created Blender conversions or adaptations of our Supercar models for 3D modellers, virtual worlds (Second Life, OpenSimulator, High Fidelity, Unity3D, etc.) or for Flight Simulators (Microsoft Flight Simulator, X-Plane, etc.) and Space Simulators (Orbiter and Celestia).

Resources

TBA

Chris Coggon X-Plane Black Rock Lab

Using Chris Coggon’s X-Plane .obj model from 2011 (link here) reimported back into Blender 2.49b with XPlane2Blender Python tools for import/export. Then save via Blender to FBX for imort testing into Unity3D. To use the X-Plane BRL Lab.obj file open it in a text editor. Near the top of the file, make sure that Lab.png and Lab_LIT.png are named as the textures. Make sure these files are in the same directory as the Lab.obj. Now scroll all the way to the bottom of the file and remove this:

ATTR_cockpit
TRIS    159081 12
ATTR_no_cockpit
####_alpha

2016-09-23-CC-X-Plane-Model-to-Blender-to-FBX-to-Unity-Tests-1 2016-09-23-CC-X-Plane-Model-to-Blender-to-FBX-to-Unity-Tests-2
CC-BRL-Blender-277

  • X-Plane® Scenery Tools – https://www.marginal.org.uk/x-planescenery/tools.html
  • X-Plane® Scenery – Old Tools – for Microsoft Flight Simulator and Blender Conversions. Includes tools to IMPORT X-Plane .obj format files back into Blender 2.4x.
    • Only for versions Blender 2.4x up to 2.5 and 2.6 (not the most recent 2.7x versions). Use the “Installer” .exe version to set up the environment for auto install of scripts, as noted below.
    • Needs Python 2.6 to be installed.
    • Download XPlane2Blender, unzip and run the install.cmd script to copy the X-Plan to Blender scripts into the appropriate place.

Import test of Chris Coggon X-Plan .obj files for BRL into Blender 2.49b with XPlane2Blender python scripts to add X-Plan .obj/.acf import and export options…

Blender-249b-Lab-Obj-Import

There are issues importing Lab.obj with texture import (ERROR: Cannot read cockpit panel texture), even when placing these directly into the same directory as the .obj files (or trying name changes to remove spaces or .jpg format in the .obj and texture files).

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Ferd’s NPC Dog Avatar for OpenSim

NPC-DogFred Beckhusen (aka “@Ferd_Frederix” of http://www.outworldz.com/) has provided many fine open source contributions in OpenSim, including a range of animated non-player characters (NPCs). One is a dog called “Cindy”, which can be used as an NPC or avatar. It is a mesh dog rigged for Opensim using the standard “Avastar” skeleton. Fred indicates that there is no particular need for the new Second Life “Bento” enhanced non-human armature when only creating 4-legged animals. Her name is “Cindy” and she is licensed as CC-0, so anyone can use it for anything.

The easy way to get Cindy is via an OpenSim Inventory Archive File (IAR) at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/31305726/Cindy.iar if you have the ability to load that for your avatar on some grid. Or you can pick up a kit at hop://www.outworldz.com:9000/Virunga/126/168/25 – which can be reached by hypergrid to www.outworldz.com:9000 then click the sign that shows the “Virunga” region. You can also try to teleport from your hypergrid enabled home grid with the full “hop” URL above in suitable viewers, such as Firestorm. The box is in the middle of the village at Ruhengeri, lower left corner, next to the horse. A notecard in the kit explains how to activate the NPC which involves wearing the Cindy Avatar body, an animated tail shape and a full transparency “alpha” layer to hide the usual avatar. This requires the sim and server be set to allow Non-Player Characters (NPC). See http://opensimulator.org/wiki/OSSLNPC for details.

2016-09-15-Cindy-NP-and-Avatar

The avatar version in the image above has an added “RUGGED AO” with a notecard in it to trigger some of the animations (for Stand, Walk and Sit) provided in the control “dog bowl”.

Notes from Fred on using Cindy (13-Sep-2016 to Project MOSES Group)

“Cindy” has several features: She comes in a dog “water bowl”. Click it to control her. She can walk run around, Stand, Lay, Crawl and most importantly, pee on things. Cindy is set to wander and occasionally paw at the nearest avatar.

Since she is a NPC, you probably have to first become a dog and then click the dog bowl and select “Appearance”, once. There are instructions on how to make her in the box. This is because NPCs’ require moving of all the assets (which are really just UUIDs in a notecard), and different versions of the hypergrid do not always gather all the necessary assets.

You could also wear it and be a dog. Just add the animations to the Firestorm AO, if you need really precise handling for scenarios. These are all in the water bowl.

You can edit the Script to have her follow a particular avatar. There are several lines of code that look like this:

llSensorRepeat("", NULL_KEY, AGENT_BY_LEGACY_NAME,..............

These can be modified to say

llSensorRepeat("SOMEBODYS NAME", NULL_KEY, AGENT_BY_LEGACY_NAME,....

Then it will ONLY follow SOMEBODYS NAME. And there are several sensors, but you can search for them.

Setup for Use on Another Grid – Step by Step

If you take this box to another grid, it must be remade with a new NPC Appearance notecard.

IMPORTANT! If you have not yet saved your current avatar outfit, go to Edit Appearance and save your outfit! Give it an outfit name that you can find it with, later.

  1. Wear (say) the default skin, eyes and hair… they will be hidden anyway by the “All Alpha” which renders all parts of the standard avatar transparent.
  2. Wear the All Alpha
  3. Wear the Cindy Dog Shape
  4. Wear the Cindy Dog Avatar
  5. Wear the Cindy Dog Waggy Tail
  6. Check that you look like a dog. Your front legs will cross inwards. You can correct this by playing the animation “Stand”, which is included in the box. This is just an ordinary T-pose.
  7. IMPORTANT!! Take everything else off. Take off ALL Scripts. Take off your AO.
  8. Go to “Avatar Appearance” in your viewer and click the “Wearing” tab, and make sure you are wearing just the basic body parts including the Cindy Dog Shape, along with the Cindy Dog Avatar, Cindy Dog Tail, and the All Alpha.
  9. Save this as a new outfit. Name it something like “Cindy Dog Avatar’.
  10. IMPORTANT!! Right click and wear your original Outfit. This takes off the Dog, which saves it to your server. You will re-appear as you were, but (in earlier versions of several viewers) may be very distorted. THIS IS NORMAL – DO NOT PANIC!. This issue is fixed in the latest viewers such as Firestorm.
  11. Re-wear your Cindy Dog Appearance
  12. Rez the ‘Dog-Bowl “Cindy”‘ and touch it. A Menu appears
  13. Click “Appearance”. The dog should appear and come to you. To restore your appearance, replace your outfit with the saved outfit. You will re-appear as you were, but as noted before you may appear distorted, an issue which is fixed in the latest viewers such as Firestorm.
  14. If your avatar is distorted, log out and log back in again. You should now be back to your original look, and will be greeted by your new pet!

Menu Controlling the NPC (and setting the tail on an avatar)

You can control the dog with the menu by clicking on the dog bowl…

Rez: Start the dog
Remove: Removes the dog
Appearance: Records the Dog appearance
Wander:  Starts the dog moving
Stand: Stops the dog
Bark: clicking causes a bark
Pee: Dog stops and lifts a leg.  You must click Wander to begin walking again
Claw: Claws in the air.  You must click Wander to begin walking again
Lay: Lays down.  You must click Wander to begin walking again
TailWag: starts the tail wagging
TailDown: puts his tail between her legs
TailUp: raises the tail
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Second Life Starter Avatars

Second Life provides a wide selection of avatars to select from when you first join, and these are all available in the Avatar Picker tool or the Inventory “Library” to pick later. Its also possible to mix and match to make your own look.

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2016-SL-Avatars-Classic-1

2016-SL-Avatars-Vampires

2016-SL-Avatars-People

New advanced mesh avatars with a low Avatar Rendering Complexity were released on 1st September 2016… See

2016-SL-Avatars-New-Selection
2016-SL-Avatars-Selection-Classic 2016-SL-Avatars-Selection-Vampires

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Engage – Educational VR Platform

EngageImmersive VR Education in Ireland, who have produced the Apollo 11 VR Experience, have created a platform for multiple users to meet and share experiences in a range of environments in VR via their avatars.

Engage works with the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive at present. Download from Steam via http://store.steampowered.com/app/449130/. For use with the Oculus Rift launch the program (e.g. from the desktop icon) without first starting Steam or Steam VR for it to work correctly. More details and a download link are at: http://immersivevreducation.com/engage/.

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2016-08-30-Engage-Avatar 2016-08-30-Engage-Controls

There are a range of VR experiences to demonstrate the platform, including a Mars Curiosity rover experience.

2016-08-30-Engage-Demos 2016-08-30-Engage-Mars-1
2016-08-30-Engage-Mars-2 2016-08-30-Engage-Mars-3

The meeting environments can be classroom or meeting room style, as well as in museum areas and fun environments such as underwater and in space.

2016-08-30-Engage-LT-1 2016-08-30-Engage-LT-22016-08-30-Engage-Titanic-12016-08-30-Engage-Titanic-2

Interactive lessons with multiple users in various environments are also possible, including active whiteboards, calculators and interactive objects…

2016-09-01-Engage-Ballistics-Lesson-1 2016-09-01-Engage-Ballistics-Lesson-2
2016-09-01-Engage-Skeleton-Lesson-1 2016-09-01-Engage-Skeleton-Lesson-2

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Scuba Dive in Second Life

2016-08-22-SL-Scuba-1

Scuba diving is a popular virtual sport in Second Life… and scuba diving has been available on the Virtual University of Edinburgh facilities in Second Life from the very earliest days of the Vue regions (back from 2006). See this blog post for some early images.

An up-to-date free set of Scuba Gear created by “SamBivalent Spork” in Second Life is available at the Diver Alert Network (DAN)…

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/DAN/69/130/52

2016-08-22-SL-Scuba-Screen-2 2016-08-22-SL-Scuba-Screen-1
2016-08-22-SL-Scuba-Ai 2016-08-22-SL-Scuba-Be
2016-08-22-SL-Scuba-Ai-and-Dolphin 2016-08-22-SL-Scuba-Ai-at-Wreck

Scuba Dive Tour HUD

Pick up a copy of the (free) “DAN Branded Gear” also and try out the dive tour HUD… take care in the caves, and remember to follow the safety trail…

2016-08-22-SL-Scuba-with-Tour-HUD
2016-08-22-SL-DAN-Map

Scuba Dive in VR

Using the CtrlAltStudio viewer and the Oculus Rift, try a dive in virtual reality…

2016-08-22-SL-Scuba-VR-1

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Skydive in Second Life

When I first joined Second Life in 2006, I used a skydive setup built by “Cubey Terra” (Steve Cubey Cavers) to demonstrate some of the features of Second Life to colleagues and friends. Some images from those early days are here…

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2009-08-20-Skydive-1 2009-08-20-Skydive-9b
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VATAR – Virtual Avatar Training and Recreation

The Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) group ran a series of sessions entitled “VATAR”. The Virtual Avatar Training and Recreation programme (VATAR) was a regular opportunity to get together in Second Life and meet others involved using virtual world for education. There were regular sessions where people could meet others from across the community who were involved in virtual worlds and discuss what they were doing, ask for hints and tips and learn new skills.

VATAR helped users gain experience with their avatar in fun sessions:

These sessions helped new users gain basic virtual world skills like:

  • Get used to their avatar
  • Text chat to others
  • Open boxes and get inventory
  • Wear attachments
  • Use active objects

And rather more serious tutorials were used to help people get the most out of attending events in the virtual world:

  • Avatar Appearance
  • Building and Texturing
  • Inventory Management
  • Voice/VoIP

Skydive at Abbots Airfield in Second Life

You can go to at Abbots Airfield in Second Life to try out Skydiving. A free simple chute is available near the Skypod launch system. And sports chutes can be bought nearby.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Abbotts/159/119/47

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Skydive in VR

Using the CtrlAltStudio viewer and the Oculus Rift, it is rather easier to look down as you approach the landing spot while steering the more recent “Starburst 1.1.1” chute from Cubey Terra…

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2016-08-22-SL-Skydive-VR-1 2016-08-22-SL-Skydive-VR-2

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Great Auk

Great Auk and Egg - Kelvingrove, Glasgow. Wikipedia Commons

Great Auk and Egg – Kelvingrove, Glasgow. Wikipedia Commons


The Great Auk was a flightless black and white bird a bit like a large Razorbill. The Great Auk inhabited the rocky coasts and islands of the North Atlantic along the East coast of the USA, Scotland, Shetland and Ireland to Greenland and Iceland, almost to the Arctic Circle. It was driven to extinction due to hunting in the 19th century. There are specimens of the bird and its eggs in many museums… including Kelvingrove in Glasgow and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Errol-Fuller-The-Great-Auk-Cover

To the left is the cover of a superb book by Errol Fuller entitled The “Great Auk” which gives much detail on the species.

One of the excellent images in the book is an oil painting by Errol Fuller himself entitled “A Last Stand” [from http://errolfuller.com/paintings/] …

Errol-Fuller-Great-Auk-A-Last-Stand

There have been suggestions of a “revival” of the species by The Long Now Foundation – Revive and Restore. See the following article from The Daily Telegraph (20 August 2016 – Page 3) …

2016-08-20-Daily-Telegraph-Page-3-Great-Auk

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Unity with OpenVR for Vive and Oculus via SteamVR

SteamVR-HeaderIt is straightforward to start a Virtual Reality (VR) application using Unity 5.4 for SteamVR which supports both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift head-mounted VR displays.

Unity-OpenVR-Sample-Editor

Follow the above tutorial to get a simple application going and test the setup. This involves downloading the SteamVR Plugin.unitypackage to your project, or to a new 3D project. You can then easily add content and an avatar/third person controller into which the [CameraRig] prefab can be placed and adjusted for position to allow for movement of the user viewpoint via the controller(s).

SteamVR Application Settings Recommendations

When the SteamVR Plugin is added to a Unity project, thee are a number of recommended settings offered…

SteamVR-Plugin-Settings-Recommendations

SteamVR Example Scene

The SteamVR Plugin.unitypackage includes an example scene you can immediately open for tests.

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Changing an Existing App to Use OpenVR

Unity-OpenVR-ISS-Editor

An existing Unity/Oculus application, such as my ISS VR Experience, can be modified by changing the camera within the third person controller/avatar to be the OpenVR/SteamVR Plugin [CameraRig]

Unity-OpenVR-ISS-2D

There is an alternative documented in the “quickstart.pdf” document in the SteamVR folder after you import SteamVR Plugin.unitypackage, that is to simply add the SteamVR_Camera script to your Camera object(s). Everything else gets set up at runtime. Usually you will add the “SteamVR_Camera” script to the existing main camera in your application, and “Expand” it as documented in that guide. You can adjust the “Avatar_Camera (head)” and “Avatar_Camera (eyes)” to be where you want the viewpoint to be when you enter VR. This could be just in front of the third person controller/avatar’s head.

Unity-OpenVR-ISS-Script-Add-Version-Editor

Issues

My testing can only be on an Oculus Rift at the moment, as I do not have a HTC Vive available. Feedback from others trying the development route out would be welcome.

Steam, SteamVR and Oculus Home are all launched automatically if they are not runnng when starting a VR app made in Unity which incorporates the SteamVR plugin.

Initial issues on my early tests was that the editor playback VR mode had the camera in a very different place to when a standalone executable build was done. And also that performance was choppy when there were many 3D objects (like the core of the ISS) were in view. The image stabilised when looking to one end of the ISS where fewer objects were in the field of view.

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Ai Austin @ 10

Ai-Austin-512x512-1x1Ai Austin is 10 years old in Second Life today (joined on 6th August 2006)…

Here are Ai’s outfits built up over the period in Second Life…

2016-06-16-Second-Life-Ai-Austin-Avatar-Outfits

Ai’s skin was a gift back in 2006 from a fellow educator who joined Second Life on the same day and who was a neighbour on the “Saengseon” region where “AIAI2” had its first virtual world base before moving to its new facilities on the “Vue” (Virtual University of Edinburgh) regions.

Ai Austin – Standard Outfits

Ai’s usual outfit in Second Life is a Flight Suit… provided by Krashen Byrne soon after Ai originally joined Second Life. Ai obtained the original artwork for the outfit from Krashen with permission to use it as Ai wished, but not to distribute it further. You can usually find Krashen’s Flight Suit at the Flight Shop at Abbotts Aerodrome in Second Life.

Ai-Austin-Flight-Suit-522x862 Ai-Austin-Grey-Hoodie-522x862

Ai has used a range of casual outfits beyond that but his current favourite is made up of parts of “Gabriel”, one of the standard mesh outfits and starter avatars provided in the initial Inventory Library with Second Life.

In the I-Room on Vue in Second Life

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Using the Oculus Rift on Vue in Second Life

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Role Play in Second Life

2016-03-04-Ai-Strider-and-Orcrist Ai-tswayon-Sunset

In Supercar in Second Life

Supercar-01

Ai Austin @ 10

2016-08-06-SL-Ai-Austin-at-10

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Supercar in Second Life through VR

CtrlAltStudio viewer 1.2.6.43412 has provided 3D/VR access for the Oculus Rift in Second Life and OpenSim.

VR Performance using Oculus Debug Tool

With “Ultra” graphics levels (including shadows) and 256m view distance, the performance is excellent and with exterior or interior viewpoints in VR mode can achieve 90FPS on an Oculus CV1 and reports 90.8FPS in the CtrlAltStudio viewer statistics bar (ctrl+shift+1).

2016-08-04-CtrlAltStudio-SL-Supercar-2D-Viewer 2016-08-04-CtrlAltStudio-SL-Supercar-90FPS
2016-08-04-CtrlAltStudio-SL-Supercar-2D-Interior 2016-08-04-CtrlAltStudio-SL-Supercar-90FPS-Interior

Test Environment

  • Dell Precision T5810 Xeon E5-1620 v2 @ 3.50GHz, 32GB memory, Windows 10 Pro
  • Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU, GeForce Driver 368.81 (14/07/2016)
  • Dell Monitor (1920×1200)
  • Oculus Rift CV1
  • Oculus App Version 1.6.0.250.794 (1.6.0.250620)

The test region in Second Life contains the Supercar (Collada) mesh model and a few platform objects with a total of 715 or equivalent land impact. More information on the Supercar mesh model is in this blog post. The original mesh has 178,595 polygons, 122,901 vertices.

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Xerox Alto

Xerox-AltoThe Xerox Alto personal computer, designed at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC) and introduced in 1973, was the first computer to use a graphical user interface (GUI) using bit-mapped graphics and experimenting with the desktop metaphor. It was developed into early graphics office systems such as the Xerox Star and was a key influence on later graphical systems such as the Apple Lisa, Three Rivers PERQ and Sun Workstations.

[Xerox Alto image to right from computerhistory.org]

Links

ContrAlto Emulator

ContrAlto is an application created by the Living Computer Museum for modern PCs that simulates the original Xerox Alto, from the graphical display to the Ethernet interface. It allows you to experience part of the world Xerox PARC created 40 years ago. It draws on the preservation work of Bitsavers.org and the Computer History Museum.

ContrAlto-diskimage-part-1 ContrAlto-neptune
ContrAlto-calculator ContrAlto-battleships
ContrAlto-Spacewar-1

Smalltalk

Smalltalk was designed at the Learning Research Group (LRG) of Xerox PARC by Alan Kay, Dan Ingalls, Adele Goldberg and others during the 1970s.

Smalltalk-78

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Halcyon MOSES Grid Testing

Halcyon-MOSES-Web-SiteHalycon is the virtual world server code base used by the InWorldz grid. The code is a branch of the OpenSimulator code, and has been contributed back to the wider OpenSimulator community (see this InWorldz blog post).

Halcyon is being tested by the MOSES Community as a potential basis for their professional and military simulation and training interests.

Entering the Halcyon Grid into the Grid List for the Firestorm Viewer

In the Firestorm Preferences > OpenSim > Grid Manager, enter the grid URI without the “https://” part on the front as that appears not to be accepted by Firestorm.

halcyon.militarymetaverse.org

Halcyon-MOSES-Firestorm-Viewer-Login

Tests on 29th July 2016

2016-07-29-Halcyon-MOSES-Group

The image above (from Paul Wittermore) shows the group gathered before moving to the test regions with heavy presence of moving NPCs/bots, checkpoint and village scenery, etc. as shown below.

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2016-07-29-Halycon-MOSES-1 2016-07-29-Halycon-MOSES-Test-2

InWorldZ/Halcyon Information

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Steam VR Destinations Experiment

Destinations_workshop_banner
Destinations lets you create, share and explore different worlds in VR: photogrammetry scenes, game worlds, or anything else that can be represented by a 3D model (using OBJ and FBX formats). Destinations Workshop Tools is the toolkit for creating destinations.

Guides are available here… http://steamcommunity.com/app/453170/guides/

Tutorial Example

https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Destinations/Getting_Started

2016-07-29-Steam-VR-Destinations-Tools-Black-Rock-1

Launching the Destinations Workshop Tools on a 2D Monitor without VR

This forum post illustrates how to extract a Windows Run Command that will launch the Destinations Workshop Tools on a given (pre-created) project (addon)…

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=701040241

Destinations-Launch-Line-Black-Rock

Steam (but not Steam VR) needs to be running before you launch this. You can navigate the scene in its preview window with the WASD or arrow keys. An example Windows Run command would be something like… (the -vr and -toolsvr parameters have been removed)…

"D:\Programs\Steam\steamapps\common\Destinations\game\bin\win64\steamtours.exe" -tools -destinations_workshop

Select your destination scene (addon) when the Asset Browser tool opens.

Destinations-Asset-Browser-Black-Rock

Multiplayer

On 28th July 2016, valve announced that Destinations would work with multiple players and friends lists in the same environment and able to communicate via voice. So this offers a basis for “OpenVCE” and “I-Room” style destinations for group collaboration and operations centres.

http://steamcommunity.com/games/250820/announcements/detail/610620488088860267

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On AiLand Black Rock Region with Supercar via VorpX

As described in this blog post virtual world viewers can be used to visit Second Life and OpenSim grids and regions in VR on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive using VorpX. These are images of Gerry Anderson’s Supercar in the Black Rock laboratory on the Black Rock region on the OpenSim-based AiLand grid.

VorpX-Direct-Mirror
VorpX-OpenSim-AiLand-Black-Rock-Lab VorpX-OpenSim-AiLand-Supercar

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Second Life and OpenSim in VR using VorpX

While CtrlAltStudio viewer 1.2.6.43412 has provided 3D/VR access for the Oculus Rift in Second Life and OpenSim, there is another way to explore virtual worlds in VR – through VorpX.

VorpX allows some applications and games not specifically designed for VR headsets to work in 3D/VR mode. With virtual world viewers such as Firestorm (4.7.9 tested) and Linden Lab’s own viewer (4.0.6 tested) you can visit and view virtual world regions in an Oculus Rift (DK2 or CV1) or HTC Vive Headset. It should work with other viewers. The details below are for tests with the Oculus Rift DK2 and CV1.

VorpX costs £27.99 (UK) or the equivalent and does have a few issues (see later). Unless you want to use a specific virtual worlds viewer, you may wish to try CtrlAltStudio which is free and has better 3D geometry visuals (see “How Does This Work?” below).

Using VorpX

  1. Ensure you have a working Oculus Home setup.
  2. Install VorpX and start it up.
  3. Launch the Firestorm viewer, which should then automatically launch Oculus Home if it is not already running. The Firestorm window may just show on the 2D monitor as a white blank window. The application should be running in your Oculus headset. Dismiss the Oculus health and safety warning if need be to see the login screen.
    VorpX-Openvue-Firestorm-Login
  4. Use Shift + Mouse Scroll Wheel to zoom the 2D Firestorm windows away from or towards you so the login details and buttons are visible.
  5. Push the Middle Mouse Scroll Wheel button down to activate VorpX’s “EdgePeek” feature, which will show the whole Firestorm screen. In this mode you can gaze at menus and buttons, and push the left or right mouse button to activate things while continuing to hold the Middle Scroll Wheel button.
  6. You will then see a 2D view of your scene in 3rd person mode projected as a large virtual cinema style screen in front of you.
  7. 2016-07-28-VorpX-SecondLife-Firestorm-3rd-Person

  8. You can zoom this further away or more towards you to fill your field of view using Shift+Mouse Scroll Wheel or see it all using the Middle Scroll Wheel button to activate “EdgePeek” as described above.
  9. Enter 3D/VR view mode by moving into 1st Person/”Mouselook” mode. You can usually do that with the “m” key or using Alt + Mouse Scroll Wheel.
    VorpX-SecondLife-Firestorm-1st-Person-FOV-0.60
  10. You can change the Field of View (FOV) using Space + Mouse Scroll Wheel when in 3D/VR mode too if the image does not cover your whole field of view, as it should for a better immersive effect.
  11. VorpX recommends that the application (Firestorm) window be set to 1280×1024 for best results. You can set the window size in Firestorm via the Advanced menu (“Ctrl+Alt_D” to show it if its not present).
  12. Use the “Delete” key to enter the VorpX Settings. In the “Display Settings” you can turn on the “Direct View Mirror Window” to mirror on your normal monitor what is in the VR headset (e.g. to capture screen shots such as those shown in this blog post). The “two barrel” view or a “direct” single screen view can be selected.
  13. When you have finished using the viewer through VorpX you can terminate the VorpX application (which has an icon in the notifications area of the Windows Taskbar. This will prevent it interfering with other normal Windows applications you wish to use.

How Does This Work?

The Linden Lab Second Life viewer and third-party viewers, such as Firestorm based on the Linden Lab LGPL licensed code, use OpenGL for their 3D graphics. What appears to be happening when you are in a viewer’s 1st person/”Mouselook” mode using VorpX is that the scene is rendered around you and changes as your head set tracks round. But if you try to shift left or right you cannot see “around” objects. It is probably using the “Z-Buffer Mode (aka 2D + Depth)” of VorpX in which the 3D/Parallax effect is limited when compared to the Geometry 3D mode. This “3D Reconstruction” mode is an option in VorpX Settings (accessible using the “Delete” key) but cannot be enabled when using Firestorm since this requires DirectX 3D graphics. See this blog post for more information.

The CtrlAltStudio viewer 1.2.6.43412 provides full 3D geometry immersion in virtual worlds.

Issues When Using VorpX

  1. The Firestorm viewer main menus did not seem to work in some modes when pressed with the left mouse button. Use the “EdgePeek” mode by pushing the Middle Mouse Scroll Wheel button if you get stuck.
  2. I found I had to change the Field of View or “Image Size” in VorpX when moving to and fro between the 2D mode (e.g. Image Size=0.40) and the 3D/VR mode (e.g. Image Size=0.60+) which can be done using Shift + Mouse Scroll Wheel rather than needing to go into VorpX Settings each time.
  3. When using the “Direct View Mirror Window” this can severely affect performance and the 3D/VR mode view will judder and not update smoothly as you move your head around.
  4. After VorpX has been used, even if you terminate the application afterwards, there can be Windows glitches afterwards such as the mouse cursor not properly being shown. Reboot to clear things up.
  5. While using the various Shift, Alt and Ctrl keys and the mouse scroll wheel, you might find you accidentally resize the desktop icons, which is done with Ctrl + mouse scroll wheel while the desktop has focus. If so, you can restore these with a right click on your desktop, and use View > select your preferred icon size (default Medium).

Field of View (FOV)

I found I had to set a far away narrow FOV (or use “EdgePeek” when in the 2D mode to be able to see the menus for the login screen for example. But when in the 3D/VR mode and using such a narrow “far away” FOV a grey area will show within your view in the headset. This is shown in the left hand image below (with Image Size = 0.40). I needed to make the FOV be wider when in the 3D/VR view as seen I the right hand image below (with Image Size = 0.60+).

VorpX-SecondLife-Firestorm-1st-Person-FOV-0.40 VorpX-SecondLife-Firestorm-1st-Person-FOV-0.60

VorpX Virtual Cinema Mode

VorpX also provides a “Virtual Cinema Mode” via its settings. This simply shows the application on a large screen in front of you like the 2D view described above, but set in a lounge area with seats and a player figure. It is not usually what you would use for VR via a virtual world viewer.

VorpX-Virtual-Cinema-Mode

VorpX with Linden Lab Viewer

VorpX should work with any Second Life and OpenSim viewer including the official Linden Lab viewer (4.0.6 tested)…

2016-07-28-VorpX-LL-SecondLife-I-Room-Exterior

Remember that you have to be in 1st person/”Mouselook” mode to see the 3D effect, as shown in the right hand image below (click on the thumbnail for the larger screenshot).

2016-07-28-VorpX-LL-SecondLife-I-Room-3rd-Person 2016-07-28-VorpX-LL-SecondLife-I-Room-1st-Person

Posted in Oculus, OpenSim, Second Life, Virtual World, VR | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Supercar in VR

Supercar-03

This is Gerry Anderson’s Supercar mesh model (with non-physical flight scripts) in Second Life viewed in VR via the CtrlAltStudio viewer 1.2.6.43412 for Oculus Rift DK2 and CV1. The Supercar mesh has a “prim equivalent” of 705. More information on the mesh model are in this blog post.

Supercar-01 Supercar-04

Supercar-Cockpit-2

VR View in CtrlAltStudio

Supercar-VR-Exterior-1 Supercar-VR-Exterior-2 Supercar-VR-Exterior-3 Supercar-VR-Cockpit-2
Supercar-with-Pilot-Exterior Supercar-with-Pilot-Interior

VR Performance using Oculus Debug Tool

With “Good” graphics levels (no shadows) and 256m view distance, the performance is very good and can achieve 90FPS on an oculus CV1 with just an occasional dip of a few frames per second every few seconds.

Supercar-Exterior-VR-90FPS Supercar-Over-Vue-VR-90FPS

With “Ultra” graphics levels (with shadows) and 256m view distance, the performance is still okay and can achieve 90FPS on an oculus CV1 in some interior cockpit views where mostly sky shows outside, and dipping to 53FPS when more scenery shows.

Supercar-Cockpit-VR-90FPS Supercar-Exterior-VR-53FPS

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Watercolour Wander in Second Life

“A Watercolour Wander” by Ceakay Ballyhoo (CK) is an installation artwork in Second Life sponsored by the “Linden Endowment for the Arts” (LEA) who provide in world space donated by Linden Lab for artists to create and show their works. It is intended to be available to visit until the end of 2016.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA12/72/133/23

Watercolour-Wander-1
Watercolour-Wander-0 Watercolour-Wander-2
Watercolour-Wander-3 Watercolour-Wander-4

Watercolour Wander in VR

Watercolour-Wander-VR
Watercolour-Wander-VR-2 Watercolour-Wander-VR-3

On the Oculus DK2 running on an Nvidia GTX980 setup it runs at a very solid (maximum) 75fps.

Watercolour-Wander-VR-75FPS

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Roller Coasters in VR using CtrlAltStudio

Now here is a nice test of the CtrlAltStudio viewer 1.2.6.43412 for Oculus Rift DK2 and CV1 for Second Life and OpenSim. On OSGrid’s Cuteulala Park region which includes a range of theme park rides and roller coasters.

hop://login.osgrid.org/Cuteulala Park/148/81/22

2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-2D-1-No-UI 2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-2D-No-UI

This is a complex area which even stretches normal 2D performance in the viewer. But the 1st person perspective view seems even smoother in the VR headset than when following the coaster in normal camera view.

2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-2D-Seated 2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-VR-Seated-3rd-Person
2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-VR-Lift-Hill 2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-VR-Top-of-Lift-Hill

I am seeing a solid frame rate on the DK2 at 37.5 which rises in less visually cluttered areas to 75.0. Quite unbelievably good!

2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-VR-75FPS

Other Coasters

2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-VR-Coaster-2-a 2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-VR-Seated-Coaster-2-2

Water Rides

2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-Water-Slide-2D 2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-Water-Slide-VR

The tube ride works particularly well in VR Riftlook mode… make sure you wear a swimsuit… you WILL get wet…

2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-Water-Raft-2D 2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-Water-Raft-On-Tube
2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-Water-Raft-VR2016-07-24-OSGrid-Cuteulala-Park-Water-Raft-Ride-Splash

Ailand OASIS Region Coaster

One of Cuteulala Artis‘s roller coasters is also installed on the Aisle region on the AiLand grid…

hop://ai.vue.ed.ac.uk:8002/Aisle/94/44/29

2016-07-24-AiLand-Aisle-Coaster-2D-1 2016-07-24-AiLand-Aisle-Coaster-2D-21
2016-07-24-AiLand-Aisle-Coaster-VR-1st-Person2016-07-24-AiLand-Aisle-Coaster-VR-3rd-Person

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Migration of Openvue to a New Server

These notes are to document the steps taken to migrate an existing OpenSim grid (Openvue) to a new Windows server.

There are basically two mechanisms:

  1. Via a SQL transfer (mysqldump and load) which is the method documented here.
  2. Via OpenSim Archives (OARs), Inventory Archives (IARs) and a new setup creating users using existing avatar UUIDs. This mechanism gives a fresh setup, but does lose some elements such as group information.

On Previous Server

  1. Ensure that no viewers are running, shut down the Robust.exe and any OpenSim.exe servers.
  2. Use the SQL Editor tools to tidy up where you can. I usually remove all map tiles using:
    DELETE FROM opensim.assets WHERE name LIKE "terrainImage_%";
  3. Create a MySQL dump which is a set of SQL commands to replicate the contents of a database using
    mysqldump -u <user> -p <databasename> --hex-blob > dumpfilename.sql
  4. The --hex-dump parameter is useful to ensure that all “blob” data is transferred accurately, though it can double the dump file size (the mysqldump SQL file is 4GB for the current Openvue database).

On New Server – MySQL Setup

  1. Install MySQL, giving root a secure password and creating an extra user to be used for access to the “opensim” database.
  2. Modify the MySQL C:\ProgramData\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.7\my.ini file to add these two essential changes to accommodate large assets and “blobs” that represent their contents:
    • max_allowed_packet=4M change to max_allowed_packet=16M
      (note that OSGrid reports its largest asset is 45M)
    • innodb_log_file_size=45M to innodb_log_file_size=2G
      (for large blob loading from dump)
  3. Put the MySQL binaries directory into your Windows path. E.g.
    C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.7\bin
  4. In Windows Firewall, ensure that the settings for MySQL57 allow both Private and Public access, if you wish to attach OpenSim.exe region servers that are not on the same server as the database.
  5. Load the dumped SQL from the previous server to the new server, carefully watching for any errors…
    mysql -u <user> -p <databasename> < dumpfilename.sql
  6. If there are any errors, note the line number(s).
  7. If you need to examine the very large SQL dump file to work out the issue(s) use an editor such as Glogg.

On New Server – DNS Name and Firewall

You also need to ensure that the server has a stable external DNS name, and that this can be reached through any outer firewall on ports to be used by Robust (e.g., 8002) and OpenSim.exe (e.g., 9000-…). Note that 8003 (the private OpenSim server-to-server port) and 3306 (the usual MySQL port) need NOT be open beyond your own subnet (assuming all region OpenSim.exe servers are on the same subnet).

On New Server – OpenSim Setup

  1. Install a suitable Visual Studio/.NET 4.0 compatible compiler. Microsoft Visual Studio Community Edition is suitable and provides all that is needed.
  2. For use in Diva Wifi localisation, put the binaries directory where a copy of ResGen.exe exists into your Windows path. E.g.
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bin
  3. Download the usual latest version of OpenSim from
    http://opensimulator.org/viewgit/?a=shortlog&p=opensim.
    Unzip that to a temporary directory.
  4. It is possible to tell if the latest source version of OpenSim will compile successfully by checking “OpenSimulator Jenkins“. http://jenkins.opensimulator.org/job/opensim/ shows each automated build and whether it was successful (green) or failed (red).
  5. Download the latest Diva Wifi addon module from
    https://github.com/diva/diva-distribution/, extract from that just the “addon-modules” directory and put that in the top level of the OpenSim distribution extracted above.
  6. cd to the temporary directory.
  7. runprebuild.bat
  8. compile.bat
  9. cd addon-modules\21Wifi\Localization
  10. make_languages.bat
  11. Use only the bin directory from the resulting directory contents as a basis for the OpenSim setup. Copy to your usual run time directory (e.g. D:\VW\OpenSim).
  12. Copy in the appropriate configuration files for Robust.HG.ini, OpenSim.ini, GridCommon.ini and Wifi.ini (handling different Robust and OpenSim version in our setup).

On Associated Web Server

Currently the OpenSim “economy helper” is not provided in OpenSim core or in a simple addon module. It is provided typically by a set of simple PHP scripts run on an external web server which can access your MySQL database (in our case running on the same subnet as the MySQL server).

Details can be found at
http://opensim-users.2152040.n2.nabble.com/Buying-and-Selling-Land-What-module-is-needed-td7578626.html#a7578657 [local copy]

The landtool.php file typically used can be found, for example, at http://pastebin.com/atAmukt2. Remember to amend the configuration variables in the .php file and place it in an area that can be served by a PHP-capable web server. The URL for this is used in OpenSim configuration files as the economy helper.

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VRLand – A Community and Test Region for Virtual Reality in Virtual Worlds

“VRLand” is a region on the OpenSim-based OSGrid provided to act as a meeting place and community hub for those wanting to test virtual reality in virtual worlds like OpenSimulator (OpenSim) and Second Life.

2016-07-22-OSGrid-VRLand-Campfire-2D 2016-07-22-OSGrid-VRLand-Campfire-VR

hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/VRLand/128/128/20

You can visit over the “hypergrid” with any OpenSim avatar, or get yourself a (free) avatar on OSGrid and head on over to the VRLand region. Use the CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.2.6.43412 or later which supports the Oculus Rift DK2 and CV1 (and possibly the HTC Vive via the LibreVR/Revive compatibility tools).

Ai-Austin-with-Oculus-DK2-800x640The region is set up to allow voice (using Vivox) and will be developed in the coming weeks to include a range of simple meeting spaces, some relevant items to pick up (freely) and a metrics area for performance testing and to establish virtual field of view in your headset. The region is placed at least 512m from the nearest adjacent region to allow for simpler performance testing, so objects are not visible on the horizon if the view range is set to 512m or less.

Visit and pickup the Oculus wearable HMD… and say hello in text chat or by voice to anyone else that is there!

2016-07-22-OSGrid-VRLand-Campfire-at-Sunset 2016-07-22-OSGrid-VRLand-Campfire-at-Night

VR Frames per Second

I am seeing a solid 90 FPS in the Oculus CV1 and 75 FPS in the DK2 when using “Ultra” graphics settings including shadows on both Nvidia GTX 980 and GTX 1080 GPU rigs. The “Application Frames Dropped” number counts up when not in VR/3D mode, no frames are being dropped for this simple scene in my testing when in VR/3D Riftlook view, even when using voice.

2016-07-22-OSGrid-VRLand-Campfire-90FPS

Grid View Box and Field of View Testing in Oculus Rift

Grid-Test-2D-View-Screen Grid-Test-2D-View

A “grid view box” test area is available at a height of 1000m (accessible via a teleport “arrow” you just click on) which is set up as a 10m X 10m cube with black grid lines every 1m and a red grid line every 5m. A suggested test is to stand at the centre (5m X 5m) point (which is when you arrive when you teleport up) and look straight ahead with eyes level. Then observe what you can see in the 2D monitor view, in the mirror screen while in Riftlook, and compare that to your Field of View (FOV) when in Riftlook.

Oculus DK2 with “B” Lenses

Grid-Test-2D-View-VR Grid-Test-2D-View-VR-Visible-Part-DK2

The magenta circle shows the part visible to me in CtrlAltStudio RiftLook with standard FOV settings in an Oculus DK2 with “B” lenses (for moderate short- or near-sightedness) when the avatar is stood at the centre point (5mx5m) and looking straight ahead with a realistically sized avatar (approx. 1.8m high) using Riftlook 1st person perspective.

Oculus CV1 with VR Lens Lab Lenses -1.75 dia.

As a comparison, I get a wider field of view when using the CV1, fitted with VR Lens Lab lenses (for moderate short- or near-sightedness -1.75 dia.). In the image below, the cyan circled area shows the FOV in the CV1.

GridViewBox-CV1 GridViewBox-CV1-FOV

Video Test Card

video-test-pattern-16x10-2560x1600In case it helps in testing VR headsets, the video test area also includes a 16×10 video test card. The original is a 16X10 ratio 2560×1600 sized JPEG image. This was resized to 1024×1024 as the maximum texture size in OpenSim and then stretched onto a 16×10 screen surface and made “full bright”, so the quality is not the same as the original image. The source is http://www.wallpaperup.com/252144/test_pattern.html

Video-Test-Card-High-No-Shadows-2D-3rd-Person

Note that in a test with constant lighting (midday selected) with “High” graphics settings and no shadows that the VR on-screen mirror and HMD view (as shown in the LEFT hand image below) closely matches the normal 2D view colours on screen. But when “Ultra” graphics settings and all shadows is selected the VR view (in both the DK2 HMD and on the on-screen mirror) is lighter and a bit more washed out (as shown in the RIGHT hand image below) than the normal 2D. The screen test card itself in all views looks very constant in colour. This may be because it is set to be “full bright” and hence is self illuminated. Its just the grey platform, avatar and sky that looks paler when the “Ultra” graphics setting is selected.

Video-Test-Card-High-No-Shadows-VR-Mirror-3rd-Person Video-Test-Card-Ultra-With-Shadows-VR-Mirror-3rd-Person

Just disabling shadows when using “Ultra” settings does not change things and the HMD and on-screen mirror still show the paler washed out colours. After a bit of digging around and trying various settings, it seems that just turning off “Atmospheric Shaders” or “Bump Mapping and Shiny” when “Ultra” has been selected is sufficient to correct the colour. But of course those also disable shadows and other properties. These tests used software and drivers up-to-date as at 22nd July 2016: CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.2.6.43412, Oculus 1.6.0, Oculus DK2, Nvidia GTX980.

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VR Campfire in OpenSim

A number of “Social VR” applications like vTime are now appearing for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive which provide a meeting space in which a small number (4 to 8 typically) people can meet via avatars in a scene which often can be selected or tailored from amongst a library of interesting areas. Some have projection screen to share media or show 360 degree surround images.

As a test, I met other avatars on an existing “welcome” region on an OpenSim grid… one where there is a simple campfire meeting place surrounded by shared media and presentation screens, and a number of items that allow users to obtain avatars and clothing to tailor their appearance. The region also includes teleports to a number of other regions on the same grid and “hypergrid” portals to grids run by others, including OSGrid with over 8,000 other regions on it.

CtrlAltStudio-2D-UI-AiLand-Campfire-CtrlAltStudio

Excellent quality voice communication is directional and in 3D (via Vivox). Text chat and sharing of information such as web links or other details are accessible via a txt chat window or via bubbles over the avatar’s heads. Avatar animations allow heads to rotate to face where the user directs their gaze, e.g. towards a speaker, and to animate their hands in a suitable manner for their mode of communication and its volume.

The region performs very well in VR via the CtrlAltStudio viewer in both 1st person perspective (left hand image) and 3rd person perspective (right hand image).

CtrlAltStudio-VR-1st-Person-AiLand-Campfire CtrlAltStudio-VR-3rd-Person-AiLand-Campfire

Even set for “ultra” graphics, shadows and 256m view distance (all of which could be significantly reduced for such a simple usage), the performance is good with a solid 45FPS on an Oculus CV1 (which can achieve 90FPS) indicated via the Oculus Debug Tool.

CtrlAltStudio-VR-1st-Person-AiLand-Campfire-45FPS

But a simple adjustment of the graphics level to “Good” with no shadows and 128m view distance was enough to achieve maximum frames per second solidly… with just a little blip down a few frames per second every 2 or 3 seconds (a regular pulse while something occurs in the virtual world viewer)…

2016-07-21-CltrlAltStudio-Openvue-Vue-Port-DK2-75FPS

DK2 – App Motion-to-Photon Latency, Application Frames Dropped and Performance Headroom

Most of the “Application Frames Dropped” as shown by the Oculus debug Tool are when the viewer is in 2D mode or when the viewer application does not have mouse focus. When in regular Riftlook and the viewer has mouse focus, in the campfire test above achieving a stady 75FPS and an “App Motion-to-Photon latency” of about 24ms, only 1 frame was dropped each few seconds when there was a little blip on a regular basis.

But if the viewer did not have mouse focus (e.g. if you selected another app in the foreground). the “Performance Headroom” dropped instantly to around -270% and the “App Motion-to-Photon Latency” to around 55ms.

App Motion-to-Photon Latency Performance Headroom Application Frames Dropped
Normal Riftlook 24ms 40% 1 every 2 or 3 seconds
Riftlook but no focus on viewer 55ms -270% 100+ every few seconds
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Oil Rig Training Environment in VR

To be honest, this blog post started out as a test of the performance with various graphics options to try CtrlAltStudio viewer with an NVidia GTX1080 GPU. But the performance even on maximum “ultra” graphics settings with shadows was so good, I only tried options of shadows on (left hand images in the pairs below) and off (right hand images in the pairs below). Turning off shadows does make a difference to the frames per second. I left all other settings at Ultra. I just decided to enjoy the experience. It really is outstanding!


Tests have been conducted of the CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.2.6.43412 in a realistic setting in which virtual reality (VR) may be typically used for professional purposes.

As described before in this blog post, the Oil Rig region appears on OpenSim in both OSGrid and the AILand grid. It contains a Robert Gordon University (RGU) mesh oil rig and sea bed components created by Colin Hetherington. It is an environment for training and familiarisation for offshore oil rig workers at the RGU Oil & Gas Centre in Aberdeen, UK. It is typically used by one or two trainers in world with 3 or 4 students at a time, though the capacity easily allows for larger class sizes and observers as necessary.

Test Environment

  • Dell Precision T5810 Xeon E5-1620 v2 @ 3.50GHz, 32GB memory, Windows 10 Pro
  • Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU, GeForce Driver 368.81 (14/07/2016)
  • Dell Monitor (1920×1200)
  • Oculus Rift CV1
  • Oculus App Version 1.6.0.250.794 (1.6.0.250620)

The Oil Rig region on AiLand grid (and OSGrid) has 9,470 objects or equivalent land impact.

Oil Rig Exterior

Oil-Rig-0-Ultra-Overview-2D
Oil-Rig-0-Ultra-Overview-VR

Note that, in the VR image above, with Ultra graphics settings including all shadows turned on the frame rate is 45fps (exactly half of the maximum that the Oculus CV1 can run at).

Oil-Rig-1-Ultra-Shadows Oil-Rig-1-Ultra-No-Shadows

Frame rates in all the tests shown below generally varied between 45 and 70 frames per second, with an occasional rise to 80 to 90 FPS when simpler objects were in view and the viewpoint was not changing rapidly.

Oil Rig Deck and Interior

Oil-Rig-Deck-VR

These areas of the oil rig have realistic sound from equipment, some of which is very noisy and requires ear defenders in real life. ear defenders are required wear (with a hard hat) in the virtual training environment too. pick your up on deck and wear them if you visit!

The left hand images are taken with “Ultra” graphics settings including shadows, and the right hand images are taken with “Ultra” graphics settings and no shadows. The latter showing higher frame rates.

Oil-Rig-3-Deck-Ultra-Shadows.jpg Oil-Rig-3-Deck-Ultra-No-Shadows
Oil-Rig-4-Interior-Ultra-Shadows Oil-Rig-4-Interior-Ultra-No-Shadows

Seabed Blow Out Preventer

Oil-Rig-BOP-2D

This sea bed piece of equipment showing a leak and various technical pieces of kit used in diving and remotely operated repairs is a great example of just how good virtual reality already can be in Second Life and OpenSim today. It has to be experienced to see just how realistic it looks via the head mounted display in VR. 3D directional sound works really well here too.

Oil-Rig-BOP-Ultra-Shadows Oil-Rig-BOP-Ultra-No-Shadows

First Person and 3rd Person Perspective

When in Riftlook/VR mode you can shift between 1st person perspective where you see through your avatar eye position and can look down to see your avatar body (that can be turned off in a preferences setting) and 3rd person perspective where your avatar is visible ahead of you, and you can move your camera independently of the avatar position and direction. These images are taken with Ultra graphics settings and all shadows on.

Oil-Rig-BOP-Ultra-Shadows-1st-Person-2 Oil-Rig-BOP-Ultra-Shadows-3rd-Person-3

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CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.2.6.43412 Performance Testing

As noted in an earlier post CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.2.6.43412 was released by David Rowe on 18th July 2016 to allow VR access to Second Life and OpenSim via the Oculus CV1 and DK2 using Oculus SDK/Runtime 1.5.0/1.6.0. This blog posts reports on some testing of its performance, especially with respect to frames per second in the VR HMD view.

Oculus Debug Tool

The Oculus Debug Tool with Visible HUD = Performance was used to provide the application frames per second. The DK2 can run at up to 75fps and the CV1 at up to 90fps.

Oculus-Debug-Tool-Performance-HUD

Test Environment

  • Dell Precision T5810 Xeon E5-1620 v3 @ 3.50GHz, 32GB memory, Windows 10 Pro
  • Nvidia GTX 980 GPU, GeForce Driver 368.81 (14/07/2016)
  • Dell Monitor (1920×1200)
  • Oculus Rift DK2
  • Oculus App Version 1.6.0.250794 (1.6.0.250620)

Tests on OpenSim – Openvue grid – Openvue region

Tests on a rich welcome region with many objects. Little in view beyond 128m.

Looking away to an area with few objects first.. the steady state application frame rate observed = 75Hz, the maximum that can be expected.

Steady-75fps

Then tests were conducted facing an area with many objects but no other avatars visible. Various graphics settings were tried and the application FPS observed. The following image shows the test area in the 2D monitor view…

2D-monitor-view-Openvue

                                                   Application FPS
Graphics  distance    shadows  Pixel density     low    avg.   high
Ultra      256         all          1.0         37.5   37.5    37.5
Ultra      256         none         1.0         37.5   39.8    42.2
Ultra      128         none         1.0         37.5   39.8    42.2

Good       128         none         1.0         56.3   58.6    63.3
Good       128         none         2.0         37.5   37.5    37.5

Ultra-256-w-Shadows Ultra-256-wo-Shadows
Good-128-wo-shadows

Tests on OpenSim – Openvue grid – Vue-Port region

Tests were also conducted on a simple arrival, meeting space and hypergrid teleport region with few objects. Little is in view beyond 128m. The following image shows the test area in the 2D monitor view…

Vue-Port-2D

                                                   Application FPS
Graphics  distance    shadows  Pixel density     low    avg.   high
Good       128         none         1.0         72.7   72.7    75.0 

Vue-Port-3D Vue-Port-75fps

FOV Multiplier

Changing the Preferences > Graphics > Display Output > Rift > FOV multiplier to 2.0 and restarting appeared to have no visual effect and did not seem to effect frame rate.

David Rowe notes:

FOV: Increasing it is subtle as it’s operating at the physical limits of the hardware. But if you look straight ahead (eyeballs forward) you should notice a slight increase in peripheral vision (which you lose as you rotate your eyeballs). Decreasing the FOV, on the other hand, is much more noticeable.

Pixel Density

Changing references > Graphics > Display Output > Rift > Pixel density to 2.0 and restarting MAY make the textures on objects a little clearer. It is not a big effect, but it may be visible when looking at textures close up. Note that hover text shows smaller (X 0.5 when using a Pixel density of 2.0?) in relation to object size. As expected there is a marked drop in application FPS when using higher pixel density… in the same test context, 58.6fps with 1.0 (click on left hand thumbnail for full sized image) was reduced to 37.5fps with 2.0 (click on right hand thumbnail for full sized image).

Pixel Density 1.0 Pixel Density 2.0

David Rowe notes:

Pixel density: If you have antialiasing on and increase pixel density you probably won’t notice much difference. However, if you have antialiasing off and double the pixel density the improvement over 1.0 pixel density should be marked.

Other Observations

  1. Turning off the screen mirror (surprisingly) appears to have no effect on frame rate or other performance metrics I observed (on Nvidia GTX980).
  2. Turning off the visible avatar, hover text and/or context menus appears when in Riftlook mode appears to have no effect on frame rate.
  3. Full screen for 2D Monitor Mirror (1920×1200, again surprisingly) slightly improves (increases) the frame rate when in Riftlook/3D view.
  4. The biggest impact on frame rate I noted was if the on screen window was not selected. Then frame rate drops from an example of 37.5 to 16.4. Reselecting the CtrlAltStudio viewer on screen mirror window instantly restores the frame rate.
  5. Changing the on screen mirror window size while in Riftlook mode can mess up the normal 2D screen when you return from Riftlook. Resize only when in the 2D view to be safe.

App Motion-to-Photon Latency, Application Frames Dropped and Performance Headroom

Most of the “Application Frames Dropped” as shown by the Oculus debug Tool are when the viewer is in 2D mode or when the viewer application does not have foreground mouse focus. When in regular Riftlook and the viewer has mouse focus, on a sample scene where the maximum 75FPS and “App Motion-to-Photon Latency” of about 24ms on a DK2 was being achieved fairly steadily, only 1 frame was dropped each few seconds when there was a little blip on a regular basis. But if the viewer was not given mouse focus (e.g. if you selected another app in the foreground) the “Performance Headroom” dropped instantly to around -270%, the “App Motion-to-Photon Latency” to around 45ms.

Posted in Oculus, OpenSim, Second Life, VR | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.2.6.43412 Performance Testing

Testing CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.2.6.43412

oculus-rift-set

CtrlAltStudio-LoadingCtrlAltStudio is a version of the virtual worlds viewer for Second Life and OpenSim created by David Rowe. It has been updated to CtrlAltStudio 1.2.6.43412 to run with the Oculus Rift CV1 (as well as the previously supported DK2) under Oculus Runtime/SDK 1.5.0 (and also tested with 1.6.0). It does not work with the Oculus DK1 as that is not supported by recent Oculus Runtime/SDK code.

Note that this release is based on Firestorm 4.6.9 with hotfix 42974 which were released in December 2014. There have been many improvements in Firestorm and other viewers since then that are not included in CtrlAltStudio Viewer. Unless you really need Oculus Rift or stereoscopic 3D support you should seriously consider using another viewer instead. Linden Lab’s cashier update of 15th Jun 2016 (TLS 1.2 enforcement) is not supported when using the built-in web browser (e.g. trying to purchase from the Marketplace). However, user/user transactions, transactions via in-world vendors and L$ purchases via the button in the top right corner of the viewer will still work.

David Rowe also notes… the viewer is not optimized for VR — the FPS is not really high or consistent enough for “proper” VR. Some people are more sensitive to such rendering issues than others; however, it does let you get a taste for what user-created VW’s like Second Life can be like in VR.

Stereoscopic 3D, variable walk & fly speed, Xbox 360 controller support, and Kinect for Windows support work the same as in the previous versions of CtrlAltStudio. See the CtrlAltStudio Viewer page for usage instructions.

VR in Second Life

2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-SecondLife-Vue-I-Room

The interior of the Vue I-Room above also shows avatar text chat using overhead speech bubbles which is useful when in the Riftlook/3D view.

2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-SecondLife-Supercar-Exterior 2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-SecondLife-Supercar-Interior

Vehicle interiors render very well in CtrlAltStudio on the Oculus Rift…

2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-SecondLife-Aircraft-Interior

Here is the Fish4Knowledge Pavilion and Underwater Gallery in Second Life using the CtrlAltStudio viewer with the Oculus Rift…

2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-SecondLife-F4K-Exterior-2D 2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-SecondLife-F4K-Underwater-2D
2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-SecondLife-F4K-Interior2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-SecondLife-F4K-Underwater

Social VR anyone…

2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-SecondLife-Vue-Lodger

VR in OpenSim – Openvue and AiLand Grids

2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-Openvue 2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-AiLand

VR in OpenSim – on OSGrid – Oil Rig

The RGU Oil Rig region on OSGrid (and replicated on Ailand) looks and works very well in VR with 3D directional sound for the various machine noises on the rig. The seabed Blow Out Preventer (BOP) really stands out when explored in VR…

2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-Oil-Rig-1
2016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-Oil-Rig-22016-07-18-CtrlAltStudio-Oil-Rig-3

Oculus Rift Usage:

CtrlAltStudio-1-2-6-43412-Preferences-Graphics-DisplayOutput

One time setup:

  • If you have not already done this before, Oculus Rift output must be enabled in CtrlAltStudio: Preferences > Graphics > Display Output > select the Oculus Rift radio button. A restart of the viewer is required.
  • If you have a new, high performance graphics card but Preferences > Graphics features such as “Basic shaders” are disabled this means that your graphics card isn’t recognized by the viewer (which uses a “GPU Table” to get its graphics settings); tick the “Enable all features” setting to enable the missing settings.

CtrlAltStudio-1-2-6-Xbox-One-Settings-AdjustedX-Box controller setup:

  1. If you wish to use an X-Box controller and have not already done this before, enable this in Preferences > Move & View > Movement > Joystick Configuration. A “Combine Xbox One triggers” joystick setting lets the left and right trigger values of the Xbox One controller be used to fly up and down the same as you can use them with an Xbox 360 controller. You might find the default settings for the X-Box controller are a bit sensitive. Look at the suggestions near the end of this Blog Post (adjusted settings shown in the image to the right, click for larger version).

Each use:

  • Turn on the Rift.
  • Then start the CtrlAltStudio viewer.
  • Oculus Home should launch automatically if its not already running. You can read and dismiss the health warning at any time. Oculus Home might then show it is waiting for the CtrlAltStudio application to start, or might indicate it is not yet started and is delayed. This will not go away until you first enter the 3D mode in the viewer, as indicated below.
  • The “Toggle 3D” button (or Ctrl+Alt+3) then switches into Riftlook view, automatically displaying the output on the Rift.
  • To “zero” your orientation to your current avatar positional tracking location and recentre the mouse cursor in the field of view press Ctrl+Spacebar.
  • To exit Riftlook/3D view and restore the normal 2D monitor view use the “Toggle 3D” button (or Ctrl-Alt-3). “Esc” also will return you from Riftlook/3D mode to the normal 2D view.

Other advice may be useful in some setups:

  • Make sure you don’t have Preferences > Graphics > Rendering > Limit Framerate enabled.
  • It is recommended that you turn Antialiasing on: Preferences > Graphics > Hardware Settings.
  • There are additional settings for the Rift Display for “FOV multiplier” and “Pixel density” display settings that let you tweak the displayed field of view and number of pixels rendered in the process of generating the Rift images. Depending on your graphics card capabilities, you may want to increase these for better visuals or decrease these for higher FPS.
  • To improve your frame rate, reduce your draw distance and/or turn shadows off, etc.
  • Some users report that the 2D monitor set to full screen may be helpful as the mouse cursor does seem to be able to go off screen if you have multiple monitors.

Tips (mostly from http://ctrlaltstudio.com/viewer)

  • If you have configured Oculus Rift output for seated operation, “forwards” is the direction your Rift was pointing when you toggled into Riftlook.
  • If you have configured Oculus Rift output for standing operation, “forwards” is the direction your Rift is pointing.
  • When using the (default)seated position, the left and right arrow keys usually turn your avatar. This can be set to turn or “strafe” in Preferences > Graphics > Display Output >. If you want to strafe instead of turn in seated operation, or turn instead of strafe if you have the “strafe” option selected, use Shift-Left and Shift-Right.
  • The main viewer menu is not visible or accessible when in Riftlook/3D view. But, you can use keyboard shortcuts to show and hide various tools and dialog boxes such as the Conversations/Text Chat window (Ctrl-T) and Inventory (Ctrl-I), e.g., if you want to select a landmark to teleport to. You can find the available keyboard shortcuts for such tools which are shown beside menu items when you are in the 2D view.
  • In Riftlook/3D view, the mouse cursor shows as a cross hair visible in the left eye (see below for an explanation). If you hover the cross mouse cursor over an object and right click, the context menu for that item will be displayed and you can select menu entries… e.g. to sit on an object, to teleport, etc.
  • If you are sitting on an object and therefore cannot conveniently see the “Stand” button in the User Interface, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+Alt+S” to stand up.
  • To display avatar chat in a possibly more useful format in the Rift — Preferences > Chat > General > Show chat in bubbles above avatars. You may also wish to tur on the indication that avatars are typing into text chat via Rift — Preferences > Chat > General > Show typing indicator in bubbles above avatars.
  • With floating text you may want to adjust the distance the floating text fades at so that distant text is not so annoying in Riftlook: Preferences > Graphics > Rendering > Floating text fades to stop displaying at distance.
  • You can use voice chat and toggle your microphone on/off using the middle mouse button (default, or such other key you have configures in Preferences > Sound & Media > Voice Settings).

3rd Person View in Riftlook

CtrlAltStudio-Riftlook-3rd-Person-View

  • To get into 3rd person view when you are in Riftlook/3D view, press Alt and scroll out with your mousewheel. This is with the default settings. Depending on your “Mouse moves cursor/view” setting, you may just scroll out with your mousewheel and not need to press Alt. Adjust this behaviour via Preferences > Graphics > Display Output – radio buttons just above UI depth.
  • You can then orbit around objects or points with your mouse and Ctrl, Alt, and Shift keys as usual.
  • Press Esc to get back into 1st person view.
  • In 3rd person view while in Riftlook mode, the viewer menu shows, but it may be too far out of your field of view. Interaction via the 2D on screen mirror may be possible to bring up menu selections, which will be visible in the Riftlook headset view.
  • Riftlook 3rd person view mode is essentially like the normal viewer “Mouselook”. See http://wiki.phoenixviewer.com/fs_mouselook for more information on what can and can’t be done in this mode.
  • Ctrl+Alt+F1 toggles the UI elements and menus off.

Key Shortcuts Summary

Ctrl+Alt+3 Toggle 3D Riftlook/Normal 2D View
Ctrl+Spacebar “Zero” 3D Viewpoint & Centre Mouse Cursor
Ctrl+Alt+S Stand/Sit
Middle Mouse Button Toggle Voice On/Off
Alt+Mouse Scroll Wheel Scroll out to move from Riftlook 1st Person View to 3rd Person View
Esc Return from Riftlook 3rd Person View to 1st Person View
Esc Return from Riftlook 1st Person View to 2D View
Ctrl+Alt+F1 Toggle UI and Menus On/Off

UI Depth

If you find that the user interface elements in Riftlook/3D mode look out of focus try adjusting Preferences > Graphics > Display Output > UI depth.

Cursor Visible in Left Eye

The cursor being visible in only the left eye is intentional behaviour. David Rowe reports that it is a “hack” that lets the cursor hover over UI elements and in-world objects correctly without needing complex code to sort out what depth to place the cursor in 3D space.

David Rowe noted that the mouse cursor is okay over UI elements but a bit off horizontally over in-world objects. He did not have time to find a fix ahead of this release. I also observed that the mouse can be a bit off when using Alt + Left Mouse Click or Ctrl + Left Click in Riftlook 3rd person perspective to lock onto or rotate the view around in world objects.

X-Box Controller and 3D SpaceNavigator

3DSpaceNavigatorCtrlAltStudio supports wired and wireless versions of the X-Box Controller for Windows and X-Box One Controller (as bundled with the Oculus Rift CV1). It can also support other forms of “joystick”. One I find particularly useful is the 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator which is a “3D mouse” supporting both avatar motion and separate “FlyCam” camera control.

My recommendation is to install the SpaceNavigator just by plugging it into Windows and receiving default Windows drivers for the device. I do not install any special SpaceNavigator drivers as suggested on the Second Life Wiki, some of which are incompatible with Second Life viewers.

revive_logo_blackUse with the HTC Vive

Some users have reported that the CtrlAltViewer set to use the Oculus Rift works with the HTC Vive using LibreVR/Revive. This is a compatibility layer between the Oculus SDK and OpenVR. It allows you to play Oculus games on your HTC Vive.

Posted in 3D, Oculus, OpenSim, Second Life, VR | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pokémon Everywhere

PokeballThere are monsters in the neighbourhood! Pokémon are everywhere… with the new “Pokémon Go” mobile application for Android and Apple iOS devices.

Tips and advice on how to play can be found at

I missed this craze in the 1990s so its not something I am deeply into… but friends and colleagues tell me I have to get into it… and see how Augmented Reality (AR) is progressing. So I have tried it, joined the Pokémon Trainer Club (http://www.pokemon.com) and indeed have caught my first Pokémon or two!

pokemon-take-care Pokemon-5
Pokemon-2 Pokemon-6
IMG_0906 IMG_1492
IMG_0904 IMG_1486 IMG_1497 pokemon-pokestop-knottingley-rugby-union-club

When you are alongside a river or a canal.. the water themed Pokémon appear…

pokemon-magikarp Pokemon-Slowpoke

Level 5 and Teams

Pokemon-Go-Team-Leaders

Onto Level 5 and now must join a team… Team Mystic (yellow), Team Valor (blue) or Team Instinct (red).

2016-07-21-Pokemon-AiAustin-Level5 2016-07-21-Pokemon-Caught

Pokemon-Nidorino Pokemon-Ponyta

PokéStop @ Informatics Forum

It looks like my office (the balcony shown) is a PokéStop… and George Square is surrounded by them…

Pokemon-Go-Pokestop-Informatics-Forum-3a Pokemon-Go-Pokestop-Informatics-Forum-2
Pokemon-Pokestop-Informatics-with-Lure 2016-07-29-Pokemon-Egg-Hatch
2016-08-01-Ai-Austin-Level-9-at-Informatics-Forum-Pokestop 2016-08-10-Pokemon-Go-Ai-Austin-Level-12
Pokemon-Go-Pikachu-AR Pokemon-Go-Pikachu

PokéGym

2016-08-26-Knottingley-Poke-Gym-1 2016-08-26-Knottingley-Poke-Gym-2

Pokémon Buddy and Badges

2016-09-13-Pokemon-Buddy 2016-09-13-Pokemon-Badges

Posted in AR, Augmented Reality | 2 Comments

Testing CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.2.6.43402

CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.2.6.43402 is an early test version that has been replaced with the updated CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.2.6.43412 to address some issues, support the X-Box One controller, and provide further graphics experimentation options for the Oculus Rift. These notes were to prepare for testing and usage of CtrlAltStudio 1.2.6 as updated for the Rift CV1 and Oculus Runtime 1.5.0/1.6.0.


CtrlAltStudio-LoadingCtrlAltStudio is a version of the virtual worlds viewer for Second Life and OpenSim created by David Rowe. It has been updated to CtrlAltStudio 1.2.6.43402 to run with the Oculus Rift CV1 (as well as the previously supported DK2) under Oculus Runtime 1.5.0 (and subsequently tested with 1.6.0).

Note that this release is based on Firestorm 4.6.9 with hotfix 42974 which were released in December 2014. There have been many improvements in Firestorm and other viewers since then that are not included in CtrlAltStudio Viewer. Unless you really need Oculus Rift or stereoscopic 3D support you should seriously consider using another viewer instead. Linden Lab’s cashier update of 15th Jun 2016 (TLS 1.2 enforcement) is not supported when using the built-in web browser (e.g. trying to purchase from the Marketplace). However, user/user transactions, transactions via in-world vendors and L$ purchases via the button in the top right corner of the viewer will still work.

Stereoscopic 3D, variable walk & fly speed, Xbox 360 controller support, and Kinect for Windows support work the same as in the previous versions of CtrlAltStudio. See the CtrlAltStudio Viewer page for usage instructions.

Oculus Rift Usage:

One time setup:

  • If you have not already done this before, Oculus Rift output must be enabled in CtrlAltStudio: Preferences > Graphics > Display Output > select the Oculus Rift radio button. A restart of the viewer is required.
  • If you wish to use an X-Box controller and have not already done this before, enable this in Preferences > Move & View > Movement > Joystick Configuration. You might find the default settings for the X-Box controller are a bit sensitive. If so look at the suggestions near the end of this Blog Post.

Each use:

  • Turn on the Rift.
  • Then start the CtrlAltStudio viewer.
  • Oculus Home should launch automatically if its not already running. You can read and dismiss the health warning at any time. Oculus Home might then show it is waiting for the CtrlAltStudio application to start, or might indicate it is not yet started and is delayed. This will not go away until you first enter the 3D mode in the viewer, as indicated below.
  • The “Toggle 3D” button (or Ctrl+Alt+3) then switches into Riftlook view, automatically displaying the output on the Rift.
  • To “zero” your orientation and positional tracking location press Ctrl+Spacebar.
  • To exit Riftlook and move the viewer window back to your main display: use the “Toggle 3D” button (or Ctrl-Alt-3).

Other advice may be useful in some setups:

  • To improve your frame rate, reduce your draw distance and/or turn shadows off.
  • Also recommended is turning Antialiasing on: Preferences > Graphics > Hardware Settings.
  • Some users report that the 2D monitor set to full screen may be helpful as the mouse cursor does seem to be able to go off screen if you have multiple monitors.
  • Some users suggest increasing clarity with the Oculus Debug Tool to set Pixel Override to 1.5 and above which is reported to work well if your system has the power. Decreasing Pixel Override below 1.0 does not seem to improve performance, And remember to close the tool after you use it. [** further notes on this below]

Tips (mostly from http://ctrlaltstudio.com/viewer)

  • If you have configured Oculus Rift output for seated operation, “forwards” is the direction your Rift was pointing when you toggled into Riftlook.
  • If you have configured Oculus Rift output for standing operation, “forwards” is the direction your Rift is pointing.
  • You can use keyboard shortcuts to show and hide dialog boxes such as the Conversations/Text Chat window (Ctrl-T) and Inventory (Ctrl-I), e.g., if you want to select a landmark to teleport to. The available keyboard shortcuts are shown beside menu items.
  • If you are sitting on an object and cannot conveniently see or reach the “Stand” button in the User Interface, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+Alt+S” to stand up.
  • To display avatar chat in a possibly more useful format in the Rift — Preferences > Chat > General > Show chat in bubbles above avatars.
  • With floating text you may want to adjust the distance the floating text fades at so that distant text is not so annoying in Riftlook: Preferences > Graphics > Rendering > Floating text fades to stop displaying at distance.
  • You can use voice chat and toggle your microphone on/off using the middle mouse button (default, or such other key you have configures in Preferences > Sound & Media > Voice Settings).

These additional tips may no longer be active in the latest viewer (to test):

  • You can hide and show User Interface menus and elements using Ctrl+Alt+F1 (Advanced > Rendering Types > UI, as is usual in the Firestorm viewer).
  • You can hide and show the HUD attachments using Alt+Shift+H (as is usual in the Firestorm viewer).
  • 1st Person View — If you have the letter keys set to affect movement (default, rather than start local chat) in Preferences > General (or in Preferences > Move & View > Movement) then the “M” key will toggle between “Mouselook” 1st person view and 3rd person view.
  • 3rd person view — depending on your “Mouse moves cursor / view” setting, you can also switch between 1st person view and 3rd person view by scrolling in or out with your mousewheel or press Alt and scroll out with your mousewheel. You can then orbit around points etc. with your mouse and Ctrl, Alt, and Shift keys as usual. Press Esc to get back into 1st person view.

Key Shortcuts Summary

Ctrl+Alt+3 Toggle 3D Riftlook/Normal 2D View
Ctrl+Alt+S Stand/Sit
Ctrl+Alt+F1 Hide/Show UI
Alt+Shift+H Hide/Show HUD Attachments
Ctrl+Spacebar “Zero” 3D Viewpoint & Centre Mouse Cursor

Potential Unsupported Graphics Cards

The CtrlAltViewer uses a version of the Firestorm viewer which uses a “GPU table” to identify the initial settings to use for graphics. This mechanism is replaced by a more dynamic scheme in more recent viewers. But if your graphics card is new it might not have an entry in the GPU table. Examples of recent graphics cares not included in the original GPU table include: Nvidia GTX 1060, 1070 and 1080 and Radeon RX 480. this can cause the image to appear black when in the 3D Riftlook view. You can manually enter one yourself for CtrlAltStudio if necessary at C:\Program Files\CtrlAltStudio-Viewer-Alpha\gpu_table.txt.

“UI Depth” Problem – UI “Out of Focus” or Images Flipped Between Eyes

Early reports indicate that the UI overlays work on the DK2 but are out of focus or have the eyes reversed on the CV1. It can appear okay of you only look through one eye.

For the UI, you can edit the following file to increase the min/max values of the “UI Depth” slider in the Viewer > Preferences > Display Output > Oculus Rift settings: C:\Program Files (x86)\CtrlAltStudio-Viewer-Alpha\skins\default\xui\en\panel_preferences_graphics1.xml. Near the end of the file there’s a control “RiftUIDepth”: and you can adjust the “min_val” and “max_val” values. After you change the values in the .xml file you have to restart CtrlAltStudio viewer, then go to Viewer > Preferences > Graphics > Display Output > Oculus Rift and then adjust the UI Depth slider.

CtrlAltStudio-Preferences-Graphics-DisplayOutput

User feedback testing CtrlAltStudio 1.2.6.43402 suggests changing the min_val to: -120 (from 0) and that the Oculus CV1 starts to focus at -80 and below. From there you can adjust it to your taste. A RiftUIDepth of -100 appears to be a reasonable starting position to try for the CV1 (+100 is the default initial value for the DK2).

Cursor Visible in Left Eye

The cursor being visible in only the left eye is intentional behaviour. David Rowe reports that it is a “hack” that lets the cursor hover over UI elements and in-world objects correctly without needing complex code to sort out what depth to place the cursor at.

X-Box-One-ControllerX-Box One Controller Issue

Xbox 360 controllers (wired or wireless) work fine. But Xbox One controller (wired or wireless) moves you vertically up without touching any control. The X-Box One controller seems to have an issue that causes the Z Axis and Z Rotation to be at a 0 value at all times until the button is pushed rather than 50%. This causes the in game Y axis to be always activated. This causes the Xbox One controller to have different mappings of its physical controls to driver outputs. In Windows’ Control Panel > Devices and Printers > Xbox Controller > Game Controller Settings > Properties the 360 has a single “Z Axis” which the left and right triggers both control, whereas the One has separate “Z Axis” and “Z Rotation” for the two triggers.

This issue is addressed with a new settings in the revised CtrlAltStudio 1.2.6.43412 (18-Jul-2016).

** How to Boost Rift Image Quality with the Oculus Debug Tool

The following notes on “How to Run the Oculus Debug Tool to Improve Image Quality” are from http://www.roadtovr.com/improve-oculus-rift-game-image-quality-using-this-tool-oculus-debug-tool/

  1. Download the latest Oculus SDK from https://developer.oculus.com/ and install.
  2. Close any running instance of Oculus Home and/or Rift games you may be running.
  3. Open Oculus Home again first, before anything else.
  4. Now open the Oculus Debug Tool before launching any games.
  5. Set only the ‘Pixels Per Display Pixel Override’ option to a value of your choosing between 1.0 and 2.0 (no need to search for an ‘apply’ button – once the value is changed it should be active).
  6. Launch your game of choice from within Oculus Home and enjoy the sharper image and revealed in-game detail.
  7. Close the Oculus Debug Tool (this should fix any stuttering, according to some user feedback).
  8. The setting is not persistent, so for every subsequent game you want to play, open the debug tool first and set the value once again.

revive_logo_blackUse with the HTC Vive

Some users have reported that the CtrlAltViewer set to use the Oculus Rift works with the HTC Vive using LibreVR/Revive. This is a compatibility layer between the Oculus SDK and OpenVR. It allows you to play Oculus games on your HTC Vive.

Posted in Oculus, OpenSim, Second Life, Virtual World, VR | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Testing CtrlAltStudio Viewer 1.2.6.43402

Testing Second Life Oculus Rift Viewer 4.1.0.313313

On 1st July 2016 Linden Lab released a first version of their Oculus Rift Viewer version 4.1.0.313313 which is meant to work with the newer Oculus runtime 1.3 and hence to support the CV1 consumer version of the Oculus Rift. The previous version of the Second Life Oculus Rift project viewer version 3.7.18.295296 was only for for the Oculus development kit versions (DK1 and DK2) and has been reported on in previous blog posts. It was working quite well with those earlier versions, most UI issues had been addressed, and it was perfectly usable. See e.g. this blog post for a report on using an early build test version to provide feedback just before that release, and all the issues outstanding were dealt with by the time the user release was made.

On first starting up the new release my impression was that I had the wrong installer. So much is not working or wrong. Feedback is being provided to Linden Labs by others as so much seems incorrect. Reporting individual issues via the Second Life JIRA does not yet seem to be the appropriate route until the fundamental problems are established.

To provide the images illustrating issues in one place I am making this blog post in the interest of rapidly getting the problems fixed.

My rigs are Dell Precision towers with Windows 10, Xeon processors, 32GB memory, SSD drives, Nvidia GTX980 GPUs. One has an Oculus DK2 and the other an Oculus CV1. Oculus Home is the current version 1.5.0.240083 (1.5.0.241049). Nvidia driver is the latest version 368.39 (7-Jun-2016). Windows 10 is on latest release and fully updated.

Download

There is a security certificate issue with the download itself.

Release Notes

The release notes at http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Release_Notes/Second_Life_Project_OculusRift/4.1.0.317313 seem to not have been fully checked.

They mention in Windows Display settings to “adjust the refresh rate on the DK2 to 60hz rather than 75hz”. That refers to an earlier setup where the DK2 could be an extended display showing in the Windows Display settings. The Oculus no longer shows in Windows Display settings.

The release notes also still refer to “turning low persistence mode on and off” but this settings no longer appears in “Settings” -> “Move & View” -> “Head Mounted Display”.

HMD Mode UI Button

I always add the “HMD Mode” button available in the Rift project Viewer to my viewer user interface to make switching back and forth easier than using the keystroke equivalent (Ctrl+Shift+D).

Over Bright

In all cases and with all graphics settings I have tried, on both DK2 and CV1 setups, the HMD view is over bright and washed out pastel in colour. This is in the HMD itself rather than the on screen 2D monitor split screen images I will present below, which are normal colour. A “Pixel Luminance Overdrive” setting existed in the previous release which is now no longer present in settings might be worth checking. But just this alone means its odd this release got through basic testing.

Failure to Show Transparent Objects in HMD Mode

With the default setup after install, it seemed that many objects were missing. See the scene illustrated in the 2D monitor view shown in the left hand image and the HMD view on the right. This turned out to be ALL objects with transparency or partial transparency, whether in the scene (such as the hot tub water) or worn in attachments on the avatar (like some elements of hair).

Water-Patches-Example-2D Water-Patches-Example-HMD

The hot tub water is a missing partially transparent object by the way, not the usual sea level “Linden Water”. The right hand HMD Mode image shows BOTH a sea patch drop out issue (to top left corner of image and described more fully below) and the missing transparent object issue.

After some experimentation turning off “Atmospheric Shaders” fixed this. In later experiments, I also get it to work (even though for the same low res and bright view) with Advanced Lighting on and Atmospheric Shaders off, at say the “Medium” graphics setting. In fact if I select the “Medium” graphics settings and then using Advanced Settings turn any ONE of Advanced Lighting or Atmospheric Shaders on the transparent objects show. But having BOTH on they do not show at all.

Particles do work fine, so long as you have turned off one of “Atmospheric Shaders” or “Advanced Lighting”.

Effect of Selecting “Low” Graphics Settings

When set to “Low” graphics in HMD mode I just get solid red in the left eye and solid blue in the right eye, no 3D objects at all.

Rift-Low-2D Rift-Low-HMD

Very Low Resolution and Jaggy HMD Display

The quality of the image in the HMD is very low indeed, and much worse than the previous release. Its unusable as it stands. Changing graphics settings appears to have no effect on this.

UI Elements in Fixed Position and Not Changeable Via Settings

Depending on the size of your 2D Second Life window before you enter HMD mode, the main Second Life menu bar appears in a fixed position, flat and not all visible. With a small initial window it appeared right across the middle of the HMD view. With a full screen 3D view before entering HMD Mode it appears very might up in the field of view.

Changes in “Settings” -> “Move & View” -> “Head Mounted Display” appears to have no effect on the UI elements in HMD mode at all. This is the case even after save, entering and leaving HMD mode or even after restarting the viewer.

Most UI elements did not show in the field of view in the HMD. Buttons to left, bottom and right were far out of the field of view, as were HUD elements in the lower left and right.

Labels over Objects and Avatars Do Not Show

In the HMD Mode, all (?)objects and avatar labels appear to be missing, whether or not the UI is toggled on or off (Ctrl+Shift+U). This would make normal meetings and interactions impossible.

Mouse Cursor Does Not Show in HMD Mode and Mouse Control Problems

The mouse cursor does not show when in the HMD Mode. It can be seen on the 3D monitor split screen view when in HMD Mode, but not in the HMD itself.

The mouse however even when trying to use it on the 2D split screens is not operating anywhere near where the pointer appears, so far way objects are selected when hovering over seats for example. None of the object right click menus therefore work correctly, and no object interaction icons appear to work.

There are strange rotations of the camera if you enter and leave UI show/hide with Ctrl+Shift+U. But this key combination only affects the 2D split screen view and not the view in the actual HMD, and does not remove the blue main menu which can be right across the main view.

Interaction Icons Do Not Show

Icons that should show when hovering over suitably set objects, such as the Sit icon for seats do not show in the HMD Mode in the HMD itself or even on the 2D monitor split screen view.

Sea Patches in Some Cases are Light Blue

In the HMD view, one or more sea patches (for whole regions) show as light blue rather than the correct water surface. These used to occur in the main viewer with Object Occlusion set on, but was recently fixed. It may just be a bad case of the same “Z fighting” issue reappearing given the low resolution of the HMD image.

Objects-with-Transparency-2D
Objects-with-Transparency-HMD-Atmos-Shaders-On Objects-with-Transparency-HMD-Atmos-Shaders-Off

This issue occurs with the Atmospheric Shaders on (left hand image) and with Atmospheric Shaders off (as in the right hand image where the closer up patch is a darker blue, but a far off region near the horizon also shows as light blue). Click on the smaller thumbnail images to see the full resolution versiosn to illustrate this more clearly. Both these HMD mode images illustrate the sea for adjacent and sometimes also further away regions showing as light or dark blue patches rather than the proper sea surface.

Objects Near Edge of HMD View Not Shown

Objects (or parts of linked objects) near the edge of the field of view in HMD mode disappear before they are out of the actual view. If you move your head to a specific angle they can even flash very fast.

Edge-Objects-Not-Showing-Example-2D Edge-Objects-Not-Showing-Example-HMD

Dual Split Screen Mirror on 2D Monitor

When in HMD mode, the viewer maintains the two view split screen 2D monitor mirror of older Oculus Rift setups. Oculus SDK 1.3 provides a single more usable screen which is more helpful for some types of user interaction with the 2D view, chat tools and when interacting via the mouse or keyboard as is necessary in Second Life.

2D Cinema Screen View in the HMD when NOT in HMD Mode

Some testers have indicated they are not seeing 3D VR in the HMD at all. There may be some confusion if you have not got past the stage where Oculus Home is running (normally launched when you first enter the viewer, remembering that for the DK2 that must be switched on before you run the viewer) and where you have accepted the health warning. You may get a message saying that the viewer is not communicating as its waiting for the first time you enter HMD Mode. After all that you should see 3D/VR in the HMD, and I certainly see 3D/VR properly on my DK2 and CV1 rigs.

Note that a giant 2D screen wall of the normal 2D monitor view appears in the HMD when you are NOT in HMD Mode. Possibly only after you have been in HMD mode once (to sync properly with Oculus Home as described above). But you must be in HMD mode for proper 3D/VR.

DK2 and CV1 Differences

All issues occur on both the DK2 and CV1. But there is an additional problem in the CV1 in that the UI layer and the 2D cinema screen view when not in HMD mode appears to be flipped or reverse between the two eyes, so its difficult to focus on in the CV1 unless you close one eye.

Conclusion

Clearly something has gone wrong with this release, or some basic settings need switching to make the release work as expected. These notes are provided in the hope the fixes can quickly be identified and a replacement release provided to let us get back into Second Life in VR.


Update on 7th July 2016 from Linden Lab Community Manager

Re: Oculus Rift – CV1 support Linden Lab Community Manager 07-07-2016 12:14 PM

Thank you for experimenting with our Oculus Rift Project Viewer and offering your feedback. Unfortunately, the Project Viewer that we recently made available didn’t meet our standards for quality, and so we’ve now removed it from the Alternate Viewers page.

By definition, Project Viewers aren’t ready for primetime. The purpose of these experimental Viewers is to share with you the earliest possible version of what we’re working on, so that you can see what we’re up to, help discover problems, and provide feedback. In this case, though, we’re not ready for that, as those of you who tried it have seen.

We can’t say at this point when or even if we may release another Project Viewer for experimenting with the Oculus Rift in SL.

We want to prioritize our development efforts around initiatives that we know will improve the virtual world and bring more value to SL Residents, and due to some inherent limitations with SL, it may well not be possible to achieve the performance needed for a good VR experience. (In fact, this is one reason why we’re creating Project Sansar a new, separate platform optimized for VR).

We greatly appreciate the interest in trying SL with the Oculus Rift and are grateful that several of you took the time to try the Project Viewer. We regret that the quality was not up to our standards, and we will of course keep the community posted if we release a new Project Viewer for VR in the future.

2016-06-07-SL-Community-Blog-Rift-Viewer-Withdrawn

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Second Life 13th Birthday

Cake-Stage-Header
2016-06-23-SL13B-Cake-Stage-1 2016-06-23-SL13B-Cake-Stage-2

The Second Life 13th Birthday (SL13B) events took place in Second Life between 19th and 26th June with a range of exhibits built by Second Life residents and groups, and a number of social events, dances, etc.

2016-06-24-SL13B-Music-Fest
2016-06-24-SL13B-Music-Fest-1 2016-06-24-SL13B-Music-Fest-2
Taka-Coeur
2016-06-24-SL13B-Music-Fest-3 2016-06-24-SL13B-Music-Fest-4

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