Cassini – A Celebration of the Grand Finale

To celebrate the 15th September 2017 end of the Cassini Mission to Saturn, I have placed a 3D model of Cassini to realistic scale on the Space City area in our OpenSim grid. This uses one of the freely available 3D models from NASA.

Cassini Model on the Space City Region in OpenSim

Cassini at Saturn over the Space City Region in OpenSim

Visit the Cassini display on the Space City region on the OpenSimulator-based OSGrid or AiLand grids…

hop://login.osgrid.org/Space City/95/230/23
hop://ai.vue.ed.ac.uk:8002/Space City/95/230/23

The Cassini display joins the Voyager model on Space City. The Space City region also has models of Deep Space 1, ESA Rosetta and other space related artifacts. More details here.

Voyager-in-OpenSim-with-Planets

Voyager Planet Flyby over the Space City Region in OpenSim

Cassini in Sine Space

The Cassini 3D model exported from Blender to FBX format was also imported into Sine Space and placed in the “Space City” and “GA Land” regions on the Curator server (not on the live server).


Cassini in High Fidelity

It also works okay in High Fidelity (lost a little of the gold foil texture).

Sansar has problems with the upload as the textures on the FBX are not applied in the strict format it requires at present.

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Sansar Name Label

Avatar name labels are not yet included in Sansar. They are useful as a means to recognise others and initiate social communication with them. Soe users have taken to creating an avatar attachment with their avatar name as a label. A 3d text model can be created, exported as FBX and uploaded in Sansar’s “My Looks” as an avatar “Attachment”.

The 3D model needs to be scaled appropriately. I used a 1m X 1m x1m block as a guide. Positioned the 3D extruded text at a little over 2m high and set its original to the 0,0,0 point, so when attached to the avatar it would sit over its head.



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Sansar Atlas Hop

Sansar is a new virtual world platform allowing for virtual experiences to be visited by multiple users represented as avatars. A group of metaverse explorers meet under the guidance of bloggers and live streamers @Draxtor and @StrawberrySingh (order strictly alphabetical!) for a Sansar “Atlas Hop”. Using VR and desktop modes and exchanging experience and advice along the way using voice and text chat…

  • We started at @Draxtor’s “Harvest 114” experience.
  • Then visited a home base style “The Roof” experience created by LenniFoxtrot using Sansar Store and prebuilt models.
  • Onto an atmospheric small barber shop space called “The Silence” created by @Omiluo.
  • And ended up at the “Dwarven Fortress” with custom built models created by @DavidHall.




The Atlas Hop was live streamed by @Draxtor and @StrawberrySingh and a replay is available at:

It was good to see again people involved in other metaverse/virtual world platform development and testing. My own simple experiences, used mostly for testing import of mesh models, are listed at https://atlas.sansar.com/experiences/aiaustin.

I have previously provided input and feedback to Linden Lab during the Sansar testing, e.g. at Feedback after load test on January 26, 2017, which I summarised in this blog post on 31st July 2017 when Sansar was opened to the public and the non-disclosure agreement signed by early testers was lifted. Further feedback from the Atlas Hop social experience is noted here…

I thought it would be useful to mention a few point which arose during the Atlas Hop social experience as reported in various places including my summary blog post at  http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2017/08/10/sansar-atlas-hop/
Some are noted in other discussion forum posts, bug reports or feature requests and some have been noted as on the Sansar development roadmap already, but I thought it worth mentioning again as part of developing the Sansar social experience.
The Atlas Hop group involved around 15 to 20 from at least 5 countries according to comments made. Users were in Desktop and VR modes and using voice only, text chat only or both.  This threw up a number of issues with group communication, sharing destination links as the tour progressed.  The modality of use meant people had different tools and information resources available.

  1. Desktop users find avatar identification difficult as there is no avatar name id visible and no means to point at or click on an avatar to get such information.
  2.  

  3. The People app does show who is nearby but shows no distance or other means to identify users from the information provided.I thought it would be useful to mention a few point which arose during the Atlas Hop social experience as reported in various places including my summary blog post at  http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2017/08/10/sansar-atlas-hop/
    Some are noted in other discussion forum posts, bug reports or feature requests and some have been noted as on the Sansar development roadmap already, but I thought it worth mentioning again as part of developing the Sansar social experience.
    The Atlas Hop group involved around 15 to 20 from at least 5 countries according to comments made. Users were in Desktop and VR modes and using voice only, text chat only or both.  This threw up a number of issues with group communication, sharing destination links as the tour progressed.  The modality of use meant people had different tools and information resources available.
    1. Desktop users find avatar identification difficult as there is no avatar name id visible and no means to point at or click on an avatar to get such information. 
    2. The People app does show who is nearby but shows no distance or other means to identify users from the information provided.
  4. Avatar mouth animation when they speak is a way to identify users when they are voice active, but the animation is not easily seen from a distance. Some means to identify active speakers (perhaps optionally) via the people app and/or some visible identifier near their avatar (or avatar name) would be helpful.
  5. Your own avatar mouth animation is not active.  This is confusing, and is absent as a means to check that your own mic is active and working and being relayed to the system.  The users own avatar mouth animation ought to be active.
  6. When asking someone to join as a friend there is no means to add a note to introduce oneself or say why you are asking to join as a friend.  Private messages cannot be sent ahead of time until you are friends. hence only open chat is available and visible to all to see such pre invitation communication.  That is not appropriate in all cases.  A way to add a message to a friend invitation request would be helpful.
  7. There ought to be a direct way to interact with a user avatar to get profile information, ask for friendship or send a direct message. As well as vi the nearby people app.
  8. At the start of the Atlas Hop we wanted to arrive at an experience “harvest 114” which I have visited before and know by name, etc. But when in the client the Atlas provides no means to quickly find such an experience.  It was not conveniently placed to find in the long scroll list of “All Experiences”.  There is (as yet) no search or way to type in an experience name, and even though I have visited it frequently in the last few weeks I had no means to bookmark it or see it as a recent experience.  I had to go out to an external desktop web browser, use the web Atlas, search there and use a click link to have it give the location to the viewer.
  9. Web Atlas click links launch the Sansar Updater rather than the Viewer.  That is annoying when already in the viewer and simply using the external web Atlas to find and initiate location moves.
  10. In nearby text chat in social experiences, users often share locations (which give a “Go” button, Store item URLs, external URLs for other information, etc. The content of the text chat area ought to be easily copied and pasted. It is not clear from the text/keyboard highlighting if copy works there.
  11. When moving to another experience, or when entering My Looks (e.g. to add an attachment) the nearby chat is cleared.  that is definitely not what we want. It means links, location “Go” items, and so on are all lost to the user at that stage.  Others assume they are still visible.  This leads to repeated request to type in location information, etc. multiple times as users arrive.  Nearby chat ought to be persistent from the experience viewpoint of the viewer user. so they see everything they would see from joining to leaving an experience, and its not cleared.
  12. In Desktop mode the camera cannot be zoomed well into detailed objects or the faces of avatars.  the camera stands too far away to read text on posters or see the voice/mouth animations well.  Or even to see items of avatar jewellery that might be being mentioned in social chat.
  13. Some discussion of instancing of experiences too place.  As noted elsewhere some experiences are suitable for multiple instances, and some definitely are not.  A guided tour by a creator of an experience for example might need one instance only and when full that should be relayed to further log in attempts.  A classroom with academic tutor should have a single instance.  A game environment may be suitable to instance, but even there groups might need a way to ensure they arrive on the same instance.  Creators may need a tick box to indicate if a single experience or multiple instancing is intended for their published experience.
  14. There was a question on the persistence of changes made in an environment. If it is the case that an experience is not persistent, some clear rules on what changes are visible and when an experience is RESET to its initial state is needed.  As in some contexts the change in the environment might be intended to act as a method of communication.  E.g. in a classroom prepared to a tutorial session ahead f time, or in an operations room.  A way to have persistent and ephemeral experiences may be needed, and a way for the creator to indicate which is their intention in their experience design.

These issues and feature requests were noted in a Sansar Discussion Forum post on 11-Aug-2017.

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Sansar – Resources

sansar-logo

Sansar is a new virtual world platform allowing for virtual experiences to be visited by multiple users represented as avatars. It has an edit or creator mode to build experiences and upload previously created 3D models in an appropriate format (FBX with specific texture mapping constraints).

This blog post gathers together some useful links and resources for using Sansar.

Creating 3D Objects

Experiences

Links to various experiences are given here for convenience:

  • AiAustin’s “Ailand” Experience
  • @AiAustin’s “AI” Experience
  • @Draxtor’s “Harvest 114” Experience
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Sine Space – Resources

Sine Space is a virtual world platform using Unity3D as the creator/build environment and allowing (via an add-in Unity package) upload to become a space within the Sine Space multi-user virtual world. Spaces are created in Unity and then uploaded to the “Curator” (http://curator.sine.space) where they can be tested prior to being sent for review to become “live” on the main service. One free space of up to 128MB download size can be create by any user and paid plans allow for more simultaneous spaces and larger builds. This blog post brings together some links and resources used in building Sine Space regions in Unity3D.

Teleports

  • Teleport between one space and other using this script in a suitable object – TeleportWorld.
  • Teleport between locations within one space using this script in a suitable object and to an arrival object – TeleportLocal.


Vendors

  • Clothing can be created and uploaded to the Sine Space Marketplace. E.g. This is a NASA EVA suit available in male and female variants in the Sine Space store. Once “bought (free) it is available in the user inventory and can be equipped onto the avatar and saved as an outfit.
  • A vendor for a single item can be added using these instructions from the Sine Space Wiki – InventoryVendor.

Seats

OpenSimulator OAR Converted Content in Unity to Sine Space – Reducing the Number of Textures Used

Adam Frisby, a Sine.Space developer, provided an unsupported C# script utility to seek to remove duplicated textures which make an OARConv import to Unity larger than necessary… due to the fac that texture/material properties of an object or face are encoded into multiple repeated texture file names by OARConv.

A copy of the utility is stored at http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/oarconv/FixTextureDuplicates

These are his notes…

This comes 100% unsupported, but I wrote a tool to clean the materials that the OAR Converter tool produces. It de-duplicates textures, which I’m hearing produces good results on cutting the filesizes of those regions. It just MD5Sums the files, if they match, it merges them.

Drop that into a folder named ‘Editor’ in your project (any folder as long as the name is ‘Editor’).
Then you should get a Space/Tools/OAR Material Cleanup menu item.

This is used AFTER the OAR converted contents have been loaded and the materials created. It just standardises the materials that use copies of the same texture so they all use one single texture, thus reducing the file size of a Sine.space build.

When you run it (again, 100% unsupported, take backups! although I hear it works) – will remove all the duplicates in your region.

Unity Layers and Culling Mask for Light Sources

When combining several Unity projects into larger builds it is possible that a limit on the number of Unity “layers” that can be used to exclude objects from lighting culling calculations is exceeded (the limit may be 4). If a message saying you are including too many layers appears, check each light source (such as Directional Light, Sun source and items such as fire light) and ensure that the Culling Mask is set to “Everything” rather than a set of specific layers. [Advice from Adam Frisby of SineWave]

VeryImportantInScene Layer

The WebGL browser-based viewer culls objects more than about 100m from the avatar position. This can make large objects that give the basics of a region drop out if their ORIGIN is far away from some areas. To make objects appear in WebGL views they can be changed from the “Default” layer to the “VeryImportantInScene” layer. In WebGL unless specific settings are changed in the Unity Editor, the culling distances are: 75m by default, Important is 300m by default, Very Important is 900m by default.

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High Fidelity – Resources

This page gathers together some resource descriptions and URL pointers for use of the High Fidelity virtual world platform, for both the Interface (viewer/client) and the Sandbox (domain server).

High Fidelity Documentation

Interface – Default Scripts & Useful Additions

The default scripts provided by High Fidelity give the initial UI for the Interface client.

  • Edit -> Stop all Scripts
  • Edit -> Running Scripts -> Load Defaults (currently loads controllerScripts.js and defaultScripts.js that are part of the Interface distribution)
  • Edit -> Running Scripts -> Use list at bottom to search for and load “chat” (system -> chat.js). This provides chat on the local domain (e.g. for nearby avatars). But note this is only useful if other users have the Chat script specifically enabled.

Many other scripts are available via the Edit -> Running Scripts dialogue.

Interface – Marketplace UI Extras

  • Nametags: Marketplace -> search for Nametags. Click on this to “Get Item” for nametags.js and run this when asked. This script from ctrlaltdavid in the Scripts & Tools category can be added to provide name tags for avatars in your viewer only. [Link: nametags.js]
  • Sign Board: Marketplace -> search for sign (“Sign Post Chat V1” is the current item). Click on this to “Get Item” for sign.js and run this when asked. This script from Menithal in the Scripts & Tools- category can be added to provide a board your avatar holds that can have messages added. This can assist in initial communications if voice is not working or in use, or if some direct visual means of communication is useful. [Link: sign.js]
  • Double Click Teleport Script: Marketplace -> search for Teleport. Click on this to “Get Item” for doubleClickTP.js and run this when asked. Can be enabled and disabled in Navigate menu. [Link: doubleClickTP.js]
  • AltCamera – HiFi Inspect – CtrlAltDavid’s inspect.js script enables you to move your view around, akin to Second Life using the “Alt” key with the mouse and “Ctrl” keys. See http://ctrlaltstudio.com/hifi/inspect [Link: inspect.js]

Avatars & Avatar Bookmarks

Avatars can be selected in the Marketplace -> Avatars category. Note that the avatar is local to a specific instance of the Interface client and not attached to an avatar log in name. Avatars usually have a file type of <avatar>.fst.

My own test avatars, or ones saved from earlier experiments during the High Fidelity alpha test stage, are in http://vue.ed.ac.uk/hifi/avatars/ (e.g. Zack)/

Avatars can be kept for reselection later under Avatar -> Bookmark Avatar.

Locations

hifi://hifi.aiai.ed.ac.uk/0,-200,-10/0,0,0

Locations can be kept for reselection later under Navigate -> Bookmark Location.

Interface – Create Mode

The “Create” menu button in the Interface client provides edit mode for the domain you are on. The domain can be set to only allow the owner to change things, to allow anyone to edit, or to restrict editing to certain avatars. This is done in the Domain Server (Sandbox) Settings.

Scene – Useful Assets

  • Zones & Skyboxes
  • Full Moon Skybox by ryan. Place at <0,0,0>
  • Ocean Skybox by AlphaVersionD – an animated ocean to surround your scene. Marketplace -> Shaders – > Ocean Skybox.

  • Chairs with Sitting Scripts (various available, e.g. from Caitlyn).
  • Looping Sound Emitter (e.g. also from Caitlyn).

My Mesh Test Assets

My own test meshes for trying complex mesh handling in High Fidelity ate in http://vue.ed.ac.uk/hifi/fbx/. The long term availability of these test meshes is not guaranteed, and all should be treated as for experimentation only, and not to be rehosted elsewhere.

Sandbox – Domain Server

Access to Settings is via http://localhost:40100/settings/.

After installing the Sandbox on a new server, the first thing that should be done is to enter Settings -> Security and put in place a login username and password. You might also restrict the editing and creation activity of the domain to one or two avatars in your team, leaving visitors just to be able to looks round and not create or edit entities.

Setting up a Theatre

High Fidleity provide a script which establishes a “Zaru Theater” as content on a High Fidelity domain. Instructions are given here.

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High Fidelity – Mesh Tests

High Fidelity (http://highfidedity.com) has been developing as a virtual world platform over the last 3 years and I have been experimenting with the platform since May 15th, 2014. It accepts mesh models in FBX format. My blog posts document progress in the testing of various complex mesh uploads. As Sansar (http://sansar.com) is now in open beta but still has some way to go to allow rich mesh and 3D model upload, I thought it would be a good time to try again several of my complex textured 3D mesh models, exported to FBX format in these platforms. Sansar still only will accept “single” objects, not multi-part models and is very particular about the UV mapping method and application of textures. So some testing of the models I use awaits multi-object upload capabilities in Sansar.

Most of these mesh models have been originated in .3ds, .max, .dae and other 3D modeller export formats and converted to FBX. A few arrived as FBX, e.g. from the NASA 3D models web site. Some are OpenSim regions exported as OpenSim Archives (OARs) and converted by the OARConv utility to Collada .dae to import into Unity3D. Many of the models are very complex, some with a quarter of a million triangles. All the meshes work fine in Unity3D and can be exported and used in the Sine Space virtual world too.

Here is a test today in High Fidelity (on our own hosted test domain) using Interface and Sandbox server 6946 on Windows 10. Most meshes import fine now with all textures intact and with the scale and size correct on first load. A few needed scale adjustments.





Some NASA 3D Model meshes when exported as FBX also work fine…



Some meshes related to the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and other space related 3D model content (credits to the modellers below)…

More Gerry Anderson Meshes especially Mateen Greenway’s 3D Studio Max models converted to FBX…




And a prim-originated “I-Room” imported to test transparency on the windows using a small .png te
xture.

3D Model Credits

Using Open Source models…

  1. Gerry Anderson Supercar 3D model by Mick Imrie and Austin Tate. http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~bat/GA/supercar-3d.html
  2. Fireball XL5, Space City, Stingray and Marineville models by Mateen Greenway. http://mateengreenway.com/anderson/anderson.htm
  3. Gerry Anderson related models were provided from the Sketchup 3D Warehouse – Gerry Anderson. https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/search.html?q=gerry+anderson – Space:1999 Eagle by Ian W; Thunderbird 3 by Ian W.; Thunderbird 5 by Simon C.; and Fireball XL5 by Simon C.
  4. 2001 Space Station model by Filipe. https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=c366c7b8cfb421aa9418034e1a79cc74
  5. 2001 Orion III PanAm Shuttle model by Daniel M. https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=5bc74dc59873a76672da1ed59e4067e
  6. Space Shuttle, with cargo bay doors open and ISS Unity docking module by Byr2008. https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=a6de6072688fd85a4fd7ac06e4eeec32
  7. Lockheed SR-71 modeks by mandun – 3DWarehouse Collada Model. https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=118de069ccdf7f987fa1fc98ee7e38b3
  8. North American X-15A-2 and X-15A-2 models by TaffGoch – 3DWarehouse Collada Models. https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model/a3a3a3d2ccc590eeaef99de91a3e555/X-15-1 and https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=1aebf3a6c6217e71c82662dd645cd47e
  9. Huey Droid from Silent Running by Martin T. https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=67811e2a8b51e19b28a9ffe1f7694d3b
  10. The Open Source Blender Project “Sintel” avatar has been used in a number of open source projects and a version is available to use as an avatar or character in Unity. E.g. from http://u3d.at.ua/ where you need to register before being able to obtain the free download.
    http://u3d.at.ua/load/modeli/ljudi_personazhi/sintel_character_for_unity/14-1-0-2929
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Sansar – Open Beta

On 31st July 2017 Linden Lab’s Sansar virtual world platform was opened to any users in its “open beta” stage. This includes…

… removal of the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that was in place during preview. That means you’re now welcome (and encouraged!) to share screenshots, videos, links, and info from Sansar as broadly as you like – please help us spread the word!


I have been in the test stages since 22nd December 2016, including giving feedback especially on 3D mesh model upload and the social capabilities of the platform.

Sansar Experiences – AiLand

I have created several experiences and made them available via the Sansar “Atlas”. These are very simple test environments using one of the default experience bases – “Highlands”. Over time I have uploaded and tested 3D mesh models, skybox variations, some scripting, avatar sounds, etc.


My main inputs have been the following:

  1. The lack of a way to upload complex multi-part multi-texture models. Models have to be uploaded as single objects with specific texturing approaches. Large builds still cannot easily be uploaded in the way that is possible with Unity3D-based platforms. This makes it slow and time consuming to create large Sansar experiences and reuse models already create d in 3D packages such as 3D Studio max and in environments like Unity3D.
  2. The create/edit mode inventory listing system objects, purchased and created items inventory does not scale up. It needs the addition of multi-level folders to organise content, and an ability to rename and sort objects in various ways to allow for clustering, versioning, etc.
  3. Some (free) basic objects like moving water (large extent) to surround a scene, seats, etc. would be useful to help build basic things.
  4. It is still difficult to connect with other users, find users, even when you now their Sansar display name or @AvatarID. The social aspects still need significant attention.
  5. The is no indication when new chat or friend requests arrive. Some way to highlight the desktop mode chat icon to indicate new content arrival is needed. Chat is not available in VR mode at all. Some way to add that to the VR mode tool bar (accesible via the spacebar) is needed.
  6. I noted that in VR third person view, your own avatar did not lipsync, so you could not be sure your own voice was active via that mechanism.
  7. Avatar name indication (such as by floating labels) is needed in both desktop and VR modes in order to assist in identification of speakers and tie up between voice and @AvatarID to allow management of voice mute, friends invitation, etc. Lip motion for active speakers is not enough for this and needs viewpoint zoom to see.
  8. Search with partial match on experience titles and creator display names and @AvatarIDs in the client Atlas needs to be added. The ability to copy the experience URL in the web site Atlas needs to be added, thog the browser URL can be copied to obtain that important URL at present.
  9. There no avatar fly mode yet, walking pace is very slow and no running is available.
  10. Avatars, clothing and attachments are still very limited.
  11. Experiences can take a long time to load… “114 Harvest”, for example, took over 5 minutes on my setup with a 70Mbps internet connection. There is no progress bar to tell you how far along you are, and no cancel button to abort and return to the Atlas.
  12. Avatars arriving in a confined area or near a spawn point in an experience can land on top of one another and don’t jostle a little to move away. They can end up stacked one on top of another. Avatars can also end up jammed between other non-moving avatars and walls and unable to move away. A way to allow for gentle jostling and pushing away a little of other avatars, as in a crown would help.
  13. When in VR mode and using a teleport scripted object to move to a related experience, the desktop screen shows it loading, but the VR view remains in the previous experience and is frozen.

Sansar help for using the client viewer, the editing mode, and other modelling information is available at https://help.sansar.com/.

Sansar Experiences as at 31st July 2017


Is the following experience by @Draxtor entitled “114 Harvest” similar to Aech’s Basement as in Ready Player One


Sansar Store

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Unity 2017 – Rocks Turn Red

If you have a Unity project in versions up to 5.6.2 and on loading it into Unity 2017.1 or later some of the terrain textures turn reddish…

Take a look for an object in the scene or click on the terrain and select the terrain “Paint Texture” paint brush icon. Then select the texture that is rendered with the redish colour and select the image… I had one for example in

Assets > Terrain Demo Assets > Textures > Cliff (Layered Rock) 

It showed as a bluish image rather than being a natural terrain colour. Find the problematic image in your project assets. In my case it showed as a bluish “512×512 DXTnm”, whereas the working terrain textures were “256×256 Compressed DXT”.

Search on Google, for example, to find a replacement for any broken terrain texture. One example location where Unity compatible terrain assets can be found is: http://github.com/leapmotion/unity

I imported the fixed image to the Unity project (actually a JPG version of it to save space) and then replaced the image in the materials that were reddish on mesh objects in the scene. For any terrain area that is reddish, click on the terrain and select the terrain “Paint Texture” paint brush icon… then select the faulty texture and replace its texture image.

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Second Life – Bento Avatars

Trying the new richer Bento skeleton avatars… which were released as starter avatars by Linden Lab on 5th July 2017 (see this announcement).

Thomas with my old Ai Austin skin and shape works great as “Strider”… and I even get a horse to travel over Middle Earth.



For more details and example images see the Blog Post by @InaraPey.

To make use of any of the new avatars, display the Choose an Avatar picker or use the Me/Avatar -> Choose an Avatar menu, scroll to the one you wish to try, and click on it. Your avatar will wear the outfit, which is also transferred to your Clothing system folder under the avatar’s name, one of:

  • Anna or Marcus for the angels
  • Elleria or Sauin for the demons
  • Kara or Feng for the mystic heroes
  • Rhiannon or Thomas for the horse riders (horse is optional)


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Virtual Oil Rig – Enhancing Higher Education

A poster of the work on the RGU Virtual Oil Rig and related educational experiences to enhance learning and training for offshore oil rig workers was presented at the 3rd International Enhancement in Higher Education Conference: Inspiring Excellence – Transforming the Student Experience. This was run on 6th-8th Jun 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, UK under the auspices of the The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, UK. The poster was presented by project leader Jo-Anne Tait, a Senior Lecturer and Head of Teaching and Learning in the School of Engineering at Robert Gordon University (RGU), Aberdeen, UK.

Colin Hetherington in the Oil & Gas Centre at RGU created the 3D models used in the virtual oil rig and simulators and created an OpenSimulator region on which they were housed. An associated “Campus Area” to support training on the virtual oil rig built upon the Open Virtual Collaboration Environment 3D assets created on the OpenVCE programme led by Austin Tate at the University of Edinburgh and that was part of the that was part of the US Army Research Laboratory’s Virtual Collaboration Environment (VCE) programme.

Austin Tate ported the virtual oil rig and related models into other OpenSimulator grids (see this related blog post), experimented with Oculus Rift VR experiences (see this blog post) and transferred the environment via the OAR Converter to Unity3D and later into online multi-user collaborative environments such as Sine Space.

Tait, J., Hetherington, C. and Tate, A. (2017) Enhancing Student Employability with Simulation: The Virtual Oil Rig and DART, Poster Presentation, in Proceedings of the 3rd International Enhancement in Higher Education Conference: Inspiring Excellence – Transforming the Student Experience, 6th-8th Jun 2017, Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, UK. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, UK.
[PDF Format]

DART – Dynamic Advanced Response Training

Virtual Tour of the DART simulation suite at RGU

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Seven Dales Heritage Run 2017

DLMC-Logo-sThe De Lacy Motor Club (D.L.M.C) in
Yorkshire has been running rallies, car trials and driving tests for over 50 years as noted in my previous blog post. My wife, Margaret and myself joined some other family members and entered again this year…

Seven Dales 2017 Plate
Cars Ready to Go Bentley
Drivers Briefing - Full Attention Studying the Tulip Road Book


Entrants List

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Drone

I was very pleased to be given a Hubsan FPV X4 Quadcopter (Model H107D) as a retirement gift from CISA members and other friends at the School of Informatics. This page is to gather resources to support my piloting of the drone.

Resources

Flight Videos (Click on Thumbnail for MP4)

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Second Life in Anaglyph 3D using Kirstens Viewer

Back in 2011, Kirstens Viewer for Second Life added an Anaglyph 3D view capability which could be seen with red/cyan 3D glasses. See this blog post.

Kirstens Viewer has now been updated by Kirstenlee Cinquetti to include recent Second Life capabilities such as the enhanced “bento” mesh avatar skeleton and still includes the 3D anaglyph view capability.



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Virtual World Best Practice in Education 2017

Ebbe Altberg (avatar Ebbe Linden), the CEO of Linden Labs, provided a Q&A session at the start of the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference (VWBPE) 2017 run in Second Life.


Ebbe spoke about Second Life and Sansar. He stressed that both were actively being developed, though his own focus was mainly on Sansar at present.

As a test, using the Firestorm 5.0.1 viewer, and to respond to comments from other participants, I tried the statistics bar to count Frames Per Second (FPS) on my usual Ultra settings with full shadows and I was getting between 60FPS and 100FPS with Ultra graphics, 512m view distance and all shadows on, and that rose to 140FPS with shadows off.

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Patagonia

Patagonia is somewhere I have wanted to visit for some time, and specifically to try to reach the base of a mountain in the Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina near El Chaltén. I have had an interest in rock climbing and winter mountaineering for some time and was a member of the University of Edinburgh Mountaineering Club in the 1970s, around the time that there was a controversial climb of Cerro Torre, a stunning Patagonian granite tower mountain. This was widely discussed in mountaineering magazines at the time (e.g., “Cerro Torre – a Mountain Desecrated!” in Mountain 23, Sept 1972).

We eventually had the opportunity to travel to Patagonia in February and March 2017.

Our tour, arranged through Swoop Patagonia, took us via Santiago in Chile, through it’s Los Lagos region and Chiloe island, down to Punta Arenas in the far south of South America, then via coach up the East side of the Andes to Torres del Paine National Park, over into Argentina to El Calafate and the Los Glaciares National Park, with a final bus trip up Ruta 40 to El Chaltén to trek in the foothills of Fitzroy, Poincenot and then to approach Cerro Torre. We returned to the UK from Buenos Aires in Argentina.

The Andes and Volcanoes

As we flew down the line of the Andes from Santiago to Puerto Montt we could see many volcanoes and two active ones… including Villarricia.

Chiloe and its NW Coast

We stayed in a beach house on the North Coast of Isla Chiloe near Ancud and explored the NW coast of Isla Chiloe by Land Rover doing cliff and beach walks and birdwatching with Britt Lewis of Austral Adventures.



Magellanic and Humboldt Penguins share space and overlap in their ranges on islands just off Puñihuil on Isla Chiloe – Las Pingüineras.

Los Lagos Region

On 26th February 2017, there was a “Ring of Fire” annular solar eclipse whose path passed directly over us while we were near Puerto Varas… but unfortunately at the full “Ring of Fire” phase the sky was overcast and we only managed to see a partial eclipse through heavy cloud.

We stayed at the Mitico Puerto Lodge on Lagos Tagua-Tagua and did a number of walks in the region…


At night we had beautiful clear skies with the Southern Cross constellation very bright and views of the Milky Way and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. We even had a very bright International Space Station pass to the South of us, something that surprised us until we verified the ISS current position.

Punta Arenas and Magellanic Penguins on Isla Magdalena


Torres del Paine National Park, Chile


We trekked with Explora Patagonia in the French Valley and up to the French Glacier, over to Glacier Grey and in the East side of the National Park to see Andean Condor, Guanaco, Rhea and Puma.


We discovered Pisco Sours… we had to have one with glacier ice at the Grey Glacier… and Parrilla

Los Glaciares National Park, El Calafate, Argentina

From El Calafate in Argentina, we had a trip up to the Perito Moreno Glacier to view the calving of icebergs into Lagos Argentino from the walkways and boat.


Cerro Torre, Poincenot and Fitzroy, El Chaltén, Argentina

We planned multiple days in each area on our tour as the Patagonian weather can be very wet, very windy and cloud levels very low. We planned our walks at El Chaltén with Walk Patagonia to maximise our chances of seeing the peaks and especially Cerro Torre.

Local guides indicated we had set ourselves a “High Goal” as Cerro Torre is surrounded by glaciers and situated at the head of a valley behind Fitzroy and holds clouds. But, with careful monitoring of the detailed weather forecasts on Windguru on our final day in Patagonia we woke to a rose coloured sunrise on the very tops of the granite towers – Fitzroy (3405m), Poincenot (3002m) and Cerro Torre (3128m)…

We were then fortunate and achieved our aim on a walk up to Lagos Torre and overlooking the Torre Glacier with views up to Cerro Torre itself…

Birds, Animals, Plants and Rocks

We saw many Austral birds and animals: Magellanic Woodpecker, Guanaco, Lesser Rhea, Grey Fox, Puma, Andean Condor, Commerson’s Dolphins, Black-necked Swans, Chilean Flamingo, etc. The geology and rocks included many volcanic, glacial and tectonic plate features with excellent examples of granite faces, intrusions, folding and conglomerate rocks. The southern hemisphere night skies were stunning in areas far from cities.








All images above © Copyright 2017 Austin Tate.

Guidebooks

I found these two guidebooks useful, both being good for preparatory reading and being a reasonable size to carry on the trip…

  • Patagonia (Footprint Handbook) 2015 by Ben Box with Chris Wallace & Anna Maria Espsäter.
  • A Wildlife Guide to Chile (Helm Field Guides) 2008 by Sharon Chester.
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Sine.space – 2001: a Space Odyssey

Sine-Space-2001-Splash-Screen

A “2001: a Space Odyssey” Sine.space scene has been created using the Unity3D VR Experience which uses 2001 movie related 3D models of the freely available 3D Warehouse Sketchup Models of the 2001 Space Station by Filip and the Orion III PanAm Shuttle made by Daniel M.

Sine-Space-2001-1
Sine-Space-2001-2 Sine-Space-2001-3

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Second Life – Gardens by the Bay

Maddy (Nibby Riddler) has constructed an artistic build in Second Life that is based on the Singapore Gardens by the Bay with it’s “Supertrees” and night lighting.

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Visit via http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA15/179/122/22

See also Inara Pey’s Blog Post about the location.

Our own visit to the Gardens by the Bay early in 2016 is depicted here as seen in real life…

IMG_5088 IMG_5103

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Sine.space – RGU Oil Rig Region – Live

The Sine.space RGU Oil Rig region using Colin Hetherington’s meshes is now accessible on the live server.. with a few enhancements to align the directional light with the water reflection and lens flare effects. See this blog post for details of the preparation of the region… http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2016/11/18/sine-space-rgu-oil-rig-region/ and this blog post for details of the import of the RGU Diver outfit also by Colin… http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2017/01/11/sine-space-creating-avatar-attachments/.

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2017-01-24-Sine-Space-RGU-Oil-Rig-BOP-2
2017-01-24-Sine-Space-RGU-Oil-Rig-2

RGU Diver

A Sine.space outfit was also created using the meshes from OpenSim made by Colin Hetherington for his RGU Diver suit for use in training simulations in virtual worlds for training oil and gas drilling rig workers (see this blog post). It is not intended for distribution beyond the demonstrations on the “Oil Rig” region on Sine.space.

RGU-Diver-Helmet-96x96 RGU-Diver-Tanks-96x96 RGU-Diver-Belt-96x96 RGU-Diver-Watch-96x96 RGU-Diver-Flippers-96x96

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2017-01-23-Sine-Space-RGU-Diver-3 2017-01-23-Sine-Space-RGU-Diver-1

Update 3-Feb-2017: The “Oil Rig” region is now available on the live server via
http://sine.space/locations/oil-rig

Sine.space Blog post about the Oil Rig Region… http://sinewave.space/blog/oil-rig
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sine_space_oilrig_closeup sine_space_oilrig_deck

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Significant Date

Retired, from full time work anyway. Returning part-time in March 2017 to continue to curate AIAI knowledge engineering resources and web site, and to coordinate the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) facilities prior to handover to colleagues.

2017-01-17-17-00-Significant-Date

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Fairy Tree House

OpenSimulator Fairy Tree House and Accessories by Ada Wong on Whimsical Isle, LFGrid…

hop://lfgrid.com:8002/Whimsical Isle/245/93/23

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2017-01-15-LFGrid-Whimsical-Isle

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Sea City

TV21 Annual 1971 published a story about a Pilkington Glass Age Development Committee design study of a “Sea City” for a community living offshore. A model was created and cutaways and renderings of the model appeared in the press. Details can be found at http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~bat/sea-city.html

Sea-City

OpenSimulator Project

A possible project to build a virtual reality recreation of the model in the OpenSimulator virtual world platform or as a Unity3D VR Experience is under consideration…

2017-01-12-OSGrid-Sea-City-Region-Created 2017-01-12-OSGrid-Sea-City-RGU-Diver

hop://login.osgrid.org/Sea City/128/128/30
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Unity Probuilder – Creating 3D Content in the Unity Editor

Unity ProBuilder is a Unity3D plug in that allows the creation and manipulation of 3D mesh content directly within the Unity Editor. There are basic (free) and Advanced (paid) versions. The advanced version allows for complete UV unwrapping, export of models to OBJ, etc.

2017-01-12-Unity-Probuilder-1

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Sine.space – Creating Avatar Attachments

As a trial, and to provide space related outfits for the Space Station/ISS experience in Sine.space, I followed the instructions on the Sine.space wiki to create avatar clothing and attachments…

helmet-428-321_png emu-428-321

I used the freely available NASA 3D models for the Space Helmet and NASA Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU).

In a new Unity Scene with the EditorPack-….unitypackage installed, the Sine.space “2015 Male” asset is placed at 0,0,0. An empty object to act as a container for the attachment is placed also at 0,0,0. The attachment itself is then brought in and positioned appropriately relative to the avatar, and then put inside the container object. Two Unity components are added to the attachment container object: Clothing Item Settings and Virtual Good. Instructions to complete those are in the Sine.space wiki page. The container object is then dropped into the Unity assets window to create a prefab. This prefab is the item that then can be selected and uploaded to the Sine.space content servers.

2017-01-11-Space-NASA-Space-Helmet-Unity-Editor 2017-01-11-Space-NASA-Space-EMU-Unity-Editor

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Sine-Space-Helmet Sine-Space-EMU

NASA EMU and Space Helmet on avatar at Space Station Region in Sine.space

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Gender Specific Variants

At the moment Sine.space requires attachments to be gender specific, so separate male and female variants of each attachment need to be created and uploaded. In the Clothing Item Settings change the mesh model from “2015 Male” to “2015 Female” and adjust the position of the item to fit the different body shape and size, then resave the prefab and upload that.

Creating a Complete Replacement Avatar – Static Mesh and Non-Animated

It is possible to completely replace the standard Sine.space avatar and add in a mesh (static or rigged) by providing a “Costume”…

https://wiki.sine.space/index.php?title=Full_Body_Replacement_Costumes

Create an empty game object and add components for the “Clothing Item Settings” and “Virtual Good” as before, but keep the actual mesh to make the replacement avatar separate. That needs to be a prefab and dropped onto the Extended Settings -> Custom Skeleton -> Root template slot. The empty component is then made a prefab and uploaded.

2017-01-13-Sine-Space-NASA-EMU-Unity-Editor
2017-01-13-Sine-Space-NASA-EMU-Outfit 2017-01-13-Sine-Space-NASA-EMU-Viewer

Sine-Space-AnimatorOn the advice of Adam Frisby at Sine Wave, he provided a custom empty animation controller… and this needs to be added to the Clothing Item Settings, with the slots filled in as indicated in the diagram to the right…

2017-01-13-Sine-Space-NASA-EMU-at-ISS

Simpler NASA Astronaut EVA Avatar

The EMU mesh (and the Sintel mesh below) both proved to be quite complex meshes. A simpler NASA 3D model of an astronaut in an EVA suit was used instead. I used the freely available 3D Astronaut Nr 1 (Collada .dae format) by Max Grueter and Byr2008. Again set as a complete avatar replacement “Costume”.

2017-01-17-Sine-Space-NASA-EVA-Unity-Editor
2017-01-17-Sine-Space-NASA-EVA-Outfit 2017-01-17-Sine-Space-NASA-EVA-1
2017-01-17-Sine-Space-NASA-EVA-2 2017-01-17-Sine-Space-NASA-EVA-3

RGU Diver

A Sine.space outfit was also created using the meshes from OpenSim made by Colin Hetherington for his RGU Diver suit for use in training simulations in virtual worlds for training oil and gas drilling rig workers (see this blog post). It is not intended for distribution beyond the demonstrations on the “Oil Rig” region on Sine.space.

RGU-Diver-Helmet-96x96 RGU-Diver-Tanks-96x96 RGU-Diver-Belt-96x96 RGU-Diver-Watch-96x96 RGU-Diver-Flippers-96x96

2017-01-23-Sine-Space-RGU-Diver-Unity-Editor
2017-01-23-Sine-Space-RGU-Diver-Outfit 2017-01-23-Sine-Space-RGU-Diver-4
2017-01-23-Sine-Space-RGU-Diver-3 2017-01-23-Sine-Space-RGU-Diver-1

Sintel Rigged Avatar

With the experience of trying a replacement static mesh model outfit/costume as indicated above for the NASA EMU, I tried the Blender.org CC-BY-NC Sintel avatar (see http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/resources/sintel/)… which is a rigged mesh avatar. On the advice again of Adam Frisby at Sine Space, its important that the rigged model prefab has the “Root Motion” unticked. Its ticked in the original avatar model. Also, as its greyed out and non-editable in the original asset, drag the one in the Assets into the Scene/Hierarchy, modify it to untick the root motion tick box, then drag it back into the Project/Assets view. Then use the new one from the project view to fill the slot skeleton template slot.
2017-01-31-Sine-Space-Sintel-Outfit 2017-01-31-Sine-Space-Sintel-2
2017-01-31-Sine-Space-Sintel-1

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Virtual World Platforms – CPU and GPU Load Comparisons

I have done some performance monitor and CPU/GPU load comparisons for established virtual worlds like Second Life (Linden Lab viewer 5.0.0) and OpenSim (Firestorm Viewer 5.0.0) and emerging virtual world platforms like High Fidelity and Sine Space.

Windows 10 Xeon E5-1650 v2 @3.50GMz (6 core, 12 processor), 32GB memory, SSD drives, Nvidia GTX 980 GPU, 1920×1200 screen. VR Mode off (no Oculus Home, Steam and Steam VR).

  • Baseline (Idle): CPU: 3% GPU Load: 0%
  • Linden Labs Viewer in Second Life (ultra graphics, 512m view distance) (5K object region): CPU: 13% GPU Load: 16%
  • Firestorm Viewer in OpenSim (ultra graphics, 512m view distance) (Mesh base region with 12K objects and 9K mesh colliders): CPU: 8% GPU Load: 11%
  • Sine Space (Unity3D based) (Mesh base region with 12K objects and 9K mesh colliders): CPU: 21% GPU Load: 40%
  • High Fidelity (Custom region with 5 large mesh objects and two NPCs): CPU: 12% GPU: 16%

Baseline (Idle): CPU: 3% GPU Load: 0%

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Linden Lab Viewer in Second Life on “Vue” region (ultra graphics, 512m view distance) (5K object region): CPU: 13% GPU Load: 16%

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Firestorm Viewer in OpenSim on OSGrid “Oil Rig” region (ultra graphics, 512m view distance) (Mesh base region with 12K objects and 9K mesh colliders): CPU: 8% GPU Load: 11%

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Sine Space on “Oil Rig” region (Unity3D based) (Mesh base region with 12K objects and 9K mesh colliders): CPU: 21% GPU Load: 40%

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High Fidelity (Custom region with 5 large mesh objects and two NPCs): CPU: 12% GPU: 16%

2017-01-09-Perform-HiFi-Eriskay

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Sansar

sansar-logo

Linden Lab announced a number of community and social network feeds on 4th January 2017 as they prepare for the public opening of the platform sometime in 2017.

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Second Life – Winter Wonderland 2016

@InaraPey has provided an overview of the 2016 Winter Wonderland themed areas in Second Life…

https://modemworld.me/2016/12/15/the-all-new-new-portal-parks-open-in-second-life/

2016-12-15-SL-Winter-Wonderland-1
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Fireworks

On the hour, every hour in Winter Wonderland…

2016-12-15-SL-WW-Fireworks-1 2016-12-15-SL-WW-Fireworks-2
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“Automated” Ice Skating

The skating though does take some (keyboard) work! For a more “automated” experience with solo, couples and trick dancing try “CALAS GALADHON’S 2016 HOLIDAY SIM, EREBOR” and just sit back and watch the dance displays at…

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/EREBOR/148/105/22

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2017-01-10-SL-Calas-Galadhon-Winter-Ice-Skating-Region

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OpenSimulator Community Conference 2016

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2016-12-10-OSCC16-Screen-1 2016-12-10-OSCC16-Screen-2

The OpenSimulator Community Conference 2016 (#OSCC16) took place over the weekend of December 10th to 11th 2016 on the OpenSim-based OpenSim Community Conference grid (grid URI http://cc.opensimulator.org:8002 and WiFi front end http://cc.opensimulator.org:8005/wifi).

My report on the experience of attending OSCC13 is described in this blog post, in 2014 in this blog post and some activities in the 2015 event in this blog post.

The 2016 event kicked off with a panel involving the core developers of OpenSim… with approx. 86 participants in the session, peaking at 95 avatars…

2016-12-10-OSCC16_001 2016-12-10-OSCC16_005
2016-12-10-OSCC16_002 2016-12-10-OSCC16_003

OpenSim Code Commits 2016

Nebadon Izumi produced a visualisation of the code commits into OpenSim for the last year, as he has done for previous years of activity.

OpenSim-Code-Commit-Visualization-2016

Overview of the OSCC Grid Regions

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2016-12-08-OSCC-2016-Preparation-2 2016-12-08-OSCC-2016-Preparation-3

Virtual Robotics: Creating, Collaborating and Constructivist learning in a Virtual World

A session by Carina Girvan and John “Pathfinder” Lester described an EU funded project to teach using turtle graphics visualised as 3D shapes and colours in OpenSim using the SCRATCH visual programming environment.

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External Application Development for OpenSim Applications such as Large Scale Urban Simulation

OSCC16 talk by OpenSim core dev Christa Lopes of University of California at Irvine (@DivaCanto) on using virtual worlds for large scale urban simulation…

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2016-12-11-OSCC16-Remote-Control-2 2016-12-11-OSCC16-Remote-Control-3

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Winter in Second Life

As usual there are some wonderful Christmas and winter regions in Second Life… one of the “Destination Guide” locations in Winter 2016 is the Erebor region by Calaas Galadhon.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/EREBOR/155/106/22

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2016-12-09-SL-Erebor-Sleigh-1 2016-12-09-SL-Erebor-Sleigh-2

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2016-12-09-SL-Erabor-Lake-Overlook

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Sine.space Regions

As described in an earlier blog post (Sine.space – OpenVCE Region) there is a route to take content created in OpenSimulator, save that as an OpenSim Archive (OAR) file, convert it to Collada mesh via the OAR Converter tool, and load that in as content to Unity3D to merge with the Sine Space “EditorPack” unitypackage. This content can then be uploaded to Sine.space servers and made available to others in the Sine.Space community either through each user’s free region (an allowance of one 128MB download region with up to 10 concurrent avatars)) or via paid subscriptions.

Some of the initial testing done on regions used OpenSim OAR content and other Unity3D experiences created using freely available mesh models.

Sine-Space-Loading-ISS
Sine-Space-Loading-Oil-Rig Sine-Space-Loading-Castle
Sine-Space-Loading-Black-Rock Sine-Space-Loading-Space-City

The OpenVCE region is “live” in Sine.space and can be visited in any WegbGL compatible browser via http://go.sine.space/openvce or http://sine.space/locations/openvce

Other tests of Sine.space for Gerry Anderson’s Black Rock Laboratory (Supercar) and Space City (Fireball XL5) regions, RGU Oil Rig and NASA International Space Station (ISS) are in separate posts. These are not publicly accessible and are mounted on development servers for testing only.

Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) on Sine.space

openvue-mapThe Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) has now taken out a subscription for three regions each with an allowance of 512MB download size and up to 30 avatars concurrently present. The regions will likely use the Second Life/OpenSim layout brought across via OAR Converter initially, and then develop Sine.space specific content for testing of collaborative facilities in virtual worlds. In the meantime, temporary content may be in place for testing.

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