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.

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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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AI Planning MOOC on Open.Ed

Open.Ed is the University of Edinburgh’s portal for its Open Education Resources. OERs are online resources that are available for others to use to support learning. They are part of a worldwide movement to promote and support sustainable educational development. The sharing of open educational materials is in line not only with University of Edinburgh’s mission but also with a global movement in which research-led institutions play a significant role.

AI-Planning-LOGO-1-860x280

The AI Planning MOOC educational materials are provided in full via the Open.Ed portal, which gives links to the course materials include YouTube videos, weekly slides, quizzes, supplements, assignments, exams, and a Second Life virtual learning space and group.

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Second Life Visual Outfits Browser

A version of the Second Life Viewer which support a visual gallery of avatar outfits is being tested. The Outfits tool is extended to include a “Visual Outfits Browser” (VOB). Thumbnails (typically 256×256 or 128×128 images) can be created in the viewer or uploaded at a cost of $L10 per image in either case.

Here are my own avatar’s outfits built up over a period of nearly 10 years in Second Life…

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

The Outfits Gallery is supported in a Second Life “Project Viewer” which is created to explore new features ahead of them becoming stable enough to include in a normal release viewer for everyone to use. For this exploration this version was used: Second Life Project VOB Viewer Windows version 4.0.6.316123 (6-Jun-2016) was used.

Some suggestions for improvement are:

  1. For the future, an ability to drag and drop images from inventory directly onto the folders in the Outfits gallery view would be useful, especially if you have a lot of outfits.
  2. At the moment, when a thumbnail image is assigned to an Outfit in the gallery view it appears at the top of the list of outfits, rather than staying in alphabetical order. For some purposes that could be useful, but a way to use “sort with images first” or “sort by outfit name” would be helpful for those with many outfits, and variants of outfits for specific purposes.
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AI Planning MOOC Interview

The Learning, Teaching and Web Services at Edinburgh University have commissioned a paper for the senior management team that focuses on using the existing evidence base of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) data, the experience and motivation of design teams around the programmes designed and delivered to date including those in the pipeline, and through discussion with external stakeholders, to review their match to the Scottish Government Outcomes.

I was asked to give some background on our motivation for producing the AI planning MOOC and to consider if we planned to make the materials available as open educational resources.. I explained that this was our aim all along, and that the resources and videos had been available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence from the start in 2013 with hosting of the materials and videos on both our own Edinburgh servers and YouTube since 2014.

AI-Planning-Apps-Edinburgh-1280x720

We offered the AI planning MOOC on the Coursera Platform in Q1 2013, Q1 2014 and Q1 2015. The January to March 2015 session was the final version of the course. Soon after that date Coursera no longer supported the platform on which the MOOC is built. The course materials and videos continue to be available under the original creative commons (BY-NC-SA) licence on a long term “permanent” basis at the following alternative URLs at the University of Edinburgh.

Some of the questions asked concerning our motivation and plans for the MOOC are covered in an interview I already did with some members of our School of Education for a report they did for the UK Higher Education Academy. That led to a report on “The Pedagogy of the Massive Open Online Course: the UK View” which was prepared by Siân Bayne and Jen Ross of the University of Edinburgh School of Education for the UK Higher Education Academy (HEA) and published as a PDF document on 6th March 2014 [HEA Web Site Copy][Local PDF Format Copy].

This includes some commentary on the AI Planning MOOC course design and statistics from the 2013 session based on the above interview.

I covered this in a blog post…

There is also a THES article I gave an interview for…

Publicly accessible statistics about each of the three Coursera sessions are in other blog posts as follows:

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vTime – Social Gatherings in Virtual Reality

vTime (http://vtime.net) provides a facility where up to four participants can connect in VR (e.g. via the Oculus Rift) and voice in a range of 3D environments which include a campfire in a cave, an outer space scene, underwater, a polar region, in an old fashioned train carriage, etc. Two environments specifically support a flat screen to share images… a boardroom and a film viewing room. Avatars can be customised.

2016-06-10-vTime-Avatar-Ai-Austin
vTime-Location-Examples
vTime_GUI_Circle_Image_NEW VTime-Image-Share
vTime-The-Boardroom

Each user can upload flat images, 360 degree wrap round images and spherical environments to share. The current meeting host is the only one who can change the location and set the viewing images.

vTime is provided by a company based in Liverpool, UK, so some of the initial surround sphere examples are of Liverpool landmarks.

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Seven Dales Heritage Run

DLMC-Logo-sThe De Lacy Motor Club (D.L.M.C) in West Yorkshire has been running rallies, car trials and driving tests for over 50 years as noted in my previous blog post. I was a frequent competitor in the 1960s and linked back up with the club a few years ago.

My brothers Morris and Jon, who still live in Yorkshire, still enter events such as the annual “Seven Dales Heritage Run”… so I thought this year we would try to join in.

2016-06-05-Seven-Dales-Heritage-Run-Plate

2016-06-05-De-Lacy-MC-Seven-Dales-Signon 2016-06-05-De-Lacy-MC-Seven-Dales-Finish

Brother Morris entered with long time friend of the family Ted Meek in a 1956 MGA 1500 that Ted is restoring. Brother Jon with his wife Rosemarie and daughter Samantha entered in a 1966 Shelby Mustang G.T.350…
2016-06-05-7-Dales-MGA-Ted-and-Morris-with-Tates-2
2016-06-05-7-Dales-Mustang-Jon-Rosemarie-and-Samantha-Tate 2016-06-05-Seven-Dales-Enroute

We entered in our Toyota MR2 Mk.3… which has a “sporting heritage” to fit in with the rules, though most cars in the event are pre-1990. Wish we still had our much loved 1989 Toyota MR2 Mk.1…
toyota-mr2x2 2016-06-05-7-Dales-MR2-Austin-and-Margaret

The complete list of entrants follows…
2016-06-05-De-Lacy-MC-7-Dales-Entrants

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Avatar JellyDolls

From Second Life Viewer 4.0.5 (18-May-2016) a capability to increase performance by rendering some highly complex avatars as “JellyDolls” was introduced. When set appropriately, the viewer will render avatars with a complexity score that are over some preset limit as simple coloured shapes, rather than showing all their outfit, textures and attachments. Facilities to set up graphic presets to rapidly change between visual settings, including switching to settings which render all avatars, is available via a “screen” icon in the top right of the viewer. There is a facility to right click on an individual avatar and select that it should be fully rendered whatever the graphical and complexity limit setting is.

Be-Normal Be-JellyDoll

For your own avatar, changing outfits or wearing or detaching any items of your outfit triggers a popup window to the to right of the viewer which shows your own current avatar complexity figure.

2016-05-19-SL-Avatar-Complexity-Ai-Austin

Under the Viewer Advanced Menu a Performance Monitoring tool allows the avatar complexity of avatars around you to be shown… colour coded to reflect the complexity limit setting you currently have set. Green means the avatar will fully render, red means it will be rendered as a JellyDoll with your current limit. It may be best to turn off avatar names and group titles to see the details.

2016-05-19-SL-Avatar-Complexity-JellyDolls

2016-05-18-SL-JellyDolls-1 2016-05-18-SL-JellyDolls-2

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Lord of the Rings Role Play

Lord of the Rings Online (http://lotro.com) is a MMORPG to allow for quests to be undertaken with the role of Man, Hobbit, Elf or Dwarf. It is free to play for the initial levels, and then is based on subscription. It needs a massive 21GB download. It is designed in the style of World of Warcraft with interactions with Non-Player Characters (NPCs) to guide you through various experiences and quests before undertaking more open-ended challenges in an order you can choose as the role player.

2016-05-17-LOTRO-Dwarf-Aithun 2016-05-17-LOTRO-Elf-Bethun
2016-05-17-LOTRO-Dwarf-Aithun-Meets-Gandalf2016-05-17-LOTRO-Dwarf-Aithun-at-Elf-Platform

Medieval & Fantasy Role Roleplay in World of Warcraft and Second Life

It might be worth contrasting the Lord of the Rings Online enclosed single themed game and it’s scripted stove-piped interactions and progression with the much more free form role play possible in other platforms like Second Life and World of Warcraft.

I have used World of Warcraft as a travel destination without pursuing quests and challenges in a linear progression way. See for example my blog posts on “World of Warcraft Intrinsic Motivation and Travel” and my blog post on some of “Aithun’s Travels in World of Warcraft“.

Second Life is a much more open and free form social platform without necessarily setting any specific goals for users. It does though support a range of “Experiences” which can cerate specific games and quest style environments. And Second Life has many communities engaging in role play of various kinds, including Lord of the Rings, medieval and fantasy themed regions allow… here is Ai Austin as Strider/Aragorn (with Thorin Oakenshield’s Orcrist elvish sword for some reason) and Be Austin as Arwen in Second Life…

Ai as Strider with Orcrist in Second Life Be as Arwen in Second Life

Some Second Life regions that have medieval, fantasy and Lord of the Rings style role play are:

2016-05-18-SL-Elven-Forest 2016-05-18-SL-Mysts-of-Eyr

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Sim-on-a-Stick for OpenSim Development and Testing

Sim-on-a-Stick-Wifi
Ener Hax’s “Sim-on-a-Stick” (http://simonastick.com) is a very useful prebuilt setup that allows a local copy of OpenSimulator to be quickly used for a new development or test environment. It can be used to create a fresh setup each time tests are needed, and to try out, for example, OpenSim Archive (OAR) or OpenSim Inventory Archive (IAR) files. Sim-on-a-Stick is made up of:

Update to OpenSim 0.8.2.1

The config-include/MyWorld.ini file provided with Sim-on-a-Stick 0.8.0 postfixzes version needs to be altered to work properly with the latest (at the time of writing) version of OpenSim Diva Disribition (D2) which is 0.8.2.1 (24th December 2015). In the [Startup] section turn off CombineContiguousRegions as the “megaregion” mechanism is now replaced with the more flexible “varregions” and the mega-region facility will be removed from OpenSim 0.9.0. And add a new [Hypergrid] section (e.g. just after [GridService] section) to give the HomeURI and Gatekeeper URI for Hypergrid.

[Startup]
    ; CombineContiguousRegions will be removed from OpenSim 0.9
    CombineContiguousRegions = false

[Hypergrid]
    HomeURI = "http://127.0.0.1:9100"
    GatekeeperURI = "http://127.0.0.1:9100"

It is also possible that some Windows .NET4 environments might have problems loading some modules…. reporting an error with…

An attempt was made to load an assembly from a network location which would have caused the assembly to be sandboxed in previous versions of the .NET Framework. This release of the .NET Framework does not enable CAS policy by default, so this load may be dangerous. If this load is not intended to sandbox the assembly, please enable the loadFromRemoteSources switch. See http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=155569 for more information.

A fix was made to OpenSim in bin/OpenSim.exe.config (and bin/Robust.exe.config though that is not used in Sim-on-a-Stick) on 23-Nov-2013 (git master a68d1fa) for this, adding the following line to the <runtime> section…

    <loadFromRemoteSources enabled="true" />

If you see this error in Sim-on-a-Stick, check this line is present in the bin/OpenSim.exe.config. If not, add it and run again.

When you run Sim-on-a-Stick for the first time, it might also be worth setting an “Outfit” in the viewer.

Sim-on-a-Stick-Initial-Avatar

Availability of Updated Sim-on-a-Stick 0.8.2.1

For convenience, a modified Sim-on-a-Stick based on the 0.8.0 post-fixes zipped single region version (SoaS08PF.zip), updated to OpenSim D2 diva-r08210.zip and with the MyWorld.ini and bin/OpenSim.config.exe changes above incorporated is available at:

The directory also contains the modified MyWorld.ini and bin/OpenSim.exe.config files in case you want to take those to add into your own Sim-on-a-Stick setup.

Sim-on-a-Stick with OpenVCE OAR

A typical example of the use of Sim-on-a-Stick for quick testing, is this fresh copy setup and then a test load of the “OpenVCE” OAR from

Sim-on-a-Stick-with-OpenVCE-OAR

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MOSES Office Hours 13-May-2016

The MOSES military metaverse grid members hold regular weekly “office hours” presentations and discussion meetings.

2016-05-13-MOSES-Office-Hours-Screen

At this specific meeting there was a discussion of the “Redmine” Wiki used for development and community contributions within team members of the MOSES project, and openly readable by all:

The OpenVCE collaboration region on the MOSES grid is documented on a page on the MOSES wiki at

Suggestions were made for version control and version/change dating of scripts.

There was also a discussion of how to produce “360” videos and images from within a virtual world, including the idea of separate scripted 360 style camera… which may implemented via a separate “client” using LibOMV, or could simply be in world and stream or send out its data to later combine into a 360 degree video. Another possibility might be to look at Nvidia’s “Ansel” API for in game screenshot freezing and production to various formats including 360 video.

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OpenVCE Region on MOSES Grid

OpenVCE-on-MilitaryMetaverseThe OpenSimulator-based OpenVCE region has been reactivated on the MOSES Military Metaverse OpenSim grid to make this example of a virtual collaboration environment accessible for demonstrations to US federal and other agencies. The region contains a range of meeting facilities from a large lecture style amphitheatre, breakout spaces, exhibition pavilions, a brainstorming or operations centre style I-Room for the “core plus modules” OODA loop supporting original, a cut down minimalistic DICE I-Room, project and group rooms and several fun and informal gathering spaces (cavern campfire and beach side apartment).

OpenVCE has been available on MOSES for some years and is now being set up so it should always be available rather than being mounted on demand. The OpenSim Archive (OAR) file for the OpenVCE region is openly available under the Lesser GNU (very flexible) license or similar open source licenses (e.g. Creative Commons By Attribution CC-BY-SA).

The current content of the OpenVCE OAR is now consistently deployed on the “OpenVCE” region on MOSES, our own Openvue grid and on OSGrid (which is the largest free to use publicly accessible OpenSimulator grid).

The original work to create the OpenVCE region was done on the US Army ARL HRED funded Virtual Collaboration Environment project by AIAI using Clever Zebra as a contractor/3D modelling group. Having the region available to visitors on MOSES lets people see if it would be helpful as a basis for their own projects.

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2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_008 2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_009
2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_001 2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_002

OpenVCE OAR Availability via MOSES Content

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2016-05-19-MOSES-Content-OpenVCE-OAR

MOSES grid users can visit the OpenVCE region to look around, or it can also be seen on the OSGrid and Openvue grids… both accessible from any Hypergrid enabled OpenSimulator grid using a map tool search for this “http://hg.osgrid.org:80 OpenVCE” or one of these “hops” in viewers which support that (e.g. Firestorm):

hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/OpenVCE/128/128/20
hop://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/OpenVCE/128/128/20

Reference

Tate, A., Hansberger, J.T., Potter, S. and Wickler, G. (2014) Virtual Collaboration Spaces: Bringing Presence to Distributed Collaboration, Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, Assembled Issue 2014, Volume 7, Number 2, May 2014 [PDF Format].

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Ocean Rift VR Experience

Ocean Rift (http://ocean-rift.com) is a virtual reality experience for Oculus Rift and other VR headsets.

Ocean-Rift-Title Ocean-Rift-Dolphins
2016-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Humpback-1 2016-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Humpback-2
2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Sunfish 2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Orcas
2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Sea-Lions 2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Manatees
2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Sea-Turtles 2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Great-White-Shark
2016-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Mosasaurus

The controls are as follows:

Ocean-Rift-Controls

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Project Cars in VR

Project-Cars-Strip

Project-Cars-LogoProject Cars (http://www.projectcarsgame.com/) has been available since May 2015 [Wikipedia] along with regular add-ons and downloadable content. Support for VR headsets has been included for a while.

Project Cars “Game of the Year” edition was released on 6th May 2016 which includes many of the add on packs, and is better able to support VR headsets.

Help and Manuals are available on-line:

Project-Cars-Kart-125cc Project-Cars-McLaren-12C

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Unity, Photon MMO and IMVU Avatars

There are Unity3D packages available to add Photon multi-user networking support and IMVU avatar connections.

2016-05-03-Unity-IMVU-Photon-Action

Photon Realtime multiplayer networking support is available using their Photo Cloud free for up to 20 concurrent users, or you can host a Photon MMO server yourself. You need to register (free) for a Photon Realtime App ID to complete the configuration needed in Unity3D.

IMVU is a 3D avatar -based chat and social platform with millions of users. A Unity package provides a means to load an IMVU avatar, and that of your friends, into Unity, and synchronize communication using multi-player support from Photon or Unity Networking. You need to register (free) for an IMVU avatar (unless you already have one) and a developer App ID to complete the configuration needed in Unity3D.

Once the Photon Networking and IMVU Unity packages are installed in a Unity3D project you can open the various Photon and IMVU demonstrations to see how things work.

2016-05-03-Unity-IMVU-Photon-Identity
2016-05-03-Unity-IMVU-Photon-Outfits 2016-05-03-Unity-IMVU-Photon-Friends

I have begun to experiment with a Unity application based on these packages to allow for multi-user support in an OpenVCE collaboration environment.

2016-05-03-Unity-Photon-IMVU-OpenVCE

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MOSES OpenSim Assets

The MOSES (Military Metaverse) Project has produced some assets, sample regions in OpenSimulator Archive (OAR) format, avatars and wearables. They are licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0.

LIDAR Scanned Region Creation

The US Army Research Labs Simulation Technology and Training Center (STTC), in cooperation with University of Central Florida (UCF) Institute for Simulation Technology (IST), developed a content ingestion method to allow for actual operational areas to be scanned using LIDAR and then produce scenario output for use in a virtual world. The initial proof of concept of this workflow was to use some UCF buildings and surrounding areas in Orlando, Florida. Images of the resulting OpenSim region loaded from the OAR into the SimonaStick version of OpenSim are shown below.

2016-05-03-MOSES-IST-OAR_001
2016-05-03-MOSES-IST-OAR_002 2016-05-03-MOSES-IST-OAR_003

Military Training Areas

MOSES-Military-Training-OARsThere are several multi-region terrains for military training areas, such as a 9 region village in a mountainous area (Atropia) and a 6 region soldier patrol area.

Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds Lobby

MOSES supports the Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds and helped fnd the creation of their OpenSimulation-based conference facilities. The FCVW Lobby facilities are available as an OAR too. Images follow, again loaded for demonstration purposes onto the SimonaStick version of OpenSim. Within the lobby there are many assets for avatar customization. There are also demonstrations of using OpenSim for control rooms, process plant control, etc.

2016-05-03-MOSES-FCVW-Lobby_001 2016-05-03-MOSES-FCVW-Lobby_002
2016-05-03-MOSES-FCVW-Lobby_003
2016-05-03-MOSES-FCVW-Lobby_004 2016-05-03-MOSES-FCVW-Lobby_005

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MOSES Office Hours 29-Apr-2016

The MOSES military metaverse grid members hold regular weekly “office hours” presentations and discussion meetings.

2016-04-29-MOSES-Office-Hours-1

At this specific meeting there was a discussion of using virtual environments for training and review of training exercises, and giving greater training time in less stressful and environmentally unfriendly environments was given by Doug Maxwell.

2016-04-29-MOSES-Office-Hours-3 2016-04-29-MOSES-Office-Hours-Doug-Maxwell-and-Barbara-Truman
2016-04-29-MOSES-Office-Hours-Screens

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Project Sansar – Alpha Signup

2016-04-26-Project-Sansar-LogoOn 26th April 2016, Linden Labs invited developers to sign up for invitations for early alpha access to Project Sansar.

2016-04-26-Project-Sansar-Signup
2016-04-26-Project-Sansar-Selections
2016-04-26-Project-Sansar-Thanks

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Fish4Knowledge at Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 2016

Jessica Chen-Burger (as avatar Skye Gears) presented the Fish4Knowledge project outreach pavilion and underwater aquarium project in Second Life and OpenSim at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 2016 online conference (VWBPE-2016). More details of the F4K Exhibition gallery and Underwater Aquarium are at http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/project/f4k/

Chen-Burger, Y-H. and Tate, A. (2016) The Fish4Knowledge Virtual World Gallery, in “Fish4Knowledge: Collecting and Analyzing Massive Coral Reef Fish Video Data” (Fisher R.B., Chen-Burger, Y-H., Giordano, D., Hardman, L. and Lin, F.P. eds.), Chapter 17, pp. 245-251, April 2016, Intelligent Systems Reference Library, Volume 104, Springer. Book DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-30208-9 Electronic ISBN: 978-3-319-30208-9 Print ISBN: 978-3-319-30206-5 [PDF Format]

2016-03-12-VWBPE-F4K_007
2016-03-12-VWBPE-F4K_002 2016-03-12-VWBPE-F4K_003
2016-03-12-VWBPE-F4K-Screen-1
2016-03-12-VWBPE-F4K-Prep_003

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Journey to Middle Earth

Journey to Middle Earth in the form of New Zealand in February 2016… images by Austin Tate except where noted. First on North Island at Hobbiton (near Matamata)…
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Mount Doom and Mordor… on Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park…
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At the Weta Cave in Wellington… Hobbit feet and handling the original movie prop of Orcrist…
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Orcrist Image from Weta, New Zealand
Orcrist Image from Weta, New Zealand

The Hobbit barrel escape was filmed on a combination of the Aratiatia Rapids near Taupo on North island, the Pelorus River near Nelson on South Island and in the studios near Wellington…
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One Ring to rule them all… glad Margaret did not go invisible…
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ElvesAi Austin as Strider with Orcrist in Second Life
Elvish: Austin and Margaret Tate

Lake Wakatipu and Glenorchy, near Queenstown…
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IMG_4632 IMG_4627

The Fellowship of the Ring and the Dwarves of Thorin and Company probably did not travel on a jetboat… but the Shotover River Jet is quite something…
IMG_4656_2016-02-22-Shotover-Jet-Photos-3

Milford Sound, waterfalls, more waterfalls and the long white cloud…
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To crown it all… Mount Cook and dark skies… the Southern Cross, the Milky Way and very visible Large and Small Magellanic Clouds…
IMG_5012
Southern Cross Image from Night in Focus
Southern Cross Image from Night in Focus

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X-15 VR Experience in Unity3D

2016-01-29-X-15A-2-Unity
As a variant on my recent Unity3D Gerry Anderson’s Supercar-themed “Avgas, Will Travel” VR Experience for the Oculus Rift… I added a 3D model of the X-15A-2 by TaffGoch. Although, of course, the X-15 was not an orbital craft (See article on Wikipedia). A little adjustment to fix the port side external tank (which had reversed normals) by mirroring the starboard tank in Studio 3D Max and rotation script, and there is another Oculus Rift VR Experience.

Download the standalone (Windows 64 bit) application for the Oculus Rift and 2D screen (try it on “Fantastic” settings if your system will allow that) or use the Unity Web Player version at…

http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/X-15/
[Use X-15.html for 2D Web Player version in most web browsers, or
download x15-vr-windows64.zip for standalone/VR version]

2016-01-28-X-15A-2-No-Tanks
2016-01-29-X-15A-2-Unity-2
2016-01-29-X-15A-2-Unity-Editor
2016-01-31-Unity-SR-71-and-X-15-4

X-15A-2 Orthograghic View by unusualsuspex

north_american_x_15a_2_ortho__new__by_unusualsuspex-d7q9f04

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

I also tried an import of 3D models of the SR-71 Blackbird (Wheels Up and Wheels Down) and SR-71/U2 pilot from 3D Warehouse…

2016-01-31-Unity-SR-71-and-X-15-3
2016-01-31-Unity-SR-71-and-X-15-1 2016-01-31-Unity-SR-71-and-X-15-2

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2001 VR Experience in Unity3D

2016-01-26-Unity-2001-1
As a variant on my recent Unity3D Gerry Anderson’s Supercar-themed “Avgas, Will Travel” VR Experience for the Oculus Rift… I added 3D models of the 2001 Space Station by Filip and the Orion III PanAm Shuttle made by Daniel M. A little rotation script, and some adjustment to scaling and the positions of the items and there is another Oculus Rift VR Experience. Also available as a 2D screen web player version.

2016-01-26-Unity-2001-2 2016-01-26-Unity-2001-3

Download the standalone (Windows 64 bit) application for the Oculus Rift and 2D screen (try it on “Fantastic” settings if your system will allow that) or use the Unity Web Player version at…

http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/2001/
[Use 2001.html for 2D Web Player version in most web browsers, or
download 2001-vr-windows64.zip for standalone/VR version]

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2016-01-26-Unity-2001-Opposite-Side 2016-01-26-Unity-2001-in-Supercar
2016-01-27-Unity3D-Supercar-in-2001 2016-01-27-Unity3D-Supercar-at-Shuttle-and-Unity-Module
2016-04-06-Unity-2001

Huey Droid

If you look closely when approaching the Earth Shuttle docking bay you might see “Huey” (repair droid 2 from the film Silent Running, model by Martin T.).

2016-01-29-2001-Silent-Running-Huey

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Made with Unity

Made with Unity is a site to share developer information, games and stories associated with using the Unity3D development tools. I have created a developer profile, and added some of my recent VR Experiences on the site…

Made-with-Unity-Profile-Austin-Tate

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Supercar Take Two: Avgas, Will Travel

avgas-fueldrumsThe “Supercar: Take Two” project (“Take 2” for short) is a collaborative venture, originally started in 1998, involving a number of Supercar enthusiasts and those with an interest in Gerry Anderson productions. Its aim is to develop an on-line multi-media presentation of a new Supercar storybook.. the original objective stated…

All the materials must be original. No copyright existing material will be used. It is intended to act as a framework and showcase or a range of experiments with on-line media such as:

  • Hyperlinked text including information related to the story and its characters;
  • Scanned images of original artwork;
  • Original sound files and music;
  • Computer Generated Images and computer models;
  • Animations;
  • Multi-media information boxes;
  • Java applets;
  • Novel uses of emerging internet technology.

The final result is meant to be accessible over the internet, or to be presented locally (e.g. off a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM image of the materials).

The title for the story “Supercar: Take Two” is meant to echo the final episode of Season One of the original Supercar TV series. This episode written by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, was called “Supercar: Take One”. Rather appropriately, it included aspects of a Hollywood style filming of the Supercar team in action.

One story outline developed in 1998 is now receiving renewed attention…


Avgas, Will Travel

A Collaborative Development of a Supercar Storybook within the Internet Community.
Storyline suggested by Mark DeSantis.

Development of secret synthetic oils and fuels for Supercar.

supercar-with-avgas-fuel supercar-in-space


Newsflash …. 4-Dec-1998

supercar-at-shuttle-and-unityDuring this week’s International Space Station (ISS) assembly shuttle mission to add the Unity Docking Node to the orbiting Russian-Built Functional Block, it appears that NASA and the USAF will conduct a secret demonstration of a new rescue device.

Rumours have persisted for some decades that the US Air Force have been funding the development of a small high performance rescue vehicle at a deserted location in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Occasional glimpses of the craft have been reported, and some UFO reports are attributed to its amazing characteristics. The press have termed the vehicle “Supercar”. Now an artists rendering of the proposed shuttle link up demonstration appears to confirm that such a craft does exist.

The mission this week will apparently involve a link up between the Supercar using a small portable and extendable air lock and the shuttle. A docking is planned to occur before the Unity Node is delivered for Space Station Assembly.

NASA declined to comment … 😉


Declassified …. 20-Jan-2016

Recent Freedom of Information requests have uncovered simulations which took place nearly 20 years ago to test the space capability of the experimental emergency response and rescue vehicle… Supercar! This relied on a top secret synthetic variant of the “Avgas” fuel used in Supercar’s advanced engines.

2016-01-20-Avgas-Unity-Editor

A version of the simulation is provided at http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/avgas/Avgas.html

Oculus-DK2Or to run a Windows (64bit) standalone version which works on 2D screens on on the Oculus Rift download and unzip the provided file. You can use the arrow keys, page up and page down to move about. If you have a game controller attached, the left stick should move the astronaut, and the right and left bumpers will move you up and down. You can quit the experience using either the “q” or “esc” keys.

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2016-01-20-Avgas-VR-4 2016-01-20-Avgas-Simulation-2
2016-01-20-Avgas-Simulation-3
2016-01-27-Unity3D-Supercar-at-Shuttle-and-Unity-Module

Model of Space Shuttle, with cargo bay doors open and ISS Unity docking module by Byr2008.

Further information about Supercar is becoming available… this Supercar Schematic Image was included in the simulation documentation…
Supercar-Schematics


Supercar-Title© The copyright in all materials displayed and provided is that of the originating author or artist. Such materials should not be used without permission.

All official material on Supercar is copyright by Carlton International Media Ltd. This is a fan maintained page intended to promote the shows of Gerry Anderson. The materials are provided for your enjoyment, but should not be used for any commercial purpose. Care has been taken to avoid the use of copyright images and other materials, but concerns over unsuitable use of materials, or suggestions for improvement on this page should be sent to Austin Tate (a.tate@ed.ac.uk).

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Thunderbirds in VR

And just because we can… instead of using NASA ISS and spacecraft models as in the ISS VR Experience, I substituted Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds models obtained from the 3D Sketchup Warehouse (search for Gerry Anderson).

TB5-and-TB3
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VR-TB-5-Unity-Editor

Try the web player version here.

And the Windows 64 bit standalone application which will work on 2D screens or in VR on the Oculus Rift is here (zip file of Windows 64 bit app).
Oculus-DK2You can use the arrow keys, page up and page down to move about. If you have a game controller attached, the left stick should move the astronaut, and the right and left bumpers will move you up and down. You can quit the experience using either the “q” or “esc” keys.


Look out for other Gerry Anderson vehicles nearby…. Space:1999 Eagle, Fireball XL5 and Supercar…

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VR-TB5-Other-Vehicles
VR-Supercar
2016-01-17-Supercar-in-Orbit-VR
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2016-01-22-Fireball-XL5-VR-1 XL5-at-TB5-2

Credits

Full details of the resources used and the build process for the ISS VR Experience is given in this blog post. The additional Gerry Anderson related models were provided from, e.g., the Sketchup 3D Warehouse – Gerry Anderson. Remember these are fan produced models for a TV show and commercial use is not permitted.

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Space Walk – Follow along in Virtual Reality

EVA #35 on the International Space Station is a space walk performed by NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and ESA astronaut Tim Peake on 15th January 2016, with a focus on the replacement of a failed voltage regulator. An animation of the planned activities is available here… ISS Spacewalk Animation – U.S. EVA #35 SSU Replacement (YouTube)

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Using my ISS VR Experience it is possible to follow along as the astronauts perform their activities. The experience was created in Unity3D and runs in a web browser or as a standalone Windows app which runs in Virtual Reality of an Oculus Rift is attached. If your system allows it run it standalone with graphics set to “fantastic”.
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2016-01-15-ISS-VR-Experience-Spacewalk-VR-Overview 2016-01-15-ISS-VR-Experience-Spacewalk-VR-Overview-2

Some images of the EVA as broadcast live from the ISS, from the NASA animation and from the VR experience follow…
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2016-01-15-ISS-Live-Airlock
2015-01-15-ISS-VR-4-ISS-End
2015-01-15-Tim-Kopra-Photo-ISS-End
2016-01-15-ISS-VR-Experience-Spacewalk-VR-Along-Truss
2016-01-15-ISS-Live-Along-Truss

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Creating the Supercar Comic

Kez Wilson and Michael Wolff at Misc!Mayhem Comics in the US were fans of Gerry Anderson’s Supercar and other TV shows and in 1999 wrote new stories about Supercar, the team of characters at Black Rock Laboratory, the baddies in the TV show and an extended family of new characters. Officially licenced, the first issue appeared in print in February 2003.
Supercar-Comic-Cover Supercar-Comic-Credits

In a collaboration between Kez Wilson and Austin Tate, the Supercar and Black Rock Laboratory 3D models created by Mick Imrie and Austin Tate, and renders of them in poses that would appear in the comic strips and panels were created for the initial outline artwork… the aim being to get realistic and accurate imagery for the eventual fully inked and coloured comic strips. Here is an example layout page and two of the rendered images produced for that page…
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sc-1-2-4a bat-labext-2m

A page of the full colour artwork is shown below to illustrate the dynamic nature of the visuals in the Supercar Comic….
Supercar-Comic-0-21-Baroom

Kez Wilson and Michael Wolff continue to create comics… some based on storylines developed alongside the Supercar Comic stories. See, for example, “The Adventures of Carter McCloud and Team Pegasus” and their web site at http://pulplications.com.

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FSX Supercar at Knight Inlet BC

The FSX version of Supercar (latest: version 5.0 1-Jan-2013) has been tested to work in FSX Steam Edition and in Virtual Reality using Flyinside FSX. Here she is in flight and landing in the Knight Inlet area in British Columbia… with dynamic custom scenery added…

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2016-01-13-FSX-Supercar-at-Knight-Inlet-4

And here on the shoreline in the vicinity of Knight Inlet Lodge (not realistically modelled!) surrounded by dynamic scenery… watch for the grizzly bear and cubs (yes they do come close to the lodge) and look for more grizzlies on the far shore (we really saw them there too), dolphins (hundreds are in the area), whales and bald eagles…

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And the mirror screens from Flyinside FSX when using the Oculus Rift DK2…

2016-01-13-Fkyinside-SX-Supercar-at-Knight-Inlet

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Eve Valkyrie Pre-Alpha Testing

2016-01-12-Eve-Valkyrie-Launcher
Eve Valkyrie from Iceland-based CCP Games is a multi-user space shooter style game based on the Eve Universe but designed for next generation virtual reality headsets and input controllers such as the Oculus Rift. “Pre-alpha” testing for those with appropriate hardware (at least Nvidia 970 or 980 GPUs are asked for) and Oculus development kits has been under way under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) ahead of the more open releases that will follow leading to a full release sometime in 2016. I originally joined in the pre-alpha testing sessions on 7th and 8th November 2015.

On 11th January 2016 CCP Games announced the “final play test”:
Regarding the NDA: Please note that we’re lifting the NDA as of the start of today’s playtest. If you have screenshots, streams, or images from CCP dev blogs, the NDA is only lifted from this build forward.

See this information on the Eve Valkyrie Founder’s Pack which will be available to all those who pre-order the Oculus Rift ahead of its initial launch date of 28th March 2016.

Final Pre-Alpha Testing on 11th and 12th January 2016

The “Training” mode allows for the basic controls to be learned.

2016-01-12-EV-Training

The main current mode of play is “Combat” where two teams (blue and red) are pitted against one another with 50 lives for each team and the objective being to have more kills than the other team within the 9 minute limit for each game. When you receive a kill you are returned to the launch tube and after a delay are relaunched into the combat zone.

2016-01-12-EV-Combat

Twitch.tv Coverage and Testing on 13th January 2016

Eve Valkyrie twitch.tv live stream with @Zimtok5 (Brad and his wife Karen – @Emrayla) at http://www.twitch.tv/zimtok5.

Twitch-Eve-Valkyrie-with-Zimtok5
2016-01-13-Eve-Valkyrie-Game-Lobby

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Apollo 11 VR Experience

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Immersive VR Education have produced a virtual reality (VR) “experience” for the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. The full experience is still under development, but a free short demonstration for the Oculus Rift is available via
http://immersivevreducation.com/the-apollo-11-experience/.

Apollo-11-Experience-TV-Lounge Apollo-11-Experience-Capsule
Apollo-11-Experience-One-Small-Step

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VR Spacewalk at ISS

Scroll down to the “Try the ISS VR Experience” section for the web demonstration link and the download link for the Windows standalone version which will work in flat screen mode or in VR if you have an Oculus Rift attached.

I posted before on the creation of a Virtual Reality Experience Spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS) which was initially built while watching the NASA TV coverage of the launch of UK astronaut Tim Peake on 15th December 2015… a Space VR experience originally created in 10 minutes… using 3D models from NASA. But then I took some time afterwards to refine it a bit, add astronaut transfer and supply spacecraft, and further explore VR elements, gamepad control and the WebGL player. This post gives more details of what was added and includes images from the refined version. This took quite a bit longer than the 10 minutes it took to create the initial experience!

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2016-01-03-ISS-Experience-2 2016-01-03-ISS-Experience-3
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Creating the ISS VR Experience

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  1. A useful “Getting Started with Unity” tutorial is available at here.
  2. Create a new Unity Project which usually adds a main camera and directional light. I set shadows on that light to “hard”. I add in a solid plane at 0,0,0 to act as a physics base so avatars do not drop through to infinity, and make that not show by unticking it’s “Mesh Renderer”. Add the Unity Standard Assets for Characters and add into the project a Third Person Controller such as the standard Ethan model. I usually use a predefined project base that gives me this setup to start new projects quickly, and includes an avatar controller that allow for flying and vertical motion too).
    E.g., see “Project Base for OAR Converter Projects” section in
    http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2015/08/30/opensim-oar-convert-to-unity-scene/
  3. Replace the avatar visual model with an Astronaut in Extravehicular Activity (EVA) mode. E.g. using 3D Astronaut Nr 1 (Collada .dae format) by Byr2008 or the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) from http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/emu (.3ds format). Add this as the visual model for 3rd Person Avatar Controller (e.g. Ethan) and then scale and position it appropriately. Turn off the normal avatar visual model. You may need to turn off the “Mesh Collison” component for all the 3D parts within the EMU model to avoid any reported rigged mesh issues for the avatar in Unity 5.
  4. Add a suitable 3D model of the International Space Station. I used a detailed FBX version from http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/iss placed, say, 50m above the solid plane. The solar panels on this model can be selected in the Unity editor and rotated appropriately to face the directional light (acting as the Sun). The heat radiators should be in shadow or faced away from the sun for realism.
  5. 2015-12-15-Unity-Editor-Soyuz-and-ProgressAdd-on spacecraft using Collada downloads via the 3D Warehouse and I found these needed to be scaled to 0.025 to fit with the ISS model I used:
  6. Cygnus Supply Vehicle by manboy and nebarnix .stl format file converted to .dae or .obj (e.g. via http://www.greentoken.de/onlineconv/) and resized to 0.025.
  7. Add a suitable Skybox to the Main Camera… via Free Earth Skybox – Hugo Peters.
    Downloads of the unity packages are available at: v1, v2 [local version as unitypackage], higher resolution v3
  8. 2016-01-01-Unity-Scene-Light-FlareTo add light flares use Assets -> Import Package -> Effects to bring in the Unity Standard Assets. Add an empty Game Object and name it “Flare” and to that add a component for Effects -> Light Flare. Drop the “50mmZoom” standard asset light flare onto it’s flare slot and perhaps make the colour a pale yellow for the sun. Carefully align the lens flare to the directional light, so they behave realistically. I set the directional light and light flare to originate from the opposite side of the ISS to the daytime lit Earth disk, ensuring that the ISS solar panels face towards the light source.
  9. By default a gamepad or joystick controller or joystick will act as an alternative for movement of the avatar. But gamepad/joystick up and down control may need to be added, e.g. on the left and right “bumpers” which for an Xbox 360 controller are “joystick button 4” and “joystick button 5” (see here for details).
  10. I also added code to quit the experience if the “esc” or “q” keys are pressed (note that this only works in the standalone .exe build not when run in the web player or unity editor).
  11. Added background sound, e.g. from http://soundbible.com/143-Astronaut-Breathing.html
    Astronaut Breathing recorded by Mike Koenig.
  12. To use the Oculus Rift, remember to go into Build Settings -> Player Settings and tick “Virtual Reality Supported”. That’s all that is needed to enable the use of the Rift for a VR Experience.

Configuration depicted in the ISS VR Experience with Soyuz TMA-19M Docked

ISS Configuration on 15th December 2015
2016-01-03-ISS-Experience-5

Try the ISS VR Experience

Please note that the ISS VR Experience uses complex 3D models and will need a computer with reasonable performance and a good graphics card.

Try a Unity Web Player version of the experience in most web browsers at
http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/iss/ISS.html
Apple-Mac-PageUp-PageDownMac users will need to use Fn+UpArrow and Fn+DownArrow for the keys needed to allow the astronaut avatar to move up and down.

Oculus-DK2Or, if you have an Oculus Rift, try a Windows (64 bit) standalone executable (.exe) version which should work with or without the Oculus Rift by obtaining the ZIP file
Unzip it, and run the .exe file. You can use the arrow keys, page up and page down to move about. If you have a game controller attached, the left stick should move the astronaut, and the right and left bumpers will move you up and down. You can quit the experience using either the “q” or “esc” keys.

Since these experiences are made available directly, rather than via the “Oculus Home” store you might need to “Allow Apps from Unknown Sources” in Oculus Home to enable them to run on the consumer versions of the Oculus Rift… see here for instructions.

Using a suitable browser, such as Firefox, try a WebGL version of the experience at
http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/iss/web-gl/ISS.html
This has been built with the WebGL Player “Publishing Settings” Memory set at 1024MB, rather than the default 256MB… 512MB was also insufficient… and it may still run out of memory when you try it. Exception reporting is also turned to “None” versus the default “Explicitly Thrown” default. On our Linux Apache server we found that the gzipped compressed file handling setup in the Unity default WebGL HTML and the renaming setup in the .htaccess file generated via Unity build did not work without changing the three resource lines included in the index.html to explicitly add in the gz versions. I am still experimenting with WebGL.

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2016-01-05-ISS-1 2016-01-05-ISS-2
2016-01-05-ISS-3 2016-01-05-ISS-4
2016-01-12-ISS-VR-Shadows-and-Headlamps

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