Grid Hopping

Hop test added in text editor to demonstrate that WordPress (Twenty Ten theme) takes off all parts up to first colon… hop://ai.vue.ed.ac.uk:8002/AiLand/128/124/26

Firestorm 6.4.12.67792 (15-Nov-2020) is now at Release Candidate stage and undergoing final QA testing. There are improvements to the handling of OpenSimulator “hop” addresses, especially to ensure that the current grid is inserted into Hypergrid addresses rather than always (incorrectly) using the original login grid.

This is an issue that has been outstanding for some time in virtual world viewers that support access to OpenSim. See, for example, Firestorm JIRA FIRE-10549. My own test page for hops has been tracking progress on this for over 7 years and is at http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/hg.html

To show you how far this has moved things forward in the latest Firestorm viewer… here are tests starting with a local login avatar (e.g. on AiLand) and a login avatar on OSGrid (a well used open grid) and then using the following hop addresses in the address bar. It includes hops to OpenSim software based on various versions including 0.8.2.1 (now over 5 years old code), 0.9.1.0, 0.9.1.1 and 0.9.2.0 dev (the latest in development version) grids, and even some grids with “Modified” code. Of course I deliberately avoided grids I know will fail (see later)… but note one of the hops is for OSGrid which separates the hg.osgrid.org GatekeeperURI and login.osgrid.org LoginURI and does assume the default :80 without including it in the address. PROGRESS

Start via your own local avatar login on a grid on any recent, properly configures Grid and region. E.g., for me that is an Ailand avatar login on AiLand…

hop://ai.vue.ed.ac.uk:8002/AiLand/128/124/26
hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Kitely%20Welcome%20Center/126/131/24
hop://lfgrid.com:8002/Stonehaven/128/128/25
hop://login.digiworldz.com:8002/Welcome/128/128/21
hop://fireandicegrid.net:8002/Welcome%20-%20Fire%20And%20Ice%20Grid/425/53/31
hop://hg.osgrid.org/Sandbox%20Plaza/128/128/25
hop://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/Openvue/128/128/29
hop://ai.vue.ed.ac.uk:8002/AiLand/128/124/26

Start via local OSGrid avatar login at, e.g., Vue-Port region…

hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/Vue-Port/123/128/26
hop://ai.vue.ed.ac.uk:8002/AiLand/128/124/26
hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Kitely%20Welcome%20Center/126/131/24
hop://lfgrid.com:8002/Stonehaven/128/128/25
hop://login.digiworldz.com:8002/Welcome/128/128/21
hop://fireandicegrid.net:8002/Welcome%20-%20Fire%20And%20Ice%20Grid/425/53/31
hop://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/Openvue/128/128/29
hop://ai.vue.ed.ac.uk:8002/AiLand/128/124/26
hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/Vue-Port/123/128/26
hop://ai.vue.ed.ac.uk:8002/AiLand/128/124/26
hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/Sandbox%20Plaza/123/128/26
hop://fireandicegrid.net:8002/Welcome%20-%20Fire%20And%20Ice%20Grid/425/53/31
hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/Vue-Port/123/128/26

Also note that due to a separate OpenSim/OSGrid issue, repeat returns to some 0.9.2.0 grids need TWO teleport tries to work. First reports “You appear to be already logged in. Try again”. Second always works. See http://opensimulator.org/mantis/view.php?id=8802


Problematic or Failing Grids/Regions

Grids that separate their LoginURI (e.g. login.zetaworlds.com:80) and GatekeeperURI (e.g. hg.zetaworld.com:80) are still problematic – and it may be that the Simulator Features OpenSim Extras GridURL is incorrectly set via the grid’s configuration. GridURL is set from the Robust GatekeeperURI overridden by the region’s config-include/GridCommon.ini GatekeeperURI.

hop://hg.zetaworlds.com/Welcome/128/128/25
hop://hg.metro.land:80/*Metropolis*/127/133/22
hop://hg.test.zetaworlds.com/Sandbox/128/128/25

OSGrid appears to work in hops and it is another example of a grid that separates its LoginURI (e.g. login.osgrid.org:80) and GateKeeperURI (e.g. hg.osgrid.com:80) but in its region config-include/GridCommon.ini it adds aliases to the GateKeeperURI to its LoginURI. This may indicate that the viewer is not yet properly picking up the GridURL/GatkeeperURI and using it for all Hypergrid teleports.

Some DreamGrid-based grids seem to have some issue and also fail… e.g., I cannot hop to one of my own experimental grids (not running all the time):

hop://ailsa.outworldz.net:8002/Expt/128/128/25

Some regions on OSGrid (e.g. Lani) will ALWAYS give “The region you tried to teleport to doesn’t exist anymore” message, which I am exploring with the region owner. OSGrid Lani region is not reporting its GridURL in SimulatorFeatures SimulatorExtrtas. It appears to be on OpenSim code from 2015.

E.g.

hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/Lani/161/137/30
to
hop://fireandicegrid.net:8002/Welcome%20-%20Fire%20And%20Ice%20Grid/425/53/31

Fails with “The region you tried to teleport to doesn’t exist anymore”


x-grid-info and x-grid-location-info

x-grid-info://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/region/Sandbox/128/128/22
x-grid-location-info://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/region/Sandbox/128/128/22


Enabling Extra logging Useful to Diagnosing Hop Issues

Edit the logcontrol.xml file in the Firestorm install folder… on Windows for the 64bit Firestorm release that is for example C:\Program Files\FirestormOS-Releasex64\app_settings. Go to the bottom and see a line with “import” in it. COPY that line TWICE leaving those there now in place and change the extra lines to GridManager (no space) and SLURL.

You can then explore the way in which the viewer creates each hop or “SLURL” by searching for “#SLURL#” lines in the Firstorm.log files created for each run of the viewer which is put in a location such as C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Roaming\Firestorm_x64\logs.

You can also explore what information a Grid/Region is giving back to the viewer when teleports occur. This is communicated on a call by the viewer of “setSimulatorFeatures” (look for that string in the Firestorm.log file) and returned in XML format by the destination “root” or “main” region and each “child” region within the viewer draw distance range. This contains OpenSimulator specific parameters in an “OpenSimulatorExtras” section.


Temporary Mapping of Hypergrid Destination Region to Local Map

Hypergrid destination regions are temporarily mapped to the source grid local map at any value of X and Y < 32. This range is reserved so large regions can fit. Region corner is parked at y = 0.

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OpenSimulator Community Conference 2020 – OSCC20

The OpenSimulator Community Conference 2020 (OSCC20) takes place on 5th-6th December 2020 on the OpenSimulator Community Conference grid. This is the 8th virtual annual conference for the OpenSim Community which has run annually since 2013.

More details at https://conference.opensimulator.org/

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Blender Avatar Rigging – Simple Guide

These notes are a reminder of the process to use Blender to take the Ruth2 v4 mesh avatar, add an “armature” for rigging and go through the process of exporting Collada (.dae) and importing to Second Life/OpenSim. It follows a very helpful tutorial on 4th November 2020 by Ada Radius and Kayaker Magic on Discovery Grid.

Gather Resources

A place to start might be this GitHub Ruth2 Wiki page on… Clothing Creator Guide … and much more technical detail is in this Wiki page on… Blender and Rigging.

  1. Blender 2.83 or later (using 2.90.1)
  2. Ruth2/Mesh/Ruth2_v4/Ruth2v4Dev.blend (GitHub/Ruth2)
  3. Reference/Ada Radius/avatar_skeleton_with_custombonesettings.blend (GitHub Reference)
  4. Guidance notes at Reference/Ada Radius/Export_ImportRiggedMeshBlender.md (GitHub Reference)

Simple Process Guide

Open Blender with a new project, remove default cube.

Check if Edit > Lock Object Modes is ticked tick and if so turn if off. Save as defaults for future via File -> Defaults -> Save Startup File.

Add Ruth2 v4 mesh parts dev kit via File > Append Ruth2v4Dev.blend and select the “Object” mesh part you want to work with.

In Outliner, if present Delete Light and Camera.

In Outliner, if you have a mesh part named “headMesh”, it is just the Second Life/OpenSim classic avatar head shape for comparison purposes and not part of Ruth2 v4. Delete that too.

Rotate mesh 90 degrees on Z axis to face right in front orthographic view (as armature already is as yuu will see later when you append that).

Use Object > Apply > All Transforms to ensure all subparts of rotated outer container/mesh are transformed.

Add armature via File > Append avatar_skeleton_with_custombonesettings.blend and select “Object” avatar_skeleton.xml. When using “Append” in Blender always bring in the “Object” which will pull in any related items needed, i.e. to avoid confusion, you should not try to only bring in the separate “Armature” part in this case.

Select avatar_skeleton.xml and choose “Edit Mode”. Select > All, Armature > Bone Roll > Clear Roll.

Return to “Object Mode” and in outliner, select mesh first and then avatar_skeleton.xml. The armature must be the last thing selected. Then use Object > Parent (Ctrl/P) to get Parenting options. Set to “Armature Deform”. Parent should then be shown as avatar_skeleton.xml.

Now carefully check all the mesh properties as described in the Ada Radius guidance notes.

In the sample mesh part I was checking the Ruth2v4 (head, body and hands, no feet) had the required single Armature Modifier, but also a “DataTransfer” Modifier to Ruth2v4FeetFlat. “DataTransfer” and “Weld” may be able to be left in as according to Ada Radius… “those are Modifiers that do apply well on export from Blender and import inworld. Not perfectly, but well”. So I left that in. Ada adds..

The Data Transfer Modifier has several uses. In this case I use it for separate objects that we want perceived as a single object inworld. With the settings I used, it matches the face corner normals to the target we point it to. It works fairly well, depending on inworld lighting and how well the textures match. If you see a modifier called “Weld” it’s the same thing

Export to Collada

Select the mesh part you wish to export… note its the mesh part which is now parented to the armature… i.e. do NOT select the parent armature.

File > Export > Collada.

Via cog settings icon, use Operator Presets > SL+OpenSim Rigged (which sets nearly all settings needed, but check against guidance notes).

For rigged mesh items (like the Ruth2 avatar mesh parts themselves, or rigged mesh clothing) in the Extra tab you must ALSO tick “Keep Bind Info” (otherwise the mesh in Second Life/OpenSim will look like a spindly deformed alien when imported).

Export Collada.

Import – Mesh Upload to Second Life/OpenSim

Import to OpenSim/SL via the Mesh Uploader as usual. Make sure to use the Second Life only version of the viewer (with Havok Physics) if uploading to Second Life. Make sure to tick “Include Skin Weight” in the Options/Rigging tab if it is not already preselected.

Avatar Mesh in OpenSim after Texturing for Bakes on Mesh

When the Bento Hand Relax animation normally running in Ruth2 v4 is added to the imported mesh the fingers deform. This issue is currently under investigation by Ada Radius (as at 5th November 2020).

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AI Planning Conferences


The International Artificial Intelligence Planning and Scheduling (AIPS and ICAPS) Conferences have used a variety of named during their history… now up to 30th International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling due to held in nancy, France but due to the Corvid-19 pandemic run as the first virtual event. A list of the international AI Planning Conferences is available at: https://dblp.org/db/conf/aips/

This numbering misses out the first event in June 1990 which we can maybe think of as “Conference Zero”…

First International Conference on Expert Planning Systems, Brighton, UK, June 27-29, 1990. https://dblp.org/db/conf/aips/aips1990.html

There are also European Conferences on Planning, which had a very broad, beyond Europe, participation… More details at https://www.icaps-conference.org/conference-series/

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jOpenSim – OpenSim with Joomla

A blog post with resources related to jOpenSim, a component which allows the use of the Joomla Content Management System with OpenSimulator.

jOpenSimWorld

jOpenSimWorld is an OpenSim grid which uses Joomla and the jOpenSim component to provide its web interface. The Welcome area of jOpenSimWorld uses the OpenVCE virtual collaboration environment and I-Room building contents. A free 4,096sq.m plot is available to new residents on the Canary Islands region.

hop://grid.jopensim.com:8002/Canary Islands/19/236/22

DreamGrid with jOpenSim

jOpenSim is included in Fred Beckhusen’s DreamGrid distribution for OpenSim from version 3.71 (released 27th October 2020)… documentation at https://www.dropbox.com/s/xm0adlqj6u6ua81/JOpensim.rtf?dl=0


http://ailsa.outworldz.net/JOpenSim/

Note on Starting Apache Web Server via DreamGrid

On first and every subsequent startup two DOS boxes appear for OutworldzFiles\Apache\bin\rotatelogs.exe. Fred Beckhusen notes that Apache brings up two black boxes for the “loggers” – one for errors, one for activity which cannot be supressed. If Apache is installed as a service, the DOS log windows go away. This also lets Apache run your web page/blog/wordpress even if your grid is offline.

Also, there are two popups in OutworldzFiles\PHP7\ext\php_curl.dll for procedure entry point “libssh2_scp_recv2”. Fred Beckhusen points out that those error are from the OpenSim maps, which needs PHP curl. PHP will not run curl without loading a obsolete version of OpenSSL.

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Halloween in Second Life 2020

Halloween has arrived on the houseboat on the Bellisseria continent in Second Life (Ai Pad) courtesy of some Halloween decorations, pumpkins and light sets provided by Linden Lab.



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ICAPS 2020

The ICAPS’20 conference, originally planned to be held in Nancy France, is being run virtually and using gather.town as a social hub and via that Zoom to access meeting spaces…

HPLAN Workshop – Hierarchical Planning

Organised by Pascal Bercher and his team, it was good to see many old friends, colleagues and new (to me) folks in the even run via Zoom…

The workshop was kicked off with an invited talk by Robert Goldman about SHOP3.

Invited Talk by Leslie Kaebling, MIT

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Pisten Bully in OpenSim

I just love the Kässbohrer Pisten Bully.. see some blog posts on this via http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/?s=kassbohrer. So I could not resist taking some snapshots of a model of this created by “Imperator Janus2” (OSGrid) on the AiLand grid in OpenSim using the latest Firestorm Viewer with EEP (Environmental Enhancement Project).



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Ruth2 Mesh Clothing in Second Life

Now that Ruth2 v4 is released (see this blog post), it may be time to explore some of the clothing options available for her. Ruth2 is a low-poly open source mesh avatar for OpenSimulator and Second Life. There are a number shopping areas which provide “group gifts” free to anyone who is a member of the store group. Often group membership is free or low cost.

Remember Ruth2 v4 herself can be obtained at no cost via the Second Life marketplace or the inworld location…

  • Second Life Group: “RuthAndRoth” (free to join) – Group name place holder.
  • Second Life Group: “Ruth and Roth Community” (free to join) – Most active and recommended for use.
  • Second Life Marketplace Store: RuthAndRoth
  • Inworld Location: Fireheart/240/223/21

Maitreya “Lara” fit clothing works quite well on Ruth2 v4, though not an exact fit. Using some alpha masks with the bakes on mesh body can be made to work pretty well. So start with Maitreya fit (or “Medium” or “Small” fit mesh depending on the style.

Addams Clothing

Join the Adamms Clothing group, activate the tag and look for the group gifts on the central plinths.

Seniha Originals

There is a large set of group gifts available in the centre of the store. Make sure to join the Seniha original group and activate the group tag.

!Soul by Shannon Bryon

Duck Girl

Duck Girl Mesh Clothing for Ruth2. Use the “Ruth” versions where provided, or try the “Altamura” or “Maitreya” versions for close fit otherwise.

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Ruth2 Mesh Clothing in OpenSim


Now that Ruth2 v4 is release (see this blog post), it may be time to explore some of the clothing options available for her. Ruth2 is a low-poly open source mesh avatar for OpenSimulator and Second Life.

Remember Ruth2 v4 herself can be obtained at no cost via the OSGrid RuthAndRoth region. You can also find some teleporter boards to various OpenSim Hypergrid locations there… along in some cases with some preselected items from the many that are available. A number of useful additions, such as potentially relevant alpha masks” are also included in the selection boxes.

hop://login.osgrid.org/RuthAndRoth/114/110/21

Taarna Welles – Bubblesz.nl Grid – Savvy – Reboot and ReMake Fashions

Taarna Wellles is one of the original development team for Ruth2 and provided a number of clothing options via her ReBoot stored on the bubblesz.nl grid…

hop://bubblesz.nl:8002/Savvy/162/335/24

Sara Payne – Fire and Ice Grid – Covey Stores

Sara Payne, aka Manwa Pastorelli, provided a number of Ruth2 mesh outfits, shoes and animation on the Fire And Ice
Grid…

hop://fireandicegrid.ddns.net:8002/Covey Stores/123/142/22

Alternate Metaverse

Alternate Metaverse (AMV) provides a number of mesh starter avatars and a box of starter mesh clothing, hair and Animation Overriders (AO) that could be useful. Find them and more via the “AMV Annex” or the “Bare Lilies” regions…

hop://alternatemetaverse.com:8002/
hop://alternatemetaverse.com:8002/AMV Annex/114/131/26
hop://alternatemetaverse.com:8002/Bare Lilies/154/154/9922

Ruth2 v4 Shapes and Skins – Na’vi, Drow and Elf

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Nani OpenSim – Resources

This page is to provide resources related to the Nani branch of OpenSim to assist in testing OpenSimulator. This branch is developed by Nani with support from Hyacinth Jewell of HG Luv Grid. Details of the Nani OpenSimulator version can be found at https://mosthugs.win/

Nani OpenSim was branched off from the OpenSim 0.9.1.0 Dev Master on May 5 2018. Nani release versions reflect the release date. E.g. 20.6.11.

An example Nani-based grid is Alternate Metaverse (AMV)

hop://alternatemetaverse.com:8002/

Bakes on Mesh (BoM) on Nani Grids

The 8th October 2020 update to Nani OpenSim makes BoM work more compatibly with viewers that use Second Life/OpenSim 0.9.2.0 style BoM (left hann image). In Firestorm 6.3.9 and beyond users should see BoM equipped avatars correctly. Users using Firestorm 6.0.2 will see fall back coloured faces on BoM avatars (right hand image).

It looks like at the current Nani software release (8th October 2020) that a manual rebake is necessary if you change anything that affects the BoM layer, such as adding classic clothing items or alpha masks. So bakes are not being updated and pushed back to viewers.

There is a mechanism by typing /#bom me in local chat for you to let others around you still using Firestorm 6.0.2 to see BoM avatars. You see this message in local chat:

BoM detected! You may not appear correctly to people with older viewers.
      If you would like to use our bake feature... type in chat
      /#bom me
      ..and you will appear normally to people with all viewers.

There are a few glitches still with the baked head not working or not hiding the underlying classic avatar. But its getting there.

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OpenSim using .NET 4.8


From 11th September 2020, OpenSim can be built using .NET 4.8 as well as the current default .NET4.6. .NET 4.8 and the necessary compiler tools can be made available by installing Visual Studio 2019 Community Edition.

OpenSim using .NET 4.8

Visual Studio 2019 Core plus additional modules:

  • NET Framework 4.8 SDK
  • .NET Framework 4.8 targeting pack
  • C# and Visual Basic Roslyn compilers

Then use runprebuild19.bat and compile.bat

OpenSim using .NET 4.6

For continued use of .NET 4.6 OpenSim also needs:

  • .NET Framework 4.6 targeting pack
  • Note that the .NET Framework 4.6 SDK is NOT NEEDED.

Then use runprebuild.bat and compile.bat

Visual Studio 2019 Module Installation

Install individual modules at initial installation time or later via
     Visual Studio 2019 -> Tools -> Get Tools and Features -> Individual Components

Resgen

For Diva Wifi addon module language resources generation, you also need to ensure that the PATH environmental variable has resgen.exe and al.exe tools on the path.
     C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v10.0A\bin\NETFX 4.8 Tools

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Second Life Book Club – Larry Niven

Second Life Book Club – Larry Niven in Conversation with Draxtor
https://secondlife.com/destination/second-life-book-club
Wednesday 2nd September 2020 (12pm PST)


Ringworld Cast of Characters Discussion



Larry Niven reading Lucifer’s Hammer


Larry Niven in Conversation with Draxtor and Philip Rosedale

Larry Niven Avatar

Second Life avatar for Larry Niven designed by Silas Merlin… image from Draxtor

Ringworld in Space Simulators

Celestia-Ringworld-Nessus

See http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2015/03/16/ringworld-in-celestia/

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Ruth2 v4

Ruth2 v4 Revision 2020-09-02
Based on Blender Mesh from https://github.com/RuthAndRoth/Ruth2 (was Ada Radius Draft 11). Use a viewer which supports Bakes on Mesh, e.g. Firestorm.

Ruth2 is a low-poly mesh body specifically designed for OpenSimulator and which can also be used in Second Life™. It is built to use standard Second Life UV maps using a scratch-built open source mesh by Shin Ingen, Ada Radius and other contributors from the RuthAndRoth Community. Ruth2 v4 is the fourth version of the mesh avatar updated to be built and rigged using Blender 2.8 and with improved documentation of the workflow to make it reliably repeatable and credits to all the asset creators involved.

AVAILABILITY

USER GUIDE

https://github.com/RuthAndRoth/Ruth2/wiki/User-Guide

BAKES ON MESH

Ruth2 v4 is provided as a single mesh that is designed to work well with Bakes on Mesh. It has a simple alpha capability without needing separate mesh parts and alpha masks can be worn to give more control over hidden areas. rather than use Bakes on Mesh, skin textures may be applied, but you should then add a full body alpha mask to hide the underlying system avatar.

The “Ruth2 v4 – Mesh Avatar” box contents are designed so that they form a complete initial avatar using Bakes on Mesh. You can switch to your own shape, skin, eyes and hair and/or use the HUD to change your appearance. Some example hair, underclothing, hair bases and a range of alpha masks are provided in the “Ruth2 v4 – Extras” box. Skins as used in the HUD and more can be found in a “R2 Skins – Female” box.

HUD

Ruth2 v4 uses a single combination HUD, created by Serie Sumei, for alpha masking, skin and eye texture application, finger and toe nail colour, and other features. The skins and eyes that are available are set via a notecard (!CONFIG) in the Contents of the HUD which can be edited to incorporate your own skins (11 slots are available) and/or eye textures (5 slots are available).

The Skin Alpha Mode can be changed between Alpha Masking with cutoff=128 (the initial setting) and Alpha Blending. Depending on the Alpha Mode that is used on hair, clothing or other attachments that use partial alpha it may be useful to be able to change the setting used on the mesh body to avoid some parts not displaying correctly.

BOX CONTENTS

Ruth2 v4 – Mesh Avatar – This is the normal distribution box and is designed so that once unpacked its contents can be “worn”. It contains basic “classic” avatar shape, skin, eyes or hair to form a complete outfit, but these can be replaced with the users own preferred content.

  • !README, !LICENSE and
    !CHANGES
  • Ruth2 v4 (Body+Hands+Head)
  • Ruth2 v4 Eyes
  • Ruth2 v4 Eyelashes
  • Ruth2 v4 (posable) Flat Feet, and Fixed Medium and Fixed High Feet
  • Ruth2 v4 Toenails for the feet options
  • Ruth2 v4 Five options for fingernails
  • Ruth2 v4 HUD
  • Initial skin, shape, basic eyes and basic hair
  • Basic underwear

Ruth2 v4 – Mesh Avatar Business – A special version of the Ruth2 v4 Mesh Avatar for G-Rated or Business usage is provided with a modified body shape and skins which have simple baked-on underwear.

Ruth2 v4 – Extras – This is a box of useful extra elements and options.

  • !README-EXTRAS and !LICENSE
  • Ruth2 v4 Body (only)
  • Ruth2 v4 Business (Body+Hands+Head)
  • Ruth2 v4 Business Headless (Body+Hands)
  • Ruth2 v4 Hands
  • Ruth2 v4 Head
  • Ruth2 v4 Headless (Body+Hands)
  • Ruth2 v4 Head+Vneck (section of body)
  • Ruth2 v4 Elf Ears
  • Alpha masks
  • Sample hair and hair bases

Ruth2 v4 – Resources – This box is not normally needed. It contains textures and other resources with original UUIDs as used within the other assets. This can be useful if moving the assets across grid, or to repair elements.

Ruth2 v4 – Mesh Uploads – This box is not normally needed. It contains mesh for all Ruth2 v4 elements as originally uploaded and before attaching a root prim or any texturing.

R2 Skins – Female – Skins and related skin textures as used in the Ruth2 v4 HUD and alternatives from https://github.com/RuthAndRoth/Skins.

APPEARANCE SLIDERS

See this Wiki page for information on Bento Mesh Bodies and Heads… http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Project_Bento_Resources_and_Information

The following avatar appearance slider controls are not supported due to technical constraints as described in this Wiki page… http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Project_Bento_Skeleton_Guide

  • Head Shape
  • Eyelash Length
  • Eye Pop
  • Ear Angle
  • Attached Earlobe
  • Jowls
  • Chin Cleft
  • Upper Chin Cleft

KNOWN ISSUES AND TROUBLESHOOTING

  • Ruth2 v4 with attached Bento head will work with most shapes. The headless body, to use with system head or other mesh head, will work well with the sliders except body fat, and extremes to neck length and thickness, because of the neck seam. There are a few head sliders that don’t work: Head Shape, Ear Angle, Jowls, Chin Cleft.
  • Texture Alpha Mode – Alpha Blending or Alpha Masking? Ruth2 v4 is set initially with mode Alpha Masking with a mid cutoff of 128 (the cutoff range can be 0 to 255) as this may work well with the addition of clothing and hair that use Alpha Blending as transparent edges can appear if too many overlapping items use the same alpha mode. But Alpha Blending can often look smoother. The Eyelashes are set to Alpha Blending mode for this reason since they act more like a hair attachment.
  • The Ruth2 v4 mesh near the toes is adjusted to avoid the toenail area of the skin, as many skins bake in toenails. Ruth2 v4 is designed to make use of separate mesh toenails. For best result, paint over the system toenails and remove as much detail as you can from your foot skin that is probably designed for the system avatar’s duck feet.
  • The HUD Options Tab allows for the posable flat foot pose to be altered and an “ankle lock” facility attempts to keep animations from moving a joint or two. The ankle lock is sometimes needed to counter-act an interaction between some poses/animations and non-flat feet that otherwise bends the foot back another 45-60 degrees. Not every raised foot needs it due to variations in rigging and if the feet were posed with animations already or not.
  • Multiple fingernail shapes are available. The HUD is not currently enabled to support selection between these. Just add and remove the option you wish to use.
  • Due to the scripting facilities used in the HUD, Ruth2 V4 scripts will not work on early versions of OpenSim such as 0.8.2.1 (now five years old). Please update.
    But to help, a box with unscripted versions of the main mesh avatar is available on OSGrid on the RuthAndRoth region. This version does not include the HUD, the body parts are unscripted except for relaxed hand pose activation in Ruth2 v4 (Body+Hands+Head). This version should work for BoM with an appropriate viewer, or apply skins and manually apply alphas where needed.

AVATAR COMPLEXITY

Ruth2 v4 is designed to have low “avatar complexity” when worn to reduce lag. Asset sharing of the meshes and textures has been encouraged wherever possible with all assets made freely available to allow for reuse.

RUTHANDROTH COMMUNITY

Please contribute via the GitHub Repository and send your feedback by posting to the Discord Channel.

CREDITS

LICENSE

See https://github.com/RuthAndRoth/Ruth2 Documentation/Packaging/LICENSE.txt

The main Ruth2 v4 mesh components have an AGPL license and other components have Creative Commons or other open source licenses. Basically, you can use and distribute the materials as you wish, but any modifications to the AGPL meshes that are distributed or made available in a service must be made publicly available at no cost and released under the same terms granted in the LICENSE.

CONTRIBUTORS

Various Authors and contributors to the Git Repository in alphabetical order are:

  • Ada Radius
  • Ai Austin
  • Chimera Firecaster
  • Elenia Boucher
  • Fred Beckhusen
  • Fritigern Gothly
  • Joe Builder
  • Kayaker Magic
  • Lelani Carver
  • Leona Morro
  • Mike Dickson
  • Noxluna Nightfire
  • Sean Heavy
  • Serie Sumei
  • Shin Ingen
  • Sundance Haiku
  • Other contributions and testing by members of the OpenSimulator and RuthAndRoth Communities.

The ‘R2’ logo may be used to indicate projects or products that are either based on or compatible with the RuthAndRoth project mesh bodies.

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Second Life – Cloud Uplift – Testing

Linden Lab are moving Second Life from their own servers onto the Amazon Cloud – a process known as “Cloud Uplift”. This will take place over an extended period during 2020. Some regions are already operating “In the Cloud” on the “Aditi” Second Life test grid. See this Blake Sea is now up on Aditi – Second Life Blog Post.

Inara Pey, as often, has provided very helpful blog posts on the Cloud Uplift and her testing with her extensive range of vehicles to try out region crossing to see if that is improved.

Some Entry points on the Aditi test grid where boats and seaplanes, etc. can be rezzed to test are:

  • Blake Sea – Half Hitch (secondlife://Aditi/secondlife/Blake%20Sea%20-%20Half%20Hitch/119/45/22)
  • Blake Sea – Japan (secondlife://Aditi/secondlife/Blake%20Sea%20-%20Japan/207/248/22)
  • Blake Sea – Beagle (secondlife://Aditi/secondlife/Blake%20Sea%20-%20Beagle/207/208/13)
  • Blake Sea – Mainbrace (secondlife://Aditi/secondlife/Blake%20Sea%20-%20Mainbrace/211/241/16)
  • Blake Sea – Atlantic (secondlife://Aditi/secondlife/Blake%20Sea%20-%20Atlantic/245/219/16)

Supercar on Blake Sea on Aditi in the Cloud

Supercar looks fine in the Cloud and region crossing looks good. I deliberately flew into a region on a corner with void beyond, and not surprisingly found myself ejected with my vehicle safely returned to my “Lost and Found” folder. Supercar is rumoured to be capable of flight at very high altitudes at Mach 5. Other aspects of the test are “CLASSIFIED” 🙂





Region Crossing Improvements on Agni (Main Grid) and Aditi (Beta Grid)

Whoosh! What’s Up with Region Crossings? – April Linden Blog Post 13-Aug-2020

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GenCon – Online

GenCon (https://www.gencon.com/) is a (normally physical) convention for tabletop gamers (like Duungeons & Dragons) with extensions to all sort of other role play games. It has been running since 1968 when it started in Lake Geneva, Winconsin, USA, and is usually held in Indianapolis. Due to CORVID-19 the even is being held virtually from July 30th to August 2nd, 2020. See https://www.gencon.com/online.

VRazeTheBar is organising a set of GenCon events on regions in Second Life. The Welcome Region is already open until July 30th at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Welworn/96/223/97 and will provided access to the multi-level gaming areas when the conference runs.

Inara Pey’s Blog Posts on GenCon in Second Life, 14-Jul-2020 and GenCon: Sneaking a Peek in Second Life, 23-Jul-2020.

RazeTheBar Opening Event – 30th July 2020 – Second Life




RazeTheBar Closing Event – 30rd August 2020 – Second Life



Simultaneous Event – Gen Con RazeTheBar Closing Event and Crew Dragon Return to Earth

YouTube – VRazeTheBar GenCon Online 2020 Highlights – 21-Aug-2020

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Hubs by Mozilla

Mozilla Hubs is a virtual collaboration platform that runs in a web browser on desktops, tablets and mobile devices. It can support wireless standalone VR headsets. Desktop VR setups like the Oculus Rift are supported via a WebVR compatible browser (e.g. Firefox). See list of supported devices.

Simple 3D spaces can be selected from an initial range, or created in a tool called Spoke. Other users can be invited to join in the room using a shared URL. The room can have 3D objects, media and video screen facilities, etc.

Avatars are very simple and can be selected from a set provided. Default names are assigned to users unless the user changes that (saved locally on each browser used).

Posted in Virtual World, VR | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Lost Horizon – Music Festival in VR

Lost Horizon has been created by the team behind Glastonbury’s Shangri-La festival within a festival, and in conjunction with VRJAM and Sansar to be “the world’s largest independent music and arts festival in virtual reality. Lost Horizon is a REAL festival in a virtual world. A fully interactive and multi-stage event to explore… raising money for The Big Issue and Amnesty International”.

ShangriLa – Glasto – Day 1 – July 3, 2020

The Tech: I was using Oculus Rift via Sansar to attend the festival. Access worked quickly and without glitches. After arrival at the ShangriLa entry portal, there were teleport portals to the four stages (Gas Tower, Freedom, Nomad and SHITV) and the Art festival area. The performers looked like they were performing against a green screen so they could be placed into the stage area of each performance space, and appeared as 2D video streams on stage. The stage area was unreachable by users so the illusion was maintained.


On entry through the portals to each stage or experience the user was placed in a sharded version of the experience. Users will normally end up in an arbitrary shard. Each shard had a Sansar official helper who was there to answer questions in chat (nice feature), a different official in each shard as far as I could see. There were perhaps 40 to 60 avatars in each experience, though a lot of NPCs were scattered around to make it look much busier. Voice was active in each shard so people could chat (or shout) over the music. Emotes can be used for dancing animations. The entry area can be bookmarked as a “Favourite” location, and if selected prior to teleport, the “instances” available can be listed along with the number of avatars in each, prior to selecting a specific one to enter. The specific instance URL can be shared with friends to let them join you without ending up in a separate shard.

The experience was very well designed and performed better in comparison to the VRChat-based Jean-Michel Jarre VR concert on June 21st, 2020 [See Blog Post].

ShangriLa – Glasto – Day 2 – July 4, 2020

The festival continues to work really well. It may be worth noting that larger performing groups need to be careful they don’t step outside the field of viewer before their green screen. Make some marks on the flor for the area covered by the camera. Otherwise the outermost performers can get clipped by the edge of the frame breaking the immersive effect, which is otherwise good, so long as you don’t get close to the stage and loom from one extreme side at an angle. Then the performers can look a bit flat 🙂

It is also nice that the community is not so large that you are likely to bump into old friends from Sansar, Second Life or OpenSim, which enhances the community festival experience.

Posted in Media, VR | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Alone Together – Jean-Michel Jarre


Jean-Michel Jarre and his Avatar engaged in a Live VR performance using the VRChat platform to celebrate Fête de la Musique 2020, June 21st at 21h15 CET. The event took place in the “VRRoom” area of VRChat.

Some notes on the experience… I was using Oculus Rift on Windows 10 with a Xeon processor, 64GB of memory and Nvidia GTX1080 GPU. After the advertised time there was a 15 minute delay before the event started. I monitored a YouTube 2D feed to see when it actually started as that was unclear in VRChat itself. Even after the 9pm CET time at which users were asked to relog to get the performance space build, I had to relog four times to get into an instance where the performance was streaming. Other instances had a few avatars also looking for a live performance area. Jean-Michel’s “avatar” actually appeared as a 2D video projection onto a flat screen behind the synthesizer props in the shared spaces for attendees… with about 20 to 30 people in each shard. The instance crashed once and required a restart and reenter via the arrival lobby and entry stairs again. The sound was fine when in a proper live instance, though avatar to avatar chat was audible over the performance, and would need individual avatar muting to supress it. A way to supress all “attendee” avatar chat and still have the performance stream audible, perhaps on a separate easily clickable button, would make sense in such performances. There were interesting visual effects like swirls of the field of view, projections, warp effects, etc. These were all clearly displayed in the VR Headset.



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EdMOLT – Week Seven

Week seven is the final week of the EdMOLT course.

I caught up on the various discussion forums which I had not been on for 6 days or so.

I also checked if anyone in my “Team” for the joint exercises had checked in on any of the modalities available and no one had except the course tutor. I suggested that a way to address lack of involvement by people in some teams might be to mid course ask other team if they were willing to invite across individuals who found themselves in inactive groups.

A useful resource in the week seven materials is a web site for “An Edinburgh Online Teaching Toolkit – Resources for teaching online”…

https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/learning-technology/onlinecourse-production/training-support/toolkit

End of Course “Gift”

A nice summary PDF with course participant inputs, images and course graphics was provided at the end of the course. Thanks.

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Firestorm VR Mod 6.3.9 and 6.4.5

Firestorm 6.4.5.60799 with OpenSimulator viewer is a Beta test viewer which includes support for EEP (the Environmental Enhancement Project) and support for the Chrome Embedded Framework Live Video Streaming features in Second Life and OpenSim. VR Mode in this new version acts in the same way as in Firestorm VR Mod 6.3.9. See under “> Assets” for the releases via
https://github.com/humbletim/firestorm-gha/releases

Peter Kappler maintains the Firestorm VR Mod Viewer and his source code modifications to allow the Firestorm Viewer to work with VR headsets at https://gsgrid.de/firestorm-vr-mod/ – go there to download his latest version and for usage information, source, advice on trouble shooting, etc. For community support use the Discord Discussion Channel: P373R-WORKSHOP by p373r_kappler [ Invite ].

On that channel @humbletim has announced an automated scripted build system with help from @thoys using GitHub Actions (GHA) which merges Peter Kappler’s VR code additions into stock Firestorm and which can autobuild a release executable version. He has done that for Firestorm 6.3.9.58205 and 6.4.5.60799. See https://github.com/humbletim/firestorm-gha/. Look under the Releases tab and the installer is under the “Assets” chevron.

These install in to their own folder and use their own user Settings directory so that the VR Mod viewer can be installed alongside the standard Firestorm viewer. Note that if you want to import existing Firestorm accounts/settings you have to manually copy them over between AppData/Roaming/Firestorm_x64 and AppData/Roaming/FirestormVR_x64 folders.

As usual, Ctrl+TAB initially sets up SteamVR (and HMD support as needed), TAB is used to toggle VR mode on or off, F5 lets you select and step through the various VR HMD or user specific settings for IPD, texture shift to register the left and right eye images, and focal distance to change depth perception, etc. F3/F4 are used to increment and decrement each setting selection.


If you see a lot of hover tips showing under the mouse it could be that the debug setting “ShowHoverTips” is set to TRUE (the default) which may show something constantly under the mouse even for inert unscripted objects. You can turn that off via Debug Settings or via Preferences – User Interface – 3D World – Show Hover Tips.


On the Discord channel @humbletim on 28-May-2020 wrote:

For anyone wanting to compile from source I was able to get a combined Firestorm stock + VR Mod built using Github Actions (much thanks to @thoys for helping figure it out!).

Still tweaking the build script but latest windows version is here:
https://github.com/humbletim/firestorm-gha/blob/gha/Firestorm_master_VR/.github/workflows/CompileWindows.yml

And here are the minimum source changes that seem necessary on top of stock Firestorm_6.3.9_Release to merge in the 6.3.3 VR Mod source, fetch OpenVR as a submodule dependency, and then automatically bundle as part of the generated installer.
https://github.com/humbletim/firestorm-gha/compare/Firestorm_6.3.9…humbletim:Firestorm_6.3.9_VR


For more details and advice on running Firestorm VR Mod see http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2019/11/28/firestorm-vr-mod-6-3-3/.


Reflections Issue in Firestorm 6.4.5.60799 VR Mod

Ahah… I notice a BIG difference when using 6.4.5.60799 VR Mod… as you tip you head from side to side when in VR Mode the UI elements like the HUDs and name/group tags correctly stay level. BUT the REFLECTIONS of in world items ALSO stay level which looks very odd. In 6.3.9.58205 they correctly stay as a mirror image of the objects. I wonder if the EEP code has altered the graphics layer on which reflections are placed in some way that needs a change to the VR Mod approach? Or if its a bug somewhere in the core Firestorm/Linden Lab rendering code.

Here are screenshots from FS 6.3.9.58205 VR Mod (left) and FS 6.4.5.60799 VR Mod (right) in VR Mode with HMD tipped to the side… click on images for full size versions…

It may be that Linden Lab moved the reflections onto a different graphics layer and the VR Mod code folks might be able to fix that… but it might also partially explain why there is a big frame rate drop in the EEP viewers… as we already know that turning off the UI layer improves frame rate a LOT…. just speculation at the moment but still… interesting.

Looks like its an issue in Linden Lab (and hence Firestorm) EEP code changes.. as it can be observed in the standard non-VR Mod viewers. It is rather obvious in VR Mode, but can also be seen in a standard view… if you place your avatar so its at an angle (e.g. on a pose stand and rotate it sideways) and go into Mouselook mode you can see the reflections are wrong… setup as in the following image…

Here are screenshots from FS 6.3.9.58205 (left) and FS 6.4.5.60799 (right) in Mouselook mode with avatar view tipped to the side… click on images for full size versions…

The issues is in the Linden Lab EEP code and is reported at https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/BUG-229181 and https://jira.firestormviewer.org/browse/FIRE-29972

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EdMOLT – Week Six

Checking out the materials for week six on Feedback and Assessment.

Checked out whether the group I am part of had made any contact on all channels, Teams area, Group Discussion Board and Group Padlet. Looks like I am the only member of the group, besides Micheal Gallagher the course instructor, that has tried any of the channels.

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EdMOLT – Week Five

Start of a new week, start of a new blog post. TBA.

Engaged Learning Communities (Continued)

Group Work on the task of keeping a community engaged… checked out the Edinburgh Model Group 15 channels: discussion board, group e-mail via Teams, Teams and its shared Files area. I even added a pointer on the group padlet in case anyone sees that. But I see no activity at all except the input of the EdMOLT course leader Michael. Perhaps this is a good example of less than active interest in group work in some online learning communities and the lack of community in the channels available 🙂 Discord works well for something like this.

EdMOLT Week Five Drop-in Session on Blackboard Collaborate

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Roth2 v2

Roth2 v2 Revision 2020-05-24
Based on Blender Mesh from https://github.com/RuthAndRoth/Roth2 (was DRAFT8_4)
Use a viewer which supports Bakes on Mesh, e.g. Firestorm.

Roth2 is a low-poly mesh body specifically designed for OpenSimulator and which can also be used in Second Life™. It is built to use standard Second Life UV maps using a scratch-built open source mesh by Shin Ingen, Ada Radius and other contributors from the RuthAndRoth Community. Roth2 v2 is the second version of the mesh avatar updated to be built and rigged using Blender 2.8 and with improved documentation of the workflow to make it reliably repeatable and credits to all the asset creators involved.

AVAILABILITY

BAKES ON MESH

Roth2 v2 is provided as a single mesh that is designed to work well with Bakes on Mesh. It has a simple alpha capability without needing separate mesh parts and alpha masks can be worn to give more control over hidden areas. rather than use Bakes on Mesh, skin textures may be applied, but you should then add a full body alpha mask to hide the underlying system avatar.

The “Roth2 v2 – Mesh Avatar” box contents are designed so that they form a complete initial avatar using Bakes on Mesh. You can switch to your own shape, skin, eyes and hair and/or use the HUD to change your appearance. Some example skins, hair, clothing and a range of alpha masks are provided in the “Roth2 v2 – Extras” box.

HUD

Roth2 v2 uses a single combination HUD, created by Serie Sumei, for alpha masking, skin and eye texture application and other features. The skins and eyes that are available are set via a notecard (!CONFIG) in the Contents of the HUD which can be edited to incorporate your own skins (10 slots are available) and/or eye textures (5 slots are available).

The Skin Alpha Mode can be changed between Alpha Masking with cutoff=128 (the initial setting) and Alpha Blending. Depending on the Alpha Mode that is used on hair, clothing or other attachments that use partial alpha it may be useful to be able to change the setting used on the mesh body to avoid some parts not displaying correctly.

BOX CONTENTS

Roth2 v2 – Mesh Avatar – This is the normal distribution box and is designed so that once unpacked its contents can be “worn”. It contains basic “classic” avatar shape, skin, eyes and hair so that a complete outfit can be worn. This can then be replaced with the users own avatar elements.

  • !README, !LICENSE and
    !CHANGES
  • Roth2 v2 Full (Body+Feet+Hands+Head)
  • Roth2 v2 Eyes
  • Roth2 v2 HUD
  • Initial skin, shape, basic eyes and basic hair
  • Dark gray underwear

Roth2 v2 – Extras – This is a box of useful extra elements and options.

  • !README-EXTRAS and !LICENSE
  • Roth2 v2 Body (only)
  • Roth2 v2 Feet
  • Roth2 v2 Hands
  • Roth2 v2 Head
  • Roth2 v2 Headless (Body+Feet+Hands)
  • Roth2 v2 Head+Vneck (section of body)
  • Roth2 v2 Elf Ears
  • Dark grey underwear briefs and jacket length top
  • Alpha masks
  • Sample hair
  • HUD debug script

Roth2 v2 – Resources – This box is not normally needed. It contains textures and other resources with original UUIDs as used within the other assets.. This can be useful of moving the assets across grid, or to repair elements.

  • !README-RESOURCES and !LICENSE
  • All skin and eye textures used in default HUD
  • Box Art
  • HUD Textures
  • Clothing – Underwear

Roth2 v2 – Mesh Uploads – This box is not normally needed. It contains mesh for all Roth2 v2 elements as originally uploaded and before attaching a root prim or any texturing.

  • !README-MESH-UPLOADS and !LICENSE
  • Collada (.dae) Mesh for all Roth2 v2 elements as originally uploaded and before part renaming, attaching a root prim or any texturing.

KNOWN ISSUES AND TROUBLESHOOTING

  • There may be a small gap or seem at the neck joint between the mesh body and the classic avatar or addon mesh heads.
  • Not all the appearance sliders will work on the mesh body and parts.
  • Roth2 v2 with attached Bento head will work with most shapes. The headless body, to use with system head or other mesh head, will work well with the sliders except body fat, and extremes to neck length and thickness, because of the neck seam. There are a few head sliders that don’t work: Head Shape, Ear Angle, Jowls, Chin Cleft. Things on the list for another release sometime down the road: figure out the neck issue, improve pointy ears.
  • Foot skin problems? For best result, paint over the system toenails and remove as much detail as you can from your foot skin that is probably designed for the system avatar’s duck feet.
  • HUD issues? The Extras box contains a HUD debug script. Add this to the HUD contents to allow for a long mouse press to bring up menu with diagnostic and further options.

RUTHANDROTH COMMUNITY

Please contribute via the GitHub Repository and send your feedback by posting to the Discord Channel.

CREDITS

LICENSE

See https://github.com/RuthAndRoth/Roth2 Documentation/Packaging/LICENSE.txt

The main Roth2 v2 mesh components have an AGPL license and other components have Creative Commons or other open source licenses. Basically, you can use and distribute the materials as you wish, but any modifications to the AGPL meshes that are distributed or made available in a service must be made publicly available at no cost and released under the same terms granted in the LICENSE.

CONTRIBUTORS

Various Authors and contributors to the Git Repository in alphabetical order are:

  • Ada Radius
  • Ai Austin
  • Chimera Firecaster
  • Elenia Boucher
  • Fred Beckhusen
  • Fritigern Gothly
  • Joe Builder
  • Lelani Carver
  • Leona Morro
  • Mike Dickson
  • Noxluna Nightfire
  • Sean Heavy
  • Serie Sumei
  • Shin Ingen
  • Sundance Haiku
  • Other contributions and testing by members of the OpenSimulator and RuthAndRoth Communities.

The ‘R2’ logo may be used to indicate projects or products that are either based on or compatible with the RuthAndRoth project mesh bodies.

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EdMOLT – Week Four

4.3 Design Brief Action Plan – Edinburgh Model Group 15

A task to explore collaborative development of a course plan to present to a board of studies to show how the team would involve students…

You are part of a new course team developing a course to be delivered online at the start of the next academic year. Due to student feedback and high online attrition at other universities, your Programme Board are particularly keen to support online courses that students becoming active participants of the University of Edinburgh community. You have to prepare an action plan for your Programme Board. The action plan will outline how teaching staff will ensure that students on the new online course feel part of the University of Edinburgh community and a part of their course and programme cohort.

Trying Microsoft Teams for coordination between the 4 team members and a course leader. Observation AT: Microsoft Teams is not a great tool for making team members aware of activity or fostering a sense of community or team spirit. I never turn on notifications from any tool as I am involved in so many online communities, so tools that are poor at summarising the status and progress of discussions or work items when you return possibly after some time away don’t work very well for me.

Some Inputs and thoughts… Our Community Orientated Online Course

1. a (brief) summary of the cohort demographics and geographical locations of the cohort as you understand them to be. This needn’t be precise, just a sketch.

Idea AT: Shall we assume international, multi-time zone, multi-cultural, multi-age?

2. a (brief) overview of community specific activity that you will design into this new course, and the virtual spaces where this activity will take place. You can focus on the community (University of Edinburgh), the cohort (the fellow students within this specific course or more broadly on your programme) or both.

Idea AT: How about getting them all to create their own digital artifact related to how the subject matter of the course relates to their own personal interests. Any format, any media. To briefly explain their personal interest and then how the subject matter or readings in the area might apply to or be used in their area of interest. When (or if) ready they can invite classmates to look at their artifact and give constructive inputs and ideas. A weekly virtual get together that runs over a 48 hour period across all time zones in a persistent meeting space with poster boards round the walls will allow anyone willing and ready to put up a poster with a URL to their artifact and this will indicate they are open to inputs from classmates. Classmates can make asynchronous inputs about posters to help their classmates. Some encouragement inputs and gentle persuasion from class leaders will be made as appropriate to keep up some momentum. Occasional video made to allow those without easy access to platform chosen to see what is happening. Ask for community volunteers to act as a bridge into the platform and posters for those without suitable access or skill.

3. a (brief) overview of how you might know the activity was working in was fostering a sense of community. Again, no need to be elaborate here but rather just a few metrics you might be looking for.

Idea AT: Look at how many people get to the stage of making their artifact accessible via a URL. Then how many take it to the stage or making a poster in the persistent meeting space for weekly sessions. And how many people actually comment and give feedback.

4. an indication of how your plan caters for inclusivity and accessibility.

Multiple time zones support, dip in access, any level of involvement, no need to go public with the artifact.

4.4 The 3 C’s – community, campus, cohort

Support for Communities of Practice. Notes…

We supported a community of several hundred people (a volunteer sub-group of a world wide community of some 1,300 experts in academic, government and industry) involved in supporting government agencies and multi-national efforts in emergency response situations. We explored and conducted usability and effectiveness evaluations of a set of tools for distributed collaboration suitable for supporting their inputs and activity in both training and live emergency contexts…

Whole of Society Crisis Response Community exercises e.g. with USJFCOM, Army Research Labs, Virginia State, Hampton City and others…

EADS Astrium (Airbus) Homeland Security and Non-combatant Evacuation Scenarios

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EdMOLT – Week Three

I actually started week three by catching up on the last two modules in week two. The comments on teacher presence in 2.9 were interesting, as I found that we spent a lot of time interacting with students and the weekly guest feature lecturers on the Coursera AI Planning MOOC we ran.

3.2: Time Online in Distance Education – Synchronous and Asynchronous interactions

I am keen on supporting both synchronous and asynchronous interaction in online educational contexts. We have in the past conducted research on distributed collaboration more generally and explored how communities interact, the tasks they perform together and the tool types that may support these tasks (Tate et al., 2014). So I found Watts (2016) interesting.

3.4: Contact time, expectations, and indicators – Padlet

I put a comment into the Padlet for this activity along with the Task/Cognitive Work Analysis figure from Tate et al. (2014) as shown above… “Task Accomplishment versus Time Online – It would be nice to see the tasks the students are tackling (or that the course leaders believe they SHOULD be tackling) and their level of accomplishment of those tasks as a measure of engagement and progress.”

My dissertation for the MSc in e-Learning (Tate, 2012) covered some aspects of activities and tasks and ways to support them for distributed teams working in various areas such as emergency response, and especially the training of such teams. An overall approach can be adopted from the “5E Instructional Model” (NASA, 2012) with a flow of Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend and Evaluate. Within this higher level cycle, a very useful set of learner activities specifically relevant to situated and social activity in a community of practice has been developer by Soller (2001, as shown in figure 6.1).

The educator can add appropriate constraints (limited by the activity which is possible via the affordances offered) and inject relevant events for learners to respond to (as shown in figure 8.1).

See
http://atate.org/mscel/i-zone/ for more details.

3.5 Synchronous vs. asynchronous

Hahaha… I should have read ahead.. this is a topic that interests me.. as can be seen from the above comments.. I tend to write these blog posts as a log of my learning activity and interaction with the course material.. hence my previous annoyance if they time out in the WordPress platform! I am saving blog post changes frequently after that little faux pas.

3.8: Case Study for Dealing with Multiple Time Zones

No single time works across the world, but having several clustered sessions where there can be decent and reasonable overlap can work well if you can get some overlap between the participants. having a persistent space where the meeting take place, where artifacts can be “pined” and seen by all participants can be helpful. But you know where I am coming from there with virtual world technology 🙂

References

NASA (2012) “5Es Overview: The 5E instructional model”, NASA Education Web.

Soller, A.L. (2001) “Supporting Social Interaction in an Intelligent Learning System”, International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education (IJAIED), Vol. 12, pp. 40-62.

Tate, A. (2012) ‘Activity in Context’ – Planning to Keep Learners ‘in the Zone’ for Scenario-based Mixed-Initiative Training, MSc in e-Learning Dissertation, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, 9th August 2012. [PDF Format]

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]

Watts, L. (2016). Synchronous and asynchronous communication in distance learning: A review of the literature. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 17(1), 23.

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EdMOLT – Week Two

The blog post said it had timed out when I was updating it after adding three or four paragraphs. That’s is very bad. I find its really difficult to get the motivation to repeat a lot of comments after they have been made once.

It is Thursday of week 2 and I have just carved out some time to look at Week Two course materials I am engaged on an international collaborative project to produce open source educational resources for collaboration in OpenSimulator and Second Life. I am acting as a coordinator, editor and tester and this week a lot of the materials have started to come together.

2.2: Into the Unknown: On the “Unknowns” Padlet activity I noted the “unknown” as I see it of having little sense of who else is engaged with the study group or class. Maybe I need to dip again into the Discussion Forums.

Discssion Forums: Just dipped back into the discussion forums. It nice and clearly marks replies or comments you have had on previous posts. So you can go an read or comment back on the inputs. But I don’t at the moment see a simple way to get back to my own previous inputs or comments. I am sure that functionality must be there somewhere.

Claudia commented that Second LifeSecond LifeSecond Life was not up to much.. so I pointed her at a blog post written for a Head of School in the University who wanted to know how we used virtual world in the University…

http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2018/04/27/virtual-worlds-technology-for-university-of-edinburgh/

2.3 and 2.4: Disengagement Cases: Having to retype and remember what I said since my previous updates were lost when post editing “timed out” and no history of the changes were in the revisions list. I thought WordPress occasionally saved in progress versions there. Maybe not.

Essentially my thoughts were that student self help and off course communication channels were good, but some way to ask for friendly students to bridge the gap and raise issues they see in a way that does not name individuals would be good. Drop in sessions timed so that they work for those with home and social responsibilities, or perhaps travelling (in the past!) would be helpful.

2.7: Mitigating Transactional Distance: s you know I am keen on persistent shared social and interaction spaces. So for the “Padlet” activity I suggested a “virtual coffee room” (our American colleagues might call it the “Water Cooler” area) – Have a shared persistent space where folks can feet, chat, post notes and provide some sense of community and continuity. Links from this out to the online resources by giving them a “physical” point of reference.

Our research work on I-Rooms; virtual spaces for intelligent interaction” relate to this… see http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2011/09/15/i-room-a-virtual-space-for-intelligent-interaction/

2.8: Teacher Presence: is important. The comments on blog posts is a great way to have the student feel they are involved and that the teacher is interested and present.

2.9: I actually did not get to this until the beginning of week three comments on teacher presence in 2.9 were interesting, as I found that we spent a lot of time interacting with students and the weekly guest feature lecturers on the Coursera AI Planning MOOC we ran.

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Fortnite – Party Royale – Social Space

Fortnite normally involves player-versus-player combat modes. But a new “Party Royale” mode provides a social space that is being used for hangouts, parties, concerts and lightweight games.


Update 8-May-2020: Party Royale

Dillon Francis, Steve Aoki, and deadmau5 are coming to Party Royale with back-to-back-to-back sets LIVE on the big screen at the Main Stage. Hit the dance floor, chill with friends, or jump into activities in Party Royale (8-May-2020). To join the party, select the “Party Royale” playlist in Battle Royale.

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Vive Sync – VR Meeting Spaces

Launched today (30-Apr-2020) is HTC Vive Sync (https://sync.vive.com/) – which the web site states is an “all-in-one meeting and collaboration solution for VR. With VIVE Sync, it’s easy to customize your avatar, create a private meeting room, and begin working face-to-face with colleagues around the world. And with our suite of 3D interactive meeting tools, you can review 3D interactive content in ways that have never been possible”.

Vive Sync Avatar Creator




VR Headset Support

Currently, Sync only supports the Vive ecosystem of headsets – the HTC Vive, Vive Pro, Vive Focus and Vive Cosmos. HTC says it plans for future upgrades to the tool to include support for Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, Valve Index and Windows Mixedf-Reality headsets.

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EdMOLT – Week One – 1.8 Onwards

1.8: I am an enthusiastic supporter of avatar-based virtual worlds (such as Second Life and the open-source OpenSim platforms) as shared collaborative spaces and they work well in a lot of educational contexts… and have used them for class meeting and discussion spaces, for seminars, rain storming sessions, etc.

These spaces can be set up so there are many separate isolated spaces, and can even allow student subgroups, say those speaking a specific language or those from some specific region to have their own space with isolated text chat and voice facilities. These can be themed to be fun spaces for those who like that.. say a coffee area, campfire setting, a beach with a lovely sunset view, or perhaps out on a yacht in the bay.

Students can hang out in these spaces, drop in, etc. the sense of presence and ways to share information can increase (see Tate et al., 2014). Some may find the abstraction of an avatar odd, especially at first and if they have not been used to playing with a character in online and computer games. But this level of abstraction and spatial separation can also be of benefit especially in some cultures that may not support some forms of social interaction.

1.9: Too many folks who have not used online platforms and been involved in collaborative community orientated courses and activities think online is a poor alternative to “face-to-face” teaching. They assume sole learners in isolated contexts working alone with lists of videos, some even simply recorded from the back of lecture theatres! This is FAR from my own experiences. I believe online community orientated learning in a mix of synchronous activities and asynchronous study is a preferable alternative to typical lecture theatre and group tutorial style activities which suit some but not all learners.

1.10: See above… and why not have a virtual worlds “Edinburgh” location to anchor the experience of “being at Edinburgh” for our students… see Virtual University of Edinburgh.

1.11: Blogging… and here we are… the end of week one. I am already a blogger and often use blog posts to bring together resources, links I want to recall later, notes, screenshots of software and tools I try, hints to help use those tools, etc.

My reflection on the week is that I have no sense at all yet of the other people involved… beyond a few scattered entries I have seen on the Padlet activities in week one, many of which give me no idea of who is I the community, what their interests are, or even the size of the community. The discussion forums and commented upon there is so busy I have not (yet) got a sense of how to use it wisely or quickly catch up. I think having a large number of threads and topics is unhelpful in this respect. We have found that also when using Discord for some online communities too. Some people have just a few threads that people can see and catch up with or skip. Other Discord communities have massive numbers of super fine topics and its too much to get an overview of what is happening.

Blackboard Collaborate Drop In Session

On 1-May-2020, the first of a planned weekly “drop in” teleconference session took place in Blackboard Collaborate. I used Firefox on Windows 10 to run this, as I have previously found that Internet Explorer and Internet edge have issues accessing my microphone.

2.x Peek Ahead

I see that week 2 and 3 materials are already in place. I am not sure if that is a good idea and would like to see discussion on the value or otherwise of this. It means some students may be racing ahead and commenting on forums, etc out of sync with others in the community. I appreciate e want a high degree of asynchrony to accommodate individual participants time and availability… and its good to have catch up periods to get the community in sync at certain points. When the course description said there would be 4 weeks of study over 7 weeks, that is what I thought might happen.

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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