High Fidelity – Load Test – 7 Sept 2018

A load test of the High Fidelity virtual world platform took place on 7th September 2018 and at least 356 avatars were in world in the same location at peak. A lot of different tests and exercises were run, including a trivia game. The performance was very good with only a couple of losses of the sound and one or two scene drop outs when logged on from Edinburgh Scotland.

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Sintel Resources

This page acts as a resource for the Blender Durian Open Source Movie Sintel Project and its Sintel character 3D models and avatars.

Blender Sintel Avatar Model

The Open Source Blender Project “Sintel” avatar has been used in a number of open source projects and a version is available to use as an avatar or character in environments such as Unity.

http://u3d.at.ua/load/modeli/ljudi_personazhi/sintel_character_for_unity/14-1-0-2929 by SaNEк [local copy]


It can be use to replace the Ethan visual model as described above. Just delete the Ethan visual model elements (EthanBody, EthanGlasses and EthanSkeleton) and insert the Sintel model instead. Then select the original Ethan “ThirdPersonController” and in the Unity Inspector change the Animator -> Avatar to the “SintelAvatar” you have included.

2015-09-08-Unity-Sintel-2 2015-09-08-Unity-Sintel-Run

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Pisten Bully 3D Models

Kässbohrer Pisten Bully Models imported via Unity3D and into a range of environments…

Original Models via 3DWarehouse.sketchup.com

Pisten Bully 100 via 3dwarehouse.sketchup.com by Tomme123456789

Pisten Bully 100 by Tomme123456789 Pisten Bully 300 by Digital Impressions

Pisten Bully 300 via 3dwarehouse.sketchup.com by Digital Impressions

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Fallingwater in southwestern Pennsylvania is a vacation home designed in 1935 by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and often thought to be one of the finest buildings of the 20th Century.

Fallingwater 3D Model by Myles Zhang

Fallingwater PlanA lovely 3D openly accessible and modifiable model of the house and environment was created by Myles Zhang on Sketchfab.com [ Download Resources ] using 3D model source files originally by nottamun on 3dwarehouse.sketchup.com.

Fallingwater in Unity3D

I extracted the Collada (DAE) model of Fallingwater with its associated textures and imported those to Unity3D adding in some surrounding terrain. The trees and bushes were mostly replaced using Unity3D free assets and waterfall details were added and animated. Building and ground lighting was added, along with a day/night cycle. Doorways are not animated, so some of these were made into phantom (non-colliding) objects so an avatar can walk through them. Some pathways, corridors, doors and stairs in the house are not accurately modelled and can cause an avatar to get stuck, so some invisible barriers were put in place to help prevent this.

Fallingwater in Unity3D

Fallingwater in Sinespace

The build was then loaded in the multi-user virtual world Sinespace… it can be visited by searching for “Fallingwater” in the “Explore” panel in the Sinespace viewer.

Fallingwater in Sinespace Fallingwater in Sinespace

Fallingwater in Sinespace Fallingwater in Sinespace

Fallingwater in Sinespace via a Browser/WebGL

A WebGL version may work for some via this link… http://sine.space/locations/fallingwater

Fallingwater Plans

These diagrams are included with the Fallingwater model by Myles Zhand and nottamun…

Fallingwater Cross-section


Posted in 3D, Virtual World | Tagged | 1 Comment

OpenSim Castle Cathedral Interior

The Epic Castle region in OpemSim (as described in this blog post) has interiors for some of the buildings created by Leora Jacobus. the cathedral includes an animated pipe organ and other interesting elements.

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Second Life Crystal Fortress

The Crystal Fortress is a gift provided in 2018 to avatars with premium subscriptions to Second Life. It provided a skybox for a 1024sq.m. plot that could be rezzed and placed at any height, interior furniture and a teleportation system all themed as rock or ice crystals. A guardian dragon appears to protect the structure.

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Pontefract Liquorice Festival 2018

Pontefract is a market town in West Yorkshire which was recorded in the Magna Carta in 1217. It sits within the Rhubarb Triangle and is well known for the manufacture of Liquorice and Pontefract Cakes (Pomfret Cakes). It holds an annual Pontefract Liquorice Festival. This years was on 8th July 2018.

Pontefract Liquorice Festival 2018 Poster Pontefract Magna Carta Plinth

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High Fidelity – Load Test – 6 July 2018

A load test of the High Fidelity virtual world platform took place on 6th July 2018 and over 200 avatars were in world in the same location at peak.

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Kässbohrer Pisten Bully Online Training

pistenbully-logoThe Pisten Bully range of snow cats and ski piste grooming machines is manufactured by Kässbohrer in Germany. They have a driver and technician training academy which also includes online training courses for beginners and those interested in Pisten Bully at http://proacademy.info.

I have previously noted my interest in Kässbohrer and follow their products via their newsletter and using Giant’s Ski Region Simulator 2012 with its many user-created add-on “mods” which give a wide variety of Kässbohrer Pisten Bully snow groomers to try in the simulated ski resort setting. See http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2015/02/17/kassbohrer-pisten-bully-simulator/.

Pro Academy

I signed up for their “PRO ACADEMY Online Training Demo English” to try out the online training courses, and after verification you can start the course.

[Images from http://pistenbully.com, Pisten Bully 600 Polar Brochure PDF]

Ski Resort Simulator 2012

Giant’s Ski Resort Simulator 2012 has been available for some time and I have previously written a blog post on this. A Steam version is now available.

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Moving Content between Virtual Worlds

This article is published as: Tate, A. (2018) Moving Content from Second Life/OpenSimulator via Unity3D to new Social Virtual Reality Platforms, Virtual Education Journal (VEJ), Summer 2018, Special Issue on “What if…”, pp.30-35, (ed. Roseanne Vojtek). Published by Edovation. [Online via ISSUU: VEJ in ISSUU, Summer 2018 Issue via ISSUU] [PDF Format]

Moving Content from Second Life/OpenSimulator via Unity3D to new Social Virtual Reality Platforms

Vue Experiments with other Virtual Worlds Platforms

Even before Second Life began to be used across the University of Edinburgh, groups in Business Studies, Education and Artificial Intelligence had been exploring virtual worlds platforms for a range of educational and research project uses.

Platforms (now long gone) such as “There” and commercial virtual world simulators such as “Forterra” had been in use, and Second Life itself had been used even in its very earliest incarnation.

When we began using Second Life for Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) purposes back in 2007 we could not have imagined the platform would remain stable for such a long period (over a decade and it is still available and being actively developed).

Even at the earliest stages we envisaged moving onto new platforms as they arose and experiments have taken place with quite a lot of potential platforms, Many we were involved in at closed alpha and open beta testing stages. Not all of the platforms tried made it to full open public release. A number of these experiments are documented in my blog posts at http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/

Current platforms under investigation include:

Moving Content to New Virtual Worlds Platforms

We have used or been involved in the creation of a number of tools to assist in moving content across various virtual world platforms…

  • Where possible content was originated in tools such as Paint, Paint Shop Pro and PhotoShop and more recently in 3D mesh modelling tools such as 3D Studio Max or the open-source Blender to create Collada DAE or FBX meshes.
  • Second Inventory – was a useful tool to back up Second Life and OpenSimulator inventory items owned fully by a specific avatar. This tool is no longer available, but at the time was helpful to archive and reload builds (e.g. of the Vue buildings).
  • OpenSimulator Archives (OARs) and Inventory Archives (IARs) have been a very useful aid to preserve regions and inventory content.
  • The OAR Converter tool has provided a route to export content from OpenSimulator into Collada DAE (a portable 3D model format) and via that to allow its import to Unity3D. See http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/oar-conv/
  • Unity3D is a widely used development platform and a useful conduit to transferring content into newly emerging virtual worlds and social virtual reality platforms. Unity has add-on tools available to export FBX format meshes even when the original content is in other 3D formats. See http://unity3d.com

Virtual Worlds Development Paths

OpenSimulator to Unity3D Conversions

Tokyo University of Information Sciences and Virtual University of Edinburgh OpenVCE

Appearance in OpenSim

Appearance in Unity3D Editor

Appearance in Sinespace

Issues in Moving Content between Platforms

  1. One of the biggest issues in making content portable (even when full permissions are available and content is built by teams working together) is that unless one avatar owns all the content and the various textures archiving and externalizing content can be a problem).
  2. 2D image formats and the ways in which transparency handling works may vary between different platforms.
  3. The 3D model formats used in transferring content between platforms, such as Collada DAE and Autodesk FBX do have many variants and some platforms may limit the number of vertices or polygons that can be included in models, or the ways in which sub-meshes can be hierarchically included.
  4. Ways in which 3D meshes are textured, or limits on the number or type of textures that can be used may be imposed.
  5. Dynamic and scripted behaviours need to be recreated in the new environment.

More Information

More information at http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/ and http://vue.ed.ac.uk

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Seven Dales Heritage Run 2018

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

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GDPR for Vue

Vue is a virtual educational and research institute bringing together all those interested in the use of virtual worlds for teaching, research and outreach related to the University of Edinburgh.

The Vue web site is at http://vue.ed.ac.uk. More information on the use of virtual worlds in the University of Edinburgh is available at http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/virtual-worlds-technology-for-university-of-edinburgh/

The OpenSimulator-based Openvue grid has only a few local avatars who have regions and creator roles. Most use is as an openly accessible Hypergrid destination to allow users with avatars on other OpenSimulator grids to visit. All local (creator) users for Openvue have been notified and given contact information for the grid manager (a.tate@ed.ac.uk) if they have any queries or issues. A section has been added to the Openvue Terms of Service (ToS) to give the grid manager contact details and to explain what is logged for any visitor and for how long this is retained.


The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to any system which stores personal data. To allow for diagnostics in the case of technical issues Openvue creates logs which record the avatar name, home grid and viewer IP address for any visitor. These logs are not shared with others and are not kept when the grid software is updated. If you have any concern about such logs and their contents please contact <a.tate@ed.ac.uk>, the grid manager.

vue@ed.ac.uk is a mailing list used to communicate occasionally between those interested in the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue). This list is normally internal to members of the University of Edinburgh and members are added manually (by Austin Tate on request) and each message allows for unsubscription. Austin Tate can also handle manual unsubscription for anyone requesting it. The mailing list is moderated for posts and non-member posts are removed before being sent to members to keep the number of posts low and encourage people to stay on the list while it may be useful to them.

An article on how various OpenSimulator-based grids are handling GDPR is at https://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2018/06/gdpr-compliance-stymies-hypergrid-travelers/

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Virtual Worlds Technology for University of Edinburgh

Vue is a virtual educational and research institute bringing together all those interested in the use of virtual worlds for teaching, research and outreach related to the University of Edinburgh.

This post summarises some of the virtual worlds technology that is in use within the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) community. It is provided as a single post to bring together some of the notes and blog posts for the convenience of the School of Informatics Educational Technology team.

Virtual World Platforms for Vue

  • Second Life – a commercial grid run by Linden Lab in California. Vue regions have been in place since 2007. From 2018 no paid-for regions have been retained but alternative educational spaces are available. See this blog post for advice.
  • OpenSimulator (or OpenSim) – an open source community platform. There are Vue regions on grids run by the open source community for testing and educational uses (OSGrid) and within the University of Edinburgh on servers maintained currently by Austin Tate (Openvue). A suggestion is that you use the FireStorm Viewer which works for both Second life and OpenSim.
  • Sinespace – a new platform with VR headset, desktop and mobile clients. Vue regions are maintained on this platform having been converted from the Second Life/OpenSim content via the OAR Converter tool into the Unity3D development environment for delivery in Sinespace.
  • Other platforms: Vue has used a range of platforms from “There” and “Forterra” some 15 years ago to more recent newer technology platforms such as High Fidelity, Sansar, etc.

Meetups in Virtual Worlds

Meetups can take place in facilities such as The Venue@Vue, the OpenVCE amphitheatre, and various I-Rooms (Virtual Spaces for Intelligent Interaction).


Class meetups, mixed reality workshops and conferences, seminars, etc are run in Second Life, OpenSim and on other platforms…


Virtual Graduations

Graduates (especially those achieving distance education degrees) who cannot attend physical graduations in Edinburgh can in some schools take an active part in the ceremony via participation in a virtual ceremony linked via two way video links to the McEwan hall graduations. See http://vue.ed.ac.uk/graduation.html for more details, sample images and other information.

YouTube Video (6 Minutes)
YouTube Video (6 Minutes)
[MPEG-4 Download 720p 62MB]

Educational & Training Simulations and VR

Schools such as business studies, Informatics, Education and the Dick vet have made use of simulations and experimental setups for projects and teaching in Second Life, OpenSim, Sinespace and other platforms.

2014-11-28-OpenSim-Oil-Rig 2014-11-28-OpenSim-Oil-Rig-BOP

Some of these are very effective when used with Virtual Reality (VR) headsets such as the Oculus Rift or Vive.

2014-11-28-OpenSim-Oil-Rig-VR 2014-11-28-OpenSim-Oil-Rig-BOP-VR

Virtual Art Galleries, Expo Pavilions and Demonstration Areas

A number of projects linked to museums and art galleries have created facilities to showcase their work in the Vue virtual worlds platforms. Art created by University members has also been displayed in a number of facilities… see for a summary http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/vue-virtual-art/. For example the Infromatics Forum InSpace Gallery with artwork related to its construction period and other artwork associates with Informatics and its members, the Forum, and Vue…

An active expo pavilion and underwater gallery showcasing work on monitoring fish off a coral reef in South-East Asia was also created for the EU Fish4Knowledge project…

F4K on Openvue

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Orcrist is an elf created sword found during the journey of Thoren Oakenshield, a dwarf, in Middle Earth… and features in the Hobbit movies. I handled the Orcrist prop used for the movie while on a visit to Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand and saw one of the limited edition weapons-grade replicas at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, Yorkshire, UK.

3D Model Import to OpenSim

I made use of a Blender model by VoltaJack_ from Sketchfab which is licenced CC-BY.

Orcrist – LOTR
License: Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY-4.0
Author must be credited. Commercial use is allowed.
Model: .blend

Poly reduction and tidy up for OpenSim was done by Fred K. Beckhusen (Ferd Frederix) of Micro Technology Services, Inc. and I did the final texturing, adjustment of scale and wearable positioning and packaging.

The mesh reduction method as described by Fred is as follows.

  1. Starts at 236K triangles – about 10 X the limit. I applied a Decimate Modifier at 0.1 ratio (90% reduce) and it went to about 25K tris. Still over 4 avatars worth of triangles and more than the 21K limit. Did a 10X again (a total of 100X reduction) and it came in at 3,440 tris, looks acceptable, still a lot more than a custom build from scratch, but that what you get when you start with a high poly model.
  2. Then select all the vertexes in Edit mode with ‘a’, and do a Vertex (Ctrl-V)->Remove doubles. This drops extra vertexes.
  3. The other wise thing to always do is Mesh-Cleanup Delete-Loose to get rid of any lines or points. Opensim/Sl hates them ( there are none)
  4. Last one is Mesh->Cleanup->Limited Dissolve. This gets rid of extra dots and lines by collapsing them away.
  5. Added a smooth shader and an edge split modifier to get the blade smooth but with a sharp edge. Adds geometry, but it looks much better.
  6. Final is 3.5k tris, versus 236K. I can get it to 1.5K, but it would need more manual cleanup. I did clean up some few tris the distorted in it.
  7. Separated the end of the sword so you can add a texture.

The Blade normal map was produced using https://shadermap.com/home/

Other Swords

Swords for Download:

KangaroOz 3D
Sting Sword Lowpoly
License: Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY-4.0
Author must be credited. Commercial use is allowed.
Model: .fbx converted to Collada .dae via Blender 2.78

Jason Brenton
Orcrist Sword – Lord of the Rings
License: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial CC-BY-NC-4.0
Author must be credited. Commercial use is allowed.
Model: .fbx converted to Collada .dae via Blender 2.78

Orcrist in Second Life and OpenSim

For a while my Second Life avatar has had an Orcrist sword purchased from the Second Life Marketplace. This is shown below alongside the new Orcrist in OpenSim.

Orcrist in Scabbard

A little adjustment of the blade texture allowed a scabbard to be produced…

Orcrist Sword Prop Replica by United Cutlery

As of September 2018 I now have an Orcrist Sword Prop Replica made by United Cutlery.

United Cutlery Orcrist

Posted in Games, OpenSim, Virtual World | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Sansar Sit

At long last avatars can be made to sit down in Sansar… see this blog post for details. Currently just cross-legged on the ground. Sitting can be initiated using “/sit” typed into local chat tool in desktop mode. A very nice lead in and return to standing animation is used that looks very natural.

The full list of “/emote” commands are given in https://help.sansar.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000286366-Avatar-emotes. You can exit sitting (and other animations that play indefinitely) by using a motion control to move your avatar.

Its not currently possible still to sit on chairs, sofas, vehicles, etc. There is a good discussion in Inara Pey’s blog post on 31-Mar-2018 relating to the technicalities behind this.

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Somnium Space

Somnium Space (“Dream” or “Fantasy” from the Latin “somnus” for “sleep”) is a new virtual world from developers in Berlin aimed at virtual reality headsets.

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Bank of High Fidelity

High Fidelity now has a cryptocurrency “Wallet” in which High Fidelity Coins” can be deposited, paid out and transferred to other avatars. To seed the currency early alpha tester users can obtain a starter amount of coins by visiting the “Bank of High Fidelity” during certain times when a banker is present…

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Second Life – Isle of May

The “Isle of May” created by Serene Footman and Jade Koltai is on the “Weed” region in Second Life and can be accessed via this SLurl: https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Weed/100/102/41

Anchored on the Firth of Forth in Scotland, the Isle of May is a magical mix of sea birds (cormorants, guillemot, puffins, etc) and sea animals such as orcas and dolphins. The island is a perfect home to artists and photographers.

The region has wonderful “Windlight” environmental and lighting settings. Off region cliffs, sea stacks and waves created by Antreas Alter of Real Waves make the region appear much larger and more dynamic.

Images captured with the Second Life 360° snapshot project viewer (click on thumbnail to view via Flickr in a suitable browser)…

Serendipity Dyrssen created a nice machinima for a visit to the Isle of May region…

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Magic Leap – First Leap

Magic Leap opened its web site for creators on 18th March 2018. This blog post brings together some resources, links and screenshots from a first “leap”…

Following the Magic Leap tutorial for Unity 2018.1.0b8 MLTP1 integration.. and its initial “Hello Cube” example…

And then trying one of my Gerry Anderson test meshes (Supercar).. which leaps in fine…

And, why not, the Space Station and Orion Shuttle from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey… also checking out a custom virtual room created with the Virtual Room generator (a 12m x 12m x 6m space with no furniture, the maximum the room generator tool allows), Unity object rotation scripts for the objects and eyepoint movement using an Xbox Controller…

Magic Leap One – Creator Edition Released 8/8/2018

The Magic Leap One – Creator Edition was released on 8/8/2018 initially in limited US locations.

Image from Web Site for Magic Leap Creators Edition 8/8/2018 Image from Web Site for Magic Leap Creators Edition 8/8/2018
Image from Web Site for Magic Leap Creators Edition 8/8/2018 Image from Web Site for Magic Leap Creators Edition 8/8/2018

Testing the sample 2001 and Supercar scenes with the latest Lumina SDK 0.16.0 and Unity 2018.1.6f1-MLTP7 (64-bit)…
Sample Unity Application for Magic Leap 8/8/2018
Sample Unity Application for Magic Leap 8/8/2018

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Sansar – Space Experiences

Linden Lab’s Sansar has two featured experiences related to the Apollo Moon Missions..

Some free space suits are available to customise your avatar (need to select a male base at present)…

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Pandora in the Real World

Pandora now exists “for real” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom… and you can travel there with Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE)…

It looks like two people came with Alpha Centuari Expeditions (ACE) to visit from Earth…

See also Pandora in the Virtual World.

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Pandora in the Virtual World

I have blogged before about the Pegase region for the Pandora Universe group in Second Life which offers role play based on the “Avatar” film directed by James Cameron and based on Pandora, a moon of Alpha Centauri.

The Pegase area arrival/vendor area offers a number of free na’vi starter avatars, an RDA (scientists) outfit and a flyable ikran.

After visiting the Pandora region at DisneyWorld in February 2018 I revisited the regions as “Ai’tswayon” (Ai wing)and took to the air again on my ikran “Ai’tsyal” (Ai fly).

And with a new (free) golden ikran from the Pegase vendor area … also called “Ai’tsyal”…

I tested a new version of the Linden Lab Second Life 360° snapshot project viewer (version which now adds the proper metadata to show with 360 degree capabilities in Flickr

See also Pandora in the Real World.

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openvce.net on web.archive.org

The OpenVCE.net (http://openvce.net) web site used Drupal for its content.  The underlying data base was turned off for security in 2017. Some pages archived by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and web archiving sites may be used to recover some content when necessary.

See http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://openvce.net/*

The * in the URL is a wild card and the first indicates “any date” with the second meaning any tail end to the URL.

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Early Drag Racing in UK

This post brings together some early scrapbook material about my involvement and that of my brother Jon with the early development of drag racing in the UK. I was prompted to bring this material together and scan some early press articles on our activities after an enquiry from Jeremy Cookson who runs a web site documenting early drag racing strips in the UK, and he was asking abot Riccall Airfield in North Yorkshire. This was the location of a number of eighth mile sprint and drag racing events run by the British Quarter Mile Association (BQMA).

Jeremy Cookson
Raceway Promotions & Club Liaison
Shakespeare County Raceway @ Long Marston Airfield

I run a Facebook page entitled UK Drag & Sprint Strips That Time Forgot. This is where we document as much as we can about long forgotten airstrips and motor racing circuits other than the established ones like Santa Pod. Recently we have added a profile about Riccall Airfield, Yorkshire where we are trying to piece together event and date information from the days when the certainly forgotten about British Quarter Mile Association ran a few eighth mile events in the late sixties (1969 I think). So, this is when I performed the usual search on Google and came across your blog page and references made to Riccall. In your time I note that you used to be the flag starter as well as Competition Secretary for the BQMA, and I was wondering if you could give me some additional information about these events that we could include in the profile. As you will see from the FB link we have uncovered 3 photos, the club logo and that’s about it. Since I have discovered that the club had its own newsletter called Acceleration. Dave Hoy and Chris Tilney I believe contributed to this publication with cartoons and artwork. Chris in fact is one of our Group Members who used to help out running events for the Newcastle & District Timing Association and Millfield and Tughall Airfields before moving to Felton as the North East Hot Rod Association.


My reply tried to give some information about BQMA…

You came across my blog post which included a short bit on BQMA and the eighth mile strip races we did at Riccall.


1965-10-03-BDRA-Dragfest-2-Woodvale-TicketMy other club involvement in the mid 1960s through to the mid 1970s was in Drag Racing clubs. Younger brother Jon won a competition in the Eagle Comic and was awarded 1964 “Drag Festival” tickets. I went with Jon and elder brother Morris to see the second visit of the US Drag Racing Team to the UK in October 1965 and saw them in the Drag Fest at RAF Woodvale Airdrome near Southport in Lancashire when the first 200+ m.p.h. finish from a standing start on a quarter mile run on British soil was done by Buddy Cortines. The participants included Don Garlits and Tony Nancy amongst other famous early US drag racers.


Drag-Racing-UK-Clubs BQMA Logo

I was a member of the National Sprint Association (NSA), British Hot Rod Association (BHRA) and British Drag Racing Association (BDRA). I also was involved as competition secretary and flag starter for the British Quarter Mile Association (BQMA) who ran events at Riccall Airdrome in Yorkshire. On one event at Riccall advertised for us by free (some called them “pirate”) Radio 270 we had thousands of people turn up to see the drag racers. I ran a drag bike in some events, and my brother Morris who raced a go-kart also entered at one stage with that.

My scrap book also contains a copy of two short pieces in The King’s School Pontefract Magazine – “The Pomfretian” from 1964 and 1965, and some local events we ran to promote drag racing in the North of Britain… including a Dragster float in the Knottingley Carnival on 3-Jul-1965 and a social evening on 18-Nov-1965.

In late 1965 and early 1966 brought together drag racers in the North for some social events which led to the formation of the BQMA…

I designed the BQMA logo and still have the original artwork in my sketchbook. A run of stickers/decals and a few chrome bumper badges were produced. One is on the wall in the De Lacy Motor Club House at Brotherton in Yorkshire with various motoring memorabilia. Also here is an image of a BQMA membership card… mine from 1967…

There is a posed BQMA group image of a couple of the dragsters and three drag bikes with their crews at Riccall…

I cannot recall how many races we ran. The races were only open to club members by our RAC competition licence… but one specific event went a bit viral when Radio 270 (as mentioned above) ran a LOT of mentions of it on the radio.

At that time Jon was in touch with Radio 270 off the Yorkshire coast and even went out to the boat that had the transmitter just at the time we did one event. He had met Mr. Proudfoot, a supermarket chain owner in Yorkshire, who was involved with Radio 270 and got invited out there… which led to the coverage on the station and encouraged a LOT of people to come. I recall over 1,000 turned up, but that is from a vague memory! And to comply with our licence to let them in we had to get them to join the BQMA… So for a year we had a BIG membership! They did get their Gestetner produced newsletters, but it was way more work than we expected. Mike Hobman was the general secretary. He died at a very young age I am sorry to say. Our dad, Charles Tate (a local JP) helped us out a LOT and took charge when the car queues backed up at Ricall. Coordinated with the police to make sure there were no obstructions and helped sign folks in at the gate. Sterling job for which I have continued to have fond memories of a busy but excellent day. We met our licence conditions.

Posted in Motor Racing | Tagged | Comments Off on Early Drag Racing in UK

Ruth 2.0 and Roth 2.0

Ruth 2.0 Box ArtRuth 2.0 and Roth 2.0 are low-poly mesh avatar bodies, specifically designed for Opensimulator. They are built to use standard SL UV maps using scratch-built open source mesh bodies by Shin Ingen with other open source contributions from the OpenSimulator Community.

This page provides links and resources relating to these developments…

  • MeWe Community Page: https://mewe.com/group/5bbe0189a5f4e57c73569fb9
  • GitHub:
  • Second Life:
    • 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.
  • OpenSim:
    • OpenSim Group: “RuthAndRoth” (free to join)
    • In-world location for Ruth and Roth resources: login.osgrid.org:RuthAndRoth
    • In-world location for prebuilt avatars: login.digiworldz.com:8002:ingen lab
    • In-world location for Ruth 2.0 clothing: grid.hgluv.com:8302:luv plaza

“Roth 2.0” is the male mesh avatar, also under development, and resources for it can be reached via the same URLs as Ruth 2.0.

RuthAndRoth on OSGrid

RuthAndRoth Region on OSGrid
Group: RuthAndRoth
Home Region: hop://login.osgrid.org/RuthAndRoth/142/104/22

RuthAndRoth Region on OSGrid RuthAndRoth Region on OSGrid

Other Repositories and Versions

Ruth and Roth in Second Life

The first people to take Ruth into Second Life were Chimera Firecaster and Sundance Haiku… see http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Gamma/20/80/1401

Sean Heavy has imported his Ruth Too (based on the Ruth RC#3 DevKit) and the R2 Extras into Second Life… see http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/UUtopia%20Alcott/198/235/22. Hyacinth Jewell/Hyacinth Greymoon has Ruth RC#2 nearby. [Current at 9-Jan-2019]

Ruth and Roth Shopping Sites

  • Second Life:
  • OpenSim:
    • ingen lab – Shin Ingen – ingen-lab.com:8002:ingen lab [offline in March 2019]
    • ingen lab – Shin Ingen – login.digiworldz.com:8002:ingen lab [offline in March 2019]
    • OSGrid – Wright Plaza – Sean Heavy – login.osgrid.org:Wright Plaza/210/17/21
    • DigiWorldz – Hyper Mall – Sean Heavy – login.digiworldz.com:8002:Hyper Mall
    • Luv Grid – Luv Plaza – Hyacinth Jewell – grid.hgluv.com:8302:Luv Plaza
    • Luv Grid – Bombshell – Sean Heavy – grid.hgluv.com:8302:Bombshell
    • Lorulei – Ruth 2.0 Skin & Fashion Store – artdestiny.eu:8002:Tryloria
    • Lorulei and more free Ruth stuff in Kroatan – kroatan.de:8002:Needful Things
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Vue Virtual World Artworks

Vue is a virtual educational and research institute bringing together all those interested in the use of virtual worlds for teaching, research and outreach related to the University of Edinburgh.

A number of virtual world artworks have been created in the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) virtual world platforms such as Second Life and OpenSimulator. Some are novel pieces of art created collaboratively by members of the University from a number of Schools, others preserve temporary real world art installations which have long since disappeared to preserve their concepts and designs, others honour University members who have won art or photographic competitions with their works.

InSpace Gallery

A model of the InSpace Gallery that sits alongside the Informatics Forum was created initially on the Vue regions in Second Life and ported to the OpenSimulator-based Openvue grid and via the OAR Converter tool to Unity3D and Sinespace.

The Inspace Gallery can be reached via:

Inspace Gallery – Construction Walkway

Informatics Forum InSpace Walkway: On-site Construction Walkway Art, January 2007.
Artists: Richard Spencer, Dan Brown, Kadie Salmo and Richard Brown (Informatics Artist in Residence, 2005-2007).

Images and 3D models related to the construction walkway appear in the virtual world InSpace Gallery.

Paolozzi Turing Prints

The Paolozzi Turing Prints are displayed in the (real world) level 5 boardroom in the Informatics Forum and appear in articles for promotion of the School of Informatics. The designs for the prints appear in the InSpace Gallery on the in the OpenSimulator-based Openvue virtual world grid and in the Vue region on the Sinespace virtual world.

A model of some of Paolozzi’s plaster maquettes used for his sculptures and some stainless steel and bronze sculptures given to the University or on display in the Informatics Forum also appear in the virtual world InSpace Gallery.

Rakhi Kumar – Stairway to the Clouds – Photos

Rakhi Kumar created a number of atmospheric photos of the spiral staircase that sits atop the Informatics Forum. These photographs are on display in the InSpace Gallery.

Photo Competition – Graeme Pow – Penicuik Turner Prize 2008

Graeme Pow – Penicuik Turner Prize 2008: Frosty Wrought Iron Spiral
The winning photograph is on display in the InSpace Gallery.

All Eyes – Collective Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Foundation Center

Austin Tate (avatar: Ai Austin) contributed an image to an online public collective art venture entitled Ghosts of a Chance which led to an exhibition in 2008 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Foundation Center [Final Report by Georgina Goodlander] [Local Copy]. The mosaic is on display in the virtual world InSpace gallery.

There is a related MSc project done as part of the MSc in e-Learning/Digital Education in 2011-2012 entitled “I, PI, … Eye“.

Supercar Comic

A detailed 3D model created by Mick Imrie and Austin Tate of Gerry Anderson’s Supercar from the children’s puppet TV show of the early 1960s was used by Austin Tate to create accurate outline line art for the Misc!Mayhem Comics Supercar Comic in 2003. One example page is on display in the InSpace Gallery… a dramatic page from issue 0 page 21…

ACE Sculpture

There are many objects placed in the Vue virtual world spaces. Galleries and displays for student projects have been set up annually for some Schools with some of the exhibits being in place for longer periods. One sculpture was created when the Vue regions on Second Life were first set up in 2007 and it has been replicated on later platforms used for Vue including in OpenSimulator and Sinespace. This is at “ACE Sculpture” by James Stewart of Arts, Culture & the Environment. It demonstrated the use of a simple “prim” to build complex shapes using the in-world building and twisting tools, as well as surface texture properties.

Trans – – – ~ Formation – a trans-media virtual environment art installation

A trans-media virtual environment interpretation, created by three artists and one virtual world avatar. It is a formation of modular kinetic objects along with accompanying music and images. It includes a version of a “molecules” robotic kinetic sculpture originally designed by Richard Brown, Artist in Residence in the School of Informatics 2005-2007, for the Informatics Forum. The planned installation was called “Formation” and has been recreated in the virtual world inside the Castle Hill terrain on the Vaults@Vue as part of the art installation. Music was provided by Julian Wagstaff of the School of Music in a piece he suggested called “Treptow“.

More information at http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/trans—~formation.html The installation can be found on the Edinburgh Uplands region on the Openvue grid via:


North Landing – multi-media virtual world installation

A multi-media virtual world installation inspired by dramatic landscape and historical events off Flamborough Head in Yorkshire. It was inspired by the musical by Julian Wagstaff entitled ” “John Paul Jones” and a piece of dramatic music in that entitled “The Battle of Flamborough Head”. Austin Tate also has a close association with the North Landing on Flamborough Head. The piece includes an in-world controller to activate kinetic movement of objects, waves, coloured lighting, atmospheric and particle effects. A visualisation of the music was created using the Sony PlayStation2 music player visualisation to add to object faces.

More information at http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/north-landing.html

Vue Theme & Vue Balloon Tour Machinima

John Clift, composer and at one time Disney executive and producer, as well as a friend of the University of Edinburgh, kindly allowed us to use one of his compositions as the “Vue Theme”. The Vue Theme is used as background music on the Vue facilities in virtual worlds [Vue Theme: John Clift Box 2 Track JC-B2-T08V3 230199.mp3].

It was used for a machinima created by a team from the School of Informatics (Ai Austin, Anwen Munro, Davie Munro & Skye Gears) in 2008 with a balloon ride over the Vue regions and educational facilities in Second Life.

The balloon itself was based on a real life event where a balloon “glow” took place in the University of Edinburgh Old College Quad in January 2006.

University of Edinburgh Ballooning Club Glow in Old College Quad, January 2006 image used with permission of David Gifford
Music (Box 2 – JC-B2-T08V3 230199.mp3) used with permission of John Clift

In fact there was an earlier balloon flight over the Old College Quad by James’s Sadler in a hydrogen balloon in 1815. More on his balloon flight is available in an interesting article entitled “Four Fantastic Aeronauts” with lots more images on the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum web site [Sample images used here with their permission].

Real World Public Art Around the University of Edinburgh

There is an extensive and varied collection of public art across the University of Edinburgh… some documented in an article entitled in an article entitled “Thair to Remain”** in the The University of Edinburgh Bulletin Staff Magazine, December 2017.

** The inscription on which the title was based was noted by the Bulletin Editor as corrected to “Thair to Reman”.
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OSCC17 Hypergrid Tour

Thirza Ember introduced the Hypergrid Safari in a talk on 10th February 2017 at the OpenSimulator Community Conference 2017 (OSCC17)…

Then later that day, the OpenSimulator Community Conference 2017 Hypergrid Safari included five locations on a number of OpenSim grids …

One of which was our OSGrid RGU Oil Rig region… for more details see this blog post.

Blow Out Preventer (BOP) on the sea bed:

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OSCC17 OAR Converter Presentation

OAR Converter presentation at the OpenSimulator Community Conference 2017… YouTube: OAR Converter Presentation [25:51]. More details on OAR Converter at http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/oar-conv/.

The OAR Converter Expo Booth on OSCC Expo Zone 3… hop://cc.opensimulator.org:8002/OSCC Expo Zone 3/101/58/26

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Vue -> Openvue

Vue is a virtual educational and research institute bringing together all those interested in the use of virtual worlds for teaching, research and outreach related to the University of Edinburgh.

Second Life is a virtual worlds platform provided by Linden Lab in California. The Vue regions in Second Life have been available for over 10 years since 28th May 2007. A timeline of events is available at http://vue.ed.ac.uk/… and over the years we have arranged between us a variety of funding for the shared areas from Development & Alumni, Corporate Services, Information Services, Informatics and the Vet School. Having maintained “Vue” as a core region for over 10 years the usage now does not justify continued funding which even at educational rates costs $1,770 a year for our full regions and $750 a year for one of our lower capacity regions.

Update: March 2019: The Vue region in Second Life was actually online until 31st March 2019.

How to Continue to Use a (Temporary) Facility on Second Life

Second Life continues to be available, and it is still possible to create and use a freely available avatar to visit facilities in Second Life. It is just the Vue paid-for regions we are no longer maintaining.

Sandbox regions in Second Life are available to test building and can act as a facility where a temporary facility can be rezzed… such as a copy of “The Venue@Vue” as used for virtual graduations, MOOC class meetings, etc. As a suggestion try the “CNWL” sandbox region provided for public use by the College of North West London first to establish it as a first preference for Vue related meetings on such a Sandbox… but there are lots of other sandboxes. You can find them by typing “sandbox” as a region search term into the Second Life viewer Map tool.

College of North West London Sandbox, CNWL [6 hour return]

Vue Buildings available on Second Life Marketplace

To help people create temporary facilities on Second Life sandboxes or other areas where they are allowed to build, a number of Vue-related buildings and facilities are available (free) from the Second Life Marketplace…

Second Life Marketplace – Ai Austin Store

Vue Mailing List

A moderated e-mail list is maintained for members of the University of Edinburgh interested in virtual worlds for teaching, research and outreach. Contact Austin Tate <a.tate@ed.ac.uk> to be added to the list.

Vue Regions on OpenSimulator – Openvue

It is worth noting that the whole original 9 region Vue mini-continent as it appeared at its maximum extent in Second Life with some enhanced areas is essentially replicated on an OpenSimulator grid.. in fact on several such grids. One hosted on servers in Informatics… called Openvue… and another on the “OSGrid” openly accessible free to use test grid. These “open” versions of the Vue virtual world facilities have been available since September 2007, A timeline of events is available at http://vue.ed.ac.uk/openvue/… so also for over 10 years now. They provide many of the facilities available in Second Life, including the same type of voice services used in Second Life provided free due to the support of non-profit and educational establishments by Vivox.

Visit Openvue by getting a (free) avatar on OSGrid at http://osgrid.org and then travel via the “HyperGrid” to hop://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/Openvue/128/128/30 (copy that “hop” into the Firestorm Viewer location bar or find the region on the Map).

Local avatars on Openvue are only necessary for builders and owners of regions. Contact Austin Tate if you are a member of the University of Edinburgh and feel that is useful to your projects or work.

Vue Regional Planning Authority (VRPA)

I would like to thanks the present and past members of the rather grandly named “Vue Regional Planning Authority” (VRPA)* which is the people from across the University of Edinburgh who raised funds for the Second Life Vue regions an were involved in the design and creation of the facilities. the group continue to be involved in explorations of other virtual world platforms in their own Schools, groups and across the University for the potential benefit of others.

*name suggested by Hamish Macleod.

  • Sian Bayne (E-Learning, Higher & Community Education)
  • Marshall Dozier (Library)
  • Ian Graham (Management School)
  • Fiona Hale (Information Services)
  • Hamish Macleod (Centre for Teaching, Learning & Assessment, Education)
  • David Richardson (Informatics)
  • James Stewart (Research Centre for Social Sciences)
  • Austin Tate (Informatics & AIAI)

Previous Members:

  • Aghlab Al-Attili (Edinburgh Stanford Link & Entrepreneurship MSc)
  • Mike Clouser (Edinburgh Stanford Link & Entrepreneurship MSc)
  • Dawn Ellis (Corporate Communications & PR)
  • Naomi Nunn (Development & Alumni)
  • Jessie Paterson (Divinity)
  • Morag Watson (Information Services & Library)

Vue Experiments with other Virtual Worlds Platforms

Even before Second Life began to be used across the University, groups in Business Studies, Education and Artificial Intelligence/Informatics had been exploring virtual worlds platforms for a range of educational and research project uses. Platforms (now long gone) such as “There” and commercial virtual world simulators such as “Forterra” had been in use, and Second Life itself had been used even in its very earliest incarnation. When we began using Second Life for Vue purposes we could not have imagined the platform would remain stable for such a long period (over a decade and it is still available). We envisaged moving onto new platforms as they arose and experiments have taken place with quite a lot of potential platforms, not all of which made it to full open public release. A number of these experiments are documented in my earlier blog posts.

Some current platforms under investigation include:

Virtual Graduations

In previous years Virtual Graduations for the School of Education and the Vet School have taken place in mixed reality with distance education students attending in Second Life – usually at “The Venue@Vue” and link up on large screens with the physical graduation in the McEwan Hall. For the 29th November 2017 the virtual graduation ran with pre-recorded videos projected in McEwan Hall and a Collaborate back-channel as provided by our Virtual Learning Environment for distant graduands.
See https://media.ed.ac.uk/media/t/1_3uyjbwjy

Suggestions for a Virtual World Visit for Demonstrations

There are some educators who do use Second Life to demonstrate virtual world capabilities to their students. Since the Vue-specific regions in Second Life are no longer available from December 2017 the following notes may help in planning an alternative.

  1. If you have your class use the Firestorm Viewer rather than the default Linden Lab Second Life viewer you can use one viewer to access either Second Life or alternative OpenSimulator-based Grids. Download from http://www.firestormviewer.org/downloads/
  2. To make use of Second Life have your students create a (free) avatar at http://secondlife.com and the select a suitable open access region where you can visit and show your students items of potential interest. Look at the Second Life Destination Guide for suggestions. This might be a themed area, an area showing specific architecture or period buildings, an area showing a scientific or nature area, or a sandbox where students will be able to build. An example sandbox is described at http://secondlife.com/destination/educational-sandbox
  3. Where appropriate you might like to try an OpenSimulator-based grid. One suggestion is to have your students create a (free) avatar on OSGrid at http://osgrid.org – a grid provided by the open-source community for testing and open access. Then seek out a region on OSGrid that is appropriate to your educational purpose. Sandbox Plaza is one of several sandbox regions on OSGrid where students can build. There are some Edinburgh/Vue related exemplar regions on OSGrid too, such as Vue-Port and Edinburgh. See below for a replica of the Venue@Edinburgh,
  4. If you do try OpenSimulator e.g. via OSGrid, you might be interested in showing the “Hypergrid” which allows multiple separate grids to be linked so that visitors from one grid can visit another. E.g. an OSGrid avatar can visit the Openvue grid hosted on Virtual University of Edinburgh servers. Use a suitable “hop” in the address bar in Firestorm to visit other grids … e.g. hop://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/Openvue/128/128/30 and after the visit you can teleport back to OSGrid using the link placed in chat.

The Venue@Edinburgh on Edinburgh Region in OSGrid

Visit with an avatar from any Hypergrid-enabled OpenSimulator-based grid using the address hop://login.osgrid.org/Edinburgh/189/62/24 and then take a look at the clickable destination board to find other educational and experimental locations to visit on OSGrid, Openvue grid and the experimental demonstration “AiLand” grid.

Final Images of Vue in Second Life

Images taken of the Vue, Vue South and Edinburgh East regions in Second Life on 6-Jan-2018 are shown here… click on the thumbnail for the full resolution version…

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OSCC17 Preparation for OAR Converter Presentation

In preparation for the presentation on OAR Converter presentation at the Open Simulator Community Conference 2017 a speaker preparation event was held on 11th November 2017 on the OpenSim Conference Grid…

Each presentation is also allocated an Expo Booth on OSCC Expo Zone 3… hop://cc.opensimulator.org:8002/OSCC Expo Zone 3/101/58/26

OAR Converter Presentation Details in sched.org

The “Sched” entry for the OAR Converter presentation is shown here… times are Pacific Standard Time (PST)…

Virtual Reality (VR) View

The Expo Booth (and other OSCC-2017 locations of course) can be visited in VR on the Oculus Rift using the CrlAltStudio Viewer…

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