Sinespace – Vue

The Virtual University of Edinburgh regions as they appeared in Second Life at their maximum extent and as they are replicated on the OpenSimuator-based Openvue grid has been converted via the OAR Converter into Unity3D and then provided into the Sinespace virtual world platform.

Vue – OpenSim

The original OpenSim “mini-continent” contains 12 256mx256m regions…

Vue – Unity Editor

Effect of using Sinespace OAR Material Cleanup Tool:

  • Before cleanup: Upload=1323.81MB, Windows Build=312MB, WebGL Build=467MB
  • After cleanup: Upload=252.22MB, Windows Build=64MB, WebGL Build=121MB
  • Note: The small changes in number of Materials and Meshes are due to other tidy up actions… the OAR Material Cleanup tool acts to reduce the number of Textures significantly… from 2255 using 682.60MB to 447 using 152.40MB.

Vue – Sinespace

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OAR Converter

OAR Converter can take an OpenSimulator Archive (OAR) and from it create textures, meshes and terrain suitable to import into a Unity scene. The converter has been created by Fumikazu Iseki (Avatar: @Fumi.Hax – @fumi_hax) and his colleagues at the Network Systems Laboratory of Tokyo University of Information Sciences (TUIS) in Japan with support from Austin Tate at the University of Edinburgh.

  • OAR Converter from OpenSimulator Archive (OAR) to Collada files for use in Unity3D.
  • Software developed by Fumi Iseki, Austin Tate, Daichi Mizumaki and Kohe Suzuki.

This blog post is provided for convenience and using content from the original TUIS OAR Converter Japenese Web Site which should be considered definitive.

2015-09-04-Unity-OpenSim-OpenVCE-960x598arrow-right-36x1872015-09-04-Unity-OpenVCE-Web-Payer-960x598

OAR Converter can run on Linux and Windows and source code is available. Full instructions for compiling and using the source code version on these platforms is available via the TUIS Wiki OAR Converter Page. For convenience a version with Windows UI is also available as a ready to run package.

OAR Converter with Windows UI – Quick Start

Download the OAR Converter for Windows latest version from http://www.nsl.tuis.ac.jp/xoops/modules/xpwiki/?OARConvWin
[Local Copy]. Latest Version at the time of this blog post in September 2017 is v1.0.6 (at 2016/5/11) which is based on oarconv-1.4.4.

For straightforward conversions, simply follow these steps:

  1. Place your OpenSim OAR file in a suitable directory. Using defaults, the conversions will be placed in separate directories in this same directory with names based on the OAR file name prefixed by OAR_ and DAE_
  2. Run the OAR Converter and using “File” -> “Open OAR File” select the OAR file you wish to convert. This will create a directory called OAR_ with the unpacked contents of the OAR file ready for conversion.
  3. Now select “File” -> “Convert Data” from the OAR Converter File menu. This will create a directory called DAE_ with the converted content in it.
  4. The DAE_ directory created will contain the DAE/Collada objects for the conversion which have colliders (are solid) and one special DAE/Collada object for the terrain (named the same as the OpenSim region name). It will also have sub-directories for all Textures and for the Phantoms (objects with no collider).

Import to Unity3D

You could follow the video instructions in this YouTube video by Fumikazu Iseki. First part of this video shows the use of the Linux converter, but the part from [2:23] to [6:10] gives an example of importing the converted DAE/Collada folder contents and merging that with a Unity project/scene including adding a Unity Standard Asset water surface. Importing the included “UnityChan” character is shown in the last part of the video.

Import to Unity3D – Quick Start

  1. Ensure you add the contents of “forUnity3D” folder in the OAR Converter distribution into your Unity project, adding Editor/SelectOARShader.cs at least. A slight improvement to one file in this distribution is available… the file in forUnity3D/Editor named SelectOARShader.cs can be replaced with a version which fixes materials on bright objects imported to Unity. Replace it with UnitySelectOARShaderBrightFixed.cs [directory for right-click download] [direct link]. Don’t leave both versions in place.
  2. In your Unity project add an empty game object at 0,0,0 and name it the same as your OpenSim region name. Under this add three empty game objects named Solid, Phantom and Terrain also at 0,0,0.
  3. Drag the DAE_ folder in its entirety onto the Unity “Project” (Assets) panel.
  4. Select all the objects in the top level of this directory except the Textures and Phantoms sub-directories and drag them onto the “Solids” game object in the Unity “Hierarchy” panel.
  5. Optional: As the (large) terrain object for the region is imported it is usually split automatically by Unity into three sub-meshes of less than 64k polygons. These are all under one object named the same as your OpenSim region and will have sub-mesh names starting “GEOMETRY_”. You may wish to move this terrain objects and its three parts to the “Terrain” object in the hierarchy for
  6. Select all the objects in the Phantom directory and drag them onto the “Phantoms” game object in the Unity “Hierarchy” panel.
  7. Optional: Add a water layer at 0,0,0. [Instructions in YouTube Video][2:23] to [6:10].
  8. Optional: Add a ThirdPartyController/Avatar to be able to run the scene and view the contents. [Instructions in YouTube Video] after [6:10].

Project Base for OAR Converter Projects

Once you have successfully tried a conversion and understand the elements, you may wish to create a base for any future OAR conversion… which can include all the steps except for the drag and drop in of the actual DAE converted content. Do this yourself to incorporate the very latest OAR Converter content, scripts and Unity assets. You can if you wish save this as a “unitypackage” to incorporate into future Unity projects.

Make a copy of the base project you created or a new unity project, import the chosen unitypackage as a base, and then drag the OAR Converter produced “DAE” directory into the Unity Project Assets area, add the DAE folder assets and those in the DAE/Phantoms folder to the hierarchical view panel. Adjust the position of the chosen character and attached camera to suit the region, save the project, save the scene, and you should be good to go.

Access via a Virtual World – Sinespace

The region can be made available for use by multiple simultaneous users using Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) servers or platforms. One example is Sinespace.

For more details see the Sinespace Wiki or tutorial videos:

The OAR Converter creates a lot of materials with repetitive (identical) textures. These are used to maintain other properties of materials such as shininess used by the Shader used to import OAR Converted content (via Editor/SelectOARShader.cs). This leads to rather large regions in Sinespace and hence larger than necessary download sizes for users using the content. The Sinespace developers have provided a useful and effective tool to reduce the repetitive textures used without effecting the visual appearance of the imported content. Always use this tool before uploading the region containing OAR Converter content before uploading a region to Sinespace. Use it via the Unity3D “Sine” -> “Tools” -> “OAR Material Cleanup” menu. The Sine menu is added to Unity when the Sinespace unitypackage is imported as described in “Sinespace – Getting Started“.

In recent versions of Unity and Sinespace there can be some bright emissive objects created by the OSAR Conversion process which are due to the use of “Legacy” shaders in Unity. These can be changed to Standard shaders (Standard/Diffuse or Standard/Diffuse-Emissive) in a bulk fashion, but some manual tidyup afterwards might be necessary especially to correct for the addition of shininess and metallic effects, and for emissive and semi-transparent objects.

Technical Papers

Iseki, F., Tate, A., Mizumaki, D. and Suzuki, K. (2017) OpenSimulator and Unity as a Shared Development Environment, Journal of Tokyo University of Information Sciences, Vol. 21, No. 1 (2017). [PDF Format]

Iseki, F., Tate, A., Mizumaki, D. and Suzuki, K. (2017) OAR Converter: Using OpenSimulator and Unity as a Shared Development Environment for Social Virtual Reality Environments, OpenSimulator Community Conference 2017 (OSCC-2017), 9th-10th December 2017. [PDF Format] [Submitted]

Further Information and Resources

OAR Converter License

OAR Converter © 2014-2016 Fumi.Iseki, Austin Tate, D.Mizumaki and K.Suzuki
License (2016 11/19) – http://www.nsl.tuis.ac.jp/, All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following
conditions are met:

  • Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
  • Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
  • Neither the name of the OAR Converter nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.
  • Please respect the copyright of content providers when using OAR Converter.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS “AS IS” AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

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Cassini – Grand Finale

Timeline 15th September 2017: Final Entry to Saturn Atmosphere… 6:32 am EDT (3:32 am PDT) Thrusters at 100% of capacity; high-gain antenna begins to point away from Earth, leading to loss of signal. Event received on Earth at approx. 11:55 UT (12:55 BST). Spacecraft breaks up soon afterwards.
Event for enthusiasts on Space City region in sinespace
NASA Public TV Live Stream [UStream] [YouTube]

To celebrate the 15th September 2017 end of the Cassini Mission to Saturn, I have placed a 3D model of Cassini to realistic scale on the Space City area in the “Space City region in Sinespace grid. This uses one of the freely available 3D models from NASA. The area is being used for a farewell party for Cassini and to watch the live feed from JPL as Cassini soars into the atmosphere of Saturn. You can join in on a Windows or Apple Macintosh desktop viewer (preferred) or in WebGL in a suitable browser like Firefox or Chrome.

Resources

Sinespace Grand Finale Event

Sinespace users got together on the “Space City” region to watch the NASA JPL Live feed of the Brand Finale and chat about the mission and it’s many successes, to view the NASA 3D Cassini model, the 70m Deep Space Network Antenna and the nearby Voyager display.



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FrancoGrid Fest’Avi 2016

I recently took a tour of the OpenSimulator-based FrancoGrid on its Fest’Avi 2016 region – as it prepares its 2017 festival. This involves the creation of open source avatars in a show case area. A very nice visual feast.

secondlife:///app/teleport/hg.francogrid.org:80:FestAvi+2016
hop://hg.francogrid.org:80/FestAvi%202016/432/379/327
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Sinespace – RGU Oil Rig at Night

The RGU Oil Rig 3D model and virtual world environment in OpenSimulator create by the team involving Jo-Anne Tait and Colin Hetherington at Robert Gordon University (RGU) Oil & Gas centre in Aberdeen Scotland has been ported to Unity3D via the OpenSimulator OAR Converter Tool and provided in the Sinespace virtual world platform. Recently the region has been augmented by wave effects, sea wash around the oil rig legs, particle effects, sounds sources, lighting and the replacement of the active information “i” signs for training purposes.

Now a night time version has been provided. Scripts to provide a realistic day or night skybox provided by Adam Frisby at Sine Wave and a changing day/night cycle have been used for experimentation. But the initial “Oil Rig at Night” is a dark late at night fixed time scene.

Visit using the Sinespace desktop viewer or in a WebGL compatible viewer (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox) via…



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AI Rules – Oren Etzioni in NYTimes Opinion Pages

Oren Etzioni at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence has requested feedback on the following NY Times OpEd:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/01/opinion/artificial-intelligence-regulations-rules.html

I provided these notes to Oren on 8th September 2017:

I think its good to have a wide ranging discussion on these matters and to involve the general public. Scare stories could lead to the many potential benefits of AI being lost if there is a negative reaction to the threat that systems can pose… much like happened with GM crops in Europe.

I am not sure that talking of “human operator” is quite the right model. I see future AI systems and robots as “agents” and think the “agency” model is a useful one to include when talking of future AI and robotic/autonomous systems. I think the notion that responsibility lies with the “deployment” or “authorisation” of the agent could help some of the discussion. The idea that such agents are subject to the same laws and regulations and treaties as any other human agent is a good one, and one you cover. Of course that varies by region, and in some lawless or less constrained “off shore” (future “off world”) locations such constraints could be lessened to the detriment of others. So introducing a chain back to those organisations, companies, or individuals who “deploy” or “authorise” the agent may be useful.

Remember, as I am sure you are very aware, that Isaac Asimov’s stories were a warning that the defined three laws could not anticipate all contexts.

My own main concern is the concentration of technology and robotic systems in the hands of a few oligarchs and global companies as systems and devices replace workers. The lack of a social and cooperative approach to this worldwide, and competition for one country or one company to be the “winner takes all” could lead to social unrest and very serious issues. So I am glad to see folks like Bill Gates and others raising issues of taxation on systems and robots in just the same way that there are taxes on workers to pay for the social infrastructure of regions, countries and the world.

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Dueling Dragons Roller Coaster

Universal Orlando Dueling Dragons PosterDueling Dragons (US spelling) is a two track “duelling” (UK English) B&M suspended roller coaster at Islands of Adventure in Universal Studios Orlando. The ride is themed as two dragons… Chinese Fireball (Fire) and Hungarian Horntail (Ice). It was opened on 28th May 1999 and was converted to become Dragon Challenge in 2010 to fit into the Harry Potter theme of the area. After some accidents related to injury caused by loose articles, the coaster ran without the synchronisation of the trains from 2011 until the coaster closed on 4th September 2017.

The roller coaster can still be experienced in virtual reality via the NoLimits2 Roller Coaster Simulator and some other roller coaster simulators.

NoLimit2 Dueling Dragons by Z617Jason

This is my favourite fan-produced version of Dueling Dragons from NoLimits Exchange.
http://www.nolimits-exchange.com/coaster/dueling-dragons/10261





NoLimits2 Dueling Dragons by duduchianca

This version of Dueling Dragons has been modelled by “duduchianca”. He made the twin coasters by modelling one continuous loop which switches station sides half way through. A few issues with trains being allocated to track sections or “blocks” and hitting one another needs to be fixed. The simple fix is to change the number of trains from 6 on track to 2 in the editor… then you can ride “ice” and “fire” alternately without any stops.
https://nolimits-exchange.com/coaster/dueling-dragons-dragons-challenge/3750.

screenshot-2014-11-14-14-51-26b screenshot-2014-11-14-14-52-26b
Dueling-Dragons-1
Dueling-Dragons-Plan-1

Planet Coaster Dueling Dragons/Dragon Challenge by riddlerrevange75

There is a nice simulation by riddlerrevange75 in Planet Coaster


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sinespace – Load Test 1-Sep-2017


Some Observations from sinespace Interactions

  1. Chat tool has some issues… scroll bar seems not to work when you have more tabs than the current size window allows. Hide button largely covers the last entry unless you are VERY careful with mouse to avoid it.
  2. It would be good to show your OWN avatar labels (maybe on by default even if they can be hidden) so you know what shows to others.
  3. Yellow names show for sinewave folks(?). Suggest friends are coloured (say green or blue)… so you know who is a friend of not from before.
  4. When the avatar is mid way through a quest, it seems that the quest information sticks on screen and cannot be dismissed, terminated or minimised. This takes up necessary screen space during unrelated events and ruins screenshots including the UI.


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Sinespace – Delphi Talks

A new Sinespace event plaza has been created… at “The Delphi Talks” region. See http://delphitalks.com



Dylan Emery – ShowStopper – 7-Sep-2017

Hugh Welchman – Loving Vincent – 12-Sep-2017



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OpenSim – Metropolis Grid

Metropolis is an OpenSimulator-based grid open to anyone to create a (free) avatar, rent land or (at no cost) add on their own hosted regions (similar to OSGrid in that resepect).

Resources and Links

Useful Metropolis In-world Resources

  • Adachi Shopping Area – Avatars, AOs, Mesh Avatars and Clothing – Adachi(156, 220, 22).
  • Pangea – Pandora Themes Role Play Area – Pangea (944,146,31).

AiLand Regions on Metropolis

AiLand (the hub), Black Rock, Space City, Marineville and Outer Space.





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Sine Space – Gerry Anderson Region


The Sine Space (now rebranded “sinespace”) virtual world “Space City” region contains 3D models and scenes from a number of Gerry Anderson TV productions…

  • Supercar and Black Rock Laboratory
  • Fireball XL5 and Space City
  • Stingray and Marineville
  • Thunderbirds
  • Space:1999

Visit using a desktop viewer or in a WebGL compatible viewer (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox) via…






Teleporters are provided which an avatar can walk into to be transported to various parts of the space… including the Black Rock, Space City, Marineville and an area called “Outer Space” above Space City where you can find Thunderbirds and Space:1999 craft and models of a range of real spacecraft such as Voyager, Cassini, Magellan, Deep Space 1 and Rosetta. There is also an “off space” teleporter to go to another Sine Space region called “Space Station” to visit the International Space Station. Remember to equip your avatar with the Astronaut EVA suit before visiting. Currently the vendors on Space City show this suit but don’t operate. Go into the Sine Space store and “buy” the (free) Astronaut EVA suit there and equip it in “Outfits”.

Open Source Model Credits

Many of the Gerry Anderson models used were created on open source modeling projects by the members of the Gerry Anderson Model Makers Alliance – GAMMA

Gerry Anderson Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds and Space:1999 related models, e.g. from the Sketchup 3D Warehouse – Search “Gerry Anderson”. Remember these are fan produced models for a TV show and commercial use is not permitted.


Other Sci-Fi and vehicle models, e.g. from the Sketchup 3D Warehouse. Remember these are fan produced models for a TV show and commercial use is not permitted.

Model of Kässbohrer Pisten Bully in OpenSimulator created by “Imperator Janus2” (OSGrid).

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sinespace GALand

Short URL to
http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2017/08/18/sine-space-gerry-anderson-region/

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Cassini – A Celebration of the Grand Finale

Cassini Grand Finale Event in Sinespace – with NASA JPL Live Stream
11am UT/12 noon BST to 12:30pm UT/1:30pm BST on 15th September 2017

For more details and links see this blog post.

Timeline 15th September 2017: Final Entry to Saturn Atmosphere… 6:32 am EDT (3:32 am PDT) Thrusters at 100% of capacity; high-gain antenna begins to point away from Earth, leading to loss of signal. Event received on Earth at 7:56 am EDT (4:54 am PDT). Times may vary after atmospheric drag.
Event for enthusiasts on Space City region in sinespace
Cassini at Saturn YouTube Video, NASA Public Television Live Stream

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

Cassini Model on the Space City Region in OpenSim

Cassini at Saturn over the Space City Region in OpenSim

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

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

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

Voyager-in-OpenSim-with-Planets

Voyager Planet Flyby over the Space City Region in OpenSim

Cassini in Sine Space

The Cassini 3D model exported from Blender to FBX format was also imported into Sine Space and placed in the “Space City” region. Visit via…


Cassini in High Fidelity

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

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

Huygens on Titan

The European Space Agency’s Huygens probe was carried on Cassini to be released near Saturn to land on it’s moon Titan. Our names and a message are on that probe where it now sits beside a liquid methane sea.

More information in this blog post:

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Sansar Name Label

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

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



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Sansar Atlas Hop

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sansar – Resources

sansar-logo

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

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

Creating 3D Objects

Experiences

Links to various experiences are given here for convenience:

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

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

Teleports

  • Teleport between one space and another is ensbled by using this script in a suitable object – TeleportWorld.
  • Teleport between locations within one space are possibke using this script in a suitable object and linking to an arrival object – TeleportLocal.


Vendors

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

Seats

Skybox and Day/Night Cycle

To change the Skybox used in a Unity3D scene use the Windows -> Lighting -> Settings panel, and set the Skybox there. A suggested Skybox for use in sinespace is available in “Assets/Sample Art/Adam_CloudSkybox/Sample Cloud Skybox”. For more information see https://wiki.sine.space/index.php?title=Custom_skybox_shader.

Some advice on adding Day/Night cycles is given in https://wiki.sine.space/index.php?title=Day/night_cycles.

Post Processing Visual Effects/FX

A range of visual effects can be used via a Unity ‘Post-Processing Profile’ capability. These can be adjusted to cater for higher and lower capability machines using the Sinespace viewer settings panel. For details, see https://wiki.sine.space/index.php?title=Post_Processing.

Media and Browser Screens

You can set up an inworld screen to show a video or web content. More details and instructions at https://wiki.sine.space/index.php?title=Browser_Surfaces. A more recently added component named “Embedded Video” may also be useful.

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

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

Originally this was an add-on script, but as from August 2017 you should find the utility available as standard in the Unity Editor under Space -> Tools -> OAR Material Cleanup after the sinespace unitypackage has been added. Don’t re-add the utility script again or you will get a warning that the menu item is already there.

These are Adam Frisby’s original notes on the utility…

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

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

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

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

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

Unity Layers and Culling Mask for Light Sources

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

Audio

Audio can be added to a scene by adding an “Audio Source” component to any object. Ensure that an “Output” type is selected such as “Music” or “Ambient” or the sound may not be heard or be very quiet in sinespace. Tick the “Loop” and “Play on Entry” boxes. The sound clip will play uniformly throughout the scene if the (default) “2D” spatial setting is used. Slide that to “3D” to have the sound respect the 3D falloff and max distance settings.

Animations

BVH animations, such as use din Second Life and OpenSimulator may be converted to FBX form,at for use in Unity3D and sinespace. A guide, for example, is available at https://alastaira.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/using-free-mocap-data-for-game-character-animation-in-unity/.

VeryImportantInScene Layer

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

Mesh Import Issues

On a suggestion from Michael Emory Cerquoni (Nebadon)… if model parts do not in together well when viewed in Sinespace, it could be a result of how Unity is processing normals in the imported model. Select the fbx or collada, whatever it is in your project folder, and in the inspector panel look for the “Model” tab. There is “Normals & Tangents” section. Try changing from “Import” to “Calculate” and alter the default 60 to 90. Tangents can be set to “Calculate Tangent Space”.

Make a Mirror of a 3D Mesh in Unity3D Editor

If mesh parts do not ender correctly or have poorly flipped normal, you may be able to get a mirror part using the other side and flipping it… it’s possible to just set all the scale values to -1 and then rotate your gameobject in the desired axis by 180 degrees. Sometimes you may have to move the part back to tke position of the original mesh part being replaced.. so keep that part 9perhaps ticked as hidden) until you are sure its correctly replaced.

Viewer Camera Controls

  • Use: right-click and drag to get a MMO-style swing camera.
  • If you use the right mouse button and hold it down, you can swivel you camera.
  • Hold alt and press right-click to get a pivot camera (shift/alt/ctrl modify it).
  • Or use F4 and hold right-click and then press WASDEC for a fly camera.
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High Fidelity – Resources

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

High Fidelity Documentation

Interface – Default Scripts & Useful Additions

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

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

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

Interface – Marketplace UI Extras

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

Avatars & Avatar Bookmarks

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

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

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

Locations

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

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

Interface – Create Mode

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

Scene – Useful Assets

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

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

My Mesh Test Assets

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

Sandbox – Domain Server

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

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

Setting up a Theatre

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

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High Fidelity – Mesh Tests

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

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

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





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



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

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




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

3D Model Credits

Using Open Source models…

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

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

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


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

Sansar Experiences – AiLand

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


My main inputs have been the following:

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

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

Sansar Experiences as at 31st July 2017


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


Sansar Store

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Unity 2017 – Rocks Turn Red

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Second Life – Bento Avatars

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

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



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

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

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


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Virtual Oil Rig – Enhancing Higher Education

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

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

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

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

DART – Dynamic Advanced Response Training

Virtual Tour of the DART simulation suite at RGU

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Seven Dales Heritage Run 2017

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

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


Entrants List

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Drone

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

Resources

Flight Videos (Click on Thumbnail for MP4)

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Second Life in Anaglyph 3D using Kirstens Viewer

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

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



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Virtual World Best Practice in Education 2017

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


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

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

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Patagonia

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

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

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

The Andes and Volcanoes

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

Chiloe and its NW Coast

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



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

Los Lagos Region

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

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


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

Punta Arenas and Magellanic Penguins on Isla Magdalena


Torres del Paine National Park, Chile


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


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

Los Glaciares National Park, El Calafate, Argentina

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


Cerro Torre, Poincenot and Fitzroy, El Chaltén, Argentina

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

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

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

Birds, Animals, Plants and Rocks

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








All images above © Copyright 2017 Austin Tate.

Guidebooks

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

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

Sine-Space-2001-Splash-Screen

As of September 2017, the 2001 Space Station and Orion III Shuttle can be found on the “Space Station” region in sinespace. You arrive at the International Space Station (ISS). Look adound for the teleporter to take you there quickly.

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

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Second Life – Gardens by the Bay

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

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

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

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

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