The Nature Collective in Second Life

Following a snapshot posted by @Wurfi on Twitter/X I thought “The Nature Collective” virtual world build by Emm Vintner and her team on Gealain region in Second Life would be worth exploring.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Gealain/21/134/108

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Kemlo and Krillie

     Kemlo   Killie

Kemlo Book Covers

This is a blog post under development. It describes a background storyline for exploring AI tools for creators (leonardo.ai, scenario.com).

The Kemlo series is a collection of children’s science fiction and adventure novels written by E. C. Eliott published in 1954 to 1963. More information in this blog post. The new storyline is loosely based on the Kemlo books and takes place a few years after the adventures in the book series. This might lead one day, maybe, to a new Kemlo story and VR experience.

Kemlo Book Spines


The Further Adventures of Kemlo and Krillie in Space
Kemlo and Krillie

Situation – It is the month of May in a year in the future. Earth has an outer space presence in Earth Orbit, on the Moon and beyond. International United Nations entities are now preferred to nationalistic governments and other authorities. Education, cultural and Internet services are freely available everywhere funded by proportional contributions by all countries. Grants support the provision of equipment to access these resources where circumstances require it. The Internet is now a safe and welcoming place since the introduction of an international requirement for strong privacy protections and open source for any major platform. A Universal Basic Income is provided to everyone both on world and off world.

Leonardo.ai 1950s Retro Space Station

Belt K – An Earth orbit space habit spread over 20km including habitation, living spaces, educational areas, recreation, physical conditioning areas, manufacturing, solar power generation and storage, space agriculture and hydroponics in large domes (automatically positioned to maximise crop growing quality and time). Robotics and droids are used throughout the Belt. Children born on Belt K are given names starting with “K”.

Education – Space-born children begin their education and practice simulated space operations very early. Classrooms and experience areas allow for e-Learning (enhanced learning), VR immersion and simulated field trips including holographic spaces and linked teleoperations of devices in many locations. Kids in the Belt call the facilities “sKool”. Belt residents engage in lifelong learning and training opportunities.

Space Operations Training – By the age of 11 many children have usually become familiar with space vehicle operations through simulation and play and can already use autonomous space scooters with confidence. At 13 children can take a basic flight operations test so that they can use the unsupervised mode on space scooters with appropriate oversight by the Belt K Operations Authority. At 15 they are allowed to use space scooters with limited unsupervised operations. At 18 with a pilot’s license they can use space runabouts. Belt children usually achieve their spacecraft qualifications very soon after their relevant birthdays as they make use of e-Learning, simulators and VR ahead of time. At age 20, for those wanting to use space transports professionally, they can obtain a Space Operations License (SOL) from the Space Transport Authority (STA) via exams and after logging flight experience. The SOL is renewable annually.

Spacecraft – Space Scooters (SS) for intra-habitat local transport and exploration, Space Runabouts (SR) for in orbit travel, Space Transports (ST) managed by the Space Transport Authority (STA) are the workhorses for orbital and Earth-Orbit operations for cargo and passengers, and Experimental Spacecraft (SX).

Space Scooters (SS) – small two to four seat personal spacecraft for travel within a Belt. Highly automated with remote supervisory capability for younger travellers.

Space Runabouts (SR) – two seat or larger spacecraft for travel around and between the Satellite Belts. Automation is used for safety. Fully autonomous versions provide a taxi service.

Robotic Assistants (RA) – a range of intelligent agents which are implemented in a distributed fashion. They can be personalised and embedded in a range of physical forms such as a wrist device or a robot. By tradition such robots are given names starting with the initial of the belt they are deployed on (e.g. “KaRA”)

K-Pad – a device with screen for communications, information, augmented reality for technical operations, education, etc. Age appropriate facilities are on the device. Updates ensure the device stays appropriate to its user for life. Strong privacy protection is enforced with locally stored data entirely private to the user and not shared off device.

KemloKemlo – Male, 18 years old, born 3rd March on Belt K, Sector A. Kemlo has has an Open World University (OWU) Degree in Planetary Geosciences. Skilled pilot. Captain of the Space Scouts. Helps train younger children to fly and maintain space scooters. Kemlo is involved in the test programme for an experimental modular space runabout (SX-MR2). Kemlo’s robotic assistant which he calls “Komputer” is embedded in his Omega wrist band (a gift for his 18th birthday) which he wears with the screen under his left wrist in “driver-style”.

KrillieKrillie – Female, 17 years old, born 11th November on Belt K, Sector A. Killie has an Open World University (OWU) Degree in Space Construction Engineering and is currently studying for a Masters by e-Learning in AI and Robotics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Krillie is the author of a series of books describing life as a Space Girl which are popular with children on Earth and in the Belts and beyond. Killie has an interest in AI-enhanced fashion. Krillie’s robotic assistant which she calls “KaRA” is embedded in her K-Pad.

Open World University (OWU) – the main provider of educational opportunities and experiences to on-world and off-world learners of all ages. OWU physical bases and computing centres are on and under sea islands named Atlantica Sea City and Pacifica Sea City run by the international United Nations (UN) Organization. OWU programmes are run for all ages and support lifelong learning. e-Learning (enhanced learning) using distance education is employed with group and social functions, VR simulated field trips and experimental labs. Advanced courses including Masters degrees are provided through OWU by specialised Educational Institutions across the world and beyond.
Sea City - Starlog Future Magazine 18-May-1980

Offworld Heritage Sites and International Monuments

Some early space age activities on the Moon and in Earth Orbit have been kept intact and preserved for future generations. The International Space Station (ISS) constructed in the late 1990s, and the first wheel shaped rotating space station (often referred to as the 2001 Space Station as a nod to the film 2001 that depicted such a station) are in orbit and can be visited externally or in detail via remote VR operated telerobotics.
International Space Station (ISS) 2001 Space Station


Using AI Tools to Suggest Content for Kemlo & Krillie

Leonardo.ai was used to suggest initial images for the main characters, Kemlo and Krillie. The initial attempt was useful, with a few visual glitches e.g. around Krillie’s right eye, and spacesuit patches that were too distinct. This was improved by using a further “image-to-image” generation and photoshop on Kemlo’s spacesuit arm patch.

Leonardo.ai Prompt: Kemlo and Krillie are space-born teenagers, they sit in a small two-seat personal spacecraft, travelling between two space stations, Earth orbit.
Kemlo and Krillie by Leonardo.ai Kemlo and Krillie by Leonardo.ai - Image-to-Image Gen.

Leonardo.ai (https://leonardo.ai) for a similar prompt also generated some images that might be suitable for two-seat Space Scooters for younger children and Space Runabouts for older teenagers.
Space Scooter with two younger teenagers Space Scooter with two younger teenagers
These images were then sharpened, enlarged and backgrounds removed where useful in Scenario (https://www.scenario.com/).

Leonardo.ai images of a Space Scooter and a Space Runabout as generated from the original covers of two of the Kemlo books (paperback versions) are show here…
Space Scooter Space Runabout

A simple Space Runabout created in OpenSim, exported to Collada (DAE) and imported to Blender is shown here…
Space Runabout in OpenSim Space Runabout in Blender


Simple Unity Experience – Kemlo & Krillie Visit the 2001 Space Station

Kemlo and Krillie Visit the 2001 Station
Kemlo and Krillie Visit the 2001 Station - in Unity Kemlo and Krillie Visit the 2001 Station - in Unity
Kemlo and Krillie Visit the 2001 Station - in Unity Kemlo and Krillie Visit the 2001 Station - in Unity

Simple OpenSim Experience – Kemlo & Krillie Visit the Spacecraft & Space Telescopes Monuments

Kemlo and Krillie Visit the Space Monuments - in OpenSim

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Leonardo.ai Image Generation

Leonardo.ai LogoAfter experimenting with Leonardo AI to turn Second Life avatar snapshots into realistic looking characters generated by AI (see this blog post), I tried some further Ai Image generation ideas.

Using prompts for images of an ocean view house from my experiment at https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2023/03/29/chatgpt/

Prompt 1: Photorealistic image of view from inside a modern house with plate glass windows and deck on a pine forest hillside overlooking a stormy ocean at sunset with jagged rocks offshore.

I the tried my modified prompt which tried to add a cat and whale into the image, which failed completely in DALL-E.

Prompt 2: Photorealistic image of view from inside a modern house with plate glass windows and deck on a pine forest hillside overlooking a stormy ocean at sunset with jagged rock pinnacles and arches offshore with a light grey cat sat inside looking out to see a distant humpback whale breaching a mile offshore.

Prompt 3: Photorealistic, view from inside a modern house, overlooking stormy ocean, sunset, jagged rock pinnacles offshore, ((light grey cat looking out)), (distant humpback whale breaching a mile offshore)

One of the images for Prompt 3 shown above (right hand) does have a black cat in it and maybe a few pixels of a whale far offshore? Generally I am not getting the cat and whale added to the images, even when strengthening those elements with added parentheses as in this final test…

Prompt 4: Photorealistic, view from inside a modern house, overlooking stormy ocean, sunset, jagged rock pinnacles offshore, ((cat looking out)), (humpback whale breaching offshore)


Prompt 5: Photorealistic, view from inside a modern house, overlooking stormy ocean, sunset, jagged rock pinnacles offshore, ((cat inside house looking out)), (humpback whale blow 100m offshore)
Now, one of the images generated by prompt 5 (left hand one above) is closer to what was intended. The horizon has a discontinuity across the window panes. The whale is rather large, so try to put whale further out to sea and reintroduce the context of steep forested hillside.

Prompt 6: Photorealistic, view from inside a modern house, overlooking stormy ocean, steep forested hillside, sunset, jagged rock pinnacles offshore, ((cat inside house looking out)), (humpback whale breach 300m offshore)

Well that got weird with the whale/cat combo coming directly at the house and what looks like a big cat fur on the sofa πŸ™‚

Cloud Edge on Echo Mountain

A prompt suggested by a scene in Second Life described at https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2023/01/06/cloud-edge-in-second-life/… the Leonardo.ai images generated are very close to those I had in mind. I should have mentioned a person looking out, but one image included that anyway.

Prompt A:Cloud Edge on Echo Mountain is a wonderful atmospheric walk in the mountains above the cloud level.

Prompt B: Cloud Edge on Echo Mountain is a wonderful atmospheric walk in the mountains above the cloud level, a couple looks out to the horizon. Not sure why one of the images only has a single person on it…

Interstellar Probe with Droids

Prompt: An interstellar probe journeys deep in space, repair droids work on its surface.
I expected a ship in space not landed on a planet or moon surface.

Kemlo and Krillie

Now to try a prompt for some fictional characters from the 1950s-1960s Kemlo series of books for children… https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2014/01/01/kemlo/

Prompt: Kemlo and Krillie are space-born teenagers, they sit in a small two-seat personal spacecraft, travelling between two space stations, Earth orbit.
Kemlo and Krillie by Leonardo.ai

Some of these images were then cleaned up, enlarged, sharpened and background removed using Scenario.com. Its free plan allows 1,000 operations per month, but you can only have 2 active Scenarios.

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Leonardo.ai for Avatar Realistic Image Generation

Leonardo.ai LogoGogo of Juicy Bomb made one of her useful tutorials on how to use Leonardo AI to turn Second Life avatar snapshots into realistic looking characters generated by AI, posting it on her Plurk Channel. Leonardo.ai uses underlying AI models by, for example, Stable Diffusion (https://stability.ai/).

The process is summarised in this NWN post by Wagner James “Hamlet” Au…
Tutorial: How To Make Your Second Life Avatar “Real” With Leonardo AI, New World Notes Blog 13-Feb-2024.

Leonardo.ai Tools

Leaonardo.ai can be used for testing with free daily credits (150 when tested on 14-Feb-2024) enough for 3 or 4 images with complex AI Models. To use up your last few credits any day try the “Leonardo Diffusion XL” model. Some single images can be generated for just 1 credit.

This is a summary of the process from NWN…

  1. Go to Image Generation, then go to Image Guidance, and drop your photo in the program.
  2. In “Type a prompt”, write “Image to Image” at the top. You can add “pretty brunette” or something simple, or you can get real detailed.
  3. Adjust the Strength scale to let Leonardo know how far you want it to deviate from the original image.
  4. You can also go through previous iterations in the Generation History option.

Leonardo.ai Image Guidance

By default you will get 4 sample images generated, you can alter that (and it will change the cost in terms of tokens used).

Note that defaults for the AI models used and the way the image is processed means it is helpful to stick to the generation of an image in the SAME resolution and aspect ratio as the model selected. E.g. it could be something like 1024×768 (4×3 ratio) so upload the source image in the same size and aspect ratio.

First Two Generations on an Avatar Test Image

Test Original Avatar Image

Test image generation with default “Leonardo Diffusion XL” model in “Leonardo Style” on snapshot of avatar against Second Life sea using 1024×768 snapshot. Only “image to image” in prompt, default strength 0.3 (cost 11 tokens).

The 4 images generated are as follows.. and on this first attempt don’t look much like the photorealistic versions that Gogo managed to generate πŸ™‚

Leonardo.ai Test Image Generation 1

Then tried the “Photoreal V2” setting and “Leonardo Photoreal” model in “Cinematic” style with a strength of 0.6 (cost 32 tokens). Prompt was “Image to image, male, photorealistic portrait”.

The 4 images generated are as follows.. a bit better. It removed the avatar glasses.

Leonardo.ai Test Image Generation 2

For comparison, here is Gogo’s test image on a female avatar…

Gogo's test image on a female avatar
Image from nwm.blogs.com and Gogo Juicy Bomb

Leonardo.ai Resources

Leonardo.ai Prompts

Leonadro.ai Prompt Suggestions

Use commas to separate elements of the prompt. Put higher priority elements near the start. You can exclude elements with the negative prompt feature. There is a “Prompt Generation” area of the tool which can make suggestions for prompts based on some input suggestion by yourself.

Square brackets and parentheses are used for adjusting the weight of the contained words: Surrounding words with (one or more levels of parentheses) will increase their impact on the image, Surrounding words with [square brackets] will decrease their impact on the image.

More advice on prompts at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKQDtBLla08

Useful Negative Prompts (suggested by sample images)

text, letters, too many feet, too many fingers, long neck, 2 heads, duplicate, abstract, disfigured, deformed, nude, nsfw, toy, figure, framed, disfigured, bad art, deformed, poorly drawn, extra limbs, weird colors, 2 heads, elongated body, cropped image, out of frame, draft, deformed hands, twisted fingers, double image, malformed hands, multiple heads, extra limb, ugly, poorly drawn hands, missing limb, cut-off, over saturated, grain, bad anatomy, poorly drawn face, mutation, mutated, floating limbs, disconnected limbs, out of focus, long body, disgusting, extra fingers, gross proportions, missing arms, mutated hands, cloned face, missing legs, writing, watermark, logo, oversaturation, over saturation, over shadow,

Terminology

  • LoRA: Low-Rank Adaptation of Large Language Models (scenario.com article)
  • IP Adapter: takes a reference image, and turns it into a prompt, so user can focus on additional elements such as, pose, background, clothing etc. (scenario.com article)
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Mirrors in Second Life

With the introduction of Physically-Based Rendering (PBR) glTF materials support in Second Life viewers, the development of a “Mirror” reflection capability that is high enough quality and updates in real time enough to look like a real life mirror has been under development. A project viewer has been under test for a while. The viewer and region server code need to support mirrors. As at 10th Feb 2024, a test viewer has been posted via the Discord Second Life “content-features” channel (Second_Life_Project_Featurettes 7.1.3.7848563555) and a test region on the Beta Grid at “Rumpus Region 2048” made available for testing.

Mirror Example

The notes below reflect the design and operation of mirrors in Second Life as at 10th February 2024, but they are in a state of flux and could be altered, perhaps significantly, before finally being properly released.

Instructions to Make a Mirror

Ensure you are using a viewer and on a region that supports mirrors and that the debug setting RenderMirrors = TRUE which is is by default in the test viewer currently.

  1. Rez the object to have a face which will be your mirror. Size and rotation does not matter.
  2. Make the face to be a mirror have a shiny face… e.g. use PBR or blinn-phong blank specular, 255 factor, 255 environment, colour tint black.
  3. Rex a Box, size does not matter. rotate Z+ away from face to be the mirror.
  4. Make into mirror probe … sphere or box type does not matter.
  5. Move it into the reflective surface’s plane. The probe centre line must be just beneath the mirror’s surface.
  6. Shift drag copy the PROBE! (due to current viewer bug).
  7. Copy of probe goes transparent (see it with ctrl+alt_t) (another viewer bug?).
  8. Original stays with yellow colour if show reflection probes is set.
  9. Delete the original probe (yellow one).

There is a BUG in that when a mirror reflection probe is drag copied the original goes transparent and does not show as yellow if you have reflection probes to show.

Note mirror currently shows what is given by the mirror reflection probe nearest the CAMERA.. so other mirror reflection probes nearby (even if not in view) may intersect and override what you might expect to see.

Mirror Reflection Probe +Z axis points out

Observation

With the current mechanism, this seems to be far too complicated.

Mirror Reflection Probe Interference and Priority Issues

Mirror Probes currently have an “Influence Zone” where they effect objects with reflective surfaces that is 10cm deep (fixed by a built in shader apparently) and the effect can go far out so can intersect other reflective objects that might be unexpected. But this is expected to change as the mirror approach is refined.

Image from Zi Ree (Firestorm) Image from Zi Ree (Firestorm)
Images from Zi Ree (Firestorm)

Dantia Gothly on Discord commented: I set it up for my reflective surface aligned it and got it working. Then I took that reflective object while leaving the probe where it was and went 3000m up and the mirror still worked. So the mirror plane works across the whole region so long as its aligned to that surface.

Geenz (one of the developers) on Discord Commented: Right now how we handle the placement is WIP – eventually it’s gonna get the same falloff and such as regular probes. Just didn’t have time to get that done yet. We’re still debating and discussing the UX around this. So you’ll be able to just plop down a box or sphere probe, size it up, and get anything that intersects with it to get the mirror probe’s image.

Suggestions for Improvement

  • Provide a tick box to make the surface of an object be a mirror and then autoplace a Mirror Reflection Probe correctly placed and rotated (Z+ outword) wrt that surface.
  • Influence zone for Mirror effect defined by size of the Reflection Probe itself (current its size is immaterial) rather than extending well beyond the object’s mirror surface.
  • Have a way to limit influence zone where a Mirror Reflection probe can show on a mirror surface to the land plot so neighbours builds do not interfere.
  • Reflection Probe used to be based on object the surface is rendered on not the probe nearest the avat
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AIAI Training and CPD

AIAI LogoThis blog post provides historical information about the training and Continued Professional Development (CPD) activities of the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute (AIAI) at the University of Edinburgh between 1984 and 2020.

As part of AIAI’s technology transfer remit it ran an extensive programme of training and CPD offerings. A summary of the training offerings for 1996 from AIAI and pricing can be found on this snapshot web archive area…
https://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/project/ftp/pub/home/iwh/cdrom/www/aiai/training.htm

Training Labs, Advanced Facilities and Support for Engineers

AIAI Training Lab FacilitiesAIAI ran two laboratories with cutting edge equipment into which visiting scientists, engineers and industry could carry out pilot projects – a Knowledge Representation Systems Training Lab (KRSTL) and a Parallel Architecture Lab (PAL). AIAI had a contract with the UK EPSRC to help train engineers in the use of AI techniques in their subject (AI Support for Engineers). Due to its pioneering collaborative work between industry and academia, AIAI also won an award which allowed the equipping of a training laboratory with multiple workstations and advanced systems to improve its training capabilities.

To support these programmes, AIAI had a series of Short Courses which could be offered in Edinburgh on a shared basis or delivered within a company or organisation. The courses could be tailored to meet client needs. It also offered a packaged Study Programme in AI Applications to allow visitors to pursue a short application project under AIAI staff supervision and Research Programme in AI Applications to support more experienced personnel.

Short Courses

Below is a list of the courses offered on a stand alone basis and as part of the Study and Research programmes. These short courses are no longer available. Contact the School of Informatics for study opportunities.

This archival web page has a bit more detail including Winter 2002-2003 pricing… https://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/archive/2003-07-14/training/
AIAI Training Courses - Winter 2002-2003

Study Programme in AI Applications

From AIAI’s prospectus for 1995 (original here)…

Study Programmes are concerned with creating skilled knowledge engineers. They are aimed at organisations that have reason to believe that one or more of their problems may be addressed by application of KBS techniques and which have personnel who lack sufficient KBS skills to carry out the project effectively.

Study Programmes emphasise the production of high quality applications. Visitors build an initial system which their organisation can develop further. This gives a quick start on a project for a organisation, and relevant knowledge engineering skills for its staff. This is achieved through:

  • a closely supervised and well planned work programme;
  • attending appropriate short courses;
  • building a system alongside skilled AI practitioners;

The fundamental training strategy behind this “journeyman” scheme is the building of a fully documented knowledge based system with supervision from AIAI staff. The Study Programme usually lasts ten weeks and visitors may register on a full-time or part-time basis. Programmes start in January, April and October.

Research Programme in AI Applications

From AIAI’s prospectus for 1995 (original here)…

Research Programmes are aimed at organisations who already have skilled staff in the domain of AI but who wish to further their research into the application of the techniques to meet business requirements.

The visitor will be a well motivated individual who can work with minimum direct supervision, and join as part of one of AIAI’s technical groups. The AI application research will be a project chosen to fit in with, and compliment, AIAI’s technical focii of:

  • planning & scheduling technology;
  • enterprise & process modelling technology;
  • corporate knowledge management technology.

For the period of the Research Programme the visitor will be allocated;

  • a desk within the AI Building at South Bridge, Edinburgh in close proximity to a large number of staff and students working in AI;
  • Computer provision via AIAI’s extensive network of workstations;
  • an extensive range of AI toolkits and languages;
  • excellent library and information services.

It is expected that a minimum of a joint publication describing the results must be an outcome of the application research work. Research Programmes last a minimum of three months and visitors may apply at any time.

AI Planning MOOC (2013-2015 and online afterwards)

Click for more on Edinburgh MOOCsAIAI was one of the first groups at the University of Edinburgh to engage in the development and running of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) via the Coursera platform. The MSc level course was on AI Planning. Over 113,000 students took part in the three synchronous sessions offered. The materials continue to be available online via YouTube, open.ed and an AIAI web server and other Universities use the materials in their courses. See https://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/project/plan/ooc/

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Firestorm PBR Alpha Tests for VR Mod

This is an experiment by @Sgeo to test Firestorm VR Mod 7.1.2.72850 PBR Alpha Test version to check whether the VR Mod approach works – and the good new is that it does.

Firestorm VR Mod 7.1.2.72850 - OSGrid Oil Rig - Deck
Firestorm VR Mod 7.1.2.72850 - OSGrid Oil Rig -Platform Firestorm VR Mod 7.1.2.72850 - OSGrid Oil Rig - Interior
Firestorm VR Mod 7.1.2.72850 - OSGrid Oil Rig - BOP Firestorm VR Mod 7.1.2.72850 - OSGrid Oil Rig - ROV

The above images are all taken using the Firestorm VR Mod 7.1.2.72850 viewer on the OpenSim OSGrid “Oil Rig” region. This is an immersive educational training region as used by RGU Oil & Gas Centre in Aberdeen to train offshore oil rig workers prior to deployment. More information on the Oil Rig Training Experience on this blog post.

More Detail

The Firestorm viewer currently has an alpha test version in development that incorporates changes for Physically-Based Rendering (PBR) materials support. This has changed the rendering approach used by the viewer.

The current Firestorm VR Mod approach based on SteamVR/OpenVR to allow for VR use via a wide range of VR HMDs was developed by Peter Kappler. It uses a simple mechanism in a modified Firestorm Viewer from version 6.3.3 from November 2019. (An earlier approach was in Firestorm 6.0.1.57000 from August 2019). This basic approach continues to work in Firestorm up to 6.6.8 – the last version that has been prepared by @Humbletim using GitHub Actions (GHA).

@Sgeo on the Firestorm VR Mod Discord Group (Invite Link) took the latest available Firestorm PBR alpha source code from https://github.com/FirestormViewer/phoenix-firestorm-alpha (7.1.2.72850) and added in his own variant of the VR Mod approach which uses the same rendering mechanism. Sgeo’s approach includes code that allow for automatic setting up of the VR headset for IPD, texture Offset, and other parameters which have to be manually set (via the F5 key in VR Mode) for the Peter Kappler approach.

Download, Install and include openvr_api.dll

On 28-Jan-2024 @Sgeo provided a build of this version of Firestorm VR Mod 7.1.2.72850 for early tests and access by the P373R-WORKSHOP Discord group (see File Phoenix-FirestormOS-SgeoVR-7-1-2-72850_Setup.exe downloadable from this Viewer Download Link, Discord Group Invite Link). This version is a Windows 64 bit installer. It installs in a different directory to the normal Firestorm and Firestorm VR Mod versions so can be used alongside those. It shares the settings for normal Firestorm.

After install you need to add the openvr_api.dll library to allow the viewer to connect to SteamVR and the specific VR HMD drivers you use. This version of the viewer does not automatically include that as usual for Firestorm VR Mod. The latest version of openvr_api.dll can be obtained (Win64 version for this test version) from https://github.com/ValveSoftware/openvr/tree/master/bin/.

Then you can launch the viewer and as usual use Ctrl+Tab to load Steam VR and the VR HMD’s drivers. After that use Tab to go into and return from VR mode. Note I experience a crash of the viewer a few times when doing Ctrl+Tab. But it worked most times. If it crashes, it may be better to leave SteamVR and the VR HMD drivers running and restart Firestorm VR mode and that seems to work reliably – so it may be some sort of timing issue in the launch.

@Sgeo’s version of Firestorm VR Mod sets up the VR HMD IPD, texture offset and other parameters automatically, so with luck you should see a crisp VR image with 3D depth. As usual you can monitor on the 2D screen what is showing to each eye of the VR HMD using the SteamVR “Display VR View” capability (in its menu you can show “Both Eyes”).

Sgeo Firestorm VR Mod PBR Alpha - SteamVR VR View

UI Elements – Out of View in VR Mode

Note that currently it is difficult to see the Viewer UI elements like menus, buttons and edge mounted HUDs as they are out of the VR field of View (FOV). Normal Firestorm VR Mod using Peter Kappler’s approach allows for a shift in the area viewed as the mouse is moved to the edges or corners of the view to bring those UI elements into the FOV. The image below shows the FOV in the VR view for an Oculus Rift DK2 and you can see it is quite limited compared to the whole viewer screen. In thus picture, th UI elements and tools were moved to just be out of view, even went looking to the extreme sides, top and bottom.

Red marks the VR FOV for Oculus Rift DK2

2D View Squashed and a Temporary Fix

Also, in this current test version, on return to 2D mode (tab) the 2D image can be left squashed and not centred.

2D screen squashed

A simple fix for that is to resize the 2D screen to have the same ratio as ONE EYE of the SteamVR VR View monitor screen, e.g. try a ratio of 8×9 (width=8 units and height=9 units, note its half of a 16×9 screen ratio). The earlier VR Mod approach automatically resized the 2D screen to get a similar effect. This also seems to correct the distortion of the name labels over avatars too.

2D screen ratio of 5x6 to make it unsquashed

Colour Changes

I do see a darkening of the colours across the whole image when switching from 2D mode (left image below) to VR Mode (right image below). The 2D mode looks identical colour to the non-VR version of Firestorm PBR Alpha. This image was taken on the Firestorm Beta Grid “Rumpus Room 4” region which has a range of PBR test objects.

2D Mode Colour VR Mode Colour
VR Mode Colour

OpenSim OSGrid VRland Test Area

On OpenSim OSGrid there is a VR test area that can help establish the VR HMD Field of View (FOV, shown in blue in VR View below) etc. at hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/RuthAndRoth/16/16/1000

OSGrid VRLand Test Area
OSGrid VRLand Test Area - VR FOV in Blue- Oculus Rift DK2

PBR Materials Display in OpenSim

And the point of all this is to be able to display PBR materials in Second Life and OpenSim… here is a sample image… using the latest OpenSim 0.9.3.0 Dev Master server code already available on OSGrid and which includes support for PBR materials.

OpenSim PBR Materials in VR View

Oculus Rift CV1

Tests of Firestorm VR Mod 7.1.2.72850 PBR Alpha Test on Oculus Rift CV1 which on Firestorm VR Mod 6.6.8 has a texture offset of +30 and a Texture Zoom of 0. All looks fine. FOV for Oculus Rift CV1 is wider than DK2 and if I really squint up down, left and right I can JUST see at the extreme edges the inner most parts of the menu bars and edge buttons. Not enough to click them, but they are JUST there… FOV indicated here on the OSGrid VRLand test area.

SgeoVR 7.1.2.72850 on Oculus Rift CV1 - OpenSim - FOV in blue
SgeoVR 7.1.2.72850 on Oculus Rift CV1 - Second Life SgeoVR 7.1.2.72850 on Oculus Rift CV1 - Second Life Beta PBR

Frames Per Second (FPS)

It is important to try to maintain a good rate of frames per second for comfortable VR. The graphics quality settings and draw distance should be adjusted to make sure the 2D view FPS is high enough so that when you switch to VR Mode and likely go to less than 50% of the 2D FPS it still works smoothly.

Source Code

Firestorm PBR alpha source code:
https://github.com/FirestormViewer/phoenix-firestorm-alpha

Sgeo Firestorm PBR Alpha with SgeoVR Mod code:
https://github.com/Sgeo/phoenix-firestorm-alpha/tree/VR_Sgeo_2024

Latest version of openvr_api.dll can be obtained (Win64 version for this test version) from https://github.com/ValveSoftware/openvr/tree/master/bin/.

The LICENSE file from there should be included (renamed LICENSE-OpenVR) from https://github.com/ValveSoftware/openvr/blob/master/LICENSE

Posted in OpenSim, Second Life, Virtual World, VR | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

BadgEd

BadgEd LogoBadgEd (Open Digital Badges) is a mechanism to offer achievement and participation badges to those engaged in educational and other experiences.

https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/learning-technology/more/badged-open-digital-badges

The University of Edinburgh offers the BadgEd scheme – https://uoe.eu.badgr.com/ – based on the Open Badges Platform – https://openbadges.org/.

Contents of Digital BadgeOpen digital badges enable the sharing of a range of verifiable learning and professional achievements across different platforms, including social media, employability websites, CVs and portfolios. The digital badge includes a badge image as well as metadata (information) about:

  • the earner
  • the organisation issuing the badge
  • the criteria for earning the badge
  • relevant dates, such as the issue date or an expiry date.

AI Planning MOOC Badges

At an earlier stage of the development of the University of Edinburgh’s open online educational materials, our own AI Planning MOOC offered badges at various levels of engagement… based on the “I Can Plan” slogan. The MOOC was offered initially on the Coursera platform in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and then made available via YouTube, open.ed and a School of Informatics AIAI web server. See https://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/project/plan/ooc/

I Can Plan badges

Plan Can I badgeand a special badge for those Jedi Knights taking the course πŸ™‚

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Hippiestock Festival 2024 in Second Life

Hippiestock 2024 in Second Life
Visit the “Hippiestock” Festival in Second Life in January 2024… a lovely watercolour style region themed like the famous Woodstock Festival from 1969. The watercolour trees and leaves are a nice touch. All very trippy. Built by CK (Ceakay Ballyhoo) , the area will support a number of events, exhibitions and storytelling.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA12/11/10/22


Hippiestock 2024 and Woodstock 12969 Hippiestock 2024 - Photo Competition

The Little Girl at the Watercolour Hippiestock

The latest in a series of short stories by CK Ballyhoo… to be told at Hippiestock 2024…
The Little Girl at the Watercolour Hippiestock The Little Girl at the Watercolour Hippiestock

Other “Little Girl” stories at https://ceakayballyhoo.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/the-little-girl-on-a-watercolour-wander/

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A21 News – Supercar

There are a number of Supercar themed stories by Andrew Clements under the “A Gerry Anderson A21 News Story” banner. See https://www.gerryanderson.com/tag/supercar/.

Supercar Heads For Space!Supercar Heads For Space! – A Gerry Anderson A21 News Report
Andrew Clements, November 9, 2019
https://www.gerryanderson.com/supercar-heads-for-space/

Supercar: Gravity Gambit!Supercar: Gravity Gambit! – A Gerry Anderson A21 News Story
Andrew Clements, June 17, 2022
https://www.gerryanderson.com/supercar-gravity-gambit/

Supercar: The Mysterious WreckSupercar: The Mysterious Wreck – A Gerry Anderson A21 News Story
Andrew Clements, February 17, 2023
https://www.gerryanderson.com/supercar-the-mysterious-wreck/

Supercar: Sunken Secret!Supercar: Sunken Secret! – A Gerry Anderson A21 News Story
Andrew Clements, February 25, 2023
https://www.gerryanderson.com/supercar-sunken-secret/

Supercar: Rendezvous In The Deep Supercar: Rendezvous In The Deep – A Gerry Anderson A21 News Story
Andrew Clements, March 3, 2023
https://www.gerryanderson.com/supercar-rendezvous-in-the-deep/

Supercar: Mission RedactedSupercar: Mission Redacted – A Gerry Anderson A21 News Story
Andrew Clements, March 10, 2023
https://www.gerryanderson.com/supercar-mission-redacted/


YouTube - A Supercar ChristmasA Supercar Christmas by X-06 FUTURESPY

A fan-made audiobook reading of a Supercar story from the TV Century 21 annual 1965.


A21 Thumbnail images from https://www.gerryanderson.com/

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Scalextric – Batmobile

Scalextric Batmobile Packaging

Having bought the Scalextric Legends – Jim Clark Triple Set, I could not resist getting the detailed 1960s style Batmobile model too. The Batmobile was created by George Barris and based on the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car (see this blog post).

https://uk.scalextric.com/products/batmobile-1966-tv-series-c4175

Scalextric Batmobile Scalextric Batmobile
Scalextric Batmobile Scalextric Batmobile

Batman originates all the way back to 1939 where he was first introduced in Detective Comics. Since then he has grown to become one of the most famous, if not the most famous, superheroes of all time. Batman made it from the comic book pages onto the TV screen in the 1960s when the Batman TV series first aired starring Adam West as Batman/Bruce Wayne.

Both Batman and his companion Robin were two crime fighters there to defend Gotham City, their mode of transport was the Batmobile. This detailed Scalextric slot car of the 1960s Batmobile captures the shape of this iconic car and includes a Batman figure in the driver’s seat.


Images from Scalextric

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Scalextric Legends – Jim Clark

Scalextric Artwork - Legends - Jim Clark
Scalextric - Legends - Jim Clark Slot CarsHaving seen some of Jim Clark’s Formula 1 and road cars in the flesh a few times and remembering that I used Jim Clark’s Lotus 49 F1 race car as my slot racing car in competitions and at the Scalextric club I used to run in the evenings at my secondary school, back in the 1960s… I could not resist getting the Scalextric Legends Jim Clark Triple Set when it came out on 27th November 2023.

https://uk.scalextric.com/products/legend-jim-clark-triple-pack-c4395a

  • Lotus 25 F1 No.1 World Champion 1963
  • Ford Lotus Cortina No.146 BTCC Champion 1964
  • Lotus 49 F1 No.3 1967


Scalextric - Legends - Jim Clark Triple Set - 3D Scalextric - Legends - Jim Clark Triple Set - 3D
Scalextric Artwork - Legends - Jim Clark - BoxBorn in 1936 in Fife, Scotland, Jim Clark is today remembered as being one of, if not the, greatest natural talents to ever sit behind the wheel of a Formula One car. Born into a farming family Jimmy began his racing career in local road rally events before graduating to circuit racing in a borrowed DKW. By 1958 he has gained the attention of the local Border Reivers team and was racing a Jaguar D-Type across national events. Winning 18 of the races he entered.

In 1958 he raced a Lotus Elite at Brands Hatch, finishing second to Colin Chapman, boss of Lotus, and launching his career with the famous Norfolk brand. By 1960 he was racing for Lotus in Formula One, making his debut at the Dutch GP and winning his first Grand Prix at the 1962 Belgian race at the daunting Spa Francochamps. His first World Championship came in 1963 and was followed by another in 1965, both for Lotus.

His exploits however were not just confined to F1, he won the Indy 500, raced at LeMans and at the wheel of the fantastic Lotus Cortina he won numerous touring car races and a British Saloon Car Championship. Regarded by many to be the most naturally talented driver to ever grace Formula One Jimmy was tragically killed during a Formula 2 race in Germany in 1968. Today he is remembered as a true great of the sport, a natural talent like no other, and a man incomparable on the track.

For more information on Jim Clark or for information on the Jim Clark Museum in Duns, Scotland please visit www.jimclarktrust.com

Scalextric Artwork - Lotus Type 49 No.3
Scalextric Artwork - Lotus 25 F1 No.1k Scalextric Artwork - Ford Lotus Cortina No.146
Scalextric Artwork - Legends - Jim Clark - Taped Images
Scalextric Artwork – see https://uk.scalextric.com/products/legend-jim-clark-triple-pack-c4395a

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glTF – Model Viewers and Validation Tools

This blog post lists some resources used to view and validate glTF/GLB 3D files.

Khronos Group glTF Test Viewer

https://github.khronos.org/glTF-Sample-Viewer-Release/ [GitHub Source Code]

As a test, a Blender model of Supercar (see this blog post) was exported to glTF (.glb or .gltf) and tested in the Khronos glTF Test Viewer, which is intended to act as a benchmark for such models.

Khronos Group glTF Validator

Live drag-n-drop tool: https://github.khronos.org/glTF-Validator [GitHub Source Code]

ModelViewer.dev glTF/GLB Viewer with Khronos glTF Validator Built In

Live Drag and Drop Viewer: https://modelviewer.dev/editor [GitHub Source Code]

Again, as a test, a Blender model of Supercar (see this blog post) was exported to glTF (.glb or .gltf) and tested in the ModelViewer Tool, which can also export the model in a form which can be viewed via a web browser. Click here for the 3D view of Supercar.

Microsoft glTF Tools Extension for Visual Studio Code

https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=cesium.gltf-vscode

glTF Import/Export for Unity – Unity glTFast

hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/Openvue/128/128/22

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Hiberworld – Resources

Hiberworld (https://hiberworld.com) is a virtual world in which users can link Ready Player Me (https://readyplayer.me) avatars and create experiences.

Hiberworld - Arctic Drift Hiberworld - Arctic Drift

Hiberworld can share equipment and clothing items across multiple virtual worlds through the Ready Player me platform.

Hiberworld Festive Footwear Hiberworld Santa Hat

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Sledging in Second Life 2023

2023 Sled Run in Second Life
Pick up a sledge and take to the Sled Run on Winter Wonderland in Second Life (2023)…
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Winter%20Wonderland%203/163/71/92

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OpenSimulator Community Conference 2023 – OSCC23

OSCC 2023 Logo

The OpenSimulator Community Conference (OSCC) is one of the longest running virtual conference series, having started in 2013 and run annually since. This is OSCC’s 11th year and the event celebrates 16 years of OpenSimulator as the first commit was January 31, 2007. The OpenSimulator community and Avacon Inc. come together to run the event on the OpenSimulator Community Conference (OpenSimCC) grid – http://cc.opensimulator.org:8005 [LoginURI: http://cc.opensimulator.org:8002]

The main keynote presentations area uses the adjacent corners of 4 sims to provide capacity for up to around 400 attendees.

OSCC Keynote Regions OSCC Keynote Regions

There are many other regions for avatars, shopping, exhibition booths for presenters, OpenSim community hub, music and dance venues, etc.

Links to my blog posts on earlier OpenSimulator Community Conferences.. https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/?s=oscc

Sponsors and Crowdfunders

OSCC 2023 Sponsors OSCC 2023 Crowdfunders

Shopping and Avatar Zone

This year the Ready Plater Me avatars I created and converted for OpenSim (see this blog post) were packaged by Sun Tze to be available as sample mesh avatars…
Ready Player Me Avatars Ready Player Me Avatars

Day One

OpenSim Core Devs Panel OSCC 2023 Audience
OSCC 2023 Audience

OSCC23 OpenSimulator Code Contribution Commits Visualization for 2023:

Day Two

OSCC 2023 Day Two Audience

OSCC 2023 - Max Panel

Ada Radius, Ai Austin and Serie Sumei participated in a panel on the “Max” open source mesh avatar which can be morphed into female and male variants – “Maxine” and “Maxwell”. For more details see https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/max-history/ and https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/max-resources/.

Maxine Draft v109 at OSCC 2023

Kayaker Magic and Ada Radius presented on Arcadia Asylum – who was a creator in Second Life who made many Wonderful items and gave them away to the community for free. Years later many of us in Second Life and OpenSim continue to enjoy her creations. You can still learn lessons in 3D modelling, UV mapping and texture mapping by taking these items apart!
See https://arcadiaasylum.org/. LoginURI for Grid: arcadiaasylum.org:8002
[Spreadsheet of Provenance of the Models and Resources]

OSCC 2023 Arcadia Asylum OSCC 2023 Arcadia Asylum
OSCC 2023 Arcadia Asylum OSCC 2023 Arcadia Asylum
OSCC 2023 Arcadia Asylum OSCC 2023 Arcadia Asylum

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Second Life – Winter Wonderland 2023

Annually Second Life hosts “Winter Wonderland” regions with ice skating, sledding, snow scenes and fireworks. This year the environment was built with Physically-Based Rendering “Materials” (PBR) to mark the release of PBR glTF compatible viewers for Second Life (and OpenSim).

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Winter%20Wonderland%204/184/77/46

Second Life Winter Wonderland 2023
Second Life Winter Wonderland 2023 Second Life Winter Wonderland 2023
Second Life Winter Wonderland 2023 Second Life Winter Wonderland 2023
Second Life Winter Wonderland 2023 Second Life Winter Wonderland 2023
Second Life Winter Wonderland 2023

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Virtual World Vehicle Scripting System

Cuga Rajal provides the Supercar vehicle Scripting System for Second Life and OpenSimulator. Current version: Supercar Plus 2.0.4, July 24, 2023.

OSCC 2023 Booth#06

Supercar Plus is a free LSL land vehicle (car) script compatible with Opensim and Second Life. It supports a wide range of creative options for various car features and the runtime is low-impact on the server. By using a Notecard for settings, vehicles can be updated easily, this also helps manage a large car collection. The full project is available at https://github.com/cuga-rajal/supercar_plus.

Many popular features are supported, such as driver’s animation, passenger seats, multiple gears/speeds with reverse, rotating wheels, headlights, horns, engine sounds, tank tread motions, and much more. A variety of add-on scripts are included with instructions.

On compatibility with the OpenSim scripting engines, Cuga says “I have only tested it with ubODE and BulletSim. Others may work but I haven’t tried it”.

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Palia – Resources

Palia Splash Screen
Palia (https://palia.com) is a World of Warcraft style questing game. This blog post provides some resources to help in initial game play.

Palia Avatars

Avatars can be tailored at start up and after a delay (a week?) some outfit items can be altered.

Palia Avatar - Customization
Palia Avatar - Ai Palia Avatar - Be

Palia Quests

Palia sets tasks and provides NPC to interact with to obtain information, tasks and access to tools. Resources can be chopped or mined to allow items to be crafted. A home location can be set up with crafted items at the start of game play. The initial game play is quite linear in nature.

Palia Crafting Palia Crafting

Palia Friends and Communities

You can link up with friends and create communities within Palia. A referral link is provided to all users so that hey can invite friends to join.

A Few Controls and Keyboard and Commands

O = Social, P = Skills, M = Map, R = Tools.
Use the mouse scroll wheel to switch between multiple different inventory bars.

Palia Map and Almanac

Palia Map from Almanac - Kilima

Fine getting started instructions in the Palia Almanac (PDF Document).

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Aurelia’s Region in Second Life

Aurelia’s region in Second Life is a wonderful atmospheric build by JuicyBomb (Gorgeous Aurelia in Second Life, @gogolita on Twitter/X). Build by @Sparkle Skye who dropped in to say hello. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Aurelias/128/128/28

Aurelias Region in Second Life Aurelias Region in Second LifeAurelias Region in Second Life Aurelias Region in Second Life

She added a PBR reflection probe on her skating rink to show the effects of PBR/glTF materials which are now enabled in Second Life.

Aurelias Ice Rink Aurelias Ice Rink

360Β° Snapshot – Click to view Image on Flickr

Click for 360deg Image on Flickr

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Second Life Ice Skating 2023

FlyGearZ Ice Skating Lakes Updated for 2023 by Jenna Dirval and her Team
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/FlyGearZ/7/215/26

As in 2022, Flyte, Tyme and adjacent regions have a wonderful skating lake set in a moody landscape of snow and ice under a sky with aurora and rainbows. The lake edge has lapping water, ice slabs and boulders. Choose relaxed or trick skating for singles or couples and enjoy the scenery.

Ice Skating on Flyte
Ice Skating on Flyte Ice Skating on Flyte
Ice Skating on Flyte Ice Skating on Flyte
Singles Ice Skating on Flyte Singles Ice Skating on Flyte

Couples Ice Skating on Flyte Couples Ice Skating on Flyte
Couples Ice Skating on Flyte Couples Ice Skating on Flyte
Singles Ice Skating on Flyte

360Β° Panorama – Click to Open in Flickr

Click to view 360Β° image on Flickr

Ice Skating with Jenna Dirval

There is a three region ice skating trail on FlyGearZ Tyme, FlyGearZ Watyre and FlyGearZ Ayre. Also, look for ice skating and a toboggan ride.

Ai and Jenna on FlyGearZ Tyme - Toboggan
Ai and Jenna on FlyGearZ Tyme Ai and Jenna on FlyGearZ Tyme

NPCs

These areas also hold a couple of AI NPCs chat bots that know about the facilities on the destination. Look for the “Catriona” and “Flyte” AI NPs at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/FlyGearZ%20Tyme/210/204/22

NPC - Flyte NPC - Flyte

FlyGearZ Tyme – Winter Dreaming and Sledding

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/FlyGearZ%20Tyme/72/239/334

FlyGearZ - Winter Dreaming FlyGearZ - Winter Dreaming
FlyGearZ - Sledding FlyGearZ - Sledding

FlyGearZ Tyme – Big Wheel and Steampunk Air Balloon

FlyGearZ - Big Wheel FlyGearZ - Big Wheel
FlyGearZ - Town Square FlyGearZ - Fairy Harpist
FlyGearZ - Black Bears FlygearZ Tyme - Steampunk Air Balloon
FlygearZ Tyme - Steampunk Air Balloon FlygearZ Tyme - Steampunk Air Balloon


Snowtide 23 – Frozen Lake

This area has a large frozen lake with nice reflection effects on the ice surface and ice skating. https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ilha%20Ipanema/72/204/51

Snowtide 23 in Second Life Snowtide 23 in Second Life
Snowtide 23 in Second Life Snowtide 23 in Second Life

Aurelias

Aurelia’s region in Second Life by JuicyBomb (Gorgeous Aurelia in Second Life, @gogolita on Twitter/X). http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Aurelias/128/128/28

Image from JuicyBomb - Aurelias Region Ice Rink with PBR Reflection Probe
She added a PBR reflection probe on her skating rink to show off PBR/glTF materials which are now enabled in Second Life. Click on image below for 360Β° Image on Flickr.
Click for 360Β° Image on Flickr

Jingle Bell Trails @ LeLoo’s World

Follow the trails on foot or by ice skate and skate on the frozen pond. More images at LeLoo’s World Flickr Group.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Friends/28/230/3152

Jingle Bell Trails @ LeLoo's World Jingle Bell Trails @ LeLoo's World
Jingle Bell Trails @ LeLoo's World

Winter Hollow by Honey Heart

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Willow%20Grove/84/117/2905
Winter Hollow Winter Hollow


For other Winter Sports and Ice Skating experiences in Second Life see this Linden Lab Winter Destination Guide (locations and their themes might be seasonal):
https://secondlife.com/destinations/winter

Also see https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/second-life-ice-skating-2022/

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Supercar at Norse Auk in Second Life

Supercar 3D model in Second Life at Norse Auk… using the Linden Lab 7.0.1 Physically Based Rendering (PBR) Viewer. Not bad for a model originally made in 1998.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Norse%20Auk/196/148/20

Supercar at Norse Auk in Second Life
Supercar at Norse Auk in Second Life Supercar at Norse Auk in Second LifeSupercar at Norse Auk in Second Life Supercar at Norse Auk in Second Life
Supercar at Norse Auk in Second Life Supercar at Norse Auk in Second Life
Supercar at Norse Auk in Second Life

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Supercar Updated Model

Supercar in Unity
Supercar in Khronos glTF Test Viewer Supercar in Khronos glTF Test Viewer - Dash

Our original Supercar 3D model was created in Cinema 4D by Mick Imrie with support from Austin Tate back in 1998 (see https://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~bat/GA/supercar-3d.html) and subsequently converted to a number of other modelling tools by people in the Gerry Anderson Model Makers Alliance (GAMMA). Via conversions its been used in a range of ways including flight simulators, space simulators, games, virtual worlds, VR experiences, etc.

Over the last couple of years Mick Imrie has also been developing a new model with help from Austin Tate and Shane Pickering. It includes simplified geometry suitable for making various levels of detail and for having variants suited to different platforms like flight simulators and game engines as well as high fidelity mesh models for rendering. See https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2021/02/23/mick-imrie-supercar-take-2/

1998 Model Updated with Lessons Learned

Supercar in Blender 4.0

Using some of the lessons learned while studying for the 2021-onwards update by Mick Imrie, Austin Tate has taken the original 1998 model, converted it for Blender and incorporated changes that are compatible with the original shape. It is still a model with high complexity and the basic shape is unaltered from the 1998 model. But it fixes a number of issues with flipped normals, the fuselage and dashboard top piping is altered to a light brass colour, the side “Supercar” logo has the rounded “A” top, hidem banding is attached to the front seat, etc.

Supercar in Blender 3.6.5

The model is arranged with parts that can be hidden for extended or retracted wings, for an open or closed canopy and for the rocket gun and cowling.

Supercar in Unity

Via FBX (.fbx) export from Blender, the Supercar model can be taken into Unity using the Standard Rendering Profile (SDP) or the High Definition Rendering Profile (HDRP).

Supercar in Unity 2023.1.18f1 - SRP
Supercar in Unity 2023.1.18f1 - HDRP

Khronos glTF Test Viewer

As a test the Blender model was exported to glTF(.glb or .gltf) and tested in the Khronos glTF Test Viewer, which is intended to act as a benchmark for such models.

https://github.khronos.org/glTF-Sample-Viewer-Release/ [GitHub Code]

ModelViewer.dev glTF/GLB Viewer and Validator

Click here for the 3D view of Supercar – rotate and zoom in or out.
Supercar in ModelViewer.dev
Supercar in ModelViewer.dev Supercar in ModelViewer.dev

Addons – Rocket Gun and Cowling

Mick Imrie’s Supercar rocket gun and cowling was also converted to Blender. This used Mick Imrie’s Cinema4D model converted to Studio Max by Mateen Greenway and then to FBX via the online converter at https://miconv.com/convert-max-to-fbx/.

Supercar Rocket Gun Cowling Supercar Rocket Gun

Addons – Magnetic Grabs

From Supercar Series 2 episode “Runaway Train” I added Dr. Beaker’s invention of the Magnetic Grabs mounted underneath Supercar and able to lift over 100 tons!

Supercar Magnetic Grabs in glTF ModelViewer
Supercar Magnetic Grabs in Unity Supercar Magnetic Grabs in OpenSim
Supercar Magnetic Grabs in Blender


Update: 19-Nov-2023 – Black Rock Laboratory Updated Model

The same treatment has been applied to the Black Rock Laboratory Exterior (original model by Austin Tate) and Interior (original model by Mick Imrie) to correct the many flipped normals and convert to Blender. The opportunity was taken to adopt the details documented during support to Graham Bleathman for his Black Rock Laboratory cutaway published in Fanderson’s FAB 98 (July 2022, see this 2021 blog post). An import to Unity 2023 was also done via FBX.

BRL Exterior in Blender BRL Interior in Blender
Black Rock Lab in Blender - Quad View
Black Rock Lab Exterior in Unity Black Rock Lab Exterior in Unity
Black Rock Lab Interior in Unity Black Rock Lab Interior in Unity

Mike Mercury Pilot Figure

Mike Mercury was added using my 3D scan of the Harrop Mike Mercury Statue. See this blog post. This was then tidied up in Blender, the base removed and the mesh cut into upper, lower and head parts to allow for a seated pose in Supercar. The head was rescaled to a smaller size for a more natural proportioned figure.

Mike Mercury Figure in Blender
Mike Mercury Figure in Unity Mike Mercury Figure in Unity
Mike Mercury Figure in Unity


Fan Produced Models

Supercar was created by A.P. Film Studios in association with ITC (now ITC Studios). Supercar 3D Model by Mick Imrie with technical assistance and later conversion to Blender by Austin Tate. Original Supercar designed by Reg Hill of A.P. Films. This is fan produced material to promote the shows of Gerry Anderson and provided for your enjoyment, and should not be used for any commercial purpose.

Posted in 3D, Gerry Anderson, Supercar | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Blender Tips

Blender LogoThis blog post lists a number of tips I have found useful when using Blender. The tips are tested in Blender 3.6.4 or later.

Free PDF Tutorial

Blender 3D : Noob to Pro – Free 700 Page PDF Book.

View and Flip Normals

Show face orientation – in Object Mode use the down arrow (V) on the Overlays icon near the top left and tick “face Orientation”. Blue faces point towards you, red faces point away from you.

Select a mesh in Object Mode then in Edit Mode ensure that “Face” selection is selected (versus vertex and edge) and then select the faces to be flipped and use Mesh > Normals > Flip.

You can show the direction and strength of normals in Edit Mode bu selecting one of the options via the down arrow (V) on the Viewport Overlays icon near the top left

Fill Holes in Mesh

Mesh clean up – Select mesh in Object Mode then in Edit Mode use Mesh > Cleanup > Fill Holes. Or mesh holes can be patched in various other ways in Edit Mode, e.g. Alt + left mouse click on one vertex and it will select a “loop” of vertices round a hole which you can fill in various way using Ctrl + “F”. For more information see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vApGpkd05x4

Change an Object’s Material and Transparency

In the Outliner (usually on the upper right) select the object and the details of it appear in the Inspector below. Open the materials tab (beach ball icon) and it will show any material attached. You can remove (“-“) the current material and add (“+”) another. Use the drop down (“V”) on the material selector to choose from one of the existing materials or add a “New” material.

Having selected the object in Object Mode, switch to Edit Mode with face select option. Select the face/faces to be coloured with the second material. Select the material from the choices already added to the object and then click the Assign button.

Transparency in a material can be enabled using the Material tab when inspecting any item. Changes affect all users of that same material. Under “Settings” enable a blend mode other than “Opaque”. Use something like “Alpha Blend”. Then apply an “Alpha” under the Surface > Alpha setting. Note changing the “Base Color” alpha does not have the desired effect.

For HDRP the “Cutout” option is not directly available. The material’s Surface > Alpha Clipping option controls whether your Material acts as a Cutout Shader or not. Enable Alpha Clipping to create a transparent effect with hard edges between the opaque and transparent areas. HDRP achieves this effect by not rendering pixels with alpha values below the value you specify in the Threshold field.

Remove Unused Materials

Unused materials show with a “0” when no objects use the material. In the Outliner/Inspector you can change the “Display Mode” from its usual “ViewLayer” to “Blender File”. Open Materials and right click on any you wish to delete.
See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I8oC1k0JWI

UV Mapping of Textures

  1. Edit Mode and Select > All.
  2. Enter UV Editing Mode and delete any current UV Maps.
  3. “U” key brings up UV options. Choose Cube Projection (or some suitable mapping).
  4. Stretch the Texture in the left hand window to change the repeats. Rotate if needed.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=372PW6qHQAU

Adding, Duplicating, Renaming and Parenting Objects

When a new object is added it may be placed in its own “Collection”. You can move it to within a current Collection by selecting it and using the “M” key and the choosing the collection to move it to.

You can rename an object in Object Mode by selecting it and using Edit > Rename Active Item.

Collections and Items in the Inspector can also be renamed by double clicking over the name and changing it there.

An object can be duplicated within Object Mode by selecting it and using Object > Duplicate Objects.

Objects can be moved within a Collection to have a new Parent by selecting it and dragging it over the item to be the parent. Before releasing select BOTH “Shift” to select the option to parent (rather than link) and “Alt” to preserve all transforms (positing, rotation and scale).

Add a Texture to a Material

Select the object with a material, or add a new material to it. In the Material tab for the object look at “Base Colour” and click the yellow dot next to it. There the type of the texture can be selected as “Image Texture” and you can assign a texture via “Open”.

You must tick File > External Data > Automatically Pack Resources before saving the/blend file to ensure the image is incorporated. Otherwise it relies on the external file being present when reopened (it my show as a pink/magenta material otherwise). This option will also remove any unused materials when the .blend file is saved.

Selecting all Objects in a Hierarchy

Normally when you hide an object in the inspector with the “eye” icon it just hides the single item, selected and not all those hierarchically below that. Use Shift + click on the eye icon to hide/show the whole hierarchy.

Multiple Viewports

Moving the mouse over a corner of the current viewport (where there is a curved corner and a “+” mouse cursor will show, you can drag a new viewport into existence. You can do the opposite to remove a viewport by dragging a corner of a viewport over the one you want to remove.

When you press the Ctrl + Alt + Q keys, Blender toggles the Quad view on and off. The Quad view gives you three Orthographic views and the Camera view, while the Ortho views do not change. When you press the 5 key on the NumPad, the camera window does toggle between the Ortho and Persp views.

Diagnostics and Console

To display or hide the console, go to Window > Toggle System Console.

Merging or Importing Blender (.blend) Files

There is no menu option to import one .blend file into another. This can be done using File > Append or by dragging the .blend file to merge into the other and selecting the “Append” option. You can then select what you want to import (e.g. Object > …). Bringing in objects also pulls in any materials, textures, etc that are involved. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s24kSjRAUNo

Exporting via FBX to Unity

Select the objects to be exported and use File > Export > FBX. Tick “Selected Objects” only and you can also untick “Bake Animations” for static objects.

Import to Unity suggestions: create a new Assets folder to contain the items. Upload all the textures into a sub-directory “Textures”. Drop into the folder the FBX file. This should associate the textures where they are used in the model’s materials automatically. Click the model to open it in inspector. In the Materials Tab select Location > “Use External Materials (Legacy)” and Search > “Local Materials Folder” and click Apply. That will create a Materials folder locally which will allow the materials to be edited or adjusted.

If you have previously customised the materials you can keep the previous copy. If you exit Unity you can replace the newly cerate d Materials folder with the previous one and restart. The the previously customised materials will be used. If pink materials show up, some were not properly linked. You can just drop others into the pink objects.

How do I hide the sidebar in Blender?

The tool sidebar of the Preview can be toggled with the menu: View β€£ Sidebar or with the shortcut “N”.

Render an Image

To render a still image of the current view within Layout Mode, use View > Viewport Render Image.

The top menu Render > Render Image uses the renderer for a high resolution image. Using properties set in the “Scene” tab (second from top with an icon like the back of a camera). Here you can set the renderer to use such as “Cycles”.

Beginners Guide to Rendering at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APmw2Q8kBOM

Polyhaven.com provides some HDRI backgrounds which can be used around a render… See https://polyhaven.com/hdris. An example used in the video above is “Abandoned Slipway” an HDRI .exr equirectangular image with an overcast sky at https://polyhaven.com/a/abandoned_slipway. Load in such a background using the “World” tab (like a globe with an axis through it). Select Surface Background and click the yellow dot on “Color” to select the type “Environment Texture” and then “Open” the background to use.

In Second Life, and OpenSim the new (PBR) default midday can be simulated in 3D modellers using a “Cloud_Layers” HDRI background – see Second Life Wiki: PBR Recommended Application Settings [HDRI .exr file itself is available on GitHub]. This itself is based on the Polyhaven “Cloud Layers” HDRI environment: https://polyhaven.com/a/cloud_layers.

3D Character Modelling Tips

Easily create 3D Characters for Blender Fast on YouTube by Prompt Muse.

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World Science Fiction Convention 2023

The 81st World Science Fiction Convention opened in Chengdu, China on 19-Oct-2023.

Venue: Chengdu Science Fiction Museum

Chasing Dreams for the Future – Promotional Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD-Xaq-hyHM

Glasgow 2024 – A Worldcon For Our Futures

The 82nd World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon)
The Scottish Events Campus (SEC), Glasgow, Scotland
August 8-12, 2024

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Unity – Water Scenes

Improved water visuals are available in Unity via new capabilities in the HDRP render pipeline under Unity 2022.2 and Unity 2023.1. There is a package of several sample scenes available that can be included in a project as a basis for customisation, and also a complete “WaterScenes” Unity project with Island, River and Pool scenes

Unity WaterScenes - The Island Unity WaterScenes - The Island

WaterScenes – The Island

This scene use an infinite water surface to simulate the ocean. In addition, this scene uses water deformers and foam generators to improve the visual around the shoreline. There are also examples of how to use custom render textures to generate water deformers.

In play mode a 3rd Person controller is used to visit the island. Keybord controls:

    W/Z or up arrow: forward
    S or down arrow: backward
    A/Q or left arrow: left
    D or right arrow: right
    Space: jump
    A game pad can be used too.

WaterScenes – The River

This scene use instanced quads for the water surface in addition to a current map to simulate the flow. In play mode there are 2 fix cameras. TAB key is used to switch between them.

Unity WaterScenes - The Pool Unity WaterScenes - The River

WaterScenes – The Pool

This scene demonstrate the pool parameters and how to use custom render textures for water deformers. In play mode a 3rd Person controller is used.

Resources

Documentation: https://docs.unity3d.com/Packages/com.unity.render-pipelines.high-definition@16.0/manual/WaterSystem.html

Quick Start: https://docs.unity3d.com/Packages/com.unity.render-pipelines.high-definition@16.0/manual/WaterSystem-use.html

Blog Post: https://blog.unity.com/engine-platform/new-hdrp-water-system-in-2022-lts-and-2023-1

WaterScenes: test package with Island, River and Pool scenes – https://github.com/Unity-Technologies/WaterScenes

High Definition Render Pipeline Package – Samples – Water Samples

HDRP Package Water Samples - Glacier HDRP Package Water Samples - Pool

Unity Water Samples - Glacier - project SettingsThe package contains a number of sample scenarios to act as the basis for your own projects… Glacier, Island, Pool and Waterline ( with the camera set at water level as the waves lap up and down). The Glacier sample is the most complex and needs a number of Project Settings to be enables. A helpful guide appears on the editor screen to point you at the settings required to be enabled,

Supercar Imported in Unity WaterScenes

My Supercar model in FBX form along with a Textures folder was imported to the Unity project Assets. The model asset “Materials” tab was amended to to extract the textures from the FMX model to ensure the model materials could be edited. Most needed adjustment or to enable transparency (cockpit glass, etc).

Supercar in Unity WaterScenes Supercar in Unity WaterScenes
Supercar in Unity WaterScenes

Unity Water Project from Scratch

Unity Water Project from Scratch - Editor Unity Water Project from Scratch - Runtime

  1. Using Unity 2023.1* or later create a new project with the HDRP (Core) template.
  2. Using the Quick Start guidance set up the “Project Settings” necessary to ensure the Unity Water features work. These are under Quality > HDRP > Rendering and Graphics > HDRP Global Settings > Frame Settings. You might add the settings to allow Foam and Water Exclusion at the same time as they may be useful later.
    Project Settings for Water - Quality Project Settings for Water - Graphics
  3. Add a Water Surface – e.g. Ocean and make any adjustments to customise that.
  4. Add in your own 3D content. I usually starter initially with a simple platform (extended cube) sat above the waves in the centre of the scene (0,0,0) for testing.
  5. You might to experiment with adding in a “Water Excluder” to avoid waves appearing through platforms, boats or land areas. See this guide. Set the exclusion zone area using a mesh that is the same as the area to be excluded.

Other Users’ Experience

@BinaryLunar produced this example video…

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History of the Development of Max – Redirect

See https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/max-history/

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History of the Development of Max

Preparation for Panel Session at OpenSimulalator Community Conference 2023: Max – New Free Mesh bodies for OpenSim Avatar – History of the project, current Ruth2 and Roth2 avatars, testing models, managing artists and the community social media channels.

Further resources for the Max, Maxine and Maxwell mesh avatars are available at https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2023/09/13/max-new-open-source-mesh-avatar/

Timeline

GitHub RuthAndRoth OrganizationRuthAndRoth GitHub Organization

In 2019 Fred Beckhusen created the GitHub RuthAndRoth “organization” as a shared community umbrella to improve open source community management of the project. Ada Radius, Ai Austin and Serie Sumei continue to act administrators.

Github Organization: https://github.com/RuthandRoth

There are several code and resource repositories available:

  • Ruth – the original Ruth 2.0 RC#2 and RC#3 and Roth 2.0 RC#1 resources with Git archival branches for the releases.
  • Ruth2 – female mesh avatar – Ruth2 v4.
  • Roth2 – male mesh avatar – Roth2 v2.
  • Extras – attachments and resources of interest for open source avatars.
  • Skins – open source skins.
  • Reference – archive of Second Life and OpenSimulator avatar-related reference files.
  • Max – repository for the new Max, Maxine and Maxwell avatars.

A simple management approach to code and resource contributions and preparation of releases is taken at present. There is a “Contrib/<name> which any creator may establish and into which they can commit their own contributions. Hence they can make them available to the community for testing and feedback.

Repository issues can be raised for discussion and a repository “Wiki” allows for useful documentation. Social media channels, in particular via Discord, are available to discuss developments, testing, etc. Selected elements can then be copied to the main repository directories and adopted into releases.

Ruth2 v4 and Roth2 v2

The current versions of the RuthAndRoth avatars are Ruth2 v4 and Roth2 v2. The previous versions were called Ruth 2.0 RC#1, RC#2 and RC#3 and Roth2 RC#1 vu are now referred to as Ruth2 v1, v2 and v3 and Roth2 v1.

Ruth2 v4 Release Box Packaging Roth2 v2 Release Box Packaging

Due to changes in Blender and add-ins for handling Bento rigged mesh avatars (Avastar and Bento Buddy) the original Ruth2 v4 and Roth2 v2 dev kits are no longer functional, though the original Collada DAE exports remain valid in both Second Life and OpenSim. Clothing options, particularly for the male Roth2 v2 are very limited.

Facilities on the OpenSim OSGrid RuthAndRoth Region

An OpenSim community region on OSGrid called “RuthAndRoth” is available to allow any user on any grid that implements the “Hypergrid” protocol to get in-world prepared resources and boxed releases. There is a Second Life marketplace also called “RuthAndRoth” for boxed release items. An avatar “RuthAndRoth Resident” exists in both OpenSim (on OSGrid) and Second Life to “own” the canonical version of each released item.

The OpenSim OSGrid RuthAndRoth region has shelving which contains the release boxes as well as clothing and other useful items. A platform includes teleport boards to other compatible clothing providers.

OSGrid RuthAndRoth Region OSGrid RuthAndRoth Region

Also on the OSGrid RuthAndRoth region is a platform equipped with extensive testing facilities for animations and mesh quality checks via dance poses and a wide variety of pose stands.

OSGrid RuthAndRoth Region Testing Area

Second Life Marketplace – RuthAndRoth Store

Second Life Marketplace - RuthAndRoth Store

Created with GIMP

Resources and Social Media

Note not all of the resources below by any means will contain Max, Maxine or Maxwell relevant content at this early stage, but the links are here for possible future use.

  • GitHub:
  • Social Forums and Discussion:
  • 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.
    • Second Life Marketplace Store: RuthAndRoth (ensure “Adult” content is allowed)
  • OpenSim:
    • OSGrid Inworld Location: hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/RuthAndRoth/134/124/26
    • OpenSimulator Community Conference (OSCC) Grid Location: hop://cc.opensimulator.org:8002/OSCC%20Shopping%20Zone/256/242/86
    • OSGrid OpenSim Group: “RuthAndRoth” (free to join)
    • OpenSim Kitely Market: RuthAndRoth Store (products not currently listed)

Previous Core Contributions to Ruth2 and Roth2 Avatars

  • Original Ruth 2.0 RC#1, RC#2 and RC#3 and Roth 2.0 RC#1 meshes modelled in Zbrush by Shin Ingen with rigging and vertex weight maps by Ada Radius.
  • GitHub Repository management and testing by Fred Beckhusen, Outworldz LLC (Ferd Frederix), Ai Austin and Serie Sumei.
  • Revised mesh, rigging and vertex weight maps by Ada Radius.
  • Improvements to feet meshes by Sundance Haiku and Curious Creator.
  • Fingernails and toenails by Sundance Haiku.
  • UV map is CC-BY Linden Lab.
  • HUD mesh, textures and scripts by Serie Sumei using modifications to original scripts by Shin Ingen and nail enhancements by Sundance Haiku.

Previous Contributors to Ruth2 v4 and Roth2 v2 Development (18)

    Ada Radius
    Ai Austin
    Chimera Firecaster
    Duck Girl
    Elenia Boucher
    Fred Beckhusen
    Fritigern Gothly
    Joe Builder
    Kayaker Magic
    Lelani Carver
    Leona Morro
    Linden Lab
    Mike Dickson
    Noxluna Nightfire
    Sean Heavy
    Serie Sumei
    Shin Ingen
    Sundance Haiku

Contributors to Max (8)

    Ada Radius
    Ai Austin
    Curious Creator
    Kayaker Magic
    Linden Lab
    Serie Sumei
    Sundance Haiku
    Tom Ernst (aka Owl Eyes)

Max, Maxine and Maxwell

The new underlying avatar created directly in Blender by Ada Radius is called “Max” which can be morphed into female and male variants called “Maxine” and “Maxwell”. The avatar armature is refined via research on the character folder in Second Life/OpenSim viewers https://github.com/New-Media-Arts-New-Viewer-Avatar.

Ada Radius - early work on Max open source avatar

Maxine Draft1.1 by Ada RadiusMaxine Draft1.1 – 15-Nov-2023

The initial draft of Maxine was made available on 15th November 2023 by Ada Radius.

The .blend file, a .dae (Colada) uploadable mesh avatar for Second Life and OpenSim, along with export from Blender and import to OpenSim build instructions are available at https://github.com/RuthAndRoth/Max/tree/master/Contrib/Ada%20Radius

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Second Life – Halloween 2023 – Voodoo In New Orleans

Second Life - Halloween 2023 - Voodoo In New Orleans - Linden Lab ImageThe haunted wastelands of New Orleans. Warning: magic and hoodoo remain here, even after the people are gone! Enjoy yourself at the theme park, tour the Garden District, party on Bourbon Street, solve the escape room, or become lost in the swamp. There is an adventure everywhere.

https://secondlife.com/destination/voodoo-in-new-orleans
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Halloween%20Experience/237/226/26

Visit via Firestorm VR Mod 6.6.8

Second Life - Halloween 2023 - Voodoo In New Orleans - VR
Second Life - Halloween 2023 - Voodoo In New Orleans - VR
Second Life - Halloween 2023 - Voodoo In New Orleans - VR Headset Second Life - Halloween 2023 - Voodoo In New Orleans - VR Headset

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Max – New Open Source Mesh Avatar – Resources – Redirect

See https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/max-resources/

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