openvce.net on web.archive.org

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

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

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

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Early Drag Racing in UK

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


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

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/239626459773139/
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.457285018007281&type=3


My reply tried to give some information about BQMA…

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

http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2014/07/31/de-lacy-motor-club-clubhouse-50th-anniversary-events/

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

1965-10-03-BDRA-Dragfest-2-Woodvale-Buddy-Cortines-201mph-Run

Drag-Racing-UK-Clubs BQMA Logo

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


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







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


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

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

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

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

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Ruth 2.0

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

This page provides links and resources elating to these developments…

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Vue Virtual World Artworks


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

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

InSpace Gallery

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



The Inspace Gallery can be reached via:

Inspace Gallery – Construction Walkway

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


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

Paolozzi Turing Prints

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

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

Rakhi Kumar – Stairway to the Clouds – Photos

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

Photo Competition – Graeme Pow – Penicuik Turner Prize 2008


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

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

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


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

Supercar Comic

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

ACE Sculpture

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

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

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

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

hop://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/Edinburgh%20Uplands/120/188/33

North Landing – multi-media virtual world installation

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

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

Vue Theme & Vue Balloon Tour Machinima

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

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

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

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

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


Real World Public Art Around the University of Edinburgh

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

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

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


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

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



Blow Out Preventer (BOP) on the sea bed:

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OSCC17 OAR Converter Presentation

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


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


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Vue -> Openvue


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

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

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

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

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

College of North West London Sandbox, CNWL [6 hour return]
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/CNWL/42/224/44
http://secondlife.com/destination/educational-sandbox

Vue Buildings available on Second Life Marketplace

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

Second Life Marketplace – Ai Austin Store

Vue Mailing List

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

Vue Regions on OpenSimulator – Openvue

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

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

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

Vue Regional Planning Authority (VRPA)

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

*name suggested by Hamish Macleod.

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

Previous Members:

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

Vue Experiments with other Virtual Worlds Platforms

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

Some current platforms under investigation include:

Virtual Graduations

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

Suggestions for a Virtual World Visit for Demonstrations

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

  1. If you have your class use the Firestorm Viewer rather than the default Linden Lab Second Life viewer you can use one viewer to access either Second Life or alternative OpenSimulator-based Grids. Download from http://www.firestormviewer.org/downloads/
  2. To make use of Second Life have your stdeuns create a (free) avatar at http://secondlife.com and the select a suitable open access region where you can visit and show your students items of potential interest. Look at the Second Life Destination Guide for suggestions. This might be a themed area, an area showing specific architecture or period buildings, an area showing a scientific or nature area, or a sandbox where students will be able to build. An example sandbox is described at http://secondlife.com/destination/educational-sandbox
  3. Where appropriate you might like to try an OpenSimulator-based grid. One suggestion is to have your students create a (free) avatar on OSGrid at http://osgrid.org – a grid provided by the open-source community for testing and open access. Then seek out a region on OSGrid that is appropriate to your educational purpose. Sandbox Plaza is one of several sandbox regions on OSGrid where students can build. There are some Edinburgh/Vue related exemplar regions on OSGrid too, such as Vue-Port and Edinburgh. See below for a replica of the Venue@Edinburgh,
  4. If you do try OpenSimulator e.g. via OSGrid, you might be interested in showing the “Hypergrid” which allows multiple separate grids to be linked so that visitors from one grid can visit another. E.g. an OSGrid avata5 can visit the Openvue grid hosted on Virtual University of Edinburgh servers. Use a suitable “hop” in the address bar in Firestorm to visit other grids … e.g. hop://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/Openvue/128/128/30 and after the visit you can teleport back to OSGrid using the link placed in chat.

The Venue@Edinburgh on Edinburgh Region in OSGrid

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


Final Images of Vue in Second Life

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

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OSCC17 Preparation for OAR Converter Presentation

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


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


OAR Converter Presentation Details in sched.org

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

Virtual Reality (VR) View

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


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Sinespace – Delphi Talks – Richard Bartle

Richard Bartle, virtual world and MUD pioneer, spoke at “The Delphi Talks” in the Sinespace event plaza on 26th October 2017.



YouTube – Delphi Talks with Dr. Richard Bartle [1:23:50]


You might try the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology to identify the type of gamer you are on Richard Bartle’s Gamer Types categories…

On this test, my online virtual world avatar personality Ai Austin appears to be mostly “Explorer” which sounds just about right!

The Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology

You are 100% Explorer

What Bartle says:

♠ Explorers delight in having the game expose its internal machinations to them. They try progressively esoteric actions in wild, out-of-the-way places, looking for interesting features (ie. bugs) and figuring out how things work. Scoring points may be necessary to enter some next phase of exploration, but it’s tedious, and anyone with half a brain can do it. Killing is quicker, and might be a constructive exercise in its own right, but it causes too much hassle in the long run if the deceased return to seek retribution. Socialising can be informative as a source of new ideas to try out, but most of what people say is irrelevant or old hat. The real fun comes only from discovery, and making the most complete set of maps in existence.

You are also:

  • 53% Socialiser
  • 40% Achiever
  • 7% Killer

This result may be abbreviated as ESAK


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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


The download size in Sinespace for the Vue regions on various platforms is as follows:

webgl (110mb), win32 (57mb), android (53mb), ios (63mb)

The Vue regions can be visited via the downloadable Windows or Macintosh desktop viewer (for higher quality and more reliable loading of large regions) or reached via WebGL in a suitable web browser (such as Internet Edge, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox):

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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. From Unity a range of virtual world or virtual reality experiences can be created. 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. The first part of this video shows the use of the Linux version of the 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.

Advanced Uses – Settings

OAR Converter has Tools and Settings to allow for a range of more flexible uses. As well as Collada .DAE files it can create .STL files suitable to drive 3D printers.

Exported objects can be shifted in the X, Y and Z (up/down) directions, perhaps for multiple side by side regions on a 256mx256m grid. [Note: this is also easily done afterwards in the Unity editor also.]

Once objects are converted they can also be examined in a 3D viewer built into the tool.

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, pp.81-87 (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] [Presentation: PDF Format]

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.

Example OAR Conversions Used During Developing and Testing

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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 is now in a single region which is on a 4-hour day/night cycle (similar to that used on Second Life, Visit via http://sine.space/locations/oil-rig

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 a Germany-based 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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OpenSim – Resources

OpenSimulator (often shortened to OpenSim) is an open source virtual world platform which implements most of the Linden Lab Second Life virtual world protocols and extends it in some ways convenient for educational and other extended uses. This blog post brings together some links and resources used in building virtual world regions and content in OpenSim.

Developer Resources

Prebuilt Distributions

Distributions to Allow Addon Regions for an Existing Grid

OARs and IARs

Content such as scripts, OpenSim Archives (OARs) and Inventory Archives (IARs) can be found at a number of locations…

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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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Sinespace – Resources

Sinespace (previously called 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 Sinespace 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 Sinespace regions in Unity3D.

Teleports

  • Teleport between one space and another is enabled 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 Sinespace Marketplace. E.g., this is a NASA Astronaut EVA suit available in male and female variants in the Sinespace 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 Sinespace 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 Sinespace – Reducing the Number of Textures Used

Adam Frisby, a Sinespace 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 used in Second Life and OpenSimulator may be converted to FBX format 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.

XMPP Chat Link

You can use an XMPP chat client (such as Gajim or Pidgin) for receiving and replying to inworld IMs and to connect to the three main chat channels – Global Chat, Developer Chat and New User – and you’ll be able to connect into regions you own to monitor and reply to chat there too.

More details at Inworld XMPP Chat Gateway.

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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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