The Man – One of the Earliest Objects in Second Life


“The Man” on Natoma/63/206/50 in Second Life is a destination I discovered through an interesting InfoGraphic about the scale of the land area in Second Life. The Man sculpture was created by “oldjohn Linden” on 19th July 2002.

“The Man” statue is one of the only surviving objects from the original “Linden Town” area that was developed in Second Life during the earliest Alpha stage of its development. At times, The Man has served as a shrine where miscellaneous offerings were left, and a celebration of the creativity SL was founded upon.



More information on the early history of Second Life is on display at the “Maps of Second Life” pavilion which includes the map of Second Life as it was in 2002 showing the location of the Statue of The Man.


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Second Life Avatars

img-avatars-newSecond Life has a new set of “mesh attachment” avatars called “Classic” available through the initial account creation page at and through the “Me -> Choose an Avatar” in the viewer.

It is interesting that Linden Lab chose to use the basic avatar with attachments rather than the fully mesh driven body approach. This does allow standard clothing and “layered” textures clothing items to be used on the new avatars.


The new avatars are described in this Linden Lab blog post which says…

These new avatars are built combining mesh attachments with the original “system” process. Not only are compatibility issues being addressed, but the avatars are more performant and they look great! They can also be tweaked with the system sliders and easily dressed.

Last year, you may remember, we launched a number of new mesh avatars. They included both vampires and everyday people avatars that were built completely using mesh. While they looked good, they made outfit changes difficult and some of our internal tools were incompatible with the assets.

The new great-looking and efficient avatars will be available through the carousel during registration. Existing Residents can also access them through the “Me -> Choose an Avatar” menu in the Viewer.

The original “People” and “Vampires” (it IS near Halloween still) avatars are still available…

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@Inara Pey has a very helpful blog post about the new avatars and her tests of them.

James, Gabriel and Lucas Outfits

Here is the new “Classic” James avatar (left) and the same clothing and attachments but using the usual “Ai Austin” basic body parts (shape, skin, eyes and hair). The next images show the Ai avatar with the Gabriel and Lucas avatar attachments.

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2015-11-08-SL-Classic-Avatar-Ai-with-Gabriel-Outfit 2015-11-08-SL-Classic-Avatar-Ai-with-Lucas-Outfit

Second Life Web Site Entry Page

The Second Life web site ( has also had a refresh…


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Eve Valkyrie in VR – Pre-alpha Testing

Eve Valkyrie from Iceland-based CCP Games is a multi-user space shooter style game based on the Eve Universe but designed for next generation virtual reality headsets and input controllers such as the Oculus Rift.

CCPGames-Splash-Screen-1 CCPGames-Splash-Screen-2

“Pre-alpha” testing for those with appropriate hardware (at least Nvidia 970 or 980 GPUs are asked for) and Oculus development kits has been under way under non-disclosure agreements ahead of the more open releases that will follow leading to a full release sometime in 2016. I joined in the pre-alpha testing sessions on 7th and 8th November 2015 and will report on that when blogging is okay with CCP Games. This blog post uses publicly available information, images, videos and links.

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Second Life – Move from Edinburgh University to Vue

In early November 2015 the “Edinburgh University” region in Second Life was abandoned… with active facilities being moved to the Vue, Vue South and Edinburgh East regions. Edinburgh University was originally obtained as part of the Vue estate in June 2007. The original funding for this shared use region came from the University’s Development and Alumni group, then later from the School of Informatics, and in the last two years from Information Services. Some details of the original design at the full extent of the Vue regions in Second Life are maintained in an exhibit in the “Maps of Second Life” (see this blog post) and are also preserved on the OpenSimulator-based Openvue grid.

Here is a last look along the “High Street” looking between “Old College” and the “Alumni Deck” to (a reduced size) Castle and Castle Rock as the area was being cleared…

2015-11-05-Last-Look-Along-High-Street-in-SL 2015-11-05-Last-Look-Along-High-Street-in-SL-Sunset

The Vue balloon tour that was based in the Old College quadrangle in the Edinburgh University region in Second Life had recorded 96,939 visitors taking the tour since it was setup in 2008. Another balloon tour near the Venue@Vue had over a quarter of a million visitors. The balloon tour has now been re-established on Vue South… “you will get wet on this rid”.


The Castle and “The Bridges” have been placed on “Castle Rock” in the SW corner of Edinburgh East and the Calton Hill Monuments have been place on “Vue Point” on Vue South at present… to continue to act as iconic skyline features across the Vue regions in Second Life… until these areas are required for events.

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2015-11-04-Castle-Rock-on-Edinburgh-East-Sunset 2015-11-05-SL-Vue-South-Vista-1
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Vue Estate at 5th November 2015

“Vue” in the NW is a full region, “Vue South” to the SW is a homestead for the School of Education and “Edinburgh East” to the NE is a homestead for the Vet School.

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2015-11-05-SL-Vue-South Void-Sea

Vistas across the Vue Estate at 5th November 2015

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2015-11-05-SL-Balloon-over-Vue-Estate 2015-11-05-SL-Vue-South-Vista-to-Calton-Hill

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Innovators Showcase – Open Educational Resources

The University of Edinburgh has published a showcase of innovative teaching and educational methods (edited by Ellen Spaeth). An entry for my work on the AI Planning MOOC and the use of openly accessible educational resources and tools to build a community of learners interested in the subject is a feature at…


The School of Informatics news page also covered the story…

Exploring Spaces – Virtual University of Edinburgh

Under the “Exploring Spaces” theme there was also an entry on the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue)…


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Fish4Knowledge Virtual World Pavilion – Move to Vue

The Fish4Knowledge Exhibition Pavilion and Underwater Gallery is moving across the bay from the “Edinburgh University” home it has had since it was created to the “Vue” region in October 2010, which continues to be maintained as a virtual world home for the Virtual University of Edinburgh. Its new SLUurl for access is

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The F4K facility visitor counter before the move stood at 352 (as at 3rd November 2015) and seems to have retained its count when moved to the new region.

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Ai Austin and Skye Gears take a well earned break after the move…


And the finished result…


The F4K facilities are also available on the OpenSimulator-based OSGrid and Openvue grid.

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Vue Display in Maps of Second Life


The Maps of Second Life Pavilion is accessible at New Kadath Lighthouse Art Gallery, New Kadath (34, 51, 22) – It is curated by Juliana Lethdetter, a member of the Second Life Historical Society, and shows maps and information about the development of Second Life since its early test days in 2002…

SL-Maps-Pavilion SL-Maps-Early-Grid-2002

Maps of Second Life – Creation of the Vue Display

Between June and November 2015 Juliana Lethdetter and Ai Austin exchanged information on the history of the Virtual university of Edinburgh (Vue) group and its use of regions in Second Life from 2007 onwards. Some of the original sketches for the Vue regions in Second Life and a bit of the history of the Virtual University of Edinburgh and its Second Life regions are provided in this blog post. Image below by Julian Lethdetter.


Maps of Second Life – Vue Notecard

Tate-Lethdetter_Vue_exhibit_002The notecard given out by the Info Gear Icon on the Vue display reads as follows:


In March 2007, following the efforts of various distinct groups to explore the use of virtual worlds for teaching and research projects, a period of increased publicity highlighting the use of such worlds across Edinburgh University brought together the individuals involved with them to share their experiences with one another. This meeting led to the subsequent foundation of the “Virtual University of Edinburgh” (Vue) group, and their decision to acquire an University of Edinburgh island in Second Life.

The Virtual University of Edinburgh started with one region named “Vue” in May 2007. Further school-specific regions, both Homestead and Full, were added around this initial region over the following few months. Later, other shared-use regions (1 full region and 3 homesteads, including a sandbox) were also added, with support from the central University’s Information Services group and the University Development and Alumni group. These central groups wanted one of the core regions to be called “Edinburgh University”, and to have buildings suggestive of the Edinburgh skyline, as seen from real-life University locations.

A “Vue Regional Planning Authority” (VRPA) group was formed to coordinate, guide developments and take responsibility for fund-raising for the shared regions. Under the direction of this group, the coastline and topography, including “Arthur’s Seat” hill and “Castle Loch”, were used to create a visually interesting skeleton for the developments, while plots were designed to allow a number of groups and individual projects to be established, and to be changed when necessary. Sketches were made to diagram the proposed inclusion of iconic Edinburgh buildings and features, such as a diagonal “High Street”, with “Old College” at one end and “Castle Rock” at the other, and the presence of “The Vaults” underneath Castle Rock as a large exhibition space. Other iconic Edinburgh skyline features such as “The Bridges”, “Calton Hill Monuments” and the “Scott Monument” were also included.

As requirements and usage subsequently changed, some shared regions became school-specific ones, and some of the shared-use regions were removed to reduce costs, with the long-term goal of retaining at least one full shared-use core region (the eponymous “Vue” region.)

A replica of the Vue environment at its peak land mass of 10 regions currently exists on the Openvue grid (a grid using the open-source “OpenSimulator” platform, which exists separately from the Second Life Main Grid.) This alternate location cannot be accessed from Second Life, but is accessible using an avatar from any “hypergrid” enabled OpenSimulator grid, such as OSGrid. See for more details.

Vue Regions in Second Life and OpenSimulator

Below is an image taken in 2008 in Second Life looking down “High Street” towards “Castle Rock” showing the full extent of the regions in use then. This version still exists on the OpenSimulator-based Openvue grid.

2008-07-31 SL Vue from Old College

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Halloween on OSGrid 2015

The 2015 Halloween Party on OSGrid’s All Hallows Plaza… 31 Oct 2015 12:00 SLT

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Halloween in Second Life 2015

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Ghost avatars in Second Life at Halloween 2015

2015 Second Life Creepy Crawl 2015

Run by Xiola Linden on 30th October 2015, this event visited a number of spooky locations with “appropriate” music for the occasion… see


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A web-based mesh creation tool at

2015-10-31-SculptGL-ToolEspecially for Halloween

Posted in 3D, OpenSim, Second Life | Tagged , , | Comments Off on SculptGL Exploration ( by Sine Wave Entertainment is a multi-user virtual world based on Unity3D created by a company that already provides a range of “white label” virtual worlds to other companies, including GoJiyo and

Rohan Freeman and Adam Frisby (also involved early on in OpenSim) showed me round and an upcoming event and meeting space called Convvirt. Unity3D builds can be imported alongside a range of Sine Wave assets that allow for multi-user interaction in the virtual space, interaction with objects, NPC activity management, etc.


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Valkyrie Avatar

The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics is to get a NASA Valkyrie Robot in March 2016 as part of its Robotarium.

The Valkyrie robotic platform was originally designed and built in 2013 to carry out search and rescue missions inline with the DARPA Robotics Challenge. After a series of electro-mechanical upgrades and a software partnership with IHMC, the Valkyrie platform is now a core robotic platform in the NASA Space Robotics Challenge. The Valkyrie platform measures about 6 feet in height and weighs 290 pounds. Valkyrie is a 32 degree of freedom (DOF) walking robot featuring two 6 DOF end effectors; 44 DOF robot in total. Valkyrie utilizes the MultiSense SL in its head, anterior hazard cameras, multiple strain sensors, and a range of force/torque sensors.
[Extract from NASA Valkyrie Wiki]

Photo Date: 12-Dec-2013 Location: NASA JSC Bldg. 32B - Valkyrie Lab Subject: Production photos of Valkyrie Robot for PAO Photographers: Bill Stafford, James Blair, Regan Geesman

Photo Date: 12-Dec-2013; Location: NASA JSC Bldg. 32B – Valkyrie Lab
Subject: High quality, production photos of Valkyrie Robot for PAO
Photographers: Bill Stafford, James Blair, Regan Geesman

YouTube video of the model planned for use at Edinburgh provided by Marco Caravagna, a PhD student in the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics… showing the Valkyrie parts all in their zero configuration, i.e. all joints are set to zero…

YouTube Video: Valkyrie - Zero-Joints

2015-10-26-Valkyrie-Model-GitHubNASA provides GitHub 3D models and robot data in URDF format which includes 3D mesh elements of the physical model in Collada .dae or .obj formats and suitable for use in robot simulators such as ROS.

Importing the Collada DAE meshes into Second Life

The Collada .dae firmat meshes can be imported using the Second Life Viewer (Firestorm 4.7.3 actually used) model uploader and appear to be at the correct scale by default and import with their textures intact. For most models I used the default scale of 1.0, ticked texture import, selected the type of object as an “Avatar Attachment” and set physics to “Medium”.


Some of the meshes give a model importer warning that the model triangles are degenerate or too small and that the physics model is invalid. This happens even when the “Lowest” physics level is selected…e.g. on the Leg-Foot model.


To fix this, under the Second Life model importer tool “Physics” tab I selected “Lowest” setting and then did an “Analyse” with “Close Holes” ticked, followed by a “Simplify”, e.g. “Retaining” 75% and trying 1 pass was sufficient on several parts. But I also tried 50% and 3 passes which also worked and gave reasonable visual models.


Assembling an Avatar

As used for a previous “Robert the Robot” avatar, a “SimpleBot” rigged mesh avatar, also in Collada format and which is provided as a tutorial example was used as a basis for the avatar, along with a compete “alpha” mask to make the underlying avatar invisible. The various imported Valkyrie model parts are then attached onto the appropriate avatar attachment points and then rotated and moved into position.

2015-10-26-Valkyrie-Model-in-SL-2 Valkyrie-Avatar-OpenSim-Partial-1

Textures, PNG and TGA

The textures on the NASA Valkyrie model are in PNG format with transparency to allow for holes and cutouts in the meshes. PNG textures which have transparency can be problematic when displayed in Second Life and OpenSim viewers leading to back faces showing through front faces, etc. TGAs are more reliable. But a conversion of PNG with transparency to a TGA with transparency can be tricky. Paint Shop Pro X does not do the conversion correctly if you simply load a PNG and save as a TGA. A free tool called “” does this very simply. Get it from

Valkyrie-Torso-Texture-PNG Valkyrie-Torso-Texture-TGA

Valkyrie Avatar on OpenSim

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Images of Completed Avatar at Informatics Forum and InSpace in OpenSim

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Availability of NASA Valkyrie Avatar for OpenSimulator

The NASA Valkyrie robot avatar for OpenSimulator is available for download in the form of an OpenSim Inventory Archive (IAR) file. This IAR may be loaded into the inventory of an OpenSim avatar or used as the appearance of an NPC. Obtain the latest Valkyrie IAR at:

Please respect the NASA Open Source Agreement 1.3 described in the included “Valkyrie Robot Avatar Readme”.

NASA Space Challenge

NASA Valkyrie robots are being placed at top robotics centres at MIT and Northeastern (announcement) and at the University of the University of Edinburgh. These will kick start developments intended to be showcases in the NASA Space Robotic Challenge, initially in simulated environments and then progressing to a physical challenge environment, with a view to eventually ending Valkyries to Mars as a precursor for manned missions (IEEE Spectrum Article – including NASA Images Below).


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OpenSim OAR Convert to Unity Scene with Windows Interface

News 11-May-2016: OARConvWin was updated to version 1.0.6 to correct an issue of the handling of the orientation of foliage on Cypress trees. It, or a later version, is available via the TUIS OARConWin Wiki Page.

News 30-Apr-2016: OARConvWin was updated to version 1.0.5 and it, or a later version, is available via the TUIS OARConWin Wiki Page. This version corrects an issue with handling greyscale images and blank textures (which are interpreted as a sphere) to describe the shape of Sculpt objects.


News 26-Oct-2015: OARConvWin was publicly released as version 1.0.4. This first version addresses all the issues discovered during testing that are reported on below.

As described in an earlier post Fumikazu Iseki at the Network Systems Laboratory of TUIS (@Fumi.Hax – @fumi_hax) in Japan has created an “OAR Converter” to convert an OpenSim Archive (OAR) file into textures, meshes and terrain suitable to import into a Unity scene. The original ran on Linux/Unix. Fumi has now also made a Windows version. A pre-release beta version (1.0.0b 24th October 2015) was tested to provide feedback.

Edinburgh/F4K in OpenSimEdinburgh/F4K in Unity

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I converted the OpenSim Edinburgh/Fish4Knowledge project region via an OAR to Collada DAE and imported it into a “Sintel” avatar base Unity project…


When run in the Unity Web Player after conversion, this is what the region looks like…

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Feedback on using the Windows UI version of the OAR Converter

I noted that there were a few errors on import of the DAE textures/materials from the conversion related to “Material doesn’t have a color property ‘_Emission’“.

Fumi notes:

This is a problem of selection of shader. I think that this is a bug in Unity 5.2.2. This error occurs when “Legacy Shaders/Self-Illumin/VertexLit” shader is selected in SelectOARShader.cs (in the Editor Folder). Example, if you use “Legacy Shaders/Self-Illumin/Specular” instead of “Legacy Shaders/Self-Illumin/VertexLit” the error does not occur.

So, this can be fixed by changing a line in the Unity Assets/Editor/SelectOARShader.cs file provided with the OAR Converter and that must be in place before you bring the OAR converted DAE folder alng with the associated materials and textures into the Unity project.

// Use “Legacy Shaders/Self-Illumin/Specular” instead
// of “Legacy Shaders/Self-Illumin/VertexLit” to avoid
// Material doesn’t have a color property ‘_Emission’
private const string BrightShader =
“Legacy Shaders/Self-Illumin/Specular”;

In addition, it was noted that the built in “plant” object of type “Plumeria” was not imported at all. Various other plants and trees are correctly converted though. Fumi later confirmed there were some missing assets in build 1.0.0b which were fixed in a revised version 1.0.1b which on test converted the Plumeria plants properly, as shows in this image…


Multiple Similar Textures and Materials

In the DAE conversion Textures and Materials folders you may see a number of similar looking entities, starting with the same UUIDs. This is because these materials differ in some features such as colour, glossiness, etc.


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Fish4Knowledge Pavilion and Underwater Gallery in OpenSim

The Fish4Knowledge Virtual World Gallery and Underwater pavilion was originally created in Second Life but has now been replicated on the OpenSimulator-based Openvue grid and OSGrid. OSGrid provides free avatar to anyone so is a good way to visit the facility and see the displays about the project.

F4K on Openvue
F4K on Openvue

A single user “Fish4Knowledge Virtual Reality Experience” is also available in Unity3D. More details below.

Fish for Knowledge Access in Second Life and OpenSim

The F4K facilities can be accessed in several virtual worlds locations:

F4K on OSGrid F4K on OSGrid

VR using the Oculus Rift in Second Life and OpenSim

Oculus Rift Virtual Reality views can be obtained using the CtrlAltStudio Viewer
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Fish4Knowledge Virtual Reality Experience – VR using the Oculus Rift in Unity3D

The OpenSim F4K and Edinburgh region build in OpenSim has been exported via an OpenSim Archive (OAR) file and converted by Fumi Hax’s OAR-Converter tool to Collada (DAE) meshes suitable for importing into Unity3D. More details of the process and some images from the Unity3D experience can be found at…

The Fish4 Knowledge experience in Unity3D web player, or the download of a standalone version for Windows and that works with 2D screens or in VR in the Oculus Rift is available at…


Chen-Burger, Y-H. and Tate, A. (2015) The Fish4Knowledge Virtual World Gallery, in Fish4Knowledge: Collecting and Analyzing Massive Coral Reef Fish Video Data (Fisher R.B., Hardman, L., Lin, F.P., Giordano, D. and Chen-Burger, Y-H. eds.), Chapter 17, pp. 245-252, October 2015, Intelligent Systems Reference Library, Springer.

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InSpace Gallery – January 2007 Artists Walkway

OpenSimulator-based Openvue grid Informatics virtual InSpace gallery with images and art from the external walkway that was in place in January 2007 during construction of the Informatics Forum.

Visit with any OpenSim hypergrid enabled grid avatar, e.g. one from OSGrid.


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Visit using CtrlAltStudio Viewer in Virtual Reality

You can also visit using the Oculus Rift Head Mounted Display or a 3D screen using the CtrlAltStudio Viewer.


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Virtual Reality for Gerry Anderson Locations

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Gerry Anderson locations for the TV series Supercar, Fireball XL5 and Stingray have been recreated using fan produced 3D models of the buildings, scenery and vehicles used in the TV shows. These have been used in OpenSimulator to create 3D virtual world locations with some features from Black Rock Laboratory, Space City and Marineville.

Visit using an OpenSim-based avatar that can travel via the “hypergrid”. E.g. get a free avatar at OSGrid, pick up the FireStorm Viewer (for 2D) or the CtrlAltStudio Viewer (for 3D and VR) and visit via these links:

  • Black Rock at hop://
  • Space City at hop://
  • Marineville at hop://

CtrlAltStudio Viewer for Oculus Rift

David Rowe’s CtrlAltStudio Viewer allows 3D stereoscopic and Oculus Rift Head Mounted Display (HMD) viewers of Second Life and OpenSim-based Virtual Worlds. It supports gamepad controllers too, such as the Xbox gamepad. Version (3rd October 2015) had been updated to the Oculus SDK 0.6 to allow it to run with the latest SDK 0.7-based drivers. It also has a simplified and improved operation for 3D view (enter with the “3D” button or “ctrl+alt+3”) to allow direct to rift operations rather than the previous extended desktop mode. “Esc” returns to 3D mode (e.g. to interact with the viewer menus if necessary). The Oculus Rift “dual barrel” view can be mirrored to the main 2D screen (an option under Preferences -> Graphics -> Display Output), which is good for screen shot saving, such as for those shown below. The VR/3D view can be reset or recentered to te avatar position and direction using “ctrl+spacebar” if necessary… but it seems to be aligned very well without using that in my testing. Alignment with the avatar when you look down at your own body, legs and feet, or see your arms and hands in front of you when flying is also very good in this release. A 3D space visible cursor for the mouse seems to work very well and makes interaction with objects, screens and so on while in the VR/3D view much easier than before.

Black Rock

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Space City

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Unity Versions

Using the OpenSim OAR converter, the Black Rock, Space City and Marineville regions have also been recreated in Unity 3D. See this blog post for more information and links to try 2D versions of the Unity conversions. Such Unity applications can very easily be used in 3D/VR mode using the Oculus features supported directly by Unity with an Oculus VR (OVR) library oackage to provide the camera and gamepad controller.

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Virtual Reality in Second Life and OpenSim using the CtrlAltStudio Viewer

David Rowe’s CtrlAltStudio Viewer allows 3D stereoscopic and Oculus Rift Head Mounted Display (HMD) viewers of Second Life and OpenSim-based Virtual Worlds. It supports gamepad controllers too, such as the Xbox gamepad. Version (3rd October 2015) had been updated to the Oculus SDK 0.6 to allow it to run with the latest SDK 0.7-based drivers. It also has a simplified and improved operation for 3D view (enter with the “3D” button or “ctrl+alt=3”) to allow direct to rift operations rather than the previous extended desktop mode. “Esc” returns to 3D mode (e.g. to interact with the viewer menus if necessary). The Oculus Rift “dual barrel” view can be mirrored to the main 2D screen (an option under Preferences -> Graphics -> Display Output), which is good for screen shot saving, such as for those shown below. The VR/3D view can be reset or recentered to te avatar position and direction using “ctrl+spacebar” if necessary… but it seems to be aligned very well without using that in my testing. A 3D space visible cursor for the mouse seems to work very well and makes interaction with objects, screens and so on while in the VR/3D view much easier than before.

Second Life – Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) Regions

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OpenSim – Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) Regions

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OpenSim – Open Virtual Collaboration Environment Region

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OpenVCE in Unity and VR

2015-10-05-Unity-Web-Player-Login 2015-10-05-Unity-Web-Player-OpenVCE

As described in this blog post, the OpenVCE region as it appears in OpenSim including its I-Zone/I-Rooms has been converted to Unity compatible assets via the OpenSim OAR Converter and combined with an earlier I-Room Unity application using the Smart Fox Server Pro MMO server to support multiple concurrent users sharing the virtual space and being able to communicate via text chat. Oculus Rift VR access as well as Unity Web player access has been tested for concurrent users and a VR “gaze” position controlled NPC has been added in also as a test.

Try out the OpenVCE region in the Unity Web Player or on the Oculus Rift…

2015-10-05-Unity-OpenVCE-VR-2-Game-Login 2015-10-05-Unity-OpenVCE-VR-3-Game-OpenVCE
2015-10-05-Unity-OpenVCE-VR-4-Editor-OpenVCE 2015-10-05-Unity-OpenVCE-VR-5-I-Room

Update on 16th October 2015

A few adjustments to the collision scripts to make sure the viewpoint and avatar movement and collisons with the example (white) seat in the I-Room and the I-Room multi-floor teleporters work when in both web player/2D modes and in the Oculus HMD/VR mode.

2015-10-16-Unity-OpenVCE-MMO-Rift-1 2015-10-16-Unity-OpenVCE-MMO-Rift-2

Snapshot – I-Room on OpenVCE on Oculus Rift


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OpenVCE on MOSES Grid

The MOSES Grid has moved to new servers and avatars or regions that existed on the original grid are being restored or recreated using OpenSim Inventory Archives (IARs) for avatars or OpenSim Archives (OARs) for regions.

The OpenVCE region has now been restored to the latest version as it appears on the Openvue and OSGrid regions of the same name, and with corrected scripts and objects as described in this blog post. MOSES now uses the FreeSwitch voice server.

2015-09-30-MOSES-OpenVCE_002 2015-09-30-MOSES-OpenVCE_003

MOSES is a US government supported grid run between the US Army Research Lab’s Simulation and Training Technology (STTC) Center and the University of Central Florida in Orlando. The US Army Research Lab’s Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED) sponsored the development of OpenVCE and assisted with specification and development of the virtual world assets. The virtual world assets in Second Life and OpenSimulator are all available under a flexible open source licence.


The build includes a full sized I-Zone/I-Room and a simplified collaboration space as designed for the US Army DICE project.


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Project Sansar


Project Sansar – – from Linden Lab is now available to an invited initial testing community. The welcome/login screens show a lush mountainous terrain overlaid with wireframe buildings, vehicles and other objects.

2015-09-25-Project-Sansar-1 2015-09-25-Project-Sansar-22015-09-25-Project-Sansar-3 2015-09-25-Project-Sansar-4
Internet Explorer seems not to be supported, whereas Chrome, Firefox and Edge are.

The Linden Lab Corporate web page was changed on 4th November 2015 to reflect the product line up of Project Sansar, Second Life and BlocksWorld…

2015-11-04-Linden-Labs-Corporate-Page-1 2015-11-04-Linden-Labs-Corporate-Page-2

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OpenSim – JustinCC Bon Voyage Party


A Hypergrid Safari party on OSGrid on 23rd September 2015 was to honour core OpenSim developer and Overte Foundation chairman Justin Clark-Casey, stepping down from his lead position in the team to focus on other activities. But hopefully keeping a friendly and continuing eye on OpenSim too…

2015-09-23-OSGrid-JustinCC-Bon-Voyage_003 2015-09-23-OSGrid-JustinCC-Bon-Voyage-Screen-1 2015-09-23-OSGrid-JustinCC-Bon-Voyage-Screen-2
2015-09-23-OSGrid-JustinCC-Bon-Voyage-Radar 2015-09-23-OSGrid-JustinCC-Bon-Voyage-JustinCC

I just had to get a selfie with JustinCC too…

The event was also streamed live via YouTube’s streaming channel…


Is that Justin himself dancing away there… (animated GIF by Thirza Ember)…


Thirza Ember was one of the Hypergrid Safari organisers and reported:

2015-09-23-justin-thankyou-cardYou may have seen the greetings card in the corner. It picked up all the names of the party goers. 97 total logged on to the region, with 22 different grids represented. Thanks again to Ellen Olhsson, aka Truelie Telling Wolem Wobbit, and LadyJo Martin for their wonderful music all evening.

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Unity3D Characters

This post provides links and resources related to a number of free to use avatars that can be inserted into Unity 3D projects to provide third person views of a character able to move through a scene. The avatars, scripts, animations and other resources are provided either as open source for flexible use and/or with non-commercial use licences use.

Unity Ethan

Unity 5 includes a character “Ethan” in the standard Assets at Assets/Standard Assets/Characters/ThirdPersonCharacter/Prefabs folder which can be included in a Unity scene. The “Main Camera” can be dragged inside the “ThirdPersonController” hierarchy and it is then attached to the motion of the character. See also these notes to replace the 3D model with other FBX avatar rigged meshes that are in a suitable format.


Replacing Ethan with other Avatar Models and Avatar Cameras

See the notes in Unity’s Assets -> Standard Assets -> Characters -> ThirdPersonCharacter folder on how to replace the Ethan character’s 3D model with other FBX avatar rigged meshes that are in a suitable format. The following blog post also covers this process.

The attached avatar camera can also be made more sophisticated than the default Unity project “Main Camera”. An example of this is the flexible “UnityChan” character camera scripts included in Fumikazu Iseki’s OpenSim OAR Converter to Unity converter, in the “Unity3D” folder. For more details see…

Blender Sintel Avatar Model

The Open Source Blender Project “Sintel” avatar has been used in a number of open source projects and a version is available to use as an avatar or character in Unity. E.g. from where you need to register before being able to obtain the free download. [local copy]


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

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

Morph3D Male and Female Lite

Morph3D provide Unity assets for Male and Female characters that are very adjustable. There are free (Lite) and more capable paid versions. See There is a Unity3D Forum thread on Morph3D. A PDF guide is available from there at Documentation. Information on a Morph3D addon content creation system is here. Umotzkan (o3n Games) has provided a helpful tutorial on using the Morph3D figures here.

mcs-male mcs-female

Unity Chan

unity-chan-license-logoUnityChan-DemoUnity-Chan – The Unity-Chan anime style character provided for non-commercial use that can be inserted into the converted Unity scene to give you an avatar to move through the scene. It is included in the Unity3D folder that is in the OpenSim OAR Converter (OARConv) distribution described in this post.


2015-11-25-Unity3D-Query-Chan-300x520A similar Japanese anime style character called “Query-Chan” is available from Pocket Queries under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License(CC-BY). The package includes Scifi, Christmas and Halloween outfits and test scenes.

Game Asset Studio – Taichi

Game-Asset-Studio-Taichi-in-ViewerGame Asset Studio provides a free male anime-style character with a range of outfits and a very wide range of animations (including 7 .fbx sit poses). This character is available free for use in Unity projects. Some paid addons and other characters are also available from Game Asset Studio via the Unity Asset Store.

Other Open Source Avatar Assets

Look for other suitable character models. E.g., …

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Supercar Airborne in Unity

Some time ago I used one of the Unity tutorial examples involving a race track and race car game to try out Unity, and replaced the visual model of the included car with our Gerry Anderson Supercar 3D Model (using the .3ds format). The resulting Supercar Race game can be tried out in the Unity Web Player via


More recently, as part of updating a number of projects to Unity 5, I revised the Supercar Race Car game to use the Unity 5 Standards Assets Vehicles Car. While doing that I also tried the Unity 5 Standards Assets Vehicles AircraftJet, again replacing the visual model to be Supercar and adjusting the physics collider boundaries and vapour trail particles effects positions appropriately.

2015-09-15-Unity-5-Supercar-Over-Race-Track-Editor 2015-09-15-Unity-5-Supercar-Airborne-Editor

This may be merged with experiments on the OpenSim OAR to Unity conversion of the OpenSimulator-based Ailand grid Black Rock region including Black Rock Laboratory exterior and interior and the Supercar vehicle 3D models.

OARConv-Black-Rock-2 OARConv-Black-Rock-1

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OpenVCE and I-Room in Unity with VR

The Open Virtual Collaboration Environment (OpenVCE) initially created in Second Life and OpenSim along with its I-Room (virtual space for intelligent interaction) have been available for some time as OpenSim Archive (OAR) files and assets available in Second Life and OpenSim for anyone to copy and use under the Lesser GPL flexible use licence.

Tipodean OpenSim OAR to Unity Conversion – OpenVCE

2015-09-09-Tipodean-OpenVCEA Unity conversion of the 3D visual elements of the whole OpenVCE region including a sample I-Room and larger I-Zone building was created by Tipodean using their OAR to Collada DAE converter. See two blog posts on this [1] [2] and the Tipodean OAR converter examples, including OpenVCE.

Previous work on an I-Room in Unity using the SmartFox Pro Multi-user Server

Unity-4-5-5-I-RoomMMO-PlayA Unity I-Room demonstration was originally built as a self-paced tutorial for me following the book “Unity Game Development Essentials” by Will Goldstone (ed. 2009) and making use of the SmartFox Server multi-user support libraries and a good on online tutorial. More details are in these blog posts [1] [2].

OpenVCE – OpenSim to Unity Project via the TUIS OAR Converter

2015-09-05-OpenSim-OAR-in-Unity-VR-2-modAn OpenSim OAR converter to create textures, meshes and terrain in Collada (DAE) file format suitable to import into a Unity scene has been created by Fumikazu Iseki at the Network Systems Laboratory of TUIS (@Fumi.Hax – @fumi_hax) in Japan. It has been used to convert the OpenVCE region saved as an OpenSim Arcive (OAR) as it currently exists on the Openvue grid.
More details are in this blog post.

ThirdPersonController, Avatars and Oculus Experiments

Some experimentation with Unity standard avatars (Ethan), some free to use or open source rigged mesh avatars (Unity Chan Kei and Blender Sintel) cameras and third person viewpoint controllers, as well as initial trials of virtual reality enabled unity apps are described in this blog post.

Project Steps

So with the background experimentation and assets described above, September 2015 looked like it was the right time to put some of this together and create a multi-user I-Room in Unity with suitable collaborative systems support and communications technologies, with multiple avatar choice and output to VR head mounted displays. This blog post documents some of the steps nand experiments, as well as the tools or techniques used.

Using Windows 10, Unity 5.2.0f3, SmartFoxServer Pro 1.6.18, Oculus 0.7, OpenSim and OAR Converter 1.3.4.

Base new project main camera (removed later) and directional light

Add water, ground plane (removed later) and skybox

Avatar and thirdpersoncontroller
  ethan and simple controller standard assets
  unity chan controller and camera
  sintel and mix
  change player model

Content from OpenSim via OARConv

Active scripting, avatar seating, teleport movement, media screens, shared, presentation screens, links to external intelligent systems.

MMO, chat tool, voice options

2D interface elements in 3D space

Handle SFS Login scene ion Unity UI Canvas.

MMO Support – Experiment with Smart Fox Server SFS2X 2.10

We previously used SmartFox Server Pro (version 1.6.9) for I-Room MMO demonstrations using Unity. Smart Fox Server SFS2X (version 2.10) was installed to set up for the MMO elements of the OpenVCE and I-Room Unity build.


Smart Fox Pro and 2X Firewall Requirements

8842  WebSockets Port
8843  Secure WebSockets Port
8080  HTTP Port
8443  HTTPS Port

If there are messages from a Unity/SFS2X application about security policy failing, see


Basic Unity 5 examples provided by gotoAndPlay(), the company behind Smart Fox Pro Server, were used to guide how to build a simple MMO and chat application, similar to that already running with an I-Room and MMO with Smart Fox Server Pro 1.6.9. These applications with several users logged in and a number of NPCs generated by a server side Python extension did occasionally work. But extension calling with the Python examples was difficult to debug and unexplained errors difficult to track down. The system worked at some times and then stopping working with script loading errors that could not be tracked down. gotoAndPlay() staff were helpful on the forums, but did note that some people had difficultly with the Python extensions and examples and they favoured a Java extension approach.

MMO Support – Smart Fox Server Pro 1.6.18

I had originally wanted to switch to Smart Fox Server 2X and its Unity5 examples to get a head start with an MMO basis that already used the new in world GUI elements for Unity 5. Instead, I have returned to using the working Smart Fox Server pro setup, now update to version 1.6.18, and have begun to modify the GUI elements and login screens to the new Unity 5 Canvas in world screen approach needed for effective Unity VR applications.

MMO Support – Photon Cloud

Photon Cloud is another popular MMO server that works with Unity. A blog post describing the steps to use Unity, the Oculus Rift and Photon Cloud to make an MMO game or environment is available at and via a YouTube Video.

Initial I-Room MMO with VR Application

Progress with temporarily cutting out the initial old style flat screen Login scene has been rapid, and the next image is a view of the modified I-Room MMO demonstration using the Oculus Rift DK2 running with Smart Fox Server Pro 1.6.18 with scripts modified to avoid the old style flat screen login GUI. This will need to be replaced with a “Canvas” in world 3D view to work well with the new Unity GUI approach and VR. The Oculus Utilities for Unity package is added to the application, and the two cameras (Main Camera for the first person controller and the I-Room screen camera) have “OVR Camera Rig” and “OVR Manager” script components added.


Update as at 30th September 2015


The new “in world” UI is mostly in place for both the login scene (based on Smart Fox login scene) and using an in-world viewable canvas within the I-Room itself for the main I-Room scene. Some redirection of in world MMO chat to the screens has also been achieved. Joystick in world control of the movement of the avatar works using an XBox controller and the standard OVR Camera Rig joystick support. But more needs to be done to allow use of the mouse and keys when using the Oculus Rift. A NPC has been placed in the I-Room (based on the Sintel character) with a navigation mesh that allows it to move within the floor plan of the I-room. Its walk target point can be set using an object which can be moved using the Oculus Rift gaze point, using a tutorial from a book “Unity Virtual Reality Projects” by Jonathan Linowes (Packt Publishing, September 2015).

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Unity and VR

This blog post documents some simple steps to get an initial Virtual Reality (VR) application built in Unity 5 to display and be controlled via the Oculus Rift DK2 Head Mounted Display (HMD) using Windows 10, Unity 5.2 and Oculus Runtime 0.7.

Initial Unity Project and Scene


  1. Create a new empty project. Note it already includes a “Main Camera” and a “Directional Light” to light the scene.
  2. Insert a simple solid ground plane to prevent your character dropping down. Use GameObject -> 3D Object -> Plane, for example, and make the object be located just below Y (something like -0.1) and have a decent extent in the X and Z directions. This will be able to be removed later when you have real content and terrain in your scene.
  3. Import the Environment Water via Assets -> Import Package -> Environment. Deselect the preticked assets using “None” and only select the “Water” assets and then “Import”.
  4. Under Assets -> Standard Assets -> Environment -> Water -> Water -> Prefabs, drop the WaterProDaytime prefab into the Unity hierarchy panel to include it in the scene. Set its Y position at 0 and scale it up in the X and Z directions.
  5. Under Assets -> Standard Assets -> Environment -> Water -> Water -> Prefabs, drop the WaterProNighttime prefab into the Unity hierarchy panel to include it in the scene. Also set its Y position at 0 and scale it up in the X and Z directions. Rotate this 180 degrees in the X direction. This has the effect of giving a water surface seen from underneath.
  6. Import the Characters Package via Assets -> Import Package -> Characters and select “All” and then “Import”.
  7. Then you will have available a Unity character “Ethan” in the standard Assets at Assets -> Standard Assets -> Characters -> ThirdPersonCharacter -> Prefabs folder which can be included in a Unity scene.
  8. The “Main Camera” already in the scene can now be dragged inside the “ThirdPersonController” hierarchy and it is then attached to the motion of the character.
  9. Now save the scene and save the project and you are ready to create the Unity builds for a range of platforms.
  10. For the Oculus Rift and VR, use File -> Build Settings… choose the PC/Mac/Linux Standalone and use “Player Settings” button to set the “Virtual Reality Supported” tickbox on. “Stereoscopic Rendering” should NOT be ticked. Then build the executable.
  11. You can also preview the scene in your VR HMD, if it is turned on, using the game mode preview within the Unity editor.


Unity Ethan and Other Avatar Models and Cameras

See notes in the Assets -> Standard Assets -> Characters -> ThirdPersonCharacter folder on how to replace the Unity Standard Assets Ethan character’s 3D model with other FBX avatar rigged meshes that are in a suitable format. The following blog posts also covers this process.

The attached avatar camera can also be made more sophisticated than the default Unity project “Main Camera”. An example of this is the flexible “UnityChan” character camera scripts included in Fumikazu Iseki’s OpenSim OAR Converter to Unity converter, in the “Unity3D” folder. For more details see…

OpenVCE OAR Converted to Unity and in VR

Using Fumikazu Iseki’s OpenSim OAR to Collada DAE and Unity Assets “OAR Converter” – see this blog post – the OpenVCE region in OpenSim was imported to Unity along with the Ethan character and Water layers as described above. When using the Unity editor game preview with the Oculus Rift DK2 turned on, the VR HMD display and head movement for camera direction all work fine.

2015-09-05-OpenSim-OAR-in-Unity-VR-2 2015-09-05-OpenSim-OAR-in-Unity-VR-3

Connecting the Unity Main Camera to the Oculus VR

“Oculus Utilities for Unity 5” (version 0.1.0 beta as at 10-Sep-2015) are available to add to your project…

If you are using the OAR Converter test avatar, UnityChan, in order to connect the VR HMD to the UnityChan camera, the advice from Fumikazu Iseki is…

Prior to build for VR applications, add OVR/Scripts/OVRCameraRig.cs
and OVR/Scripts/OVRManager.cs scripts to the UnityChan_Camera via
the “Add Components” button and using the “Script” type.


With the OpenSim OpenVCE OAR content converted and imported to Unity this is how the scene looks and works on the Oculus VR HMD both in editor preview mode and after a PC targeted build with “Virtual Reality Supported” ticked in the Build Settings -> Player Settings …


Experiments with Unity UI Elements

2015-09-10-Unity-UI-ElementsThe inbuilt UI elements were used to add drop down selections, buttons and floating text to which scripted event triggers can be added.

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Another Sine Wave Entertainment virtual world, ths time a music and dance style shared space. Join for free and get your avatar at

wet-fm-be-1 wet-fm-be-2

Avatars do not seem to enter in the same instance of the arrival zone. More to check out later.

Posted in Virtual World | Tagged , | Comments Off on


2015-08-02-GoJiyo-Splash-PageGoJiyo ( is a multi-user virtual world and claims to be the largest virtual world in use in India. It is based on a 3D virtual world MMO platform by Sine Wave Entertainment, who are themselves creating a virtual world called These are Unity 3D virtual worlds with customizable avatars and clothing, and multiple regions which can be moved between via teleporting. Communications between avatars and in world chat are supported. Voice is noted as available (but I have not yet found the button to enable it, even with a USB headset attached). Help and instructions are available at or click the “?” icon to the lower right when in world.

2015-08-02-GoJiyo-2 2015-08-02-GoJiyo-3
2015-08-02-GoJiyo-Neon-1 2015-08-02-GoJiyo-Outfit-and-Inventory

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OpenSim OAR Convert to Unity Scene

This page gives notes and links related to the OAR converter to create textures, meshes and terrain suitable to import into a Unity scene. The converter has been created by Fumikazu Iseki at the Network Systems Laboratory of TUIS (@Fumi.Hax – @fumi_hax) in Japan.







Sample OAR Conversions are available at

OpenSim OAR Conversion to Unity Project

If you have root access on a Unix/Linux system, obtain OARConv in source form to compile. The setup requires the zlib compression utility and OpenJPEG (1.2 and 2.1) libraries to be installed into system directories. Full instructions to follow carefully and download links to all required components and libraries are at:

If you are a normal user without sys admin/root access, a binary precompiled version of OAR Conv is available (use latest version). Extract this zip file in your HOME directory (as the script provided assumes this location unless you modify it).

Extract OARConv binary
$ cd
$ wget
$ unzip

You can then perform the conversion as follows (for the binary version)…

1. Extract OAR File
$ mkdir OAR
$ cd OAR
$ tar zxfv oar-filename
$ cd ..

2. Execute oarconv
$ ./oarconv/ -i OAR

The resulting translated assets for the OpenSim OAR are placed in ./DAE

The rest of the process to convert the translated assets into a Unity project are very well described in this YouTube video…

Take care to include the customised Editor/SelectOARShader.cs in the project assets. Including this in a Unity3D project compiles it and makes it available without any further action. An introductory tutorial on Unity Shaders is available here.

You will see a warning from Unity about a mesh having more then 64K vertices or triangles indicated on loading the assets in Unity. The converted OpenSim terrain mesh has 256x256x2 triangles, but Unity itself splits larger meshes into smaller components to address this.

oarconv Shell Command Parameters and Flags

oarconv [-i OAR directory] [-o output directory] [-a adding assets directories that separated by ':'] [-f object xml file]
        [-t terrain texture scale] [-c external convert command of jp2]
        [-s start no.] [-e end no.]
        [-x shift of x direction] [-y shift of y direction] [-z shift of z direction]
        [-b] [-p] [-d] [-v] [-h]

  -i : specify OAR directory. default is ./
  -o : specify output directory. default is ./DAE/
  -f : specify object xml file. only specified file is converted.
  -a : specify adding assets directories that separated by ':'. default is /usr/local/share/oarconv/assets/:./assets/
  -t : specify terrain texture scale. default is 7.000000
  -c : specify external convert command from jp2 to other image. default is "/usr/local/bin/opj_decompress -i %s -o %s >/dev/null 2>&1"
  -s : specify start number of xml file. default is 0.
  -e : specify end number of xml file. default is -1 (minus number means infinity).
  -x : specify shift of x direction of all objects. default is 0.0
  -y : specify shift of y direction of all objects. default is 0.0
  -z : specify shift of z direction of all objects. default is 0.0
  -b : output STL file(s) using BREP.
  -p : when linked objects include phantom even one, saved to Phantom directory.
  -d : debug mode. display debug information. 
  -v : display version information. 
  -h : display this help messages. 

   ex.) oarconv -i OAR -a /usr/local/opensim/bin/assets/TexturesAssetSet:./assets -d

X, Y, Z offset function to oarconv (v1.3.4 onwards)

You can convert multiple adjacent OpenSim regions using the x (East/West on map) and y (North/South on map) offsets, usually with +/-256 for normal 256mx256m regions.

E.g. if region positions are [A][B] ...
    oarconv -i OAR_A  -o DAE_A 
    oarconv -i OAR_B  -o DAE_B  -x 256 
Drag & Drop DAE_A and DAE_B to project view of Unity3D

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 conversions… 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.

But, for convenience, a Unity 5 base “unitypackage” has been created which includes the required Editor/SelectOARShader.cs, the water layers and the Unity 5 Standard Assets “Ethan” character with simple movement and attached camera. An alternative with the Blender open source Sintel movie character and attached camera setup as indicated in the OARConv YouTube video is also provided at…

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.

OpenVCE OAR Conversion


Black Rock OAR Conversion

OARConv-Black-Rock-2 OARConv-Black-Rock-3-Water-Added
OARConv-Black-Rock-4-Unity-Chan-Added OARConv-Black-Rock-5-Finished-Scene
OARConv-Black-Rock-6-Web-Player-1 OARConv-Black-Rock-6-Web-Player-2

During conversion the OAR Converter reported three missing texture assets… which was exactly the same as the original OpenSim “save oar” command reported.

Space City OAR Conversion



Using the oarconv -x offset capability, I added the adjacent “Outer Space” extension OAR (to the West/Left) by doing the OAR conversion with the -x -256 parameter.


Marineville OAR Conversion

Marineville is an OpenSim region where parts of the build go below the usual Z = 0m.. in fact down to -20m. Conversion for negative vertical objects seems to work fine in OAR Conv.


Since this is a region with a lot of ocean, a larger sea/water surface disk was used and an underlying sandy bottom added under the region’s own 256×256 terrain, using the sandy bottom terrain in the Oil Rig conversion exported from that as a unitypackage and imported to the Marineville Unity build – see below.


Oil Rig OAR Conversion


During conversion the OAR Converter reported a number of errors related to texture conversion. The OAR Converter tries a number of JPEG2K libraries to do its best for conversion, but some still cannot be converted.

OARTool::ConvertTexture: ERROR: texture 2c73e9a4-ef4d-4181-8984-d7604ed6fa81 convert error (-9, 1)

There were so many mesh parts in the RGU Oil Rig model that it was not possible in Unity ( version 5.1.3f1) to select them all and drop them into the hierarchy view. They had to be selected in sub-sets and with care all were added successfully. Take care you do not miss any assets if you have to do this for your own conversion.

The ocean sandy bottom terrain in the Oil Rig model was exported as “unitypackage” (right click on the asset and select “Export Package”) so it could be imported to other OAR conversion to act as an underlying terrain, scaled 5 X 5 X 1 and with the vertical position set just under the OARs own terrain.

OpenVCE OAR Conversion


TUIS – Unity Demos of Converted Scenes​ardenOasis/GardenOasis.html


unity-chan-license-logoUnityChan-DemoUnity-Chan – The Unity-Chan anime style character provided for non-commercial use that can be inserted into the converted Unity scene to give you an avatar to move through the scene. It is included in the Unity3D folder that is in the OARConv distribution. Check the Unity-Chan licence terms and further downloads.

Other Open Source Avatar Assets are available for Unity and are described in this post.

Particle Systems and Effects

The OAR Conversion process does not bring across any active scripting, particle systems (for smoke, fire, etc) or special light sources. You need to add these again into a Unity project.

Tipodean OpenSim OAR Conversion to Unity Assets

I have previously written notes on using the Tipodean OAR Converter. As at September 2015 no longer seems to be available, but the converter web site and previous examples, including multi-user OpenVCE region demonstrations, with and without VOIP, continue to run at


OpenSim-related Tools from the Network Systems Laboratory of TUIS, Japan

Fumizaku Iseki and others at the Network Systems Laboratory of TUIS in Japan have experimented with a number of other very interesting OpenSim and Virtual Worlds related tools. See

OpenSim Diaroma System – Using 3D Terrain in OpenSim

This System uses SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) 1/3 data and Google map data. Open Source.

Motion Capture to Second Life and OpenSim Avatar Movemement by Jessica Pixel

Using the “Rinions” package from the Network Systems Laboratory of TUIS, it is possible to use a Microsoft Kinekt for Windows to do motion capture and relay it live onto a SecondLife/OpenSim avatar.

Output of STL Files for 3D Printing

OARConv version 1.4.0 (22nd September 2015) introduced an additional capability using a “-b” flag to output STL format files which are suitable to use on 3D printers. An example of usage to convert one item (.xml) in the unzipped untared OAR is:

% oarconv -i ABYSS -o STL -f ABYSS/objects/Venus_428-154-3720__e633f42c-abb2-498b-aadb-ea6781506f98.xml -b

See the following instructional video. A simple STL viewer for Windows is also available.


Posted in OpenSim, Virtual World | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Setting up a Standalone OpenSim Server from Scratch

These notes will describe how to set up a “Standalone” OpenSimulator (OpenSim) server on Windows from scratch… using the latest stable version or even the very latest “Dev master” experimental version. They are intended to quickly get you going with the latest version of OpenSim and set up key features to link it to the Hypergrid and provide a basis for further customization. Welcome to the Metaverse.

Use SQLite or MySQL

OpenSim can run with a number of different SQL compatible data base systems (SQLite, MySQL, MSSQL, PostgresSQL/PGSQL). A very simple SQLite version can be used for simple Standalone setups, and MySQL is popular and allows more features.

Advance Planning – Deciding on Key Names

Before you start, decide on a few things that you will be asked to type in on the first run of OpenSim…

  1. gridname which may contain spaces
  2. gridnick is a short nickname, try to keep it all lower case and no spaces
  3. welcome will be a web page URL that will show as a splash screen in viewers. If you don’t give this a rather ugly pink page and error message will show in viewers. If you cannot think of a suitable URL, just try using as a stop gap
  4. Region Name for your initial (or only) region
  5. Estate Name for an initial “Estate” to which a group of regions can be attached to manage some properties all together. You can use the same name as your Grid name if you wish.
  6. Avatar First and Last Names for an avatar to act as the primary initial Estate, Region owner and administrator for the OpenSim setup.
  7. Password for the first avatar.
  8. E-mail address for the first avatar.

Obtain the Latest Stable OpenSim Pre-compiled Distribution

The latest version of OpenSim that is considered stable is always available in a pre-compiled form via Download this, and unzip it’s contents into a directory such as D:\VW. It may be convenient to allow for future version changes to amend the directory name that is created from “opensim-a.b.c.d” to just “opensim”.

You may wish to create a short cut to D:\VW\opensim\bin\OpenSim.exe on your desktop to launch OpenSim when its ready. Set the (advanced) properties of this shortcut to always run as administrator.

Create Necessary .ini files

You then need to set up a number of “.ini” initialisation files before OpenSim can be run. OpenSim will indicate you have not created them if they are missing when it runs.

  1. Copy a template for bin\OpenSim.ini from bin\OpenSim.ini.example. This must then be changed for your environment before OpenSim can be successfully run. The minimal changes are:
    • In the [Const] section change the BaseURL to your hots domain name or IP address. For a Standalone setup, change the PublicPort to 9000 (by convention). The PrivatePort is not used on a Standalone.
    • In the [Architecture] section you must select one of the options. For our aim here, uncomment the one for Standalone including Hypergrid, i.e., config-include\StandaloneHypergrid.ini
    • Any more absolutely required before first run?
  2. Copy bin\config-include\StandaloneCommon.ini from
    bin\config-include\StandaloneCommon.ini.example. The minimal changes are:
    • In the [GridInfoService] section change the gridname, gridnick and provide a suitable “welcome” URL.
    • Any more absolutely required before first run?
  3. Copy bin\config-include\FlotsamCache.ini from
    [This step is not essential, but will save one warning on the OpenSim.exe console.]

Keep the amended files in a handy location for future updates.


The chosen “PublicPort” (by convention port 9000 for a standalone) must be open for access from outside your firewall.

First Run

Run bin\OpenSim.exe as administrator… perhaps using the shortcut it was suggested you create earlier… and answer the questions as the prompts appear…

  1. Create First Region (makes a file named bin\Regions\Region.ini which can subsequently be edited or added to).
  2. Create First Estate.
  3. Specify initial Avatar first and last names to own the initial Estate and Region created.
  4. backup
  5. quit

Now restart your standalone by running OpenSim.exe again. Use an OpenSim-compatible viewer such as Firestorm, Singularity or Alchemy and ensure you do choose the variant that supports OpenSim (as well as Second Life). Add your grid/standalone URL (http://host:9000/) to the Grid List for the viewer via the “Preferences” -> “OpenSim/Grids” tab or via the viewer “Grid Manager”. Log in with the chosen main avatar and set a home position for that avatar. Click on the address bar and select “About Land” to change the name of the default “Your Parcel” to a suitable name for the arrival region.

You are now all set and avatars from other grids should be able to visit you via Hypergrid to your http://host:9000/ “Grid URL”/login URL.

Save Your Work and test

Copy all d:\VW\bin\*.db files and keep them as a backup in a convenient location. You can use these to restore the setup if you have subsequent errors or problems with changes you make.

You can backup your region contents and terrain and your avatar inventory contents using..

change region 
save oar -.oar
save iar   /  -firstname-lastname>.iar
    [The oar and iar files will be placed in the OpenSim bin folder by default]

Adding Useful and Commonly Required Features

After you have a basic working setup, you can add other facilities that are commonly available on OpenSim sites. The are not enabled by default, but are available with facilities built into the core OpenSim distribution by amending the .ini files. Some require that you are using a data base other than the simple inbuilt SQLite one.

  1. In bin\config-include\StandaloneCommon.ini alter the line for defining the properties of an arrival region by amending “Region_Welcome_Area” to “<Region_your_region_name> = “DefaultRegion, FallbackRegion”
  2. Further [GridInfoService] settings can be specified.. e.g. to point to a single simple web page URL with information on your OpenSim setup.
        welcome = 
        about = 
        register = 
        help = 
        password = 

    Note that the “economy” “helper uri” (different to “help” above) needs more active database link support often using a OHP script and cannot be a simple link to a web page.

The Following OpenSim features do not work if the simple inbuilt SQLite data base is used. Use MySQL or an alternative to be able to add these.

  1. User Profiles cannot be enabled with the default SQLite database, but if you switch to using MySQL, User Profiles can be enabled by setting config-include\StandaloneCommon.ini [UserProfilesService] enabled=true and uncommenting the OpenSim.ini [UserProfiles] ProfileServiceURL line.
  2. Groups cannot be enabled with the default SQLite database, but if you switch to using MySQL, Groups can be enabled by setting the OpenSim.ini [Groups] section as follows:
        Enabled = true
        LevelGroupCreate = 0
        Module = "Groups Module V2"
        ServicesConnectorModule = "Groups HG Service Connector"
        LocalService = local
        MessagingEnabled = true
        MessagingModule = "Groups Messaging Module V2"
        NoticesEnabled = true
        MessageOnlineUsersOnly = true
  3. Offline Instant Messaging (IM) cannot be enabled with the default SQLite database, but if you switch to using MySQL, Offline IM can be enabled by setting the OpenSim.ini [Messaging] section as follows:
        OfflineMessageModule = "Offline Message Module V2"
        MessageTransferModule = HGMessageTransferModule
        MuteListModule = MuteListModule
        LureModule = HGLureModule
        ForwardOfflineGroupMessages = true
  4. [Note – does not seem to work at 26-Aug-2015 for Standalones] Provide a suitable destination guide link. provides a suitably formatted sample that can also act as a default. Specify this by adding a line in the config-include\StandaloneCommon.ini [GridInfoService] section…
        DestinationGuide = ""

Creating Your Own Binaries for the Latest Dev Master version

An alternative to using the latest stable version of OpenSim, for the adventurous, is to use the very latest bleeding-edge development version.

Obtain Latest OpenSim Version

  2. Unzip it to a directory such as, for example, D:\Temp
  3. Run a Windows Shell such as Command Prompt
  4. Select the disk your unzip directory is on, for example with D:\
  5. cd Temp\opensim…
  6. runprebuild.bat
  7. compile.bat
  8. Move the bin directory in the content that is created in created in D:\cd Temp\opensim… to D:\VW
  9. The rest of D:\Temp\opensim… can be discarded

Prior Requirements .NET Framework

The OpenSim compile and build tools require the Microsoft .NET 4 framework. One way to get that is to install the free Microsoft Visual Studio Community Edition.

While covering .NET requirements… when first run OpenSim may also require .NET 3.5 if its not already on your system. This may be needed from some precompiled libraries which OpenSim uses. If its needed, Windows usually pops up an offer to load that for you. Allow that to download and install. Then run OpenSim again.


Getting Help with OpenSim

  • You can get a feel for OpenSim and join in the community by creating an free avatar on OSGrid.
  • Issues with OpenSim can be checked and reported via the OpenSim Mantis.
  • An OpenSim users mailing list can be useful to ask questions or see if others are having similar issues.
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Simple Use of Git for OpenSim Development

Git is a source code version control supporting contributions from a number of developers. Git tutorial and reference material is available via including a complete online “Pro Git” book.

Contributions are made by “non-core” developers who can submit a “patch” attached to the OpenSim Mantis issue tracking system at These are reviewed by one or more OpenSim core developers who can, if appropriate, then approve and insert the patch to appear in the OpenSim Git development “master” at

The notes here are the process I used, after a few experiments, to establish a simple Git environment and workflow on a Windows 10 desktop to allow me to create patches in the required form to potentially contribute to OpenSim.

Setting up the Git Tools, a link to the OpenSim Master Repository and Making a Branch for your Changes


  1. Create an account on if you don’t already have one. That will allow you to create a simple profile including the name, e-mail address and thumbnail image you want to use when making contributions to projects.
  2. Obtain and install GitHub Desktop (Windows or Mac) via This creates two desktop icons, one for the GitHub GUI and one for a Git Shell (using Windows Power Shell) which work in harmony.
  3. Configure Git on launch to add in your GitHub username and e-mail which will be used to label contributions or patches you make. This creates [user] section “name” and “email” lines in your .gitconfig file. It can also be done using the Git Shell and using the commands…
    git config "Your Name"
    git config
  4. If you have not already done so, launch the Git Shell and you can set the editor you wish to use to add messages into patches to one that can handle Unix line endings (which Windows Notepad does not). Note the editor executable must be on the Windows PATH. E.g.
    git config --global core.editor emacs
  5. OpenSim wants patches that do not add Windows style line endings. Automatic translation between the Unix line ending reporitory files and local Windows files is possible, but to be certain, I explicitly set this via…
    git config --global core.autocrlf false
  6. After these steps your C:\Users\username\.gitconfig file should have something like these entries… amongst others…
    	name = Your Name
    	email =
    	autocrlf = false
    	editor = emacs
  7. Now, as a potential non-core OpenSim contributor you can establish a (read-only) “clone” of the main OpenSim Master Repository. I found the easiest way to do that was using the Git Shell” and typing in…

    This also sets all the files as “tracked”. Changes to any of these files are monitored so they can be added to any commit. Newly added files though need to be explicitly handled (see later).

  8. Note that git:// at is a mirror of the main repository at git:// but you should use the main repository as it will be up to date.
  9. With the default location for GitHub files of C:\Users\username\Documents\GitHub this will create a directory in C:\Users\username\Documents\GitHub which contains the OpenSim files and a special .git directory which supports all the Git operations, your commits and patch creation operations.
  10. The Git Shell by default starts in C:\Users\username\Documents\GitHub. You can change to work in a Github managed project simply by moving into its directory. E.g. into the “opensim” directory using…
    cd opensim

    Note that this will also show the current branch you are set to (initially “[master]“).

  11. While in Git Shell and set to the “master” you can also do a “pull” of the current OpenSim Master Repository content to your local filestore with…
    git pull

    You can use also this Git command at any time when set to the “master” branch to “sync” the OpenSim Master Repository files with your local copy.

  12. Also while in Git Shell create a branch off the opensim “master” called, for example, “mods” with…
    git branch mods
  13. You can change between the “master” and “mods” branches to work in using the Git Shell command…
    git checkout mods
  14. You can check the current status of your branch and whether there are outstanding modifications which are not yet committed using…
    git status


Now you are all set to make changes, and to create patches from the changes you make. I found that the “GitHub” GUI tool was most useful from this point right up to the preparation of a patch, for which I swapped back to the Git Shell. Git settings and branch changes made in the Git Shell and GitHub Tool for any GitHub project are synchronised (the magic happens in the projects .git directory).

Make your Changes

At any time, independent of whether you are using GitShell or the GitHub Tool, you can make any changes you wish to the files in C:\Users\username\Documents\GitHub\opensim by directly editing them. It is suggested you use an editor (e.g. emacs) that does not change the Unix style OpenSim file line endings

Using the GitHub Tool

  1. Select “opensim” Repository – When you run the GitHub tool you can choose one of the repository is you have set up… the opensim repository will show in the left column, if you have performed a “clone” operation. More can be added via the “+” icon in the top left corner. But for some reason “remote” does not allow for connections to repositories that are not hosted on itself.
  2. Select “master” branch and “Sync” – You can select the “master” branch in the branches drop down menu near the top left. A “Sync” button in the top right corner allows you to synchronise the OpenSim Master repository files with the local copy. The “Sync” on the “master” branch in the GitHub Tool is the same as using “git pull” on the masdter branch in Git Shell.
  3. Select “mods” branch and “Update from master” – Select the “mods” branch you made for your own changes and perform an “Update from master” to bring in any changes made recently to the “master” repository so they are available in the version you will change.
  4. Check if there are uncommitted changes – On the “mods” branch you can see a button in the top right saying if there are “No uncommitted changes” unless you have made changes you have made to the “tracked” files that are not yet notified to Git via a commit.
  5. Commit N uncommitted changes(s) – When you do have changes and want to create a single commit for all the changes.. hit the button and a panel opens to allow you to insert a short “Summary” and a longer “Description” of the changes you have made.

Making a Commit

  1. Ensure you are on the “mods” branch by selecting the “mods” branch in the GitHub Tool or in Git Shell use…
    git checkout mods
  2. Bring the branch up to date with “master” using the “Update from master” button in the top left of the GitHub Tool or in Git Shell use…
    git merge master
  3. Commit changes to all “tracked” files that are modified (so excluding any newly added files) using the “N uncommitted changes” button in the top right of the GitHub Tool and then using the form provided in the GitHub Tool or in Git Shell use…
    git commit -a
  4. Note that by default Git does not add all modified files during a commit. To add new files use:
    git add file1 file2 ...
    git commit

Creating a Patch

OpenSim development asks for patches to be prepared and attached to an OpenSimulator Mantis issue. The following commands create a patch for the last commit (-1) or changes between the current “master” – known as “origin/master” – and the commit labelled #hashtag is the one for the commit, usually 8 or so characters are sufficient to identify it) … and places the patch in a directory one up from the opensim repository files…

git format-patch -1 -o ..\tmp
git format-patch -o ..\tmp -1
git format-patch -o ..\tmp origin/master #f0e70490

Note that using –stdout > patch.txt does not work for opensim use as the line endings are Windows form)..

The results will be in C:\Users\username\Documents\GitHub\tmp

Inspect the patch to check it looks okay… an example follows…


Submitting a Patch to the OpenSimulator Community

  1. Go to the OpenSimulator “Mantis” issue tracking web site at and create an account there if you have not already done so, or login if you have.
  2. If your modifications relate to an existing Mantis issue add a comment and attach your patch file. If its a new issue create that and attach the patch file. In both cases amend the status to “patch attached” to draw the attention of the OpenSim core developers to your contribution. For a new issue, by convention, add the text [PATCH] to the front of the Mantis issue summary.
  3. After the issue has been created or modified, so a final check that the patch looks okay expand the patch to “Show Contents” and especially watching out for extra blank lines, indicating that Windows CR/LF extra symbols have wrongly been added.

OpenSim Core Developer Sign Off of a Contributed Patch

An OpenSim Core developer with appropriate permissions to commit directly to the remote master copy of OpenSim at may use a command such as the following to “sign off” a contribution…

git.exe am --signoff --ignore-space-change --keep-cr patch-filename

Reverting the Changes Made to Sync with Master – Better to Delete the Branch

As explained above, as a non-core developer you cannot directly commit changes to the remote master version of OpenSimulator. You are contributing potentially useful patches which might or might not be adopted. This can mean you have to constantly keep changing your “mods” branch to keep it in line with other changes in master. I tried to maintain a simple setup by using “revert” on each commit on the “mods” branch after creating the patch. A revert of the last commit (or any commit in fact) on the “mods” branch can be made very simply by selecting the commit and using the “Revert” button. But it turns out that this process does not allow “clean” patches to be successfully generated. The patches when applied try to refer to the commits/reverts that were in the branch history but not passed to the remote repository and give this message…

sha1 information is lacking or useless

Instead, I found its best to DELETE the “mods” branch entirely, using… (the capitalised -D flag forces the delete, so ensure you want to do that)…

git branch -D mods

Then go back and cerate a new branch “£mods” and work afresh in that for the next patch you wish to contribute.

Alternative workflow using Git Shell for actions performed in the GitHub GUI Tool

  • Resetting local master copy to remote contents. Ensure you are set to the opensim “master” branch.
    cd opensim
    git checkout master
    git pull
  • You can edit the message associated with the last commit using the GitHub Tool by clicking on the commit or using the Git Shell command:
    git commit --amend
  • You can see the master and any branches that exists using the GitHub Tool or using the Git Shell command:
    git branch
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