Project Sansar – Alpha Signup

2016-04-26-Project-Sansar-LogoOn 26th April 2016, Linden Lab invited developers to sign up for invitations for early alpha access to Project Sansar.

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Update 31st August 2016: Change of Logo and Domain Name

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Linden Lab announced in a press release on 31st August 2016 that the platform name altered from “Project Sansar” to just “Sansar” and the URL is simply http://sansar.com/.

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Fish4Knowledge at Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 2016

Jessica Chen-Burger (as avatar Skye Gears) presented the Fish4Knowledge project outreach pavilion and underwater aquarium project in Second Life and OpenSim at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 2016 online conference (VWBPE-2016). More details of the F4K Exhibition gallery and Underwater Aquarium are at http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/project/f4k/

Chen-Burger, Y-H. and Tate, A. (2016) The Fish4Knowledge Virtual World Gallery, in “Fish4Knowledge: Collecting and Analyzing Massive Coral Reef Fish Video Data” (Fisher R.B., Chen-Burger, Y-H., Giordano, D., Hardman, L. and Lin, F.P. eds.), Chapter 17, pp. 245-251, April 2016, Intelligent Systems Reference Library, Volume 104, Springer. Book DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-30208-9 Electronic ISBN: 978-3-319-30208-9 Print ISBN: 978-3-319-30206-5 [PDF Format]

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2016-03-12-VWBPE-F4K-Prep_003

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Journey to Middle Earth

Journey to Middle Earth in the form of New Zealand in February 2016… images by Austin Tate except where noted. First on North Island at Hobbiton (near Matamata)…
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Mount Doom and Mordor… on Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park…
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At the Weta Cave in Wellington… Hobbit feet and handling the original movie prop of Orcrist…
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Orcrist Image from Weta, New Zealand
Orcrist Image from Weta, New Zealand

The Hobbit barrel escape was filmed on a combination of the Aratiatia Rapids near Taupo on North island, the Pelorus River near Nelson on South Island and in the studios near Wellington…
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One Ring to rule them all… glad Margaret did not go invisible…
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ElvesAi Austin as Strider with Orcrist in Second Life
Elvish: Austin and Margaret Tate

Lake Wakatipu and Glenorchy, near Queenstown…
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The Fellowship of the Ring and the Dwarves of Thorin and Company probably did not travel on a jetboat… but the Shotover River Jet is quite something…
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Milford Sound, waterfalls, more waterfalls and the long white cloud…
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To crown it all… Mount Cook and dark skies… the Southern Cross, the Milky Way and very visible Large and Small Magellanic Clouds…
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Southern Cross Image from Night in Focus
Southern Cross Image from Night in Focus

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X-15 VR Experience in Unity3D

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As a variant on my recent Unity3D Gerry Anderson’s Supercar-themed “Avgas, Will Travel” VR Experience for the Oculus Rift… I added a 3D model of the X-15A-2 by TaffGoch. Although, of course, the X-15 was not an orbital craft (See article on Wikipedia). A little adjustment to fix the port side external tank (which had reversed normals) by mirroring the starboard tank in Studio 3D Max and rotation script, and there is another Oculus Rift VR Experience.

Download the standalone (Windows 64 bit) application for the Oculus Rift and 2D screen (try it on “Fantastic” settings if your system will allow that) or use the Unity Web Player version at…

http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/X-15/
[Use X-15.html for 2D Web Player version in most web browsers, or
download x15-vr-windows64.zip for standalone/VR version]

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2016-01-29-X-15A-2-Unity-Editor
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X-15A-2 Orthograghic View by unusualsuspex

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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

I also tried an import of 3D models of the SR-71 Blackbird (Wheels Up and Wheels Down) and SR-71/U2 pilot from 3D Warehouse…

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2016-01-31-Unity-SR-71-and-X-15-1 2016-01-31-Unity-SR-71-and-X-15-2

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2001 VR Experience in Unity3D

2016-01-26-Unity-2001-1
As a variant on my recent Unity3D Gerry Anderson’s Supercar-themed “Avgas, Will Travel” VR Experience for the Oculus Rift… I added 3D models of the 2001 Space Station by Filip and the Orion III PanAm Shuttle made by Daniel M. A little rotation script, and some adjustment to scaling and the positions of the items and there is another Oculus Rift VR Experience. Also available as a 2D screen web player version.

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Download the standalone (Windows 64 bit) application for the Oculus Rift and 2D screen (try it on “Fantastic” settings if your system will allow that) or use the Unity Web Player version at…

http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/2001/
[Use 2001.html for 2D Web Player version in most web browsers, or
download 2001-vr-windows64.zip for standalone/VR version]

2016-01-26-Unity-Editor-2001
2016-01-26-Unity-2001-Opposite-Side 2016-01-26-Unity-2001-in-Supercar
2016-01-27-Unity3D-Supercar-in-2001 2016-01-27-Unity3D-Supercar-at-Shuttle-and-Unity-Module
2016-04-06-Unity-2001

Huey Droid

If you look closely when approaching the Earth Shuttle docking bay you might see “Huey” (repair droid 2 from the film Silent Running, model by Martin T.).

2016-01-29-2001-Silent-Running-Huey

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Made with Unity

Made with Unity is a site to share developer information, games and stories associated with using the Unity3D development tools. I have created a developer profile, and added some of my recent VR Experiences on the site…

Made-with-Unity-Profile-Austin-Tate

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Supercar Take Two: Avgas, Will Travel

avgas-fueldrumsThe “Supercar: Take Two” project (“Take 2” for short) is a collaborative venture, originally started in 1998, involving a number of Supercar enthusiasts and those with an interest in Gerry Anderson productions. Its aim is to develop an on-line multi-media presentation of a new Supercar storybook.. the original objective stated…

All the materials must be original. No copyright existing material will be used. It is intended to act as a framework and showcase or a range of experiments with on-line media such as:

  • Hyperlinked text including information related to the story and its characters;
  • Scanned images of original artwork;
  • Original sound files and music;
  • Computer Generated Images and computer models;
  • Animations;
  • Multi-media information boxes;
  • Java applets;
  • Novel uses of emerging internet technology.

The final result is meant to be accessible over the internet, or to be presented locally (e.g. off a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM image of the materials).

The title for the story “Supercar: Take Two” is meant to echo the final episode of Season One of the original Supercar TV series. This episode written by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, was called “Supercar: Take One”. Rather appropriately, it included aspects of a Hollywood style filming of the Supercar team in action.

One story outline developed in 1998 is now receiving renewed attention…


Avgas, Will Travel

A Collaborative Development of a Supercar Storybook within the Internet Community.
Storyline suggested by Mark DeSantis.

Development of secret synthetic oils and fuels for Supercar.

supercar-with-avgas-fuel supercar-in-space


Newsflash …. 4-Dec-1998

supercar-at-shuttle-and-unityDuring this week’s International Space Station (ISS) assembly shuttle mission to add the Unity Docking Node to the orbiting Russian-Built Functional Block, it appears that NASA and the USAF will conduct a secret demonstration of a new rescue device.

Rumours have persisted for some decades that the US Air Force have been funding the development of a small high performance rescue vehicle at a deserted location in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Occasional glimpses of the craft have been reported, and some UFO reports are attributed to its amazing characteristics. The press have termed the vehicle “Supercar”. Now an artists rendering of the proposed shuttle link up demonstration appears to confirm that such a craft does exist.

The mission this week will apparently involve a link up between the Supercar using a small portable and extendable air lock and the shuttle. A docking is planned to occur before the Unity Node is delivered for Space Station Assembly.

NASA declined to comment … πŸ˜‰


Declassified …. 20-Jan-2016

Recent Freedom of Information requests have uncovered simulations which took place nearly 20 years ago to test the space capability of the experimental emergency response and rescue vehicle… Supercar! This relied on a top secret synthetic variant of the “Avgas” fuel used in Supercar’s advanced engines.

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A version of the simulation is provided at http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/avgas/Avgas.html

Oculus-DK2Or to run a Windows (64bit) standalone version which works on 2D screens on on the Oculus Rift download and unzip the provided file. You can use the arrow keys, page up and page down to move about. If you have a game controller attached, the left stick should move the astronaut, and the right and left bumpers will move you up and down. You can quit the experience using either the β€œq” or β€œesc” keys.

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2016-01-20-Avgas-VR-4 2016-01-20-Avgas-Simulation-2
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Model of Space Shuttle, with cargo bay doors open and ISS Unity docking module by Byr2008.

Further information about Supercar is becoming available… this Supercar Schematic Image was included in the simulation documentation…
Supercar-Schematics


Supercar-TitleΒ© The copyright in all materials displayed and provided is that of the originating author or artist. Such materials should not be used without permission.

All official material on Supercar is copyright by Carlton International Media Ltd. This is a fan maintained page intended to promote the shows of Gerry Anderson. The materials are provided for your enjoyment, but should not be used for any commercial purpose. Care has been taken to avoid the use of copyright images and other materials, but concerns over unsuitable use of materials, or suggestions for improvement on this page should be sent to Austin Tate (a.tate@ed.ac.uk).

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Thunderbirds in VR

And just because we can… instead of using NASA ISS and spacecraft models as in the ISS VR Experience, I substituted Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds models obtained from the 3D Sketchup Warehouse (search for Gerry Anderson).

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Try the web player version here.

And the Windows 64 bit standalone application which will work on 2D screens or in VR on the Oculus Rift is here (zip file of Windows 64 bit app).
Oculus-DK2You can use the arrow keys, page up and page down to move about. If you have a game controller attached, the left stick should move the astronaut, and the right and left bumpers will move you up and down. You can quit the experience using either the β€œq” or β€œesc” keys.


Look out for other Gerry Anderson vehicles nearby…. Space:1999 Eagle, Fireball XL5 and Supercar…

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2016-01-22-Fireball-XL5-VR-1 XL5-at-TB5-2

Credits

Full details of the resources used and the build process for the ISS VR Experience is given in this blog post. The additional Gerry Anderson related models were provided from, e.g., the Sketchup 3D Warehouse – Gerry Anderson. Remember these are fan produced models for a TV show and commercial use is not permitted.

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Space Walk – Follow along in Virtual Reality

EVA #35 on the International Space Station is a space walk performed by NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and ESA astronaut Tim Peake on 15th January 2016, with a focus on the replacement of a failed voltage regulator. An animation of the planned activities is available here… ISS Spacewalk Animation – U.S. EVA #35 SSU Replacement (YouTube)

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Using my ISS VR Experience it is possible to follow along as the astronauts perform their activities. The experience was created in Unity3D and runs in a web browser or as a standalone Windows app which runs in Virtual Reality of an Oculus Rift is attached. If your system allows it run it standalone with graphics set to “fantastic”.
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Some images of the EVA as broadcast live from the ISS, from the NASA animation and from the VR experience follow…
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Creating the Supercar Comic

Kez Wilson and Michael Wolff at Misc!Mayhem Comics in the US were fans of Gerry Anderson’s Supercar and other TV shows and in 1999 wrote new stories about Supercar, the team of characters at Black Rock Laboratory, the baddies in the TV show and an extended family of new characters. Officially licenced, the first issue appeared in print in February 2003.
Supercar-Comic-Cover Supercar-Comic-Credits

In a collaboration between Kez Wilson and Austin Tate, the Supercar and Black Rock Laboratory 3D models created by Mick Imrie and Austin Tate, and renders of them in poses that would appear in the comic strips and panels were created for the initial outline artwork… the aim being to get realistic and accurate imagery for the eventual fully inked and coloured comic strips. Here is an example layout page and two of the rendered images produced for that page…
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A page of the full colour artwork is shown below to illustrate the dynamic nature of the visuals in the Supercar Comic….
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Kez Wilson and Michael Wolff continue to create comics… some based on storylines developed alongside the Supercar Comic stories. See, for example, “The Adventures of Carter McCloud and Team Pegasus” and their web site at http://pulplications.com.

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FSX Supercar at Knight Inlet BC

The FSX version of Supercar (latest: version 5.0 1-Jan-2013) has been tested to work in FSX Steam Edition and in Virtual Reality using Flyinside FSX. Here she is in flight and landing in the Knight Inlet area in British Columbia… with dynamic custom scenery added…

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And here on the shoreline in the vicinity of Knight Inlet Lodge (not realistically modelled!) surrounded by dynamic scenery… watch for the grizzly bear and cubs (yes they do come close to the lodge) and look for more grizzlies on the far shore (we really saw them there too), dolphins (hundreds are in the area), whales and bald eagles…

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And the mirror screens from Flyinside FSX when using the Oculus Rift DK2…

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Eve Valkyrie Pre-Alpha Testing

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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. “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 a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) ahead of the more open releases that will follow leading to a full release sometime in 2016. I originally joined in the pre-alpha testing sessions on 7th and 8th November 2015.

On 11th January 2016 CCP Games announced the “final play test”:
Regarding the NDA: Please note that we’re lifting the NDA as of the start of today’s playtest. If you have screenshots, streams, or images from CCP dev blogs, the NDA is only lifted from this build forward.

See this information on the Eve Valkyrie Founder’s Pack which will be available to all those who pre-order the Oculus Rift ahead of its initial launch date of 28th March 2016.

Final Pre-Alpha Testing on 11th and 12th January 2016

The “Training” mode allows for the basic controls to be learned.

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The main current mode of play is “Combat” where two teams (blue and red) are pitted against one another with 50 lives for each team and the objective being to have more kills than the other team within the 9 minute limit for each game. When you receive a kill you are returned to the launch tube and after a delay are relaunched into the combat zone.

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Twitch.tv Coverage and Testing on 13th January 2016

Eve Valkyrie twitch.tv live stream with @Zimtok5 (Brad and his wife Karen – @Emrayla) at http://www.twitch.tv/zimtok5.

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Apollo 11 VR Experience

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Immersive VR Education have produced a virtual reality (VR) “experience” for the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. The full experience is still under development, but a free short demonstration for the Oculus Rift is available via
http://immersivevreducation.com/the-apollo-11-experience/.

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Apollo-11-Experience-One-Small-Step

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VR Spacewalk at ISS

Scroll down to the “Try the ISS VR Experience” section for the web demonstration link and the download link for the Windows standalone version which will work in flat screen mode or in VR if you have an Oculus Rift attached.

I posted before on the creation of a Virtual Reality Experience Spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS) which was initially built while watching the NASA TV coverage of the launch of UK astronaut Tim Peake on 15th December 2015… a Space VR experience originally created in 10 minutes… using 3D models from NASA. But then I took some time afterwards to refine it a bit, add astronaut transfer and supply spacecraft, and further explore VR elements, gamepad control and the WebGL player. This post gives more details of what was added and includes images from the refined version. This took quite a bit longer than the 10 minutes it took to create the initial experience!

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Creating the ISS VR Experience

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  1. A useful “Getting Started with Unity” tutorial is available at here.
  2. Create a new Unity Project which usually adds a main camera and directional light. I set shadows on that light to “hard”. I add in a solid plane at 0,0,0 to act as a physics base so avatars do not drop through to infinity, and make that not show by unticking it’s “Mesh Renderer”. Add the Unity Standard Assets for Characters and add into the project a Third Person Controller such as the standard Ethan model. I usually use a predefined project base that gives me this setup to start new projects quickly, and includes an avatar controller that allow for flying and vertical motion too).
    E.g., see “Project Base for OAR Converter Projects” section in
    http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2015/08/30/opensim-oar-convert-to-unity-scene/
  3. Replace the avatar visual model with an Astronaut in Extravehicular Activity (EVA) mode. E.g. using 3D Astronaut Nr 1 (Collada .dae format) by Byr2008 or the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) from http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/emu (.3ds format). Add this as the visual model for 3rd Person Avatar Controller (e.g. Ethan) and then scale and position it appropriately. Turn off the normal avatar visual model. You may need to turn off the “Mesh Collison” component for all the 3D parts within the EMU model to avoid any reported rigged mesh issues for the avatar in Unity 5.
  4. Add a suitable 3D model of the International Space Station. I used a detailed FBX version from http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/iss placed, say, 50m above the solid plane. The solar panels on this model can be selected in the Unity editor and rotated appropriately to face the directional light (acting as the Sun). The heat radiators should be in shadow or faced away from the sun for realism.
  5. 2015-12-15-Unity-Editor-Soyuz-and-ProgressAdd-on spacecraft using Collada downloads via the 3D Warehouse and I found these needed to be scaled to 0.025 to fit with the ISS model I used:
  6. Cygnus Supply Vehicle by manboy and nebarnix .stl format file converted to .dae or .obj (e.g. via http://www.greentoken.de/onlineconv/) and resized to 0.025.
  7. Add a suitable Skybox to the Main Camera… via Free Earth Skybox – Hugo Peters.
    Downloads of the unity packages are available at: v1, v2 [local version as unitypackage], higher resolution v3
  8. 2016-01-01-Unity-Scene-Light-FlareTo add light flares use Assets -> Import Package -> Effects to bring in the Unity Standard Assets. Add an empty Game Object and name it “Flare” and to that add a component for Effects -> Light Flare. Drop the “50mmZoom” standard asset light flare onto it’s flare slot and perhaps make the colour a pale yellow for the sun. Carefully align the lens flare to the directional light, so they behave realistically. I set the directional light and light flare to originate from the opposite side of the ISS to the daytime lit Earth disk, ensuring that the ISS solar panels face towards the light source.
  9. By default a gamepad or joystick controller or joystick will act as an alternative for movement of the avatar. But gamepad/joystick up and down control may need to be added, e.g. on the left and right “bumpers” which for an Xbox 360 controller are “joystick button 4” and “joystick button 5” (see here for details).
  10. I also added code to quit the experience if the “esc” or “q” keys are pressed (note that this only works in the standalone .exe build not when run in the web player or unity editor).
  11. Added background sound, e.g. from http://soundbible.com/143-Astronaut-Breathing.html
    Astronaut Breathing recorded by Mike Koenig.
  12. To use the Oculus Rift, remember to go into Build Settings -> Player Settings and tick “Virtual Reality Supported”. That’s all that is needed to enable the use of the Rift for a VR Experience.

Configuration depicted in the ISS VR Experience with Soyuz TMA-19M Docked

ISS Configuration on 15th December 2015
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Try the ISS VR Experience

Please note that the ISS VR Experience uses complex 3D models and will need a computer with reasonable performance and a good graphics card.

Try a Unity Web Player version of the experience in most web browsers at
http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/iss/ISS.html
Apple-Mac-PageUp-PageDownMac users will need to use Fn+UpArrow and Fn+DownArrow for the keys needed to allow the astronaut avatar to move up and down.

Oculus-DK2Or, if you have an Oculus Rift, try a Windows (64 bit) standalone executable (.exe) version which should work with or without the Oculus Rift by obtaining the ZIP file
Unzip it, and run the .exe file. You can use the arrow keys, page up and page down to move about. If you have a game controller attached, the left stick should move the astronaut, and the right and left bumpers will move you up and down. You can quit the experience using either the “q” or “esc” keys.

Since these experiences are made available directly, rather than via the “Oculus Home” store you might need to “Allow Apps from Unknown Sources” in Oculus Home to enable them to run on the consumer versions of the Oculus Rift… see here for instructions.

Using a suitable browser, such as Firefox, try a WebGL version of the experience at
http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/iss/web-gl/ISS.html
This has been built with the WebGL Player “Publishing Settings” Memory set at 1024MB, rather than the default 256MB… 512MB was also insufficient… and it may still run out of memory when you try it. Exception reporting is also turned to “None” versus the default “Explicitly Thrown” default. On our Linux Apache server we found that the gzipped compressed file handling setup in the Unity default WebGL HTML and the renaming setup in the .htaccess file generated via Unity build did not work without changing the three resource lines included in the index.html to explicitly add in the gz versions. I am still experimenting with WebGL.

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2016-01-12-ISS-VR-Shadows-and-Headlamps

Posted in Space, VR | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Roller Coasters in OpenSim

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I previously wrote about the roller coasters on OSGrid’s Recreation Plaza created by Cuteulala Artis and colleagues. Cuteulala has also provided a free access roller coaster that anyone can use. But everyone is asked to respect the open source nature of this offering and not transfer it to grids where payment is required or try to sell it on any virtual world marketplace.

2015-12-20-OSGrid-Lani_001 2015-12-20-OSGrid-Lani-Cuteulala-Artis-Store_001

hop://login.osgrid.org:80/lani/228/89/33

Optera Coaster Image
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Cuteulala Artis Roller Coaster on AiLand

With just a little tidying up of the information notecard and the permissions image, and multiple seating positions added, here is the Roller Coaster by Cuteulala Artis and Takni Miklos on the Aisle Region on AiLand…

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AiLand-Roller-Coaster-2

hop://ai.vue.ed.ac.uk:8002/Aisle/64/96/22
Posted in OpenSim, Virtual World | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

OpenSimulator Varregion Tests

Normally Second Life and OpenSim have regions which are 256m X 256m in size. Regions can be placed alongside one another to make up larger land masses, as is done with the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) regions which can involve 12 adjacent regions (see live served map).

In the past, OpenSim has provided “Megaregions” which can be larger than the standard sized region to alleviate issues which have arisen in smooth crossing of borders, especially for physical vehicles. More recently a tidier mechanism entitled “Varregions” which is supported by modern OpenSim-capable browsers (such as Firestorm, Singularity, Kokua, Alchemy, etc) has replaced the older Megaregion facility.

2015-12-16-Vue-Splash-Page

For testing the simple Vue grid hosted at http://vatersay.aiai.ed.ac.uk:9000 which had a single “pin-head” style island of size 256m X 256m was restarted with the Region.ini entry for the region changed from having a size of 256m X 256M to 1024m X 1024m, and then the server was restarted. All behaved very well, with the new extended space being filled in with flat terrain which is a good default, so you can see the added terrain.

2015-12-16-Vue-Varregion

The “load oar” console command can be used with appropriate parameters to populate a Varregion with content saved from regular 256m X 256m regions, E.g. …

change region bigregion
load oar oar00.oar
load oar oar01.oar –displacement “<0,256,0>” –merge –force-terrain –force-parcels
load oar oar10.oar –displacement “<250,0,0>” –merge –force-terrain –force-parcels
load oar oar11.oar –displacement “<256,256,0>” –merge –force-terrain –force-parcels

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Virtual Reality Experience in 10 Minutes

Scroll down to the “Try it Yourself” section for the web demonstration link and the download link for the Windows standalone version which will work in flat screen mode or in VR if you have an Oculus Rift attached.

2015-12-14-Tim-Peake-Press-Conference 2015-12-15-ISS-Mission-46-Team
While preparing to watch astronaut Tim Peake’s launch to the International Space Station on 15th December 2015, I thought I would try to create a quick VR experience in Unity3D for the Oculus Rift using NASA 3D models…. a VR experience created in 10 minutes… and you can try this yourself via the online version and downloads listed later… but first here are images from the real thing… the launch of Soyuz TMA-19M

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2015-12-15-Soyuz-Launch 2015-12-15-Soyuz-Launch-from-ISS
2015-12-15-Soyuz-Mission-Control 2015-12-15-Mission-Control-Houston

… and a wonderful shot of Tim Peake on his way up with a big grin on his face and thumbs up inside Soyuz during the launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on 15th December 2015… with the curvature of the Earth visible through the right hand porthole…

2015-12-15-Tim-Peake-in-Soyuz

A Virtual Reality Experience in 10 Minutes – EVA at the ISS

Meanwhile.. in virtual reality… I had been meaning to update to Unity 5.3 and test the (soon to be required) WebGL Player delivery method, and I thought a VR demo to do a spacewalk around the International Space Station (ISS) would be a fine test. So here are my notes and resource links for the creation of a quick VR Space Experience in Unity3D for the Oculus Rift and in the WebGL player using NASA 3D models… all created while watching the NASA TV coverage of the launch… a Space VR experience in 10 minutes…

2015-12-15-ISS-in-VR-Tim-Peake-Launch

  1. Create a new Unity Project (or use a suitable base project ***)… which usually adds a main camera and directional light. I add in a solid plane at 0,0,0 to act as a physics base so avatars do not drop through to infinity, and make that not show by unticking the “Mesh Renderer”. Add Standard Assets for Characters and add in a Third Person Controller such as the standard Ethan model.
  2. NASA 3D Models – http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/
  3. International Space Station FBX – http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/iss placed, say, 50m above the solid plane.
  4. 2015-12-15-Unity-Editor-Soyuz-and-ProgressExtravehicular Mobility Unit 3DS – http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/emu – Add EMU as visual model for 3rd Person Avatar Controller (e.g. Ethan) and position it appropriately. Turn off the normal avatar visual model. You need to turn off the “Mesh Collison” component for all the 3D parts within the EMU model to avoid rigged mesh issues in Unity 5.
  5. Add-on spacecraft: Soyuz by Byr2008 and Progress by Nickvet419. E.g. using Collada downloads via the 3D Warehouse and scaled to 0.025. [local version as unitypackage]
  6. Add a suitable Skybox to the Main Camera… via Free Earth Skybox – Hugo Peters – [local version as unitypackage] Download of the full package is available at:
    http://www.pilottycoon.com/assets/SkyboxSpaceDemo/skyboxspacedemopackage.unitypackage
  7. To use the Oculus Rift, remember to go into Build Settings -> Player Settings and tick “Virtual Reality Supported”. That’s all that is needed to enable the use of the Rift for a VR Experience.

Footnote ***: e.g., see “Project Base for OAR Converter Projects” section in http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2015/08/30/opensim-oar-convert-to-unity-scene/

2015-12-15-Unity3D-ISS-VR-1
2015-12-15-ISS-in-VR-2 2015-12-15-ISS-in-VR-3

Try it Yourself

Please note that the ISS Experience uses complex 3D models and will need a computer with reasonable performance and a good graphics card.

Try a Unity Web Player version of the experience in most web browsers at
http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/iss/ISS.html
2015-12-15-Unity3D-ISS-WebPlayer
Apple-Mac-PageUp-PageDownMac users will need to use Fn+UpArrow and Fn+DownArrow for the keys needed to allow the astronaut avatar to move up and down.

Or, if you have an Oculus Rift, try a Windows (64 bit) standalone executable (.exe) version which should work with or without the Oculus Rift by obtaining this ZIP file, unzip it, and run the .exe file. You can use the arrow keys, page up and page down to move about. If you have a game controller attached, the left stick should move the astronaut, and the right and left bumpers will move you up and down. You can quit the experience using either the “q” or “esc” keys.

2015-12-19-Unity-Editor-ISS-WebGL
Using a suitable browser, such as Firefox, try a WebGL version of the experience at
http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~ai/unity/iss/web-gl/ISS.html. This has been built with the WebGL Player “Publishing Settings” Memory set at 1024MB, rather than the default 256MB… 512MB was also insufficient…. and it may still run out of memory when you try it. Exception reporting is also turned to “None” versus the default “Explicitly Thrown” default. I am still experimenting with WebGL.

16-Dec-2015 – Soyuz and Progress Added

2015-12-16-Soyuz-and-Progress-added-to-ISS-1 2015-12-16-Soyuz-and-Progress-added-to-ISS-2
2015-12-16-Soyuz-and-Progress-added-to-ISS-in-WebGL

ISS Configuration with Soyuz TMA-19M Docked

ISS-Configuration

And here is the ISS model with Soyuz TMA-18M, Soyuz TMA-19M, Progress 60 and Progress 61 docked. Missing Cygnus (looking for a suitable open source 3D model)…

2015-12-17-Unity3D-ISS-Soyuz-Progress-Render
2015-12-17-Unity3D-ISS-Soyuz-Progress-Game-View
2015-12-18-Unity-Editor-ISS-Experience2015-12-18-Unity-Game-ISS-Experience

ISS Spacewalk in Real Life and VR on 21st December 2015

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2015-12-21-ISS-Spacewalk-Real-and-VR-2

Jack Kelly’s 6DOF Spacewalk at the ISS

Jack Kelly at the University of Manchester did a nice variant of the ISS experience by introducing a 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DOF) avatar controller so that the spacewalker in an EMU jetpack could also rotate. See this YouTube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBPJFz_Nr0E
2015-12-22-ISS-Jack-Kelly

Posted in Space, VR | Tagged , | 2 Comments

High Fidelity – Chat and IM

High Fidelity themselves have decided (at the moment) to not include a text chat/IM tool directly into the Hifi Interface. Third party solutions can be added. This note is to keep a record of the URLs used and other information. The tools can be run using “File” -> “Open and Run Script from URL”.

Craxim Chat

Craxim chat provides a “Global” chat connection, as well as an option to limit chat to the specific domain you are on.

http://craxim.com/scripts/craxim.js

This system uses web sockets and may need the firewall to allow such websockets or secure websockets. A web socket tester is available…

https://www.websocket.org/echo.html

David Row’s CtrlAltStudio Chat

This provides chat local to the domain you are on.

http://ctrlaltstudio.com/downloads/hifi/scripts/chat.js

But my issue is who else knows what you have BEFORE you can establish communication. And having a notepad alongside the Interface and using that as a reminder of the URLs needed… when working on many separate machines is really awkward.

Maybe at least chat.js could be added into the list of example scripts that are offered so we can all find these things without reading many blog posts to act as a reminder when we are on a new setup?

Interface Chat over Freenode IRC

The Interface -> Tools -> Chat tool displays a pop up notice with a link to a Freenode IRC channel for #highfidelity

http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=highfidelity&uio=d4

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OpenSimulator Community – Animation of Code Commits

Nebadon Izumi (Michael Emory Cerquoni) has created an animation of code commits to the OpenSimulator project for the OpenSimulator Community Conference 2015. It is produced from the OpenSim Git commit repository using Gource.

The YouTube video of the commits in the period ahead of the 2015 conference can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmgdBaCcvt8. The equivalent visualisation for the commits ahead of the 2014 conference is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpnWHbs4EWg. The first six years of OpenSim development prior to that is visualised at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx0BiTh8NEs.

OpenSim-Commits-Snapshot-2015-09-04

Ai Austin’s commits flash by, and in the 2015 visualisation briefly appears around 02:00 and are related to correcting and tidying up the configurations for Standalone OpenSim deployments.

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2015 Virtual University of Edinburgh Graduation – School of Education

2015-11-27-SL-Virtual-Grad-1
For seven years since 2009 the University of Edinburgh has offered its distance education and remote new graduates the option to graduate in Second Life, alongside the real world ceremony in the graduation hall, which his year is in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall since McEwan Hall on Edinburgh’s campus is being renovated. Such Virtual Graduations have taken places in several schools including Education and the Vet School. The facilities have won an EDUblog Award and appeared in the media and press, including on the BBC’s web site. Some new graduates have even graduated in real life and as avatars in Second Life simultaneously to join in the celebrations in both communities [see Blog Post]. The Principal of the University of Edinburgh, Prof. Sir Tim O’Shea, himself an educational technology innovator, properly introduces the virtual graduates to the graduation ceremony audience, who can see the virtual world Venue@Vue facility on a large screen in the hall, and the new virtual graduates involved in the ceremony appear in the official programme.

The School of Education graduation ceremony in the afternoon of 27th November 2015 was streamed into Second Life… more details are in this blog post.

2015-11-27-SL-Virtual-GraduandsCongratulations to the new graduates…

  • MSc
    • John Macdonald
    • Charmaine McKenzie
  • PGDIp
    • Nicola Symmers
    • Keith Taynton
  • PG Cert
    • Asha Ginda
    • Liz Hudson
    • Nick Jenkins

2015-11-27-SL-Virtual-Grad-Firesworks

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Flight Simulator in Virtual Reality with Flyinside FSX

Flyinside-FSX-Logo
Virtual Reality comes to Microsoft Flight Simulator today as Flyinside FSX (https://flyinside-fsx.com/) reached its first full version 1.0 release. It has been created by Daniel Church with Kickstarter backing and is now available for Microsoft Flight Simulator boxed versions and the Steam Edition. A free Preview version is available which has a useful starter set of features and lets you try things out in the Oculus Rift. The Pro version is fully featured.

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The latest version can be found via flyinside-fsx.com and documentation is available on the Flyinside FSX Wiki.

Supercar in Flyinside FSX

Gerry Anderson’s Supercar 3D flyable model has been available since 1996 in various versions of Flight Simulator right up to FSX… and is now operational in virtual reality in Flyinside FSX. Just download and install the free Supercar version for FSX at the Supercar Flight Simulator Download Page and install the “aircraft”, gauges and other content as described in the read me file in the distribution. Then select the Experimental Supercar craft in FSX.

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X-15 in Flyinside FSX

The North American X-15 FSX craft from Xtreme Prototypes is one of my favourite addons (see this blog post)… and works well in Flyinside FSX. The default missions often include external view windows which need to be removed to achieve an immersive experience.

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2015-11-20-Flyinside-FSX-X15-Outside 2015-11-20-Flyinside-FSX-X15-Cockpit

Configuring Flyinside FSX

Flyinside FSX has a control panel which shows in the 3D virtual view and is on by default. There are some configurable settings, but none are set up “out of the box”. So, the first thing you need to do is use the “Settings” button to configure a suitable key to hide and show the Flyinside FSX control panel. I use “\” (backslash) for that. I also set up a key to hide or show the mouse cursor. I use “`” (backquote) for that. Other useful keys can be set up, ideally to ones that you do not normally use in FSX. E.g. “V” for disabling/enabling the Virtual Desktop” feature and “L” to disable/enable the Leap Motion (which is otherwise enabled by default when you plug one in).

Show/Hide Flyinside FSX Control Panel \ (backslash)
Show/Hide Mouse Cursor ` (backquote)
Enable/Disable Virtual Desktop V

By default the “tap to recenter rift field of view” feature is on. If you lightly tap the side of the Rift the field of view will be recentered and repositioned towards the direction you are facing. This is useful if you shift position forward or backward especially… as you can end up with a view point “inside” the 3D model of a pilot and seeing the back of his eyeballs, as shown here…

2015-11-20-Flyinside-FSX-Rift-View-Inside-Pilot

Using a Joystick or Game Controller

FSX-Xbox-Controller-1FSX-Xbox-Controller-2Joysticks and the Xbox 360 game controller work fine in Flyinside FSX. More details of how to set up or customise the settings for an Xbox 360 controller are here. But the defaults in place in FSX work well and are illustrated here… click on the thumbnail for a larger version.

The usual keyboard bindings for FSX can be found in this PDF pamphlet.

Using the Oculus Rift and Leap Motion

Flyinside FSX Pro also supports the Leap Motion controller to allow hand motion to control things in the cockpit… this is a feature I need to experiment with to see how useful it is…

2015-11-19-Flyinside-FSX-on-Oculus-Rift-2a-Leap

Virtual Desktop

Flyinside FSX Pro includes a Virtual Desktop feature whereby windows can be displayed inside the 3D VR view, resized or moved and placed around your cockpit much like kneeboards. This can be useful to consult maps and information about destinations as you fly over, etc. Again, this is a feature I need to experiment with to see how useful it is.

Posted in Games, Gerry Anderson, Oculus, Supercar | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Man – One of the Earliest Objects in Second Life

SL-Destinaton-The-Man

“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.

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2015-11-08-SL-The-Man-on-Natoma-Details

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.

2015-11-08-The-Man-Offering_001

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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 http://join.secondlife.com 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.

2015-11-08-SL-Avatars-Classic

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…

2015-11-08-SL-Avatars-People 2015-11-08-SL-Avatars-Vampires

@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.

2015-11-08-SL-Classic-Avatar-James 2015-11-08-SL-Classic-Avatar-Ai-with-James-Suit
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 (http://secondlife.com) has also had a refresh…

SL-Web-Page-Image-2015-11-11

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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
Eve-Valkyrie-Screen-Play

“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…

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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”.

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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.

2015-11-04-Castle-Rock-on-Edinburgh-East-Sunrise 2015-11-04-Calton-Hill-Monuments-on-Vue-South
2015-11-04-Castle-Rock-on-Edinburgh-East-Sunset 2015-11-05-SL-Vue-South-Vista-1
2015-11-05-SL-Edinburgh-East-Vista-2 2015-11-05-SL-Edinburgh-East-Vista-3

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 2015-11-05-SL-Edinburgh-East
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…

http://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/learning-technology/learning-technology-fairs/open-educational-resources

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2015-11-03-UoE-IS-Innovators-Showcase-1

The School of Informatics news page also covered the story…
http://www.ed.ac.uk/informatics/news-events/recentnews/showcasing-our-moocs

Exploring Spaces – Virtual University of Edinburgh

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

http://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/learning-technology/learning-technology-fairs/exploring-spaces

2015-11-05-UoE-IS-Innovators-Showcase-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

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Vue/225/225/22

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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…

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2015-11-03-F4K-Scuba

And the finished result…

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2015-11-05-SL-F4K-View-to-Castle

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

2015-11-03-SL-Maps-Vue-1

The Maps of Second Life Pavilion is accessible at New Kadath Lighthouse Art Gallery, New Kadath (34, 51, 22) – http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/New%20Kadath/34/52/23. 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.

Tate-Lethdetter_Vue_exhibit_001

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:

VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
http://vue.ed.ac.uk

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 http://vue.ed.ac.uk/openvue/ 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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2015-10-31-OSGrid-Halloween-2 2015-10-31-OSGrid-Halloween-3
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Halloween in Second Life 2015

SL-Halloween-Ghost-M SL-Halloween-Ghost-F

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 https://community.secondlife.com/t5/Featured-News/Get-Your-Costumes-Ready-for-Friday-s-Inworld-Creepy-Crawl/ba-p/2975298

2015-10-30-SL-Creepy-Crawl
Halloween-1

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