Testing Second Life Oculus Rift Viewer

On 1st July 2016 Linden Lab released a first version of their Oculus Rift Viewer version which is meant to work with the newer Oculus runtime 1.3 and hence to support the CV1 consumer version of the Oculus Rift. The previous version of the Second Life Oculus Rift project viewer version was only for for the Oculus development kit versions (DK1 and DK2) and has been reported on in previous blog posts. It was working quite well with those earlier versions, most UI issues had been addressed, and it was perfectly usable. See e.g. this blog post for a report on using an early build test version to provide feedback just before that release, and all the issues outstanding were dealt with by the time the user release was made.

On first starting up the new release my impression was that I had the wrong installer. So much is not working or wrong. Feedback is being provided to Linden Labs by others as so much seems incorrect. Reporting individual issues via the Second Life JIRA does not yet seem to be the appropriate route until the fundamental problems are established.

To provide the images illustrating issues in one place I am making this blog post in the interest of rapidly getting the problems fixed.

My rigs are Dell Precision towers with Windows 10, Xeon processors, 32GB memory, SSD drives, Nvidia GTX980 GPUs. One has an Oculus DK2 and the other an Oculus CV1. Oculus Home is the current version ( Nvidia driver is the latest version 368.39 (7-Jun-2016). Windows 10 is on latest release and fully updated.


There is a security certificate issue with the download itself.

Release Notes

The release notes at http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Release_Notes/Second_Life_Project_OculusRift/ seem to not have been fully checked.

They mention in Windows Display settings to “adjust the refresh rate on the DK2 to 60hz rather than 75hz”. That refers to an earlier setup where the DK2 could be an extended display showing in the Windows Display settings. The Oculus no longer shows in Windows Display settings.

The release notes also still refer to “turning low persistence mode on and off” but this settings no longer appears in “Settings” -> “Move & View” -> “Head Mounted Display”.

HMD Mode UI Button

I always add the “HMD Mode” button available in the Rift project Viewer to my viewer user interface to make switching back and forth easier than using the keystroke equivalent (Ctrl+Shift+D).

Over Bright

In all cases and with all graphics settings I have tried, on both DK2 and CV1 setups, the HMD view is over bright and washed out pastel in colour. This is in the HMD itself rather than the on screen 2D monitor split screen images I will present below, which are normal colour. A “Pixel Luminance Overdrive” setting existed in the previous release which is now no longer present in settings might be worth checking. But just this alone means its odd this release got through basic testing.

Failure to Show Transparent Objects in HMD Mode

With the default setup after install, it seemed that many objects were missing. See the scene illustrated in the 2D monitor view shown in the left hand image and the HMD view on the right. This turned out to be ALL objects with transparency or partial transparency, whether in the scene (such as the hot tub water) or worn in attachments on the avatar (like some elements of hair).

Water-Patches-Example-2D Water-Patches-Example-HMD

The hot tub water is a missing partially transparent object by the way, not the usual sea level “Linden Water”. The right hand HMD Mode image shows BOTH a sea patch drop out issue (to top left corner of image and described more fully below) and the missing transparent object issue.

After some experimentation turning off “Atmospheric Shaders” fixed this. In later experiments, I also get it to work (even though for the same low res and bright view) with Advanced Lighting on and Atmospheric Shaders off, at say the “Medium” graphics setting. In fact if I select the “Medium” graphics settings and then using Advanced Settings turn any ONE of Advanced Lighting or Atmospheric Shaders on the transparent objects show. But having BOTH on they do not show at all.

Particles do work fine, so long as you have turned off one of “Atmospheric Shaders” or “Advanced Lighting”.

Effect of Selecting “Low” Graphics Settings

When set to “Low” graphics in HMD mode I just get solid red in the left eye and solid blue in the right eye, no 3D objects at all.

Rift-Low-2D Rift-Low-HMD

Very Low Resolution and Jaggy HMD Display

The quality of the image in the HMD is very low indeed, and much worse than the previous release. Its unusable as it stands. Changing graphics settings appears to have no effect on this.

UI Elements in Fixed Position and Not Changeable Via Settings

Depending on the size of your 2D Second Life window before you enter HMD mode, the main Second Life menu bar appears in a fixed position, flat and not all visible. With a small initial window it appeared right across the middle of the HMD view. With a full screen 3D view before entering HMD Mode it appears very might up in the field of view.

Changes in “Settings” -> “Move & View” -> “Head Mounted Display” appears to have no effect on the UI elements in HMD mode at all. This is the case even after save, entering and leaving HMD mode or even after restarting the viewer.

Most UI elements did not show in the field of view in the HMD. Buttons to left, bottom and right were far out of the field of view, as were HUD elements in the lower left and right.

Labels over Objects and Avatars Do Not Show

In the HMD Mode, all (?)objects and avatar labels appear to be missing, whether or not the UI is toggled on or off (Ctrl+Shift+U). This would make normal meetings and interactions impossible.

Mouse Cursor Does Not Show in HMD Mode and Mouse Control Problems

The mouse cursor does not show when in the HMD Mode. It can be seen on the 3D monitor split screen view when in HMD Mode, but not in the HMD itself.

The mouse however even when trying to use it on the 2D split screens is not operating anywhere near where the pointer appears, so far way objects are selected when hovering over seats for example. None of the object right click menus therefore work correctly, and no object interaction icons appear to work.

There are strange rotations of the camera if you enter and leave UI show/hide with Ctrl+Shift+U. But this key combination only affects the 2D split screen view and not the view in the actual HMD, and does not remove the blue main menu which can be right across the main view.

Interaction Icons Do Not Show

Icons that should show when hovering over suitably set objects, such as the Sit icon for seats do not show in the HMD Mode in the HMD itself or even on the 2D monitor split screen view.

Sea Patches in Some Cases are Light Blue

In the HMD view, one or more sea patches (for whole regions) show as light blue rather than the correct water surface. These used to occur in the main viewer with Object Occlusion set on, but was recently fixed. It may just be a bad case of the same “Z fighting” issue reappearing given the low resolution of the HMD image.

Objects-with-Transparency-HMD-Atmos-Shaders-On Objects-with-Transparency-HMD-Atmos-Shaders-Off

This issue occurs with the Atmospheric Shaders on (left hand image) and with Atmospheric Shaders off (as in the right hand image where the closer up patch is a darker blue, but a far off region near the horizon also shows as light blue). Click on the smaller thumbnail images to see the full resolution versiosn to illustrate this more clearly. Both these HMD mode images illustrate the sea for adjacent and sometimes also further away regions showing as light or dark blue patches rather than the proper sea surface.

Objects Near Edge of HMD View Not Shown

Objects (or parts of linked objects) near the edge of the field of view in HMD mode disappear before they are out of the actual view. If you move your head to a specific angle they can even flash very fast.

Edge-Objects-Not-Showing-Example-2D Edge-Objects-Not-Showing-Example-HMD

Dual Split Screen Mirror on 2D Monitor

When in HMD mode, the viewer maintains the two view split screen 2D monitor mirror of older Oculus Rift setups. Oculus SDK 1.3 provides a single more usable screen which is more helpful for some types of user interaction with the 2D view, chat tools and when interacting via the mouse or keyboard as is necessary in Second Life.

2D Cinema Screen View in the HMD when NOT in HMD Mode

Some testers have indicated they are not seeing 3D VR in the HMD at all. There may be some confusion if you have not got past the stage where Oculus Home is running (normally launched when you first enter the viewer, remembering that for the DK2 that must be switched on before you run the viewer) and where you have accepted the health warning. You may get a message saying that the viewer is not communicating as its waiting for the first time you enter HMD Mode. After all that you should see 3D/VR in the HMD, and I certainly see 3D/VR properly on my DK2 and CV1 rigs.

Note that a giant 2D screen wall of the normal 2D monitor view appears in the HMD when you are NOT in HMD Mode. Possibly only after you have been in HMD mode once (to sync properly with Oculus Home as described above). But you must be in HMD mode for proper 3D/VR.

DK2 and CV1 Differences

All issues occur on both the DK2 and CV1. But there is an additional problem in the CV1 in that the UI layer and the 2D cinema screen view when not in HMD mode appears to be flipped or reverse between the two eyes, so its difficult to focus on in the CV1 unless you close one eye.


Clearly something has gone wrong with this release, or some basic settings need switching to make the release work as expected. These notes are provided in the hope the fixes can quickly be identified and a replacement release provided to let us get back into Second Life in VR.

Update on 7th July 2016 from Linden Lab Community Manager

Re: Oculus Rift – CV1 support Linden Lab Community Manager 07-07-2016 12:14 PM

Thank you for experimenting with our Oculus Rift Project Viewer and offering your feedback. Unfortunately, the Project Viewer that we recently made available didn’t meet our standards for quality, and so we’ve now removed it from the Alternate Viewers page.

By definition, Project Viewers aren’t ready for primetime. The purpose of these experimental Viewers is to share with you the earliest possible version of what we’re working on, so that you can see what we’re up to, help discover problems, and provide feedback. In this case, though, we’re not ready for that, as those of you who tried it have seen.

We can’t say at this point when or even if we may release another Project Viewer for experimenting with the Oculus Rift in SL.

We want to prioritize our development efforts around initiatives that we know will improve the virtual world and bring more value to SL Residents, and due to some inherent limitations with SL, it may well not be possible to achieve the performance needed for a good VR experience. (In fact, this is one reason why we’re creating Project Sansar a new, separate platform optimized for VR).

We greatly appreciate the interest in trying SL with the Oculus Rift and are grateful that several of you took the time to try the Project Viewer. We regret that the quality was not up to our standards, and we will of course keep the community posted if we release a new Project Viewer for VR in the future.


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Second Life 13th Birthday

2016-06-23-SL13B-Cake-Stage-1 2016-06-23-SL13B-Cake-Stage-2

The Second Life 13th Birthday (SL13B) events took place in Second Life between 19th and 26th June with a range of exhibits built by Second Life residents and groups, and a number of social events, dances, etc.

2016-06-24-SL13B-Music-Fest-1 2016-06-24-SL13B-Music-Fest-2
2016-06-24-SL13B-Music-Fest-3 2016-06-24-SL13B-Music-Fest-4

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AI Planning MOOC on Open.Ed

Open.Ed is the University of Edinburgh’s portal for its Open Education Resources. OERs are online resources that are available for others to use to support learning. They are part of a worldwide movement to promote and support sustainable educational development. The sharing of open educational materials is in line not only with University of Edinburgh’s mission but also with a global movement in which research-led institutions play a significant role.


The AI Planning MOOC educational materials are provided in full via the Open.Ed portal, which gives links to the course materials include YouTube videos, weekly slides, quizzes, supplements, assignments, exams, and a Second Life virtual learning space and group.

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Second Life Visual Outfits Browser

A version of the Second Life Viewer which support a visual gallery of avatar outfits is being tested. The Outfits tool is extended to include a “Visual Outfits Browser” (VOB). Thumbnails (typically 256×256 or 128×128 images) can be created in the viewer or uploaded at a cost of $L10 per image in either case.

Here are my own avatar’s outfits built up over a period of nearly 10 years in Second Life…


The Outfits Gallery is supported in a Second Life “Project Viewer” which is created to explore new features ahead of them becoming stable enough to include in a normal release viewer for everyone to use. For this exploration this version was used: Second Life Project VOB Viewer Windows version (6-Jun-2016) was used.

Some suggestions for improvement are:

  1. For the future, an ability to drag and drop images from inventory directly onto the folders in the Outfits gallery view would be useful, especially if you have a lot of outfits.
  2. At the moment, when a thumbnail image is assigned to an Outfit in the gallery view it appears at the top of the list of outfits, rather than staying in alphabetical order. For some purposes that could be useful, but a way to use “sort with images first” or “sort by outfit name” would be helpful for those with many outfits, and variants of outfits for specific purposes.
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AI Planning MOOC Interview

The Learning, Teaching and Web Services at Edinburgh University have commissioned a paper for the senior management team that focuses on using the existing evidence base of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) data, the experience and motivation of design teams around the programmes designed and delivered to date including those in the pipeline, and through discussion with external stakeholders, to review their match to the Scottish Government Outcomes.

I was asked to give some background on our motivation for producing the AI planning MOOC and to consider if we planned to make the materials available as open educational resources.. I explained that this was our aim all along, and that the resources and videos had been available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence from the start in 2013 with hosting of the materials and videos on both our own Edinburgh servers and YouTube since 2014.


We offered the AI planning MOOC on the Coursera Platform in Q1 2013, Q1 2014 and Q1 2015. The January to March 2015 session was the final version of the course. Soon after that date Coursera no longer supported the platform on which the MOOC is built. The course materials and videos continue to be available under the original creative commons (BY-NC-SA) licence on a long term “permanent” basis at the following alternative URLs at the University of Edinburgh.

Some of the questions asked concerning our motivation and plans for the MOOC are covered in an interview I already did with some members of our School of Education for a report they did for the UK Higher Education Academy. That led to a report on “The Pedagogy of the Massive Open Online Course: the UK View” which was prepared by Siân Bayne and Jen Ross of the University of Edinburgh School of Education for the UK Higher Education Academy (HEA) and published as a PDF document on 6th March 2014 [HEA Web Site Copy][Local PDF Format Copy].

This includes some commentary on the AI Planning MOOC course design and statistics from the 2013 session based on the above interview.

I covered this in a blog post…

There is also a THES article I gave an interview for…

Publicly accessible statistics about each of the three Coursera sessions are in other blog posts as follows:

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vTime – Social Gatherings in Virtual Reality

vTime (http://vtime.net) provides a facility where up to four participants can connect in VR (e.g. via the Oculus Rift) and voice in a range of 3D environments which include a campfire in a cave, an outer space scene, underwater, a polar region, in an old fashioned train carriage, etc. Two environments specifically support a flat screen to share images… a boardroom and a film viewing room. Avatars can be customised.

vTime_GUI_Circle_Image_NEW VTime-Image-Share

Each user can upload flat images, 360 degree wrap round images and spherical environments to share. The current meeting host is the only one who can change the location and set the viewing images.

vTime is provided by a company based in Liverpool, UK, so some of the initial surround sphere examples are of Liverpool landmarks.

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Seven Dales Heritage Run

DLMC-Logo-sThe De Lacy Motor Club (D.L.M.C) in West Yorkshire has been running rallies, car trials and driving tests for over 50 years as noted in my previous blog post. I was a frequent competitor in the 1960s and linked back up with the club a few years ago.

My brothers Morris and Jon, who still live in Yorkshire, still enter events such as the annual “Seven Dales Heritage Run”… so I thought this year we would try to join in.


2016-06-05-De-Lacy-MC-Seven-Dales-Signon 2016-06-05-De-Lacy-MC-Seven-Dales-Finish

Brother Morris entered with long time friend of the family Ted Meek in a 1956 MGA 1500 that Ted is restoring. Brother Jon with his wife Rosemarie and daughter Samantha entered in a 1966 Shelby Mustang G.T.350…
2016-06-05-7-Dales-Mustang-Jon-Rosemarie-and-Samantha-Tate 2016-06-05-Seven-Dales-Enroute

We entered in our Toyota MR2 Mk.3… which has a “sporting heritage” to fit in with the rules, though most cars in the event are pre-1990. Wish we still had our much loved 1989 Toyota MR2 Mk.1…
toyota-mr2x2 2016-06-05-7-Dales-MR2-Austin-and-Margaret

The complete list of entrants follows…

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Avatar JellyDolls

From Second Life Viewer 4.0.5 (18-May-2016) a capability to increase performance by rendering some highly complex avatars as “JellyDolls” was introduced. When set appropriately, the viewer will render avatars with a complexity score that are over some preset limit as simple coloured shapes, rather than showing all their outfit, textures and attachments. Facilities to set up graphic presets to rapidly change between visual settings, including switching to settings which render all avatars, is available via a “screen” icon in the top right of the viewer. There is a facility to right click on an individual avatar and select that it should be fully rendered whatever the graphical and complexity limit setting is.

Be-Normal Be-JellyDoll

For your own avatar, changing outfits or wearing or detaching any items of your outfit triggers a popup window to the to right of the viewer which shows your own current avatar complexity figure.


Under the Viewer Advanced Menu a Performance Monitoring tool allows the avatar complexity of avatars around you to be shown… colour coded to reflect the complexity limit setting you currently have set. Green means the avatar will fully render, red means it will be rendered as a JellyDoll with your current limit. It may be best to turn off avatar names and group titles to see the details.


2016-05-18-SL-JellyDolls-1 2016-05-18-SL-JellyDolls-2

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Lord of the Rings Role Play

Lord of the Rings Online (http://lotro.com) is a MMORPG to allow for quests to be undertaken with the role of Man, Hobbit, Elf or Dwarf. It is free to play for the initial levels, and then is based on subscription. It needs a massive 21GB download. It is designed in the style of World of Warcraft with interactions with Non-Player Characters (NPCs) to guide you through various experiences and quests before undertaking more open-ended challenges in an order you can choose as the role player.

2016-05-17-LOTRO-Dwarf-Aithun 2016-05-17-LOTRO-Elf-Bethun

Medieval & Fantasy Role Roleplay in World of Warcraft and Second Life

It might be worth contrasting the Lord of the Rings Online enclosed single themed game and it’s scripted stove-piped interactions and progression with the much more free form role play possible in other platforms like Second Life and World of Warcraft.

I have used World of Warcraft as a travel destination without pursuing quests and challenges in a linear progression way. See for example my blog posts on “World of Warcraft Intrinsic Motivation and Travel” and my blog post on some of “Aithun’s Travels in World of Warcraft“.

Second Life is a much more open and free form social platform without necessarily setting any specific goals for users. It does though support a range of “Experiences” which can cerate specific games and quest style environments. And Second Life has many communities engaging in role play of various kinds, including Lord of the Rings, medieval and fantasy themed regions allow… here is Ai Austin as Strider/Aragorn (with Thorin Oakenshield’s Orcrist elvish sword for some reason) and Be Austin as Arwen in Second Life…

Ai as Strider with Orcrist in Second Life Be as Arwen in Second Life

Some Second Life regions that have medieval, fantasy and Lord of the Rings style role play are:

2016-05-18-SL-Elven-Forest 2016-05-18-SL-Mysts-of-Eyr

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Sim-on-a-Stick for OpenSim Development and Testing

Ener Hax’s “Sim-on-a-Stick” (http://simonastick.com) is a very useful prebuilt setup that allows a local copy of OpenSimulator to be quickly used for a new development or test environment. It can be used to create a fresh setup each time tests are needed, and to try out, for example, OpenSim Archive (OAR) or OpenSim Inventory Archive (IAR) files. Sim-on-a-Stick is made up of:

Update to OpenSim

The config-include/MyWorld.ini file provided with Sim-on-a-Stick 0.8.0 postfixes version needs to be altered to work properly with the latest (at the time of writing) version of OpenSim Diva Disribition (D2) which is (24th December 2015). In the [Startup] section turn off CombineContiguousRegions as the “megaregion” mechanism is now replaced with the more flexible “varregions” and the mega-region facility will be removed from OpenSim 0.9.0. And add a new [Hypergrid] section (e.g. just after [GridService] section) to give the HomeURI and Gatekeeper URI for Hypergrid.

    ; CombineContiguousRegions will be removed from OpenSim 0.9
    CombineContiguousRegions = false

    HomeURI = ""
    GatekeeperURI = ""

It is also possible that some Windows .NET4 environments might have problems loading some modules…. reporting an error with…

An attempt was made to load an assembly from a network location which would have caused the assembly to be sandboxed in previous versions of the .NET Framework. This release of the .NET Framework does not enable CAS policy by default, so this load may be dangerous. If this load is not intended to sandbox the assembly, please enable the loadFromRemoteSources switch. See http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=155569 for more information.

A fix was made to OpenSim in bin/OpenSim.exe.config (and bin/Robust.exe.config though that is not used in Sim-on-a-Stick) on 23-Nov-2013 (git master a68d1fa) for this, adding the following line to the <runtime> section…

    <loadFromRemoteSources enabled="true" />

If you see this error in Sim-on-a-Stick, check this line is present in the bin/OpenSim.exe.config. If not, add it and run again.

When you run Sim-on-a-Stick for the first time, it might also be worth setting an “Outfit” in the viewer.


Availability of Updated Sim-on-a-Stick

For convenience, a modified Sim-on-a-Stick based on the 0.8.0 post-fixes zipped single region version (SoaS08PF.zip), updated to OpenSim D2 diva-r08210.zip and with the MyWorld.ini and bin/OpenSim.config.exe changes above incorporated is available at:

The directory also contains the modified MyWorld.ini and bin/OpenSim.exe.config files in case you want to take those to add into your own Sim-on-a-Stick setup.

Sim-on-a-Stick with OpenVCE OAR

A typical example of the use of Sim-on-a-Stick for quick testing is this fresh copy setup and then a test load of the “OpenVCE” OAR from


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MOSES Office Hours 13-May-2016

The MOSES military metaverse grid members hold regular weekly “office hours” presentations and discussion meetings.


At this specific meeting there was a discussion of the “Redmine” Wiki used for development and community contributions within team members of the MOSES project, and openly readable by all:

The OpenVCE collaboration region on the MOSES grid is documented on a page on the MOSES wiki at

Suggestions were made for version control and version/change dating of scripts.

There was also a discussion of how to produce “360” videos and images from within a virtual world, including the idea of separate scripted 360 style camera… which may implemented via a separate “client” using LibOMV, or could simply be in world and stream or send out its data to later combine into a 360 degree video. Another possibility might be to look at Nvidia’s “Ansel” API for in game screenshot freezing and production to various formats including 360 video.

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OpenVCE Region on MOSES Grid

OpenVCE-on-MilitaryMetaverseThe OpenSimulator-based OpenVCE region has been reactivated on the MOSES Military Metaverse OpenSim grid to make this example of a virtual collaboration environment accessible for demonstrations to US federal and other agencies. The region contains a range of meeting facilities from a large lecture style amphitheatre, breakout spaces, exhibition pavilions, a brainstorming or operations centre style I-Room for the “core plus modules” OODA loop supporting original, a cut down minimalistic DICE I-Room, project and group rooms and several fun and informal gathering spaces (cavern campfire and beach side apartment).

OpenVCE has been available on MOSES for some years and is now being set up so it should always be available rather than being mounted on demand. The OpenSim Archive (OAR) file for the OpenVCE region is openly available under the Lesser GNU (very flexible) license or similar open source licenses (e.g. Creative Commons By Attribution CC-BY-SA).

The current content of the OpenVCE OAR is now consistently deployed on the “OpenVCE” region on MOSES, our own Openvue grid and on OSGrid (which is the largest free to use publicly accessible OpenSimulator grid).

The original work to create the OpenVCE region was done on the US Army ARL HRED funded Virtual Collaboration Environment project by AIAI using Clever Zebra as a contractor/3D modelling group. Having the region available to visitors on MOSES lets people see if it would be helpful as a basis for their own projects.

2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_003 2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_004
2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_005 2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_006
2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_008 2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_009
2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_001 2016-05-10-MOSES-OpenVCE_002

OpenVCE OAR Availability via MOSES Content


MOSES grid users can visit the OpenVCE region to look around, or it can also be seen on the OSGrid and Openvue grids… both accessible from any Hypergrid enabled OpenSimulator grid using a map tool search for this “http://hg.osgrid.org:80 OpenVCE” or one of these “hops” in viewers which support that (e.g. Firestorm):



Tate, A., Hansberger, J.T., Potter, S. and Wickler, G. (2014) Virtual Collaboration Spaces: Bringing Presence to Distributed Collaboration, Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, Assembled Issue 2014, Volume 7, Number 2, May 2014 [PDF Format].

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Ocean Rift VR Experience

Ocean Rift (http://ocean-rift.com) is a virtual reality experience for Oculus Rift and other VR headsets.

Ocean-Rift-Title Ocean-Rift-Dolphins
2016-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Humpback-1 2016-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Humpback-2
2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Sunfish 2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Orcas
2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Sea-Lions 2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Manatees
2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Sea-Turtles 2015-05-08-Ocean-Rift-Great-White-Shark

The controls are as follows:


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Project Cars in VR


Project-Cars-LogoProject Cars (http://www.projectcarsgame.com/) has been available since May 2015 [Wikipedia] along with regular add-ons and downloadable content. Support for VR headsets has been included for a while.

Project Cars “Game of the Year” edition was released on 6th May 2016 which includes many of the add on packs, and is better able to support VR headsets.

Help and Manuals are available on-line:

Project-Cars-Kart-125cc Project-Cars-McLaren-12C

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Unity, Photon MMO and IMVU Avatars

There are Unity3D packages available to add Photon multi-user networking support and IMVU avatar connections.


Photon Realtime multiplayer networking support is available using their Photo Cloud free for up to 20 concurrent users, or you can host a Photon MMO server yourself. You need to register (free) for a Photon Realtime App ID to complete the configuration needed in Unity3D.

IMVU is a 3D avatar -based chat and social platform with millions of users. A Unity package provides a means to load an IMVU avatar, and that of your friends, into Unity, and synchronize communication using multi-player support from Photon or Unity Networking. You need to register (free) for an IMVU avatar (unless you already have one) and a developer App ID to complete the configuration needed in Unity3D.

Once the Photon Networking and IMVU Unity packages are installed in a Unity3D project you can open the various Photon and IMVU demonstrations to see how things work.

2016-05-03-Unity-IMVU-Photon-Outfits 2016-05-03-Unity-IMVU-Photon-Friends

I have begun to experiment with a Unity application based on these packages to allow for multi-user support in an OpenVCE collaboration environment.


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MOSES OpenSim Assets

The MOSES (Military Metaverse) Project has produced some assets, sample regions in OpenSimulator Archive (OAR) format, avatars and wearables. They are licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0.

LIDAR Scanned Region Creation

The US Army Research Labs Simulation Technology and Training Center (STTC), in cooperation with University of Central Florida (UCF) Institute for Simulation Technology (IST), developed a content ingestion method to allow for actual operational areas to be scanned using LIDAR and then produce scenario output for use in a virtual world. The initial proof of concept of this workflow was to use some UCF buildings and surrounding areas in Orlando, Florida. Images of the resulting OpenSim region loaded from the OAR into the SimonaStick version of OpenSim are shown below.

2016-05-03-MOSES-IST-OAR_002 2016-05-03-MOSES-IST-OAR_003

Military Training Areas

MOSES-Military-Training-OARsThere are several multi-region terrains for military training areas, such as a 9 region village in a mountainous area (Atropia) and a 6 region soldier patrol area.

Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds Lobby

MOSES supports the Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds and helped fnd the creation of their OpenSimulation-based conference facilities. The FCVW Lobby facilities are available as an OAR too. Images follow, again loaded for demonstration purposes onto the SimonaStick version of OpenSim. Within the lobby there are many assets for avatar customization. There are also demonstrations of using OpenSim for control rooms, process plant control, etc.

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MOSES Office Hours 29-Apr-2016

The MOSES military metaverse grid members hold regular weekly “office hours” presentations and discussion meetings.


At this specific meeting there was a discussion of using virtual environments for training and review of training exercises, and giving greater training time in less stressful and environmentally unfriendly environments was given by Doug Maxwell.

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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.


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


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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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…
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…

Milford Sound, waterfalls, more waterfalls and the long white cloud…

To crown it all… Mount Cook and dark skies… the Southern Cross, the Milky Way and very visible Large and Small Magellanic Clouds…
Southern Cross Image from Night in Focus
Southern Cross Image from Night in Focus

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X-15 VR Experience in Unity3D

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…

[Use X-15.html for 2D Web Player version in most web browsers, or
download x15-vr-windows64.zip for standalone/VR version]


X-15A-2 Orthograghic View by unusualsuspex


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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2001 VR Experience in Unity3D

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.

2016-01-26-Unity-2001-2 2016-01-26-Unity-2001-3

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 or WebGL versions available via…

[Use 2001.html for 2D Web Player version in most web browsers, this version for WebGL capable web browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari), or download 2001-vr-windows64.zip for standalone/VR version]

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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.).


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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…


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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 … 😉

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.


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 “q” or “esc” keys.

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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-Title© 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).


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 “q” or “esc” keys.

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

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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)


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….

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…


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…


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


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Eve Valkyrie 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. “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.


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.


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

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

Apollo-11-Experience-TV-Lounge Apollo-11-Experience-Capsule

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