Orion – Flight Test for Future Journey to Mars

I just sent my name to fly on Orion’s flight test, scheduled to launch December 4th to 6th, 2014! Orion is NASA’s new spacecraft that will carry humans into deep space.

A video of the mission and its objectives is at


Get Your Own Boarding Pass On NASA’s #JourneyToMars ! Send your name here: http://mars.nasa.gov/participate/send-your-name/orion-first-flight/


View Austin’s Boarding Pass:


View Margaret’s Boarding Pass:


Ai Austin is joining us…


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AiLand – New OpenSimulator Grid

OSGrid is used by many as a freely accessible grid run by some of those involved in OpenSimulator development onto which locally hosted regions can be added. While the main Virtual University of Edinburgh facilities are in Second Life (region “Vue” and others nearby) and on the OpenSim-based Openvue grid, I have a number of Virtual University of Edinburgh, hobby topic and experiment related regions added on OSGrid and run on Edinburgh hosts. But OSGrid had a major asset server malfunction in late August 2014 and is taking some time to recover. It may also be the case that on recovery there are asset issues thereafter.

My OSGrid add-on regions are all backed up to OpenSim Archive (OAR) files, and the OSGrid avatars have their inventory backed up as Inventory Archive (IAR) files. To maintain future robustness and offer a recover route after OSGrid is back up if necessary, I have built a new OpenSim grid called “AiLand” (pronounced “island”) hosted on an old Windows server updated to Windows 8.1 and with MySQL 5.6 installed.

AiLand residents are avatars involved in creating and managing the various regions. Temporary connection of experimental regions which may not persist is anticipated. Ailand is open for HyperGrid visitors (suggest heading for the welcome and portal region which is also named “AiLand) and is hosted at Login URI http://ai.vue.ed.ac.uk:8002/

The OpenSim 0.8.1 development configuration (initially r/25290) is based on the operational Edinburgh hosted “Openvue” grid [see blog post here] with the config-include/GridCommon.ini, Robust.HG.ini and OpenSim.ini files suitably modified. A few minor cosmetic changes to the Wifi web page headers and links were also made.


The administrator avatar is “Ai Austin” and the welcome and Hypergrid visitor fallback region is called “AiLand” located on the grid map at 1000,1000. This is the image on first entry as the default “Ruth” avatar. Then another image after all initialisation avatars (Ruth, Male, Female, Hippo, and Lizard Mesh) had been created and a telehub placed so that all avatars can set their “Home” location on AiLand. Ai Austin is now also in his usual Flight Suit…

AiLand-2 Snapshot_001

AiLand – Welcome Region and Portal

The usual Openvue style simple welcome area and teleport facilities, along with the racks of assets and avatars has been restored on the “AiLand” region…



OpenVCE – Open Virtual Collaboration Environment

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The OpenVCE community has provided openly accessible virtual worlds assets that can be used to provide collaboration spaces and presentation facilities in OpenSim and Second Life. This is the region as used on OpenSim grids such as Openvue and MOSES.



AiLand-Edinburgh-1 2014-10-02-Edinburgh-2
2014-10-02-AiLand-Edinburgh-3 2014-10-02-AiLand-Edinburgh-4

A simple Edinburgh themed “base” region, which has a diagonal thoroughfare called “High Street” separating the project areas to each side, along with “The Castle” at one end with a large cavern and display spaces called “The vaults” below it, and “The Tower” at the other end of the street. The familiar Edinburgh skyline “Calton Hill” monuments are placed to one side. This base is used to replicate for project spaces that have Edinburgh backgrounds. In The Vaults a replica of the “Trans—~Formation” trans-media artwork and associated musical experience is available.


Gerry Anderson’s Black Rock Laboratory – Supercar

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Gerry Anderson’s Space City – Fireball XL5

AiLand-Space-City-1 AiLand-Space-City-2


Gerry Anderson’s Marineville – Stingray

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RGU Oil Rig

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A large mesh model of a North Sea oil rig used for training purposes at the Oil and Gas Centre at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen, Scotland and originally on their own OpenSim grid. It is off-shore oil rig being used for training and simulations. It is used on Vue regions with RGU’s permission.


Aisle – AI – Avatar Identity

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A digital artifact created during my studies in 2011/2012 for an MSc in e-Learning, studied by online and distance education in our School of Education to update my knowledge of online teaching methods. The “Avatar Identity” themed area explored a number of technologies related to NPC (Non-player characters), some of which were intended to act as immersive training simulation role players, tutors and guides).


AiLand Login Screen, Map and Destinations Panel at 1-Oct-2014


AiLand Avatars


Avatars on AiLand including, from left to right, three Gerry Anderson related avatars (Mike Mercury, Venus and Robert the Robot), Sintel (the open source Blender film character), Ai Austin (and an NPC clone), the open source “Gerrymander” Lizard mesh avatar by Fred Frederix , Be Austin, and the default Male, Female and Neutral avatars.

New Splash Screen

On 4th October 2014, the web interface and browser splash screens were replaced with the avatar group image and on 7th October 2014 a new stable LoginURI of http://ai.vue.ed.ac.uk:8002/ was introduced…


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realXtend Tundra and MeshMoon

It is some years since I experimented with realXtend, which originally spun out of the OpenSimulator community code base, but quickly added mesh capabilities, long before this became the norm in OpenSim and Second Life. The quality of the image from one of these early tests of realXtend version 0.1 by me in 2008 is shown below, and its far more detailed than the simplistic prim worlds allowed at the time in OpenSim and Second Life.


Test on locally hosted realXtend 0.1 on 22-Feb-2008

This blog post is to collect resources and web links as part of exploring the most recent version and the associated technology of a browser based viewer, Moonmesh, which may be relevant to future browser-based access to OpenSim. realXtend and Meshmoon are included in a list of enabling technologies which may be used in recent EU technology innovation bids (in September 2014) see for example this news blog post…

Hypergrid Business: EU offers $103 mil in tech funding; OpenSim web viewer might fit
, Maria Kolorov, 23-Sep-2014

Software and Documentation

The latest server side versions are called realXtend, the viewer client is called Tundra and there is a web-based client called WebTundra. Meshmoon is a platform for showcasing realXtend and related applications and technology.

Demonstration Worlds Accessible in a WebGL Browser

Using a WebGL and WebSockets capable browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google chrome you can access a range of ready-to-run demonstrations without installing other software…

Image2 2014-09-30-Meshmoon-Lunar

The avatar does not appear to be customizable and is definitely NOT wearing the correct head gear for the Lunar surface!


Circus World Demonstration of Tundra

A “Circus” demonstration world is available to download at


The example on the web page did not launch for me, even after manually associating the Tundra file that should be used with the preinstalled Tundra .exe file. It simply reported that Tundra had started but no active scene was selected. However, with the realXtend Tundra client installed, I was then able to download and unzip the Circus demonstration example into a suitable location and open the CircusScene.txml (Tundra Scene File) within it which launches Tundra and opens at the entrance to the circus tent. There is no documentation I could find on installing and running the Circus demo within the web page or the zip file… so its difficult to know what you do next. The arrow keys do not move the viewpoint and none of the icons except the information “i” does anything I can see. The camera could be moved about with the mouse and spacebar and “C” did shift the viewpoint up and down. No avatar is visible.


Meshmoon 3D Model and Texture Formats

realXtend and Meshmoon use the OGRE 3D XML-based format for meshes (.scene, .mesh, .skeleton) along with a realXtend overall description (.txml). Converters, for example for Blender are available. See


Meshmoon Unity3D Scene Import and Robot Lab Example

A utility to export some parts of a Unity3D created world into Meshmoon is available here… along with a demonstration of such an export that can be run in a WebGL/WebSockets browser such as Firefox… via http://meshmoon.com/webrocket/unity3d. The demonstration does allow the usual avatar movement via the arrow keys, spacebar for jump, etc. and the movement of the camera with the mouse.


Meshmoon Rocket and 3D Spaces

The Meshmoon Rocket client allows access to a range of 3D spaces created by various Meshmoon users, including 3D spaces created for your own avatar and optionally opened publicly which gives access to others and is listed in the directory…


A 3D space can be created via the Meshmoon web site (in my example for avatar “Ai Austin” username: aiaustin) using the Meshmoon Education program (MEP) credentials – see below. This space is called “Ai” and can be “launched” via this Rocket URL




Experiments with adding content will follow.

Meshmoon Education Program

Support is offered to educators via the Meshmoon Education Program (MEP) supporting up to 100 accounts via a coordinator. I have signed up as the Coordinator on behalf of the Virtual University of Edinburgh. So I am point of contact for anyone within ed.ac.uk wanting to explore with a free 3D world at present. Contact me at a.tate@ed.ac.uk

Posted in OpenSim, Virtual World, Web | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Scottish Independence Referendum

Decision Day… 18th September 2014

Scot-No Scot-Yes


Towards Scottish Independence? Understanding the Referendum – University of Edinburgh MOOC on FutureLearn (September 2014)

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Oculus Rift DK2 – Second Life Viewers

The viewers which support the Oculus Rift DK2 for use in the Second Life and OpenSim virtual worlds are making progress. At the time of writing the latest Oculus Rift SDK (version 0.4.2, 4-Sep-2014) does not yet properly support OpenGL in the “Direct to Rift” video driver mode. This will be the preferred and easiest to set up and used method in due course. “Extended Desktop” mode must be used and the method to initiate the display varies between the two viewers currently available.

Remember this post is about early test builds of the Rift viewers and not released software. Nothing here should be considered a criticism, far from it…

Linden Labs Rift Project Viewer

Linden Labs Rift Viewer is being developed and tested for eventual release as a “Project Viewer” alongside the standard main released viewer. The current latest “automated build” is version

The Rift Display Mode is set to “Extended Desktop to the HMD” and the Windows desktop is configured so that the Rift is the second screen and shows as landscape orientation (methods to achieve that differ depending on whether the Windows desktop configuration or your graphics card control panels are used, but if its rotated 90 degrees or flipped, just change the orientation and try again). The viewer is started and then the “HMD Mode” button (or Ctrl+Alt+D) can be used to toggle the Rift Display on or off.

The Space Navigator 3D controller can be used in this viewer (don’t install recent Space Navigator software, just use default Windows drivers and built in viewer support). Menu bars, UI buttons and HUDs are all working in this version with a few display glitches that are gradually being ironed out. The UI is mapped to a curved surface which you can stretch out vertically and horizontally and at a greater of lesser distance from your viewpoint. If you push it too far away the controls can appear behind your avatar or objects and be inaccessible. The UI can be hidden by entering “mouselook” mode (“M” key) or toggling the interface on/off with the Ctrl+Shift+U keys.


More on Second Life Viewer Key Codes, including those for the RIFT Viewer are shown at http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/All_keyboard_shortcut_keys

CtrlAltStudio Viewer

David Rowe’s CrlAltStudio Viewer has an alpha test version Alpha 3. It is based on Firestorm 4.6.5.

The viewer must be configured to be in windowed mode (opposite to that required for the 3D stereoscopic mode), i.e., make sure Preferences -> Graphics -> General -> Fullscreen mode is not ticked. And the Advanced Lighting Model must be turned on via Preferences -> Graphics -> General -> Advanced Lighting Model.

The viewer is started and then the Windows key + right-arrow (twice) is used to move the viewer window onto the Rift’s display, then Ctrl+Alt+3 makes the window full screen and switches into Rift view. Ctrl-Alt+3 again to turn off 3D and full screen mode and then the Windows key + left arrow moves the display back onto the normal screen.

As well as the Space Navigator, CtrlAltStudio also supports the Xbox 360 controller for keyboard-free avatar navigation and camera movement. Some UI elements can be displayed via their keyboard commands (such as Ctrl+I to show the Inventory) and then interacted with via the mouse.


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VR Headset – Circa 2015

Lets consider what ought to be included in a reasonable price consumer virtual reality headset by the end of 2015 or early 2016…


  1. Curved hi-resolution screen.
  2. In-situ eyepieces with +/- eye adjustment.
  3. Stereo audio with over ear cup earpieces (not in-ear buds).
  4. Microphone.
  5. Audio large button controls on outside of earpieces (mute, volume up and down).
  6. Video control buttons on outside of other earpiece (3D, Outside forward view “pass thru”, mix “pass thru” in as ghost).
  7. Inertial head positioning and eye tracking.
  8. Optical eye position outward facing hi-resolution camera, which can feed the outside view onto the headset (projected solid or overlaid) as a “see-thru” option by clicking one of the video buttons on the side of the device.
  9. IR or other sensors suitable for picking up hi-resolution hand movements.
  10. Wireless connectivity to “place anywhere” base station with all necessary wired connections to host computer or mobile device.

As others have observed, many of these technologies are available in bulk at reducing prices as they are also components of Smart Phones.

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Oculus Rift DK2 – Linden Labs Rift Project Viewer

The Linden Labs Rift project viewer is being updated by “VoidPointer Linden” to work with the Oculus Rift DK2 and testing is now taking place. VoidPointer is an enthusiast about the possibilities of the Rift with Second Life and also happens to be a Kickstarter backer for the original Oculus Rift DK1. Here are some first impressions of the currently unreleased recent test build… I think this is looking promising.


Remember this post is about an early test build and not a release, nothing here should be considered a criticism, far from it…

I installed the version from the Linden Labs automated build system just to give it a whirl with my DK2. I did not have a DK1 to use the earlier released project viewer ( Hence this is my first try with the LL Rift Viewer.


I set the DK2 to use extended desktop mode with the DK2 as the second screen. In this setup, the “HMD Mode” button (or Ctrl+Shift+D) nicely switched the screen onto the Rift without any further windows movements being needed by the user. I noticed that I was set to view askew to one side, just because the headset was to my side when I entered HMD Mode I assume… and I could not recall if there was a way to centre or ask for a reset of the view. I switched out of HMD Mode (peeked up out of the Rift to interact with the screen) centred my Rift straight ahead, entered HMD mode again and this time I was pointing the right way. This will be an issue I guess as very often you want to get into Rift view, get settled, dismiss the health warning screen and THEN have the screen centred on your view direction.

Note that these issues are addressed via fixes to later Rift viewer versions. The “Q” key can be used to align the avatar with the current rift view direction.

Viewer User Interface and Menus


My first impression of the way that Linden Labs show the control bar and menu strips is good. But I think they are much too near the central visual field. The bottom menu strip is down only about 10% in my view. Placing it much lower would work better and make it visible when you look distinctly downwards. Ditto for left and right menu and HUD position areas, they are only about 10 deg off the centre. 45 deg might work better.

Note that these issues are addressed via customisation options and presets in Preferences -> Move and View -> HMD Settings. See more information and examples below.

FPS, Shadows, View Distance and Visual Quality

I noticed my fps was initially quite low low (30fps on my rig with 1920×1080, ultra visuals, shadows on and my usual 512m view distance… using Intel i7-2600 3.4GHz, 8GB memory, Nvidia GTX580). So, while in Rift view mode, I used the graphics preferences to turn shadows off. This had the effect of making the Rift screen go black. Even my main screen was black. All sorts of clicking, windows move keys, ESC and so on had no effect. I had to use Windows Task Manager to kill the Rift SL Viewer and restart. So there might be a problem with adjustment of graphics settings while in rift mode at the moment. After restart with ultra settings, but no shadows and 128m view I am getting near 75fps in a quiet area in Second Life.

Note that the black screen issue is addressed via fixes to later Rift viewer versions.

Hiding UI Elements in Rift View

Ctrl+Shift+U turns off the UI elements and controls, but left for me a little grey square with the number of unread IMs/messages in it in the top right of the screen, and my AO icon in the bottom right HUD position. The HUDs could be turned off with Alt+Shift-H (arggg not Ctrl+Shift+H which sent me to my “Home location”) but the little grey IM number stayed on. The lack of uniformity with Alt+ and Ctrl+ for the three needed key combinations for the HMD mode, UI controls and HUDs, and the need to use two hands for these is not good for blind Rift use.

My Abranimatons AO HUD icon is meant to be a little circle with a transparent area round it, but it showed as over a white opaque square in Rift View and that underlying white square box stayed on screen even when the HUD elements was turned off.

AO-Normal AO-Rift-HUD-On

I found that if I toggled the HUD icon on and off, which would have the effect of changing the texture containing the transparency, then it did show correctly. But the incorrect handling of the HUD icon transparency returned after each login to the viewer.


Mouse Issues

It was murder to find the keys with the Rift on, and trying to lift the Rift up with one hand while typing the three keys needed for UI, HUD and HMD control. A simpler single key one finger toggle may be needed for UI on/off, HUD on/off and for HMD Mode on/off.

I understand that mouse look via the “M” key does switch off the UI (though again for some reason it left a white square where my AO HUD icon is meant to be), but I did not really want just first person view.

I also had real problems finding where my mouse pointer was… waggling it all over until it came into view. It also seems to be locked to the Rift second screen, so when I tried to pull it back to the left hand main screen it was not visible.

Note that the “Z” key can be used to centre the mouse in the Rift field of view.

Space Navigator

The 3DConnection Space Navigator works fine with the Linden Labs Rift Project Viewer test version to allow simpler avatar movement and “Flycam” camera controls with the usual left click on the device switching between those modes.

Oculus Rift DK2 HMD Avatar Attachment

The 3D models of the Oculus Rift were provided for free use by William Burke (MannyLectro) via https://developer.oculusvr.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1514 and imported to Second Life to create the Rift DK2 avatar attachment worn in the images here. A copy can be found in a box on the Vue region in Second Life at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Vue/215/29/28

Advice on Customisation and Key Codes

VoidPointer Linden, as the RIFT project viewer developer, noted this on Second Life JIRA RIFT-137 – repeated here for convenience…

Many of the issues you bring up can be dealt with in some ways.

  1. You can “recenter” the rift using the Q key. This will set whatever direction you’re currently looking as “forward”. No need to exit and re-enter rift mode.
  2. Shadows are definitely more of a FPS hog than they should be at the moment – they’re currently being drawn twice and don’t really need to be. There’s a potential optimization for that, but so far, have not had time to work on it. For now, turning off shadows is probably the easiest way to increase your FPS.
  3. Switching graphics settings in Rift may well have issues. It SHOULD be booting you back into normal mode when you do so, but apparently, that’s not working correctly any more. Thanks for noting that one.
  4. HUDs are still something of an issue. I’ve gotten them to at least show up now, but yes, the alpha channel can still be problematic.
  5. Lack of uniformity of key-combos is because many of the commands already existed and have their own key-combos already.
  6. I agree that finding the mouse cursor is something of a problem. The Z key will move the mouse to the center of the UI. it’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing for now.
  7. UI positioning is completely customizable. Preferences -> Move and View -> HMD Settings and you can adjust the surface shape and position of the UI. The default setting is just that – a default. I’ll be adding more presets soon for different preferences of UI surface shapes so you don’t have to muck around with all the sliders if you don’t want to.

More on Second Life Viewer Key Codes, including those for the RIFT Viewer are shown at http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/All_keyboard_shortcut_keys

Testing the Customisation of the Rift Viewer UI

Preferences -> Move and View -> HMD settings can be used to alter the positioning, scale and distance from eye of the UI elements, menus and pop up UI tools in the Rift Viewer. I experimented with making the elements be further away and further “outwards”. Here is a preset that worked a little better than the current default for me…


The initial default set on the test version is shown here…


One interesting issue is that if you place the UI “plane” too far away it can end up behind your avatar or behind seats, etc and hence obscured for using some menu buttons or the “Stand” button.

More Discussion of Second Life Viewer for Oculus Rift

A Second Life Forum is being used for some discussion on Second Life on the Oculus Rift DK2.

For the adventurous… the latest (mostly untested) bleeding edge highly experimental and potentially risky version may be available, prior to a formal release, via the Second Life Automated Build System for the RIFT project viewer via…


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My other car is…

There is a fine mesh model of the mid 1960s TV version of the Batmobile in Second Life…


A nice complement to the early 1960s Supercar…


And in Real Life…


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Oculus Rift DK2 – Others in VR Space

With the availability of an early alpha version of the CtrlAltStudio Viewer from David Rowe, it is now possible to enter a populated and content-rich virtual world and interact with others via voice in Second Life and OpenSim… no more “Alone in VR Space” …

A typical social space in Second Life is shown here… on the Hubbub region… with people sat about chatting and having fun… join in under the canvas tent to avoid the rainstorm…


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Oculus Rift DK2 – Fallingwater

The Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater building in OpenSim (this one by Inara Pey is on the Kitely Grid – see blog post) is worth exploring in 3D via the Oculus Rift DK2 with the CtrlAltStudio Viewer.


Inside Fallingwater


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Jim Clark Cars on Forth Bridge

On Thursday 21st August 2014, a number of Jim Clark cars were on show at the Forth Road Bridge HQ in South Queensferry and then were driven over the Forth Road Bridge, from South to North.



Jim-Cark-Lotus-43-Getting-Ready-To-Fire-Up Lotus-43-Engine
Jim Clark’s own road going Lotus Cortina was there, and his Lotus 43 with it’s BRM H-16 engine.

Jim-Clark-Lotus-Cortina Jim-Clark-Lotus-Cortina-and-xx

Run over the Forth Road Bridge

It’s not every day that you see a Formula 1 car from the 1960s crossing the Forth Road Bridge…. speed limit does not apply…


Lotus Club Line Up

A number of Lotus owners also brought along their cars from the various decades…

Posted in Motor Racing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Oculus Rift DK2 – CtrlAltStudio Viewer Tests

David Rowe (twitter: @CtrlAltDavid) has released an early experimental version of his CtrlAltStudio Viewer for Second Life and OpenSim which can support the Oculus Rift DK2. The viewer already supported 3D stereoscopic displays for the NVidia 3D Vision (with active shutter glasses and a 120Hz+ screen) for example, and gave support for 3D input devices such as the XBox 360 for Windows controller and the Microsoft Kinect.


Due to some problems with the current Oculus Rift 0.4.1.SDK and its support for OpenGL as required for the viewer, this initial version does not implement “Direct to Rift” which will be the preferred way to drive the Rift DK2 display in due course. The DK2 is set up as a second “extended desktop” screen and in “Landscape” orientation by a method which can vary between different version of Windows and depending on whether you use the Windows “screen resolution” method or your GPU’s control panel. See the section later for more details related to the Rift display rotation (“Portrait” versus “Landscape”) and refresh rate (75Hz preferred).

Then the viewer can be launched and set with appropriate settings described in the CtrlAltStudio release notes and blog post at


The viewer must be configured to be in windowed mode (opposite to that required for the 3D stereoscopic mode), i.e., make sure Preferences -> Graphics -> General -> Fullscreen mode is not ticked. And the Advanced Lighting Model must be turned on via Preferences -> Graphics -> General -> Advanced Lighting Model.

The viewer is started and then the Windows key + right-arrow (twice) is used to move the viewer window onto the Rift’s display, then Ctrl+Alt+3 makes the window full screen and switches into Rift view. Ctrl-Alt+3 again to turn off 3D and full screen mode and then the Windows key + left arrow moves the display back onto the normal screen.


So, no need to be “Alone in VR Space” any longer…. see this blog post on early (solo) demo experiences with the Oculus Rift DK2.

Undersea and in Cubic Space



Oculus Rift DK2 Rotation and Refresh Rate

The CtrlAltStudio read me and Rift set up notes say to use “Landscape” mode for the Rift. But the method to achieve the correct orientation can vary. I found that in the Windows “screen resolution” control panel, the Rift display defaulted to “Portrait” labelled mode, even though the thumbnail picture showed it looked like landscape, and that was the correct orientation. The Nvidia Control Panel showed the Rift also as in Portrait mode, but there the thumbnail was 90 degrees rotated and looked like portrait.



If the Rift display looks like its rotated 90 degrees to what you expect. Change things so its in the right orientation by one method or another.

There is a recommendation to drive the Rift DK2 at 75Hz for the smoothest image. The Windows Screen Resolution “advanced settings” area did not give any refresh rate options for the Rift monitor slot – showing it as a generic pnp monitor. But the Nvidia Control Panel did show refresh rates of 75Hz (preselected), 72Hz and 60Hz.


Xbox 360 Controller Settings

The CtrlAltStudio viewer can use the “Xbox 360 Controller for Windows” game pad (Wired or wireless) as an input device, which assists in controller the avatar movement and camera control without having to fumble to find keys on the keyboard. I did find though that the current default settings for the control of avatar and camera movement were a bit sensitive, and drift continued after the sticks were released. The zone of movement of the various axes gave inputs of -1.0 to +1.0 with a central released position should be 0.0. But the controls can stick a little off the zeroed position, and I found that mine could stick at about +/-0.2. The “dead zone” adjustment to allow for this was set at 0.2, so sometimes the movement was continuing. Changing the deadzone to 0.25 fixed this, but 0.3 seems safer.

I also adjusted the sensitivity of the main X,Y and Z controls by adjusting the scale from the CtrlAltStudio provided values of 0.3 to 0.4. This means you have to move the sticks further before your avatar breaks into a run.


Others have made suggestions for suitable settings for the Xbox 360 controller, e.g. at


As noted there, “feathering” is to make your controls feel mushy, or slow. When you start or stop moving the flycam/avatar there is a delay that can either give a nice dramatic slow camera movement (when slider is to the left), or a wobbly flicker of camera (slider towards the right). I left this on the defaults provided by CtrlAltStudio.

Nvidia Program-specific Settings

For Nvidia GPU users, 3D settings can sometimes also be changed via the Nvidia Control Panel “Manage 3D Settings” tab which allows for program-specific overrides of some features.. including refresh rates in some setups… though not for my Nvidia GTX 580 or 690 GPUs.


Posted in Oculus, OpenSim, Second Life, Virtual World, VR | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mike Mercury at Black Rock Lab via 123D


Mike-Mercury-1024x1024As a test of the “Autodesk 123D Catch” app, I tested this on a small Robert Harrop figurine [SUF01] of Mike Mercury from Gerry Anderson’s Supercar. The figure was photographed from multiple directions and passed through the app to create a 3D model, which was then exported to .FBX or .OBJ formats. I converted the .OBJ model to Collada via 3D Max 2015 and uploaded that mesh to OpenSim. The single texture exported by the 123D app originally was a 4096×4096 jpeg, so to be able to upload that to OpenSim it was resized to 1024×1024. In world it could just be applied directly to the imported mesh and it registered perfectly. A bit of rotation and resizing and the mesh is as you see it in the images here.

2014-08-12-Mike-Mercury-at-Black-Rock_001 2014-08-12-Mike-Mercury-at-Black-Rock-4


Improved and more uniform lighting and a few more images from a more overhead angle and some from low down looking upwards would improve the mesh, as there are some shadow 3D slid parts between the figure’s legs and there is a small hole in the to of the skull.

Mike Mercury Avatar

The 123D catch app also lets you select just part of a mesh and export that, so I tried also this with the Mike Mercury head. Once exported via .OBJ format and converted in 3DS Max 2015 to Collada .DAE format, this was uploaded to OpenSim, resized, textured and adjusted as an attachment on the “Skull” position. The eyes have to show and be animated, and the head model at present has eyes in place, so careful positioning was needed to make these work reasonably without further 3D mesh adjustment. The eyes ought to be adjusted via vertex editing to have them be sunken in to make this work better. Another free tool, the “Autodesk Meshmixer” may be able to do this. It can load the .OBJ file and texture created by 123D catch and allows for it to be manipulated, as well as then output to Collada format directly.


Adding an “Alpha layer” which hid the underlying avatar head but left the neck visible, plus adding a collar to the flight suit to hide the colour variances between the head model and an existing male avatar skin completed the appearance.

It was then possible to “clone” this appearance using the “osAgentSaveAppearance” function in OpenSim, and then use this in the seat of Supercar on the Black Rock region in OSGrid to provide a Mike Mercury pilot NPC.

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Mike Mercury Avatar Portraits

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Robert Harrop Figure (Limited Edition of 200)

Robert-Harrop-Mike-Mercury-1024x1024Hand painted ceramic resin figurine from the Supercar Supermarionation Collection. Designed and sculpted in Shropshire, England, by Robert Harrop Designs. 170mm tall. A Limited Edition of 200 figurines.

Robert Harrop’s promotional image for Mike Mercury Figure [SUF01]

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Oculus Rift DK2 – Alone in VR Space


Many reviewers and bloggers rave about the Oculus Rift and the amazing immersive feeling that the “games” and 3D “experiences” available give. After a week or two with the Oculus Rift DK2 and trying a range of the experiences and games available, usually once or twice only, I am left really very underwhelmed.

I wonder if the reviewers have a comparison point and had much experience of the last 30 to 35 years of immersive systems, caves, surround screen VR simulation centres (try landing a helicopter on the pitching deck of an aircraft carrier while your colleagues all sit in the passenger seats), Rediffusion aircraft simulators (circa 1981), etc. Even the Disney sim rides (Star Tours and the like) based on those and the theme park cinema 360s offer a visual stimulation in a shared space. My brother even tottered over onto the floor in a flight sim in one 360 surround screen experience much to the amusement of the rest of the family.

It is difficult to compare favourably what is now on offer to the “VR helmet”, cockpit or tank driving seat experiences of a simulation to immerse a soldier or pilot in training linked to their colleagues across the world, trainers interacting in real time with them, and linked to other colleagues and trainers with instrumented suits in mockup villages and mixed reality spaces… including blowing out doors with low level (real) explosives!

Indeed we must even compare the experience available to that already commonly available to gamers on simple 3D screens with Nvidia 3D Vision glasses (Pro and Home versions) for flight simulation which lets you share the experience with others around you and have a laugh. A good 3D screen view onto the Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX screen where perhaps 10,000 other users are sharing the world with you and interacting through flight, tower control and other means seems to me to be a much more immersive experience than donning a helmet and going into a one person lone space.


Trying Out What’s On Offer for DK2

A list of Oculus Rift DK2 games and experiences is maintained, along with download links, at: http://www.theriftarcade.com/oculus-rift-dk2-supported-games/. A few of the ones I found interesting are:

Museum of Games 2 – a nice walk through a range of game related characters and 3D rotating models. But you are alone. Its a very quiet museum. No one to chat to about games you have played or which characters are your favourites.

Helix Coaster and Lava Inc. – riding a roller coast and very well modelled – but except for the 3D characters in the train with you, you are alone. No one to chat to and laugh with.

Ocean Rift – a nice looking scuba dive with well modelled sharks, whales and other undersea creatures. But no diving buddies to swim with.

Solar System Explorer – great graphics and fun… but its an under populated Solar System. No one else there even when I visited the International Space Station. No one at home.


Titans of Space – another good (solo) tour of the solar system and other stars (some enormous) in our galaxy.


You can walk through a forest, see nice 3D recreations of some Miyazaki anime film sets (My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away) and explore the Millennium Falcon spaceship. All on your own. Even the characters in these scenes are not interactive at the moment and not up to the level of behaviour we have come to expect in of NPCs in MMO style games and virtual worlds. A dozen other “DK2 -ready” experiences, walk throughs or “games” I tried all had the same isolating experience and really did not compare with immersive experiences I have had even a quarter of a century ago.

Awaiting the Metaverse – Not to be Alone?

Unfortunately, at the time of writing the Linden Labs Second Life and OpenSim CtrlAltStudio 3D viewers for the Oculus Rift have not yet been adapted for the DK2, so I cannot yet test those out. But I am hopeful that these will be good enough that we can get into a real multi-user large scale “Metaverse” and try the headset in an environment where it ought to come into its own. Destinations in Second Life considered suitable for testing the Oculus Rift are listed at http://secondlife.com/destinations/oculus


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Oculus Rift DK2 – Undersea, in Flight and in Space

A list of Oculus Rift DK2 games and experiences is maintained, along with download links, at: http://www.theriftarcade.com/oculus-rift-dk2-supported-games/

As tests of the Oculus DK2 there are some excellent 3D immersive environments to try…

Undersea with Ocean Rift




Image from Llyr’s VR Experiments – http://llyrie.blogspot.co.uk/

In Flight with Combat Flight Simulator



Not yet functioning in Direct Rift Mode.

In Space with Solar System Explorer/Discovering Space and Titans of Space


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Solar System Explorer had a name change to Discovering > Space… and a limited travel version was made available for demonstrations which allowed travel out to Mars… ahead of a paid release which will allow for further exploration…


Titans of Space – another good tour of the solar system and other stars (some enormous) in our galaxy…


Manoeuvre in your spacesuit around a high resolution model of the International Space Station (ISS) over Earth with high resolution NASA textures in VRSpacewalk.

You can experience a very busy Moonbase in a Gerry Anderson’s Space:1999 experience by Liam Goodison at https://share.oculusvr.com/app/space-1999-demo


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Wishlist for Next Gen Virtual World

Linden Labs has announced work has begun on a new virtual world to use recent technologies and High Fidelity created by the founder of Linden Labs, Philip Rosedale, is working on a virtual world of its own…

This post lists some of the features I hope will make their way into improving the virtual world experience over what we already have in Second Life and OpenSim.

1. Avoid Isolated Islands – Unified Single Instance Virtual Space

The value of Second Life is that it provides a single unified space all in a single instance so that users and their avatars see only that single instance at any specific time and place they visit at a specific time. There are not a number of “instances” of a place spawned to cope with user load as in some games, “dungeon” style fight areas, or Sony Home. Maintaining this unified single instance space, with adjacency and appropriate visual and travel voids between such spaces is an important design advantage.

Adopting a way to link newer and older virtual spaces to start to generate the “Metaverse” of connected virtual worlds should be an aim. Open and widely adopted standards need to be created to encourage long term population and use of such a Metaverse.

2. Avatar Identity and Names

Avatar identity and the creation of virtual personas is an important aspect of virtual worlds. These personas and identities can be closely associated with a person’s real life for educational and business uses or be completely fictional, but either way the virtual presence and the associated web and social media presence of the individual is important (See, e.g., Tate et al., 2014).

Maintenance of avatar or “usernames” across into a new virtual world ought to be possible to maintain the continuity of presence and build on the current community already created in Second Life and elsewhere.

3. Improved Procedurally Generated Flora and Terrain Features

Unity-Procedural-Flora-ExampleThe facilities to create realistic looking terrains, flora and water features need to be radically improved. The widespread use of “prims” to create trees, plants, grasses and fields of grass and wildflowers that sway in the breeze is really poor in the current Second Life.

Water should not be limited to a uniform sea level, so that lakes and ponds can be created. Deep undersea worlds should extend to realistic depths. Caves and tunnels ought to be allowed if possible.

The Unity3D Terrain Editor allows the addition of “layers” to the basic terrain features and the “painting” on of additional flora, water, rocks and feature layers could point a way to go and be easily extendable. This mechanism can also allow for varying levels of client side rendering and optimisations (or simplifications) to accommodate a very side range of current and future hardware and graphics processing facilities.

4. Migrate to the New World – Pack your Trunk

Suitcases-StackedThink of it as a big move… to a new country perhaps… new vistas, new facilities, new culture. You can’t take everything. But there are some things you just must have in the new place. You have a trunk and packing cases… they are “intelligent” and can advise what will be useful in the new place, and what will arrive there just as an “ornament” to remind you of your previous life (or lives). Mementos are valuable.

5. Travel to Other Virtual Spaces – Pack your Suitcase

clipart-suitcaseTravel is fun, but the places you visit are different. Not all the home comforts are there. But different and novel experiences can be had. You can even go back in time and visit those historical sites you heard about it the news reels, or remember from your previous life (or lives). Pack your suitcase carefully, as not all your clothing, attachments and equipment will work in the foreign country, and the regulations or limitations may kick in. Luckily your suitcase is also “intelligent” and can advise you on items you pack for specific destinations. Have a great time, but “haste ye back”.

6. Content, Content, Content, …

The strength of Second Life is its variety of content and creative materials. Tens of thousands of regions and petabytes of user generated and a growing amount of content is already available in Second Life, and indeed to a growing level in OpenSim too. This makes the “Metaverse” what it is today. A way to capitalise on that content and allow for some appropriate parts of it to be utilised should be part of the architecture and design. This is also true moving forward.

7. People, People, People, …

A big issue for any virtual world is reaching a critical mass of users and people in world and visiting locations. Sparsely populated regions can be boring, and lack of interaction with others is a main cause that people do not return to areas in Second life and OpenSim. Any new virtual world needs to gain this critical mass somehow. Drawing on the existing user base of Second Life and OpenSim would be smart.

8. A Viewer for the Metaverse

We are fortunate in having a flexible license (LGPL) viewer base today thanks to Linden Labs and the open source contributors working on third party variants and extensions. A modern viewer could perhaps be more modular with as small a core as possible, but having a key list of add-ins available.

A modern viewer would ideally be a base for traversing and viewing multiple and quite different virtual environments with an attempt to support movement between them while maintaining or correlating avatar identity across virtual worlds and social platforms. Think of supporting movement to and fro across a Metaverse of multiple technology and newly emerging virtual worlds with quite different levels of capability and facility… but having a lot in common in terms of handling 3D models, worlds and terrain, and some aspects of the avatar appearance, but certainly their common identity.

Further Information

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De Lacy Motor Club Clubhouse 50th Anniversary Events

1968-DeLacy-Member-A53-A_TateDLMC-Logo-sThe De Lacy Motor Club (D.L.M.C) in West Yorkshire was where I was a member in the late 1960s when I was first interested in motor sport, rallying, car trials, driving tests and drag racing. I had a Mini at the time and entered it in a range of events… and won a few… my main competitor at the time being my elder brother Morris, who also did driving test and car trials in his Austin Sprite. Morris later did a lot of rallying, with Jon – another brother – as his navigator. I also loved, and still love, navigating and map reading. Jon continues to be involved in rallying events and has been International Clerk of the Course & Rally Director of some of De Lacy’s English International rallies.


D.L.M.C. Trophies for Car Trial Events in 1969

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


Drag-Racing-UK-Clubs BQML-Logo

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

Seven Dales Heritage Run 2014

2014-Seven-Dale-Heritage-Run-PlateI was very pleased to catch up with the De Lacy Motor Club when they held their “Seven Dales Heritage Run” in June 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the clubhouse in Brotherton, West Yorkshire.  The “Seven Dales Rally” was the name of the regular event the club ran in the past.

A report on the 2014 Heritage Run is at

46 Years On…


Some Other Motoring Related Connections

Toyota MR2 Owner (Mk. I and Mk,. III), Thrust SSC Mach 1 Club Member and Black Rock Campaign Supporter, Bloodhound 1K Club Member

Toyota MR2 X 2   mach1log   Bloodhound-SSC-1K-Club-Logo   Morris and Jon in a Lancia on the De Lacy Heritage Run 2014

Morris and Jon in a Lancia on the De Lacy Heritage Run 2014

A Bit of History from 40 Years Ago

I was learning photography and testing out a Pentax camera with Ilford FP4 B & W film at a number of events in Yorkshire in 1973 and 1974…

Mintex Rally May 1974 Car No. 1 Roger Clark and Jim Porter in Ford Works RS2000 Reg: A00674L. Photo by: Austin Tate

Mintex Rally May 1974 Car No. 63 Dave Wilson and Jon Tate in Ford Escort. Photo by: Austin Tate

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Morris Tate in Gokart, 1973-4. Photos by Austin Tate

Austin Tate
http://atate.org – Austin’s Life Wall

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Oculus Rift DK2 Setup and Test


2014-07-30-Oculus-Rift-DK2-Config-B-LensPrior to using the Oculus Rift DK2 headset, the firmware in the delivered headset must be updated to version 2.11 using the “Oculus Configuration Utility”. This also allows “per user” profiles to be set up to fine tune use of the headset. I tried the “A” lenses with and without my spectacles and the “B” lenses without spectacles and found the “B” set gave the crispest image for me.
The Oculus Rift DK2 specifications are at http://www.oculusvr.com/dk2/

2014-07-30-Oculus-Rift-DK2-Display-ModesWhen testing the Second Life/OpenSim CtrlAltStudio Viewer and the current Linden Lab Oculus Rift Project Viewer(3.7.12 Build 292141) that were built for the Oculus Rift DK1 I did not manage to work out which display mode will allow those to operate yet. DK1 legacy mode had no effect, and various settings for display mirroring and extended desktop did not work.

Oculus Rift Headset for Second Life and OpenSimulator Avatars

In Second Life’s 1920s Berlin Oculus Rift demo region and on the OpenSimulator Conference Grid a wearable mesh Oculus Rift DK2 head set attachment is available… which if worn can be used to indicate you are in world in VR…

Visit via:


Tuscany Via Demo and Stats


Oculus Rift Headset 3D Models


Image from William Burke

The 3D models of the Oculus Rift were provided for free use by William Burke (MannyLectro) via https://developer.oculusvr.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1514 and imported to OpenSim by Michael Cerquoni (Nebadon Izumi).

Supercar in Second Life and OpenSim via Oculus Rift (Window)


Helix Rollercoaster by ArchiVision

A good quick test that is working correctly in the DK2 is the Helix rollercoaster, but get the Helix_DK2_Beta.zip version or it will not work..


Image from ArchiVision



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OSCC14 Load Test 29-Jul-2014

Load test on OpenSimulator Community Conference OSCC-1024 Conference Grid…


There is still a problem that when an avatar arrives on one of the keynote regions (e.g. keynote 1) that the floor and seats in THAT arrival region do not show, only water can be seen. Yet the adjacent regions all show their floor and seats immediately.



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Oculus Rift DK2 Arrives

After being ordered on 19th March 2014, the Oculus Rift DK2 finally arrived in Edinburgh on 29th July 2014. Testing now begins.


Image from Oculus VR, LLC SDK 0.4 Beta


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

OSCC14 Load Test 22-Jul-2014

Load test with some 200 avatars. Here is my view with three avatars logged on, two local to the conference grid and I had an additional login via a Microsoft Surface.


Ai Austin on local grid (in red -polo short) and Ai Austin from Openvue grid via Hypergrid (having lost his hair, glasses and shoes – all attachments)…


View from Microsoft Surface…


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2014-07-19 – OpenSimulator Community Conference 2014 Volunteers Briefing

The OpenSimulator Community Conference 2014 preparations are underway and the Volunteers Briefing took place on the conference grid “keynote 1″ region on 19th July 2014.


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Enabling the Viewer Destination Guide for OpenSim Grids

Firestorm-Viewer-Destinations-Button “Version 3″ style virtual world viewers, such as Firestorm, can provide access to a “Destination Guide” for Second Life, or the OpenSim grid you are on… so long as this feature is enabled by the grid provider.


How to Enable the Destinations Guide for OpenSim Grids

In your Robust.ini or Robust.HG.ini file [LoginService] section there is a “DestinationGuide” parameter which can be used to communicate a URL to use for the destination guide to “V3″ style viewers which enable this. Uncomment the entry and provide a suitable URL to be used…

   ; For V3 destination guide
   DestinationGuide = "http://www.hyperica.com/"

Make the content be suitable for presenting in the “in-viewer” browser, so avoid complex HTML or any viewer-side scripting. PHP should work as that is generated server-side. The viewers by default show the destination panel as a narrow strip which can be resized horizontally, but has fixed height, so you may want to tailor the display contents to that. E.g., for the Openvue grid this is how the destination guide is presented…

   ; For V3 destination guide
   DestinationGuide = "http://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/resources/guide.html"

You can have the user click on a link to open a teleport dialogue in the viewer by providing links on destination names or thumbnail images in this destination page which are of the form (spaces are given as spaces and not the typical URL %20 form)…

   "secondlife:///app/teleport/Region Name/128/128/22"

If you wish to show a HyperGrid destination use a form like this…

   "secondlife:///app/teleport/hg.osgrid.org:80:Wright Plaza"

Serving the Destinations Guide via the Wifi Web Interface

The Openvue destinations page at http://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/resources/guide.html
is actually served from the Diva “Wifi” web interface and its ability to provide “additionally served resources” for example as web pages which can pull in some parametric information from the OpenSim grid server. This is done by adding a “ServePath_BinData” entry in the [WifiService] of Robust.ini or Robust.HG.ini.

    ;; Additionally served resources
    ;; Syntax: ServePath_Name = "LocalPath, ServedPath"
    ;;         (Name is any arbitrary identifier)
    ;; With the following example, the contents of folder "resources" at the same
    ;; level as the OpenSim base "bin" folder can be accessed via path /resources
    ServePath_Resources = "../resources, /resources"
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Second Life Experiences

Linden Labs is introducing more game-like “experiences” to Second Life. This extends the previous “Linden Realms” which are now incorporated into the overall experience model. Experiences allow a region or area in Second Life to work on an avatar in a game fashion once appropriate permissions are given by the user.

A new “LR Portal Park” gives access to a hub through which various experiences can be entered… and more can be set up by region owners and found via the viewer search mechanisms.


Then a range of games and experiences can be reached, including previous Linden Realms and Second Life Premium Account regions like “The Wilderness”.


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“The Cornfields” is one of the new “Experiences” based games available via the portal, though the full experience needs an updated “project viewer” which is not currently the default downloaded viewer.

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Game or Experience related “currencies” can be obtained and used for various rewards or gifts…


Maps of some of the experiences regions include the 12 region Linden Realms and the 6 region “Wilderness”…

Linden-Realms-12-Region-Map Wilderness-6-Region-Map

More details are at:

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OpenSim Regions from the Open Source Community

The OpenSimulator community has made available a wide range of complete regions in OpenSim Archive (OAR) format that are freely available… often via the Creative Commons By Attribution Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC) use license… meaning they can be used freely, but not resold. Many of these regions have excellent reusable assets, and some even contain “stores” which make the contents, specially themed avatars, clothing and other resources available.

OpenVCE – Open Virtual Collaboration Environment

The OpenVCE.net project from AIAI at the University of Edinburgh, working with Clever Zebra and the US Army Research Labs made its collaboration region and assets available under the flexible Lesser GPL license.


2014-05-06-WhiteVue-with-OpenVCE-OAR-Midday OpenVCE Region

Linda Kellie – Assets and Regions

winter-amphitheater winter-giftshop2

Linda Kellie is a well known and prolific builder of open source assets for Second Life and OpenSim and has made available several well developed regions. An example is her “Winter” region with associated avatar, clothing and furniture store. They are widely available… but use a search engine to find the latest locations, as other developers and OpenSimulator community members often offer to host her assets and make them available for download. Sample locations in 2014 are:

http://lindakellie.com and http://zadaroo.com/

Stormhaven – Port Aurora

A very nice pirate themed region is available via the OpenSim Creations – June 2014 Challenge – “Stormhaven Port Aurora OAR”
by “jamiewright” posted on Jun 24, 2014 CC-BY-NC



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2014-07-14-Stormhaven_007 2014-07-14-Stormhaven_006

Other Virtual World Assets from the Open Source Community

There are many more resources including terrain height maps, building and object textures, avatar clothing and appearance items, scripts (Linden Scripting Language – LSL), etc.

There are many fine examples, including tutorials on how to learn from and adapt the samples given at Ferd Frederix via his Phaze Demesnes and Free LSL Scripts web sites has provided many fine open source resources, scripts, objects and avatars in Second Life and OpenSim… and is covered in a previous blog post… http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2013/10/01/phaze-demesnes-resources-in-opensim/

The Open Creations community also creates and makes available a wide range of assets. A nice simple example if the “Balloon Generator” to create a release of coloured balloons… at http://opensim-creations.com/2013/11/20/balloon-generator/


Try also these stores and web sites which list or include free items:

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Dick Vet School on Vue

The University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies (Dick Vet) has for some time had a presence in the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) regions in Second Life and has its base on the “Edinburgh East” region in the Vue areas. They have provided the open access sandbox on their region as a facility which other schools and residents in Second Life can utilise.



Brian Mather in the Dick vet and Fiona Littleton in Information Services manage the Edinburgh East area with an area called “Easter Bush”. For some time a farm and stable area has been in place with screens and other educational aids related to animal welfare. They have recently been rebuilding the main gallery and office space to have builds that look like the real life Dick Vet Campus Buildings at the Bush Estate in Edinburgh…

2014-Dick-Ver-in-RL-1 DickVetSchool-2

Some “work in progress” images are shown below…

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2014-07-11-Dick-Vet-in-SL-1 2014-07-11-Dick-Vet-in-SL-2
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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater on Kitely Grid

Inara Pey who writes the “Living in a Modemworld” virtual worlds blog has created a beautiful model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater initially in Second Life and has now recreated her build on the OpenSimulator-based Kitely grid.


More details at

Visit using your OpenSimulator avatar via any hypergrid enabled OpenSim grid using this hop…


Fallingwater is also modelled in the OpenSimulator-based Littlefield Grid by Camryn Darkstone…


For more details see a previous post at
or visit via

hop://lfgrid.com:8002/Mill Run/23/53/30

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Initiative for Interstellar Studies – I4IS

I4IS (http://i4is.org) is now the “Initiative for Interstellar Studies”. The previous use of the term “Institute” is not an approved name for a registered company, so when I4IS was incorporated the name had to be amended.


The I4IS I-Room in Second Life also has had its logos amended..


Access to an initial trial virtual worlds collaboration facility is provided via http://openvce.net/i4is by Austin Tate to I4IS for the technical groups if it is useful to them.

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Gumball 3000 Rally 2014 in Edinburgh

Gumball3000-Logo The Gumball 3000 Rally in 2014 had a route from Miami, through Atlanta to New York and then over by air to the UK to drive though Edinburgh, Manchester and London… then onto Paris, Barcelona and then by ferry to the final destination, Ibiza.

The entry grid list is at http://www.gumball3000.com/rally/entry_grid

The cars gathered on Sunday 8th June 2014 on the Mound in Edinburgh to line up ahead of starting their UK leg. The Edinburgh crowds were out in force on a warm sunny morning to greet the teams and the Battery energy drinks kept everyone going… prior to the cars hitting the Mound…

2014-06-08-Gumball3000-Rally-Mound 2014-06-08-Gumball3000-Rally-Battery-Power

Abarth was a sponsor for the event and had a number of Abarth cars involved… including no. 1…


Are you supposed to open the Mercedes Gullwing doors while on the move. Great show…


Lots of Ferraris.. including these metallic blue no. 16 and metallic red no. 22…

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Nice Ford GT brought over by a US team…


In amongst the Ferraris, Maseratis, Porsches, Audis, Mercedes, Spyker, Corvettes, Dodges, a Shelby, Nissan GT-Rs, AC Cobras, Aston Martins, Jaguars, Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, 4X4s, …

and even a Bugatti Veyron…


Several Lamborghinis…


The US Lamborghini folks get their Scottish gift box in Edinburgh…


Gumball Biker burns some rubber on the Mound…


McLaren P1 and Brabus 6X6 by Mercedes-Benz on show too…

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And what is this… looks like an Audi Le Mans race car… but its a one-off special “Rebellion 2K“…


Crash Dummies… I hope they are not used… members of one team have fun and entertain the crowds…


View up and down the Mound…

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Ferrari car #22 waiting for the green light on Princes Street… Maybe its the new transport system for Edinburgh… I wonder if the daily Ridacard works in the Ferrari as well as on the Lothian Buses and Trams…


Some professional photos of the Gumball Rally in Edinburgh are at:

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Gerry Anderson Mesh Models on OpenSim

A range of quite detailed Gerry Anderson 3D mesh models have been used as tests of the (Collada) mesh capabilities of OpenSim and Second life. A number of blog posts have described the experimentation with these meshes and the OpenSim regions created to demonstrate them… Black Rock, Space City and Marineville.

Here is a pictorial summary of the current state of these regions.

Black Rock


Space City





As it looks in the Firestorm Viewer


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