News ‘n Views, Odds ‘n Sods

August 20, 2012

There’s been quite a bit going on in the Metaverse lately, and all at a pretty fast pace. Well, faster than I can write about. So I thought, why not one post to touch on as many things as I can.

I’ve not chosen any particular order or priority of what to say on what, so let me begin with my favourite, AuroraSim.

Fly_Man has released a pre-compiled unofficial release of AuroraSim 0.6, which you can download at https://github.com/fly-man-/Aurora-Sim/downloads. I’ve been running with the last official release, 0.5.1, and since then the devs have introduced some new GUIs for the first time setup. Nice idea, poor implementation since they haven’t included any instructions on what to do or what to watch for. I’ll be posting a piece with that information very soon, once I’ve figured out the proper procedure for myself.

This is the biggest problem with AuroraSim. The lack of news and information. It doesn’t matter how good a product is if nobody knows about it. The development team is small and I can understand not having time to deal with the web site and issue news about the developments, but I’ve also not seen any call for volunteers from them either.

As for the release itself, I decided to push things a little. I made a fresh instance (Aurora Station) that is 4,096 metres by 4,096 meters. That is equal to two hundred and fifty-six regions! All running on a quad-core system with 6Gb RAM. I have decided to really push it and successfully changed the size of the region to 8,192 metres by 8,192 metres for an area that is 1,024SRE (SRE is Standard Region Equivalent) in size. Yes, you can do that in AuroraSim. I will start adding prims and scripts and building shortly, just to see what sort of load occurs. But let’s face it, even totally empty, can an OpenSim instance do the same thing on an off-the-WalMart-shelf computer? And, who knows, maybe this is the birth of Excelsior City? I’ll keep you posted.

Speaking of large regions, Kitely has enabled megaregions, or Big Worlds as they call them. You can read the announcement and about other new features at http://blog.kitely.com/. In essence, you pay for whatever plan you want and then choose whether to go with individual region/worlds or large region/worlds or a combination of both. The Big Worlds come in 3 flavours, 2x2 for a 4SRE size, 3x3 for 9SRE or 4x4 for 16SRE. So, if you went all out and got the Gold Plan for 20 region/worlds and unlimited time, you can have five 2x2’s or a 4x4 and a 2x2 or two 3x3’s and two singles. There’s a lot more information about this at Kitely, such as uploading OARs and prim allowances, so go read up on it.

Linda Kellie has left OpenSim. I would provide a link to her blog post about it, but she’s wiped the site. She did say that she would continue to build and add freebies to her content site at http://www.lindakellie.com/ so she’s not severed all ties to the community, but she won’t be blogging or using GridCache or remain involved in any other way. Her stated reasons for this is bullying and griefing since she joined SpotOn3D. While she will be missed, this is her decision and we should respect that.

There are others, though, who have been making a bit of drama over this. They use such words and phrases as “demise” and “blood on our hands” and even go so far as to seek people to blame. They have even gone so far as to build a memorial to her “death”.

Reality check. Linda is not dead, deceased, shuffled off from this mortal coil. She has simply left the OpenSim community. There is nobody to blame. Nobody put a gun to her head. Nobody stole her computer. She made her own decision. To build a memorial to her “death” is misleading. And it cheapens our memories of those whom we have actually lost in the physical world.

You can find those postings on GridPress at http://grid-press.com/2012/08/linda-kellies-demise-who-should-carry-the-blame/. The author, by the way, just happens to be the Chief Operating Officer of SpotOn3D.

In the article she claims of bullying rhetoric and something she calls “blog spam”. “When anything you say in a blog gets scrolled out of view because a few very long and loud people are repeating their same arguments over and over so that’s your say is never seen??? And doing it on every blog you try to reach out to? I call this blog spamming”. Granted I don’t read every blog about OpenSim and related topics that are out there, but I have not seen this happen. I haven’t seen Tessa regularly comment on other blogs nor does she provide links to those postings. I did go to SO3D’s own blog http://spoton3d.blogspot.ca/ and scanned over the various posts. What I found is that the majority of posts are used to simply feature a freebie. Of the posts of news and opinions, the majority had zero comments. The most contentious post was in August 2011 when they announced that they had applied for a patent of their FB plugin. Total number of comments: two. Both short and to the point asking for the application number. So much for bullying rhetoric and trolling.

I also visited a few other blogs, including Prokofy Neva’s Second Thoughts http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/. I searched the Prokodile’s ramblings for anything on SO3D and found nothing. I ran a search on Tateru Nino’s Dwell On It http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/ and again, no results. There were two results when I searched the Metaverse Journal http://www.metaversejournal.com/. One for 3Di Cloud and the other for a virtual publication called The Watch. There were results on Hamlet Au’s New World Notes http://nwn.blogs.com/ from August 2011, when SO3D announced the patent application. I did see that some of the longest comments were by Tess herself. So, I don’t know where all this “blog spam” is occurring. Perhaps Tess will be good enough to post a comment here with links as citations. To paraphrase the words of the Internet, “links or it didn’t happen”.

On the browser based viewer front, 3Di Cloud has released the embedding code for their Live Chat. Maria at HyperGrid Business posted an article about it at http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2012/08/3di-cloud-embed-code-released/. She’s included links to where to get the embed code, so just follow those. I checked it out and, although I am not a fan of Unity, its pretty okay. Very simply, it means that you can use your browser to enter a Unity-based virtual world to chat with others. You don’t have much choice of avatars and I couldn’t seem to login with Twitter properly, but then again, this is the first release, so bugs and limitations are to be expected. I did think enough of it to add it to my Forum page. And if anyone knows of other browser based virtual worlds, let me know. I’ll check them out and maybe add them. Who knows, if I get enough I may create a separate page just for browser based viewers and virtual worlds.

As for viewers in general, they’ve taken a hit from the Havok sub-licensing that Linden Lab has implemented. We’ve already lost two from the Metaverse, Niran’s Viewer and Dolphin Viewer. Nothing harsh on them. Those viewers are developed by single persons and its a lot of work to build, maintain, improve and update do just one, especially if they create a flavour for each operating system. Its understandable that they haven’t got the time to create a whole set for OpenSim. And there’s nothing stopping anyone from grabbing the source code and making their own for OpenSim/AuroraSim.

I do hope that viewer developers will begin working on including AuroraSim compatibility. That is another thing holding back the adoption and use of AuroraSim, the lack of viewers. Currently, there’s only Angstrom, which is now listed on the MIV, though according to FlyMan’s tweet of August 18, “On 1st of October 2012, Perseus Viewer will be taking it's place next to the other TPV viewers, made for Opensim/Aurora-Sim based grids”. Good news indeed. However, this lack of compatible viewers may also be a hold back on the creation of AuroraSim based grids. And the lack of grids may be a hold back on the development of viewers. A bit of a negative feedback loop. One way of breaking that is for people to simply give AuroraSim a try. Setup an online instance and tell people about it.

Which is why I speak about Created Worlds. Its an AuroraSim based grid. Its not yet publicly open, but they are accepting Beta memberships at http://createdworlds.com/beta/accounts/register.php. I like it enough to have placed Excelsior Station there. As an opinion, I see them as being the InWorldz of AuroraSim. There’s only two people building the grid, Zarta Vargas and Nichodemos Vesperia and I have found them to be just as caring, open and helpful as the Founders of InWorldz.

Excelsior Station itself is doing well. I’ve been retexturing and rebuilding. Many of the buildings I used in the PortSide area are wooden. That’s a very big incongruity as the Station doesn’t have any trees. And I really don’t think anyone is going to ship lumber across interstellar distances. So, I have to bring those into line with the overall theme and look of things. I’ve begun setting up areas for residences and shops and I’m adding blamgates so people can quickly get to and from different areas. I’ve also got an area built that I hope SpaceTinies will move into.

Speaking of InWorldz, they’re running Beta tests of their new PhysX physics engine. All reports have been overwhelmingly positive. You can read the details on the InWorldz Tech Blog at http://inworldztech.com/techblog/2012/08/18/inworldz-physx-physics-goes-beta/. Basically, almost all physics capabilities will be implemented, but not all. To quote “Phase1 of the project does not include: Mesh physics implementation [or] Vehicle specific LSL parameters and functions (llSetVehicleType, llSetVehicleFloatParam, etc).” So, no driving around yet, but RP involving firearms will happen. What’s really been cool about all this is the creativity of the residents of IW in creating vehicles that do work even before PhysX is fully implemented. Including a recreation of the USS Enterprise, which is reportedly longer than a region.

When it comes to vehicles, I’ve recently learned how to make some of my own. It was a bit of a battle, but between using Nebadon’s OKC Racers as examples and the LSL Scripting Portal for (very limited) descriptions of the functions, the comments and answers of those I asked questions of, and an alarmingly high rate of motor vehicle accidents, I have got things figured out enough to create my own hover vehicles. Not the big noisy air cushion types, but the anti-grav type such as those in Star Wars. Mine don’t work as well as Nebadon’s and I am still trying to find sounds for them. On the plus side, my scripting skills have improved and I have also learned how to use Qavimator to make poses. Here’s a couple of pics to show off the two that I have built so far.

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Marauder Mk IIb HoverAV

The Marauder is the first one I built and it can across water as well as land.

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Penetrator Mk I HoverBike

The Penetrator is my second vehicle and is intended as an unarmed scout. It, too, can cross water as well as land. And I may add weapons. By the way, the weapons are currently for show, but will become functional under the Myriad RP System once I've worked out the scripting for them.

I’ve got at least another four in mind, including a steam/cyber-punk trike and a “pink Cadillac”. Oh, and of course we cannot forget the hoverboard, so make it five more to be built. So, I should have a few ready for when InWorldz has PhysX fully implemented and for when Created Worlds opens.

When it comes to RolePlay, Allen Kerensky has released Preview 6 of the Myriad RP System. Its becoming a very highly developed system with many features and options available. One of it’s biggest options is that you don’t have to include combat to use it. Simply don’t use the Meter. Some of its features include quests, rumours and now Critter/Goons, a feature that will have NPCs attack. If you would like a set of the scripts and instruction notecards, I’ve uploaded an IAR to the Myriad RP page, but fair warning, since I created that IAR, Allen's added a Healing script. I'll update the IAR as soon as I can. If you would like to read about the system, you can at http://opensimulator.org/wiki/User:Allen_Kerensky/Myriad_Lite. You can also grab the heal script and notecard through that link. Allen also has a roadmap of Myriad’s progress posted at http://opensimulator.org/wiki/User:Allen_Kerensky/Myriad_Lite_Roadmap.

So, all in all, that’s the news, those are my views and the odds have been sodded.


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