If you have been using the Hypergrid you probably heard about the 4,096 “bug.” This post explains what the “bug” is about, how it manifests itself, and how I came to peace with it. It’s also a call for action for grid operators to consider placing their grids below cell 4,096-4,096 on the map. Starting in the previous release, D2 worlds are placed around 2,048 by the configuration tool.
Over the past few weeks I have been working on mechanisms for making friends and instant message work across the Hypergrid. These social functions have been a goal since the beginning of the Hypergrid. The big rearchitecture work we did in OpenSimulator 0.7 that strengthened security was also meant to support these functions, but, of course, we weren’t really sure how well the new architecture would hold when these functions were actually implemented. Well, now I know — it handles it just fine. Let me explain how friends and IM work over the HG, the challenges, and the current limitations. Keep in mind that these new functions are still experimental, and subject to changes and improvements.
It has been a while since I made a D2 + Wifi releases. I had been waiting for OpenSim 0.7.1; the changes between 0.7.0.2 and 0.7.1 were such that I didn’t want to risk making a release in between. OpenSim 0.7.1 finally happened earlier this week, so here is the much awaited D2! Technically, it corresponds to OpenSim r15402, which is a couple of commits after the official release — I found a couple of bugs in the official release related to the Library, so I fixed them.
It’s no secret that I have been fairly impressed with Unity3D. I find it extremely liberating in comparison to Second Life’s (and any other MMO) pre-packaged notion of what online 3D environments should be. I had to give a talk yesterday, so I used that talk as an excuse to taking my knowledge of Unity3D to the next level. I decided to make my presentation in Unity3D, and have the audience be part of the presentation at some point — similar to what we see in SL/OpenSim, but with the experience on the Web browser and under my complete control. Go here to see the result. Let me explain what you see there.
I was sick-ish last week, so I decided to use my idle cycles to finally learn Unity3D. I thought I’d share my impressions, given that (a) I’m not a 3D modeler, not even an amateur one, and (b) my only experience with 3D environments has been Second Life / OpenSim. I suspect there are lots of people like me. Being an OpenSim aficionada, and fairly ignorant of everything else (mainly for lack of time), I always felt like I was missing the big picture. Indeed, I was, and I’m glad my cold last week gave me the opportunity to explore a completely different point of this large design space. The picture above shows one of the environments I created. The bottom line, if you don’t care to read more, is this: the Unity3D ecosystem feels like Second Life for grown ups.
I do a fair amount of work with people in urban planning. Realism in those virtual environments is the starting point for the imagined plans they have in mind. The very first thing they want is the realistic terrain of the area. It has proven difficult to get the elevation data of specific areas, but we always end up finding it in some obscure place or other. Unfortunately, the terrain by itself doesn’t quite give the feel of the area as it exists today. Instead, it gives the feel of the area as it might have existed 10,000 years ago! — no signs of human civilization. Which, as nice as that may be, doesn’t quite do the job for urban planning. This weekend I was finally able to generate realistic terrains in OpenSim overlayed with a realistic image. Here is the story.
VWRAP is in limbo. Even though I was not involved in it until recently, I feel bad that it may simply disappear. It feels like a massive waste of energy for those involved for longer than I was; but, more importantly, it feels like a missed opportunity for gathering a critical mass of virtual world / virtual reality engineers — a community that seems to be plagued by silos– together with a critical mass of people who have been driving some important protocols on the Web.
For the past couple of months I’ve been flirting on and off with Amazon Web Services (AWS). This past summer my students started using it in some of our research projects, so I had to catch up with them. Those projects have nothing to do with OpenSim, but I made my own learning plan focused on getting an OpenSim instance to run in the cloud.
There is s new diva distribution release, corresponding to OpenSim 0.7.0.2. Along with OpenSim improvements, this new release has several improvements to Wifi, and most of them were contributed by Marck. A big thank you to him! Let me go through them.
It took a long time, but OpenSim 0.7 is finally here! It’s quite difficult to explain the value of refactorings and of re-conceptualizations of the software, which is what happened to OpenSimulator between 0.6.x and 0.7. Those things tend to be intangible at first (“WTF? This does the same thing! And it has bugs that it didn’t have before!”, etc.); the ROI only shows up later.