Sunday, March 22, 2015

Adventures with Mesh

Today I want to talk a bit about some metaverse experiences and the convoluted ways we come to arrive at doing the things we do :D

Recently, as I have likely mentioned, I revived my SL account and went back there to attempt locating some script authors I've known, to insure they were fine with me porting their scripts to opensim and osgrid. While there, it became patently obvious to me that most people are not building things with prims anymore, unless they are rapid prototyping or fooling around challenging themselves; most polished, finished builds and assemblies these days end up if not entirely composed of one or more meshes, at least incorporating some into the build.

So, I decided to undertake once again the study of blender. I once used to be reasonably proficient with it, back in the version 2.0-2.4 days (and prior), but mostly these skills went unused as I had no venue in which they might be consumed. Things Change.

So, now with 2.6 I'm revisiting it, with a purpose of producing boat hulls. It's going reasonably well, all things considered, though I am told the software drives even the experts nuts.

Another thing that I have been impressed with in SL is the environmental upgrades. A submarine cruise through the waters of Blake Sea reveals all sorts of sea life I had never encountered; stingrays, sharks, jellies, and others; new plants and such too. Well done, LL :)

Back home out in the country at OSgrid, things were looking a little plain by comparison; particularly wanting were the seabirds that now populate Dex in SL. Idk if these are linden provided or not, but they are one of those fine details that yield a particular degree of immersive leverage, and so I began to think about where to obtain resources for that when my friend Vegaslon Plutonian gave me this link:

This is a link to a github repository containing an OpenSimulator 'addon module'.

This module implements a flock of birds, per the supplied configuration, that flies around the region with minimal impact on sim resources. You may substitute your own prims. In any case, the real thing I wanted to talk about here is region modules. Given github as a service vector for storing and deploying region modules, adding them to your sim just got hella easy:

simply unpack your opensim source, cd into it at addon-modules, and git clone the repo for the module like so:

cd addon-modules/ && git clone

then go back to the top level of the opensim tree and sh && xbuild as usual. At least, that's how we do it on linux; doing it on windows won't differ significantly provided you use something sane like git bash.

No doubt there are many other useful OpenSimulator modules out there; I am also running Jak's OpenSim Tide module. Look for a survey of such modules in an upcoming post, I'll be out looking for some interesting and useful ones in the coming days.


Saturday, March 14, 2015


Things have been going well at OSgrid since the recovery, less a few hiccups here and there -- actually far fewer than any reasonable person would anticipate.


As I mentioned previously, I've visited SL a few times recently, looking for virtual sailboat legends. I basically got told to go home. I imagine I'll go back there, I enjoyed all the 'busy-ness' of it. They've made some significant technical improvements, things worked very well. Always a mixed bag of tricks, a visit to Nexus Prime on the old mainland revealed that the classic SL cyberpunk build is gone. Somewhere inside, where a little piece of me will forever wear metal clad leather boots, I wept a bit.

Back on the home grid, we've been revitalized in the broad sense. Concurrency is up 30%, and scripted vehicles are making a big impact on the social scene. Of course with much activity comes discovery.

We've discovered that large var regions are moderately problematic from the perspective of building and scripting. Due to the constant resend of parcel bitmaps, there is a heavy performance penalty each time one right clicks upon anything; the penalty increases as a power of two with each similar increase in geographic simulation footprint.

This is the first technical reason I've ever uncovered in support of the notion that more real estate requires more resources.

This issue has a pretty negative effect on building and scripting; I now do such things in one or the other sandbox (I have my own too) and largely use items on the big vars that I have prepared elsewhere; as far as purpose goes, they're great for about anything but development once built.


All in all, things seem to be going pretty well, small problems here and there but nothing terrible thus far. Stay frosty, keep calm, and keep being awesome :)

James Stallings aka Hiro Protagonist on OSgrid

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Tale of Two Grids

Like many of you, I'm a 'former' 'resident' of Second Life aka The Linden Grid.

I got very disappointed with SL back in about 2006, and left completely, lo these many years ago, for OSgrid. The rest, as they say is history.

When I first came to OSgrid, not much of anything worked; at all. The potential was there though, like a glowing gem in the distant landscape, too far away to even be described as elusive.

Time goes by though, and a good project doesn't die; it mellows, and matures. People come and go, and code is committed and abandoned. Sometimes it's because the developer left, and sometimes it's because someone made some sort of overhaul and vastly improves the feature.

Such is the case with Bullet Physics (Thanks RAdams ;)

Thanks to Robert and Bullet Physics, our physics simulations are now pretty much on par with those of SL, and perhaps just as importantly, nearly 100% compatible in the scripting API. This is important for vehicles, which you may be aware, are something of a passion with me.

So, I'm always on the lookout for cool riding toys.

A few days ago when OSgrid came up after "The Crash of '14", I brought up some regions and began testing. One thing I wanted to do was get a solid hypergrid configuration in place, as this is getting to seriously be 'a thing' (all the cool kids are doing it yo) and so having finally gotten it tweaked up, a bug surfaced that appeared related to imported assets, so off I went to Craft Grid in Italy.

I don't think I ever managed to reproduce the issue (for purely statistical reasons, but that's a ball of yarn I dont want to unwind just now), but I did find this really killer boat, not unlike a Flying Fizz of some sort, so I grabbed it and brought it home with me.

I broke it out, put it on the water, and right clicked it. "Sail!" it proclaimed proudly in the pie menu, so I sailed/sat and waited for the usual messages from the script. Nothing. Touched the up arrow. Off the boat goes backwards and to the left, in that series of jerky motions that is the signature of the non-physical vehicle. A quick check and sure enough, it's got the most basic of non-phys scripts in it, and a buggy one at that.

Now as a builder/scripter who is anything but unfamiliar with these constructs I can tell you that the first thing that crossed my mind was that the days of making such things 'for looks' passed a long time ago. Nobody makes such a detailed vehicle build without providing it with similarly good scripts; after all, they're Out There.

The boat had a few potentially identifying markings on the hull; "BWind BBK' on the hull, and similar on the sail. I googled this, and lo and behold, the boat was made by an old acquaintance I'd made on OSgrid some years ago, Becca Moullinez. The same of SL fame, who produces one of the top two sets of sailing and sail racing technologies on that grid. So, researching further, it turns out the boat is built on version 1.37 of her sailing engine; the last time I had seen her on OSgrid, she had given me her v 1.36 (it was brand new at the time). Back then, as you might imagine, there was a snowflake's chance in hell of them working; now, I sail a Tako on OSgrid at whim, so I suspect these would work right out of the box.

So, that SL account I hadn't logged in with in over 8 years? Password recovered, and off to the Linden Grid to find Becca.

Except she wasn't there, at least maybe not. I get ahead of my own tale.

I found TWYC, joined the group, got a fresh, working copy of the BWind BBK, also a Flying Fizz 3.0 (VERY NICE Mothgirl Dibou!), joined the TWYC group and went sailing. While out in the voids somewhere, I tried friending Becca, but I never heard from her.

After spending quite a lot of the day sailing, I decided I needed to be more proactive, and asked the TWYC group about Becca. The general consensus was, she "burned out a couple years back and hasn't been on much in a long time". I told them why I was looking for her, what my business was. The lack of comprehension about any grid not SL and the incomprehension of the working parameters of the GNU/GPL under which Becca claimed to be publishing her scripts was telling (on her google pages for the boat scripts she seems to release the scripts under the GNU/GPL, then tries to add provisios (SL only, no commercial use) that are not compatible with the GPL; this is why I felt compelled to seek her out and get permission directly).

So ultimately, a person PMs me, I forget the name, who clearly spoke with the authority of ownership; though it wasn't Becca. Likely an alt, and wanted to negotiate terms of use. Ultimately, she said she would drop a notecard on Becca.

I decided the circumstances were such I should probably feel free to use the scripts; so off I went back to my grid to script out the boat. And that's where this sordid tale leaves off:

Becca's Sail Engine has >5000 lines of LSL code; when editing script on my grid, the editor chokes at just over 1600 lines of that same code, or right at 65535 characters.

I'm not given up on it; there will just have to be substantial adjustments made.

Meanwhile we have the Tako...

Fair winds and following seas.