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Elf Clan

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 20:47


Elf Clan is one of the oldest and largest virtual world fantasy groups. It has held lands in Second Life and various OpenSim grids. Its most recent home is on OSGrid but with associates Elf-themed regions on any other Hypergrid connected OpenSim grid.

To Join Elf Clan, search for the ELF CLAN group on OSGrid or the various Affiliate Grids (e.g. Kitely, DigiWorldz, etc.), and JOIN. It’s open-join on all affiliate grids. You can join on multiple grids if you wish.

High Fidelity – Load Test – 7 Sept 2018

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 22:23

A load test of the High Fidelity virtual world platform took place on 7th September 2018 and at least 356 avatars were in world in the same location at peak. A lot of different tests and exercises were run, including a trivia game. The performance was very good with only a couple of losses of the sound and one or two scene drop outs when logged on from Edinburgh Scotland.


Sintel Resources

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:17

This page acts as a resource for the Blender Durian Open Source Movie Sintel Project and its Sintel character 3D models and avatars.

Blender Sintel Avatar Model

The Open Source Blender Project “Sintel” avatar has been used in a number of open source projects and a version is available to use as an avatar or character in environments such as Unity. E.g. from http://u3d.at.ua/ where you need to register before being able to obtain the free download.

http://u3d.at.ua/load/modeli/ljudi_personazhi/sintel_character_for_unity/14-1-0-2929 [local copy]

It can be use to replace the Ethan visual model as described above. Just delete the Ethan visual model elements (EthanBody, EthanGlasses and EthanSkeleton) and insert the Sintel model instead. Then select the original Ethan “ThirdPersonController” and in the Unity Inspector change the Animator -> Avatar to the “SintelAvatar” you have included.

Pisten Bully 3D Models

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 17:42

Kässbohrer Pisten Bully Models imported via Unity3D and into a range of environments…


Original Models via 3DWarehouse.sketchup.com

Pisten Bully 100 via 3dwarehouse.sketchup.com by Tomme123456789.

Pisten Bully 300 via 3dwarehouse.sketchup.com by Digital Impressions.

Fallingwater

Sun, 07/22/2018 - 20:00

Fallingwater in southwestern Pennsylvania is a vacation home designed in 1935 by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and often thought to be one of the finest buildings of the 20th Century.

A lovely 3D openly accessible and modifiable model of the house and environment was created by Myles Zhang on Sketchfab.com [ Download Resources ] using 3D model source files originally by nottamun on 3dwarehouse.sketchup.com.

Fallingwater in Unity3D

I extracted the Collada (DAE) model of Fallingwater with its associated textures and imported those to Unity3D adding in some surrounding terrain. The trees and bushes were mostly replaced using Unity3D free assets and waterfall details were added and animated. Building and ground slighting was added, along with a day/night cycle. Doorways are not animated, so some of these were made into phantom (non-colliding) objects so an avatar can walk through them. Some pathways, corridors, doors and stairs in the house are not accurately modelled and can cause an avatar to get stuck, so some invisible barriers were put in place to help prevent this.

Fallingwater in Sinespace

The build was then loaded in the multi-user virtual world Sinespace


Fallingwater Plans

These diagrams are included with the Fallingwater model by Myles Zhand and nottamun…


OpenSim Castle Cathedral Interior

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 13:52

The Epic Castle region in OpemSim (as described in this blog post) has interiors for some of the buildings created by Leora Jacobus. the cathedral includes an animated pipe organ and other interesting elements.



Second Life Crystal Fortress

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 13:45

The Crystal Fortress is a gift provided in 2018 to avatars with premium subscriptions to Second Life. It provided a skybox for a 1024sq.m. plot that could be rezzed and placed at any height, interior furniture and a teleportation system all themed as rock or ice crystals. A guardian dragon appears to protect the structure.


Pontefract Liquorice Festival 2018

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 16:00

Pontefract is a market town in West Yorkshire which was recorded in the Magna Carta in 1217. It sits within the Rhubarb Triangle and is well known for the manufacture of Liquorice and Pontefract Cakes (Pomfret Cakes). It holds an annual Pontefract Liquorice Festival. This years was on 8th July 2018.




High Fidelity – Load Test – 6 July 2018

Fri, 07/06/2018 - 22:30

A load test of the High Fidelity virtual world platform took place on 6th July 2018 and over 200 avatars were in world in the same location at peak.


Kässbohrer Pisten Bully Online Training

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 21:22

The Pisten Bully range of snow cats and ski piste grooming machines is manufactured by Kässbohrer in Germany. They have a driver and technician training academy which also includes online training courses for beginners and those interested in Pisten Bully at http://proacademy.info.

I have previously noted my interest in Kässbohrer and follow their products via their newsletter and using Giant’s Ski Region Simulator 2012 with its many user-created add-on “mods” which give a wide variety of Kässbohrer Pisten Bully snow groomers to try in the simulated ski resort setting. See http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2015/02/17/kassbohrer-pisten-bully-simulator/.

Pro Academy

I signed up for their “PRO ACADEMY Online Training Demo English” to try out the online training courses, and after verification you can start the course.

Moving Content between Virtual Worlds

Sat, 06/30/2018 - 10:00
Moving Content from Second Life/OpenSimulator via Unity3D to new Social Virtual Reality Platforms

Vue Experiments with other Virtual Worlds Platforms

Even before Second Life began to be used across the University of Edinburgh, groups in Business Studies, Education and Artificial Intelligence had been exploring virtual worlds platforms for a range of educational and research project uses.

Platforms (now long gone) such as “There” and commercial virtual world simulators such as “Forterra” had been in use, and Second Life itself had been used even in its very earliest incarnation.

When we began using Second Life for Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) purposes back in 2007 we could not have imagined the platform would remain stable for such a long period (over a decade and it is still available and being actively developed).

Even at the earliest stages we envisaged moving onto new platforms as they arose and experiments have taken place with quite a lot of potential platforms, Many we were involved in at closed alpha and open beta testing stages. Not all of the platforms tried made it to full open public release. A number of these experiments are documented in my blog posts at http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/

Current platforms under investigation include:

Moving Content to New Virtual Worlds Platforms

We have used or been involved in the creation of a number of tools to assist in moving content across various virtual world platforms…

  • Where possible content was originated in tools such as Paint, Paint Shop Pro and PhotoShop and more recently in 3D mesh modelling tools such as 3D Studio Max or the open-source Blender to create Collada DAE or FBX meshes.
  • Second Inventory – was a useful tool to back up Second Life and OpenSimulator inventory items owned fully by a specific avatar. This tool is no longer available, but at the time was helpful to archive and reload builds (e.g. of the Vue buildings).
  • OpenSimulator Archives (OARs) and Inventory Archives (IARs) have been a very useful aid to preserve regions and inventory content.
  • The OAR Converter tool has provided a route to export content from OpenSimulator into Collada DAE (a portable 3D model format) and via that to allow its import to Unity3D. See http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/oar-conv/
  • Unity3D is a widely used development platform and a useful conduit to transferring content into newly emerging virtual worlds and social virtual reality platforms. Unity has add-on tools available to export FBX format meshes even when the original content is in other 3D formats. See http://unity3d.com

Virtual Worlds Development Paths

OpenSimulator to Unity3D Conversions

Tokyo University of Information Sciences and Virtual University of Edinburgh OpenVCE

Appearance in OpenSim


Appearance in Unity3D Editor

Appearance in Sinespace

Issues in Moving Content between Platforms

  1. One of the biggest issues in making content portable (even when full permissions are available and content is built by teams working together) is that unless one avatar owns all the content and the various textures archiving and externalizing content can be a problem).
  2. 2D image formats and the ways in which transparency handling works may vary between different platforms.
  3. The 3D model formats used in transferring content between platforms, such as Collada DAE and Autodesk FBX do have many variants and some platforms may limit the number of vertices or polygons that can be included in models, or the ways in which sub-meshes can be hierarchically included.
  4. Ways in which 3D meshes are textured, or limits on the number or type of textures that can be used may be imposed.
  5. Dynamic and scripted behaviours need to be recreated in the new environment.

More Information

More information at http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/ and http://vue.ed.ac.uk

Seven Dales Heritage Run 2018

Sun, 06/03/2018 - 18:00

The De Lacy Motor Club (D.L.M.C) in Yorkshire has been running rallies, car trials and driving tests for over 50 years as noted in my previous blog post. My wife Margaret and myself joined some other family members and entered the Seven Dales Heritage Run again this year for a nice run through the Yorkshire Dales…






GDPR for Vue

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 19:48

Vue is a virtual educational and research institute bringing together all those interested in the use of virtual worlds for teaching, research and outreach related to the University of Edinburgh.

The Vue web site is at http://vue.ed.ac.uk. More information on the use of virtual worlds in the University of Edinburgh is available at http://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/virtual-worlds-technology-for-university-of-edinburgh/

The OpenSimulator-based Openvue grid has only a few local avatars who have regions and creator roles. Most use is as an openly accessible Hypergrid destination to allow users with avatars on other OpenSimulator grids to visit.

All local (creator) users for both Openvue have been notified and given contact information for the grid manager (Austin Tate). A section has been added to the Openvue Terms of Service (ToS) to give the grid manager contact details and to explain what is logged and for how long this is retained.

http://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/wifi/termsofservice.html

vue@ed.ac.uk is a mailing list used to communicate occasionally between those interested in the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue). This list is normally internal to members of the University of Edinburgh and members are added manually (by Austin Tate on request) and each message allows for unsubscription. Austin Tate can also handle manual unsubscription for anyone requesting it. The mailing list is moderated for posts and non-member posts are removed before being sent to members to keep the number of posts low and encourage people to stay on the list while it may be useful to them.

Virtual Worlds Technology for University of Edinburgh

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 16:47

This post summarises some of the virtual worlds technology that is in use within the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Vue) community. It is provides as a single post to bring together some of the notes and blog posts for the convenience of the School of Informatics Educational Technology team.

Platforms

  • Second Life – a commercial grid run by Linden Lab in California. Vue regions have been in place since 2007. From 2018 no paid-for regions have been retained but alternative educational spaces are available. See this blog post for advice.
  • OpenSimulator (or OpenSim) – an open source community platform. There are Vue regions on grids run by the pen source community for testing and educational uses (OSGrid) and within the University of Edinburgh on servers maintained currently by Austin Tate (Openvue)
  • Sinespace – a new platform with VR headset, desktop and mobile clients. Vue regions are maintained on this platform having been converted from the Second Life/OpenSim content via the OAR Converter tool into the Unity3D development environment for delivery in Sinespace.
  • Other platforms: Vue has used a range of platforms from “There” some 12 years ago to more recent newer technology platforms such as High Fidelity, Sansar, etc.

Meetups in Virtual Worlds

Meetups can take place in facilities such as The Venue@Vue, the OpenVCE amphitheatre, and various I-Rooms (Virtual Spaces for Intelligent Interaction).

Class meetups, mixed reality workshops and conferences, seminars, etc are run in Second Life, OpenSim and on other platforms…

Virtual Graduations

Graduates (especially those achieving distance education degrees) who cannot attend physical graduations in Edinburgh can in some schools take an active part in the ceremony via participation in a virtual ceremony linked via two way video links to the McEwan hall graduations. See http://vue.ed.ac.uk/graduation.html for more details, sample images and other information.



YouTube Video (6 Minutes)
[MPEG-4 Download 720p 62MB]

Orcrist

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 17:44

Orcrist is an elf created sword found during the journey of Thoren Oakenshield, a dwarf, in Middle Earth… and features in the Hobbit movies. I handled the Orcrist prop used for the movie while on a visit to Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand and saw one of the limited edition weapons-grade replicas at The Armouries in Leeds, Yorkshire, UK. For a while my Second Life avatar has had an orcrist sword purchased from the Second Life Marketplace.

3D Model Import to OpenSim

I made use of a Blender model by VoltaJack_ from Sketchfab which is licenced CC-BY.

VoltaJack_
https://sketchfab.com/VoltaJack_
Orcrist – LOTR
https://sketchfab.com/models/e27c666d637a40c68b36f0c487c2e704
License: Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY-4.0
Author must be credited. Commercial use is allowed.
Model: .blend

Poly reduction and tidy up for OpenSim was done by Fred K. Beckhusen (Ferd Frederix) of Micro Technology Services, Inc. and I did the final texturing, adjustment of scale and wearable positioning and packaging.

The mesh reduction method as described by Fred is as follows.

  1. Starts at 236K triangles – about 10 X the limit. I applied a Decimate Modifier at 0.1 ratio (90% reduce) and it went to about 25K tris. Still over 4 avatars worth of triangles and more than the 21K limit. Did a 10X again (a total of 100X reduction) and it came in at 3,440 tris, looks acceptable, still a lot more than a custom build from scratch, but that what you get when you start with a high poly model.
  2. Then select all the vertexes in Edit mode with ‘a’, and do a Vertex (Ctrl-V)->Remove doubles. This drops extra vertexes.
  3. The other wise thing to always do is Mesh-Cleanup Delete-Loose to get rid of any lines or points. Opensim/Sl hates them ( there are none)
  4. Last one is Mesh->Cleanup->Limited Dissolve. This gets rid of extra dots and lines by collapsing them away.
  5. Added a smooth shader and an edge split modifier to get the blade smooth but with a sharp edge. Adds geometry, but it looks much better.
  6. Final is 3,5k tris, versus 236K =. I can get it to 1.5K, but it would need more manual cleanup. I did clean up some few tris the distorted in it.
  7. Separated the end of the sword so you can add a texture.

The Blade normal map was produced using https://shadermap.com/home/

Other Swords

Swords for Download:
https://sketchfab.com/MortemNightshade/collections/sword-downloads

KangaroOz 3D
https://sketchfab.com/KangaroOz-3D
Sting Sword Lowpoly
https://sketchfab.com/models/c4f80dfbb61745d6807dd511d3e74fd4
License: Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY-4.0
Author must be credited. Commercial use is allowed.
Model: .fbx converted to Collada .dae via Blender 2.78

Jason Brenton
https://sketchfab.com/Brentacon
Orcrist Sword – Lord of the Rings
https://sketchfab.com/models/1dcbab3210dc431db0dc910f65a3bb35
License: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial CC-BY-NC-4.0
Author must be credited. Commercial use is allowed.
Model: .fbx converted to Collada .dae via Blender 2.78

Orcrist in OpenSim

Sansar Sit

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 10:28

At long last avatars can be made to sit down in Sansar… see this blog post for details. Currently just cross-legged on the ground. Sitting can be initiated using “/sit” typed into local chat tool in desktop mode. A very nice lead in and return to standing animation is used that looks very natural.


The full list of “/emote” commands are given in https://help.sansar.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000286366-Avatar-emotes. You can exit sitting (and other animations that play indefinitely) by using a motion control to move your avatar.

Its not currently possible still to sit on chairs, sofas, vehicles, etc. There is a good discussion in Inara Pey’s blog post on 31-Mar-2018 relating to the technicalities behind this.

Somnium Space

Sun, 04/08/2018 - 16:00

Somnium Space (“Dream” or “Fantasy” from the Latin “somnus” for “sleep”) is a new virtual world from developers in Berlin aimed at virtual reality headsets.



Bank of High Fidelity

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 21:00

High Fidelity now has a cryptocurrency “Wallet” in which High Fidelity Coins” can be deposited, paid out and transferred to other avatars. To seed the currency early alpha tester users can obtain a starter amount of coins by visiting the “Bank of High Fidelity” during certain times when a banker is present…

Second Life – Isle of May

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 14:14

The “Isle of May” created by Serene Footman is on the “Weed” region in Second Life and can be accessed via this SLurl: https://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Weed/100/102/41

Anchored on the Firth of Forth in Scotland, the Isle of May is a magical mix of sea birds (cormorants, guillemot, puffins, etc) and sea animals such as orcas and dolphins. The island is a perfect home to artists and photographers. See http://www.nnr-scotland.org

The creation is by and the region has wonderful “Windlight” environmental and lighting settings. Off region cliffs, sea stacks and waves created by Antreas Alter of Real Waves make the region appear much larger and more dynamic.


Images captured with the Second Life 360° snapshot project viewer (click on thumbnail to view via Flickr in a suitable browser)…

Magic Leap – First Leap

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 21:50

Magic Leap opened its web site for creators on 18th March 2018. This blog post bring together some resources, links and screenshots from a first “leap”…


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