All good things…

This will be the final update for Enlades. During a break from posting in the last three months; it’s become clear that myself and Thom no longer have the time and involvement in Second Life or OpenSim environments to continue with the plans we originally had for further guides and tips.

One of the things that you learn is how swiftly these worlds can change and how people can come and go with the speed of light. We’ve been fortunate to have seen and shared many incredible events and experiences over nearly five years. It has been a pleasure and passion, for the last two years, to share our own and others’ methods and ideas to make the creativity, imagination and usage of virtual worlds accessible. Our posts will remain in place for the foreseeable future, to offer suggestions and help to people who have yet to explore the richness of virtual environments.

We would both like to thank our readers and the people who we’ve come across, spent time with and been inspired by. The world-building and the people willing to give their time, knowledge and friendship has been an amazing journey. One that we will not forget as it has enriched our lives and given us many opportunities that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to discover elsewhere.

The inspiration will continue to be passed from mind to mind and that is no small thing to achieve. This is how worlds change and grow, as well as the people within them.

Thank you all!

Farewell and good luck.

Belochka Shostakovich and Thom Lunasea

Introduction to creating and uploading mesh models

Thom Lunasea with mesh coffee cup (image from Second Life)

This blog post tries to provide information to those who are looking for a starter tutorial on preparing mesh models and getting them in-world.

Mesh models, just like sculpted prims, are created outside of the virtual environment using third-party software and imported in-world by uploading the model in a particular format. The only file format currently supported is COLLADA, which uses the .dae file extension. Most professional and free modelling software have support for exporting 3D models to this format. Over these guides, we will use the popular and free Blender software to illustrate the process of modeling, texturing, exporting and importing the model. Continue reading

Coming soon! A guide to mesh

Blender model render by Belochka Shostakovich (partly based on a great tutorial at BlenderCookie by Jonathan Williamson. I ❤ JW!)

 

An announcement for our readers: Thom Lunasea is currently planning and writing what will be an ongoing series of posts on creating and uploading mesh objects.

It’s a subject we’re both still learning, so covering rigged mesh is not possible as yet, but we hope that the posts will provide useful information. The tutorials will be based in Second Life but are meant to assist residents of other virtual worlds where similar mesh capabilities are supported.

The first post will be on how to use an enabled viewer’s upload screen for an unrigged mesh object. Thom will be providing a download of a simple object he has created, licensed under a non-commercial Creative Commons license, as part of the tutorial.

We’re both looking forward to exploring this subject further!

Virtual World viewers: Part 7 – Other third-party viewers

Originally, I’d planned on doing one further review. Unfortunately I was not able to do that but I’m including information on three other viewers I haven’t tested.

Continue reading

Virtual World viewers: Part 2 – Imprudence

This is a review of a third-party viewer I’ve used extensively in SL and OpenSim regions. Imprudence 1.3.2 release was made available in early 2011. As this post is image intensive, please continue to read after the cut.

Continue reading

Virtual World viewers: Basic Information

As explained in Virtual World viewers: Part 1 I’m going be testing different viewers for basic, Mac-friendly, useability in Second Life.

Before starting the reviews it might be helpful to new users to explain some of the differences between viewer use.

For Second Life users: there is only one official viewer series – Linden Lab’s own. Every other viewer available has been developed outside of Linden Lab, which is why they are called Third-Party Viewers (often shortened to “TPVs”). For further reading this wiki page explains more: Second Life Downloads

Two key things to mention: if you do regularly switch between the official Linden Lab viewer and TPVs, or use a third-party viewer all the time, it is useful to know that Linden Lab accepts no responsibility for problems arising from installing anything but their own official viewer. If you have concerns about security or privacy issues the most usual advice is to not download and install a viewer on your computer.

There are no longer any official Viewer 1 releases available from Linden Lab. Support for Viewer 1 in Second Life will be withdrawn at some point, although a definite date for this has not been clearly stated (to my knowledge at the time of writing).

For OpenSim users: there is no single, official viewer. This is left entirely to the choice of the individual and what works best for them. In the case of larger grids they may suggest, when signing up, which viewer suits their particular environment.

TPVs, like many other subjects in virtual worlds, can cause heated debate and disagreement. I don’t intend to raise those arguments. I don’t generally find it helpful and these reviews are not in-depth enough to cover every possible discussion.

The review series starts off with Imprudence 1.3.2. This is based on a version of Viewer 1 code. The user interface is distinctly different to Viewer 2 and 3 and will be most familiar to people who started out in SL or OpenSim pre-2010. Viewer 1 remains popular with those who prefer the design and functions or are unable to run more recent viewers.

So, let’s take a closer look with Virtual World viewers: Part 2!

Moving back – An update

Hello! It’s been quite some time since the last update; things have been busy and, unfortunately, a lot of plans that we both had for more content posts have fallen by the wayside.

Also added to that, in the last couple of weeks, Thom and I have made a return to Second Life. This was a surprise decision. Although I continued to visit at odd times over the last seven months – it was mostly to check up on resources that had been developed by Second Life residents. I rarely remained logged-in for long and was happy to log-out when a task was completed.

So why the return and what does it mean for the Enlades blog?

To tackle the first part of that; I missed the company of some friends and some of the resources that Second Life has and OpenSim doesn’t. This is not meant as a criticism of OpenSim, more that I see the virtual environments differently depending on what my view of work and fun is at any given time. SL still has elements I enjoy and it felt great to be back there, chatting with people I had not seen in a long time and rummaging through an inventory which held delights to rediscover. (Anyone who views my Flickr page knows this includes making comics with a giant character called Gmok the Wise, made by Albert Beerbaum of Herbalys)

The Enlades that Thom and I have worked in, and on, remains in place. We intend to keep it and develop it further. Perhaps in time a balance will become apparent between the two.

For the blog? Well, at the moment it is hard to be certain whether more content posts will be forthcoming in the near future. Writing for the blog is something that we enjoy doing, learning and sharing that knowledge, but it is also an activity that requires commitment in time and effort to do properly.

For now, we both intend to come back at some point. We hope that what is already here will prove useful to anyone searching for these subjects, for whatever virtual world that you are resident in.

Thanks for reading.

Making Prim hair – Part 2

A quick revisit to the subject of making prim hair, as I had a very helpful comment left on the blog.

I’m glad to point out a newly written guide by Vanish of tgib. The post features handy advice on working with textures and prims for your hairstyle creation and has a male hairstyle to give you some ideas: Making hair – a starters guide.

V’s blog is well worth a good, in-depth, look around as he gives lots of useful advice on building and making in OpenSim along with more technical information on setting up your virtual world. Also, he generously offers a range of files that are free to download and use.

Thanks again V for all your time in providing these resources and guides for beginners!

Where we experience some technical problems…

And we’re back! Thanks to all the people who have been visiting Enlades while we were on a break.

For this post I’d hoped to be doing an update on some of the things we’ve been working on in our regions. However, we’ve experienced a couple of problems recently. I thought it would be useful to share them to give a perspective on some of the issues you can encounter when running your own virtual environment.

In my previous post on Prim hair I showed that I was following Natalia Zelmanov’s tutorials. Whilst I was working on my hair prims I encountered a bug that has been documented in Mantis previously. (Mantis is the OpenSim reporting system).

Thom managed to replicate the behaviour a couple of times before he found the Mantis reports. Apparently this particular issue had been fixed in a previous OpenSim release but we are experiencing the same behaviour. As of this time there hasn’t been an official confirmation but there is a helpful reply in the comments on a workaround to use. I include the link to Thom’s report here for information. Editing linked objects…

The next problem that came along was a bit more complicated and took a morning of research. If you’ve been, or are, a Second Life resident you might recall owning or seeing televisions for streaming media, in particular YouTube videos. For those that haven’t; I include a link to a product currently being sold on SL’s Marketplace: Flat screen SL t.v

I have to admit that it was with complete ignorance that I decided I wanted to make a media prim that played a favourite YouTube video. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware that there had been a serious issue in 2010 when YouTube changed from Flash to mp4. This had caused a large problem for streaming in virtual worlds.

My error was that I made an assumption that cutting and pasting the URL and using that with the Freeview script, available on OpenSimulator’s website, was sufficient [insert laughter here]. It quickly became apparent that wasn’t going to work. After looking around for information I found out how you can stream media, and the issues last year with YouTube, via the SL wiki pages and forums.

This was helpful for background knowledge, but, it didn’t actually provide a workable solution I could use. Obviously there is a way, or more than one, to do this. An example I did find was what looks a complex method of playing around with something called ‘token authentication’. I have absolutely no idea what that is and felt unconfident at trying to use it. It is also possible to rip a video, save to your hard drive and then stream it yourself. I have some problems with doing that and would prefer to have an alternative.

For people in Second Life, (and other places where it is enabled) on Viewer 2.0 there is another option of using shared media. This facility was mentioned as coming to OpenSim in an interview with Justin Clark-Casey on the Hypergrid Business website back in July 2010; following on from that though I have been unable to find any further information on developments.

Whilst these things are, for the most part, minor problems when taken on an individual basis, one of the biggest challenges is in finding the right information. I think that highlighting these instances is useful to give an accurate picture of (virtual) life using OpenSim. And with fingers crossed on integrated solutions coming along in the near future.

Blog hiatus

Hi all!

From today there will be a short break from new posts. Both myself and Thom find writing fun and rewarding, but, it can also be quite time-intensive.

We’re taking a bit of time off for our OpenSim regions. We’ll be doing some building and learning, also tracking down a strange bug/behaviour that may or may not be linked to a script. If we find out what it is we’ll be blogging about that!

We’ll still be keeping an eye on things here at Enlades, so if you have any questions or comments, please, feel free to leave them on the relevant post. We’ll be back with new guides, tips and experiences in a week or so.

Thanks for reading, be back soon.

Belochka and Thom