Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Q2-2014 OpenSim

It is the halfway point in the year, and I wanted to take a moment to throw out some more personal observations for those who may find them interesting enough to read, or something to ponder over your morning coffee and donuts.

My Q1 observations are here. Please ignore the mistake I made in the URL, but I did see it after publishing and corrected the title ;-)

The Metaverse is doing very well. Much has happened in the past 3 months. You can also look at the sidebars for further places to go read up on current things, if you wish.

Kitely, as you can see on their blog, has been moving forward with quite a bit of innovation.

I was especially pleased to see them enable hypergating. A hypergate connected Metaverse is my primary focus and motivation for staying involved, so the more who see this for its value, the better, to my eyes.

It is worth your time to read up on them, I promise.

As Kitely is a commercial style OpenSim grid, it is an important paradigm changer for the Owners to not only do quite a bit of coding work behind the scenes in order to make it work for permissions and such other commercial type aspects, but to see that enabling hypergating is a forward and progressive way to move ahead.

They are also involved in Core OS improvements, as noted here, where you can find the main Kitely programmer listed as orenh1, and where you can also note other contributors and read the various things done, most of which is completely over my own head...lol

As well, they enabled delivery from the marketplace to any grids who wish to receive content from their creators. This, in turn, has not only given the rest of the Meta legally licensed content previously only available in the closed sl commercial style grids [or in SL] but has also given content creators a vast new market to sell to.

This is a very important development for the Metaverse and I expect to see other currently closed sl clone type grids to follow, or, if not, to eventually fail. But this is the way of technology.

My personal hosting company for my regions, Zetamex, has been making various changes in their business model as the tech moves forward, and I am still very satisfied with what they do, and their customer service. They recently added support for the new VarRegions and Bullet physics which was added to OpenSim, as noted here with information on .8.

I have my Zetamex regions hosted inside Metropolis and I still very much enjoy the grid, the people in it, the spirit of sharing and the vision of the admins. Metropolis is the HUB of the free Meta, with several roleplaying regions, historical recreations, events, Artistic endeavours and an upcoming Democratically elected grid management team which the details are still being discussed.

Even though both Metropolis and Kitely have few total numbers, they are alive with activity which keeps me more than busy with the time I have to spare.

As it is on the hypergates, I can HG out to other places as events come up, such as Kitely, FrancoGrid, Craft-World, etc. Hypergating is so freeing and appeals to the old flower child in me.

As noted above, the latest released version of OpenSim is .8. This version is a rather large one and includes several major changes and enhancements. One is the move to Bullet physics as the default [while still allowing people to continue using ODE physics by changing some lines in their OS files [forgive me, that tech is beyond me]. The other major change is the integration of VarRegions into core.

VarRegions, from this layman's perspective, allow very large land masses that have no typical 256x256 region border issues, as there are none up to the size of whatever one wishes to make them, only limited by computer resources, afaik.

While one grid, inwz, continues to try and keep people misinformed of the full nature of these improvements and innovations, mainly by insisting it is better to simply keep the standard SL created region sizes and work on making the border crossings seamless, the VarRegions just blow on past such antiquated old-tech notions.

To be fair, however, inwz has invested quite a bit of time on their coding efforts in this regard, so it is clearly in their best interests to maintain this illusion. Which is fine. It is, however, my opinion that relying on, and trying to improve, [what is it exactly?] 10-13 year old technical limitations is rather self-defeating, but that is just my own subjective non-tech thinking.

The rest of OS now has the option, and many have already updated or are in the process of updating, to keep up with the current tech innovations. I see this as the simple march of software and I find it fun and interesting to be involved with, even as the simple end user of it as I am.

Recently, and still with an ongoing debate, Linden Lab, owners of SL, have announced some future changes. Some discussion can be seen here in a Firestorm Viewer blog on the matter. My personal take on this latest issue there is that it is, again, good for the rest of the Meta. It is my observation that many current SL residents are looking for options and only need a slight push/suggestions to show them there are such options, and they can see for themselves.

What the future holds, of course, is anyone's guess. Technology is a moving thing, often paradigm changers happen that result in all previous software becoming obsolete. Being an old time computer user, this has always been the fun part for me, but also having become rather set in my ways over time, I do find some aspects hard to keep up with.

The Occulus Rift buyout by Facebook will likely change the face of VR within the next year or so, and such that the entry costs may become something people such as myself, on fixed incomes, will no longer be able to afford. But this is hard to foresee since we know that as software often comes down in pricing with larger markets opening up, so will the hardware, just as computers themselves have done over time.

On the other hand, there has been some interesting work done with browser based VR simulations, as noted in this HyperGrid Business article. I actually tried this, as noted in the comment section.

In any case, this is just some quick observations on the state of some aspects of VR, as I see it now...how I will see it in the future is for the future to show me.