Thursday, June 11, 2015

Safari turns Blue

BlueWall Slade: Friending is a mystery

               Hypergridding has changed the face of OpenSim. It has opened doors and forged friendships across grids. As much as it's still a work in progress, the possibility to visit 'foreign countries' is one of the most intriguing, challenging, and fascinating aspects of OpenSim. Once considered the denizen of curmudgeonly geeks, OpenSim has blossomed into a cross pollination of creativity, and created in many a sense of belonging to the whole hyperverse, rather than just one niche.

               All this liberality fosters a sense of love and tolerance, the precious values at the heart of the first destination visited this week, Pepperland in Littlefield Grid built by Mudpuddle Cleanslate and Chelsea Louloudi. (Addresses for the destinations are, as always, at the end of the post.)

                    Mud has created an excellent video of his build, and you can watch it here. It was great to be able to see the builders in person - and we appreciated them both taking time out of their day. On a weeknight for Mud, and early on a week morning for Chelsea, they accompanied us around the build - just as well they did for, as Mud pointed out, it's quite easy to get lost here.

                It's an immense, and immensely entertaining place, and there is no way we could possibly see it all on just one visit. There is a lot to see on the ground, but much of the build involves reading bright yellow signs and finding secret portals that allow you to teleport up to skyboxes, so if you're overwhelmed by it all (which often happens to visitors in a new place) you risk missing a lot of crucial bits of the story.

                The two sim region recreates scenes from the 1968 musical fantasy Yellow Submarine, an animated film based on the songs of the Beatles. You can watch Yellow Submarine online here. It's 90 minutes long, but I highly recommend you take a look, either before or after your visit, because it will deeply enhance your appreciation for the build, and make you want to visit again and again!
Mudpuddle welcomes the Safari crowd. 

               More than a dozen safaristas showed up for the tour, one of the most extraordinary in all of OpenSim. Why? Because it is a tour-de-force in 3D modelling. Eight months in the making, the likeness to the film and the attention to detail are astounding. Mud told us it took him ages, for example, to get the feet right on the policeman, shown here with Fuschia and Wizzy.
Nice shoes!

                 In a gorgeous hall with an interior by Chelsea, Mud has assembled the full gallery of characters, so you can easily imagine this build being used in an academic setting, where students explore the meaning of the film, both in terms of its wealth of allegory and in terms of  the way the songs have been woven into a surreal narrative thread.

                 Like all great works of art, its brilliance shines through on a lot of levels. If you are already a fan of the Beatles and know this film well, then you're going to be astounded at how accurately it depicts all the various scenes. The interior of the Yellow Submarine, for example, is amazing! (That's the lovely and very talented Chelsea in the foreground.)
                 If you're not a big Beatles fan, or (like me) enjoy their songs but have never seen the film, then a visit here may turn you into an enthusiast. If you're in a more lighthearted mood and simply wish to see something brilliant without getting into the culture behind it, then equally you'll love this place. 

               We sat on the Beatles, as they turned to the song 'Nowhere man'. The instinct to interact with the build is a very strong one, although maybe not what the builders intended.

                    We were on Pepperland for well over an hour and still had not come close to reading and looking at everything, and then it was time to go, as BlueWall waited for us on the other side of the metaverse. This was a return visit to one of OpenSim's core developers, and we were eager to talk to him about HG bugs, and get some more insights about things that go wrong with intergrid communication. 

                   We all gathered on his grid Indigo Expanse, a collection of sims that reflect his long presence in virtual worlds. As we did some months back, we sat in the arena at the Grove sim, which is decidedly not a blue place.
Bluewall (in the foreground) talks Profiles
                    This is not the kind of blog where we go in for reposting the entire Local Chat, so more was said about all these issues than is written here. Anyone who was there, and wants to add a point that isn't mentioned below is free to do so in the comments.

                    Basically we talked about three things, Friends, Assets and Lag.
Nara.Nook: why is friending so difficult?
BlueWall Slade: profiles might be an issue since a lot of grids built their web frontends around it. They are incompatible.  I added profiles to core and made them different because the old ones are not exactly right. They have bits of the search mingled in profiles and needed to be separated. Also, I needed to pre-fetch the images for the profiles. I hope to be able to do some work on those, then try to get others to upgrade their profiles to work. But, the old profiles will never really work with HG unless they are drastically changed.
Neo.Cortex: just tell us how and we will do it
BlueWall Slade: could start by updating "open profiles" to match the core ones.
logicamp.master: I have a problem with the new profile module
BlueWall Slade: Which new one? core or updated open profiles?
logicamp.master: the built-in
BlueWall Slade: what is the issue?
logicamp.master: xmlexception in avatar_properties_request
BlueWall Slade: they use jsonrpc, not xmlrpc - so any idea where that is coming from? Maybe you are pulling up a profile that resides on a grid running the old profiles; that would make sense, and that's not a bug, but a feature.
logicamp.master: I think its a problem of compatibility between php4 and php5
BlueWall Slade: core profiles are all in C# - part of core code. I know the old profiles haven't really been maintained in a good while. But, there were issues in the old ones that were better dealt with by replacing them. They could work if someone wants to put in the effort. Get the open profiles maintainer to update them to handle HG. I worked on them for a while, but it was hard to try to get things done.
Thirza.Ember: is that why on a lot of grids you see people have two profiles in Search?
BlueWall Slade: the old ones were mixed with search, and couldn't carry things across HG
For instance, you can't make a favorite place in the old one. With the new one, that works. Old ones, lots of times a blank profile pic will be shown. They have issues getting that data because of asset server permissions. The core profiles handle that so the image assets are there. The core profiles also carry information that can support extended applications to be created on top of them.
Thirza.Ember: so Profiles are a lot more crucial to HG than we imagined
BlueWall Slade: yes. The issue is that the old profile doesn't work. If people update those to handle hg and speak to the core profile, then it works.  When I made core profiles, I made them a little different, because talking to the old ones wouldn't work.
Neo.Cortex: so what can we do right now?
BlueWall Slade: the old one's maintainer just needs to fix them. Someone tried adding a patch to core to make them talk and made it worse. The old ones need to be updated. I am planning to add some security things in - if I do it will really break them - the old ones are insecure, so are core - to a point. We need some modern methods of securing them, the old ones will never get updated.
Thirza.Ember: don't break them PLEASE
BlueWall Slade: lol, If I work on them I will fix them, it is up to non-core implementations to follow suit
Neo.Cortex: so there is nothing i as a grid owner can do atm?
BlueWall Slade:  Study core profiles service in robust and update their protocols against that api
Neo.Cortex : that's development that has to be coordinated.
BlueWall Slade: it is - core has an implementation
Neo.Cortex: ok, so lets all move to core
BlueWall Slade: the grid owners need to implement the proper protocols
Neo.Cortex: as i did, yet still it wont work with many grids
BlueWall Slade: What doesn't work?
Neo.Cortex: the grid owners are using the core opensim distro most of the time, only some use different implementations
BlueWall Slade: So, If I take time to fix stuff and extend so it is useful - do I suffer because others are lazy
Neo.Cortex: i don't think so
BlueWall Slade: core is the reference implementation
Neo.Cortex: if your solution offers a working way to fix our problems we will all move there
BlueWall Slade: one thing to watch for ... the search is tangled up in the old ones, that was part of the reason to move. Old ones, you can't see classifieds or picks, they just weren't built with Hg in mind and I did do some work on them, but, was hopeless, so, if you want to move, make a test case and see if it works for you.

             ...I hope you all followed that conversation, as there will be a test later.
Jessica Pixel mimes 'Chair Sitting' as we muse the interesting topic of assets

 Lucy.Afarensis: One of the bad things that was inherited from 2nd Life is the central asset server. It worked for them because it tied an avatar to their grid and they had lot of money to throw at maintaining a large data base. This is not the case with opensim. Most of the larger grids have been plagued with problems trying to contain ever increasing assets. It might help to change things so that an avatar could be part of a grid but their assets would be stored as part of their home sim on the hard drive of their server. All of the other services could be provided by the grid. I am not sure how big a change this would be but we are half way there already with people being able to participate in the hypergrid from standalones.
BlueWall Slade: assets grow and grow in a grid, but distributing by allowing transport from various places helps.
Lucy.Afarensis : So the devs are thinking about this?
BlueWall Slade: Lucy, I'm not sure ... We seem to all be pretty busy trying to put bread on the table atm.
James.Atlloud: Or could avatars store assets in location like google drive or Box? 
Mal.Burns: if someone set up central server for "suitcase" assets would that sort of thing help? (aside from home grid user assets that is)
BlueWall Slade: Hmm, it would be interesting to see some service like that - Assets cloud
Lucy.Afarensis: Could the assets be stored with the viewer instead of a grid?
Neo.Cortex: that would mean you have to have a really big upstream bandwidth at home, because you'd have to give that info to all users around you
BlueWall Slade: one thing, people take their entire asset tree with them ...
<< Inventory tree. I have thought that it would be handy to have an "Attic"-  just opposite of the suitcase. If the viewer would just leave those alone except on sandbox or home regions...
James.Atlloud : Yes! I'm sure even me (infrequent user) , I do not use 98% of inventory.
BlueWall Slade: When you login, you get your inventory folders - top level I think then the viewer starts requesting the contents -all of them - and then when you jump to another region, you carry that as well. On HG, you don't really fetch the data, but you go through the motions. At least the other data is not available. But, if there were an attic, that would alleviate lots of data that is rarely used. I would say that it would open on the home region - maybe sandbox regions, otherwise you couldn't access it. 
Thirza.Ember: and you could move it out of the Attic and into the ordinary folder if needed before you left home.
BlueWall Slade: I suppose you could.
The conversation being completely over our heads, Fuschia and I decide to dance.
LAG (and more about assets) 
Nara.Nook: I have a huge problem with users on very slow connections taking the regions down with all the resend requests. Especially if there is a Small group on the region. Is there any fix for that in the works? Satellite and Starbucks users are big contributors. I have one guy hits us with massive lag before he ever rezzes. We know he is trying to log on.
BlueWall Slade: ++ Nara I have heard of that. We (OpenSim) needs to really look at how we do some things in the network)  I think that is terrible for a slow connection to bring it down
Serene.Jewell: The grid owner should be able to set a flag for slow users and when it gets tripped, the user gets warned or ejected.
Jessica.Pixel:you could probably limit someone from coming in if their suitcase was over a certain size.
Thirza.Ember: that Suitcase Size idea is a good one it would make people more aware of what they are packing
BlueWall Slade: wouldn't really be able to do that level of manipulation
Jessica.Pixel: once the assets are brought over do they stay on the other server unless manually removed?
BlueWall Slade: that is the point of the suitcase ... that is a protection mechanism to keep a rogue operator out of your things
Mal.Burns: grids without suitcase dont help at all lol!
Nara.Nook: you need a suitcase big enough to carry your extra hair and feet for when they disappear
BlueWall Slade: hmm, we probably should let attachments through
Neo.Cortex: But many ppl run HG1.0 because every so often SuitCase simply sucks
BlueWall Slade: Hmmm, sucks because of operation or just an inconvenience?
Neo.Cortex: ...can't access you inventory, even if you want it. The  suitcase is great for commercial grids but not for the open hypergrid
BlueWall Slade: Neo - that is by design. If you can access your inventory, then so can I. I can wipe out your inventory,steal it, we don't want that.
Nara.Nook: as in delete it?
Neo.Cortex: so what? my stuff is CC.
BlueWall Slade: ok, but not everyone's is.
Neo.Cortex: i understand the need for a way to lock things up, but why lock all ?
BlueWall Slade: because I may buy an item that is supposed to be protected, then visit Thirza's region and she could have a module that lifts a copy. that would go against the creator's wishes.
Neo.Cortex:  if someone wants to copy, they can, but that's not the point. The rights system is weak. There isn't even some watermark system in place to file proper complaints. If there was a way to protect those bought items it would be great.
BlueWall Slade: the suitcase is the only real thing we have though.
Blue surrounded.
        This is my last Safari for a little while, so I wanted to ask the group one question
Thirza.Ember: Question for the whole group - over the past year that we have been doing the Safari, do you think hypergridding has become easier for you, yes or no?
Lucy.Afarensis: easier - easier in part because I know more now
James.Atlloud: mostly yes, easier.
Neo.Cortex: besides those few bugs we mentioned... it is ok
Jessica.Pixel: yes, i think i crash a lot less between teleports
Fuschia.Nightfire: yes definitely
Mal.Burns: actually - a bit worse for me, but I rarely lose my hair anymore more - small mercies!
Nara.Nook: I think hypergrid is better. I find I crash less, turn up bald less, and can get to 90 percent of places I want to go.
Serene.Jewell: easier yes. but I lost my branches in transport today, so not perfect yet...

BlueWall Slade: I wish I could say that I will be able to work on these within the month, but I am working 12-18 hours / day
Thirza.Ember: we don't care Blue, we just are very appreciative that you have us and our problems in mind, we know it's a long process
Nara.Nook: What Thirza said
BlueWall Slade: I do, I really do. And I have these in mind always..
          Hooray for the devs! 
          Safari meets as always next Wednesday, noon Pacific time, on Teravus Plaza OSGrid. Join the group, you will have fun!

Mudpuddle and Chelsea's Pepperland
Bluewall Slade's meeting arena    grove


  1. What a great tour, so sorry I missed this one! You write so eloquently, a joy to read and your photos are wonderful! Thanks for sharing for those that missed this event! HUGGLES

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