Re: TSB Feasibility Study: Online Virtual Worlds for Urban Regeneration Consultation

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Re: TSB Feasibility Study: Online Virtual Worlds for Urban Regeneration Consultation

Ben Francis-4
Hi,

Firstly, thank you for all the responses, it gives me a good starting point.

On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 7:16 AM, Dr Scofield <[hidden email]> wrote:

as we are looking at similar OpenSim applications, i'd be interested in learning
more about this study. any links that we could follow up?

Hi Dr S,

I'm afraid I don't really have anything much more related to OpenSim than is posted on this thread. I have found some interesting work on other projects though.

Some interesting proprietary examples for inspiration are an Israeli company called GeoSim and the new virtual Berlin in Twinity. Google Earth Enterprise & Earth API provide practical solutions to some GIS tasks, though not really a virtual world in the sense of OpenSim.

There's some very interesting standardisation work going on at the Web3D Consortium under the X3D-Earth working group, though they haven't publically published anything since 2007, their work is ongoing and they are collaborating with the Open Geospatial Consoritum.

As for OpenSim, I'm still exploring (though I'm running out of time). The Orcas island example  that Nebadon posted a link to is quite neat (or at least the improved version linked to from the blog post) and the Berkeley simulation from lidar images also provides a good example.

If anyone has time for a quick response, I do have some more general questions about OpenSim.

GIS Import

As far as I can tell the examples given so far are all essentially creating terrains from raster data. What I'm more interested in is creating accurate models based on vector map data, particularly in the UK from Ordnance Survey MasterMap data. I've not yet seen any examples of this kind of thing.

Asset Import

A basic question, how does OpenSim natively represent geometry? What data format or data structure does it use? Presumably people have experience importing assets from a variety of formats? COLLADA? 3DS? X3D?

Asset Library & Manipulation

Does OpenSim have the same kind of experience as Second Life for being able to pick 3d assets from an asset library and manipulate them in real time in the scene? Can multiple avatars manipulate the same object?

Map Size Constraints

How does this work? Is it one 256x256m region per machine, with them linked together?

In-world Communication

Presumably OpenSim has the same kind of IM as Second Life? I've been reading on the mailing list about VoIP support today, it seems it's coming?

Running Costs

Does anyone have any figures for how much it costs to host OpenSim regions in terms of hardware etc.? I remember the story about a Second Life sim alledgedly using more power than a typical Brazilian! What are the typical hardware system requirements?

Skillset

What kind of skillset would be required for a developer embarking on a project using OpenSim? C#? What else?

Thanks for your input everyone!

Regards

Ben


--
Ben Francis
http://tola.me.uk

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Re: TSB Feasibility Study: Online Virtual Worlds for Urban Regeneration Consultation

justincc
Ben Francis wrote:

> Hi,
>
> Firstly, thank you for all the responses, it gives me a good starting point.
>
> On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 7:16 AM, Dr Scofield <[hidden email]
> <mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
>
>
>     as we are looking at similar OpenSim applications, i'd be interested
>     in learning
>     more about this study. any links that we could follow up?
>
>
> Hi Dr S,
>
> I'm afraid I don't really have anything much more related to OpenSim
> than is posted on this thread. I have found some interesting work on
> other projects though.
>
> Some interesting proprietary examples for inspiration are an Israeli
> company called GeoSim <http://www.geosim.co.il> and the new virtual
> Berlin in Twinity <http://twinity.com>. Google Earth Enterprise
> <http://earth.google.com/enterprise/earth_enterprise.html> & Earth API
> <http://code.google.com/apis/earth/> provide practical solutions to some
> GIS tasks, though not really a virtual world in the sense of OpenSim.
>
> There's some very interesting standardisation work going on at the Web3D
> Consortium <http://web3d.org> under the X3D-Earth
> <http://www.web3d.org/x3d-earth/> working group, though they haven't
> publically published anything since 2007, their work is ongoing and they
> are collaborating with the Open Geospatial Consoritum
> <http://www.opengeospatial.org>.
>
> As for OpenSim, I'm still exploring (though I'm running out of time).
> The Orcas island example  that Nebadon posted a link to is quite neat
> (or at least the improved version
> <http://blog.simgis.com/2008/09/11/usgs-terrain-in-opensim-a-gis-approach/>
> linked to from the blog post) and the Berkeley simulation from lidar
> images also provides a good example.
>
> If anyone has time for a quick response, I do have some more general
> questions about OpenSim.

I can have a quick go at some of these, no guarantees of accuracy.

>
> *GIS Import*
>
> As far as I can tell the examples given so far are all essentially
> creating terrains from raster data. What I'm more interested in is
> creating accurate models based on vector map data, particularly in the
> UK from Ordnance Survey MasterMap data. I've not yet seen any examples
> of this kind of thing.
>
> *Asset Import*
>
> A basic question, how does OpenSim natively represent geometry? What
> data format or data structure does it use? Presumably people have
> experience importing assets from a variety of formats? COLLADA? 3DS? X3D?

At the moment, data is effectively represented in a primitive undocumented XML format that is very tightly bound to that
of Second Life.  I'm not aware of any experiments importing data from other formats such as COLLADA, 3DS or X3D though
it is something that I would hope to see in the future.

>
> *Asset Library & Manipulation*
>
> Does OpenSim have the same kind of experience as Second Life for being
> able to pick 3d assets from an asset library and manipulate them in real
> time in the scene? Can multiple avatars manipulate the same object?

Yes.

>
> *Map Size Constraints*
>
> How does this work? Is it one 256x256m region per machine, with them
> linked together?

Region servers can run multiple 256 x 256 regions.  These can run 'standalone' where an environment serving the
simulations and services such as inventory is entirely contained on a single server.  Or OpenSim can be run in 'grid'
mode where multiple region servers can be linked together.  There is also a more experimental decentralized OpenSim mode
called 'hypergrid'.

>
> *In-world Communication*
>
> Presumably OpenSim has the same kind of IM as Second Life? I've been
> reading on the mailing list about VoIP support today, it seems it's coming?

OpenSim has the same kind of IM, though I'm not sure how sophisticated support is in grid mode across multiple region
servers.

Consider the mailing list as a big melting pot of ideas.  Some of these may get implemented, many will not.  Some will
be implemented soon, some a lot later.  The only way to really be sure is to see real code being openly developed (and
then one really needs to be a programmer to assess progress :).

>
> *Running Costs*
>
> Does anyone have any figures for how much it costs to host OpenSim
> regions in terms of hardware etc.? I remember the story about a Second
> Life sim alledgedly using more power than a typical Brazilian! What are
> the typical hardware system requirements?

This is a perennial question which doesn't yet have a good answer.  I do remember seeing a short page on the wiki
somewhere on this but I can't remember the link.

>
> *Skillset*
>
> What kind of skillset would be required for a developer embarking on a
> project using OpenSim? C#? What else?

C# and good code reading skills, since our documentation in many areas is poor to non-existent.  Also, the ability to
work with open source and open source communities is essential.  You also want them to have basic database skills too.

--
justincc
Justin Clark-Casey
http://justincc.wordpress.com
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Re: TSB Feasibility Study: Online Virtual Worlds for Urban Regeneration Consultation

Dave Coyle
In reply to this post by Ben Francis-4
On 2009-01-25 16:13:35 -0500, [hidden email] wrote:
> As for OpenSim, I'm still exploring (though I'm running out of time). The Orcas
> island example  that Nebadon posted a link to is quite neat (or at least the
> improved version linked to from the blog post) and the Berkeley simulation from
> lidar images also provides a good example.

Another link which might be useful.. generating OpenSim terrain maps
from USGS DEM data:

    http://www.ics.uci.edu/~lopes/terraingen/

-Coyle
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Re: TSB Feasibility Study: Online Virtual Worlds for Urban Regeneration Consultation

Dave Coyle
In reply to this post by justincc
On 2009-01-27 09:36:04 -0500, [hidden email] wrote:
> > Does anyone have any figures for how much it costs to host OpenSim
> > regions in terms of hardware etc.? I remember the story about a Second
> > Life sim alledgedly using more power than a typical Brazilian! What are
> > the typical hardware system requirements?
>
> This is a perennial question which doesn't yet have a good answer.
> I do remember seeing a short page on the wiki somewhere on this but
> I can't remember the link.

Perhaps you're thinking of:

    http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Hardware_Selection_Guide

Of course, that's not necessarily a representative sample... of the
thousands of OpenSim regions currently running this page only accounts
for <20.  :)

To the original question: unfortunately it depends.  Depends on now
many regions per sim, how many sims per server, how many simultaneous
avatars will be in those regions, how many scripts will be running and
of what kinds, how many prims in those regions, etc.  There was some
anecdotal conversation on #opensim or #osgrid yesterday (don't
remember which) where people suggested not running more than 10
regions per sim.

One of the (many) nice things about OpenSim is that if you use the
grid-mode functionality then it's easy to move regions around to
different machines, allowing you to easily add hardware if your needs
require.

-Coyle
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Re: TSB Feasibility Study: Online Virtual Worlds for Urban Regeneration Consultation

Cristina Videira Lopes
In reply to this post by Dave Coyle
On this topic, I am involved with a company that is doing exactly that -- using virtual worlds (OpenSim in particular) to model urban planning projects.
The terraingen tool is part of that, but we're focusing on the dynamics of urban areas, traffic mostly. You can see the beginnings of that in a demo I put up in the UCI Grid -- see http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Second_Birthday for how to visit. (once there, click on the panel in the middle of the road)

Crista



Dave Coyle wrote:
On 2009-01-25 16:13:35 -0500, [hidden email] wrote:
  
As for OpenSim, I'm still exploring (though I'm running out of time). The Orcas
island example  that Nebadon posted a link to is quite neat (or at least the
improved version linked to from the blog post) and the Berkeley simulation from
lidar images also provides a good example.
    

Another link which might be useful.. generating OpenSim terrain maps
from USGS DEM data:

    http://www.ics.uci.edu/~lopes/terraingen/

-Coyle
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Re: TSB Feasibility Study: Online Virtual Worlds for Urban Regeneration Consultation

Mic Bowman
In reply to this post by Dave Coyle
FWIW...

There are two "plazas" on ScienceSim that use terrain built from GIS
data (Yellowstone National Park and Mt St Helens volcano... should be
one more 4x4 plaza coming soon). Feel free to come by and take a look
(hypergrid info for sciencesim is on the opensim wiki).

If there is interest, I would be happy to do a "class" on the process
I used to make those regions.

--mic


On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 7:14 AM, Dave Coyle <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 2009-01-25 16:13:35 -0500, [hidden email] wrote:
>> As for OpenSim, I'm still exploring (though I'm running out of time). The Orcas
>> island example  that Nebadon posted a link to is quite neat (or at least the
>> improved version linked to from the blog post) and the Berkeley simulation from
>> lidar images also provides a good example.
>
> Another link which might be useful.. generating OpenSim terrain maps
> from USGS DEM data:
>
>    http://www.ics.uci.edu/~lopes/terraingen/
>
> -Coyle
> _______________________________________________
> Opensim-dev mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.berlios.de/mailman/listinfo/opensim-dev
>
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Re: TSB Feasibility Study: Online Virtual Worlds for Urban Regeneration Consultation

Charles Krinke-3
Dear Mic:

I have heard from many folks that realistic terrain is an objective for a number of projects to represent real-life regions in a simulation, so I would vote +1 for any class, written details, tutorial, demo *or* whatever might get this knowledge spread around the Metaverse a bit.

Charles


From: Mic Bowman <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 8:36:16 AM
Subject: Re: [Opensim-dev] TSB Feasibility Study: Online Virtual Worlds for Urban Regeneration Consultation

FWIW...

There are two "plazas" on ScienceSim that use terrain built from GIS
data (Yellowstone National Park and Mt St Helens volcano... should be
one more 4x4 plaza coming soon). Feel free to come by and take a look
(hypergrid info for sciencesim is on the opensim wiki).

If there is interest, I would be happy to do a "class" on the process
I used to make those regions.

--mic


On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 7:14 AM, Dave Coyle <coyle+[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 2009-01-25 16:13:35 -0500, [hidden email] wrote:
>> As for OpenSim, I'm still exploring (though I'm running out of time). The Orcas
>> island example  that Nebadon posted a link to is quite neat (or at least the
>> improved version linked to from the blog post) and the Berkeley simulation from
>> lidar images also provides a good example.
>
> Another link which might be useful.. generating OpenSim terrain maps
> from USGS DEM data:
>
>    http://www.ics.uci.edu/~lopes/terraingen/
>
> -Coyle
> _______________________________________________
> Opensim-dev mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.berlios.de/mailman/listinfo/opensim-dev
>
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Re: TSB Feasibility Study: Online Virtual Worlds for Urban Regeneration Consultation

Dahlia Trimble
In reply to this post by Dave Coyle
I recently used this tutorial to import some USGS terrain into a few of my OSGrid regions: http://www.virtualwhite.com/?p=100 
The process worked fairly well but I had some difficulty making a usable region as the scale I used was probably too small and the terrain was too coarse, but it does provide a nice scenery when viewed from nearby regions. I used the big island of Hawaii in one region and Santa Catalina in 2 regions; in order to make a usable terrain I would probably have to stretch them across many regions. Another problem I had was scaling in the vertical axis; in order to make a somewhat believable horizon and also match the seams with the undersea levels of the neighboring regions, I had to adjust the grayscale levels of the terrain images with a curve function in Photoshop. I did this by eye and did not attempt to make an accurate scale representation but rather a visually similar horizon. I'm not really happy with the results but I suspect one could achieve much better by further experiments with scaling.

On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 7:14 AM, Dave Coyle <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2009-01-25 16:13:35 -0500, [hidden email] wrote:
> As for OpenSim, I'm still exploring (though I'm running out of time). The Orcas
> island example  that Nebadon posted a link to is quite neat (or at least the
> improved version linked to from the blog post) and the Berkeley simulation from
> lidar images also provides a good example.

Another link which might be useful.. generating OpenSim terrain maps
from USGS DEM data:

   http://www.ics.uci.edu/~lopes/terraingen/

-Coyle
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