State of the Grid 2014

Once again, it’s time (way past time) for the state of the grid post.  It almost amazes me each time I go to do one of these the thoughts I had on the last one.  So often, I’m off in an entirely different direction with each post.  Guess it is as they say, the only thing that stays the same is the fact that things change.

Current PC Setup – MFL is currently running on three different servers.  Which doesn’t sound like any thing much different than before but only one of those is the same, the other two are different systems.  2 are running XP, 1 running Win7.

Simulators and Regions – Most days, I’m running 8 regions on 2 simulators, when in full steam ahead mode, I’m running 14 regions on 5 simulators.  I no longer maintain a region on OSGrid.  There was a lot of drama going on there last year and since I’m not a big fan of drama, I just packed up and went home to avoid it all.  Version wise, OS is currently working on Dev versions 0.8.x, however around 0.7.5 I stopped using the dev versions and have begun to stick strictly to the release versions.  For my use, the software has matured enough that I no longer need to ride the bleeding edge to get the functionality I need.  From here on, that is my plan.

Current Goals – This is probably the category that has changed the most.  I’m sure in my previous posts I detailed how the hypergrid changed the original thoughts on what my grid was going to be/do.  Now I rather much limit myself to offers a few regions for hypergrid visitors.  I do still allow new signups on my grid however I don’t really try to promote that as I’d rather not be responsible for keeping up with everyone’s inventory, nor do I wish to be the prim police.

A current goal is to use what I’ve learned to help others create their own simulators (standalone or grid connected) or to create their own grid.  To this point, I’d give a ruff, off the top of my head count as hundreds of grid connected simulators, 20 standalone simulators (there truly isn’t much to this any more, hence the low numbers as most don’t need help getting one of these going, OS has made the configuration such that it is the default configuration when you launch the file), and perhaps 15 different grids (low numbers here also as the whole prospect is beyond the abilities of most, they either don’t have the resources or don’t have the desire to run their own).  Which, I’d have to agree that for most people, it is overkill.  Tons of fun without all the grief is to be had with a hypergrid enabled standalone.

Another goal is my OS marching band.  I probably need a swift kick in the rear on this one as I created the band about a year ago.  Have all the NPCs setup to follow my commands of drill and movement, yet, the final goal was to release a video of the band and that part I have yet to begin on.  So, perhaps my guilt as I write this will inspire me to get back to that project.

And that is rather the state of the grid.  OS keeps plugging along, adding improvements all the time, growing all the time.

State of the Grid 2012

Once again,  a state of the nation.  The current configuration is running OpenSim 0.7.3dev.  It is one of the current master merges, one within the last month.  Currently running two OSGrid regions on a simulator and 12 MFL (my first life) regions on my self hosted grid.  I am using jOpenSim as the backbone for the web site front end.  jOpensim is a module that runs as an extension of Joomla.

Voice has been offered and accepted from Vivox as part of their trial period.  I’m not really sure how long it will last, but Vivox is some fine fine game audio and at least for now, is available in world, just enable it in your viewer.  Thanks and hats off to them to be willing to give up their resources long enough to figure out just what a typical OS user would want/need/require as an OS grid user.  Please note, during this trial, the mumble server has been put to sleep.

Sim Status – Twin Falls has been moved from OSGrid to MFL grid, Grabanickel Island is next, leaving only OSG MFL as the only island still in OSG. The Virtual Philip Barbour High School (vpbhs) region has been moved off the beta grid and is now housed on the main MFL grid.  OO Oasis has been cleared of all objects and will house the moved osg grabanickel island region.  Valmart continues on but with issues in how I chose to link up graphics. The Welcome area is rather unchanged minus any improvements I made in the news updates and teleports possible in the news area.  A new area, MineCraftia, has been added on another server.  MineCraftia is a themed region, paying homage to the game Minecraft.  Grabanickel now offers a Bukkit/Minecraft server, connect your client and join us in a round or more of great Minecraft fun. Check the main grabanickel.com site for more information (grabaminecraft link).

Currently checking on Gaikai as a possible platform to offer game demo’s.  GaiKai’s service allows you to play games, test games, without having to install the game, you play it on their network.  We’ll see where it goes by the next “state of the grid” round up message.

OpenSim continues to improve, jOpenSim continues to improve, Joomla was already up to the task.  Singularity and ZEN are my current favorite viewers, and offer the best compatibility currently with Opensim (in my experiences).  More people continue to join OSGrid and more continue to press on into hosting their own standalone and/or personal grid regions.  The Hypergrid continues to offer a better and better experience, bridging the gap from one grid to another seemlessly,  giving hope that the envisioned hypergrid is indeed going to become the ultimate winner in the grid game.   And it should, what could be better than visiting any and all other grids while keeping your data at home?

All in all, life is good in the world of OpenSim, good in Minecraft, and perhaps will soon be good with Gaikai (or not….)

 

 

August 2011 State of Grid

OK, time once again for a general round up of the state of this project.  Currently, I am running version 0.7.2 of OS.  OS is coming along, this version has improved the HyperGrid experience.  Friends Lists now spam across the grids, so you can make friends from different sims and see their online offline status, as well as send them IM’s and TP offers.  It’s starting to feel way more connected now.  0.7.2 has lots of other “under the hood” improvements which I won’t bother detailing but as this software starts to close in on 1.0, things are looking really well.  Odd, seems the more the software does and the closer it gets to 1.o, the more people moan about the things that aren’t yet done.  All in all, I think the better the software gets the less they remember it is still in beta.

OK, gotta speed up this summery.  I’m now using the OpenSim plug-in for Joomla as my web interface.  It also keeps getting better but I need to do a major update on that software.  It has had many revisions since I last installed an update for it but as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke…  don’t fix it.  The regions count is currently 11, but will be dropped back to 10 soon.  6 of those regions running on one PC, and 4 on another.  2 other islands are running on OSGrid, related to MFL, but not.  So, 3 sim servers and one robust server currently making up the MFL group of regions.

Earning a buck…

OK, hope it doesn’t upset anyone too much, finally decided to try to make a little bit of change back from all this.  Currently setup with Google AdSense (they post ads) and a few of the T-Shirt companies (they sell my t-shirt designs).  Trying to get setup with Amazon as they seem to have the broadest line of products I could offer you, however, since most of my traffic comes through the hyper-grid, it will be tuff to explain to a non 3D world company about how it is I have traffic, but their records don’t show it.  We’ll see.  Currently I’ve been accepted, then rejected, and I’m now reapplying again.  Sure hope it works out as I’d love to have their broad broad product line to offer.  It’s hard for me to ask for donations (oh, got those up now as well) to keep my websites going.  Wasn’t like I consulted any of you about creating the expense :P .  So, that’s why I’d like to be able to offer the products.  Especially the Amazon products as I’d feel like mostly they were items you were going to buy anyhow.  This way, you get a great product, I get some return to pay the bills on the servers and the IP service.  A win win, at least that’s my plan.  I have been handling all this with my “in house” servers up to here, sort of holding back on offering the service to too many people as I wanted to wait until I was more familiar with the opensim software before I began to pull the trigger and began to advertise out the service to attract a larger base of users.  I’m rather much there now and with that it won’t be long before my bandwidth is spent.  Moving to a professionally hosted data center will be of prime importance just to get the bandwidth needed (all in all, I’d prefer not to, but, though I moved to fiber optic dsl service, still, much much more bandwidth is needed.  Hopefully, the money coming back in (if it does) from these affiliate programs will allow me to make the move.

As the 3D world turns…

Ok, been a while since I’ve given a round up here on just what the current status is of things.

Currently MFL consists of 8 regions on the main grid, 4 regions on a secondary “work” grid, and 4 regions on OSGrid.  The HyperGrid has begun to function once again on OSGrid and I will begin to pull those regions back into the main grid, leaving only the MFL-OSG HG enabled region as a base and HG teleport location in OSGrid. 

On the secondary grid, I have begun working on VPBHS a virtual version of my rl high school.  Once far enough along to be something to see, that region will be moved to the main MFL grid.  I’m also considering creating a replica of my home town, at least parts of it.  That I will begin on once VPBHS is closer to completion.

So, the current vision, once all regions are moved and created would be that MFL ends up with the following regions.

MFL Welcome - A 4 region mega sim and the central point of the MFL world.

Grabanickel Island – My personal home in the 3D universe.

MoRo Designs – My workshop island on MFL, where things are built and tested.

Twin Falls – A region for lovers or for quiet reflection.

ValMart – A region for shopping.

VPBHS – Virtual verion of my rl high school (class of ’76).

VPhilippi – Virtual version of my home town.

OK, that is a general round up of what I’m up to with MFL at the moment, anything else you’ve read in previous blogs here take with a grain of salt, things are always changing with the software, the resources, and the vision of just what I can/will do with this tech.

I have seen the future!!!

Yes my friends, I have seen the future and the future is HGTP!  Let me explain.  HGTP = hypergrid teleporting.  I’ve talked about it a bit in earlier posts, but in those, it was going to be possible in the future.  Well, it isn’t totally ironed out yet when you start dealing with inventories and profiles and such but it has come such a long way in such a short time, I have total faith, total faith in the developer of this technology.  she (Crista) IMHO has changed the game and the future of virtual worlds forever.

Much like my personal experience with the OS software myself, I had tried it out early on, could see its promise, but in its current state, promise was its biggest virture.  A short few months later, the major problems are trailing into the sunset, smaller issues with inventory seem to be the only hurdles left.   So, finally, I decided to enable the hypergrid on my grid here.  Yeah, I crash every now and then when teleporting, but I have way many more successful teleports than I do fails.  And, with all that is going on for that to happen, who’s to say just why those failures happen,  I abolutely know I can’t blame every failed tp on the hypergrid tech. 

So, yes, I have seen the future, the future in virtual worlds is HGTP!  Now, I must admit, this has caused me to re-think some of my own thoughts on getting my own grid together.  I was thinking that to add to the virtual worlds, one would need to offer a complete experience on their grid.  Now, I’m convinced that the success of a grid is going to depend not on offering a complete experience, but offering a quality experience to your hypernaughts.  So, I am changing direction now on how I am moving forward with my grid, instead of region after region of offerings, I am now going to begin to focus on offering one good destination.  If that destination starts to get popular, then I’ll look at adding another and another but until then, my focus has contracted to making what I do offer a place worth visiting.

If you haven’t tried HGTP, don’t wait any longer to do so.  If you haven’t a clue where to start, well, don’t worry, neither did I just a short time ago.  But it truly is as simple to get around grid to grid as it is to visit from web site to web site.  The best most complete site I have found so far is “Hypergrid Business“.  You should be able to find most any info you need there to get going, or just google “hypergrid” to find some tutorials on “how to”.  I was fortunate enough to meet Maria, the owner of the Hypergrid Business web site on the OSgrid and she was kind enough to give the few basics I needed to get started.  I’m sure she doesn’t have the time to help everyone lol, so, visit her website instead.

Yes my friends, I have seen the future and the future is now!  This changes the game forever, this will cause the whole OpenSimulator project to quickly grow into a metaverse like no other.  Second Life had better take a longer look in the mirror than they have been doing the last couple years or it is my prediction that within 3 years OpenSim is going to be the king of the virtual worlds, maybe it won’t even take that long.  They have done nothing but chase away their faithful followers with their big brother, monopolistic tactics lately.  And well, there really isn’t anything new about that.  Philip led SL in the right direction, however, since he steped out of the pilot’s seat, big brother and big business has sat down.  Before OS and especially, before HGTP, there just weren’t any other options that had the promise to match or exceed the experience SL could offer.  Now there is and as more and more people reach their limits of being controlled with policy after policy, giving up their virtual freedoms one by one, people are going to flock to OS in larger and larger numbers, screaming “freedom!” all along the journey.  A virtual “viva la revolution” that will happen so quickly, SL is going to be looking at their over priced, under powered, lag infested servers and wondering just where it went wrong. Hmmmm, perhaps they can make a policy that will help…. not!

Wanted – State Managers

OK, I am miles away from being ready to launch a full blown grid,  and all in all, I’m waiting for more of the OpenSim software to reach maturity.  But, I think it is time to begin to organize phase two.  Phase two is to let others run their own simulators connected to the MyFirstLife grid.  Do keep in mind, this is my experimental grid, I’m learning as I go here and that can lead to all kinds of unforseen difficulties.   But if you would like to experiment yourself to learn more about OpenSimulator and you’re able to host a sim on your PC but not ready to run your own grid this could be a great place for you to get started. ?  Only you know that one.

So, I’m looking for people to host a state or a providence of North America.  Eventually, the idea is to offer each as a meeting place and talking place to help link up people in cyber space.  A homegrown grid made up of one host per state and each in charge of their state’s simulator(s).  

If you have broadband, can dedicate a pc to run the software, would enjoy hosting your state (you would be the ambassador of goodwill), would enjoy having your own sim and a place to connect it, contact me.  Running a sim is no simple technical feat, it does have a learning curve and does take a bit of “geek” to pull it off so it isn’t for everyone but for some of us, that is half the fun!

Contact me for me details and information if you think you might enjoy such a thing. OrbOffcourse@yahoo.com

FIOS is coming!

OK, so you probably have asked yourself just why in the world am I bothering with all this opensim stuff when I only have 512 kbps of upload speed?  That isn’t enought to even begin to support the number of people I will need to sustain the service. 

I can answer that question with a four letter anronym… FIOS!!!  Fiber optic service is coming my way, actually, it is already here in a limited way,  but I’m holding out for higher upload speeds.  Currently, I do have 1.5 kbps available to me.  Soon, 3.0 kbps will be available to me at this location and 6.0 kbps is already on the radar as well.

512 won’t allow me to support all the people I will want to support, but jump that up to 6.0 and suddenly I do begin to have the ability to support a decent number of avatars.  I’m not planning on “world domination”, just a service that a few hundred people can use at the same time.

Other factors that will help with the situation is a technology that is currently being developed within the OpenSimulator software called “hypergrid”.  With hypergrid, people will be able to teleport from grid to grid seamlessly.  With this technology and multiple fios connections, I should be able to support all the activities from my home servers.

Why don’t I just go rent a server?  Well, I have several reasons for not wanting to do this.  First and formost is the fact that I’d just rather do it myself.  Call it “geek pride” or just being stubborn, but as I looked over the servers available for rental I just wasn’t that pleased with the systems being offered.  To quote the old phrase, “the cheap ones aren’t good, and the good ones are cheap”.  But I wasn’t even that impressed with the “good” ones.  While they would be more than fine for your standard web stuff, I’d rather have total control of all my hardware and I’d rather offer server stats to make a geek drool, rather than live with systems that others configure and maintain in a less than stellar way (though, I must admit I am quite intrigged with the scaleability of the “cloud” servers).

State of the State – March 2010

OK, I’ve been diddling with tons of things lately and realized it had been a while since I detailed what I was up to.  rather than bore you with all the small details I think it would be best just to describe the setup as I currently have it.  So, here goes…

Hardware

I have 4 computers running on the network at the moment.  PC #1 is an XP 3.2 Ghz, dual processors, 2G of ram, #2 = XP, 3.2, dual processors, 2G ram, #3= XP, 2.4, dual processors, 1.5 ram, #4= win98, 400mhz, single processor, 512mb ram.

PC#1 is actually hosting the grid and the web services.  It currently is also hosting the 4 regions of the “welcome” area.

PC#2 is hosting several regions (like 20 or so).  This is kind of a stress test area just to see how many regions I can run and still stay stable.  These regions are rather empty and I’m sure as I begin to add to them instability will follow fairly close behind the builds.  Also as part of the test, this machine is running a wireless G connection to the router (all other devices are wired).  So far, the regions have run fine over the wireless though I suspect as soon as it all gets underload, that will become a different story.

PC#3 is hosting 5 regions.  3 empty, 2 actively being developed.

PC#4 is running an mIRC server that I plan to connect to with opensim to allow text chat to/from my regions without the need to login.  I will soon launch my bots to run trivia, games, rss newsfeeds as well as some other admin functions of help and info that the bots will provide to the opensim regions.

Network = DSL 6 down, .5 up, Routers, Linksys wrt54g and a Linksys.  The modem is running in bridge mode with the gateway router, the second router is running as just that, a router.

Software

I’m running OpenSimulator 0.6.8 on all machines for all services and all regions.  I’m using the latest version of ReduxWI as the webinterface (though I do not have all modules active).

I’m running Apache (2.2 I think) as the webserver, and have PHP5 installed on the #1 & #2 PCs.  PC#3 is running a iis webserver with PHP4.x and ASP.net. PC#4 doesn’t not have any webserver software.

PC 1,2 & 3 are running the latest version of mysql and mysql is the database for all services and regions.

And that is…  the current “state of the state” for my opensim/web services.

Back in the saddle!

OK, you wouldn’t know it by looking on this page but this is post #6 or so.  I am now on my third database and my second location for the site.  I’ll try to copy the old posts back in but the host service I had purchased turned out to be one of those “too good to be true” situations.  The price was excellent, the offerings and the support were excellent.  However, seems I did one bad thing.  I was told I had “unlimited” bandwidth and that I could support “thousands” of people when I was first inquiring about the site.  However, that turned into “you’re welcome to load your software and have people connect to it but if it puts a load on the server we’ll shut you down”. ?  What good is that?  A server that as soon as it gets busy disables your software?  Well, to avoid a later outage of the site I took them up on their “money back” offer and I’ve moved the site back to my home server. 

I will continue to look for another server to move to again but at least, when I do it next time, I will be able to copy my databases over to the new server so it shouldn’t be that I have to start from scratch once again. 

Oh the trails and tribulations of setting up a grid and the supporting web service.  All this practice is getting me rather good at it though, and all in all, that’s a good thing.

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