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 UCF Polling Place, an Avatrian Build, Featured in the Orlando Sentinel

The Orlando Sentinel featured the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Virtual Polling Place, built by Avatrian LLC inside Second Life, as a unique way to get young people to become interested in becoming volunteer Poll Workers.

Last year, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission awarded a two-year, $75,000 grant to UCF, Valencia Community College and the Orange County Supervisor of Elections to develop the Second Life Virtual Polling Place program.

Read the article here.



 An Interview for Hypergrid Business

I had a long conversation with Maria Korolov the other day. She was particularly interested in Avatrian’s consulting services in the OpenSim platform. We spoke for about an hour. After giving her a background of the company, I went into detail regarding our past experiences in the OpenSim platform. Avatrian has its own OpenSim Grid since 2009. That’s also when we migrated our first client sim, The Medaverse, from Second Life to OpenSim. Most of 2010 is devoted to helping the Center for Education Technologies build their own OpenSim Grid housed within their own server and network at Wheeling, WV. Their sim in SL, MoonWorld, is highly interactive and is developed as a 2 hour mission for a team of 4 explorers. Much of the in-world content are scripted and a complex HUD is integral to the experience. For this reason, migrating MoonWorld from SL to OpenSim requires much manual transfer of objects and data.

Maria and I also discussed about sim owners who are more open to migrating to OpenSim especially now that the Teen Grid in SL is closed and Linden Labs has announced price increases for the education and non-profit community. We both feel that there are still many individuals and organizations who are not aware that OpenSim is a viable option for many.

The result of the interview is an article which Maria wrote and posted in the HyperGrid Business online. It summarizes the input from various OpenSim vendors including Avatrian. You can read the full article here…



 Meet and Greet at Blue Mars

Last Friday, I got a tweet from Hamlet inviting everyone for a meet and greet at Blue Mars. He recently joined the Avatar Reality group in a consulting capacity. And, the meeting was a good time to get re-acquainted with the latest developments in the Blue Mars platform. Being free on a Friday night, I upgraded my Blue Mars client to join the get together. Although, I have to say that I was 30 minutes late arriving at the Welcome Area. This is because I did not anticipate the client download to take more than 40 minutes. Considering my bandwidth was 2.8 mbps, this is quite a long time. So, that is my first comment about Blue Mars. I think they need to find a much faster distribution mechanism for the client software. I believe not everyone will be as patient as I am and wait that amount of time just to get in.

After I got my client installed, no issues with logging in. I saw that there were already a lot of people there at the venue. I said my polite hello to Iris Ophelia then searched for Hamlet Au. I wanted him to know I kept my Skype promise of being there. It was a bit hard to locate him at first. Many avatars there look alike. Most have not customized their default avatars and clothing (me included). So, if not for the floating name tag, it would be hard to distinguish who is who.

Hamlet ignored me for a good 15 minutes. But, i take no offence at all as he is having ISP problems on his side. He can barely move. I passed the time meeting other avatars there. Several were nice enough to voluntarily friend me. And, a couple of them showed me how to make my avatar dance. I wish there were more options on the moves. But, it’s not a bad start. Not sure who are Avatar Reality folks and who are guests like me. There doesn’t seem to be a grouping categorization in Blue Mars. But, I found out soon enough because they had a group photo call for Avatar Reality folks. There were about 15 to 20 of them that clustered in the other side of the floor.

Anyway, Hamlet’s avatar finally got some mobility and got to re-connect with him. He looks dapper in his steampunk getup. The availability of fashion choices and accessories is something I am curious about in this platform. It seems that they are available now as Iris is wearing a similarly themed gown. I guess it is just a matter of finding the outlets for it.



 Guest appearance at BEST PRACTICES IN BANANA TIME

Dear friends,

please join us for BEST PRACTICES IN BANANA TIME
…a live mixed reality show about working between worlds!

FRIDAY, SEPT 17th 9:00 PM SLT
RL Location: Empire Drive-In, San Jose, CA
SL Location: Eyebeam Island http://slurl.com/secondlife/Eyebeam Island/78/34/124

BEST PRACTICES IN BANANA TIME is a mixed reality talk show that takes place live on stage at the EMPIRE DRIVE-IN at the 2010 01SJ BIENNIAL in San Jose, California (www.01sj.org) and simultaneously in SECOND LIFE on Eyebeam Island. Through a streaming webcam in San Jose, both RL and SL audience members will be able to participate in a Q & A session with talk show guests. Singer songwriter sensation Truelie Telling will perform live and MT Bigboots will be spinning your favorite talk show hits.

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Hosted by DOCTOR RODENBERGER (Double Happiness Manufacturing) and special co-host ROBIN HOOF, the talk show explores what it means to work between worlds and features Second Life residents that work the same job in SL as in RL or are using SL for real world impact. During the one hour show, we’ll be discussing how the virtual environment of Second Life affects the meaning and value of one’s work.

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GUESTS INCLUDE:

ROBINNURSE ROWLANDS is a RL/SL nurse and owner of Rock a bye Babies Birthing Center and Maternity Clinic, the 1st clinic in SL offering affordable full service maternity and pregnancy packages. Robinnurse will discuss the wonders of SL pregnancy!

CHENIN ANABUKI and RODION RESISTANCE from AVATRIAN, a full-service metaverse development company that delivers products and services for 3D online digital worlds, will be discussing the real world impact of their recent projects, MoonWorld, a NASA-funded lunar simulation project and the Alameda County virtual polling station, the first virtual polling place in Second Life. The AVATRIAN team will be showing live demos of the projects!

TRUELIE TELLING is a singer songwriter sensation that has been making up tunes since she was in the crib. She has performed live and been interviewed on many SL shows including TreetTV’s “Live n Kickin”. And most recently she provided the music for a machinima by Chantal Harvey entitled “Car Lane”. Truelie will perform live on our show!



 Meet Stardust Isodo

Hey boys, It's a spy!

Hi there guys, I’m a new guy in the office. My name is Christian using the avatar “Stardust Isodo” and I’m glad to be working in Avatrian!

I admit, when I applied in Avatrian, I don’t have that much knowledge with it or hands-on experience with Second Life or OpenSim but I’ve heard so many things about it already. I’ve heard Second Life from a newsblog and from a friend who happens to have played it. It was a surprise to me that I got hired even without the critical knowledge on operating the game. Perhaps its my thick experience with gaming and a great expertise in designing and developing stuff that made me ideal to work here.

Because of my gaming experience, I’ve never had any problems using Second Life or OpenSim for the first time. It’s just like any other game that I’ve played whether if it’s new or not. However, don’t be deceived. The learning curve for newbies and pros will totally be different.

The best part of this virtual world for me is the vast amount of customizations. If I were to compare it to a game that’s customization-wise, its Civilizations. I may sound like a hypocrite when I said that. You might say “WRRRY R U COMPARING SL/OS N CIV? CIV/[SL/OS] IS TEH BEST GAME EVAR”, but really, no. Because of the massive user-created content that I saw in SL/OS, it makes the virtual world more interesting to explore

So I’ve been to different places in SL already and I want to share my impressions with it. I was asked to take a few screenies and I should publish them here in the blog.

Flim Flam Fizalam’s
Snapshot_001

Okay, this was the first location in the notecard that Chenin sent to me. It reminded me of a post apocalyptic world. It has a bit of similarities to Resident Evil: Extinction’s own depiction of a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas. If you have watched the movie “Six String Samurai”, then you can say the movie has a better depiction of it but I admit, I haven’t watched the movie, only heard of it and read its plot. The movie is kind of hard to find even on the torrents.

The fun part for me is this one:

Snapshot_003
And in its hellmouth:

Snapshot_002

The interior of this structure is really beautiful. I haven’t taken pictures of it but go ahead, visit it. Next on the list…

CREAMSHOP
Snapshot_004

Now, you may be thinking that how significant is having that image up there as an introductory image for this location? Am I being an idiot?

Well no. When I first got into that place, I was in a sewer. If you happen to have a high-end machine and have everything ramped up to high, you can tell that the water reflections are really beautiful, like how my view was distorted if the cam was in the water. Outside the sewer, you can find this place:

Snapshot_005

This reminds me of Rapture, the fictional dystopia of Bioshock. Bioshock is extremely notorious for created themed places like this. The good part about CREAMSHOP is that there are no splicers, big daddies, little sisters and Ayn Rand - only places that you want to go or see.

Primtings Museum
Snapshot_006

Okay, this part will be really short.

I want you to zoom in the middle and have a good look in it.

Can you see the shuttlecocks? They’re actually bigger than you (in SL scale). You don’t want to get hit by the badminton racket – I crap you not.

Armidi
Snapshot_007

This took me a while to remember what’s this place. But at the first glance and if you happen to be a long time, hardcore gamer, you can tell it looks something thematically similar to GTA:VC. Hey, don’t bring a gattling gun when you get there.

Dell Factory
Snapshot_008
Okay, at first you might think this is the Louvre Pyramid. Unfortunately, no. It just looks the same.

You can see me up there if you zoom in a little bit. I tried falling down there – expecting the glass panes would break but I went straight into concrete. In this part, I also noticed how the avatars react with inclined planes, like this:

Snapshot_009

RMB City

Oi, It's a spy!

Inspired from places around Asia, RMB City is place full of attractions, crammed into 4 sims.  It’s insanely big and uses a lot of prims that a low end machine would fry have difficulties rendering stuff here.

But if you have a high end machine, set everything to high, let her rip and see the detail of stuff there. If you’re an alien tourist that’s visiting Earth, this is a must visit. But don’t forget to turn your cloaks on. You might spook everyone.

So yeah, I sound like a kid here (consider it as a compliment or an insult) because I’ve been to some beautiful made places. All of the content I see there wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t contributed by the community. SL/OS is one of the stuff in the internet that’s really rich in user-generated content.



 Diamond Head Crater in Second Life

Recently, we had the chance to work on something different, yet in essence still quite similar with the lunar terrain and meshwork that we’ve been doing for MoonWorld. This is because it involves a crater. But this time around, it wasn’t an impact crater, but one created by an ancient volcanic eruption.

Diamond Head Crater, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, is estimated to be about 150,000 years old and extinct for 150,000 years. The explosive eruption that built up Diamond Head was probably very brief, lasting no more than a few days–rising magma would have come into contact with the water table–this is thought to explain why the cone today is so symmetrical. It is this crater’s symmmetry that makes it a fun yet challenging sculpted prim mesh work.

Since the target area in the University of Hawaii sim in Second Life was around 80×50 meters, this necessitated the use of “mega” prims, primitives that are larger than 10×10x10 meters. And a specific size was needed to “tile” around, and form the shape of the crater. After scores of megaprim size and sculpty tests, with the help and comments of our client Niamh Burnstein, I settled on using a megaprim that is 30×30x20 meters in dimension. I tiled this to a 3×2 configuration, and formed the shape of the entire crater mesh. We got a really good satellite photo of the crater from Google.com, and proceeded to cut it up into six (3×2) pieces. From these pieces, six separate sculpted prims were made and then loaded into SL, then assigned to the six 30×30x20 megaprims.

While it is indeed an extremely scaled down version of the real crater, the effect it has when viewed from within the Second Life viewer is pretty realistic and lifelike. Here is a short video clip we took after the crater was placed in it’s final location in the University of Hawaii area of the Manoa sim in SL:



 LA Beyond Cars

A multimedia experience showcasing global perspectives on rail and public space. At the month-long event, Avatrian’s work is prominently featured along with other selected concepts and designs from around the world on the future of LA sans cars. The venue is held at the Jewel Box in downtown LA. The footage was from the August 27 event…well attended by industry movers and hip Angelinos (present company included). The machinima filmed and produced by Avatrian for RailLA can be seen playing in the large overhead screen.

More photographs from the LA Beyond Cars event can be viewed at Avatrian’s Flickr Set for LA Beyond Cars.



 California’s High Speed Rail

In response to RailLA.org’s call for ideas, Avatrian has produced a machinima to showcase concept and design ideas for the High Speed Rail. The goal is to integrate the neighborhoods surrounding the LA Union Station on the arrival of the HSR. We combined concepts that already exist with new design ideas and proposed a high speed rail system with a detachable pod that takes passengers directly to several LA neighborhoods. This includes the Art District, Little Tokyo, Civic Center, Chinatown, and the Dodger Stadium. Most of the content used in the scenes were built specifically for the machinima. The whole production took approximately 3 days from start to finish.

The machinima can be viewed directly at RailLA.org’s website here.. Our work has also been reviewed positively by at DigitalUrban.org. You can read the full article by Dr Andrew Hudson-Smith here. In addition, the machinima was recently featured at New World notes by Hamlet Au.



 Second Life upgrading to Havok 7

This week Second Life is upgrading from server 1.38 to 1.40. The most important component of this release is the integration of Havok 7, the most recent battle-tested version of Havok’s Physics Engine.
Key benefits of the Server 1.40/Havok 7 upgrade include:

* Reduction of crash rates
* Increase of physics frame rate
* More realistic interaction with inworld objects because Havok 7 more efficiently processe moving and colliding content

Linden Lab have been beta testing Server 1.40/Havok 7 on SL test grid (called Aditi) since January.

Here is a sample video of Havok 7 Physics testing.



 Avatrian Opensim Upgraded

Avatrian Grid has been upgraded to the new code database based on the Opensimulator 0.6.9 which is the latest release. So far everything is running smoothly. Inventory access glitches have been minimized and all seems pretty stable. Here are some major list of changes from the core developers:

* Teleport offers implemented
* SQLite database adapter updated to work with Mono 2.6 and later (as well as Windows). Unfortunately, this will currently not work with Mac and Mono 2.6 due to missing symbols in the SQLite library bundled with Mac OS X. Mono 2.4 can still be used by switching to the legacy adaptor.
* Ability to populate the inventory library by placing IARs in bin/Library
* “Allowed Users” and “Allowed Groups” estate functionality added.
* Added implementations of llCollisionFilter, llPassCollision, llLoopSoundSlave, llLookSoundMaster, llTriggerSoundLimited, llPointAt, llStopPointAt, llGetCenterOfMass, llGroundRepel, llSetVehicleFlags, llRemoveVehicleFlags, llSetInventoryPermMask.
* Improvements to LSL functions including llDialog, llGetPrimitiveParams. llSetPrimitiveParams, llGetStatus, llSetStatus, llSetDamage, llDie, llLookAt, llParcelMediaCommandList.
* Scripts now receive a stream of touch events if the mouse button is held down on their containing prim.
* Terrain collision implemented.
* OpenSim.Tools.Configger.exe added to dump configuration as an .ini, .xml or .sql file.
* Avatar eyes and hair no longer remain white in standalone mode.
* Improvements to undo, redo, land undo.
* Improvements to attachments rezzing.
* Support for HTTP texture fetching.
* Fix console problem on startup of Grid.UserServer.exe with no existing config.
* Stop existing avatars appearing in the T-pose to those who have just logged in.
* Improvements to ground standing.
* Clothing in the inventory library should now have the correct icons
* Gestures saved to OARs/IARs
* OARs now save region settings
* Fixes for terrain editing problems in megaregions
* Ground sitting fixed
* Viewers now receive UUID of the broadcasting prim when chat originates from a script.
* Attempting to rez no-copy objects on no-rez parcels no longer cause the item to vanish from inventory.
* Prim to prim collisions improved.
* Resizing the console window in Mono no longer results in an exception flood.
* Various performance improvements
* Various stability improvements

Very satisfying upgrade indeed and will be looking forward to more improvements. Looks like Opensim development is doing pretty well and the plans of achieving Beta stage by 2011 is surely possible.

For those who haven’t upgraded there grids yet, you can download the binaries here http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Download