Resident Transmission

News and snippets about xmir grid and the metaverse.

News from the Rockies

It has been a rocky year since the last transmission, and without going into details, the grid is slowly waking up again with some new places to see, and many small makeovers throughout. 

Down the telegraph road in Skomrak a hardware store is about to establish itself and a new road has been built up to the lake. We hear there might be a mining boomtown in the offing. 


In Firat the dock was moved after the flying dolphins now traffic Ornos where the water is deeper and larger boats can use the harbour.  A new road has been built to the dock in Firat, and the street lights have been extended to cover most of it.  Dirt roads all over XMIR has been given a bit of a makeover as they have all been given a new layer of sand and gravel. They both look and drive better!

In Hengil a football field has been built. Pity the physics for the balls is pretty unpredictable so they usually end up at the region border. 


In Verven Island an old stone fence came to light after some trees and scrubbery were cleared.  The stone builders have also shown their skills in an old fence that was discovered during road construction by the small lake in Lindland. The road will connect the sea shore in Lindland with the road now ending at the rezz zone in Norderhov. 


Finally the grid has a 512x512 VAR region called Varsom that is used for testing. It performs so good that we will use more of those throughout, and maybe consolidate some of the existing regions to such VARs. Varsom is not open for general access. 


High Summer Grid status

It is already high summer and the grid has been in a slummer for some time, but a few things have happened for the sharp-eyed observer.

The dirt road in Norderhov has been extended up the hill to the eastern region border where a rezz sone has been made. This is currently the only location where it is possible to rezz a vehicle for the roads, but there will be a few more added. 

The rather clunky looking support walls for the roads in andwest and andwest Bay have been replaced with walls that are both sturdy and looking good.

The secondary welcome region for hypergrid visitors has been moved from Firat to the neighboring region Ornos, together with the terminal building and dock. This is where hypergrid visitors going to grid.xmir.org:8002 will land in the event andwest is down. 

Plenty of bug fixes and some improvements have been deployed to the grid servers throughout the summer. The OpenSim 0.9 dev server software is still a bit rough around the corners but slowly shaping up. 

Unfortunately there is no ETA on when the grid can again be fully operational. 


Spring updates

Since the last update 4 regions have been added to the East side of the grid to complete the shoreline that was pretty broken on that side. Looking at the grid map one will see it is now possible to do continuous sailing across or along the shore of 7 regions, and perhaps even 10 as it should be possible to take a canoe under the bridge in Lake Atlas and go all they way to the church in Norderhov. 

The new regions are called Storskog, Lindland, Lindesnes and Verven. 

Telegraph road over Badr Jabaal can now be closed by road barriers in case the weather gets too bad and makes it impassable.

There are many small updates sprinkled around, but most of the focus has been on upgrading the grid software by adding more functionality and fixing broken stuff, in addition to contributing to the Kokua viewer both for speed, reliability and making sure functionality that works in SecondLife is also useable in OpenSim grids. 

One such notable addition in Kokua has been the ability to upload meshes with more than 8 materials per mesh. 

SecondLife slash land setup fees by up to 40%

In an announcement made today Linden Lab has slashed setup fees for land with as much as 40% effective immediately. 

A single region – called Full Private Island, has the setup fee reduced from $1000 to $600, while a Homestead that was $375 is down to $225. 

Qualified educational and nonprofit organizations will continue to receive a 50% discount off the applicable set-up fee (as well as 50% off ongoing maintenance fees).

Despite the reduction, the pricing for a single region is still in the order of 10x more expensive than a comparable region on most OpenSim grids. 

The full priceless and details can be found in the SecondLife blog

October updates

While the grid is closed till a reliable solution can be found for a network connection, there are still small things happening to the grid. 

The most noticeable are the addition of 3 new regions east of Firat to make a more natural end of the Murat River flowing into the Firat Bay. 

The Bakxos Greek taverna moved onto a height overlooking the new bay and the road was extended from the bridge to below it. 

The Murat telecoms building also got an update with a full second floor making it possible for an avatar to walk inside both storeys. 


Future plans

As the dust settles the grid will gradually get more regions to the East to make the landscape flow more natural into the sea.

andwest will get a new store building next to the gas station and maybe even a small little street with a couple houses up the hill

The plan is to take the so-called “avination merge” opensim version when it becomes available, but I suspect Postgres support will be lacking, so this needs to be corrected. This might be the time to start preparing for the Postgres 9.5 update due out of beta in January 2016, and rewrite the general table handler to take advantage of the “upsert” functionality in 9.5 – which should bring the code closer to the MySQL version. 


The Swift Viewer

My ambition is also to start hacking at a more Mac specific version of the viewer, which will bring the code base further away from the Linux / Windows base, but this is absolutely necessary to keep the viewer running on the most current and future versions of OS X. It would also allow for significantly simplifying the code by using native OS X frameworks, and is an opportunity to introduce Swift into the code base to replace both the Objective-C code that is outdated, but also to replace other portions of the code.  

While I would like to see the renderer rewritten in Metal, such an undertaking is beyond my competence and would have to be funded and programmed by professional developers. It would, however, make a solid investment on the way to an iOS version of the viewer. 


New Products

I am uncertain as to what extent I will bring new products to the marketplaces given the uncertainty of SecondLife’s future now that Linden Lab’s Sansar project is moving to beta soon. It does to a certain extent feel like flogging a dead horse. While the Kitely Market is nice, it is also tiny in terms of volume.  Maybe long dark fall nights will bring new inspiration – so maybe!

There once was a court

There once was a court in Concinna. A court that saw high drama, unbelievable stories, sad fates, conflict resolution, but also petty crime and theft.

The court had judges, prosecutors, lawyers, witnesses, court admin, police officers guards and almost 2000 convicts during its 19 months of operation. 

The court originally assembled for the first time in the summer of 2007 in Ghul, but since there was no more land there to expand on, it was moved to Concinna in December 2008 where it stayed till SecondLife went trough an upheaval that sent it to Bay City, on to Fenfarg, and back again to Concinna.  The turmoil had taken its toll on the court so in 2011 it was closed for good. The building decayed and was taken down in the winter of 2015.

Enter Murat. – Murat has quite a few buildings from the MOSES sims, and one of the original buildings was a court. Although not a bad build at all, it was a traditional prim build both in style and impact on the sim with a large number of scripts. 

By putting together pieces that had been made over a long period (since 2012) and combining them with the two story version of the vicar house building, Murat still has a court; The Murat River Valley District Court. Perhaps one day it too will be the scene of drama the likes of what passed down in Concinna. 


Window dressing the old vicar house

Sometimes the light and photo opportunities on the grid just takes you. The old vicar houses in Norderhov was up for some window dressing as the original very industrial looking windows no longer fit the environment. 

As darkness fell and the cam was zoomed out this very 1850-ties national romantic moonlit scene just emerged – as if painted.


Tying up some loose ends

The last few weeks have been spent tying up some loose ends in and around the grid. 

One corner of the Conference Center was still standing empty and barren so something had to be done about it. A bar desk and cozy lanterns was made and the icing on the cake was a very nice looking grand piano that was licensed for use on the grid. It all came together quite nicely in the end. 


Presence is everything

A number of software issues that prevented the grid from working properly was sorted out by updating the database tables in the PostgreSQL database – tables and driver software that had been badly neglected compared to the MySQL counterpart that most grids are based on. By fixing the Presence service - the piece of software that tells who is logged on to the grid, who is visiting and where they are, made a number of pieces fall in place and the grid and visitors are so much happier. You can even visit with a 64-bit viewer without being kicked to the ground. 

There is still an issue with IM sent to someone who is offline, and the same type of issue exist with placing classifieds. The good thing is the root cause has been identified, so a work-around can be found.

Building a better Mac viewer

In many ways the Mac version of the viewers has been the step-child of both Linden Labs and most developers of third party viewers (TPV). The reason being the Mac has been seen as inferior for use with “games” by many – which there is a good deal of truth to as Apple never focused on that part of the market segment. The success of iOS devices as game machines is in the process of changing this also on OS X where OS X 10.11 will bring very many improvements for developers in this area. 

Another important aspect is that while the first generation viewers were built with largely the same tools and code as the Linux version of the viewer so code sharing was easy, and the viewer could be built without having access to a Mac. 

When Apple moved from a 32-bit architecture to 64-bit in OS X 10.7 not only did they change toolset moving to the Clang compiler, but all the system frameworks moved to Objective-C – a coding environment completely unknown to developers rooted in Windows and Linux tools. 

For a while it was possible to keep the Mac version of the viewers alive by using the dated development tools, but it became increasingly difficult, so Linden Labs finally got their act together and did some necessary cleanup to the code so at least it would compile with the Clang compiler. For the TPV developers the transition has been painful, and most of them have dropped development of a Mac version. 

When Nicky made the decision to move the Kokua viewer to Linden Lab’s codebase, but no longer was able to build the Mac version, I offered help to get it built. 

The Kokua viewer has steadily been added to with solid support of features and bug fixes from the SecondLife viewer, but the developer has also been very forthcoming and persistent in fixing often complicated issues affecting OpenSim use. – This without making a clutter of the usability or piling on functionality that very few use. 

With the latest version finished just a few days ago, the Kokua viewer is much more useful than the SecondLife viewer with enhanced building tools, but it also brings the same great feature set and stability to users of OpenSim.  For Mac users – and I am biased – this is the only viewer to consider if you use OpenSim! For everyone else too. 


High Summer

It is high summer with less time for grid development but a few things have been in the works.

The grid has grown by a few residents after the registration page was added. A very warm welcome to them!

A new set of signage can be seen at road intersections throughout, and was designed to double as both direction markers and marking street names. 


The OMC software has been updated with missing functionality so it is now possible to have vendors and rental boxes that works properly A group inviter developed by Virtec has been verified to work on the grid. 

You can now “Grab” objects: use Ctrl+Drag to move them, and Ctrl+Shift+Drag to rotate them. In addition the llCastRay function has been significantly updated, and llGetGeometricCenter, llGetBoundingBox and llGetEnv are available for scripting. The OSSL scripting function osGetGender is available too.

Searching for groups now works, but group note notification to offline residents are not working as it should. The same is the case with online status for residents. It looks like we bumped into only half tested code. It is being investigated to get it working predictably.

Placing classifieds can be done from the Kokua and Singularity viewer developer builds, but they can’t be searched yet. 

We are helping the Kokua developer to update the Mac version of the viewer to use the latest Linden 3.8.1 and 3.8.2 code and are making good strides. This also means OpenSim related issues are being sorted out which will of course be corrected in the Linux and Windows builds too. See the Tech Talk pages for details and progression. 

With that, a very good summer both to visitors and residents!

Default avatars

XMIR will soon have a female and male default avatar which will be a big improvement over the default avatar that is standard in OpenSim, and that new residents have had to suffer till now. 

A preview of the female avatar taking a well deserved rest in the summer night. 


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