some questions

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some questions

Lúthien Athariel
Hi,

I've been working on a standalone sim for some time. It is a very  
mountainous terrain; I have a specific landscape in mind that I want  
to model.
I created a height map in an external tool, exported it as a 7 by 7  
region, and worked on it a bit more from within Hippo, and altogether  
it works rather well.
I must say I am impressed by the level of realism. The water in  
particularly is lovely!

Im running the server on a Virtualbox'ed Arch Linux installation with  
PostgreSQL as storage for all.
The opensim is version  0.6.4 / interface3; It's got 1.5 Mb memory  
assigned so far, and that runs well. I am using the opensim-ode.sh  
start script which sets the Mono threads per cpu at 50; and ulimit is  
set to 50000.

There are a couple of things that I wondered about and could not find  
an answer to yet - I am still rather new to all this. If you would  
know some answers, that would be very helpful :)

- The first is - I would like to have some other trees than the ones  
that are available now. Is it possible to create one in, say, Blender,  
and import that (b/c I know how to make trees in Blender)? So far, I  
have found no repository of objects to use in Opensim (apart from the  
discussions about importing SL stuff - but I have never been in SL).

- Another, similar one .. did any of you ever create rocks or  
boulders? Would a "sculpted prim" be the way to go here?
I find building more or less geometric forms very easy with the Build  
tool - including more complex things. But it is indeed hard to create  
anything naturally - looking, irregular.

- is there a way to use larger region texture files than 512 x 512? I  
find these smaller ones to make mountains look not that natural. Most  
textures give a rather unnatural repetitive effect.

- is it possible to create another global light source, other than the  
Sun or Moon? Like a large beacon with a bright light, illuminating one  
or more regions?
The light-emitting prims don't reach very far.

- there are sometimes cracks or tears in the ground; even outside of  
the region seams (which are indeed sometimes hard to match up). You  
can see through these cracks to the water behind them, and it is  
possible to fly your avatar through it; in which case I seem to get  
stuck in some infinite loop and have to login again. This does not  
happen often though and I understand that all this is still alpha  
software; but I wondered if it is known what causes it and if I can  
"cure" that.
Here's a screenshot of what I meant - the green line is a region  
border (made visible in the menu with View Property Lines); but the  
crack in the foreground with the terraform tool arrows on it, is not a  
border http://img.skitch.com/20090509-xa56mn59rax164ji3qfbf9t3h8.jpg
And the strangest thing is - these cracks can vanish all of a sudden.

.
- I understood that the total possible size of the sim (nr of regions)  
depends on available memory, number of prims, number of users walking  
around and / or building things in it.
Would it be possible to give a rough estimate what kind of hardware  
would  be necessary to build a very large sim of - say - 200 regions,  
but most just empty terrain ... on average not more than 10 prims per  
region.  Never more than 8 concurrent users, and max 2 users building  
at the same time.

- and the last one - is it possible *in principle* to see further than  
the current "max viewing distance" setting of 512 meters in Hippo?

thanks!

- luthien

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Re: some questions

LaeMi Wang
Hi Lúthien,

I'm a tinkerer rather than a dev., so anything a dev. says different to me,
believe the dev. ;-) But I think I can answer a few of those.

> - The first is - I would like to have some other trees than the ones
> that are available now. Is it possible to create one in, say, Blender,
> and import that (b/c I know how to make trees in Blender)? So far, I
> have found no repository of objects to use in Opensim (apart from the
> discussions about importing SL stuff - but I have never been in SL).

Trees in SL are a special object made from a simple algorithm and a special
texture. I am not sure if these can be changed without altering the viewer.
Might be possible to change the texture.

However, trees can also be made out of clumps of sculpties or from flat prims
with pictures of trees on them (3 such flat prims together, rotated at 120deg
to eachother will give the tree some 3D body and doesn't look bad from mid-to-
long distances. Custom trees like these won't bend in the wind though.

> - Another, similar one .. did any of you ever create rocks or
> boulders? Would a "sculpted prim" be the way to go here?
> I find building more or less geometric forms very easy with the Build
> tool - including more complex things. But it is indeed hard to create
> anything naturally - looking, irregular.

Natural shapes are exactly what sculpties are for :-) While you CAN make
complex regular shapes too, it often doesn't look so good to my eye.

See: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Sculpted_Prims:_3d_Software_Guide

> - is there a way to use larger region texture files than 512 x 512? I
> find these smaller ones to make mountains look not that natural. Most
> textures give a rather unnatural repetitive effect.

I think this is currently fixed in the viewer. Can't use greyscale textures
either (which 3 of my 4 textures are and would save memory and bandwidth).

> - is it possible to create another global light source, other than the
> Sun or Moon? Like a large beacon with a bright light, illuminating one
> or more regions?
> The light-emitting prims don't reach very far.

Another viewer limitation - IIRC, SL has a limit of 8 active light sources (1
for sun/moon, 7 for prims), presumably because of limitations of graphics
cards at the low end.

> - there are sometimes cracks or tears in the ground; even outside of
> the region seams (which are indeed sometimes hard to match up).

Sounds like a bug in stitching the regions together, likely when the two
regions are being rendered at different LODs (Levels Of Detail). I suspect
this because of the way the gaps disappear - if the regions suddenly start
displaying the same LOD, this is what would be expected.

Not sure about the associated crashing, if it is LOD stitching issue, I would
suspect the client, however some weird interaction between the client and
server when things leave the realms of expected behaviour is also on the cards
(ie, the client starts sending position information to the server that the
server thinks impossible and the error isn't caught). That is all guessing,
remember I am not a dev.

> - and the last one - is it possible *in principle* to see further than
> the current "max viewing distance" setting of 512 meters in Hippo?

LindenLabs (who's viewer Hippo is extended from) have been talking about
terrain-to-the-horizon for over a year. I am pretty sure it is possible to do
but would require some reworking of the viewer and possibly the server.
Normally the viewer is only plugged into its current sim and the 8 adjacent
sims. To render further would require plugging into more sims at once, which
becomes an exponentially increasing load on both the viewer and the sims.
Rendering only terrain (and not objects) to the horizon is the compromise LL
is thinking of as it loads up the viewer more (but only if the user turns it
on) and only minimally increases load on the sims (fetching height-maps, but
not the rest of the sim contents).


Hope this helps
(hope this info is correct)

LaeMing
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Re: some questions

Lúthien Athariel
In reply to this post by Lúthien Athariel
Hi,

On 9-May-09, at 21:10, matt raffel <[hidden email]> wrote:

> How much to get some banana trees?
>
> Matt
>>

Ah- the resident virtual banana tree sales guy, I presume? ;)

Thank you, but no. I am looking for trees like beech, birch, fir,  
spruce  etc - and a Laburnum would also be nice.

-l
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Re: some questions

Lúthien Athariel
In reply to this post by LaeMi Wang
Hi LaeMing

thank you! This is very helpful.

On 9-May-09, at 10:59 PM, LaeMi Wang wrote:

> Hi Lúthien,
> Trees in SL are a special object made from a simple algorithm and a  
> special texture. I am not sure if these can be changed without  
> altering the viewer.
> Might be possible to change the texture.

If that were possible, it would already be very useful (except for the  
Laburnum which should have lots of flowers :).


> However, trees can also be made out of clumps of sculpties or from  
> flat prims with pictures of trees on them (3 such flat prims  
> together, rotated at 120deg to eachother will give the tree some 3D  
> body and doesn't look bad from mid-to-long distances. Custom trees  
> like these won't bend in the wind though.

I wonder if it is possible to import a tree built in Blender as such a  
collection of sculpties: I will look at that (I have seen some info on  
creating sculpties in Blender)

> Natural shapes are exactly what sculpties are for :-) While you CAN  
> make complex regular shapes too, it often doesn't look so good to my  
> eye.
> See: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Sculpted_Prims:_3d_Software_Guide

Thank you! I missed that one, it seems to cover all I need.

> Another viewer limitation - IIRC, SL has a limit of 8 active light  
> sources (1 for sun/moon, 7 for prims), presumably because of  
> limitations of graphics cards at the low end.

that need not be a problem if I could, say, make the sun and/or moon  
invisible and yet leave the lighting intact. If I then create a light  
source and arrange things so per region that the sun- or moonlight  
seems to originate from the direction of the new light source, that  
might work - except that the light direction in the region where the  
source resides would seem off.


> Sounds like a bug in stitching the regions together, likely when the  
> two regions are being rendered at different LODs (Levels Of Detail).  
> I suspect this because of the way the gaps disappear - if the  
> regions suddenly start displaying the same LOD, this is what would  
> be expected.

Yes. I payed closer attention to this, and it looks as if it is indeed  
connected with this level of detail.
When I log in and there are these tears all over, it is also the case  
that there is much less detail in the shape of the terrain. Then at a  
given moment, the details will suddenly snap into place and the tears  
also disappear.

> LindenLabs (who's viewer Hippo is extended from) have been talking  
> about  terrain-to-the-horizon for over a year. I am pretty sure it  
> is possible to do  but would require some reworking of the viewer  
> and possibly the server.
> Normally the viewer is only plugged into its current sim and the 8  
> adjacent  sims. To render further would require plugging into more  
> sims at once, which  becomes an exponentially increasing load on  
> both the viewer and the sims.
> Rendering only terrain (and not objects) to the horizon is the  
> compromise LL  is thinking of as it loads up the viewer more (but  
> only if the user turns it on) and only minimally increases load on  
> the sims (fetching height-maps, but not the rest of the sim contents).

I would certainly be more than happy with the "just terrain" option,  
because I do not intend to build structures that would be visible over  
that distance.
Maybe I'll  have a look at the code to figure out whether this is hard  
to do - (I am a dev, though a java one - I never worked with dotnet).

> Hope this helps

it certainly did!

thank you
- l
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Re: some questions

Jeroen van Veen
In reply to this post by Lúthien Athariel
with modrex you can use stuff made in blender

On Saturday 09 May 2009 19:05:07 Lúthien Athariel wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I've been working on a standalone sim for some time. It is a very
> mountainous terrain; I have a specific landscape in mind that I want
> to model.
> I created a height map in an external tool, exported it as a 7 by 7
> region, and worked on it a bit more from within Hippo, and altogether
> it works rather well.
> I must say I am impressed by the level of realism. The water in
> particularly is lovely!
>
> Im running the server on a Virtualbox'ed Arch Linux installation with
> PostgreSQL as storage for all.
> The opensim is version  0.6.4 / interface3; It's got 1.5 Mb memory
> assigned so far, and that runs well. I am using the opensim-ode.sh
> start script which sets the Mono threads per cpu at 50; and ulimit is
> set to 50000.
>
> There are a couple of things that I wondered about and could not find
> an answer to yet - I am still rather new to all this. If you would
> know some answers, that would be very helpful :)
>
> - The first is - I would like to have some other trees than the ones
> that are available now. Is it possible to create one in, say, Blender,
> and import that (b/c I know how to make trees in Blender)? So far, I
> have found no repository of objects to use in Opensim (apart from the
> discussions about importing SL stuff - but I have never been in SL).
>
> - Another, similar one .. did any of you ever create rocks or
> boulders? Would a "sculpted prim" be the way to go here?
> I find building more or less geometric forms very easy with the Build
> tool - including more complex things. But it is indeed hard to create
> anything naturally - looking, irregular.
>
> - is there a way to use larger region texture files than 512 x 512? I
> find these smaller ones to make mountains look not that natural. Most
> textures give a rather unnatural repetitive effect.
>
> - is it possible to create another global light source, other than the
> Sun or Moon? Like a large beacon with a bright light, illuminating one
> or more regions?
> The light-emitting prims don't reach very far.
>
> - there are sometimes cracks or tears in the ground; even outside of
> the region seams (which are indeed sometimes hard to match up). You
> can see through these cracks to the water behind them, and it is
> possible to fly your avatar through it; in which case I seem to get
> stuck in some infinite loop and have to login again. This does not
> happen often though and I understand that all this is still alpha
> software; but I wondered if it is known what causes it and if I can
> "cure" that.
> Here's a screenshot of what I meant - the green line is a region
> border (made visible in the menu with View Property Lines); but the
> crack in the foreground with the terraform tool arrows on it, is not a
> border http://img.skitch.com/20090509-xa56mn59rax164ji3qfbf9t3h8.jpg
> And the strangest thing is - these cracks can vanish all of a sudden.
>
> .
> - I understood that the total possible size of the sim (nr of regions)
> depends on available memory, number of prims, number of users walking
> around and / or building things in it.
> Would it be possible to give a rough estimate what kind of hardware
> would  be necessary to build a very large sim of - say - 200 regions,
> but most just empty terrain ... on average not more than 10 prims per
> region.  Never more than 8 concurrent users, and max 2 users building
> at the same time.
>
> - and the last one - is it possible *in principle* to see further than
> the current "max viewing distance" setting of 512 meters in Hippo?
>
> thanks!
>
> - luthien
>
> _______________________________________________
> Opensim-users mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.berlios.de/mailman/listinfo/opensim-users

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Re: some questions

John Hopkin
In reply to this post by Lúthien Athariel
Lúthien Athariel wrote:

>Hi LaeMing
>
>thank you! This is very helpful.
>
>On 9-May-09, at 10:59 PM, LaeMi Wang wrote:
>
>> Hi Lúthien,
>> Trees in SL are a special object made from a simple algorithm and a  
>> special texture. I am not sure if these can be changed without  
>> altering the viewer.
>> Might be possible to change the texture.
>
>If that were possible, it would already be very useful (except for the  
>Laburnum which should have lots of flowers :).

I don't believe it is possible, but I'm not 100% certain of that.
Also, those "Linden" trees are client-side effects, so even if you
could make a change you'd see that new version in all regions, and
nobody else would see your texture unless they modded their viewer the
same.

>> However, trees can also be made out of clumps of sculpties or from  
>> flat prims with pictures of trees on them (3 such flat prims  
>> together, rotated at 120deg to eachother will give the tree some 3D  
>> body and doesn't look bad from mid-to-long distances. Custom trees  
>> like these won't bend in the wind though.
>
>I wonder if it is possible to import a tree built in Blender as such a  
>collection of sculpties: I will look at that (I have seen some info on  
>creating sculpties in Blender)

Depending on the shapes, you may well be able to do that, but
sculpties are pretty limited.  Most "sculpty" trees are actually a
combination of several sculpty prims for the trunk and major branches,
and standard prims with semi-transparent textures for the smaller
branches and foliage.

It's incorrect to say that prim trees cannot bend in the wind - simple
flat-prim trees, as LaeMing describes, can be constructed of "flexi"
prims that respond to wind movement.  As long as you get the prim
shape right, and use the same for all 3 (or 4 or however many) prims,
it will bend quite effectively.  I know, I've made some. ;-)

I'd recommend creating an OSGrid (or even SL) account and wandering
around in there to say what people have done - in general, and
specifically with trees.  I never cease to be stunned by the amount of
creativity and talent - not to mention technical expertise - that's
out there, and so much of it is freely available, even in SL.

>> Another viewer limitation - IIRC, SL has a limit of 8 active light  
>> sources (1 for sun/moon, 7 for prims), presumably because of  
>> limitations of graphics cards at the low end.
>
>that need not be a problem if I could, say, make the sun and/or moon  
>invisible and yet leave the lighting intact. If I then create a light  
>source and arrange things so per region that the sun- or moonlight  
>seems to originate from the direction of the new light source, that  
>might work - except that the light direction in the region where the  
>source resides would seem off.

You can't override that.  As I understand it, the limit of 8 is
imposed by software external to SL/OS, and the view reserves 2 for the
sun and moon (separate sources) and leaves the remaining 6 for prims.
If there are more light-emitting prims around you than 6, only the
nearest 6 to you will appear to emit light.

>> Sounds like a bug in stitching the regions together, likely when the  
>> two regions are being rendered at different LODs (Levels Of Detail).  
>> I suspect this because of the way the gaps disappear - if the  
>> regions suddenly start displaying the same LOD, this is what would  
>> be expected.
>
>Yes. I payed closer attention to this, and it looks as if it is indeed  
>connected with this level of detail.
>When I log in and there are these tears all over, it is also the case  
>that there is much less detail in the shape of the terrain. Then at a  
>given moment, the details will suddenly snap into place and the tears  
>also disappear.

You may be able to fix this by changing your graphics settings within
Hippo's "preferences".  Try bumping up mesh detail for terrain
(edit/preferences/graphics/custom).

>> LindenLabs (who's viewer Hippo is extended from) have been talking  
>> about  terrain-to-the-horizon for over a year. I am pretty sure it  
>> is possible to do  but would require some reworking of the viewer  
>> and possibly the server.
>> Normally the viewer is only plugged into its current sim and the 8  
>> adjacent  sims. To render further would require plugging into more  
>> sims at once, which  becomes an exponentially increasing load on  
>> both the viewer and the sims.
>> Rendering only terrain (and not objects) to the horizon is the  
>> compromise LL  is thinking of as it loads up the viewer more (but  
>> only if the user turns it on) and only minimally increases load on  
>> the sims (fetching height-maps, but not the rest of the sim contents).
>
>I would certainly be more than happy with the "just terrain" option,  
>because I do not intend to build structures that would be visible over  
>that distance.
>Maybe I'll  have a look at the code to figure out whether this is hard  
>to do - (I am a dev, though a java one - I never worked with dotnet).

I'm not a OS dev either, but like you I am a dev in other areas.  I
think you'd need to look at both the client (especially the client,
since that's doing the drawing) and the region (and asset?) servers
(to serve the textures and height-maps of distant regions).  I hope
you've got courage - I'm trembling just thinking about it!  ;-)  

Hope this helps - and bear in mind I'm by no means an expert.
--
John Hopkin

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