Monthly Archives: September 2009

Standalone but Join the Party

It’s no secret that I love OpenSim standalone installations more than “grids”. For most things I envision doing with virtual worlds, including installations in my university, I can’t see the value of having a huge virtual space that is both shared between several tenants and centrally managed. The things I like to do fit perfectly in a few regions managed and controlled by me. The UCI Grid is about to become a web of hypergrided standalones. I suspect that many people are on the same boat. It used to be the case that standalones were solitary worlds that didn’t connect to anything or anyone; with the Hypergrid, that has changed. Standalones now can connect to the rest of the Metaverse — OSGrid, ReactionGrid, your friend’s standalones, etc. It’s a big world out there, and you can access it from your own small world.

I’m happy to announce Metaverse Ink’s “Diva Distribution”– a lean and mean OpenSim distribution targeting hypergrided standalones that comes preconfigured and that is very easy to keep up to date with newer releases of OpenSim. The Diva distribution is, literally, my personal preferences using the many configuration options of OpenSim. Here is what it consists of:

  • MySQL as the DB backend. I used SQLite for a long time. SQLite is really easy to use, it requires no installation, it’s great for beginners. However, it’s clear that SQLite doesn’t scale well for long-term worlds. Moreover, using a MySQL server on the backend enables very interesting hybrid architectures that I will be talking about soon. The diva distribution requires some expertise for setting up MySQL, but it’s worth it. The instructions that come on the distribution make the MySQL setup for OpenSim really easy.
  • ODE Physics. Easy choice here. Even the official OpenSim distribution is about to change to ODE as the default physics engine.
  • ¬†XEngine as the scripting engine, and lsl as the scripting language. XEngine is the most stable of the scripting engines we currently have, and lsl is the most widely used scripting language. All other language support is still experimental and fairly insecure.
  • One Megaregion of 512×512 meters. That’s right! Megaregions just made it into OpenSim, thanks to Teravus, and they are working great. With megaregions there are no border crossings, everything is very smooth.
  • MetaverseInk Search. If you want to make your world searcheable, mark your parcels “Show in search”, and they will be listed on MISearch’s engine. Others can teleport to your world from search results. Everyone can do this on their OpenSim by setting a certain configuration variable; the diva distribution has that preconfigured.

Over time we plan to add more goodies to the diva distribution, so stay tuned.

Additionally, the diva distribution contains two tools that make it really easy to configure and update your installation. They are:

  • Configure: this is the tool you should run after unziping the first distribution. Be ready to tell it (a) the name you want to call your world; (b) the password for the MySql DB opensim account; (3) your externally visible IP address or domain name. Once you answer these questions, Configure will do all necessary configurations for you. You don’t need to edit any .ini files.
  • Update: once you get the first installation set up, updating it is as easy as running the Update tool. Update asks no questions from you, it just does the right thing.

While the diva distribution comes preconfigured with my own preferences, it is possible to change these preferences to yours. For example, if you want more than a 512×512 megaregion, you can add more regions. The instructions for how to do that come in the documentation that is included in the distribution.

So where can you get it? Get it at http://github.com/diva/d2/downloads — the file to download is called diva-rNNNN.zip, which is listed at the bottom of that page.
Unzip it, read README, and follow the instructions from there.

Let me finish this post by reminding everyone that the current version of the Hypergrid, which we call HG1, is fairly insecure. Don’t take your favorite avatar to places that you don’t trust. HG2 is coming, but it’s not here yet.