Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Diary: 30th December 2008

Open User Manual
Work has now begun on the Open User Manual, for opensim users. There are several contributors who have volunteered for the project, and I have made a start by uploading a draft of the manual to the Forge, which basically converts the tutorials on this blogsite into book-form. Most, if not all, of the info on the user part of the opensim wiki website will also be incorporated.

Giving the IRC Channels a Rest
I have noticed that there are one or two less than friendly characters in the #opensim-dev irc channel, though most there are friendly. As the 2nd birthday of the OpenSim project is almost upon us (29th January, 2009), I thought of preparing an article for the blog, outlining the views of the developers on where they thought the project was after two years. Is it on schedule, or behind schedule (or is there a schedule)? Are they happy with the progress so far, or less than happy? Has there been or are there still any major obstacles to further development? These questions I hoped to get some opinions on.

However, upon asking in the #opensim-dev channel how the developers thought the progress was, almost two years into the project, I was given a terse response from one of them:

#opensim <--- Rock Vacirca

This is shorthand for 'don't ask this question here, ask it in the #opensim channel instead'.

The #opensim channel is for 'general chat' and the #opensim-dev channel is for 'development topics'. Apparently, asking about the current state of development is not a 'development topic'.

I was taken aback by this snub, not least because looking at the chat on this channel, both before and after I was asked to take my question somewhere else, I saw several chat exchanges of little or no relevance to development, and no-one else was asked to take their questions/comments elsewhere that day.

This was not the first time that something like this has happened in that channel, and at other times I have asked a question, and have been met with silence. If the channel is for developers only, then that should be made clear in the description.

I received several Private Messages of support following this incident, and I thank all who wrote.

However, I do have a bit of a short temper, so rather than risk the possibility of being told where to go with my questions again, I have decided to opt out of the channels for a while.

Now that the forum for the new Open User Manual has been kick-started, there is no longer any neccessity for me use the irc channels.

I wish all who read my blog a very happy and prosperous 2009.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Diary: 20th December 2008

pCampBot for Fun and Romance
Opensim now includes your very own bot, called pCampBot, which you can use for load testing of your region or grid, and anything else you can think of ;-)

To get pCampBot download the latest binary from the OSGrid website, but you do not need to upgrade if you do not wish to, you can still use pCampBot. In the bin folder you will see some new files:


To run pCampBot you need to open a command console (Start, Run..., and type 'cmd' in the Open text box). You then need to navigate to the bin folder containing pCampBot.exe.

Once you are in the bin folder just typing 'pCampBot' at the prompt will display Help:

usage: pCampBot <-loginuri loginuri> [OPTIONS]
Spawns a set of bots to test an OpenSim region

-l, -loginuri loginuri for sim to log into (required)
-n, -botcount number of bots to start (default: 1)
-firstname first name for the bot(s) (default: random string)
-lastname lastname for the bot(s) (default: random string)
-password password for the bots(s) (default: random string)
-h, -help show this message

I found the easiest way to use pCampBot was to write a simple batch file in Notepad, and save it as CampBot01.bat

The script I used was as follows:

cd c:\Users\Administrator\Desktop\bin 7708\
start pCampBot.exe -l http://yourhost.com:8002 -firstname Test -lastname User -password test

The first line above is simply the path to the folder containing pCampBot (I always rename my bin folder to include the revision number, in this case: \bin 7708\)

The second line starts pCampBot, and gives the url of your region or grid, and the firstname, lastname and password of an existing user. If you want to test with a lot of bots, you will need to create user accounts for them first. I suggest Test1 User test, Test2 User test, etc.

You can then copy this batch file for as many bots as you want to login in, and rename them to CampBot02.bat, CampBot03.bat etc, and you only have to change the number in the firstname, in each file, i.e. Test1 to Test2 etc.

pCampBot does not keep still. He will leap about and walk around all over your sim, sometimes running off the edge of region boundary out into the void, so keep an eye on them on the mini-map!

You can type Help into the console at any time while pCampBot is logged in, and you will see some more commands:

Region# :
shutdown - graceful shutdown
addbots - adds n bots to the test
quit - forcequits, dangerous if you have not already run shutdown
Region# :

I tried using the addbots command, (addbots 2) but it just closed pCampBot down and closed the console window.

I also tried typing in some sentences to the pCampBotSentences.txt file, hoping that the bot would randomly utter some of the sentences I put in there, but alas he was completely mute.

I will look into pCampBot a little further, and update the Diary entry accordingly.

Merry Christmas to Everyone

Monday, 15 December 2008

Diary: 15th December 2009

Database Woes
I logged into my opensim grid on Saturday, and was dismayed to find lots of my palace build missing. I tried restarting the opensim server software, and then the server platform itself, but the missing prims were definitely gone. 'No problem', I bet you're thinking, 'Rock makes regular backups, doesn't he?' Ermm, well, I used to, but I have been so busy of late, the last one I had was 20 days ago, and we have done lots of building and creating shoes and clothing since then. It was time to think of a recovery strategy.

All of the prims that were missing were in the backup. However, if I loaded the backup I would lose all the builds and objects created during the last 20 days. So, what to do?

I decided to take into inventory all the builds and objects created during the last 20 days, then go to a void region and rezz them all there. I then did a save-oar on that region. (Unfortunately, drag-selecting and Taking does not work in opensim yet as it does in SL. In SL you get a single, coalesced object. In opensim you get all the objects individually, so every one would have to be repositioned).

I then wondered if I needed to delete my existing opensim database, then create a new, empty one, and then populate the new one with the backup sql file. As it would be no loss, I decided to see what would happen if I restored the backup over the existing database. Would it clear then write; would it overwrite some, but not all; or would it append? The answer was that it appeared to clear then write.

I then logged in to find all the missing prims back. I now needed to get back the builds and objects created during the last 20 days, and so I did a load-oar into the void region. On going there I saw all the objects where I had left them, and I took them into inventory. Then it was back to the main regions to put them back where they belonged.

I am now looking at scripts that will do a daily unattended backup for me.

Clearing the Clouds
Do you like the white cloud that represents avatars nowadays, when their shape or clothing has not fully downloaded yet, or do you prefer to see the avatar, even if they are Ruthed and/or grey?

If you prefer to see the avatar, rather than the cloud, you can. Here's how:

In the viewer go to the Advanced part of the menu (Control-Alt-D will bring it up if it is not already there). Then go to Debug Settings, and in the text box, type: RenderUnloadedAvatar, and in the lower drop-down box select TRUE, then close Debug Settings.

That's it.
Monday, 8 December 2008

Diary: 8th December 2008

Web Interface
What a great week!

I got the Web Interface up and running fully now for my grid (go here to see what it looks like), and also found how to synchronise the user and the wi_user tables.

I also got the loginscreen working too. This makes my login screen now look like the OSGrid login screen, with that nifty drop-down list of regions, so you can select which one to arrive at.

I have written the tutorials for the Web Interface now, and under More Tutorials I have added one to change the location within the region that you will arrive at.

I have also updated the Money in Opensim tutorial to include all the latest experience.

Latest on Blue Mars
After all the media coverage of this exciting new Virtual World, and that impressive teaser trailer, I was getting a bit worried that their website has not been updated since early August.

Their news section speaks of two shows it intended to participate in:

25-27 August, Nvision 08, San Jose

3-4 September, Virtual World, Los Angeles

Both shows have long passed but there has been no update to their website informing readers of how the shows went.

However, I emailed Blue Mars yesterday, and was told that they were very busy getting the beta prepared for January/February 2009.

I am on the list of beta testers, and this is one world I really want to visit.