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Open Sim As An Alternative To Second Life
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Open Sim As An Alternative To Second Life



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  • Audience questions.Who has been in Second Life?Who has been in an OpenSim grid?Who has set up their own Opensim server?Who has used a virtual world for development?Challenges you may have had?
  • The Digital Convergence Lab (DCL) provides emerging digital technologies for use in teaching, learning, research, and community engagement. The DCL invites the NIU community to explore new ways of communication and sharing of traditional media (print, audio, video) with new media such as digitized text and artifacts, graphics and animation, social networks, virtual environments, mobile devices, video conferencing, serious games, and simulations.
  • Definitions of virtual world.Bell, M.W. (2008) Toward a Definition of Virtual Worlds. Journal of Virtual World Research. Vol. 1. No. 1. Retrieved on October 3, 2009, from http://journals.tdl.org/jvwr/article/viewFile/283/237Damer, B. (2008). A brief history of virtual worlds as a medium for user-created events. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 1(1). Retrieved on October 3, 2009,fromhttp://journals.tdl.org/jvwr/article/view/285/239
  • Kaneva - Similar to Second Life in that is a 3D virtual world for social networking. "Kanevamembers create the digital version of themselves -- avatars -- and then meet up in a vibrant, 3D world based on the modern day. Every Kaneva member gets a Kaneva City Loft -- their own 3D space -- that they can decorate and furnish in their unique style" (About Kaneva). There - "A fully interactive, 3D online virtual world where members can customize and create their own 3D character, meet and hang out with friends in real-time using voice and text chat, build their own virtual homes, participate in events ranging from car races to paintball to fashion shows and even create and sell their own virtual items" (About There). Basic membership is free. Metaplace - The site states that it is an "open platform that harnesses the power of the Web to allow anyone to imagine, build and live in their own unique virtual world" (About Metaplace) This virtual world is in 2D, so a slightly different experience than Second Life. For more information read this CNETarticle. realXtend - " offers a free open source virtual world platform with which you can create your own applications using it as a base."
  • Defined as a 3D application serverReverse engineered from LL browser communication: “We didn’t reverse engineer the browser, but the communication that goes between the browser and Second Life” There is no LL code in OpenSimulatorSo what is it? Can be used to create 3d virtual worlds like Second Life. Can use SL browser or others such as Hippo to view. Like ApacheTalk about the fact that OS is open source and what that means….teams of developers, free, buggy, etc…compare to other open source projects such as Linux, BSD (Berkley Source Distribution), business friendly
  • Alpha software 60%, it does break, lack of documentation (os wiki), no tech supportOpenSim.ini - call for better physics enginePicture of my head sticking out of the ground
  • Some has to do with limitations of SL and some reasons are the capabilities of OpenSim
  • What started as a Second Life dissertation project was rescued by OpenSim when the doc student lost assess to the Teen Grid due to pulled funding.


  • 1. OpenSim as an Alternative to Second Life
  • 2. NIU Digital Convergence Lab
    Aline Click (Presenter)
    Jason Underwood (Presenter)
    Michael Taylor (Contributor)
  • 3. Intro to Virtual Worlds
    “A synchronous persistent network of people, represented by avatars, facilitated by networked computers” (Bell, p. 2, 2008).
    “A place described by words or projected through pictures which create a space in the imagination, real enough that you can feel you are inside of it” (Damer, 2008).
  • 4. Short List of Terms
    • Simulator (Sim) – server application
    • 5. Grid – multiple servers
    • 6. Region – 256 x 256 meters of virtual space
    • 7. Viewer – Browser
    • 8. Avatar – Player embodiment of user
    • 9. Persistent – stuff is still there when you log back on
  • Virtual Worlds
    Active Worlds
  • 10. Second Life Projects
    NIU entered Second Life in summer of 2005
  • 11. Glidden Campus
    Built in the fall of 2005
    Replica of our landmark building
    Collaboration with other universities quickly followed
  • 12. The Art Café
    • Learning space for art education majors
    • 13. Gallery shows for a global audience
    • 14. Class meetings
    • 15. Doctoral research
  • Ed Tech Online Classroom
    Classroom community
    Group work
  • 16. Time Arts
    Senior projects
    Live 2-way presentation
    Local and global attendance
  • 17. Crisis Intervention
    Online class in Homeland Security certificate
    Debriefing experience for students
  • 18. “I am moving to Canada!”
  • 19. Virtual World of Your Own
    Defined as a 3D application server
    There is no LL code in OpenSimulator
    “We didn’t reverse engineer the browser, but the communication that goes between the browser and Second Life”
  • 20. “If you break it, you get to keep both pieces”
  • 21. Initial Impetus
    No age restrictions
    Research control
    Control over upgrades
    Programmable avatar experience
    Develop locally, implement on server
    Cost (scalability)
  • 22. The One Room School House
    Research opportunities
    Basically free for student researchers
    Accessible by kids under the age of 13
    Protected, private, safe
  • 23. Microfinance Simulation
    Package and Sell
    Server-side coding
  • 24. Server-Side Programming
    • Content Management Tool
    • 25. Instructor Dashboard
    • 26. User Administration
  • Games Camp
    Basically free persistent space
    Available and safe for kids under 13
    Easy to learn tool set
  • 27. Feature Comparison
    Comparing SL and OpenSim
  • 28. Pretty Solid
    Land, sky, water
  • 29. Yes, But..
  • Not so much…
    In-world market
    Noob orientation and inventory
  • 33. Pros and Cons of Opensim
    Some Pros & Cons of OpenSim
  • 34. Quickly Experience OpenSim
    Access one of the public OpenSim grids (OSGrid, Reaction Grid…)
    Run a stand-alone sim on y0ur own workstation or laptop
  • 35. Viewers
    Second Life
    Emerald Viewer (Mac)
  • 36. Interoperability
    Second Inventory
    Moving regions and inventory across sims and grids (.oar files)
    Avatars movement from grid to grid (IBM)
  • 37. Experience OpenSim
    Visit a public grid (OS Grid, Reaction Grid)
    Install a stand alone sim
    Install a sim on your own servers
    Install a sim on a hosted server
    Connect your sim to another grid
    Buy or rent virtual land from a grid host
  • 38. Standalone OpenSim
    Ultimate Control
  • 39. An OpenSim on your own server
    Relatively Inexpensive
    Allows others to connect
    Maintenance and Support
    Demands on the system
    10-20 users
    4 regions
  • 40. Hosted Server
    Maintenance and support
    OpenSim Specific
  • 41. Installing an OpenSim Server
    Download OpenSim and helper applications
    Install OpenSim application
    Configure OpenSim.ini
    Launch server application
    Access from viewer (
  • 42. The Future
    Interoperability between virtual worlds
    Divergence from Second Life
    More secondary providers (i.e. Reaction Grid)
    Distribution of content
  • 43. Resources
    Open Simulator
  • 44. Contact Information
    Aline Click (Ali Andrews)
    Jason Underwood (JM Underwood) junderwood@niu.edu