Information and requirements for virtual worlds etc


REGIONS

For those new to this but are somewhat familiar with "Second Life," the "sims" or more properly called "regions" there are all a standard size, each measuring 256 meters x 256 meters (65,536 square meters) Scale wise it loosely approximates real measurements but not quite exactly, so your avatar there may stand 2.5 to 4 meters high, or approximately 5-8 feet, so with that in mind it's easier to visualize a 256 meter (approximately 750 feet ) distance border to border in relation to that. Each region in Second Life allows 15,000 prims (or single objects) a decent house might use 100 to 300 prims, trees might vary 1 to 10 prims each, so it's a lot of prims to build with.

Each region is one island and can be adjoined to any number of other regions along a grid.
The regions have a miriad of features and functions which allow the owner to change the land surface into mountains, plains, valleys and any variations of that to represent real or fictional land.

Region owners have a set of tools for working on contouring and changing the land surface, another set of controls runs a visitor/guest permissions system, scripts. The environment, i.e; day/night, sunrise, sunset, colors, atmosphere (cloud cover) and more are also configurable with the built-in menus and controls. A little of this is shown below, and those familiar with autoCAD and related 3D CAD drawing software will find many parallels between those and the building tools:

COSTS

Regions in Second Life are extremely expensive, new ones purchased from Linden Lab (who owns Second Life) cost $1,000 USD and there is a monthly fee of $295 USD. Used regions purchased from other people there range in price, but about $400 or so is what one can expect to pay. The $295/mo fee still applies, and there is a $100 fee for changing the name of the region, moving it to a different location or transfering it to someone else.

Regions in Avination currently run $40 to purchase (normally are $60) and the monthly cost is currently $40 for the 1st 3 months, then $60 afterwards. Quite a bit lower in cost than Second Life. The regions are exactly the same as those in Second Life for size, features, functions etc.

Regions in Metropolis grid are typically self hosted, in otherwords, this grid allows you to run the software on your own computer and connect that computer to their grid and run it at no setup fees, purchase cost or monthly costs other than an at will donation you determine the amount and frequency of. The grid provides the background services your region requires- logging you and other people into it, storing your avatar's inventory, providing profile, search, ad and group services etc. They also offer inexpensive hosted regions for those who can't or don't wish to run one on their own. This grid is based in Germany but not only is their web site in dual languages of English and German, but most of the people are versed in both languages.

Rent a ready-to-run Region on Metropolis
The renting of a Metropolis region is the unrivaled low-cost alternative to Second Life. Safety, performance and additional services at an unbeatable price of 29 Euros per month (incl VAT). Features: 45,000 Prims, 40 concurrent avatars. There are no additional costs or setup fees! Click HERE to learn more about this best virtual World hosting offer!

REQUIREMENTS

Most decent computers will run the required opensim software fine, Pentium PC, Linux, Mac, centOS and many others will all run it. Some OS may be trickier to configure and setup than others. I have used as sim servers a couple of Dell GX 520 Pc's purchased used on Ebay cheap, they ran XP pro. These days I have a Dell Workstation running the sim. Regions will run on as little as 500mb of ram, but having more ram is always best, the Dell Workstation I used to about 6/2014 had 8 gb of ram and a 1 TB WD caviar black drive, the current machine is also a Dell Workstation but a newer model and having 24 GB of ram. It's also best to have this as a stand-alone, i.e. this is all the computer does, and you have everything else running, including your viewer running on another machine.

If you have wireless, you will not be happy with the performance, you do need a good fast speed internet connection and wireless anything, or buggy connections will give you massive trouble. It's best to have a wired router and wired cable modem, or else be prepared for a lot of disconnects and other issues if you dont.

ROUTERS

Linksys is a good router, but whatever router you have if any (if you have more than 1 computer hooked up you'll need one) it must say that you can set up port forwarding and loop-back, some models don't have this function, but suffice it to say if it doesn't you can't run opensim and connect to your region, so this is a vital part, and this part of the setting up is probably THE portion of the whole process where new people consistantly get something wrong in the configuration. Opensim will need TCP as well as UDP in the router.

OPENSIM SOFTWARE

There are 2 flavors of opensim, one is all self-contained and uses a built-in sqLITE for it's database, the other uses a full mySQL database with myPHPadmin for the control panel interface. The 1st- the self contained one is the easiest to start with, and downloaded from the Metropolis site it's mostly all setup and almost ready to roll, but the drawbacks of it is it's limitations, it's good for 1 or 2 regions, (though I had 6 regions running okay on it) you can't access the database directly, and as it's all in a single file if that gets corrupted it's going to be a bad day.

The 2nd- is the same software but the configuration file is edited by you to use mySQL instead of sqLITE, this is not the easiest to setup for someone not familiar with how to work with mySQL databases, but the performance and all else are superior and it's well worth the effort to change over to mySQL ASAP. This is not meant to be a tutorial, so I won't go into the details on how to set this up- those who know mySQL will know what needs to be done with the connection string, naming the database, adding a user, giving permissions etc.

With that said, there are a few things to know about requirements to run this, the software was built to run on .NETframeworks 3.5 and on non PC you might be running Mono. Running the .NETframeworks 3.5 is the easiest and the caviat is DO NOT download or use the latest versions of .NETframeworks 3.5 OR mySQL because it simply will NOT work- trust me on that because I learned the hard way.

The best package I found for the PC running .NETframeworks 3.5 is xampplite-win32-1.7.3, this has mySQL 5.1 and myPHPadmin all bundled together and it's relatively easy to get up and running.

Keep in mind the latest version like mySQl 5.5 will NOT WORK, thus you will need to search for the xampplite-win32-1.7.3 which contains the correct versions as of the time I am writing this *

* NOTE: The aforementioned may no longer apply as some fixes and updates to the OS software has addressed an issue with mySQL 5.5, so now you can use the all-in-one xampplite if you like, or download the mySQL community server (version 5.5 is out at this time) if your computer doesn't already HAVE mySQL installed. You'll want to run php and have a GUI to run the face of mySQL if you prefer to see the database rather than working from a command-line interface, this will normally use apache/php so these will likely need to be installed as well.

Google searching will find the phpmyadmin (or similar) and apache, along with complete instructions on installing these- they are fairly easy to install with a minimal amount of fuss actually, but the scope of that is beyond what I intend to include, and the matter will vary according to your specific OS, firewall, ISP, router and other factors beyond my limited experience using just OSX, XP and openSUSE linux.

Once you have absorbed that, of course you will need to download a free viewer and register for an account on Metropolis. There is more info and tech details on the Metropolis web site, REGION CONNECTING there is no need for me to duplicate this here.

On my local OSX instance of open sim, I made a post as follows;

I decided I wasn't quite as happy with sequelpro as I had been with web host based phpmyadmin, so after a bit of searching I found all the information on two web pages I needed to both activate Apache/php and install and configure phpmyadmin to work with the web interface to administer the mysql database. I had to do some wading around a few sites because many "how to" instructions were outdated- dating back to versions that were from 2007 and 2005. Why people keep information on setting up long obsolete versions of software on blogs is beyond me, more so that it appears in the top of the list in Google search results.

Both sites were excellent, and this applies to snow leopard and lion on MAC, all straightforward, with step by steps and some screen shots of what can be a little bit of trouble if you know what to do;

installing-phpmyadmin-on-mac-osx

setup-php-mysql-and-phpmyadmin-on-mac

In the one section where you configure the phpmyadmin using the setup page it was quite handy, it generates the config file into a folder you create, then move the file to the root and delete the empty folder, I had one choice I wasn't sure about at first, and that was having to do with the mySQL server connection, the choice was default or the path, and connection type was tcp or socket, I remembered from the one page's instructions it showed how to get the info with the status command, and that provided the socket and path for me :) which turned out to be /tmp/mysql.sock Put that in and and it was good to go.

Only other issue I ran into was the specific location for the phpmyadmin folder and I had it in the wrong place, moving it to the right place fixed that.

Looks like I have some missing extension that I need to look at, but the clean, easy to see interface is working and so much nicer than sequelpro;

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