Sunday, October 19, 2008

Improving Second Life and OpenSim Grid Configuration

Second Life, OpenSim and many other virtual environment implementations apply simple grid configuration consisting of single layer of cubes. This is the most simple way to divide virtual space to separate simulation nodes in other words to do spatial load balancing:

While this configuration is simple and effective it is possible to improve it significantly to provide better performance, redundancy and local load balancing. In redundant grid one simulation node may shutdown and the grid remains accessible in that location. Local load balancing means that the same space is simulated by several simulations which exchange state information. One such configuration is dual cubic lattice:The following page contains example calculation estimating that redundant dual cubic lattice provides 25% more objects and 100% more clients with the same bandwidth usage and same maximum object size as simple cubic lattice. The example assumes that network capacity is the limiting performance factor:

Advanced Grid Configurations at

25% more objects is not that much but double the amount of clients and simulation redundancy are remarkable improvements.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

OpenSim Starts a New Era?

Thanks to Chris Thorne I found the OpenSim project. There is a great promise in this project as there are major corporations behind it and they all have ambitious plans for the future of virtual environments. It is an open source virtual world server written with C#. The server functions with the open source SecondLife client and there are tens of grids in the grid list. Grid is a synonym for cluster or network of servers forming together a virtual world. I want to contribute to the effort myself with a node or two. Now now, which grid to choose?

The functional clients seem to be branches from the open source SecondLife client and as such have the same glitches and usability problems. It would be great to see a bravely redesigned client with good usability and smooth functionality. SecondLife and the OpenSim clients remind me of the good old rule: "Prefer quality over quantity".

Why is it that still even now after all these years the avatar in SecondLife moon walks like a zombie. Creative directors need to appreciate how important immersion is in 3d environments and how fragile it is.