Real-time rendering – the power of OpenSim

posted in: elearning, virtual world | 1

One of the things I covered in eLearning presentations about the use of Second Life, and now OpenSim, is that video captured from this type of virtual world is “real-time”. There is no rendering time as found in “real” 3D programs.

Those of you reading this on the iliveisl blog take this fully for granted and rightfully so. My use of virtual worlds before starting the Enclave Harbour project was as a 3D animation tool. I had been using Flash in conjunction with Swift 3D and Blender 3D to create 3D video assets but the amount of time before you even get to creating video could be impractically long. Especially for the use in corporate eLearning.

Enter Second Life – avatars already exist, there joints are setup, physics exist, and it is very fast to build “sets”. Rather than creating a person, wiring up their armature so their elbows and knees bend properly, and making everything from a mesh – you could just make an office, get a few people to login in, and video right then and there. The downside is that you don’t have the detail and you don’t have the lighting control. However, what would take at least two weeks to create outside of a virtual world platform now only took one day. Far faster and well worth the trade off for training videos.

OpenSim now gives you the same option but for a fraction of the cost or even for free! Ener on the iliveisl blog has done a wonderful job exploring OpenSim installed on a USB drive – even covering USB read times (I would have not thought of that) – and has gathered those links onto a master post (even a zipped OpenSim installation that will run on most PCs).

I now use “sim on a stick” for my work endeavors. I no longer need a special port through the firewall and I don’t need to install anything onto my workstation. OpenSim on the USB drive works better than Second Life. I am able to maintain much higher frame rates for using Fraps with a higher anti-alias setting in the viewer (54 FPS at 4x anti-alias).

Here is an example of an OpenSim “build” that took me about 6 hours to make at a relaxed pace that I made for Enclave Harbour, our middle school science project, of a nightclub in an abandoned building. I used some furniture from Ener Hax and Sunnygirl Whitfield (thank you) and look forward to streaming video over the club’s “plasmas” that are placed in the space. This should make for a neat place to explore and possibly even hold a science activity or two!

If you have yet to add virtual worlds to your eLearning toobox, OpenSim on a USB drive might be the way to try it out. You can also place those zipped files into a folder on your PC and run it from there, no need to use an actual thumb drive.

reposted on the iliveisl blog