Mesh uploads and NPCs in latest OpenSim release

Justin Clark-Casey

On Saturday 8th October, OpenSim core developer Justin Clark-Casey announced the release of OpenSimulator 0.7.2. This includes – among other things – support for mesh uploads that matches Second Life’s capability and which can be utilised using the official Second Life Viewer.

OpenSim has in fact had compatible mesh capabilities – albeit with limitations – to Second Life since the day after Linden Lab launched the SL Mesh Beta a year ago, thanks to the work of Teravus Ovares, Latif Khalifa and Intel’s John Hurliman. However, until now, the capability has been limited, but 0.7.2 makes it available as a full release – although the upload capability and the release itself are both tagged as  “experimental”.

Mesh uploads on OpenSim 0.7.2 (model by Timmi Allen, SL mesh beta)

Nor is it the only new feature. Commenting on the release, Clark-Casey stated on his blog, “Despite having a minor point release number, it actually contains a very large number of features and fixes, including experimental support for the mesh upload seen in the latest Linden Lab version 3 viewers, Hypergrid support for friends, lures, landmarks and instant messages, NPC functions, prim and agent limits on regions”.

NPCs: New opportunities

The NPC functionality is also something Linden Lab are moving towards. It has actually been under development for a while within OpenSim, thanks to the intervention of UK-based Daden Limited. As Maria Korolov reported at the time in Hypergrid Business, Daden offered a small bounty to fund the capability.

Interestingly, the pay-to-develop route is something that has now come to Second Life, with Maxwell Graf’s project to have a basic parametric deformer developed for mesh clothing – although this project is going the public funding route through (and it should also benefit OpenSim once completed).

NPCs have a wide range of applications, from training scenarios through to providing background characters for role-play environments. Daden were particularly interested in the former, hence their willingness to sponsor the development of the capability within OpenSim.

Crista Lopez

The additional Hypergrid functionality – friends, lures, landmarks and instant messages – is similarly marked as “experimental”, but adds important new functionality to the capabilities of OpenSim. These will make travelling between grids in the Hypergrid environment more personal – allowing friendships to be made, landmarks to be stored and shared, etc. People on different grids will even be able to IM one another.

This capability has been under development by Crista Lopez, who is both a Hypergrid core developer and an Associate professor of Informatics at UCI, and who first blogged about the work in May of this year.

Hypergrid instant messaging (image with thanks to Crista lopez)

The abilities to both make friends across grids – additional checks are included in the process to prevent unscrupulous spamming of offers – and to IM across grids are liable to be warmly welcomed by OpenSim / Hypergrid community around the globe.

The release also brings a range of other features, improvements and fixes to the OpenSim environment, as specified in the full release notes.