InWorldz Blog

Where your Dreams are our Vision!News about the InWorldz Virtual World

Tech Blog

Feb
12

InShape entered into Google Fit Developer Challenge!

As of tonight, InWorldz InShape has been updated and entered into the Google Fit developer challenge! This is an exciting opportunity that has the potential to get InWorldz and content developers some time in the spotlight! We hope the judges of this challenge will find InShape as innovative and fresh as many of you have.

You can find information about the challenge here: https://developers.google.com/fit/challenge

One of the requirements for the challenge was to integrate the Google Fit APIs into the application so a bonus of this entry is that InShape for Android now supports heartrate measurements!

Using a Google Fit compatible heart rate tracker, HUDs and other devices can now display your heart rate while you’re working out and keep track of the data for use in exercise programs, fit games, and activities.

This data is exposed to developers through a new data format called tagged metrics in the InShape data stream. If you are a developer working with the InShape platform, you can see an example of extracting tagged metrics on our github page at https://github.com/InWorldz/inshape-inworld/blob/master/src/tagged_metrics/tagged_metrics.lsl

Speaking of content, an InWorldz resident has given me a copy of a rather unique InShape powered object.

InShape Mushroom

The InShape bouncing mushroom

With your phone in your pocket logged into InShape you hop your avatar onto the mushroom and jump up and down. The higher you jump in real life, the higher you bounce on the mushroom in InWorldz! I can see this simple type of interaction being refined into a great workout routine and something that would be fun to do with friends.

Keep your thinking caps on. It is great to see these ideas being developed! Feel free to drop me (Tranquillity Dexler) a line in-world if you’ve got some more examples of InShape powered content you think we should know about.

Dec
26

Introducing the “I’d Rather Be #InWorldz” contest and campaign!

One of the most common things we hear from new residents is “What is there to do on InWorldz?”.  At InWorldz, we’ve been trying to not only answer this question with projects like the RP Hub and InShape, but also come up with ways to let people see into your world. We think that while the beauty and vividness of InWorldz speaks for itself, that voice needs to be amplified so that more people can be exposed to the power of virtual reality.

To accomplish this, InWorldz (with some inspiration from one of our residents) has come up with a fun way to help you share your world with your friends and the rest of the internet. When you’re stuck cleaning the house or sitting behind a desk working, http://ratherbe.inworldz.com will be the place for you to show the world that you’d rather be flying planes, driving cars, or shopping in your favorite virtual world. We’ll be promoting your posts to show the internet how much fun they could be having if they join you.

As part of this promotion, we’ll be offering prizes to the submissions that get the most thumbs up:

1 Grand Prize

  • A full private region for you to use paid in full for the first 3 months, or 3 months paid tier on a region that you own.
  • An “I’d Rather be _______ #InWorldz” tee shirt
  • An “I’d Rather be _______ #InWorldz” coffee mug

1 First Prize

  • A full private region for you to use paid in full for the first month, or 1 month paid tier on a region that you own.
  • An “I’d Rather be _______ #InWorldz” tee shirt

2 Second Prizes

  • 10,000 $iz to spend anywhere in-world on anything you’d like
  • An “I’d Rather be _______ #InWorldz” coffee mug

3 Third Prizes

  • An “I’d Rather be _______ #InWorldz” coffee mug

 

You can post images, videos, and dreamshare models to ratherbe.inworldz.com. Please note that images will be resized, must be JPG or PNG format, and must not have a transparent background. Visit http://ratherbe.inworldz.com and log in to get started. If you need help posting, check out the instructions on the InWorldz blog at http://inworldztech.com/techblog/2014/12/26/help-for-posting-to-ratherbe-inworldz-com/

The contest portion of this promotion will end February 28th 2015 at 11:59:59 PM PST. So get your submissions in and share with your friends!

Many thanks to @dianacacy on twitter for the inspiration for this promo in her tweet http://gyazo.com/a8ea5789e44495b42d67ed5d82b96f80. You’ll be getting that tee-shirt after all!

Dec
26

Help for posting to ratherbe.inworldz.com

Need help posting an entry to ratherbe.inworldz.com? You’ve come to the right place! See the tutorials below to learn how to post images, youtube videos, and dreamshare models to ratherbe.inworldz.com

Login and posting an image

Posting a YouTube video

Posting a dreamshare model

Dec
22

InWorldz Residents Celebrate Holidays with Toys for Tots Donation Drive

Residents give most ever to Toys for Tots in Annual Fundraiser

San Antonio, TX: Last night wrapped up the annual Toys for Tots fundraiser on InWorldz, a 3D
simulation platform that relies on User Generated Content. Events over the last 2 weeks for the
fundraiser included a virtual Fashion Show, oYo Breedables Auction of horses, live auction of
creator items and donation dances with the InWorldz Christmas Angels raised a total of
$3,259.43. The donations will be matched by InWorldz for a grand total of $6,518.86, the largest
donation to date for InWorldz by its residents.

In statement about the donations from InWorldz Co-President Beth Reischl said, “In the years
we’ve been doing this, the generosity of our residents has always astounded us. From our first
little donation of $1,000 to steadily increase to over $6,500, our residents have shown us how
much they can and will give, and continue to give, to kids who sincerely need a light of love on
their Christmas Day. To see so many residents dedicated to giving joy to children, there is no
price you can put on that.”

Historically, InWorldz has sponsored the regions for the fundraiser, while residents volunteer
their varied services to provide a fun experience ranging from DJ’s, to auctions of one of a kind
items, fashion shows and more. While the setup takes a couple of months to get everything
setup, the event is considered the Premier Event of the year for InWorldz.

About InWorldz: InWorldz is a fully interactive 3D platform enabling users to create their own
rich dimensions from realistic to full fantasy settings and everything in between. Users can
socialize with others around the globe, and coming soon, be able to compete with users for
health and fitness.

Oct
12

Introducing InWorldz CloudIDE / LSL

We are happy to announce the general availability of the InWorldz Cloud IDE for LSL. This tool allows you to edit, save, and compile your LSL scripts via a web browser from anywhere!

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 12.30.17 PM

To create projects and save files into the cloud, you will need an InWorldz account. However, no login is required to edit scripts on the web page and to check that they compile.

InWorldz CloudIDE features include:

  • Code completion and snippet support (Ctrl + Space to activate)
  • LSL syntax highlighting
  • Phlox powered enhanced error reporting
  • Easy, one click navigation to the location of a compile error
  • Project support: Save files under collections of projects

Coming soon:

  • Support for syntax highlighting of InWorldz constants and functions

More screenshots:

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 12.31.05 PM

Check it out and get started with your LSL projects at https://cloudide.inworldz.com !  It works on the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. Happy coding.

Apr
16

The InWorldz future initiative

Announcing the InWorldz virtual world future initiative

InWorldz is a tech company, and we are a company run by people with big hearts. We understand the empowerment that comes to many people when they can enter a virtual world and dance again when this has been stolen from them in their real lives. We want to help spread this technology in any way that we can so that more people can get their hands on it.

InWorldz is also a business. We are responsible for our employees, and we are responsible for maintaining a product that works to our customer’s satisfaction. We do our best to control the direction of the product and listen to customer feedback to provide a focused virtual world solution. We are the gatekeepers to what goes into and doesn’t go into InWorldz. We have to be agile.

As of March 2014, we currently handle more than twice as many 30 day active users than any other single opensim based grid, and greater than 10x more active users than the majority of opensim grids. Along with the monthly active users, InWorldz routinely sees peaks between 300 and 400 simultaneous users in-world.

These higher than average numbers have brought us knowledge and experience into the vast array of technical challenges that come with virtual worlds. We have utilized a combination of tried and true technologies along with new cutting edge software and distributed systems to make sure that InWorldz can handle the multi-pronged load that is inherent to virtual worlds, as well as make sure InWorldz is ready to scale out when we need it to.

For various reasons in 2009/2010, InWorldz forked OpenSim and brought development in-house. Therefore much of our work has had to stay private as many of our changes were massive and would not be easily ported back. We have on a few occasions hired security consultants to try to find holes in our protocols and in each instance where a bug was found, we asked these white hats to report the problems back to someone privately. We have also privately committed patches and bug reports to related projects like OMV, which provide the backbone data structures to SL based simulators.

While this kind of backchannel reporting and submission can help virtual worlds as a whole, we think we can do more. We want to see virtual worlds succeed and we want to be part of a massive push to get them there. With that in mind, this year we will begin to release and develop some standalone components under permissive open source licenses. The first of these components in development is something that many interactive businesses outside of virtual worlds can probably use, but that is being designed with virtual world use cases in mind. Given our experience combined with recent advances in distributed systems engineering, we believe we have a good perspective on the solutions to some problems that are begging to be solved.

Working together we can show the world how awesome virtual reality is, and in time, I hope to be able to share it with more friends and family than ever before.  

Apr
16

2014 progress report

Hello everyone Tranquillity here!

This year has seen some massive work completed on the InWorldz grid with a lot more to go. Since we are now into the second quarter of 2014 I’d like to list some of the things we’ve accomplished, some of the things we’re still working on, and some targets we’ve missed or that I am predicting we will miss. Towards the end of this post, I’ll also make announcements about other significant events in the pipe for 2014. [edited: I moved that announcement to its own post, you can read it here] You can see our original schedule here: InWorldz Roadmap for 2014 which will explain some of these projects in more detail.

 

The good stuff

Bot Support

First incase you missed it, we released a highly requested feature for role players. “Bot” or NPC support hit the grid with huge popularity, as well as a few problems along the way. The bot support is modeled after the AuroraSim bot API with significant enhancements to functionality for InWorldz. Many creators had fun testing and finding uses for the bots within their stores, RP environments, and just about everywhere else. Unfortunately the design was a bit too open and we had to pull the support to add some limits. But the good news is that InWorldz 0.8.14 is scheduled to hit the grid between Friday, April 18th and Saturday, April 19th and it reenables the support.

Release cycle change

We successfully switched to a 3 week grid release cycle. There have been a few bumps in the road, but it has significantly improved our releases and allowed us to better concentrate on just the features and changes that we know are ready for a roll out. Over time as the release process becomes more of second nature for the developers, we can already see the gains in productivity and quality will be apparent.

Project stratus hybrid asset system

InWorldz project Stratus hybrid asset system is active on the beta grid and is ready for roll out. We are waiting for an openstack feature to be deployed before we can proceed. The awesome folks at Rackspace were able to get a feature added for us to make lower latencies possible for our use case on their cloud. Once this feature is deployed, we will roll out Stratus which will make it easier for us to scale out while maintaining the performance you’ve become accustomed to on InWorldz.

Scenic region partner rezzing

The ability for someone to permanently rez objects on their partner’s scenic region has been deployed to the main grid

Region crossing and teleport enhancements

I have assigned myself to the region crossing changes and am currently in the middle of a complete rewrite of the legacy code that was handling connection management and neighbor region logic. The first set of these enhancements is due to hit the main grid on the next release on the 18th. This should lessen cases of “child agent update failed” during teleport as well as timeouts during region crossing handoffs. The next stage of the changes should hit the beta grid within 4 weeks and will help alleviate the vast majority of remaining teleport and crossing issues.

 

Delayed projects

Unfortunately, we’ve also missed our mark on a few projects. This is mainly due to changes in priorities and problems that came up while we were trying to complete our tasks.

InWorldz InShape open beta and release

This project is delayed until I finish up the teleport and crossing enhancements. I expect to resume work on this again in about 4 weeks.

Project Maestro deployment

We’re going to try to squeeze this in within the next few weeks.

Mar
10

Moving to a 3 week release cycle

The past months have seen some massive work being completed on the InWorldz grid. During this time, InWorldz developers have tried their best to keep up with the high level of feature requests and bug reports. Unfortunately our last major release had many regressions that didn’t get exposed in testing, and took InWorldz developers a couple of weeks to sort out. Due to these problems and the schedule slips they will undoubtedly cause, InWorldz will be moving to a new hard set release schedule.

From now on we will perform a development freeze every two weeks. This means that when we are considering features to add to InWorldz, no feature completed outside of this timeframe will be included in the upcoming release. We will also not fix long standing bugs during the development freeze. We will only concentrate on new regressions caused by previous fixes or features. New features and bug fixes from the two week development cycle will be tested on the beta grid in the beginning of the third week of the release cycle. After a few days of beta grid only testing, we will deploy this release to the sandboxes for final regression tests. This version will then go to the main grid during a roll out at the end of the third week.

During the development freeze, development may continue on other features or longstanding bug fixes, but these changes will not appear in the release branch until the testing phase of the next cycle. This will prevent us from trying to slip in just “one more requested feature/fix” before a rollout which can cause feature creep as well as unintended regressions.

Release Chart

 

Along with this new schedule we want to emphasize that it is extremely important for content developers to help us test during the third week of the schedule. We need your help on the beta grid as well as the sandboxes. Please do not wait for us to roll changes to the grid only to discover that they have caused problems with your content. We do our best to avoid content breakage whenever possible, but we’re all human and mistakes will be made.

You can sign up for the beta grid on your account page on the website. You can follow the instructions here to learn everything you need to know about participating in beta testing on the beta grid. When a release is deployed to the beta grid for testing, you will see release notes posted in the grid notices section of the InWorldz forum found here. You should keep an eye on this forum to know when a release is ready for testing.

We hope these changes will lead to less regressions making their way to the main grid as well as helping us stay on schedule. We thank you for your continued help in testing, for your patience, and look forward to many more grid improvements in the future.

 

Jan
17

InWorldz Roadmap for 2014

(This blog is soon to be converted from the InWorldz tech blog to the general InWorldz blog. As such, we’ve chosen to post this general grid news here)

2014 will bring some exciting changes to the InWorldz platform that will improve upon the performance, reliability and features of the virtual world that many of you call home. I’d like to take a bit of time to go over our current development work list and then dig a bit deeper into upcoming features for this year.

We’ll start with large projects currently being worked on or tested. They mostly deal with performance, management, and reliability.

Large projects with completion in the short term

Maestro – Grid Management

(code is 95% complete, beta testing starts within a week)
Mike Chase, Tranquillity Dexler

Maestro is the name of our new region and platform management backend. Our old backend named Zookeeper has done a very good job at allowing us to perform easy updates, configuration changes, and execute parallel commands upon the entire grid whenever we needed to. However, this backend was developed over time based on constantly changing requirements and really needed a complete overhaul.

Enter Maestro, a rewritten grid management system. Maestro will allow us to go well beyond the capabilities of Zookeeper and provide you with faster deployments, better region monitoring, and high availability. Maestro will allow us to collect and keep more detailed information on the performance of regions, and provide more powerful statistical and fault analysis. Developers will be able to easily and remotely look into the inner workings of a running region all the way down to threads and call stacks for powerful debugging. This means bugs that pop up only once in a blue moon, or only when there are 60+ real avatars on a loaded region will be easier to identify and fix.

Maestro has better task management, and access to a more intelligent deployment database. Region deployments will be more intelligent and fully automated to provide a quick response and “best choice” for placement on hardware when someone would like to make a new purchase. Maestro deployment software is aware of the average resource consumption for the given product and will use this data to assess options and provide top performance.

Better task management means that when someone schedules a region restart it will not conflict or override system events like automated rollout restarts or automated region backups. This will ensure better consistency and less problems that arise due to conflicting instructions given to a region at critical points.

With all these features, we have decided that region takedowns will still be a manual process as there are many reasons why someone may be late with a payment here or there. The InWorldz team doesn’t believe in automating and removing the human side from what can be a sensitive and upsetting event. However, temporary takedowns will be easier for support, so if there has been a payment mistake your region will be started back up more quickly.

 

InWorldz Viewer 2.x – Pushing to be the default download
McCabe Maxsted (Adric)

There are a few bugs remaining in the InWorldz v2 viewer (mainly crashers) that are preventing it from becoming the default download when someone creates a new account on InWorldz. We expect within the first quarter of 2014, those crashers will be resolved and the v2 viewer will be the default starting viewer for new avatars. This will better enable all new users to see and utilize mesh functionality.

 

Scenic region partner rezzing
(100% complete, in testing)
Jim Tarber

InWorldz scenic regions are an affordable and attractive choice for land owners that would like to add surrounding land to their existing regions. These regions are meant for light use land and waterways. As part of that goal, InWorldz restricted scenic regions so that they could not be split up and rented out which would cause the servers hosting them to be overloaded and cause poor performance to many other customers on the server. We also prevented anyone but the region owner from creating (rezzing) permanent objects on scenic land.

This restriction has been loosened a bit in our development branch to allow region owners and their partners to rez objects on the region. We hope this change can make them more enjoyable while preserving their original intent and high performance levels.

 

InWorldz “Project Stratus” hybrid asset system
(80% complete, in development)
Tranquillity Dexler

We have created a high performance addition to our asset storage systems that is designed around a hybrid solution utilizing Rackspace Cloud Files in conjunction with our current WHIP asset system to provide better fault tolerance, better recovery in case of failure and cheaper per-gigabyte storage for the company. This will allow InWorldz to continue to scale out in a cost effective manner and provide residents with better fault tolerance now and into the future.

 

Smaller, but no less significant changes coming in the short term:

  • Physics accelerated llCastRay is now available on the beta grid (Matt)
  • llSetKeyframedMotion in development (Matt)
  • Fixes and improvements for many physics functions including llMoveToTarget/region crossing and physical object grab and drag. (Balpien Hammerer)
  • Many fixes for vehicle functions including boat hulls seemingly scraping/bottoming out even in deep channels. (Balpien Hammerer)
  • Vehicle fixes in progress to make more SL vehicle scripts behave closer to how they work in SL. (Balpien Hammerer)

On that last bullet point, I’d like to make a comment. Please, if you notice a problem with vehicle support or anything else on InWorldz that isn’t behaving properly, take the time to check for and/or file a mantis report ( http://inworldz.com/mantis ). There were a few SL airplane scripts that weren’t behaving properly, but because everyone assumed we were working on vehicle fixes, no one reported specific bugs, and we had no idea there were any remaining problems with common scripts. After the issues were reported, they’ve been investigated and a few of them fixed already in under 24 hours.

 

Up and coming projects for 2014

Large planned projects – 

InWorldz InShape – open beta testing and launch
(Q1 2014)
Tranquillity Dexler

The holiday season, problems with google groups, and grid work that needed to be completed held up InShape ( http://www.inworldz.com/inshape/ ) over the holidays. I am pleased to say that I have my backlog just about caught up and will be resuming InShape testing in an open beta format sometime in Q1, 2014. We had a lot of positive feedback from people that really love this project and I even used it to run the ACS Relay for Life track live in 2013! Once the open beta has completed, and we have the rest of the bugs worked out, we will begin our weekly workout sessions and will invite residents to use the InShape technology to invent their own exercise machines and routines.

 

Project Thoosa Phase 2 & 3
(estimate Q2-3 2014)
Tranquillity Dexler, others as needed

Project Thoosa phase 2 will change the storage and loading mechanism for all region data. Utilizing high throughput services, InWorldz enhancements, and efficient data formats, we expect region restart times to drop by an order of magnitude. Phase 2 will also remove single points of failure from the InWorldz backend stack and utilize highly available storage systems to place and retrieve region data.

Project Thoosa phase 3 remains a hush hush project, but combined with phase 1, and 2, and a few other InWorldz projects, it will push the boundaries and offer services that have never before been seen in virtual worlds.

 

Full analysis and debugging for region crossing and teleport issues due to client side interaction
(estimate Q1 2014)
Jim Tarber

We won’t quit until we crack this one all the way open. With the vast majority of server to server issues fixed for teleports, avatar, and vehicle crossing, we have come to the point where we’re looking closely and debugging the interaction between the viewer and the servers during crossing failures. Jim has stepped up to go the full gamut on this one and we will not quit until we fully understand all the failure modes (including internet issues) and do our best to mitigate, mask, or fix crossing problems. We are pissed, and we are not going to take it anymore. Crossing issues that arise from viewer/server interactions will be beat to a pulp.

 

Website makeover and support work
(estimate Q3/4 2014)
Kingpin (Web team)
The InWorldz website will be revamped to provide more functionality, easier registration, and will come with a brand new look. The backend code will be reworked to provide more efficient development and updates.

 

Noteworthy projects in 2014 with deadlines not yet set:

  1. Avatar-as-a-prim
  2. Export permission implementation
  3. Inter-region communications enhancements and fixes
  4. Object name registry

 

Business Development projects

Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come
(All of 2014, but especially starting Q3)
The entire InWorldz team and YOU!

InWorldz will be devoting a large amount of resources to promotion this year. We feel that the world needs to know more about virtual worlds and virtual environments and how they can really add to the fun and quality of life. We want to attract new residents who may not have any idea about virtual worlds, and that may need some extra help before they finally “get it”. We want them to explore InWorldz and get a taste for compelling virtual world environments.

In conjunction with promotion, InWorldz will be focusing on retention through several formats. Starting with an overhaul of the registration process, getting information on what the user is interested in and guiding them directly to that point, whether it’s creating, socializing, or RP’ing. We’ll be working with active communities to provide a compelling area that targets the user’s end experience and gets them started in whatever they want to explore.

Along with InWorldz backed advertising campaigns and retention plans, we want people to read all about what types of things you’re working on in InWorldz, and what you enjoy doing here. Through your blogs and social media, you offer people an important window into the workings of a virtual world. You will help us to answer the whys and the hows for people that might be curious but don’t fully understand the concept.

InWorldz NEEDS you to write, to blog, to shoot video, and to share with the world what it means to be a resident here. We need you to show them the possibilities of the platform, and how it helps you to make some of your dreams come true. As a resident, your words and demonstration will be compelling. They will believe what you have to say more easily than they will believe us.

 

Thank you everyone. Have a great 2014 and see you InWorldz!

Jul
29

Project Thoosa Phase 1 Enters Beta

Around the beginning of Q2 2013, we began working on an internal project we named “Thoosa”. The etymology of the word touches on the goals of the project:

In Greek mythology, Thoosa or Thoösa (Θόωσα, Thoōsa) was a sea nymph associated with swiftness

The project has one primary goal and that is to make scene objects and their associated operations faster, more efficient, and more reliable.  Getting Thoosa to Phase 1 has entailed massive and sweeping changes to the core simulator architecture to accommodate more efficient storage, representation, and transfer of simulator objects and linksets. As our primary mission is to continue to improve the core of our product, Thoosa is a necessary step towards achieving a more seamless, massively scalable, and persistent virtual world.

This project will be deployed in Phases, and we have just completed Phase 1 and consider the code mature enough to enter beta testing. Phase 1 includes enhancements and optimizations in the following:

  • Taking objects to inventory will be more efficient on the server side.
  • Rezzing large objects should be noticeably snappier.
  • Teleporting to a new region especially when wearing many scripted attachments will be noticeably quicker and attachment scripts will start up almost instantly once you reach the destination.
  • Many avatars teleporting into a region will generate much less server side lag and will cause less of an impact on scripts currently executing.
  • Vehicle crossings, especially physical vehicle crossings for complex objects have demonstrated greater than an order of magnitude improvement in the time it takes for the object to move between regions.

The last point was one of our main goals to achieve on Project Thoosa. We recognized a need for physical vehicles to have very good region crossing behavior for our upcoming release of LSL vehicle physics functions. Below you can view a video that demonstrates a 27 times increase in the speed of a physical vehicle crossing between two separate regions in different processes:

As you can see from the video despite using many different torus shapes and including a ton of different scripts, Thoosa Phase 1 has made tremendous progress in creating a more seamless region crossing experience. This will enable InWorldz users to develop best in class physical planes, cars, boats, and more without having to worry about region edges being perilous due to the complexity of their vehicles.

We hope you find that these changes help you with your personal and business projects. We look forward to providing you with continued innovation in the virtual worlds space.

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