Thinking about infrastructure

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Dot
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Re: Thinking about infrastructure

Post by Dot » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:47 pm

That is a lovely reply, JW. Thank you so much for providing this resource! I shall stop worrying now! :D

Thinking about how servers/regions might be used... I'm basing this on what seemed to work in Devokan. Other teams will have other insights to offer.

When developing an SL/OS area, it helps to be able to work as a team in world.

For the tree-village area in SL, the team worked on large sky platforms, high above the main island (Devokan). There they made the individual components, flying across to see what each other was doing, asking for help, giving advice. Because we spanned several time zones and some of us are insomniacs, it helped to have the island online the whole time during this development period.

The development took place on the main island because its underlying server specs allowed more prims to be used, so building large stuff wouldn't necessarily make houses down below lose bits of walls because prim allowances had been used up. Prims roughly equate to memory in the underlying server, though each avatar on the island takes up even more memory (I hope I have interpreted the technical explanations correctly).

During this development time, the eventual home for the build does not need to exist on the grid. However, it did in Devokan's case, since that is how SL is set up. When the components were ready, we moved down to the region's ground level, again working as a team, and built up the area, including terraforming the land.

The SL tree village proved extremely popular, which meant people were visiting it at all times of day and night, again suggesting that it might be necessary to have some ages available at all times. However, as time wears on, and people's interests move on, fewer visitors might mean a move to a 'sim-on-demand' model; unlike SL, it is possible to save and store OS-based areas and builds, so that they might be kept in a central repository archive, to be called up when booked by a group for a special occasion perhaps. This backup and/or restoration has to be done by the server admin person -- it isn't possible to do it in world (I think).

When building the tree village on the OS grid, it was a different situation. Here, very few people knew about it, so Paislee and I were able to work on ground level, in place and in peace. The area we have on the OSgrid spans four regions in a square; this is run on a server with 1GB RAM (package specs here -- we got a sizable discount, by the way ;) ). Being able to work on adjacent regions meant that we could look at sightlines from one area to the other, and thereby improve the views. It took us just over a month to build the two areas developed so far, mostly from scratch (it helps that Paislee has school holidays).

The OSgrid is nowhere near as densely populated as SL is, so it is hard to judge how much use an individual region/server might have during a day.

When thinking about a central portal area a parallel might be one of the OSgrid's plazas, which are designed to be central gathering places. The OSgrid main page includes links in the bottom left-hand corner to live statistics for two plazas (plaza 2 and plaza 4), as well as for the whole grid.

=======
Edit: The two areas on the OSgrid are mostly scenic; no puzzles or heavy scripting or lots of interactivity. It would take a lot longer to set up a puzzle or interactive area.

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Re: Thinking about infrastructure

Post by Nalates » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:45 am

Thanks JWP. I think the ‘cross-pollination’ will help all involved.

I’ve reread the thread feeling a little lost as to where we are and are going in the thread. One of the early posts asks where we put the sections for these interests, under what project. I’l kick in the umbrella name Hyper and Other Grid Projects.

Another item came up, ‘shards’. For the way the Uru community thinks of shards I would say SL is shard, Blue Mars is a shard, OSGrid is a shard. I think the defining criteria for a shard is ID and password. The criteria is going to get fuzzy as the grids interconnect. So, the Hypergrid is headed toward a super shard.

Other main points in the thread are financing, free Uru, a profit center for creative work and Cyan IP. I think addressing the financing is important. We keep losing Myst-Uru builds because of financing. Looking at real data I cannot be optimistic about nearing the bottom of the recession. Anything without wide popular support and low cost is not likely to survive.

We have those who view their Uru work as play and a hobby and do not want to engage in for money (pay expenses) or profit (make money) effort. We need to frame the finances in such a way that it is clear all financial paths are open. I think mentioning JWP’s desire for a free Uru be part of each sections preamble in the financial sections.

Within those financial sections I think it is important to provide a path for those that want to create for profit. The demand for 3D models will likely increase as the OS and SL grids open to the use of mesh models. Showing how modelers can cash in on their work seems reasonable.

The Cyan IP continues to be an issue and we have no clear word from Cyan on how that is going to come down. I do not have a FCAL. I have heard that it addresses the issue of where Cyan textures can be used and it says something along the line of only in a Plasma environment. If that is true, it is probably that will be repeated in open source. That would exclude all software resources (mesh, textures, etc.) and story components (place and character names) from use on the Hypergrid. That brings up the question of how tenuous the relationship to Uru can be. Does Myst Style work and how do we define that?

I’ve revised the sections:
Hyper and Other Grid Projects Project
* Myst-Uru close to Cyan story Section
* * Client/Player (Plasma) Subsection
* * Server Operators (Plasma & Alcugs)
* Myst Style - distant story related or style only related
* * Client/Player – may not be Plasma/Alcugs related. SL/OS/BM
* * Server Operators - SL/OS/BM
* Modeling – This is going to become more related to SL, OS, BM and MOOU as meshes come to SL & OS grids. So rather than repeat it in section, have a single section.
* * In-World Building – Terrain, buildings, furniture, avatar attachments, etc.
* * Out-World Building – Blender, Maya, 3DMax – meshes, sculpties, server base terrain
* Story and Role Play Discussion - Generalized Rules and Methods
* Financial Resources for Grids – this can cover both non-profit and for-profit efforts.
* Grid Hosting – for developing the services here? Reviewing services we are using.
* * OpenUru.net Hosting Services
* * Other Hosting Services
* * Hosting at Home

I see this as a possible structure for the mechanics of making ages/regions. Individual projects such as Devokan would have a section in the Hypergrid project. This seems overly complex so... if someone has a better plan...

I think the OS and SL grids will continue to evolve. IBM and several other companies and universities have and investment in it. Hosting sims is probably the next big Internet product for many hosting companies. I think competition will increase and prices will drop.

If hosting OS grid sims becomes ubiquitous getting hosting for a MOOU server may prove more costly. I suspect many may look at the OS grid alternative. However that works out I anticipate a group moving to OS grid hosts and another focusing on the MOOU or Plasma servers. Excluding home servers, I expect the cost and complexity of the Plasma servers to be more.

The complexity of a Plasma setup will likely provide a niche market that OU can fill. Some may want to help develop that service and profit from it. I think this is the direction JWP is thinking…

It may only be the Plasma based servers that can use the Cyan content and story references from MOUL. Until we have the licenses, we won’t know but I wouldn’t be surprised by such a limitation. That could influence many to go the Plasma server route and provide a demand that OU can supply.

The “How to ….” sections for OS/SL grid general building probably do not need to be repeated here. Those sections can be filled with links to existing material. If Uru fans decide to make original tutorials, having them here would be nice. Good tutorials on popular subjects can pull people from all VW’s and also expose them to Myst-Uru.

Dot’s idea of building on what we have is practical. She is still working out a base in SL. But as more ages/regions are added a Nexus will eventually be needed in each grid. For special events home sims could be connected to the Hypergrid. I’m considering how I might do that with my COX connection and router. Now that I am using dynamic IP at home (cheaper) I probably have a more typical connection. Working that out and posting the how to should help others.

Whether one runs a MOOU or OS grid from home the connection setup will be similar. So, some sections will have overlap. I thought of trying to have separate sections but to do this for more than few seems overly complex.

The inter grid connections are of interest beyond the Uru community. IBM, SL, and others are into that and working it out. However, one of the interesting things done in Land of NoR is their main gaming continent. It grew from one sim to 28. (now 13) Currently all 13 sims are side by side. Not all the sims are owned by the same individual (I think). I am assuming something similar is possible in OSGrid. We should probably consider how that might work if someone wanted to be near Devokan. How one goes about getting that to happen and what permissions are needed needs to be worked out. Or decide if that is even desirable. Even with building restrictions NoR has some of the chaotic feel of main land SL.

Whatever, I would like to get some of the sections set up on OU. If the root sections are setup on the wiki we can start working with them as we have time.

On publicity… I do SEO work. So, I am always building links for my blog and Myst-Uru sites. It can take some time but I can usually move a target to top 10. So, much of how we plan to publish information starts now and each post with a link adds to tiny bit to the position. The text used in the link is important. So as we get sections of the forum set we can start building position. The trick is to anticipate what people will search on and use those terms for appropriate subjects. So, searching on Emerald Viewer Review brings up my blog article. This link is another little plug for it.

Central Portal Area… This might be a coveted resource. I think it is needed. Some in-world directory (Nexus) will be needed. Sim owners will need to understand how to label their sims so they can be found with in-world search so new people can find us.
Nalates
GoW, GoMa and GoA apprentice - Guildmaster GoC - SL = Nalates Urriah

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Re: Thinking about infrastructure

Post by Mac_Fife » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:32 am

Nalates wrote:If hosting OS grid sims becomes ubiquitous getting hosting for a MOOU server may prove more costly. I suspect many may look at the OS grid alternative. However that works out I anticipate a group moving to OS grid hosts and another focusing on the MOOU or Plasma servers. Excluding home servers, I expect the cost and complexity of the Plasma servers to be more.
You may be correct, but I don't think that it's necessarily the case that a MOUL type server setup for an OpenURU will be more costly. There is the scope to change the dependency on some of the more expensive assets (e.g. using Oracle for the database). It remains to be seen, but there are a couple of threads on System Concepts (e.g. here and here) that discussed what might be required.

But my main concern here is getting across the fact that there is a cost to all these things. I have a sense from many of the discussions I've seen on other forums, that a significant part of the URU community is equating "Open Source" to "free". While that may true in terms of access to the code and other assets, it does not mean that playing the game comes without cost: Those involved with Eder D'Uru/Devokan will no doubt be acutely aware of that, but I still think there are many who will fail to appreciate that servers cost money to run, even home servers (and I suspect that many home servers will struggle to support any significant user base). Whether things are run on a For Profit or a Not For Profit basis may have significant legal or tax implications and that will vary across administrative regions and countries. I'll simply point to the System Concepts forum here - there are several related threads there.
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Re: Thinking about infrastructure

Post by Dot » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:40 am

Let's see if the ideas listed have a natural fit with sections already existing on OpenUru. Then we might be able to see where new projects or subprojects are needed.

Hyper and Other Grid Projects Project (= OpenUru? No need for a new name ;) )
  • Myst-Uru close to Cyan story -- subsection of System Concepts?
    • Client/Player (Plasma) -- subsubsection
    • Server Operators (Plasma & Alcugs)
  • Myst Style - distant story or style only related -- subsection of System Concepts?
    • Client/Player – may not be Plasma/Alcugs related. SL/OS/BM
    • Server Operators - SL/OS/BM
  • Modeling -- subsection of Building and Testing?
    • In-World Building – Terrain, buildings, furniture, avatar attachments, etc.
    • Out-World Building – Blender, Maya, 3DMax – meshes, sculpties, server base terrain
  • Story and Role Play Discussion -- Generalized Rules and Methods -- New project, though it might have links with the Writers Club and the Eder d'Uru Project; possibly be parallel to the SD&D section
  • Financial Resources for Grids – this can cover both non-profit and for-profit efforts -- System Concepts as subsection?
  • Grid Hosting – for developing the services here? Reviewing services we are using -- System Concepts as subsections?
    • OpenUru.net Hosting Services
    • Other Hosting Services
    • Hosting at Home

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Re: Thinking about infrastructure

Post by JWPlatt » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:52 pm

FYI - I can't find it right now, but I'm sure there was a Cyan statement (from RAWA or Chogon) that Cyan IP will only be permitted to run on the Plasma engine.
JWPlatt wrote:...but without a free Uru I would have no motive and am not interested in building this as a public service company if Uru is not at the heart of it.
Let me clarify on this "free Uru" thing a bit. That's "free" as in freedom, not necessarily in cost. It would not be free if it were not open source. It would not be free if people were not permitted to bring up their own shards. It would not be free if there were not a .org option to this domain where people can obtain code and resources at no cost to them. And if people want to provide an Uru shard for free - awesome. But I don't have a problem at the thought of someone charging admittance to at least recover their costs, or making something so attractive that people want to pay for it and let others profit for their work. Freedom means options.
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Re: Thinking about infrastructure

Post by Nalates » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:59 pm

Thanks for explaining FREE...

We do have those that have an issue with for profit efforts. I think not being able to make a reasonable income from time spent means the time available is limited. So, things take longer or are not as polished. So, in any financial section I would like emphasis that both choices are supported. Including your explanation of the meaning of free on OU is a big help, IMO.

On Plasma I'll start a new thread.

Edit: Post on Plasma
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Re: Thinking about infrastructure

Post by Dot » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:37 pm

Thanks for all the replies. I'll try to sum up where we seem to have got to.

The original motivation for the thread/project grew from this:
One thing I'm hoping we will be able to do is to explore the methods of teleporting between the various open-sim Myst-Uru areas on different grids, maybe setting up a special hub region using the Hypergrid. Then explorers could link to the hub, and from there use a special portal to the Myst-Uru-friendly builds on the different grids. I'm currently discussing this with JW as a potential project here on OpenUru.

To my mind there would be several aspects:
  • the technical aspects of setting up and running the server software and portal software
  • creating a meaningful inworld model for explorers to use to select destinations and to link (akin to the Nexus in Uru)
  • gathering, organising and keeping up to date the information about the different builds on the various grids, publishing it in-world and on the web
  • publicising the facility among the wider Uru community
JWPlatt has spelt out the meanings of Openand Free in the context of projects that can use OpenUru's facilities. Aside: It might be helpful to place these on a Wiki page, suitably tidied up, for future reference.

Nalates, in a long and thoughtful post, put together a revised bullet list of possible project sections:
Nalates wrote:Hyper and Other Grid Projects Project
* Myst-Uru close to Cyan story Section
* * Client/Player (Plasma) Subsection
* * Server Operators (Plasma & Alcugs)
* Myst Style - distant story related or style only related
* * Client/Player – may not be Plasma/Alcugs related. SL/OS/BM
* * Server Operators - SL/OS/BM
* Modeling – This is going to become more related to SL, OS, BM and MOOU as meshes come to SL & OS grids. So rather than repeat it in section, have a single section.
* * In-World Building – Terrain, buildings, furniture, avatar attachments, etc.
* * Out-World Building – Blender, Maya, 3DMax – meshes, sculpties, server base terrain
* Story and Role Play Discussion - Generalized Rules and Methods
* Financial Resources for Grids – this can cover both non-profit and for-profit efforts.
* Grid Hosting – for developing the services here? Reviewing services we are using.
* * OpenUru.net Hosting Services
* * Other Hosting Services
* * Hosting at Home
I later annotated a copy of the list and suggested that most of it would probably fall under the remit of Systems Concepts. Most of this covers the first point of the original bullet list.

I agree with Nalates that this is probably getting a bit too convoluted. What if the focus in the technical/financial area goes on an initial, trial project of setting up server(s) for an OpenSim-based Myst/Uru-style mini-grid, which may or may not be part of the OSgrid. Is that something you would be interested in defining, developing and leading, JW?

This mini-grid could include the second bullet in the original list, aka Nalates'
Central Portal Area… This might be a coveted resource. I think it is needed. Some in-world directory (Nexus) will be needed. Sim owners will need to understand how to label their sims so they can be found with in-world search so new people can find us.
This, and comments on who gets to link their region where on the grid, are pertinent and suggest there would need to be some way of resolving difficulties/disagreements between different region developers. So would there need to be some form of governing council (though this might be anathema to many in the community) -- so that coherence and quality can be maintained (I can see this could be really contentious!)? But perhaps that is something to look at further down the line.

Tai'lahr made this offer in the thread I've been away for some time, which could include bullet 3 above as part of its remit. (The subsequent discussion in that thread considers how this might be organised on OpenUru.)
Tai'lahr wrote:... (this is to JW, Mac & Nalates): What would y'all think about maintaining a list of Myst-Uru projects here - even if they're not using this site to organize them? The list could include links to wherever they are being organized and/or contact information on the project leader. I think it would be appropriate here simply because it would help identify community members with various talents that might be useful when OS finally happens. I'll volunteer to organize and keep it if you'll direct me to the most appropriate place for it here.
Publicising would come later, once something is up and running.

Now to the two content aspects on Nalates' list (Modelling, and Story/Role Play discussions): The Modelling info could be a wiki page of links to info already out there. Story/Role Play discussions could be a new project here, or simply keep it as a thread in the general discussions area where we reflect on what seems to work and what doesn't as we try things out -- while we plan out the stories elsewhere (on GoMa, for example, for the Devokan planning).

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Re: Thinking about infrastructure

Post by JWPlatt » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:51 pm

Dot wrote:What if the focus in the technical/financial area goes on an initial, trial project of setting up server(s) for an OpenSim-based Myst/Uru-style mini-grid, which may or may not be part of the OSgrid. Is that something you would be interested in defining, developing and leading, JW?
Yes, and it fits well within System Concepts and being responsible for domain operations. Keep in mind that it's a busy time and will only get busier if things work out well for all of us here and around. So I would encourage anyone to poke me if something isn't getting done or take lead when necessary. You folks are great examples of taking initiative.
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Re: Thinking about infrastructure

Post by Dot » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:34 pm

Thanks, JW :)

A quick aside (Nalates will understand the particular significance of this...): Mat is one of the Uru friends who has a region on the OSgrid. He has just set up and demonstrated a direct teleport from his area -- The Gallery -- to Serenia (one of the Devokan group of islands). He's given me a copy of the script, and said what I need to ask the sim-host to enable in the region settings.

This means that we will be able to develop proper 'linking books' for intra-region/age travel, rather than the kludge of using landmarks and/or the map!

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Re: Thinking about infrastructure

Post by Nalates » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:19 pm

Dot wrote:This, and comments on who gets to link their region where on the grid, are pertinent and suggest there would need to be some way of resolving difficulties/disagreements between different region developers. So would there need to be some form of governing council (though this might be anathema to many in the community) -- so that coherence and quality can be maintained (I can see this could be really contentious!)? But perhaps that is something to look at further down the line.

I’m not sure why there would be disagreements that we could settle. Perhaps I’m missing something. Where one sets their sim in the Hypergrid is handled by the Hypergrid folks. They would also deal with duplicate names, which as far as I know now is first-come-first-served.

As to whether a keeper of “the HUB” or Nexus adds them could be a problem. The owner of the sim the hub is in gets to make the final call. That could leave OU out of any conflict. If one can’t get along with or change the mind of the Hub Keeper… well they can start their own hub.

But, may be you mean something else?

Mac_Fife can add the wiki home page link. After that we can build the listing pages for Myst Style builds on the Hypergrid.

In naming there is confusion about the OS grid.
Nalates to Jahmen wrote:OSGrid is a specific set of SL like virtual worlds based on the SL open source software. One might think of it as a shard. OS grid or Hypergrid refers to the larger group of SL like or near compatible virtual worlds. One might think of that as referring to all the related shards.

OS grids is highly ambiguous as it tends to mean different things in different contexts. Your understanding it as Open Source Grids is very workable. Most of the Open Source/Simulator Grid is based on the open source version of the SL server side software. The primary code branch is Open Simulator.
Reference MOUL

Also to improve search results we need to consider the name of the wiki section. May be: Myst-Uru Style Hypergrid & OpenSim Grids Doc Project

The home page entry may need to be broader so that all the Hypergrid stuff fits within it.

Since Tai'lahr will be adding a list of sims for Hypergrid we should probably go ahead and add a stem for a similar Uru list in the OU Doc section.To keep the primary focus of OU apparent and avoid rumors I think it's important. I would also state that no Uru listing will be accepted until we have Cyan licenses. If that works for all, I can do the stem.
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