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"Tundra" - potentially interesting project from realXtend
Old 02-27-2011, 09:53 PM   #1
Cale Vinson
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Default "Tundra" - potentially interesting project from realXtend

So, after the grotesque IMVU-isation of Blue Mars (yes, emo Cale iz emo ), I've been looking around for another VW platform to play with.

I'm not generally that interested in the OpenSim developments - I have the greatest admiration for what's been achieved, but as I've rabiited on about in the past, I don't think that any VW platform is going to tick all the boxes anytime soon, so I'm more interested in projects that have a different list of pro/cons to SL. The realXtend work (hereafter, "RX": http://www.realxtend.org/) would normally fall into the "SL-like" category for me, but their new "Tundra" project looks interesting.

Before going any further, standard Vinsonian caveat: I'm still trying to understand how this all fits together, take all of the following with boulders of salt.

RX's "SL-like" projects are "Naali" and "Taiga". The former is their viewer program, built on the "Ogre" rendering engine (and using it to support animated mesh, etc), the latter is their server suite.

"Tundra" is described at http://realxtend.blogspot.com/2010/1...a-project.html. In essence, Tundra is a server module added to the Naali viewer.

Quote:
.... With this approach it was possible to create a perfect counterpart for Naali, since much of the Naali code would be used as is. Also much of the programming work done in the future would be usable on both the viewer and the server side. The approach is quite common in for example many contemporary games and offers some intriguing advantages.

One of the immediate benefits is the “single user mode” or the ability to view content directly with the Naali viewer, without a connection to a server. At the same time it becomes possible to share content as well, which in practice means the availability of “ad hoc servers”, much like in games that allow users to host multiplayer events. In comparison, OpenSim (or Taiga) is ideologically more like a massively multiplayer online game that runs on a persistent dedicated server. The former can be made lighter and simpler to deploy, which makes it suitable for a number of applications.
Quote:
The API is also shared by the server and the viewer, making it possible to utilize the same Javascript or Python code in both.
Yay! Client *and* Server-side scripting! Write the equivalents of SL AO's as client-side scripts! Also, Cale loves herself some Python.

Quote:
The Second Life architecture and thus to an extent OpenSim, have a fairly specific scene model based on separate primitive objects, avatars, terrain etc. realXtend has a flexible entity-component based architecture, whose purest implementation exists in the Naali / Tundra combination, which is directed more towards being a generic 3D application platform instead of a specific kind of a virtual world.
There are pluses and minuses to this of course. Some people *want* SL compatibility for their 60,000 shoes. And there's a lot of stuff that "works out of the box" when you go for a SL-like, stuff that you may have to implement yourself in Tundra. But on the plus side, you get total control - in the Tundra examples, the client UI is generated entirely in script, the developer can create any UI they like (which was one of the things I thought very promising about Blue Mars). The structure seems sound enough to allow for things to be implemented in not too many lines of code.

(From https://github.com/realXtend/doc/raw...cle/simple.pdf, discussing how basic AV funstionality can be implemented in Tundra : )

Quote:
The server-side functionality to give every new client connection a designated avatar is implemented in a simple Javascript script, avatarapplication.js. Upon a new connection, it instanciates an avatar by creating a new entity and these components to it: Mesh for the visible 3D model and associated skeleton for animations, Placeable for the entity to be positioned in the 3D scene, AnimationController to change and synchronize the animation states and finally a Script component to implement the functionality of a single avatar. Additionally, the main application script is also executed on the client, where it adds a new camera which follows the avatar and a keybinding to toggle between camera modes.
Quote:
This proof of concept implementation totals in 369 lines of fairly simple Javascript code in the two files.
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I've just started playing with this on my PC (http://code.google.com/p/realxtend-naali/downloads/list for downloads). As the RX guys point out, the fact its trivial to setup (compared to an OpenSim/Taiga setup), and that you can add assets to a scene just by dragging then from your file-browser onto the 3D window, makes it a great asset viewer/tester.

I've run through all the demos, and also grabbed a sample island and run that with an avatar running around on a server with one client. From here I'll probably try to go to "ground zero" and build up - start with an empty world, add just a terrain, run that, add an AV, run that, etc, and build up from there, hopefully gaining a proper understanding of the system as I go. Might all turn into a steaming pile of poo once one actually beats hard on it, but for now my interest is officially piqued.

ps.
One "con" that will put people off straight away - there's no "grid", just single simulators. But, like BM, these can be as large as you want.

Last edited by Cale Vinson; 02-27-2011 at 09:56 PM. Reason: tidied up quotes
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:25 AM   #2
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Its absolutely no biggie, but I started this thread in "Blue Mars", when I intended "Gamer Lobby / Other Worlds". If a passing admin could move it, there's a remote (very remote) chance I might share my chocolate with them.
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