Austin Tate’s Blog Backup to 22nd February 2022 contains a backup of Austin Tate’s Blog for posts up to 22nd February 2022 created via a WordPress Blog “All Content” export from

The original WordPress theme used is Twenty Ten which has a main content width of 640 pixels. Twenty Ten may not be supported on in future. Twenty Sixteen is a similar theme but has a narrower main blog post text area. So a lot of the images may not lay out side-by-side where they were intended to.

All current posts are at

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History of SecondLife and OpenSim VR Viewers

These notes were originally posted on the Discord Firestorm VR Mod channel to explain the history behind the various 3D and VR Viewers for Second Life and OpenSim. They are collected together here for convenience.

Pre-VR HMD 3D Approaches

The 3D Lab at the University of Michigan added 3D stereoscopic viewing capabilities to the Second Life viewer via a patch in 2007.

From mid 2011 Kirsten’s Viewer added a 3D anaglyph (red/cyan glasses) viewer capability.

From 2014 David Rowe also added 3D stereoscopic capabilities for anaglyptic (red/cyan) glasses to modify Firestorm. It could also support the Nvidia 3D glasses with 100Hz monitors (dithered between two images to active shutter glasses). CtrlAltStudio also added gesture tracking with the Microsoft Kinect Sensor.

David Rowe’s CtrlAltStudio

When the Oculus VR headsets first appeared, David Rowe amended CtrlAltStudio to do very nice VR support for the Oculus Rift. It was later amended when the Oculus Rift DK2 and software drivers appeared that allowed a more direct feed to the HMD. This approach gave a really good crisp image. But it needed a lot of maintaining, so as soon as LL said they were doing a VR viewer he stopped development of CtrlAltStudio. His approach though is probably still the best we have seen.

Technical Approach: description to be added
@Hypnos on Discord commented… the CtrlAltStudio approach used variable focus based on distance to camera, adjusted to the scale of Second Life/OpenSim.

Linden Lab Experimental VR Viewer

VoidPointer Linden developed the LL VR viewer through several versions and I worked with him at the time as things developed using the repository nightly builds and giving him a lot of feedback. VoidPointer was a real enthusiast for VR and even was a kickstarter backer for the original Oculus. The viewer was in my opinion almost ready to go for users willing to make sure the frame rate was appropriate for the area being used. The viewer did try (in my opinion) to put too much into VR mode… making lots of tools and windows/menus etc be in the 3D space. It assumed everyone would keep their headset on 100% of the time (as did Sansar and High Fidelity). I think personally that’s a mistake. I believe people will use 2D for most things and switch to 3D for the immersive experience when needed.

But it got put to one side as I think they thought frame rates could not be high enough. Then they really ruined it in its very final version .. NOT by VoidPointer who had left by then. I understand a summer intern worked on it. Basically it was rubbish when that version was released and that seemed to be an indicated to Philip Rosedale (still there at the time) that it should be scrapped as a development route. If they go back to their approach they must ditch all the mods made in that final summer – i.e. go back to VoidPointer’s last commit.

Alternative Approaches Using Generic VR Packages

VorpX allows some applications and games not specifically designed for VR headsets to work in 3D/VR mode. It should work with Second Life, Firestorm and other virtual world viewers.

Peter Kappler’s Firestorm VR Mod

Finally, from 2019 Peter Kappler created his VR Mod to Firestorm code using the SteamVR headset independent approach (so it should work with any headset make) with the intention of making an easier to insert and hence maintain approach. But its a similar approach and basically halves the frame rate, and the image quality and size is limited by the size of the 2D monitor in use.. unless some techy settings are changed. Folks with 4K monitors report excellent image quality. I have a 1920×1200 monitor and on my Oculus CV1 and DK2 the image looks fine, but not as crisp as CtrlAltStudio. But the advantage is that we are able to insert the VR Mod code into Firestorm releases as they are made.

Technical Approach: description to be added

@humletim on Discord along with an approach initiated by @thoys on Discord set up an automated build process for Firestorm VR Mod using Peter Kappler’s code (version 6.3.3 still being the current version which continues to work) and release versions of Firestorm to use “GitHub Actions” (GHA) to build releases of Firestorm VR Mod. This has been used since Firestorm 6.4.12 to make the release most people use and continues to work up to Firestorm 6.5.3 at the time off writing this blog post.

Variants of Firestorm VR Mod

A few people are experimenting with using the video frame buffer differently to get higher quality VR images but none have made it to a stage where most people use their experiments yet. The Discord group for Firestorm VR Mod has folks discussing those changes.

@sgeo on Discord created a variant of Peter Kappler’s code which sets the VR settings automatically for the various VR HMDs rather than needing the FN keys to set them up.

Cuteulala Artis told me how she improved Peter Kappler’s code. She said “Yes his VR viewer needed a lot of work. I remove the adjustment settings and things and made it automatic, made the cameras superiorly smoother and added hand tracking with physics.

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Second Life Reading Matter

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Musee Dezentral – NFT Museum

A browser-based viewer to look at Non-Fungible Token (NFT) owned artworks in the Metaverse created by @museedezentral. A Ready Player Me avatar can be used for your own appearance, though on a visit I could not seem my own avatar in the viewer.

Visit via

Displaying art so owners can display their property and others can enjoy and discuss it (via chat) is a positive thing, But unfortunately the acquisition of ownership via Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs, the cryptocurrency that is used for purchases, and the blockchain methods used to validate them comes at an enormous environmental cos. Surely there is a simpler and less impactful method to engage with artists a d the display and appreciation of art.

InSpace Art Gallery and Virtual Art

For example, see this virtual art gallery created back in 2008 in Second Life and OpenSim (Openvue grid) showing virtual and replicas of real artworks and sculptures… and visitable in VR…

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Metaverse Fashion Week 2022

Fashion designer Jonathan Simkhai (@JonathanSimkhai) partnered with @Everyrealm & @BlueberryMeta to produce avatar clothing and the Metaverse Fashion Week runway fashion show event inside Second Life. The event was covered in various fashion magazines and on fashion web sites.

Promotional images from Jonathan Simkhai, Blueberry, Everyrealm and OceanSea social media

Discord “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) Session – 17-Feb-2022

Second Life Metaverse Fashion Show (9pm GMT, 17-Feb-2022)

360° Snapshot using Second Life Viewer 6.5.2 and Firestorm 6.5.3 Beta

VR View on Oculus Rift using Firestorm VR Mod 6.4.21 and 6.5.3 Beta

Jonathan Simkhai and Model (Image from Second Life)

Fashion Available at Blueberry Main Store in Second Life


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OMI Group Space on OpenSim – Bridging virtual worlds by designing and promoting shared protocols.

This blog post is to provide details of one of several virtual world and metaverse platform meeting spaces for the OMI Group. This one is the “OMI” region on the OSGrid for the OpenSim community.


  1. Get an OpenSim avatar at if you don’t already have one.
  2. Download and install the OpenSim compatible version of the Firestorm Viewer.
  3. Login and look round, you usually arrive at an OSGrid “Plaza”. Follow the arrows on the floor to get an orientation and pick up starter avatars.
  4. Open the Map (Ctrl+M), find the “OMI” region and teleport there.

A virtual world social space for OMI group use is available on the OpenSimulator-based OSGrid platform. This is to help OMI Group participants to maintain contacts and have meeting spaces to share ideas. OMI group participants without an existing OpenSim grid avatar should obtain a free one on OSGrid (the OpenSim community grid) via

The OSGrid OMI region is open to look around since it is accessible from any Hypergrid enabled OpenSimulator grid using a map tool search for this “ OMI” or this “hop” in viewers which support that (e.g. Firestorm):


OpenVCE and I-Room Assets

The facility uses the OpenVCE OAR, a ready to load open source virtual collaboration environment with a range of formal and informal meeting spaces, instrumented meeting rooms, exposition facilities, etc.

The “I-Room” is a simplified version of the “Virtual Space for Intelligent Interaction” with some AI task support connected facilities not enabled.


An “OMIgroup” has also been established on OSGrid and can, if necessary, be used to restrict availability of some of the facilities or be used for group voice chat independent of where an avatar is located on OSGrid. Join via one of the signs on the OMI region, by using the viewer group search for “OMIgroup”, or by pasting the link below in chat within the viewer and clicking it.


Collaboration Spaces

    OMI Central Plaza – hop://

    OMI I-Room – Clickers – Virtual Space for Intelligent Interaction
    OMI Classroom – Clickers – hop://

    OMI Expo Pavilion A – hop://
    OMI Expo Pavilion B – hop://
    OMI Dome – hop://
    OMI Amphitheatre – hop://
    OMI Breakout Rooms – hop://

    OMI Project Space 1 – hop://
    OMI Project Space 2 – hop://
    OMI Group Suite Yellow – hop://
    OMI Group Suite Blue – hop://

    OMI Cavern Campfire – hop://
    OMI Picnic Tables – hop://
    OMI Offshore Canyon – hop://


Voting or acknowledgment “clickers” are available in two of the meeting spaces, in the I-Room and the Classroom. A control button clears the clickers in the specific space.


All spaces are enabled for Vivox 3D positional voice, which will drop off depending on distance from avatar camera. At present, to keep things simple, the spaces are not given boundaries to separate voice channels for different meetings areas, though that can be done if it becomes useful.

Permissions and Land Zones

OpenSim allows for a wide range of permissions for building on regions, controlling objects in world, taking copies of items, etc. These can be on an individual avatar basis, or for members of groups, etc. Initially the OMI region on OSGrid may need to be adjusted to allow for “OMIgroup” members or specific roles within the group to be given access to screens, etc. Areas of land on a region can be made into separate land plots ort zones to control the propagation of voice and allow for different access and functionality.

Sources and Downloads

The OpenSimulator Archive (OAR) file that allows the entire region and its resources to be duplicated on other OpenSim grids or elsewhere is available via:

Core collaboration space has some shelves for additional assets which are
unstocked to keep the OAR size, and resulting inworld asset database small
for replication as necessary. Stocked version has Ruth2 and Roth2 mesh avatars and other open source assets.

OSGrid OMI Region Statistics

OSGrid OMI Region Access Statistics

OMI Inworld Items

On the OMI Region near the Central Plaza there are shelving racks with a range of avatars, OMI branded T-Shirts, attachable animated mugs, etc.

Visit in VR or 360° Degree Panoramas

Using Firestorm VR Mod (see this blog post or find latest version) you can visit and use the OSGrid OMI region collaboration and meeting facilities via a VR Head Mounted Display.

Or take and view 360° panorama snapshots with the Firestorm Viewer 6.5.3 or later which can be viewed, e.g., via Flickr… Click on thumbnails below to view 360° images on Flickr…
sl360_OMI_4096x2048_2048_20220218_120853 sl360_OMI_4096x2048_2048_20220218_120944

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Silent Running

Silent Running PosterThe 1972 Film “Silent Running” directed by Douglas Turnbull has a central plot of a future where scientists have sought to protect the environmental diversity of Earth’s natural resources by creating a protected “island” in space – on converted commercial space freighters. The featured spaceship, the “Valley Forge”, has biodomes with service drones – Dewey, Huey and Louie – looking after the spaceship and the plant life on board. SciFi and futurist novels and films give us a way to explore our own joint future and to consider the consequences of our actions.

Silent Running - Valley Forge in Celestia

Dewey, Huey and Louie

This post will have some details of the Valley Forge service drones.

Sketchfab 3DWarehouse Models by Sketchfab 3DWarehouse Models by Martin T. Drone 1 (Dewey), Drone 2 (Huey), Drone 3 (Louie)

Destiny Models Resin Model Kits of Drones –

Bronson Canyon Resin Model Kits of Drones and Cheryl Sparks (who at age 17 portrayed “Huey”) Articles –

Concept Sketches of Drones –

Fred Beckhusen Drones for OpenSim

Fred Beckhusen (avatar: Ferd Frederix) is creating a build for the DreamGrid Outworldz OpenSim-based grid based on Silent Running. It is called “Silent Refueling” and is set a few days before the events depicted in the film. Valley Forge is in the rings of Saturn harvesting material for fuel.

Fred has used the Sketchfab 3DWarehouse drone model by Martin T. and simplified it a lot to make it suitable to import into OpenSim so that an OpenSim avatar and NPC can be used in his build.

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Firestorm VR Mod 6.5.3


Firestorm 6.5.3 + P373R VR Mod: This build includes P373R’s VR Mod 6.3.3 changes merged into the Firestorm 6.5.3.xxxxx release branch (forthcoming).

Download the release from the “Assets” section at the bottom of

Firestorm VR Mod 6.5.3 is created using “GitHub Actions” (GHA) thanks to @humbletim and @thoys. Minor manual changes are made the VR Mod 6.3.3 code for the merge, which otherwise continues to be suitable. Some of the code for performance metrics wants to be just ahead of rendering, which is where the VR Mod inject points also wanted to be. Since they are independent it’s just a matter of explaining to git they are unrelated and can exist in any order. The cmake scripts are also amended to auto-include openvr.dll.

The App name has been changed to “FirestormVR” so the installation can exist side-by-side with stock Firestorm if desired. Settings are also stored in the different user folder AppData/Roaming/FirestormVR_x64.

This release is for Windows, and a Linux build compiles but entering into VR mode via SteamVR remains to be tested.

The user instructions are identical to Firestorm VR Mod 6.4.12 which is described at

WARNING: Modern VR HMD systems have async reprojection (which helps prevent low frame rate nausea), but as it stands right now, accessing SecondLife/OpenSim in VR mode is only for the very brave.

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Blade Runner in Second Life

A Second Life build by Hera (zee9) depicting the city scene from the 1982 film Blade Runner. Visit via the arrival portal on the Cloud Lake region via
and then click on the board to Blade Runner…

See also Inara Pey’s Blog Post on Hera’s Blade Runner build in Second Life (6-Feb-2022).

Hera also created wonderful atmospheric Second Life builds of Gotham (see this blog post – 17-Nov-2021), Whitby (see this blog post – 17-Oct-2021) and Whitechapel (see this blog post – 17-Nov-2021).

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Hypergrid Safari – Travel Outfit and Travel Kit

HG Safari Visit on 2nd February 2022 at 12 noon SLT (20:00 hrs UT)


  • Topic: Travelling in the Metaverse – Defining Your Travel Outfit and Suitcase
  • Host: Ai Austin
  • Date and Time: 2-Feb-2022, 12 noon SLT (20:00 hrs UT)
  • Gathering Point: OSGrid – HG Safari (Clubhouse)
    hop:// Safari/121/136/22
  • Visit Location: OSGrid – Space City (Campfire & Media Centre) hop://
  • Modalities: Text chat and in-world slides presentation. Voice from host.
  • Resources:

Slides are at

360° Snapshots

Click image to view 360° snapshots on Flickr… taken with Firestorm 6.5.3 Beta for Second Life and OpenSim…



The event was also available in VR, e.g. via an Oculus Rift head mounted display, thanks to Firestorm VR Mod 6.4.21 (see this blog post)…


Next Generation Virtual Worlds – Social Web + Virtual Worlds + Content + People

I have written about this before… in a nutshell… I would like to see a grid of grids approach, a single instance world where travel is possible with a common identity and a suitable “travel outfit” and “travel pack” or “suitcase” (intelligently filtered and adapted) and where radically different newer technologies and user interactivity modalities can be introduced alongside legacy facilities and which can gradually build a community and content.


Thirza Ember created a blog post about the Hypergrid Safari trips on 2-Feb-2022…

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