Avination, one of the top commercial grids using the OpenSim software, announced today that it has enabled border crossings for vehicles with the latest release of its server software.
The standard OpenSim physics engine lags behind that of Second Life when it comes to vehicles, and there are problems having vehicle scripts work correctly when vehicles cross from one region to another.
However, Avination has been working on technology to bring the grid’s vehicles closer to those of Second Life, grid director Melanie Thielker told Hypergrid Business. Thielker is also CEO of OpenSim hosting company 3D Hosting.
“We have worked continuously to improve vehicle physics and we have a good driving feel as it is,” she said. “However, we have also just started a complete revamp of vehicles with the aim to get even closer to Second Life behavior. At this time, Avination supports most of the API [application programming interface] and most values match or need only minor tweaks.”
This means that vehicle scripts that work in Second Life will need less modification to work in Avination than in other OpenSim grids.
Both physics-based vehicles and wearable vehicles work in Avination, she said. Physics-based vehicles are independent objects that move on their own. Wearable vehicles attach to the avatar — just like clothes or accessories.
To celebrate the technical improvements, Avination has announced a cross-grid race, sponsored by Virwox. Virwox is a virtual currency exchange, based in Austria, which trades Second Life and Avination virtual currencies, and is the backer of the multi-grid Open Metaverse Currency (OMC).
The event is organized by M in Events, a Dutch marketing company focusing on virtual environments.
Avination is one of the innovators in OpenSim and grid founder Thielker is one of the core developers of OpenSim. Avination was the first grid to have Vivox voice.
Avination will share the improvements with other grids.
“This is currently proprietary but in keeping with Avination’s policy of releasing code this will eventually come to open source as well,” Thielker said.
“As Avination has its roots in OpenSim, we do have a policy to give developments back to the community,” added Avination spokesperson Leonie Gaertner. “This code will be made open source, when it has been checked and reviewed carefully.”
Avination is one of the two leading commercial OpenSim grids, the other being InWorldz. The two grids have been competing neck-and-neck on technology, community, and other features for the past year and a half, with first one grid pulling ahead, then another.
InWorldz is also working on improving its physics engine in order to have better vehicle support.
Vehicles are important to OpenSim users. In a recent Hypergrid Business survey, vehicle physics topped the list of missing features in OpenSim.
Working vehicles are widely available on OpenSim grids, but scripts have to be adjusted to work with OpenSim physics, and fail at region boundaries. The typical solution is to have megaregions — several regions combined together into a single large regions, so that there are no region borders.