Hosting firm takes over Phoenix v1 viewer

OpenSim hosting company Virtual Reality is taking over support and development of the Phoenix viewer, the company announced today.

The previous development team, Phoenix Firestorm Project announced the end of their support for the v1-based Phoenix viewer, earlier this month, so that they could focus on the Firestorm viewer. The Phoenix viewer is popular with Second Life and OpenSim users, looking for a stable product and an old-style interface. In addition to interface differences, the v3-based Firestorm also supports mesh, media-on-a-prim, outfits, and other advanced features that the basic v1 viewers do not.

Virtual Reality said it will continue development, maintenance, and improvement of the Phoenix v1 viewer, which will be re-branded as the Virtual Reality Viewer.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to fork this highly popular viewer for virtual worlds users who use it and desire to continue to use it,” said Virtual Reality founder and CEO Oliver Fannar Gray, also known as SonicBoom Drillion in-world. “The Virtual Reality viewer will continue to work within OpenSim and Aurora based grids, however we hope to update the viewer to address a number of technical advancements that are presently happening in virtual worlds. We are eager to embrace this code base and develop it to support these changes.”

Virtual Reality is already in the process of moving the code base to Virtual Reality’s JIRA system, absorbing the current development state of the Phoenix viewer technology. During this migration process, Virtual Reality will not import the long list of resolved or currently unresolved Phoenix JIRA issues.

“In many cases, the issues provided by the user community do not apply toward the future vision Virtual Reality has for the viewer, and tend to describe compatibility issues with grids that are influencing accessibility barriers such as Second Life,” said Gray in the announcement. “We will gladly accept feedback and new concerns within our JIRA system as we advance the code base toward our a number of our newly planned objectives. We are in the process of defining an internal release schedule that we will incrementally make public via press release to describe new viewer offerings for the upcoming release candidate.”

Developers who are interested in participating on the advancement of the Phoenix code base through the Virtual Reality Viewer project should contact [email protected].

Virtual Reality is an OpenSim hosting company that specializes in the Aurora Sim branch of OpenSim, heavily customized for its own use. It currently runs the Virtual Reality grid, as well as private grids for customers.

Aurora Sim is mostly known for its ability to support variable-sized regions, similar to the megaregions in standard Opensim, as well as infinite regions. Both variable regions and megaregions can cause problems for standard Second Life-compatible viewers.

“Our first goal with the [Phoenix project] is to make it work,” Gray told Hypergrid Business. “We want to make it Virtual Reality and AuroraSim-compatible.”

Gray added that the company will then seek user feedback about the viewer’s performance in Second Life, and in other OpenSim grids.

Today, because all the regions on the Virtual Reality grid are variable-size regions, users need to use the Firestorm, Angstrom2, or Voodoo viewer to access it. All new users automatically get a 10,000-object Welcome Package, filled with content from Linda Kellie. To visit the grid, add its loginURI — login.virtualrealitygrid.net — in the viewer’s grid manager, and a new account will automatically be created at login.

The company currently offers a four-region megaregion with 3,750 prims for $10 a month, with the price set to increase to $15 a month once the new billing system is rolled out early next year. The regions are running on a private cloud, with a separate server allocated per region. The regions are “on demand” in that they go to sleep when nobody is one them. However, they are not fully shut down, and startup takes just a few seconds, said Gray.

There is no absolute maximum on prim counts, and one megaregion has been tested with over 1 million prims on a megaregion more than 200 standard regions in size. In addition, the server is capable of supporting up to 1,000 simultaneous visitors per region, though this limit has not yet been fully tested, said Gray.

Virtual Reality is currently in the process of redesigning its website and porting its server code from C# to C++, Gray said.

“We are in the process of a growth spurt that entails getting our online grid together, web presence together, and other aspects that are leading to the growth of the company,” he said.

 

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • Fly Man

    Good article Maria. The only difference that I’d suggest is that the title would be changed. “Hosting Firm forks Phoenix Viewer for Opensim and Aurora Grids”

    Virtual Reality did what about everyone can do, and I think it’s giving them a bit too much credit. They will only develop the viewer for usage on Opensim and Aurora based grids. Notthing to do with reviving it for Secondlife.