Category Archives: K-Grid

K-Grid

K-Grid is now Meta7

The meta7 staff (Kitto, Yuki, Koffee, Sacha, Casper, and Flo) on the meeting dias unveiling their plans and fielding questions 28 November 2009

As Yuki commented near the end of the meeting, “You have to admit, we’ve come a long way.”

Indeed. I took a look back at the posts I have done here to see that it has been a little over a year since Sacha started experimenting with Opensim and calling it “K-Grid”.  Saturday Sacha and his amazing team held a meeting in K-Grid to formally announce Meta7, the trademarked name for the virtual world services provided by the recently created Magne Metaverse Research, LCC. They’ve been beating on this for many months, fueled with the kind of ideas we all probably got from Second Life back when they said “Your World, Your Imagination”, when perhaps the Lindens meant it; but to then ask, can we have more fun, freedom, experimentation, innovation as a place to pursue our imaginations?

The meta7 meeting - well over 40 on one sim, and this is before moving to the new servers.

You can see presentation slides and text at the new site, forum.Meta7.com.  It has been really fun to watch this going from playing around and experimenting to a fully-fledged business. Here’s a recap of some of what I heard as the main points of the meeting:

  1. The Biz: Sacha and his teamed formed a Limited Liability Company,

    The Meta7 logo

    so they can operate a legitimate business called Magne Metaverse Research (MMR). “K-Grid” was a good name, but it was already legally spoken for, so the new MMR trademarked name for their virtual world will be Meta7.

  2. The Tech: Of course, it is one thing to have another virtual world that is just as good as Second Life, but what about new innovations like better meshes for avatars, better physics, scripting? Those things are in the works. The MMR priorities are stability and performance. To that end, a lot of investment of time and resources have been put into scaling up to new servers and innovations to the software to do just that. The other big change will be the ability to buy and sell in Meta7 with M$, just as we do with L$ in Second Life. This will include an intergrid exchange. They are also working on their own client, based on the Emerald one we’ve been playing with. I’ve got a test version and it has some snazzy features.
  3. The Fine Print: As in Term of Service (TOS). We always have to see the lawyer-speak with any software or service we use, and MMR wouldn’t be able to stay in business long in today’s litigious world without having a lawyer and running the issues through that filter.  Take a look through the history of my blog as my life as Pais Kidd (or the blogs of many of my friends), and you will see a lot of that is having to deal with the ignorance and intolerance that comes from people’s reactions to my having a kid avatar. It is likely that one of the motivations cause K-Grid citizens to be refugees of SL is for these kinds of reasons. Therefore, it was understandable to me to see a lot of the questions at the meeting asking what this means – as one person seemed to be asking, will Meta7 start going as crazy as Second Life? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break the laws of your country, for instance.

OK, this is just a brief overview, and I don’t speak for Sacha or MMR, so refer to their official releases and documents, or post your questions on the Meta7 forum to get the facts.

Overall, this is an exciting new step for all of those that want to carve out new directions from where we started in Second Life. If we look around, we see many others doing the same – setting out in their own direction with all kinds of virtual world technologies and business plans. I think MMR is on a good path. With each day their knowledge and capability improve, and in turn so does their hardware and software. For those who want to own sims to create and interact, Meta7 may not have the scale of Second Life, but then again, owning the most expensive sim in Meta7 is around a third of the cost, with other options being a fraction of that. Perhaps it is a better way to have Your World, Your Imagination.

K-Grid Chat on iPhone

Screen shot 2009-10-31 at 11.41.22 AMSparkle is a $4.99 iPhone app that can be used to log into a location in Second Life or OpenSim so you can chat or IM. There are rumors of a graphical version of this kind of thing, but so far, for the iPhone, chat is about as far as you can get. Which, of course, is a nice option if you want to keep in touch when away from your computer, or have a way to explain to your friends that your net connection or computer client just crashed and you can’t get back in-world for a while.

Of course, a lot of people have been hitting my blogs that talk about accessing K-Grid (with the Hippo or the Emerald clients), so I thought I would share how to connect to K-Grid with Sparkle.

First, you will need to purchase and download the app from iTunes (on the iPhone, you can search for the “sparkle im” app).

Then you need to set up info for K-Grid and your account. It is not that hard, just a matter of finding the right setting screens and then knowing a how to put in the info for K-Grid and a Landmark. I am going to show you how to get a landmark for HelpIsland.

HelpIsland in K-Grid

HelpIsland in K-Grid

Home screen for Sparkle on iPhone

Sparkle Main Screen

The first image is the home screen for Sparkle. As you can see, I have already entered information for my account, so it will look different from what you see on your phone.

For our purposes, there are two menu items to choose from – the light blue “Location:……” and the settings button that below it that looks like a gear.

Start by entering your account and grid information, starting with the gold settings button with a gear icon. That will take you to a screen like the following listing your accounts:

sparkle screens -4

Account Settings Screen

You can add a new account by hitting the plus “+” button in the upper right corner.

sparkle screens -5

The Add Account Screen

Click the “Select Service” button

sparkle screens -8

The Grid Service Selection Screen

You can see I have already created a service for K-Grid in the above screen capture. You can do so by clicking the plus “+” button.  This next part is actually the only part with info that you might not have already had.

sparkle screens -9

The Add Grid Screen

On this screen, you fill in the grid name “K-Grid” and the URL info Sparkle will need to know to find K-Grid, which as you can see from above, is “grid.k-grid.com:8002”. After you have that entered, click “Done.

Next, on the Edit Account screen for the K-Grid setting, add your account and password. Note that for your account you will need to enter both first and last name separated by a space, for example, “Pais Kidd”.

Click “Done” and now on the Grids screen, you can K-Grid listed with your name.  If you need to edit your account info, click the blue arrow on the right side of that Grid’s entry. Otherwise, select it by clicking on it.

Now get back to the Main Screen, and click the big “Location: …… ” button in the middle of the screen.

sparkle screens

The Start Location Screen

Above is the Start Locations screen. As you can see, I have already entered a location. The main thing you need to do is to go to the location you want to be, get the sim name and coordinates from the top of the client. Realize that once you log in with Sparkle, you won’t really need to move, so you can either pick a nice spot out of the way so you can IM with friends, or pick a place where your friends hang out so you they can be in chat range.

I will give you the HelpIsland location. This is a location that is also connected with the K-Grid teams IRC chat, so they can answer questions that people chat here.

On the Start Location screen, click the blue arrow on the right side of the line that says “(custom)”.

sparkle screens -2

The Custom Location Screen

Now you need to enter the region name, in this case “K-Grid_HelpIsland”, but you can copy the name of some other sim name that you’d like. On the next lines enter the X, Y, and Z coordinates (129, 181, 21), as shown, or whatever location you want.  Click “Done” and now click your new entry in the Start Location screen.

Now you should be back to the main menu, so click the “Go” button and you should be logged in. Your avatar will appear at that location. You will be able to IM friends, do search, local chat. You can view a bit of a friend or other’s profile to IM, pay, or Teleport them to your location. Not a lot, but if you want to chat with your K-Grid friends and don’t have another method to do so, then Sparkle might be fun to use.

K-Grid using the Emerald Client

Screen shot 2009-10-17 at 6.12.53 PM

25 October 2009 – update – I got confirmation from Robin that the suggestions for doing this in Windows works. Also, I added a change suggested by Silas that explains what you need to tweak in the command line if you are using Windows 7.
19 October 2009 – update – wouldn’t you know it? One day after I created this, there was a new version of Emerald created with a change in the app’s name, so I updated a few things. Also, BeBoo gave a hint on how to adapt Emerald to K-Grid in Windows, so I added some more info about that too.

K-Grid is an OpenSim -based virtual world. I previously created a blog post on how to create a K-Grid account and use the “Hippo” client. That still should work, but the Hippo client is no longer being supported.

The good news is there is a client available called “Emerald” that you may like even more – it is based on the Second Life client’s code, but they have made a few changes that are cool. I am a noob with it, since I just started using it yesterday.

Note that I have only done this on a Mac – this will work on Windows, too, but of course there will be some differences. If someone wants to tell me  what Windows users need to do differently, I will add it here (email pais.kidd at sbcglobal.net).

  1. Get a K-Grid Account: First off, if you don’t have a K-Grid account, you can create one at k-grid.com
  2. Download and Install the Emerald Client: Now, download the Emerald viewer (formally known as “Emerald GreenLife”). Their home page is here. The official download page is here. Be sure to get it from their website, since the code is available,  and others could compile versions that steal your passwords or other nasty stuff. If you are paranoid, download the source code, go over it, and compile your own version.
  3. Tell Emerald how to connect to K-Grid: At this point, once you do the install, if you run it, it will connect to Second Life, so we need to tell it to connect to K-Grid. This is the part that I can describe for the Mac. Hopefully later I will have more info how to do this in windows.

Mac Method:

  • Move the “Emerald Viewer.app” (or whatever the app name is) to your Applications folder (or where ever you want to install it).
  • If you want to use Emerald for Second Life as well as K-Grid, make a copy of the Emerald  .app package file, and use one copy for SL and one for K-Grid.
  • If you aren’t doing it already, use the Finder to go to the Emerald .app package file. If you didn’t know it already, a .app is really like a folder with various files and folders that the application may use, so now we need to get inside so we can modify one of those files. Control-click on the Emerald .app package file that you want to use for K-Grid, and select “Show Package Contents”
Screen shot opening the Emerald.app package file

Screen shot opening the Emerald.app package file

  • So now you are looking at the files and folders of the app’s package contents… look in the “Contents” folder, then within that, the “Resources” folder to find the “arguments.txt” file. This file contains the command line arguments used when the actual executable file is called to start Emerald. (There are probably more elegant ways to do this, but I am just creating a quick way to get at this).

Screen shot navigating within the Emerald .app package to the

  • Edit that file so it contains the following text. After you copy and paste the following text to replace what is currently in the arguments.txt file, you need to make sure each argument is preceded by a double hyphen (so it looks like the image of this below)

--channel "Emerald Viewer" --settings settings_emeraldviewer.xml --loginuri http://grid.k-grid.com:8002 --loginpage http://K-grid.com/loginscreen.php --helperuri https://secure.k-grid.com

Note that this is all one line (no carriage returns). It looks like this in the text editor:

 

Screen shot of editing the contents of the arguments.txt file

Screen shot of editing the contents of the arguments.txt file

 

  • Now return to the Applications folder, double click the Emerald .app package file you just changed, and you should see the K-Grid login screen, that looks something like this (the background image and other stuff changes a lot, but you get the idea):

Screen shot 2009-10-18 at 2.44.10 PM

Windows Method:

    • I haven’t been able to test this, since I can’t seem to get the client to deal with Vista running under VMware on my Mac – however, BeBob posted a comment today that suggests to do the following
    • Right click on the shortcut (either the icon if you installed one on your desktop, or link in the program menu), and select “Properties”
    • You can then edit the command line arguments that the shortcut uses to start the Emerald program – you will find this text string in the “Target” blank (see the screen shot below).
    •  

      Screen Shot of the Emerald program shortcut properties

      Screen Shot of the Emerald program shortcut properties

    • I suggest playing with this, since I am only guessing how to edit this. Perhaps make a copy of the shortcut and experiment with that, so if it doesn’t work you can start over. I started the text edit program, copied the contents of the Target blank, then pasted it in the editor so I could edit it. Below is my guess of what should be used to replace the contents of the Target property:

    • For Windows 7, if you are running 64 bit version, there is a slight change in the path to the program executable – the addition of “(x86)” – the rest is the same:
    • One more note: if this string is too long, you can eliminate the “ -set SystemLanguage en-us” part and use the rest.
    • Thanks to BeBoo for the initial windows hint – thanks for Robin for letting me know it works, thanks to Jim Builder for the hint about removing the extra text, and thanks to Silas for the hint about Windows 7.

K-Grid.com Shakedown

Sacha is the founder, brat, and banger upon code for K-Grid.com

Sacha is the founder, brat, and banger-upon-code for K-Grid.com

K-Grid.com is an OpenSim grid that allows us to try out another take on a Second Life type of Virtual World.  I did a post last December that tells how to get an account, set up a viewer, and log on to k-grid. (I also did another post about Sacha and me trying out some hyper-grid travel between other opensim grids).

Ok, so there’s around 40 sims now in k-grid, people have been doing a lot of building, creation and upload of essentials like shapes, skins, hair, clothes, scripts, and other stuff, so even though things are still a bit rough around the edges, it is getting to a quite usable state.

There been a lot of people asking about it, and wanting to see it. They have been hearing that there will be new types of features available like RealxTend that will soon be giving us some very interesting alternatives to Second Life. It also places more control over the entire experience and system into the user/operators.

Milk n Kookies is a weekly radio show keeping SL kids informed and entertained

Milk n Kookies is a weekly radio show keeping SL kids informed and entertained

We wanted to share all this with others, while testing out k-grid while we were at it, so Milk n Kookies did a show there. (Go to their website to listen/download their show)

Check out the video above. It turned out to be a great test – first of all it piqued interest and we all worked on getting the word out to people on how to get an account, get set up, so they were ready for Saturday’s show. Next, since over 30 avatars showed up, we were able give the system a shakedown and see how it did. This was the most concurrent used k-grid has had so far.

Audio I used for the video was Rai Fargis’ segment from the Milk n Kookies show. It is a fun dialog (the protagonist voice sounds a little like Arnold Schwartzeneggar, huh?).

Yea, it crashed a few times - just like SL :-)

Yea, it crashed a few times - just like SL :-)

Sure, we crashed the sim several times. That was no big deal, most of us were streaming the show directly to our computers and kept logging back in and running back. Actually, before the show was done, Sacha had figured out what was causing the crashes.

Be sure to keep checking out k-grid.com and mnkradio.com for more updates.

k-grid info

Notes:

  1. (18 October 2009) Hippo is no longer being supported, but there is a client called Emerald that is even better. Read about here. Also, I created a page for this and other K-Grid topics;
  2. (14 April 2009) I updated this post 26 December 2008 to reflect the domain name change from k-grid.net to k-grid.com. I did another update 14 April 2009 to reflect changes in the process.

I downloaded the Hippo OpenSim client and was able to visit k-grid with it. I thought I would make a quick how-to blog about it. I didn’t spend a lot of time doing QA/QC on this, so it may be a bit sparse in the info/accuracy part. Also, I did the Mac version, so if you have Linux or Windows it may be a tad different.

1. You need a k-grid.com account. Ask Sacha Magne if you have questions about this.

2. I got the client viewer from here.

3. Now run it. You need to tell it what grid you have, and there’s a “Grids” button at the bottom of the login screen to pull up the properties tab for doing this.

Login screen of the Hippo OpenSim Viewer

Login screen of the Hippo OpenSim Viewer

4. Set up the grid properties

K-Grid Preferences for the Grids setup

K-Grid Preferences for the Grids setup

1. click the “Add” button

3. enter “http://grid.k-grid.com:8002/” in the “Login URL” blank

4. click “Get Grid Info” – this will connect to the address you entered and fill in the rest of the info as you see here.

5. click “Default” so that kgrid will now show up there as default.

6. click apply

Now, back on the main login screen,  you can enter the login info you created at k-grid.com when you registered there, and you should be good to go.

See you on the grid!

Sacha and Pais try Hypergrid Experiments

Sacha and Pais visiting Francogrid from k-grid

Sacha and Pais visiting Francogrid from k-grid

Sacha has been working on updates to the k-grid, the OpenSim set of sims he is building and testing. Today we tried the hypergrid extension to the opensim software that allows traveling between opensim locations creating the beginnings of “a web of virtual worlds”. “Hypergrid” makes it sound like we have to use something dangerous  like this (image, below)

Part of the Large Hadron Collider - not needed for hypergrid

Part of the Large Hadron Collider - not needed for hypergrid

I reference the Large Hadron Collider because it makes you think of the potential for interspace problems, like forming a black hole. However, look at the above photo of us in Francogrid, and it appears something weird happened.

I look a little like Sacha since I am borrowing his shape and hair, but he changed into a very weird looking avatar. Plus it was a tad greyed-out, so I don’t know if our photons were slighly messed up. Look at it this way, we are taking risks for the future of our worlds.

Sacha and Pais back in SL

Sacha and Pais back in SL

Here we are back in SL and it looks like we were able to get our regular appearance back. The location of this image is Alton Icarus (the sim that was used for Kids5b but is now being transformed into the Kids Information Center), where we were looking at the construction progress in the Milk N Kookies (MnK) Teaching Studio, part of a whole building dedicated to MnK, Kid’s Radio, and sharing knowledge of how to produce content like MnK for SL. This is going to be way cool.