“Voice enabled Virtual Worlds for 10 cents an hour, ladies and gentlemen!”
For all of you who know how to handle Amazons EC2 – you only need this:
go and get it!
For everyone else I’ll explain what this is all about. In short: a ready-to-run voice enabled OpenSim without (too much) configuration hassle.
As I announced previously we today publish the ‘OpenSim-in-a-box’. The first version of this project is the idea to have a virtual world launch ready including voice support. You can use it to simply try out the OpenSimulator experience or to have a virtual meeting, conference, even concerts for more experienced users. After you are done you simply pull the plug on the instance and it is gone. Next time you need you start with a fresh instance and everything is exactly as it was from the start. It is not connected to a grid and non-persistent on purpose. However, it can be connected to a HyperGrid.
In this version OpenSimulator including voice chat without having to worry about source code, versioning or compilation.
It does however require a couple of things:
- you will need an Amazon Web Services account (which is simple to do if you ever bought something – a book comes to mind – at Amazon)
- you should be able to handle basic OpenSimulator server commands
- you should know how to handle either the Second Life Viewer 1.21 or the Hippo Viewer 0.5 or higher.
Note that you don’t need an SL account – probably everyone who can handle the viewer will have one, but you don’t need the account credentials for OpenSimulator.
It whole idea is based on the fact that setting up an OpenSimulator (a virtual world application server) with Freeswitch (a telephony plattform) can be somewhat tricky, although it’s documented very well (there is a german version, too). Especially thanks to both communities and developers writing the Freeswitch bridge (Rob Smart et al.) we have a working albeit simple voice chat solution.
Some things you should know:
- for some reason the Linux ‘screen’ takes it’s time to start up
- in the OpenSim Region start-up sequence you need to enter the numerical IP adress of the Amazon instance as the external IP address (or even better: get an elastic IP and a dynamic DNS service like DynDNS)
- Amazon will charge you 10 cents per hour (in the U.S., and 11 in Europe)
- voice support here is very different from voice support in Second Life; everyone in the region hears you can vice versa. The different avatars are practically in one telephone conference.
For future versions we plan to have some more features (not necessarily in that order):
- some initial content for the region
- most hopefully the possibility to be able to phone into the OpenSim (yes, from a real phone)
- web interface
In future postings I’ll explain how to set up Amazon in detail, how hypergrid works and how to have external chat enabled.
So, please try ‘OpenSim-in-a-box’ and give me some feedback on how it works for you! If there are problems, I’d be glad to help.