OpenSimulator FAQs

What is OpenSimulator?

OpenSimulator is an open source, multi-platform, multi-user 3D application server that can be used to create and simulate immersive virtual spaces, environments, and worlds. Similar to the web servers that power the World Wide Web, OpenSim is a new kind of 3D internet server that combines the richness of the “flat” web with advanced simulation technology to create a seamless digital version of the real world – a world where you can create anything you can imagine, teach a class in an environment you design, or even fly to work instead of driving. You can meet with distant colleagues and students “face-to-face” through digital avatars, collaborate on a project as if you were in the same location, or develop a model or project plan together in real time.

How do users connect to OpenSimulator?

Users connect to the virtual environment with a software client over the internet (similar to a web browser) to enter the virtual space and interact with the 3D environment with a keyboard and mouse or other similar input devices. The user is represented by a digital avatar that can walk, run, or fly through the environment and interact with objects there much as we do in the physical world.

Just like there are many different web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer), there are also many different viewers for OpenSimulator.

We recommend the Singularity Viewer and this is the viewer that AvaCon staff can support.

What are the minimum requirements to run an OpenSimulator viewer?

The software clients used to connect to OpenSimulator servers, called a viewer, requires a broadband internet connection, fairly modern computer with adequate processing power, and a video card capable of rendering the graphics and scenes of the virtual environment. Typically, a computer purchased after 2005 with a standard video game graphics card and DSL or Cable broadband connection will be able to connect and use an OpenSimulator environment. Older computers or users on dial-up internet connections are generally unable to use OpenSimulator.

In order to have a smooth experience, we recommend the following technical parameters for your local setup:

  • Your computer should be connected to high speed internet via ethernet cable; wireless access is not recommended.
  • Ideally, your computer will have a modern processor and a video card with at least 512MB of RAM. In general, the better your processor and video card, the better your experience will be. Desktop computers generally perform better than laptop computers, unless you have a laptop specifically configured for gaming or video intensive applications. You will not be able to present from/on a tablet or mobile device.
  • If you want to use the built in voice system to speak in voice, use a headset microphone, preferably with a separate mute/volume control. Unfortunately, built-in microphones on laptops and computers can allow other sounds to bleed through the stream, causing painful echo loops and distortion for other users.

How realistic are the virtual environments in OpenSimulator?

OpenSimulator includes a built-in physics module and other Artificial Intelligence (AI) modules that allow the simulations and environments created to be as realistic and life-like or as abstract as desired. Digital assets are created and modeled using either the tools built into the software client, or using industry standard modeling and graphic design programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, etc.

Technical Troubleshooting

I can’t find my username or password!

Use the Forgot Password link to reset your password. You must have access to the email address you entered when you first registered for your AvaCon Grid account. If you no longer have access to this email address, please contact us at info@avacon.org for assistance.

I can’t hear, help!

1. Make sure your headphones or computer speakers are plugged in and turned on/up.

2. Check the main audio control panel for your operating system to make sure your speaker/headphone volume is up and that there is no mute symbol (red no entry sign) displayed.

3. In the viewer, ensure that Streaming Music & Media are enabled in the Edit > Preferences > Audio & Video tab, and that the volume sliders for streaming music and media are turned up and that there is no mute symbol (red no entry sign) on the speaker icon next to those. We also recommend checking the box to automatically play prim and parcel media!

4. Make sure the Master Volume in your viewer is turned up. On the Singularity Viewer, the master volume slider is in the lower right hand corner above the “Mini-Map” button.

How do I move my camera?

Mouse: Hold down the ALT+LEFT MOUSE BUTTON and move your mouse to move your camera.

Keyboard: Use ALT+ARROW KEYS

Touch Pad: Hold down ALT+LEFT MOUSE BUTTON and use your touchpad to move the camera.

On Screen Controls: Go to View > Camera controls to enable the on-screen camera control interface. (Bottom bar for Firestorm users.)

How do I turn off other people’s nametags?

In the Singularity Viewer, go to Edit > Preferences > General tab > and use the pull down menu to Show Names: “Show temporarily” or “Never”.

Everything is laggy, how do I improve performance?

The number one thing you can do to improve your viewer performance is to turn down your Draw Distance, i.e., the amount of content the viewer is trying to render to your screen.

In the Singularity Viewer, click the small up arrow in the bottom right corner of the screen (above Inventory button) and use the slider to increase or decrease your draw distance.

You can also go to Edit > Preferences > Graphics > Custom > and change the Draw Distance slider there.

See if the viewer performance improves if you set the Draw Distance to the lowest setting.

You may also turn down other settings to see if that helps with performance.

I see myself as a cloud. What should I do?

Solution 1: First try a rebake (CTRL+ALT+R) several times. If that does not help, select Rebake from Advanced>>Character> Rebake Textures.

Solution 2: Try wearing different Shape/Skin/Hair/Eyes

HyperGrid Users: It is very important that you make sure your avatar has fully loaded on your home grid before making the hypergrid jump! If you do not wait for your avatar to fully load on your home grid, you may appear as a persistent cloud when you jump to the conference grid.

I am seeing the name UNKNOWN USER, how do I fix it?

You need to clear your viewer cache and log out and back into the conference grid.

To do this go to Edit > Preferences > Network > Clear Cache. Then exit the viewer and log back in.