Yesterday I noted a tweet by Maria Korolov, the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. Her tweet said, “OpenSim on a USB Stick…” When I first started researching the use of OpenSim in education, I recall reading something about this however, I was still getting my head around the basics of this kind of virtual world and had no idea of the possibilities it offered.
So what does “OpenSim on a USB Stick” actually mean? By downloading and installing the required files to a USB Stick, you can then use your 3D viewer software, for example, Hippo OpenSim Viewer, to access your “local grid”. Therefore, you create an OpenSim grid that runs directly from your own computer and USB Stick. Whilst this is not a multi-user environment, there are still a number of advantages that I will outline shortly.
Maria’s tweet had a link to the Tasmanian Polytechnic Wiki, featuring the incredible work by Roger Stack with detailed instructions and video tutorials about the process. After watching the tutorials and reading a blog post by the wonderful Ener Hax regarding her experience with the setup process, I decided I was up to the challenge and would give it a go!
My technical knowledge is very, very limited but Roger’s video tutorials are excellent and I found that within 30 minutes (in between preparing our Chicken Tikka Masala for dinner! 😉 ) I was running an entire OpenSim grid directly from my USB stick!
There are a number of clear advantages for educators wishing to utilise this feature:
- For educators who are investigating OpenSim as a virtual worlds platform, this is the perfect way to explore the features and possibilities. You can “try before you buy”.
- Our private grid is made up of four sims, all of which are being used for our current projects. OpenSim on a USB Stick offers me the opportunity to continue experimenting in a virtual space. I can import and export items that I build in this space, just as I would on our regular private grid.
- I have previously blogged about the use of OpenSim Archive files (OAR files) and their exciting possibilities. There are many wonderful OpenSim users who kindly share OAR files. I can now upload these OAR files using OpenSim on a USB Stick to explore them prior to use on our private grid. As mentioned above, this is particularly useful when all of the sims on our private grid are being utilised for other projects.
- I also love the idea that OpenSim on a USB Stick offers you the ability to explore, create, test, etc… and then “surprise” the students with something on our private grid that they have not seen at all. 🙂
- Whilst I have not tested this myself as yet, I am hoping that the USB Stick can be used on another Windows PC with a 3D viewer installed and also without the need for an internet connection.
Overall, I can see that OpenSim on a USB Stick will offer us even greater flexibility and a valuable testing space to continue our school’s Virtual Worlds Project.
Sincere thanks to Roger Stack for sharing his amazing work!