Adding regions in Diva Distro

It looks like I’ll be returning to Diva Distro for my little experimental virtual world after a year of using regular OpenSim, now that I’ve found that it’s ridiculously easy to add regions to Diva.

When I first created a little four region test grid in 2011, I used Diva on a Windows 7 machine with WAMP. It worked well, however I knew it wasn’t secure using WAMP and I wanted more than four regions, but I didn’t see how to expand beyond four regions with Diva.

After building and configuring my own OpenSUSE Linux server, I decided to try regular OpenSim instead of Diva. The challenge of installing a full OpenSim installation appealed to me, and I wanted more than four regions. I installed OpenSim 0.7.1.1 with 10 regions. It went like a breeze. I had no problems. Although it’s a lot more complicated to configure than Diva, it actually installed with fewer problems than my first try with Diva. My only real problem was that I couldn’t get on the Hypergrid, which I assume was a configuration issue.

A year passed in which I had little time to work on my grid. A few friends were logging in and using it, but otherwise I wasn’t doing much with it. When I turned my attention back to it recently, my first order of business was to upgrade from OpenSim 0.7.1.1 to 0.7.4. This turned out to be more of a challenge than I hoped it would be. No matter what I did, the newer version of OpenSim crashed every time I tried to run it. I don’t have a lot of time to put into it, so yesterday I decided to download the latest version of Diva (diva-r20232, which implements OpenSim 0.7.4) and to find out how hard it would be to expand beyond Diva’s basic four regions.

It was easy – trivial in fact – after noticed the following line in config-include/DivaPreferences.ini: “CombineContiguousRegions = true”. The problem is that this line causes Diva Distro to create a megaregion by default. To add regions without dealing with megaregions, all you have to do is modify the file config-include/MyWorld.ini by adding a single line. At the very beginning of the file, in the [Startup] section, add the line “CombineContiguousRegions = false”. Restart Diva and you’re all set. I created a 14 region grid, with no megaregions, using my own coordinates instead of Diva’s default 500x,500x coordinates.

To add regions, you edit Diva’s standard Regions/RegionConfig.ini file.  Copy and paste one of the existing entries to create a new entry.  Change the new entry to add the name, coordinates (Location), UUID, and port for each of your new regions. The following is what the new entry might look like:

[New Region]
RegionUUID = “11111111-2222-3333-4444-555555555554”
Location = “5002,5000”
InternalAddress = “0.0.0.0”
InternalPort = 9004
AllowAlternatePorts = False
ExternalHostName = “SYSTEMIP”

Region Name: To add the name for your new region, simply type the new region name between the square brackets, where you see “New Region”

Region UUID: This is a unique identifier for your region. You can get your own unique UUIDs for your regions by going to the Online GUID Generator (www.guidgenerator.com/online-guid-generator.aspx) and generating them.

Location: This is the trickiest one.  You need to visualize your regions in a grid, numbered from the bottom up and from the left to the right.  If you start with a Location of 5000,5000 in the lower left, 5000,5001 will be directly on top of 5000,5000 and 5001,5000 will be immediately to the right of 5000,5000.  5002,5000 will be on the right side of 5001,5000, and 5010,5000 will be ten regions to the right of 5000,5000.  Assigning locations is where you’re most likely to make errors in creating your grid. If you’re going to put your grid on the Hypergrid, you probably should choose less common grid locations.

It helps to draw a chart.  It’s how I keep my 14 regions coordinated.  A chart for a basic five region grid based on Diva’s default coordinates might look like this:

My World 2
9001
5000,5001
My World 4
9003
5001,5001
My World 1
9000
5000,5000
My World 3
9002
5001,5000
New Region
9004
5002,5000

Port: These should be numbered consecutively,  The default Diva configuration uses ports 9000, 9001, 9002, and 9003 for the basic four regions.  You should continue this numbering for your added regions.  The first region you add beyond the basic four will be port 9004, the next one  you add will be port 9005, etc.

I haven’t made the final decision yet to stay with Diva Distro.  I like having the full control that using regular OpenSim gives me, but considering that my time for dealing with upgrades is limited, Diva’s more automated upgrade process may make it the better choice for me.

Diva Distro can be downloaded from github.com/diva/d2/downloads.  The current version is diva-r20232.zip as of today, September 11, 2012.  That’s the only file required to install Diva.  You’ll see a download for wifi, but that’s only for OpenSim installations running Robust.exe. Wifi is included in the Diva Distro.

Diva Wifi 7.4 released

Diva Canto has just released Wifi 7.4.  This means that those of us who have been waiting since OpenSim 7.4’s release last week can now upgrade.  Diva’s Wifi provides a convenient user interface for managing OpenSim logins.  To download Wifi 7.4, go to https://github.com/diva/d2/downloads and download wifi-0-7-4.zip. You can download OpenSim 7.4 at http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Download.

If you want to experiment with your own grid but don’t want to contend with the much greater technical challenge of full OpenSim, the Diva distro is a very nice preconfigured package that handles many of the technical details for you in setting up your own standalone OpenSim 7.4 world.  I’ve used it and it worked very well for me.  Diva Wifi is included as part of that package.  Go to https://github.com/diva/d2/downloads and download diva-r20232.zip.  It includes the Wifi package.

You can have your own virtual world

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your own virtual world?  It might be for your business or university, or maybe just for you and your friends to hang out in without having to deal with griefers.   Or maybe you’ve wished you could experience other virtual worlds without having to create a new account in each one.

Both are becoming possible.  Two emerging software packages, OpenSim and HyperGrid, will soon make them realities and in some cases even easy.  Best of all, Second Life® members  won’t need to learn much that’s new.  The skills you’ve learned In Second Life will mostly carry over to the OpenSim worlds and you can use unofficial Second Life viewers such as Imprudence and Phoenix to visit any OpenSim world.  The Hypergrid will do something even more wonderful: it will connect OpenSim virtual worlds in much the way that the Web connects websites.  The day is coming when you can have a website that will contain a portal to your own virtual world, and when you’ll be able to teleport from your world to other virtual worlds.

I’ve tried  three ways you can have your own virtual world today.  All are new and still under development.  None are really products yet.  They are for pioneers, but they are real and available for you to try.  The ones I’ve tried are:

  • Kitely.  This is an amazing concept.  It’s what will interest most people.  You can have your own single sim virtual world created in just two minutes or less!  I have three Kitely worlds.  It’s the only one of the four that requires no technical ability to se it up.  The limitations are present are that you can’t get on the HyperGrid yet and you can have only one sim.
  • Diva distro.  This is the easiest way to get you to get a world with more than one sim and that’s on the Hypergrid, but you should try it only if you have some technical skills, such as being able to configure port forwarding on your router.  Nonetheless, for someone accustomed to configuring computers and software it’s fairly easy to set up.  I had mine up fairly quickly and friends were logging into it and enjoying it.  The Diva distro will meet the needs of most people.
  • OpenSim.  If you anticipate needing more than one server for your world or if you want full flexibility in building your world, then the regular OpenSim distro is what you need.  It’s not for the faint of heart, however, and requires a fair amount of technical skills.  If you have the skills and the strong pioneering spirit required for plunging into software that’s still being developed, the big problems you’re likely to face are the lack of documentation and the fact that because it’s still evolving as a product, answers you find to your questions are likely to apply to older versions of OpenSIm and not to yours.  I have just gotten my own 8 sim virtual world going, but it still needs work to get it to run right.  I’ll be writing about my progress in future posts.

Here are some links where you can learn more:

Kitely:  http://www.kitely.com/

Download links for Diva and Opensim: http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Download

Diva Canto’s blog (Diva Canto created the Diva distro and in RL is University of California at Irvine professor Cristina Lopes): http://metaverseink.com/blog/