Jul 13, 2020 - Updating

I’m on a get-work-done kick. This means more updates here. I considered moving to Medium to get a wider audience but that is not my goal. My purpose of these pages is for me and I’m not working on my career and my visability.

So, just more updates.

This push toward organization and making visible progress is coming from my recent interest in all the project that Elon Musk has started. Between SpaceX, Boring Company, NeuraLink, and others, this man is changing things.

I could go on-and-on about what I think about these companies but, what applies to this post is that this one person is making world changing things happen. Reading about what he has made happen makes me think: “I have some big ideas that could change things. Why aren’t I doing big things?”.

So, more organization and more visible work.


Apr 21, 2020 - Basil Again

I just can’t leave the Basil OpenSimulator viewer alone. I need to tweek and change and make improvements.

Well, I’ve updated BasilJS which is the browser/JavaScript based version of the viewer. The protocol was simplified into a more streaming form to better fit with the bi-directional WebSocket connection. Also, the protocol change from an Entity/Instance explicit form to a more Entity/Attibute construction. This required refactoring and debugging BasilJS all over again.

You can see the load-a-single-GLTF-file test mode of BasilJS on Misterblue OAR Collection where pressing “View” invokes BasilJS to load the converted OAR scene.

Then BasilTest was refactored to use the new protocol and to reorganized how SpaceServers are implemented so the OpenSimulator region modules can be simplified by using the common code. This made for major changes to the common C# code libaries (HerbalCommonEntitiesCS, HerbalTransportCS, and OSAuthModule).

The last refactor part is to redo the OpenSimulator region modules (Loden and RaguOS). Then I need to find a way of building an online demo so people can try it out.

That last idea (of “trying it out”) lead me to think of building a straight OpenSimulator viewer. This has been made especially critical as SecondLife development has veared away from compatible protocol and viewer changes. So, I’ve taken my old LookingGlass viewer and did a rehack to allow plugging in either the Godot or Stride (previously Xenko) rendering engines. Thus BasilG or BasilS will eventually exist building on all the logic I had in LookingGlass for using [libOpenMetaverse] to talk LLLP (Linden Lab Legacy Protocol). We’ll see how much progress I make.

The other task is getting all the web pages together.


Nov 6, 2019 - OpenSimulator in Docker Containers

Working on cloud services lead me to create Dockerfiles for deploying OpenSimulator as Docker containers. The [Github] repository https://github.com/Misterblue/opensim-docker contains instructions and files for building and deploying OpenSimulator using docker-compose.

The hardest part was the tweaking of OpenSimulator configuration because there are so many files that need changing and I wanted to have both packaged configurations and the ability to completely replace the simulator’s configuration without changing the Docker image.

So, as is explained in the repository, the setup is to pretty much null out all the default configuration files (those in config-include) and replace them with copies in bin/config. This allows pre-packaged configurations to be included in the images (set with environment variable CONFIG_NAME) or to completely replace the configuration by mounting over the bin/config directory.

Happy Virtual World’ing.


Oct 6, 2019 - Where have I been

Haven’t said much the past year. I have been moving to other projects that don’t have as much blogging interaction.

A year ago, I did a bunch of playing with robotics and ROS2. This culminated in a small, multi-node setup with a camera that tracks faces. What I learned was captured in a presentation that I gave at our local ROS Meetup.

After that, I played with the Basil virtual world viewer by creating several OpenSimulator modules that convert and present a region to Basil. This included Loden which converts OpenSimulator primitive objects into meshes and eventually a GLTF format file.

This virtual world conversion idea came from the Sirikata project that was done at Stanford over a decade ago. Any continued work would build on the many papers available on things like automatic LOD generation of scenes. Things to do.

Then RaguOS adds to OpenSimulator a WebSocket interface talking the Basil protocol and making available all the assets created by Loden. From this, Basil can display the region contents. Extended RaguOS’s operation with some authorization stuff (OpenSimulator module OSAuth) but haven’t gotten all the way to adding the JWT tokens that will eventually underly all the authentication/authorization.

This led me to wanting to put up a sample region that people could try out. Deployment got me working on Docker and the creation of images for consistant operation of OpenSimulator. The output of this has been a repackaging of OpenSimulator into a set of scripts to build and deploy OpenSimulator as Docker containers.

With all that done, I’ve become overwhelmed with the amount of work that still needs to be done. Also, the on-line virtual world environment has changed. Augmented reality is the Cool Thing at the moment. The latest incarnation of virtual world companies have grown, stumbled, and needed to regroup. The Big Guys (Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, …) have started to deploy their hardware and infrastructures. So, my little hobby project seems a dead end. Like it will never have all the capabilities that the virtual world community needs and my dreams of bigger impact seem out of reach.

This means I will probably moth-ball the whole Herbal3d project, bring documentation up to date, complete the architecture ideas, and then move on.

What will ‘moving on’ look like? I’m thinking robotics. I expect to get back to ROS2, Docker deployment of node logic, and playing with things using transformer neural networks to build model predictive controllers. Will be fun.


Oct 7, 2018 - PWMHAT and ROS2

To learn robotics and eventually program robot brains I’ve started building some ROS2 modules. I have several Raspberry Pi 3B’s so I bought some stepping motors and an Adafruit 16-channel PWM HAT and set about building some ROS2 packages.

Well, I soon discovered that, while ROS2 is a modernization of the original ROS (which grew organically over the last decade plus), it is not all done. There are many, many features, modules, and conventions that are not complete. So, I scaled my project back a little and started building some basic modules so I could learn the state of things.

First thing I published is a fork of Christian’s raspicam2_node which compiles and runs under the latest ROS2 build (bouncy). This lead me to needing a version of ROS2 on Raspbian. ROS2 is targeted at the latest versions of operating systems and tools. So ROS2 wants that latest version of Linux and also wants 64-bit hardware. But everything hasn’t caught up – the latest version of Raspbian is 32-bit and the previous LTS version of Ubuntu.

To build ROS2 on Raspbian, I created a script in ROS2OnPiTools that fetches and builds ROS2 on Raspbian. It takes several hours but it results in a directory that can be copied onto multiple Raspberry Pi’s.

Future blog posts will describe the details of this project but the first step is a ROS2 node to drive the Adafruit 16-channel PWM HAT. So the project ros2_adafruit_pwmhat_node is a simple, Python only node that subscribes to several topics and sets the PWM values on the HAT.

Now that I have stepping motors moving, I will work on capturing images and animating my little camera project. Future blog posts will describe this as it comes together.