Thursday, June 24, 2010

Avatars in OpenSim

OpenSim (OpenSimulator) "is a 3D Application Server. It can be used to create a virtual environment (or world) which can be accessed through a variety of clients, on multiple protocols." In a sense its similar to Second Life (SL) but one can host environment on ones own web server (Click here to see some of ourt previous work with SL).

One of the problems with using SL is that one has to own/rent the land in which the environment is created and housed. While with OpenSim one only needs a web server which in a sense is highly appealing for creating permanent environments. Another problem we encountered when using SL was the time it took to execute our agent-based models due to the SL servers. So when I was shown by Chris Rouly this latest test on the ScienceSim Beta Grid by Nebadon Izumi showing 1000 Avatars of mostly bots but some human controlled avatars in real time (as shown below), this got me thinking again about agent-based modeling in virtual worlds.

It would be nice to see Avatars (agents) populating real buildings such as the Ajax FC stadium below. Where the agents are programed to react to changing conditions such as evacuation in times of crisis.

The Ajax FC stadium (Source: KZero Worldswide)

One of our initial tests on using SL for the evacuation of buildings can be seen below. But in our example we only use a maximum of 100 agents but using 1000s of agents with real anthropomorphic dimensions in a 3D space and in real time is highly appealing.

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