I’ve spent a good part of the weekend trying to get some ideas worked out for my VW projects using the new release of realXtend 0.3. The version number says it all – this is alpha code, and one shouldn’t expect a lot from it.
After spending a day trying to create a stable environment in a two machine environment – one running the server processes on Windows 2003 Server and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, the other running the client on Windows XP, I came to the conclusion that the MS SQL provider interface is just too buggy.
I reverted to the basic standalone configuration running on Windows XP. The setup was a little more stable, but I have a hard error uploading images of any kind. The viewer just terminates without any error messages.
So what did I achieve?
- I made a sort of life-like face for my avatar using the facegen tool. This is very cool.
- I tried out the more extensive wardrobe offered by the avatar generator tool. It’s a well thought out concept. Unlike Second Life, realXtend whisks your avatar to a tailor’s shop where you can choose body types, skins, musculature, hair, etc. You can also animate your avatar and select from three walks.
- I tried out some advanced features that were in the 0.21 release but which I had not previously tried. The first was mapping a VNC session to a surface (an LCD monitor in my virtual office). I have some more tests to do on this before I write it up. The second was building a mesh object. Again, there are some things I don’t understand about applying the mesh material to the mesh, so I’ll defer writing this up until I have something useful to say.
Here’s picture of my slightly life-like avatar.
I also learned how to exploit the Google 3D warehouse to find models and create Ogre meshes from them. This involved installing the Sketchup to Ogre Export utility ver 1.0.1 by Kojack. You get get it and a number of other exporters from the Ruby Library Depot. After configuring the ogre_config.rb file to specify where to place the outputs, you start Sketchup.
From there you can click on the get models icon (2nd from right), search for something the Google 3D warehouse, and load it into Sketchup. To export the mesh, use the Tools -> Export to Ogre or Export Selected to Ogre. Once the *.mesh.xml file has been created, you run the xml2mesh script to convert it to *.mesh, then run the rexmeshtool to align it. After all those shenanigans, its should upload into realXtend without a problem. xml2mesh and the rexmeshtool are described in the realXtend documentation.
To use the mesh, you have to create a prim (typically a box) and, using the rex subpanel of the object editor, turn on extended properties and apply the mesh. Getting everything aligned the way you want it is a bit of a trick, so I’ll take you through it in detail once I’ve solved the material mapping problem. Below is an office chair that I extracted from a more complex model and exported to Ogre format.
Here’s the office chair imported into the house that comes as part of the starter island.