I’m catching up with Nara Malone in OpenSim. Nara had told me that there have been some good developments with Non Player Characters (NPC’s) in OpenSim and had asked me if I’d like to take a look. I had agreed, a couple of weeks ago, but I hadn’t managed to login to OpenSim until today. Fortunately Nara was willing to forgive me for being late.
I did try and go off on my own to look at NPC’s but I ran into a few errors, which were more down to me not understanding how OpenSim works than problems with OpenSim. In order to create and use NPC’s in OpenSim the land needs certain permissions and so does the user. However Nara quickly came to my rescue and took me to a suitable location, where I was introduced to Neo Cortex.
Neo knows his stuff and rezzes a camera, which he asks me to touch, I do so and receive a notecard with some settings, this is somewhat important. Then I am asked to touch the camera again, at which point a double of my Avatar appears in NPC form. This is quite impressive, but it’s static and not doing much. However this was a very quick process, less than a minute for me to be able to rez a NPC version of me.
However the new me isn’t doing a fat lot, it doesn’t move, it looks like a mannequin. However Neo and Nara want to shoe me more and they both suggest that I should engage in dancing with NPC’s.
I’m a bit cautious but Neo takes control and promptly starts dancing with a quite striking avatar, who is a NPC. Nara does the same and I notice that different avatars are appearing to replace the one they were dancing with before.
“Those avatars in here are from the FestAvi they had on Francogrid,” Neo informs me.
Nara and Neo both encourage me to join in, I touch the dance ball and select NPC couples and then go to options, this is where I can change my partner, eventually I settle on a very poetic looking avatar.
“That poetry avatar was made from one of my poems,” Nara informs me “Fuschia Nightfire made her and a male version”.
However what about the dance ball and the posing system? “Aine Caoimhe made the dance ball and the posing system,” Neo tells me.
One of the systems being used here is the Paramour Multi-Animation Controller and it seems to work well. However how does it all work? Umm, I don’t really know, but that notecard I was handed right at the start of this adventure contains settings, and it’s this notecard that I can use to add to poseballs and animations to create animated version of NPC’s.
There are options for singles, couples and even groups. I’m told that clubs in OpenSim use NPC’s as dancers. There’s a lot of potential here, especially for roleplaying and storytelling environments. Whereas we don’t want to be all alone on an Island full of NPC’s, NPC’s can certainly add to the ambience of a location.
Neo is enthusiastic about collaborative working in OpenSim, “This is what I love so much about being here in Opensim, all this working together to create a better Metaverse. I added the ability to rez “props” to that posing system.”
Collaborative working is certainly not unique to OpenSim, but developments such as the way NPC’s can be used are an area where lots of people will see the advantages and will be prepared to work together to create standards and use cases.
However a word of warning, OpenSim is not like Second Life in some ways and one glaring example is server code and features. There will be grids where NPC’s simply won’t work. However on the grids they do work, they seem to be a lot of fun.
Fuschia Nightfire and Nara Malone have been working together (with others) to create a series of video tutorials regarding NPC’s in OpenSim and they are very interesting, they also exemplify the ease with which NPC’s can become part of OpenSim if you have the right settings.
To see more tutorials regarding OpenSim NPC’s follow the links below :
To learn more about visiting OpenSim, read Nara Malone’s post : An Author’s Guide to the Metaverse & How to visit Greyville Colony.