Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Running a region and urban legends

Since there is a massive flow of new users entering the OSgrid, here is a topic worth reading for you, especially if you are completely new, or want to run a region but your not able to for some reason. And some stuff that is worth remembering.

1. You likely come from another virtual world. Like secondlife. Osgrid is not Secondlife. Some major differences ? In Secondlife all costs loads of money. Osgrid is free and open source. OSgrid core is hosted in a datacenter on decent machines, maintained by Nebadon Izumi and a couple of admins. However the majority of its sims run on peoples home connections.
So if a sim is not up, or performs crappy, its possible you hit a 1000mhz celeron with 512 KB RAM on somebody's 256kb/ps wireless DSL line on the himalaya just as he's downloading sexy movies. Try again later, and mind it's not the grid, but the PC you landed on giving you the weird issues.
Also switching between viewers and grids a lot, can cause cache problems, avatars not properly loading, and other weird crap. Especially on multi layer supporting viewers. Explains why some people never have rezzing and imventory issues, and others do all the time.No machine / viewer combi is the same. However, the grid works fine for most people. (subtile hint). Cleaning cache, and using 1 viewer saves you headaches.

2. OSgrid runs on donations and is run by volunteers. Its a Test-grid, and has no working economy. Most stuff is free. Permissions are set by respective creators. Free doesnt mean no rules. You can imagine that a volunteer that likes tech stuff is not very fond of handling formal incoming DCMA requests (boring administrative paperwork) in his sparse free time. Abuse or misbehaviour of the grid or its residents and use of illegal viewers like copybots can result in you being banned. You will find this a rarity though, as OSgrid is filled with cool people :). And you can always run a standalone for "private" experiments. On the grid, behave, and you'll be fine.

3. Do not copy all you can see. Greed is a useless emotion in OSgrid. Since almost all is free anyways, its useless to carry all around, and also it makes exporting your inventory ( yes you can do that ) take ages.

4. Setting up a sim is not real hard, if you have a clue about networking and Pc's. Google, opensim wiki pages, this Blog, OSgrid forums, they get you a loooong way. However whatever you do, do NOT go into a plaza asking "everybody" for help. Better to ask a single person in IM, than to all in chat. Unless you are  prepared for 1000 well meant advices that get you nowhere but lost in a scala of possible issues (that you might never even run into to begin with).
An idiot proof step by step guide with preparations can be found below the page break. OSgrid is pretty stable and thus there is no reason why it shouldn't work for you. It hasn't got absurd requirements, but the more CPU power, RAM and bandwith you feed it, the better it will work.

5. The urban legend :  Generally if your SIM appears on the map, but you cant get to it, somethings misconfigured. Typically the upstream router needs a port assignment, an IP in the regions.ini file is invalid, or a firewall is in the way. On very rare occasions people have a router in which NAT loopback is disabled, for instance when an ISP doesn't allow servers to run at the users homes. (95% of all modern routers just support this function, and its on by default). Even if you would run into this, you can relatively simply install a loopback adapter in windows to fix it. (although i'd advise a different router / ISP in such case ).

This topic will be edited a few times until i get all i want to write in decently.

Preparing to install Opensim (Windows / basic / single sim / SQL lite)

  1. Make sure your PC and its OS is up to date, with latest drivers etc.
  2. Make sure .NET framework 3.5 is installed. ( 4.0 is NOT supported yet ) 
  3. Make sure you know your Local IPv4 Adress
  4. Make sure you know your Public IP Address
  5. Make sure you have access to your router ( IP  / username / password )*
  6. Make sure you know that the region coordinates you want to use are free and available
  7. Make up a name for your sim and your estate (one which is not in use ! check the map 1st)
  8. Mind that a sim connected to OSgrid can only be bound to a OSgrid registered avatar. ( so don't use your SL avatar name if that is not registered in OSG yet). 
Now how to get the above info ( write the yellow marked stuff down somewhere, you will need to enter it in your setup later):

1. Run windows update from your start menu. Check your Ati or Nvidia tools for latest drivers.
2.  You can check your version in control panel / software / add remove windows programs. If you dont have 3.5 or 3.5.1. installed, the microsoft .NET framework 3.5 can be downloaded  HERE 
3. Click start / run ( or in search bar if win7 ) and type CMD. Hit enter. In the console that comes up, type the following (without brackets) :  " ipconfig /all "
In the results, find and note the following :
  • Write down the IPv4 address. generally it starts with 192.168.x.x 10.x.x.x or 172.16.x.x
  • Write down the Gateway adress. ( This is the adress of your router, we need to access it later),
4.Click to find out your Public Ip adress HERE
  •  write down your public IP adress. 
5. Open your browser. type http://192.168.x.x* in the addess bar ( *fill in the Gateway address here, you noted it in step 3 ) and hit enter. You will be prompted for a username and password to your router. Make sure you can login to it. We need to do portforwarding / create a virtual server / configure NAT / add gaming profile or whatever your router manifacturer desired to call it. We can only do this if you can login to it though. Without access to your router, no sim. If you can access it, great, we will get to the setup in a minute.

6. In LBSA plaza you can find a map, if you click any space, it will give the coordinates. Its dynamic, so you can see if a space is occupied or not. If not inworld, you can also either use the GRIDMAP to select a spot, or check the open region coordinates. Take a pick.
  • Write down the desired region coordinates
  • Best not to put your sim against a big block of other sims, Especially if those are megaregions, you will both suffer issues if you do.
  • Do not put your sim more than 4096  "blocks" away from the center. This will give problems with teleports. ( Center is Wright Plaza at 10000,10000, so best stay between 8000 & 12000 coördinates).
7. If you choose a sim name, it must be unique. Check if the name does not yet exist on map or the region list, or your setup will fail with an error, and the launcher will terminate. If already existant, choose another name. You can select any estate name you like. Mind its hard to ever change estate names later, so be carefull with choosing one. ( Can only be changed in the database itself ! No fun if you don't know SQL ).

  • Write down a valid name for your Region, and any random estate name you'd like to use. 
8. When installing, use your main avatar, or any registered OSG avatar. If it doesnt exist in OSG database yet, you cant assign a sim to it. Make sure to not make typo's in names. 

Now the real stuff : 

Download the latest OSGrid version HERE  (make sure to also generate an account here).
  • Unpack it in a root folder c:\opensim or so. Do Not put it into a folder with an extremely long name or in a gazillion of subfolders to avoid potential issues. Leave it alone once unpacked. we will get to the install later.  
Login to your router. The manual of nearly every router in the world is published HERE 
Its easy. Find your model. Click it, and click skip this add in top of screen ;-). Choose any program as example. Instead of the details of that program, you use OSgrid and port 9000-9004 TCP and UDP. This will allow you to run 4 sims. It also needs to know to what local IP adress it should forward the traffic. You wrote it down in step 3. The IPv4 address. Save, enable and exit. ( Mind that routers work in various ways, in some cases you need to "map" your portforwarding to an IP in a different screen. Do not be confused by terminology. Just follow the instructions of the routers guide step by step, and you should be fine).
  • For the nerds, each Simulator runs on a TCP port, 9000 by default, configured in opensim.ini
  • Each region on a Simulator runs on a UDP port. A simulator can host multiple regions. ( meaning 1 TCP port, and multiple UDP's, 1 per region ). Region ports are configured in regions.ini  
Now open the Bin folder in opensim. We will now commence the installation. Typically the default INI files will work, if stuff fails, we can troubleshoot / finetune it later. 
If you run 32 bits windows, start opensim.exe
if you run 64 bits windows, start opensim32bitlauchner.exe

Answer all the questions it asks during startup. You noted all the details you needed. At UUID, port and allow different ports, just hit enter. External is public IP adress, internal is your IPv4 adress, you have region coordinates, name etc.

Heres the list you get to fill :

New Region name : Your RegionName Here
Region UUID xxxxx-fafbx-xxxx-xxxx-800200xxxxx: (its filled, just hit enter)
Region Location 1000,1000: Enter the X,Y coordinates ( comma inbetween, no spaces infront or behind)
Internal IP address Fill in the IPv4 IP adress you noted in step 3
Internal port 9000: Its filled, just Press Enter
Allow alternate ports False: Its filled, just Press Enter
External host name SYSTEMIP: Enter your IP Address or DNSname (you got this from the link in step 4)
Master Avatar first name (enter for no master avatar) : Enter Your FirstName Here
Master Avatar last name : Enter Your Lastname Here
Create new estate : fill in the name for your estate
Add region "regionname" to an estate: yes (its filled, hit enter)
Add "regionname" to existing estate: Yes ( it will add it to the estate you just made ).

Once done, the console will rapidly load some stuff, and pop your sim on the map. If all went well, your now up and running and can see your region on the map. If so, kill the server, and restart it. Once done, try to teleport to it. If this fails, check if you have firewall software ( Nod32 / Norton / Windows ) running. Either open ports 9000-9004 TCP and UDP or disable it alltogether.
  • In case something fails during the above, and  the console terminates, just start the launcher again. If it keeps failing, not the error message from Console. Help can be found on the IRC channel in the bottom of this Blog. If needed, run program with administrator priviledges.  
If this still fails, click HERE and fill in port 9000. ( mind the sim must be on for this). It will tell you if it saw your service online. Have someone else try to goto your sim. If not working, your portforwarding isnt setup properly. now is a good time to ask for some help.If it works for them, but not for you, find some assistance.

Its a bit of a long read, but after you have done it 3 times, it will take you less than 10 minutes to complete. Future updates will cover how to install  MySQL and how to setup a dynamic DNS entry for people without a static Ip addres. If above is in some way unclear to you, try this excellent guide from the OSG Forums. Or a video tutorial from the tube.

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