Ethos Erlanger's Virtual Building Blog

Building in Virtual Worlds

My Recent Days in Second Life

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on February 5, 2011

The opportunity to serve as the Co-Executive Director of Virtual Museums is both pleasurable and enriching.  I am given the opportunity to look back on some great exhibits from the past and look forward to a new era in the life of Virtual Museums.

The board and staff of Virtual Museums are a great bunch of people.  My guess is that there are few groups in SL that have such a large staff with so many talents.  Now the challenge to be faced is to put all that talent to use doing the wonderful, enriching and sometimes ordinary things that can be done in the unique ways that only the virtual world will allow.

We recently renamed and redid our website: There is a calendar of events and short posts much like a blog.  It is quite  easily managed by the staff now.  Thank you Otterax Avalanche for your help getting this going.  You can view the calendar here:

We will be putting out displays of new buildings and you can read in more detail what the plans are for the museum region.  When things are easier to read and find via the website, we will use the tools that fit the task the best.

During our restructuring, I had the opportunity to explore Second Life for the ways that we can help other organizations with their goals.  We have found a few groups already that are eager to work together and continue to look for more ways to collaborate when both parties will benefit from it.

Enjoy your second Life, Ethos


Posted in Second Life, Virtual Architecture, Virtual Building, Virtual Museums | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Museums, Inc. Complies with Cease and Desist Order

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on December 12, 2010

The purpose of this post is to say that we did everything we could to meet the demands set forth in the Cease and Desist Order that came to Virtual Museums, Inc.

Our museum in Second Life that had previously featured exclusively the work of the greatest architect of the 20th century is gone.  In its place is currently a winter scene that is inviting to ice skaters and anyone who wished some tranquility.  We will have a dance or two between now and January 1st.  In the mean time, we will be meeting to brainstorm and set a new course for the coming year.  Great architecture is not exclusive to one man, even though he thought so.  We will find ways to educate people from around the world about other greats.  Then we will let the visitors decide for themselves.  We may find a young student who will become the next Starchitect.  In this newest of visual mediums, the scene may be set to discover and showcase the works of young (or old) architects who need their ideas exposed to a global audience.  Maybe a dead architect was not the way to go for us.

Enjoy your Second Life,


Posted in Education in Virtual Worlds, Second Life, Virtual Architecture, Virtual Building, Virtual Museums | 1 Comment »

The Guggenheim Wall Ring Improved

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on July 5, 2010

The Guggenehim Wall Ring - Improved

Better than flat now, this ring is made of 24 prims

This ring shows how I would combine multiple sculpties to create the outer walls of the Guggenheim.  I do not yet know the dimensions of each of the outer rings of the walls I need to create the Guggenheim model at the level of detail that I envision.  This demonstration ring does however gives me confidence that the project is quite doable with the skills and tool that I have available in Second Life.

Posted in Education in Virtual Worlds, Second Life, The Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum, The Virtual Guggenheim, Virtual Architecture, Virtual Building, Virtual Museums | Leave a Comment »

Pondering the Possible in Virtuality

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on June 20, 2010

I am struggling in my First Virtual Life.  There are so many things that cannot be done there.  I have mentioned a few in this blog, and I may embark on a detailed study of  what is currently not possible.

At the risk of offending a respected blog that has gone silent, I am thinking of starting a counter blog about the things that are Not Possible in my First Virtual Life.

Once it is up and running, I urge you all to join me and add comments of the things you would love to see in your virtual life that are currently not possible.

Here are just a few for starters:

  • Slow Walk
  • Reduced Gravity on the Moon Simulation
  • Dance Cam
  • Scalable Mega Prims
  • Smooth Region Crossings
  • Interoperability between other Virtual Worlds

Enjoy your Virtual Life,

Ethos Erlanger

Posted in Second Life | Leave a Comment »

First Draft of Guggenheim Walls

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on June 10, 2010

First Draft of Walls for the Guggenehim

First Draft of Walls for the Guggenheim

This ring was relatively easy.  Each segment is 15 degrees of a full circle.  A total of 24 identical segments would make one entire ring.  It is flat and so the edge of one side is in line with the edge of the next segment.

Much more work will be needed to get the segment to rise to the left and flare outward just the right amount to simulate the Guggenheim walls.

Posted in The Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum, The Virtual Guggenheim | Leave a Comment »

Will SL Face The Challenge?

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on May 31, 2010


SL will fall to a distant third place. Their vast wasteland will be relegated to the stalkers, gawkers, and talkers.

There will emerge new places where truly innovative collaborators of 3D environments will feel at home.  There will also be the new, wider array of educational venues made for 21st century teaching.  Then there will be a long agonizing death for Second Life.  A victim of their own design.  In the future of internet interoperability, the need for cross-platform prim sharing will relegate the Linden Lab business model to be nothing more than an also-ran in a pack of faster, stronger, hungry, competitive, newcomers.

These newcomers will fill a need for a calm sea on which to sail new ideas, bigger ships, and feed the needs of the prim-hungry planners of the future.  Second Life will be nothing more than the stagnant backwaters away from the main stream of virtuality; nothing more than a museum of the fast walking, faster flying, avatars of the past.  It never was and never will be a place conducive to a calm leisurely stroll through a visually appealing landscape.  Linden Lab created Second Life as a mere homage to the days of fast muscle cars of the 20th century.  A drag strip where teenagers came to show off what they made in their garage. A lifestyle that will become totally unsustainable in this millennium.

Enjoy your virtual Life,


Posted in Education in Virtual Worlds, Second Life, Virtual Architecture, Virtual Building | 1 Comment »

A Challenge to OpenSim Developers

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on February 17, 2010

Now that Hippo and Meerkat have dropped out of the viewer scene, what is the viewer that is considered the officially approved viewer for Open Simulator use?  You know… the one that can be mentioned in bug reports without the real bug being excused away and dismissed by some developers because I was not using the right (official) viewer.  I sure hope my last bug report isn’t dismissed because it is a viewer crash.  The viewers do not crash when I am in SL doing uploads of textures, so I feel the bug is with the OpenSim server software. All I’m doing is uploading texture images into OpenSim.

I know you have a lot on your plate, but please address bugs that happen to all the viewers, not just your favored one. And tell me…. what is that favored viewer these days?

Enjoy your Virtual Life,

Ethos Erlanger

Posted in OpenSim, OpenSim Crashes, Virtual Building | 2 Comments »

Bugs Abound in OpenSim

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on February 15, 2010

First, I want to send a big THANK YOU to the many hard working developers of Open Simulator.  They are  squashing bugs and making things better for all of us that are the users of an OpenSim server.  They are allowed to think outside the box that the Linden corporate employees are trapped in.  The one thing they have given us in OS that I truly appreciate is control over the velocity of the avatar walk.  Linden Lab should make this available to region managers in Second Life.

Now, I will step down off my soap box and get back on topic.  As a builder, I use the OpenSim Server Software to create a sandbox region on my local computer.  I am actually using the Diva Distro and enjoy the seamless region crossing, and the large open space that I have to work with.  As a builder, I enjoy collaboration and actually thrive on the inspiration I get from creative texturists and other builders.  I prefer working with a friend rather than working alone.  Here is where the bug I refer to is causing us serious difficulty.  I think we can refer to this bug as the Edit Permissions Bug.  I cannot edit the prims that have been created by my co-builder.  As friends, we give each other permission to edit each others objects, but that just isn’t working in OpenSim as it does in Second Life.

One of the key reasons for having my own sandbox is the desire to leave things out to be worked on by my collaborator.  Without this feature working, we are simply working independently on our own builds and would just as well be working in a vacuum except for the occasional useful comment (or cheeky remark) back and forth to each other.  This bug needs to be squashed.

The next issue is the bug I experience when trying to import large prim-count builds into OpenSim.  I have used the Meerkat and Imprudence viewers to import builds and they each deal with permissions differently, but after the export, the import is simply a matter of the viewer interacting with the Open Simulator Server.  Open Sim will crash with either of the viewers when I attempt to import objects with significant numbers of prims.  This bug is being investigated by one developer, and I wish him all the best for his efforts.

When creators of content are able to move their artistic endeavors back and forth to Second Life with a minimum of difficulty there will begin to be a larger use of the OpenSim as a tool that can be used by those who are creating content.  It is that creativity and the resulting content that will drive the Virtual Economy in the future for all virtual worlds.

Enjoy your Virtual Life,

Ethos Erlanger

Posted in OpenSim, OpenSim Crashes, OpenSim on a Local Server, Virtual Architecture, Virtual Building | Leave a Comment »

It’s Not About the Viewer – The State of Motion in Virtual Worlds

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on February 12, 2010

Time for a short rant.  A new viewer will never make virtual worlds any better than they are.  What we need are better motion controls.  Does this sound like a broken record?  It is.  All my searching has been in vain.  There seems to be no way to truly exert the proper motion control over an avatar that adequately simulates walking up stairs or the side of a hill.  There seems to be no way to simulate the grip of your hand if you were climbing a mountain.  The granularity of all of the various virtual worlds is still extremely “course”.

Based on the apparent lack of interest in true simulation of body mechanics, my prediction is that 2 or more years will pass and I will still be in search of a “slow walk”.  A walking speed suitable for a leisurely stroll through a park or museum.  I am looking for an avatar speed slow enough to feel like the underwater simulations of swimming with the ocean marine life is slow enough to be believed;  Or, the altered physics and slow motion of a moon walk as we saw it on television 40 years ago.

Have you seen the speed of the old person in a walker?  Or an octogenarian with a cane?  It is not captured properly in virtual worlds.

See you in two years and we can catch up on the status of the State of Motion in Virtual Worlds.  (unless I reprise this topic sooner)

Enjoy your Virtual Life,

Ethos Erlanger

Posted in Education in Virtual Worlds, OpenSim, OpenSim on a Local Server, Second Life, Virtual Architecture, Virtual Building | Leave a Comment »

Thank you Rosalie

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on February 3, 2010

I want to thank Rosalie Oldrich.

Rosie is a friend in Second Life who tirelessly works on behalf of the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum.  I have come to know her best out of all of museum board members.  As the activities at the museum expanded I became acquainted with  the other board members in their roles on the board.  But the day I got the phone call from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation was the day I turned to Rosalie because I knew her enthusiasm and commitment to the museum would carrying the ball down the field.  No, she did not carry the ball alone.  I called her on the phone that day and she acted as the consumate team member .  Willing to hand things off to other members of the board whenever their talents would be the choice for the task at hand.  Rosalie will always let others shine and stand in the limelight.  But I see her talent shine as well.  Always.

Thank you, Rosie

Posted in The Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum | Leave a Comment »