Progress! I've got a live avatar in my localhost region... but I'm not sure how I managed it.  Embarrassingly, my biggest confusion (I think) has been one-word vs two-word usernames. My next challenge is to explore how objects are stored and whether I can lay out Dublin streets via textfiles rather than hand-to-mouse.

Maybe I'm watching outdated videos, but the setup-procedure to run OpenSim on my own laptop seems way, way complicated....

There's a 'viewer' (called Imprudence?) you have to download, that corresponds to the 'SecondLife Viewer', but that's just the front end. You'll also have to bite the bullet and configure a whole back-end webserver, with PHP and SQL and ports and routers and ini-files...

I wouldn't expect any average Ulysses-maniac to want to mess with it, unless a single-click-and-go edition becomes available. Once you've succeeded, though, you can presumably sit down at anyone else's keyboard and set it up for them pretty easily-- so this seems like a necessarily face-to-face style of skill-sharing.

And once it's running, you can start tweaking the 1904-models pretty easily, using the tools developed for 2ndLife...

Okay, a bunch of newbie questions: Suppose we want to start by laying out as many as possible of Dublin's real streets, at full scale, all lined with minimalist placeholder 'city block' objects that just show blank walls on each side running the length of the block.  Would this be compact enough to render, even though it's a zillion regions? (The goal is first to allow walkthrus that convey scale and spatial relationships, but also to provide a framework where volunteers can create islands of higher-res modeling.)

it remains to be settled whether OpenSim is the best platform to start from (or Unreal or...?)
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