realXtend : Open Source Platform for interconnected virtual worlds

realXtend is an open source virtual worlds – immersive web platform.  The framework contains server and client software along with content creation tools.

One of the most important aspects of the realXtend framework is its scalability. Anyone can have a personal virtual space with typically only a couple of users, but it is also possible to create entire worlds for greater numbers of users. Instead of separate proprietary sites realXtend will make it possible to connect between the different worlds as easily as browsing web pages today, which will increase the popularity and usability of virtual reality above what is possible for any individual service provider alone.

The most important issue in creating smooth transitions between virtual realities is a global and secure avatar management system. The avatar is the user’s virtual representative, which can be used for a multitude of purposes. In realXtend the same avatar can be used in every virtual world, it will assist the user in communication tasks and possibly even be used for secure online transactions. The avatar services are also available for anyone to host themselves, there are no centralized or proprietary components in the framework.

RealXtend is a partnership company formed from Admino Technologies (now Evocativi Oy) and LudoCraft, two Finnish companies. They have developed an improved version of the Second Life(tm) viewer which can be downloaded here. Information on how to connect the RealXtend viewer is defined by the ModRex interface.

LudoCraft recently developed the Virtual Expo World which is provided by Tekes Spaces and Places Programme; my user name in the realXtend viewer to connect to the Authentication Server Home Grid is

Modrex: integrate realXtend features in OpenSim

Modrex is a project to integrate all of the realXtend features with the mainline OpenSim code by incorporating them in a optional regionmodule – hence the project name modrex. The work is being done by Adam Frisby. The stability of the code is surprisingly good.

The RealXtend viewer employs the open source OGRE game engine and differs from the Linden Lab viewer (LLviewer) in several ways. The most distinct difference is in the new rendering potential offered by OGRE. When using RealXtend as a viewer for OpenSim, one obtains real-time shadows, improved lighting simulation, and more importantly, the OGRE mesh. The mesh is hierarchical (multiple meshes and sub-meshes) and can include a skeleton for defining avatar motion and dynamics.

ModRex (source code) while not part of the viewer, is the glue that connects the viewer to the opensim trunk code. Version 0.5 of  realXtend released on 30.6.2009 is featuring ModreX for the first time.