Q-Sims - The OpenSim metavers for QNAP
By AdNovea – May 2009 – version 1.0
|WARNING: There were some Major changes with the OpenSim versions starting at v0.7.x that are not taken into account within these wikies!|
Visit the QNAP forum for technical discussions
|Q-Sims - Quick-Sims is intended to provide a Mevaterses* Starter Kit for QNAP SOHO servers
* stands for meta-universes or virtual worlds like in Second life.
Table of content
Q-Sims Metavers Starter Kit
The Q-Sims Metavers Starter Kit comes in two flavors:
- Q-Sims LITE Edition to implement your metavers on your NAS server and join a Public grid to become a piece of a larger metavers.
- Q-Sims FULL Edition to fully run and administrate your Private metavers on your NAS server or join a Public grid.
The FULL Edition is not yet released to avoid confusion
In both version a Q-Sims QSA (Quick Start Assistant) will guide you during the installation process up to the metavers administration management.
Once Q-Sims is installed on your server, you only have to install and run a client software (Viewer) on the remote computers to enter and navigate into the metaverses. There are several viewers:
- Hippo and realXtend are open-source viewers running under Windows and Linux
- ActiveX plugins for Internet browsers are also under development (eg. 3DI is provided under license)
A Metaverse is a fictional virtual world, described in Neal Stephenson`s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional space that uses the metaphor of the real world. The word metaverse is the combination of the prefix "meta" (meaning "beyond") and "universe". Paravers stands for para-universe and refer to the augmented reality (AR) where real world scenes are superimposed with synthetic imagery. Augmented reality can be achieved using HDUs (Head up display) placed between the viewer and the real scene but also by mixing virtual world imagery (metaverses) with real scenes.
The Sims is a strategic life-simulation computer game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. It was created by game designer Will Wright, also known for developing SimCity. It is a simulation of the daily activities of one or more virtual persons ("Sims") in a suburban household near SimCity. The Sims was first released on February 4, 2000.
Second Life (SL) is a virtual world developed by the Linden Lab that launched on June 23, 2003 and is accessible via the Internet. A free client program called the Second Life Viewer enables its users, called Residents, to interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another, or travel throughout the world, which residents refer to as the grid. Second Life caters for users aged over eighteen, while its sister site Teen Second Life is reserved to users aged between thirteen and seventeen. As of June 22nd 2009, SL has 2 millions subscribers with about 65 thousands players on-line every day.
MMOG/MMORPG Massively Multiplayer Online /Role Playing Games are video games capable of supporting thousands of players simultaneously. By necessity, they are played on the Internet, and feature at least one persistent world. MMORPG games like World of Warcraft and Dofus have more than 10M subscribers each.
Some of the definitions above are excerpts from wikipedia
Metavers Virtual world made of one or several regions opened to public (like Internet) or private (like Intranet) uses. Region / Estate The basic land unit (256 x 256 meters with the OpenSim simulator). Metaverses are made of juxtaposition of regions. Sims Refer to one or several regions owned by one entity for one dedicated purpose (e.g. your Sims may be devoted to Education and made of 2 regions) Parcel A division inside a Region which can be sold/given to a Resident (minimum size is 16 square meters with the OpenSim simulator). People without server to host regions can rent (sometimes for free) parcels on Public grids. Grid The grid (1000 x 1000 in OpenSim) gathers the regions to enable navigation across the metavers. Regions connected or hosted on the grid server are located at a XY position on the Grid. The server (Public/Private) which run the grid is referred as the Grid server. HyperGrid Hypergrid allows navigation between grids running under OpenSim and supports seamless agent (avatars and inventory) transfers among those OpenSim grids. The hypergrid is effectively supporting the emergence of a Web of virtual worlds. Plaza Refer to a group of regions. Plazas help to organize the large metaverses. When growing, Public grids open new plazas and allocate a range of XY locations for each. New Sims are welcomed to join the newly opened plazas. Visitors Any one with an account traveling over the metavers but not the owner of a parcel or region Residents Any one who own a parcel or run a region. Residents who run a region may take the "God" status over the region. Q-Sims Quick-Sims - a package develop by AdNovea to ease the installation of the OpenSim simulator and associated software on SOHO servers. Prims Prims are basic shapes (cubes, spheres, torus, etc.) which can be modified thanks to a set of parameters (size, position, texture, scripts) and assembled to build complex objects. Prims are stored in your regions into the database on your NAS. Avatar This is your virtual representation. It can be customized and characteristics are stored into your inventory. Inventory The inventory gathers all objects copied from a region (freebies) or downloaded such as textures, sounds, etc. Your inventory can be organized through a tree folder structure. It is stored on the Grid server (the remote server if you are link to a Public grid or your NAS if you run a Private grid). While teleporting, it can be fully or partially accessible to manage security and rights issues. Therefore, you avatar customization and inventory may be incomplete. Freebies This is what you will be seeking for as a beginner to speed up your integration into Public grids. Inheritance of the open source spirit, the Freebies are objects build by residents and given for free. There is an habit in metavers to give something to someone you meet the first time or to leave freebies in you region.
In order to port Q-Sims (OpenSim the simulator, QS-Manager the OpenSimWI fork, Mono the .NET FrameWork and FreeSwitch the VoIP-SIP engine) we have built a first demonstrator. Here is below a snapshot of our first metavers demonstrator where we have tested all the available features.
Our demonstrator was made of 5 regions (our Sims). Each regions was 256 x 256 meters. There was about 2000 prims in total. It was run as a Private metavers using Q-Sims FULL Edition on a QNAP TS-639 NAS server (1.6GHz/1MB).
This section provides information about the Q-Sims requirements. Data are still under evaluation.
The table below sums-up the QNAP NAS capabilities to help you in your Sims dimensioning.
Q-Sims runs the OpenSim simulator. To access the Q-Sims metavers, the viewer on the client side has the same requirements as any recent MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Game).
In order to get a good texture rendition and movement fluidity, you shall run the viewer:
- on a powerful PC (e.g. double core 1.6GHz/2GB RAM)
- with a high-performance graphic card (e.g. ATI Radeon 256 MB).
Read The Viewer section for additional information about graphic cards.
NOTE: I can run the viewer on a Sony ultra-portable (Dual core 1GHz/2GB RAM) running Vista Business with Intel 945GM graphic card but with low graphics performances.
The data below are still under evaluation and the table gives a rough order of magnitude to help you to dimension your Sims (metavers).
IMPORTANT: while running Q-Sims, Mono will require much of the server resources and up to 100% of the CPU that may slightly slow down other applications.
Specifications for QNAP SOHO servers (under evaluation)
TS-219 TS-219 P (ARM not supported )
Maximum regions  (Sims)
1 @ 50%
Region size (m²)
256 x 256
256 x 256
256 x 256
Grid size (max number of regions)
1000 x 1000
1000 x 1000
1000 x 1000
Max. number of prims per region 
Max. simultaneous visitors per regions 
-  The Mono libgdiplus library and FreeSwitch QPKGs are not yet available for the QNAP ARM servers.
-  More important is the number of prims within a region. It requires about 1 MB of RAM for 18 prims and 1% CPU (x86/1.6GHz) for 240 prims. Keep in mind that a region with more than 1500 prims introduces a significant delay while the viewer is loading the cache over a 2/20MB-ADSL connection.
-  Each prim has parameters to achieve complex shapes. Use as much as possible the parameters instead of adding basic prims. very complex shapes may be achieved using sculpties.
-  Theoretically, 100 visitors can be simultaneously in one region but the "lag" will be unacceptable. Moreover, problems have being highlighted in stress conditions when the number of visitors exceeds 25 avatars (Adam Frisby - march 2009). Recent tests have supported up to 53 avatars in one region (Adam Frisby - july 2009 during the 2 years' osgrid show).
-  e.g. TS-509 TS-239P TS-239P-II TS-259P TS-439P TS-459P TS-439P-II TS-439U-RP/ TS-439U-SP TS-639 TS-659P TS-809 TS-859P TS-809U TS-239 SS-439 SS-839
On most of these servers the RAM size is 1GB and can be expanded (please check the QNAP website and forum).
Which implementation to choose?
First of all, if you want to get familiar with metaverses, you can just register to a free public grid. You will be able to customize your avatar and to navigate the whole metavers made of several Sims (group of regions with the same purpose: shops, games, sandbox, community, etc.).
In other to experiment the metaverses, you may decide to:
- rent a parcel in someone else region of the public grid
- have your own Sims (made of one or more regions) running on your NAS server.
Your Sims can be a Private Sims (like an Intranet/Extranet today) or connected to a Public grid to become part of a larger metavers.
Here below we list the differences between the two implementations.
I WANT TO
manage my Private Sims on my QNAP join a Public Grid to run my Sims QPKG/scripts to install Q-Sims Edition Q-Sims FULL Edition recommended Q-Sims LITE Edition recommended
FULL Edition for advanced management
Mono QPKG required required Freeswitch QPKG (to enable Voice chat) optional optional (requires manual installation with LITE edition) IPKG-Optware QPKG required
(for screen virtual shells and mysql backup)
(for screen virtual shells)
QNAP NAS directory
xxx stands for HD0 or MD0 (RAID)
/share/xxx_DATA/.qpkg/QSims /share/xxx_DATA/.qpkg/QSims_lite Storage locations Sims (regions) is hosted on your NAS on your NAS Assets (inventory) are stored on your NAS on the Public Grid Visitors' accesses Users registration is managed by QS-Manager web interface (Q-Sims FULL Edition) The Public Grid You avatar can access foreign regions ONLY if you have an account but with the default avatar appearance YES with all the inventory in any regions managed by the Public Grid I can transfert my Inventory to other regions ONLY in locally hosted regions In any regions managed by the Public Grid Who is able to access to your Sims? Visitors registered on Q-Sims Any visitors registered on the Public Grid Hypergrid teleportation Not supported Some Public grids offer teleportation to other Public grids Sims' Servers OpenSim server run on your NAS run on your NAS UGAIM servers (Users, Grid, Assets, Inventory, Messaging) run on your NAS run on the Public Grid Administration interface QS-Manager web interface
based on OpenSimWI from Redux
QSM Lite web interface (LITE Edition)
QS-Manager web interface (FULL Edition)
Database management Database type allowed SQLite, MySQL SQLite (LITE edition)
SQLite, MySQL (FULL edition)
QS-Manager web interface
'Q-Sims FULL Edition'
Manage MySQL database only (regions and UGAIM) Manage MySQL database only (your regions only) Regions Backup SQLite and MySQL daily backup SQLite daily backup (LITE edition)
SQLite and MySQL daily backup (your regions only)
Inventory (UGAIM) backup SQLite and MySQL daily backup No Reliability OpenSim version changes is under your control is decided by the Public Grid. If you do not change your Sims may become unaccessible OpenSim server crash is handle by Q-Sims and restarted within 5 minutes is handle by Q-Sims and restarted within 5 minutes UGAIM server crash is handle by Q-Sims and restarted within 5 minutes is handle by the Public Grid Sims Backup is under you complete responsibility regions are under your responsibility,
inventory under the Public Grid????
- To read more about the Opensim simulator Architecture and Grid
- Diagram example of a Q-Sims LITE implementation where your Sims is hosted on your NAS server and connected to a Public Grid Server
Protection against vandalism
Metaverses are opened spaces and give a very high level of flexibility to residents and visitors. Unfortunately, it turns out that some visitors are ill-intentioned and can seriously damage your metavers. You better protect your work and restrict user's permissions.
read the Protect your Sims (Security) section
Protection against system crashes
All these development including the OpenSim simulator are currently at ALPHA stage (to be used as sandbox or demonstrator)
Therefore, you must consider the security breaches, bugs and crashes as part of the very valuable ongoing development.
You have been warned, do not complain or blame us in the future.
You will find here valuable information about the status of OpenSim developments.
Metaverses and SOHO servers
I have been asked about : The interest of metaverses regarding the SOHO servers business.
Q-Sims as "Metavers Starter Kit" helps to implement metaverses on servers to make available numerous Internet services like any Apache or Tomcat applications do it for managing websites, Asterisk does it to support VoIP or Ventrilo to enable Voice chat.
I suggest to consider the following to evaluate the interest of metaverses in the future server business.
- If server business has interests in Web servers, VoIP, Chat, Instant Messaging, Mailing, Internet communication and collaborative applications in general, they de facto must share the same interests for metaverses which include all these functionalities.
- Metaverses are hosted and run on servers. Like the websites today, metaverses NEED servers to be hosted.
- Each generation uses the technologies it grows up with. MMOG have now more than 15 years and the "always connected generation" (1990-2010) is about to leave the university. The ACG generation does not consider Internet nor the metaverses as something "new".
- Public, private (locally hosted like Intranet today) and worldwide metaverses have started to develop and are currently implemented on PC/SOHO servers. Despite brought to light in 2007 with the buzz around Second life, the hyper mediatization has made the metaverses to be considered as a "trendy effect" rather than to explore theirs huge potentials.
- Metaverses are multiple media (multimedia) and networking based technologies that eases the implementation of communication/collaborative applications.
 Survey run by the Erin research in Canada and Insite in Belgiun in 2007
Which future for the metaverses
Despite metaverses will be overcome for a while with games or assimilated to the 2nd life social network only, they are gaining momentum and start to interest some business applications. Some "niche" applications are already pushing some valuable developments to lead the metaverses to maturity.
There are still limitations today that prevents the wide spreading of metaverses but some are already addressed.
- Navigation into metaverses with standard Internet browsers: Pushed by business requirements, ExitReality and 3Di have developed the very first 3D wiewer plug-ins running on standard Internet browsers. See the Japanese demo.
- Centralized grid server to enable navigation across multiple Sims are the bottlenecks for current metaverses simulators. Solipsis, a French R&D project (ANR-RIAM) leaded by Orange Labs, is developing a open source P2P, decentralized Metaverse. The Linden Labs Architecture Working Group in collaboration with the open source commnunity is also working on this topic.
- Metaverses mimics too much the reality and do not get enough benefit of the efficiency brought by the virtuality: Virtual worlds look like "copy/paste" of reality and shall be more creative to found new forms of usages to "augment" the reality.
- Major companies have already shown theirs interests and deeply invested in metaverses developments: IBM, Intel (ScienceSim), Sun, Orange
- In May 2008, Gartner evaluate 70% of the companies to run Private virtual world since 2012. These private implementations will have better focused targets than the public ones. Primarily used internally by the companies for critical and emergency situation trainings, these virtual worlds will be later opened to the whole company for employees collaborative tasks. Finally, these metaverses will be made accessible to the Public (customers and suppliers).
I would like to thanks all the people who are directly and indirectly contributing to the OpenSim simulator developments for the great work already achieved. http://opensimulator.org
On the OpenSim website you will find:
- all relevant information and advices to setup your metavers
- free assets (objects such as building, textures, etc.) and links to free assets
- samples and links to avatars customization
- download links to complete metavers samples (file in OAR format)
- latest versions of developments for both Windows and Linux
- tutorials and links to tutorials to startup with OpenSim
- the status of the ongoing developments http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Testing
OpenSim Wikies are very well documented and translated in multiple languages:
Spanish, German, Francais, Italian, Português, Japanese
If you need to chat with others users or administrators of OpenSim and/or OSGrid.org, use your IRC at:
IMPORTANT: Downloads are available from the QNAP Forum for registered members at
To install Q-Sims, you need the following QPKG:
- Optware QPKG - Download and install from the QNAP Admin pages
- Mono QPKG - Download and install from the QNAP Admin pages
- Q-Sim LITE Edition or FULL Edition - Download and install from the QNAP Admin pages
- OpenSim binary - Download form osgrid.org or let the Installer do it
- FreeSwitch QPKG - Download and install from the QNAP Admin pages (optional)
NOTE: MySQL shall be enabled on your NAS server if you intend to use the Q-Sims FULL Edition (required by QS-Manager)