Second Life Grid
According to Wikipedia,
the Second Life grid
"is the platform and technology behind [the] 3D online virtual world....." It comprises numerous servers running a Debian (or Linux-based) operating system which relies on open source software.
Think of the servers and software as a virtual power grid that keeps the virtual landscapes, the avatars, their pets, their houses and all of their belongings alive, or able to move around and interact with each other. Each server contains an area of virtual land, or Region, and runs a simulation that allows all of the virtual components to interact with each other. The simulation lets avatars fly and drive virtual vehicles, as well as pick up virtual cocktails in the nightclub.
Like the power grid in the non-digital world, overloads can occur when too many residents are using the system at the same time. In the real world, power outages cause the lights and electronic appliances to flicker or turn off, but people can still walk around in their homes, and their homes remain intact.
But when the Second Life grid is overloaded, avatars can stall in mid step and virtual pets can disappear. Residents my not be able to find locations on the map, and they may not be able to access the Linden dollars in their accounts. When you stop to consider that every single virtual object that you can see has a
UUID (universally unique identifier)
that must be tracked, it’s amazing that the grid is able to operate effectively at all.
Each avatar and each accessory that decorates the avatar must be digitally tracked during all of its movements while everybody else’s' avatar and accessories navigate the area, too. Add to that every other prim (or 3D object) and each texture on each prim that makes it look real, like the doorknob on the front door of a house, or a flowerpot on the porch, for every resident that's inworld at the time...and the demands on the servers are enormous.
The Second life grid survey defines the location of all of the Second Life (SL) real estate, too. Land location inworld is described in a fashion similar to the longitude and latitude system used in real life. All land can be identified by its x and y coordinates, as well as its name, access rating, its Terrain Map UUID and its Objects Map UUID. Residents in any location can click on its SLURL Link and be instantly teleported to that location on the grid.
For example, here's the grid information for one parcel of virtual real estate.
Region: 0031 welcome island
is located at x=1054, y=1135. Its access rating is PG, its Terrain Map UUID is
3f859a6c-f441-0592-7e64-119bbe013c9a, its Objects Map UUID is
033a3ae4-41d3-7d5a-7a67-0da1da0a0212, and finally its SLURL Link.
As you can see, there's an enormous amount of data that is being tracked all day, every day to keep the Second life grid up and running.
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