Shengri La Spirit: A Designer’s Perspective of the Making of OpenSim

Shengri La Spirit: A Designer's Perspective of the Making of OpenSim

It has now been about two years since Fashion Research Institute first began exploring the OpenSim platform to assess its suitability for our patent-pending design and development application, Black Dress Technology.  In those two years, we have seen a great deal of development on the OpenSim code base.

We rejoiced when Melanie Thielker developed the patch that allowed attachments (like hair) to remain attached between log-ins.  We were thrilled when Justin Clark-Casey developed the Parallel Selves Message Bridge for us.  And we were delighted when Crista Lopes developed her Hypergrid technology.

Along the way, Fashion Research Institute contributed to the movement, contributing patches to the OpenSim code base developed by our own developers and developing the 41,000+ prim region, Shengri La Spirit, which was used for performance testing with IBMer David Levine’s assistance.

We have a unique view of OpenSim – we built large scale, complex builds when it wasn’t thought possible to do so.  Shengri La Spirit is an important part of the early history of OpenSim (  Shengri La Spirit is a high-prim region originally hosted by IBM as part of the research agreement with Fashion Research Institute. This region, created on the OpenSim platform,was an early example of organic (not machine generated) content creation that helped move the OpenSim code base forward by exposing some of the performance issues. Its development enabled performance testing while inspiring the imagination of designers and content creators about the possibilities of OpenSim. Spirit was the first large scale development of beautiful content and the first organic high-prim count region (41,414 prims).

And now, our journey with OpenSim has been documented and published as our latest publication, “Shengri La Spirit: A Designer’s Perspective of the Making of OpenSim.”  This is the story of the journey of not only its creation, but also of the growth of the OpenSim code base. Lavishly illustrated with images created in the region Shengri La Spirit, the book chronicles the early days of content creation in OpenSim.  The book Shengri La Spirit is now available on, and the region Shengri La Spirit can be accessed on Science Sim.  For the first time in history, visitors may walk through this historic build and view firsthand the thousands of glowing crystals, stroll the trellis house, and fly up to the overlook. Work on Spirit was regrettably halted before it was finished, but due to the historic nature of this build, the original will remain, intact, on the Shengri La Spirit region in Science Sim where we’re embarked upon a new adventure, with Intel Labs.  (Our early contribution to this collaboration, Shengri La Chamomile, has already yielded the data used to develop performance enhancements to the OpenSim code, contributed back to the code base by the Intel engineers collaborating with us.)

We will be holding a meetup event in Shengri La Spirit on September 16th, at 7 pm edt, where you may meet the author, Shenlei E. Winkler, and explore this historic build.  We look forward to meeting you there.

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