Transferability: Importing/Exporting Objects

Research has begun on exporting and importing objects using a viewer, application software and ‘sculpty’ image maps. A large hotel (owner created) has been successfully exported from Second Life and imported into Reaction Grid for Hospitality and Tourism students to use for simulations and roleplay.
Hotel transferred to Reaction Grid

Transferring objects from one virtual world to another
This can be useful for
  • building the same learning tasks or environments in multiple worlds
  • allowing students to build off-line in a stand-alone USB or desktop virtual world and then import to a 'live' shared virtual world
  • backing up objects for archiving and/or assessment

Some viewers allow owner created objects to be exported (back-up) from one world and imported to another. Note that copyright and Terms of Service rules apply here. When importing at destination, check there is enough room and sufficient prims allowance. Don't fly while importing and include textures unless applying them manually.

Transferability via Creation in External (out-of-world) Applications
Sculptured prims (sculptys) can be created as RGB (sculpt) maps in external applications such as Blender, 3D Max or Plop and then uploaded into different virtual worlds. This may be a more useful approach than exporting and importing from one virtual world to another.


Item imported as a 'sculpty map' into both Second Life and Reaction Grid.
Textures and scripts (sit) were applied in-world.

For more on scripts see iliveis: copy of scripts into notecard for intergrid use

Single or linked prims and textures can be exported from Google SketchUp using SketchLife

Transferability via Inventory Backup

Software such as Stored Inventory allows the user to backup their inventory (objects, skins, textures, scripts) and to transfer owner created items to another compatible virtual world.

Archives - IARs and OARs
OpenSim Inventory Archives (IARs) are a means by which inventory folders and items can be saved offline to a single file (an IAR). This file can then be loaded into a different OpenSim installation. See iliveis: IARs - inventory backup files
OpenSim Archives (OARs)save all the necessary asset data so that you can fully restore the terrain, the textures of objects and their inventories when loaded onto a completely different system using a different asset database. See iliveis: OAR backups plus a bonus science lesson
See also OpenSim Creations
Watch an OAR file load (filmed at double speed) by iliveis on YouTube

Terrains, Regions and Objects

See Hypergrid Business: Where can I get terrain, region files, buildings and other content?
MyOpenSim: OAR Files
OpenSimWorlds - OpenSim archives can save all the necessary asset data to fully restore the terrain, the textures of objects and their inventories. Free OARs
Universal Campus provides a downloadable infrastructure for organizing and deploying collaborative meetings, such as classes, research group meetings, and conferences in a virtual 3D world. The Universal Campus infrastructure consists of the virtual world and the avatars.

Terrains are imported and exported as RAW files. Terrains can be designed and exported from applications such as Terragen.
For seamless multi-region RAW files see tutorials and downloads at Tomorrow Glares into Beyond

Mesh Import
Mesh import will allow 3D 'mesh' files exported from Google SketchUp, Blender, 3DMax... to be uploaded to a virtual world.
Among other possibilities it means that student work produced in these applications can be exhibited in a virtual world.
Mesh import into SL will soon (September 2010) be possible (and OpenSim soon after that) - see Second Life Blogs: Next Steps for Mesh Import

Other Virtual Worlds - see Immersive Education Initiative video 'Create Once, Experience Everywhere'

Recommendations for possible Guidelines/Standards

  • Consider the possibility of moving owner created objects from one virtual world to another, including standalone/USB based installations.
  • Consider the possibility of moving region terrains, objects and scripts (OAR files) from one virtual world server to another.
  • Consider the possibility of moving inventory (IAR files) from one virtual world server to another.
  • Consider using software designed to backup owner created inventory items (and transfer to another virtual world).
  • Look for existing virtual world objects, IAR and OAR files that may meet your learning needs.
  • Consider sharing/collaboration with other educators/institutions to share virtual world learning environments and resources.