Sim on a stick

Have you heard about the portable version of Open Simulator yet?

Yes, that’s right. Open Sim on a USB Key. I kid you not. Next time your preferred grid is offline, or your broadband is on the blink, have a go at open sim on your own PC. It’s rather lonely because there is only you there, but if there is nowhere else to go, you could spend many peaceful hours building, scripting, testing animations, <insert favourite creative pass time here> and download the results for import to your regular haunt using Imprudence.

I read Pathfinder’s post about running Open Sim on a USB Key with great interest, eagerly following the link to Tateru’s Post with the downloadable zip file and followed her instructions. Much to my disappointment, it didn’t actually work straight out of the box, but the two gotchas that got me were solved without much bother. You might want to bear these two points in mind when you try it out for yourself:

1. Apache (yes, the web server software) which is started by the Mowes application, expects to be able to open port 80 to listen on, but if you have Skype running on your system, it has probably already bagged Port 80 and Apache does not start. Mowes doesn’t tell you why it fails to run, just that it isn’t running. It was only when I attempted to start it by hand that I got enough error output to know what was wrong.

The solution? Well, the quick fix is to close Skype down while you run Mowes and get Apache running. You can start Skype up again afterwards.

A slightly better fix is to go into Skype’s preferences and tell it not to use port 80.
Tools => Options => Advanced => Connection and uncheck the little box next to “Use port 80 and 443 as alternatives for incoming connections.”

2. I am running this on 64-Bit Windows Vista and although Open Sim will run on 64-bit systems, it involves quite a bit more work. The quick fix for this, said to be suitable for 90% of users, is to run the 32-bit launcher for Open Sim.

So, instead of running Tateru’s opensim.bat, navigate into the diva-r13981 folder and from there into the bin folder and run OpenSim.32BitLaunch.exe.  You could also right-click the opensim.bat and choose Edit, it will open in Notepad where you can remove the line that says “opensim.exe” and replace it with OpenSim.32BitLaunch.exe This would be a good thing to do, if you’re planning on using this more than once or twice.

Now you can run Imprudence (or your own preferred viewer) and point it at as its login URI. (Use the Login manager for this and choose Localhost, it probably has the right settings already.)

As you might expect, there’s not much in your inv and the two female avatars were kinda scary looking. I was however happy to find that there is a simple walk replacer that ships with this version. But a purple Hippo with a slinky walk is quietly disturbing in her own right.

If you want to create yourself a “proper” user with your own avatar name (and not Test User which is the Open Sim default), you can point your web browser at and create an account for yourself on your own, glorious, Open Sim.

So here I am in my Guantanamo Bay trousers wishing that my freshly imported hat would cover up my ghastly system hair, while Test User the Hippo wishes that I’d clear off and stop making her beautiful four region Open Sim look untidy.


Pathfinder: A Virtual World in my Hands: Running OpenSim and Imprudence on a USB Key.
Tateru: Sim on a stick
Roger Stack: USB Open Sim
Adam Frisby: Running Open Sim Under a 64-bit Environment

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2 Responses to Sim on a stick

  1. Since you’re running the Diva Distro here, you’ve got hypergrid as an option if you open the right ports. (Namely, ports 9000, 9001, 9002, and 9003 have to be forwarded from your router to the PC with the USB stick — not always an easy thing to do!)

    Have you tried that yet? You’d be able to teleport out to other grids — or have friends from other grids come to visit your little world.

    I’ve done this (well, am still doing it) with a personal world I’m running on a PC — I don’t know if it will that way on an USB stick!

    — Maria Korolov
    Editor, Hypergrid Business

    • Sandry says:

      It was a quick experiment after finding Pathfinder’s article. I have been interested in Open Sim since early 2007 and dabble with it occasionally. I just ran it off the desktop rather than on a stick but it’s a fascinating idea. I’m not sure that I’d really want to to open it up to the world though, but I have to say that the idea of inviting SL/IW friends over is kinda intriguing.

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