All current outstanding requests for InWorldz OAR exports are complete.

In August of 2018, when the news came that InWorldz would shut down, I made a personal promise to the residents: I would do everything I could to ensure that any users who had any content rezzed in any region at shutdown time would be able to request, and be provided, a filtered OAR export archive of their content.

Now in July of 2019, after 11 months of near-continuous part-time efforts, I have completed the lengthy list of outstanding requests for OAR exports. Because the content was being taken off-grid, in order to respect the promises made to creators when they joined InWorldz, we needed to provide filtered OARs — only the content owned and created by a given user, or a “whitelist” of alts and collaborators providing their consent for export. This first required that a lot of specialized code be developed for the OAR loading process, and enhancements made to support not only the filtering aspects, but “drilling into” the Contents of rezzed objects, and the Contents of any objects nested within those objects.

It wasn’t just a matter of filtering objects with a subset of those in the region; when you’re looking 5 levels deep into the Contents of an object and 2 out of 5 of the Contents items are permitted for export, it means a new object must be created, and the other 3 Contents items must be replaced with placeholders — and then that new object must be substituted for the one referenced by (inserted back into) the object, which in many cases will trigger that object in the Contents list to be substituted as well, with another new object that has one or more Contents items replaced… all the way back up the parentage of objects to the one rezzed in the region. Also, most asset references needed to be checked and potentially scrubbed according to the whitelist of users. The code that scanned objects for asset IDs had no support for the newer InWorldz “Thoosa” asset storage, just the old OpenSim asset formats, and almost none of the code had support for Thoosa assets.

Just the coding itself was a tremendous amount of work, and if I had been aware of the effort required there is no way in hell I would have attempted it. I would have considered it far beyond that promise of “everything I could do” (reasonably). But I didn’t know that, dug in, and eventually completed the work anyway.

Then began the work of producing the actual filtered OAR export files for users.

Actually producing the OAR files was the easiest part. Trying to get information from users, such as a definitive lists of avatars to include, with authorizations from the email addresses that was used to register the accounts, and a list of specific region names, well that required a lot of user interaction. And interacting people slow down work tremendously. To date, it has required just under 900 email messages, often detailed and lengthy.

There was also the matter of user privacy. If “Joe User” collaborated with “Sally Avatar”, I couldn’t just provide the email addresses used to register those accounts to each of them and ask them to work it out. In many cases former project collaborators had no way to communicate, and I’d need to do that communication myself on behalf of the user requesting the OAR export, in order to protect those email addresses entrusted to InWorldz.

Even worse, I’d occasionally get an email with a confirmation of export authorization from what appeared to be the correct user, but not from the email address we had on file for that avatar account. So I could not accept such consent, and I could inform the user that it was the wrong email address, but for privacy reasons I could not provide the correct email even to that user.

Near the end I began sending a request for confirmation to the officially-registered email address in the hopes that it would reach the user and they could simply reply. But for those who moved on with email accounts, it was a battle between getting it done and privacy, and privacy was always paramount, especially since email addresses often revealed real-life identities behind the avatars.

If you would still like to receive an OAR export file:

I know some former InWorldz users are learning of all this process very late, so I’m still willing to provide OAR files for those who have missed out so far.

If you are still interested in a filtered OAR export of a former InWorldz region, please send a request to jim AT gridmail DOT org. The request should include:

  • the avatar name(s) of your account(s),
  • the avatar names of any creative collaborators who will confirm via email that I have their consent to include their content in an OAR export to you, and
  • the region name(s) of any regions where you had content rezzed when InWorldz was shut down in July.

Setting your OAR file expectations:

Please be aware that if you were not much of a creator of content, your OAR file will be heavily filtered. This means a lot of plywood boxes for things you purchased from other creators for use in InWorldz. That said, if there are third-party objects where you have your own content, for example a texture-changing photo frame where you added your own snapshots, the photo frame may be replaced by a box, but your snapshots would survive in the Contents of that box.

Also, an OAR export file is not really meant for end users. Second life has no knowledge of them, nor do any viewers (including Firestorm). OAR files are intended to be provided to grid owners for loading into an existing (empty) region on that grid. The only real exception to that, which isn’t really an exception, is if you are running your own Halcyon or OpenSim server (including Sim-on-a-Stick), you can do it yourself with the “load oar filename.oar” command. But there are many subtleties, including content Owner and Creator substitution that are best left to a knowledgeable grid owner. Also note: as far as I am aware, only TagGrid has a specialized process for attempting to preserve Creator info, other than the OAR owner, when loading an OAR file.