Here I am, in the week before Christmas, chewing over what I think is a complicated set of problems. Trying to spread out the crushing load of the hypergrid’s first Arcadia Asylum Museum- a cancophany of freebie vendors, busted up spaceships, whirling cogs and clanking arcade machines, from my old region Monte Gordo, to the new region Craft’s owners had given me for just that purpose; I had already dragged the intricate Cogtown and the massive space exhibit piece by piece onto thier new home. Carefully, I counted megabytes by making OAR after OAR with Craft’s marvelously idiot proof sim manager. The load barely went down. Fabulous. I culled every superfluous prim I could find, then I flat out eliminated 3 exhibits. We dumped platforms, I killed scripts with fancy ass prim cleaner doodads, and as a last, desperate act I humpled the World’s Most Amazing Estate Manager and what was left of his mad scientist paraphanalia onto the new region. Aside from a few ruffled feathers, not alot happened. The culprit had to be Slum City.
It was my worst case scenario. The ” fun disaster” building style that gave my Slum City it’s kooky, authentic atmosphere, had been a combination of hours spent in SL carefully photographing the original layout, and sheer dumb luck. All of which had taken forever. With the thought of moving the sewer system being slightly less attractive than having uninsured oral surgery while bikini waxing, I began spreading out the surface buildings, which destroyed all the quaint charm of Arcadia’s Bodega nieghborhood and had none of the power of her African Slums. I went into overdrive – the WMAEM started calling me the OAR queen. I went at it so hard that I nearly forgot Xmas; my family had to drag me to a church fair, where I absentmindedly bought a used book for charity and nibbled a scone, attempting to at least appear in the spirit of things, as I repositioned skyscrapers and flipped through textures in my head.
I had one or two ideas that were okay-like using Arcadia’s sumptuous Kibera textures
for a backdrop and alleyway. And I had always wanted to highlight how sophisticated her slum concept had been- from the early depression era motifs, to textures from the most famous slum in Africa, to tube stations named for international black cultural icons Aime Cesaire and Leopold Senghor. Maybe I could rebuild the City around that. Of course, that all meant lots of research time, and I am not really a builder, and I had a blog to write, and the holidays were almost here and…
Then the universe backhanded me. My Berlin neighborhood lost all internet for over a week, and the day it came back on, my 16 year old son, who had been having cardiac problems to the point of needing a pacemaker, tested positive for Lyme disease! You know, the thing you get from a tick bite. The upside was that massive doses of antibiotics would most likely get rid of the heart problem-the downside being he was in imminent danger of having a full blown heart attack. So we bunged him into emergency and I spent the next two weeks trundling books and Mom food and my laptop and Star Trek DVDs and a big chirpy smile to the hospital and back every day. There was no possibility to use the internet at the hospital, I was too busy or exhausted to use it at home; I could pretty much forget time with all my online friends, my blog, and especially the idea of trying to fix up the museum for a good long while. So I turned to my bookshelves, knowing full well I had read everything there- when I stumbled on the forgotten Christmas fair book.I couldn’t remember why I’d bought it. I ‘d never even heard of the author, and the title, Texaco, didn’t exactly grab me. Thinking it might not be worth the trouble of schlepping to the hospital, I sat down for a minute to flip through some pages. When I looked up at the clock, it was an hour later. When I finally returned to Slum City, all hell broke loose.
Hello my dearest dears! How marvelous! Here we all are, ready for another whirlwind adventure on OpenSim, the software platform that hosts hundreds of independant grids, many of whom choose to be connected by an amped up teleportation system called the hypergrid, which allows you to endlessly explore these brave new worlds, making friends from all over the planet, having adventures, and scoring enough free content to have you spending hours on a sim management panel; chanting, lighting carefully selected votive candles and jabbing pins into a cloth fetish marked MB while the goats lick- this is a lot more information than you want, isn’t it?
If you do not know how to get on OpenSim (and belive, me you are not alone) please see my “How To Get On OpenSim In Six Ridiculously Easy Steps” page at the top of this blog. If you do not understand this post’s terminology, don’t forget my “Newbie Glossary”, also located at the top. Come on, it ‘s easy! Come spread your wings in the free metaverse!
For today’s adventure, I would like to update some of my commercial grid information starting in Inworldz, OpenSim’s most populous commercial grid. Like most commercial worlds, it is not on the hypergrid, so you have to create a free account to log on. I have posted about Inworldz a few times, and I start every post with what can only be called a little bitch session about how underwhelming the welcome area is for the virtual tourist, referring to the landmarks folder stab -yourself- in -the- eye -with- a -fork hideous, a train wreck, a big steaming pile of… you get the idea. The next thing I always mentioned was The Community Library in Delphi, which, after creating an avatar in the welcome area, was, in my opinion, the essential first stop on the grid.
The Library was nothing like the welcome area! It was friendly; it made sense! There was free coffee (does it make me wierd that I can smell it in RL?), really useful groups to join, as well as landmarks to all the great free cultural events and sightseeing highlights this grid had to offer!
Not that the library itself was a slouch in the culture department. I had already been to thier insanely huge Sci Fi festival…
…and to their truly brilliant IMAB Art Festival,
which happily introduced me to the formidable Inworldz artistic community.
The two unstoppable librarians, Prax and Alex, even had a second library on their charming elven region, Sendalonde.
It was just one pretty little reading room, so I was not surprised to hear that there was going to be a grand opening of the new Sendalonde Library!
I expected an Elvish version of three story Delphi….
After a day of walking around the amazingly useable library, crashing in the sumptuous reading room, dancing in the ballroom, catching a film, exploring the art plaza, taking a boat tour, and still having the feeling of just scratching the surface, I did ask, was it Prax or Alex? the sixty four dollar question-had they intended to something this ambitious when they started out. She said not really. Which begged the question; who, exactly, went nuts?
It appears to have been architect Strand Starsider. Initially, the three of them sat down and came up with a plan. He got a budget and a prim limit, and at first he added a bit here and a bit there and well, the guy IS an artist so you say, okay, sure. Then he just lost it; I mean, it was like he was freaking possesed. The ladies came to the next meeting grimly prepared to take necessary measures, but became themselves so drawn into his vision of Sendalonde , that they rolled up the firehose and started fundraising. Here is the official version. I also found out that the waterfalls in the front of the build were actually merfolk entrances, so the residents of Strand’s mermaid sims could swim over and use the library, I immediatly plugged “mermaid” into the world map.
The mermaid sims ( there is a mermaid II) are unquestionably cool. There is tons to explore, and a free mer outfit!!. But I think the best thing is ….
…to swim up to the surface and turn out the lights.
You can find the firefly tour around the center of the build.
At this point, my son wanted me to write, “Some people go to university and maybe get to work at Apple, or even become astronauts or presidents, but how many people have ever RIDDEN A MOTHERF**KING FIREFLY THROUGH RIVENDELL??” but I think I will stick with the observation that the ride was marvelously long and lag free; that the scenery in Rivendell above and the Merkingdom below was unbelivably varied, and rich in shimmering detail. I had an absolute blast on the f**king firefly tour. Thank you Strand, for your unforgettable hospitality!
And now for my second to the last Inworldz announcement: The welcome area bitch sessions are officially over. Inworldz has gotten their act together.
Virtual blogger superstar Daniel Voyager wrote an excellent post about the new Inworldz visitor HUD (a thingy you wear, that has a map or list of destinations to choose from. The virtual equivalent of having an open guide book in front of you), with one tiny flaw- he doesn’t show you exactly where to get it. While even his youthful eyes would be unable to read the infitesimal lettering of the HUD panel, he could probably make out the slightly larger illustration, and his 23 year old brain, with it’s blissfully intact 100 billion cell count immediatly understood that a small, oddly flattened fractional rig sloop under a capitalized real estate panel equated to a 160 region tour of the grid. For the rest of us, when you land in the snazzy new welcome area pavillion, you will see this information board. The HUD panel is in the second row from the top, second panel from the right. The HUD itself is well thought out, and easy to use, and I was having a wonderful time zapping here and there when…
…I landed in a beautiful region named Mont Saint Michel, and saw this statue. It was a tip jar for Yadni Monde.
Yadni’s Junkyard is one of Second Life’s most famous and best loved builds. RL struggling french artist Yadni, hit SL in March 2004, and became the blue dude Yadni Monde who was the first person to box the freebies he collected, and put them out for anyone to take. Yes, Yadni invented the freebie store. In April 2004 he officially opened the first freebie center: Yadni’s Junkyard, still the best resource for newbies and virtual veterans :an astonishing collection of free objects, scripts, tutorials and what nots. I learned how build and rip things apart there, my son scored a working USS Enterprise, we spent untold hours at Yadni’s. That such a famous SL figure was out in the metaverse unbeknowest to moi, seriously undermined my nosy old broad mojo. I had to contact Yadni!
This is still a tip jar. I never got to do a photo with Yadni, but we had a nice long IM chat. Apparently Yadni has been in Inworldz since 2010. Although he was not only no longer struggling, but actually making a living as a virtual artist for big SL clients like IBM, he was becoming a bit frustrated with the high turnover of the big grid. In 7 years, he did 50 builds for 40 customers. Not one was still there. He wanted a break. Inworldz offered him a good alternative, he likes the community, the slower turnover, and of course the opensim prim allowances and prices. The photo is of his shop, where he sells fun doo hickeys and original art.
His building business is still going strong. The spectacular Mont Saint Michel build is a scale reproduction of the famous french World Heritage Site…
It took Yadni two years to build this; he made two trips to the RL site to take mountains of photos.
It really shows.
Imagine these streets filled with great little shops! Yadni has told me that this is a commercial project, and asked us all to please remember that his business here, he pays for Yadni’s Junkyard in SL! Good Luck in all your endevors Yadni, and thanks for answering my pesky tweets and IMs with such charm!
We will now leave OpenSim’s most populous commercial grid, and head for the grid with the biggest region count in the entire OpenSim Project, which also happens to be closed and commercial. I wrote a rather popular post about Kitely a while back, and what people said they especially liked was my breakdown of Kitely’s unbelievably convaluted payment system. The point of THIS post, is to tell you to forget everything I said.
Not the cultural tips, or the interview with CEO Ilan Tochner. Those still hold water. But the three currency system they had, that you pay for the time you are inworld by the minute, by the month by.. it was god awful awful. And it’s over.
Time in Kitely is now free! The only person who pays for time is the region owner, for whom there are four, highly simplified plans. What this means for the free account user in a nutshell is:
1) Because time is now free, the free account is now called a regular account.
2)With a regular account, you can still get the free region, which has a 100,000 prim, 100 avatar allowance, and a free personal six hour trial period!
3) With a regular account, your free region will be a METERED world, meaning you will eventually have to buy time to use it. Remember, as the region owner, YOU pay! Here is more information on payment and structure!
4) You can also simply log on and mess around in any of the grid’s plentiful and fascinating Public Worlds at no cost whatsoever.
The really, really big news is the reason Kitely management did this massive overhaul:
They are gearing up to join the hypergrid. Soon. The official blog blog says eliminating the minutes system is a step toward insuring hypergrid visitors can travel to Kitely Worlds. Here are a couple of things to keep an eye on!
Picture Book is the newest exhibit in my favorite Kitely build, no, one of my favorite builds anywhere, the marvelous Midtown Arts Museum. I rant about it at length in my last Kitely post. Curator Ruby O’Degee was inworld and we had a nice chat; the Picture Book Age is seriously unfinished, but keep checking in. Ruby’s typist will be retiring in June so we can all look forward to an explosion of creativity from this unusual storytelling builder, who manages to come over like a steam clad hybrid of Stephen Hawking and Jane Austin; all teacups and wormholes. It is going to be so much fun when we are hypergrid nieghbors!!!
Hosoi Mura-Edo Honshu Japan is the brave new World of famous SL designer Amiryu Hosoi, the who sold high quality Japanese themed buildings and furniture, and whose scenic Japanese roleplaying regions were continually listed among the finest in on the grid . It was a big, big deal, when he announced he could no longer afford SL and went to Kitely. I contacted him inworld, and he said to please remind people that he is just getting started here in Kitely, and that these sims are all in their sandboxy initial stages of construction.
Hehe. I am so excited!! This is gonna be great!! I can’t wait until I can just swing by and hang out here!! Thanks for letting me blog about you Amiryu:)
Okey doke! I have now updated my closed commercial grid information, so we can all head on back to big sky country, where I would like to introduce another dazzling little jewel in the hypergrid’s crown-Clone Life Grid.
Now, somebody from Clone Life had tried to get me to come have a look a few weeks back. An Italian visitor to Craft had said something about being it being educational and social grid, encouraging me to visit, and I nodded politely thinking ” Dude! I already live on a grid where I can’t swing a gatto without hitting an Italian professore who’s starting a class or throwing a party. “ I put Clone Life way down on my to do list, and went back to ripping up sewers.
So the Clonians went into stealth mode. They asked Craft’s hunky event organizer, my buddy GeR Orsini, to get me to take a look. Extremely well played, as GeR is one of four males on this planet who tell me to do something, and I immediatly just do it. So I didn’t even ask where we were going when I dropped everything, and we hit the hypergrid.
We jumped to Clone World through the teleport panel on Craft’s Hydra Station, and landed in a really interesting looking freebie mall, but GeR hustled me right through…
And I thought Craftians were party animals! I kept having freakout after freakout.
Everything you see, EVERYTHING …
…is a freebie. You know, if the first guy had talked less about “facilitating social contact” and more about ” I give away giant robot dance floors” we could have saved GeR a trip.
This is the dance ball section, and it is magnificent! Took us ages to get out of here! You need an ariel shot to understand the sheer volume of what is on offer.
Just,wow and wow again. But it was getting very late, so, with Clone Life having officially impressed the living crap out of me, I thanked GeR, and decided to come back the next day.
I was checking out the teleport center in the interesting freebie mall, when I noticed a woman standing outside. Great, a local! I could ask her where to go.
She was a pretty Italian lady named Althea War, and when I dropped GeR’s name , she started to laugh. Which is how I found out I’d been bushwacked.We had a big fat chick moment; she said she read my blog, I complimented her feminine cunning, and we happily set out on a tour.
Okay, now according to Althea, ALL the dance /club/event freebies are made by grid owner Druskus War. A well known Italian educator and incredibly prolific builder who gets an idea before breakfast, and has three versions of it built before brunch, Druskus bases his projects around what he thinks OpenSim needs. He and Althea felt as though there was a lack of high quality equipment for social occasions. This project will go on for a while, but they are already scouting around for other needs. Look at this rezz vendor. Remember those from SL? That was a need they filled on the side!
All of Druskus creations are no modify, and simply dripping with features, so look at them carefully, and read notecards. This control panel for the dance floor, for example. And when you click on that giant robot’s tummy, it changes colors-
- and then there are the nightclubs. Plural. This is a reproduction of a famous RL club made out of an old hanger, in Marsala, Sicily.
I got the impression most of the large buildings were free club venues. It was all a lot to take in, even for a magpie of my caliber . But I am sure this one was.
The clubs are empty, and the idea is that you can mix and match the hundreds of items on offer here to create the appropriate atmosphere for your event.
Althea continued to floor me by showing me this marvelous grunge/steampunk dance floor. It was inspired by Arcadia Asylum and her hobo comrade in arms Orhalla Zander, whom Althea and Druskus used to hang with back in the day. Dear Lord, I never realized avatars could sweat! Now you see that leviathen space station thing way the hell in the background?
This is region Meshland, and the massive complex is in development; there are the beginings of a freebie fashion boutique, scripts, classrooms for mesh lessons, seasonal freebies and these wonderful sculptures by Clone Life resident, Manuel Bazaar. Freebies of course.
I cannot remember if this was in Meshland or not! (I was in some kind of freebie induced hypothermic episode at this point, and my notes became substandard.) This is Community Builder Italy; (here is the english version), apparently the ever amazing Druskus is the main facilitator on the Italian website. It appears to be free opensource software for Joomla that allows you to build your own 360 degree social network! Druskus speaks perfect english by the way. Oh just admit it, you’re impressed.
It went on an on. They had an outstanding teaching center for new residents unfamiliar with virtual worlds, that included, tutorials in several languages, and of course a wonderful array of free clothes avatars houses skyboxes, you name it. I saw huge city skyline a medievel village at one point, there was a tardis in a garage-it was becoming a blur. This is a THIRTY REGION grid folks, and I was on information overload!! This tiny powerhouse has 1000 registered users! As far as I could make out, you can rent a sim with a 20,000 prim allowance for 19.95. Friendly Althea was showing me picture afterpicture of great parties, and I realized that my Italian friends spent quite a bit of time here. I could sure see why! Thank you so much Clone Life Grid, for tricking my sorry sedere into visiting you!
And as to moi ? Most importantly my son is doing marvelously; his heart is improving by leaps and bounds and it is looking(knock wood) as though there will be no lasting problems. We got our internet back, my son came home, and as my boy said ” See? You were so mad, but in the end, being forced read dead tree like an animal really worked out!”
Damn skippy! That book I had almost forgotten, was the TRUE story of a Carribean woman who founded a shanty town on a Texaco oil lot. The author, Patrick Chamoiseau, who will get the Nobel Prize at some point, took her diaries, and the notes of an urban planner she converted to her viewpoint, and just Gabriel Garcia Marquezed the hell out of them. Her diaries go back and forth in time from the story of her father, born into slavery, to the founding of her community,to her the life of her hero, the slum dwellers champion, Aime Cesaire. For the first time, I began to see slums as what they are-oceans of lemonaide. You know the old”when life gives you lemons…?” Slums are mirror cities, slums are squats, slums are a monument to the human spirit, slums are the carriers of cultural morays and ethical questions that will define the next millenium. The books information alone changed the way I saw the world, and as a life long lit geek the discovery of such a magnificent writer cranked my creative juices through the cieling.
And now my dearest dears, I must love you and leave you! I would like to thank my family, GeR Orsini(hugs) Althea and Druskus War, the WMAEM, Licu and Tao, Prax and Alex, Strand, Yadni, Amiryu, Ruby, Patrick Chamoiseau, my rather puckish guardian angel, and of course all of you, for joining me on my small adventures! Your company means more to me than I can express in mere words. The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to all of my beloved readers, until next time, adieu!