Here I am, on Franco Grid’s ParcDesArts2, taking a break from the windmill tilting that was the main feature of my epic FIVE WEEK fact finding mission into the hypergrid’s 670 region French speaking world. I am going to be completely honest here; it began as was one of the worst experiences I have had in virtuality. The grid had done some damn thing with it’s servers(host computers) a week before, causing a continual rip tide of mollasses lag and violent crashes, as the bugs were sorted out by people I couldn’t find for love or money; the official website’s only geographical info consisted of one freaking map, and of course every region name I took from it and tried inworld, didn’t exist(offline?) or was just flat out empty. Then, as the crowning turd on le heap du merde, a new version of OpenSim was released, which had every world on the hypergrid drooling the 256,891 stanza version of ” On The Good Ship Lollypop” as opposed to doing things like gravity, and teleporting bloggers. Yet, thanks to the Rioja region of Spain, six hundred years of Catholic colonialism, and what seems to be a lifelong inability to cut my losses and run, not only do I posess a great little cache of Franco Gridders on my friends list, and a file bursting with reams of interesting notes and awesome photos, I can also state unequivocally that this vibrant, sophisticated Grid has regions I would happily use as a showcase for the entire OpenSim project! Let me tell you about it!
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 which choose to be connected by an amped up teleportation system called the hypergrid, which allows you to endlessy wander these brave new worlds, exploring, making friends, and snagging so much free content it will make you just dizzy!
If you do not know how to get on OpenSim, and believe me, you are not alone, please read my, ” How To Get on OpenSim in Six Ridiculously Easy Steps” page at the top of this blog. And don’t forget my ” Newbie Glossary” also at the top! It’s easy- come on! Come spread your wings in the free metaverse!
For today’s adventure, we will be visiting FrancoGrid,the first French speaking grid on the OpenSimulator project. It is a non profit organization, seemingly to be geared toward education and art with a philosophical bent, who’s 670 regions make it one of the largest worlds on the hypergrid. Sounds fascinating; and here is the problem. If there is a coherent destination guide to this really big world I can’t find it. Inworld or out. In any language. At all. Online, I had my best experience getting information at the very friendly and active FrancoGrid community on Google+. The official website is very basic-it has a decent calendar, which clearly lists region names in the events, and there is a good searchable map,which I used for my first hit and miss runs at the grid. Mostly miss. Inworld was a complete bust. I used my favorite jumping off point for my hypergrid adventures, the external teleport panel in region Hydra, on my beloved home grid Craft, which usually teleports one to a good welcome center on any grid.
Can you see the Francogrid teleport panel behind me, above my head? I had used it a few months back, just having a quick look around the seemingly well equipped welcome area for a future post. But this time…
…it dropped me here, at some kind of mid address point with no information at all. The whole OpenSim project was so borked by the new version, that I wasn’t sure where the problem was coming from. I could never jump anywhere from this place. The last time I used the teleport panel it sent me…
…here, to a single bare island with some pictures and French language instructions on how to move your avatar. Again I couldn’t jump.
I did have a landmark to the welcome area I had seen a few months back. At first the world map kept saying the region didn’t exist, then suddenly it appeared! I got so excited, at last I was going to get a handle on this grid!!
They are teleporters to all these exciting looking destinations; and as of this writing, not a single one works! All you get is a ” This region does not exist” up in your face. Same story with the world map search engine. Sigh.
Then there is this big interesting teleport panel. You will see it scattered around the grid. Keep your shirt on-99.9% of the time, the panels don’t work at all; although about five of the regions listed WILL show up on a world map search! I will point them out to you as we go along!
So, now that we have had a little tour of how NOT to get started visiting FrancoGrid, let’s begin our tour proper!!
The one route to FrancoGrid that always worked reliably was the blam gate I am standing next to, on the most excellent Shaun Emerald’s Sanctuary Eld, Gateway to the Metaverse. It takes you to…
…region Villiers, the funkadelic home base of inter reality rock, punk rock and electro rock band, The Reymones!
… and was always stable enough to run successful world map searches, then jump all over Franco grid:). I’ll show you! Let’s start with the regions from the big teleporter sign!
The detailed builds are really interesting. Note the French language signs- this is pretty standard for Franco Grid, so have a translator ( traducteur), your old school French, or your latent vocabulary from the colonial process at the ready! I score three out of three!
This is region Quebec, named after the French speaking provence that constitutes lower Canada! There is a big Freebie store…
…and a public sandbox to unpack your goodies! As you can see, the region does have some of it’s namesake’s authentic atmosphere, such as the lovely ramparts of the old city. Hehe, my ancestors founded this place, but I have never been there. Until now!
Take a look around! I found this work in progress- an attempt to turn Wikepedia into a virtual reading room. What a cool idea! And there, under A, could those be my aboriginal ancestors, the all too often forgotten family members of the French of the New World? How moving it is to see them here, in all of nature’s glory, on the brink of embracing a great European civilization! I can just imagine what they are saying “ The beads and guns are cool, but this white God is a freaking ball crusher; and we have waited far too long to cut our losses and run. The only way to save our asses is to hook up with a French girl, then hunker down and keep our mouths shut until one of our descendants can get hissy on the invisible, yet all encompassing web of stories that will one day be woven over the waters, land and skies.”
Also from the big teleport sign is region Mediteranee, Helen Botha’s wacky freebie(Gratuits) playground region thingamajig. Explore every corner, clickez everything-there are space ships, merry go rounds and beautiful mosaics, as well as a really neat Steampunk club!
It appears to have been a party and/or concert venue…
Go inside everything.
And don’t forget to look up!
Our next stop is a region who’s name comes up rather often on FrancoGrid.
This is region LeVillage. Isn’t it lovely? As far as I can make out, these few buildings, tucked between the gently rolling hills and pristine beaches, are the social hub of this grid.
They make the occasional movie here; they have concerts, dances, and art exhibitions. This is also where the grid’s weekly public meeting is held every Wednesday, 9pm, Paris time. And now you are wondering, what is that black space ship looking thing hovering over the pretty plaza?
This is the first entry in an art event named Yonder; a tribute to the very young, frighteningly talented, Hungarian jeweler turned photographer turned surreal digital artist, Sarola Ban.
Which brings us to region Cheops, my first real find from the FrancoGrid homepage map. The name seemed nice and kooky, and when I jumped in and saw the giant cow, I knew I had hit pay dirt. A few seconds later I met the very interesting and oh so friendly region owner, Cheops Forlife. Follow her on Google +, say hi inworld, she is a wellspring of information about virtuality and this grid!
Her region is actually an interactive storybook, to demonstrate to editors how virtuality can be used to engage children in stories. There is obviously a giant involved. You put on your skates and follow the footprints. The story is completely interactive. Milk a cow…
You finally meet the giant! Keep looking for things to click!
You end up…
…with a new perspective…
…on the most ordinary things.
Cheops is a retired Parisian social worker, and her interest in people and their relationship to their environment, is limitless. She gave me landmarks to her other builds, one for experimental virtual training(We will catch this next time) and this…
… is Cheops messing around, rather successfully, with something she calls “augmented tourism”. This is going to be a reproduction of an ancient village in the south of France called Laroque.
Although it is only a quarter finished, the labyrinth of little nooks, winding streets…
… tunnels and alleys that are Cheops region Laroque…
… make for marvelously …
… immersive strolling. Thank you for sharing your wonderful regions, Cheops Forlife!!
…how much longer…
The entire region was set up for a cool looking RL French Sci Fi / Fantasy convention called Geekopolis. Franco Grid powerhouse multi media artist Yann Mihn gave a talk at the Paris convention, while he was showing the audience around via his avatar.
Yann Mihn even has a permanent region called a “Noo Museum”. I had heard the word Noosphere here and there on the internet. So what are they all on about? Is Noosphere French for Metaverse or something?
Well, not really, although the two concepts are sort of referring to some of the same stuff; being very American about the whole thing- if there was a big honkin free for all, like a Clash of the Titan Concepts- say Noohulk v. Metastud- I think Noosphere would crunch Metaverse’s sorry ass out of the ring in about 5 seconds. Here’s why!
Noo is the Greek word for mind, and combined with the word sphere, was introduced into western civilization’s discussion on human evolution by a French philosopher, paleontologist, geologist, who was involved in the discovery of Peking man, Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin in 1922. The idea is that the evolution of human consciousness is reaching a point where someTHING is actually created by the interaction of human minds. It is the product of , and at the same time IS humanity’s consciousness. For Theilhard, as the Noosphere would grow in evolutionary leaps, the creator and the created, until there is a total integration of universal conciousness, that will reach it’s peak as the Omega Point, where we will have achieved the purpose of our existence. Although the Catholic Church openly condemned him and supressed many of his works during his lifetime , Teilhard`s vision has inspired generations of big brains such as Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuan ( Global Village), astrophysicist Carl Sagan,(“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself”) and open source advocate Eric S. Raymond ( “Homesteading the Noosphere”). Today, Theilhard is often referred to as the patron saint of the internet. Completely mindbending.
Metaverse is a word coined by a dude named Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash. The word has moved into common usage to describe our collective online experience, particularly regarding 3D virtual reality. Crunch.
And now onwards!
Region ParcDesArts is in the foreground. The group is dedicated to providing venues for artists who might not otherwise have the means of being shown. Thus the region is a series of really interesting galleries, set amidst a charming landscape of woods and beaches.Well worth exploring. Behind ParcDesArts is …
It was in one of ParcDesArts2′s great little nooks, that I found this caravan. I immedietly recognized it as the work of the legendary builder Arcadia Asylum! I am hoping to open the first Arcadia Asylum museum in the OpenSimulator project, and am always on the lookout for more stuff! I was really excited, the wagon had been altered, but the owner probably had the original! Maybe they would let me have a copy! I clicked edit on the wagon, and the creator was listed as Falene Hawks. I pulled up her profile, and went to her picks, which usually shows a persons home region, as well as their favorite places around the grid. She had several regions listed, but of course, not one worked. Nuts. So, on a hunch, I plugged the word “Falene ” into the world map search engine.
This is Falene-Land. Below me is pretty much all of Arcadia Asylums newer creations. I have never seen them on an OpenSimulator grid. Falene says everything is free to copy.
Here we are inside the big fortress on the right of the first picture. Falene, who is really nice, is building a huge mad scientist labyrinth here. She calles herself a transformer, not a builder. She has a staggering amount of Arcadia Asylum content. She thinks a museum is a good idea. Talk about your Omega Points!
And now we come to our last destination on Franco Grid! I discovered this while trying to find the owner of another Arcadia piece, a move that seems to drench me in the most stupifyingly awesome mojo. This person has two picks. One is LeVillage. The other is ….
When you recover from the shock, and are done calling your family over to the computer and crazily IMing everyone inworld to be sure they have seen this, don’t forget that a) there are exquisite freebies atop the platform of the central Terra- Mater figures head, and b)
you need to check out the tree with the photos and paintings hanging from the branches. I missed it my first time around, but the second time I was with Terra- Mater creator, the oh so brilliant LEA veteran Cherry Manga. She is the skeleton angel on the left.The link will take you to her you tube page. The lady is also a really good film maker. Cherry also built LaVillage, and the Sarola Ban snowglobes. You can teleport here via Le Village by clicking a tree in front of the museum. You’ll know it when you see it. Terra Mater is kind of a store house for her various builds for the SL artistic A list over the years, and a workshop to try new ideas. You will recognized many of the pieces from the regions in the films. If you click the pictures on the tree, they will teleport you…
This huge area was actually a film set for Le petit Chaperon Rouge.
…a very adult retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale. This is the sex and violence bit of the tour. That wolf is sooo gonna get the smile wiped off his snout.
Another picture teleports you to something that is not quite finished, but I got a sneak preview. So keep going back and checking to see of it is working!
to get to the next level, until…
…you arrive in Wonderland! Cherry is now the Red Queen BTW.
In all my years in virtual worlds, I have never seen such graceful animated figures. I kept walking up and talking to them, thinking they were avatars. Love my Noosphere.
And now my dearest dears, I must love you and leave yo. I hope you find this post helpful, as usual, I had a blast writing it! I would like to thank the FrancoGrid G+ community, especially Cheops, Cherry, Falene, and Katia! I hope The Reymones and Helene Botha aren’t upset that I didn’t get their permission to tell people how great their regions are! Sorry, if you really have a problem, I will take it all down!
And of course I would like to thank all of you for joining me on my small adventures.Your company means the world to me! The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to all of my beloved readers! Until next time Adieu!