VIRTUAL CHRISTINE TOURS THE WILDLY ECLECTIC PM GRID!!!!!! SPRAWLING, SPECTACULAR TOLKIEN BUILDS ARE A MUST SEE!!! WONDERFULLY WHIMSICAL STEAMPUNK!! FREE LAND!!!!! RENT FREE HOUSING!!! UNIQUE FREEBIES!!!ONE GRID TO RULE THEM ALL!!!!ATTN NEWBIES!!!!!

Here I am on the- amazingly NOT Tolkien themed- PM Grid, garbed in my pretty elven robes, having a quiet moment in what is probably the most extensive Tolkien build/labyrinth in the metaverse. I´d finally wrestled PM´s byzantine regional system into a choke hold, finished ANOTHER insane round of research on the last huge, unbelievably complex thing I´d stumbled across, organized miles of notes and reams of photos,and was now trying to work out just how to describe this most  unconventional of grids.

Hello my dearest dears! How wonderful, here we all are again,  ready for another exciting adventure on OpenSim, the non profit software platform that hosts hundreds of independently operated worlds/ grids, many of which are connected by an amped up teleportation system called the Hypergrid. If you do not understand any of this terminology, or do not know how to get on OpenSim, please read my super easy to understand OpenSim posts, and don´t forget my Newbie Glossary at the top of this blog!

For today´s adventure we will be visiting OpenSim´s PM Grid,  a sixty odd region Grid founded by   BOB WELLMAN , an ex IT Project manager who “took early retirement, so boring people is my specialty.” Having just spent a week on his brainchild, I would have to say that as a bore, he is an abject failure.  Although the various bits of web info are all too techno for me to really understand, Bob seems to be  a mover in the British OpenSim scene, hanging with heavyweights like OpenSim core developer JUSTIN CLARKE CASEY, doing design work for the UNIVERSITY OF BOLTON, and around 2010 starting  PM GRID with a buddy from the office days, Peetr Maynard,  who actually has the server in his house(wow), and fully shoulders the large and thankless task of maintaining the beast. So in the spirit of fair play, Bob named his grid PM, although personally, I think it would have been neater to change Peetrs name to Atlas, and go from there.

The grid is Bob and Peetr´s hobby; you can apply to them and get a bit to oodles of  space, at no charge. As in free. No money. Wow indeed. And as it is a hobby thing, they say they can´t guarantee a professional level of service. Ignore them, it runs beautifully; and they have stuff on here that would melt professional servers. Now let´s get started!

Getting there: PM has a middle grid address, julpet.ath.cx:9020, that my computer just didn’t want to go to the first 20 times. If you do get it to work, it will take you to region Art00, but you should really read this post before exploring, or you might just get frustrated and leave before hitting the cool stuff. I found the best route was via  Shaun Emeralds wonderful Blam Gates at the Sanctuary Eld, which you can get to from my beloved home grid CRAFT, virtualchristine´s personal recommendation for anyone starting out on OpenSim!

Here I am in front of the external teleport panel at Craft´s amenity laden welcome area, HYDRA STATION.   You can see the Sanctuary panel above my head. Just click and teleport!
Here I am at the Sanctuary. Can you see me in the left of the picture? I am standing in front of the PM Grid  Blam gate. Keep walking into it until you teleport.
Welcome to PM Grid! Shaun´s Blam gate drops you here in the Market Square region!

Now we  have to talk about navigating this grid.

1. Although many regions have a proper name, like Market Square YOU CANNOT USE THIS NAME TO RUN A WORLD MAP SEARCH AND TELEPORT!!!

2. All regions have an abbreviation of three letters and two numbers you can use for the  search and teleport. To get to Market Square, for example, you would type reg23, search and teleport. You can also type REG23, or Reg23, but never, ever leave a space between the numbers and letters, like this: reg 23.

3. There are five region groupings reg, art (short for artemis), rom(short for Romenna), riv(I am guessing short for Rivendell), san(short for Sandbox). You can run a search on one of these three letter codes and get a a list regions…

….like this! There is just one catch!

4. A LOT of the listed regions aren’t online. I have no idea why, but in every grouping, there were blocks of numbers that were on the world map list, but could not be teleported to, because it said  they didn’t exist! In the San group they are san04-09, and san14-19. In reg, they are reg04-09, reg14-19, reg24-29. In art, they are art04-10, art13-19,art 24-29. In riv, they are riv03-09,riv11, riv14-19,riv22, riv24-29. In rom, they are rom04-09, rom13-20, and rom20-32.

5. Not all regions have viable landing points.  I read somewhere that it because of the size of some of the prims used, but for whatever reason, in quite a few places you wind up like this:

Skewered limbs, trapped under the build, unable to see anything or even move! This is where and how you land if you teleport to Riv30! I will point out the viable landing points in this post!

I thought I would organize our tour by the code groupings. So now, with no further ado:

PART ONE: THE REG REGIONS

Reg00 is SILVER WIND, belonging to a builder named Silvers Baroque.  The introductory notecard  you receive on your first teleport says she(?) lives in the castle with her husband, but the rest of the quaint Tudor houses and shops, in the town square and on the quay are  RENT FREE housing ! Let´s take a look!
The pretty Tudor town is reg10, which is  called Silver Winds Falls, Tudor  Market Town and Lake. In the front are the rent free  shops , and behind them are…
…these really nice, big two story houses! Let´s go upstairs!
Look at the size of this! According to Silver´s notecard, you can just unpack your stuff and settle in! There is no registration required, and it doesn’t say that you have to be a PM grid resident …
Living proof! I am a Craft resident, meaning that is where my avatar is registered, and  I was still able to rezz my chair in this house….
…and the cottages on the quay, in reg11,as well as the town houses across the bridge.

This is all  obviously just getting started; the houses and shops were all empty, there are some little building glitches, also there is no personal information anywhere inworld or on the web about  Silvers Baroque at all, which  is always kind of a bummer. I did, however, manage to draw one or two  conclusions from some of Silver´s builds-  the first one is is located behind the town, on the lake.

Silvers likes Tolkien.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, this is a HOBBIT HOUSE.

REG02 is a little island near Silver Winds called  Standing Stone, with a mystical stone formation , and  little altar. Again Tolkien, but not the really, um, distinctive build.

REG03 is  just the water off the city center

REG12 is the Welcome Area, which currently consists of two unfinished buildings.

REG13 is the City Center, a sleek modern region where there are a few freebies in the big department stores, and the Munroe Theater, where Bob hopes plays will someday be performed.

REG20 is just a water parcel behind …

REG21, named Xanadu is really small, nonetheless,  I spent  a good hour exploring the teensy weensy wooden snow globe village  you see behind me And I was delighted to be able to learn something about the person behind this fascinating, unconventional little jewel!

Creator MUZE ACKLAND is a project manager at an online educational organization called the ROCKCLIFFE UNIVERSITY CONSORTIUM, and founder of ACKLAND PRODUCTIONS, who´s main  focus seems to be something called  The  One Big Soup Project:

“We know how to help bring about cultural understanding using 3d web technology. Through multicultural education we can bring balance in the virtual world by restoring cultural respect and honoring each others place in it. Just as in nature, the removal of one seemingly insignificant element in nature and adversely effect or affect an entire ecosystem. Balance restores harmony in ecology, economics, political power, spirituality and the list goes on. As it is experienced virtually, it carries out to the physical world.

We acknowledge this truth and realize that every culture has something to offer as ingredients of One Big Soup we call “the world”. OBS is building a diversity network/explorers game, celebrating these cultures through the many interactive means available such as music, art, architecture, cuisine, fashion, legends, history and language. We are EVERYWHERE.”

This quote is a kind of mission statement from a workshop Muze facilitated about OBS in 2011 at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference. The big Jules Verne Globe seems to have been part of her presentation, but these two things were unfortunately all I could find on this very cool sounding project. Now let´s hit the snowglobe!

I actually gasped aloud when I entered this splendid little build. From up on the platform it appeared to be just an unremarkable diarama! Pictures simply do not do justice to the detail- there are tiny nuts and bolts and cogs, and bits of writing everywhere- you really have to take your time.
Gads! How about this elegantly wrought teapot locomotive!
The pig and I really hit it off, but the piece de resistance of the build is definitly the interior of the  cuckoo clock house.
I am not enough of a photographer to capture the depth of the texturing, nor could I line up decent camera shots with the quirky angles. It´s a shame, because I haven´t seen anything  this vivid since Arcadia Asylum´s African Slums. You can actually go up into the attic, where amongst the workings, a little bird is waiting to pop out.

Reg22 is a little pagoda and mountain behind the welcome center.

Reg30 is The Volcano. Go ahead and jump. You know you want to.
Reg31 is picturesque Safe Harbor, where you are free to copy a really decent collection of boats.
Reg32 is The Airport.
Reg33 is the well made Docklands build, which has fires in the ovens and smoky glass in the warehouse windows. There are also Arcadia Asylum pieces that you can copy!

PART TWO: THE ARTEMIS REGIONS

Art00 is three houses in the shadow of the volcano.

Art01 is called The Manor, which has a large garden with sculptures you can copy. The sign in front of the house is a teleporter that knocked me off the grid twice, just so you know. I didn’t put anything in my notes about the manor interior, so I assume it was under construction.
Art02 is called The Farm which is somewhat more developed than the City Center or Welcome Area. There is this neat information sign post/ teleporter, and you could copy all kinds of stuff.There is also a room called The Lab, with a working computer interface; unfortunately the  instructions  went completely over this bloggers head.
Art03 is the  peaceful Chinese Lake.

Art10 is an empty water sim behind the volcano

Art11 are the empty hills behind The Manor.

Art12 is  rugged Mountain Lake, located just above The Farm area.

Art20 is a small hill in an otherwise empty water sim.

Art21 is an empty water sim behind the hill.

Art23 is an empty lawn behind the Mountain lake.

Art30 is another little hill in the water.

Art31 and 32 are flat empty land.

PART 3: THE SANDBOX REGIONS

San00 is a small honeymoonish tropical island

San01 is restricted.

No, I haven´t forgotten San02.

San03 is Cheries World, an adult region. Cheries profile simply says that she likes to dabble in building, and enjoys sunsets. I would like to add that she is also very generous, giving away her beautifully detailed(notice the thatching and stonework!) cabins, which seem to be her passion.Thank you Cherie!

san10 is a public sandbox.

San11 is some sort of educational center, but again most of the things(some of which you could copy) were too techy for me to really get. I was very impressed, however, by Lab 2- Media on a Prim..
This is a virtually lag free LIVESTREAM from Time Square- I mean the picture is perfect and it is causing no discernable lag in the room. I had never seen anything like it!

San12 is a private sandbox.

San13 is a Linda Kellie Fantasy OAR.

San20 is an empty water sim.

San21 is called Chez Petrus; and Petrus has some very cool stuff, including this  gigantic working clock/hypergate that you are free to copy. Merci beaucoup Petrus!

San22 is again a little hill in the water.

Now let´s set the mood for san02:

…through corridors of carven dread
whose turns were lit by lanterns hung
or flames from torches that were flung
on dragons hewn in the cold stone
with jewelled eyes and teeth of bone.
Then sudden, deep beneath the earth
the silences with silver mirth
were shaken and the rocks were ringing,
the birds of Melian were singing;
and wide the ways of shadow spread
as into arched halls she led
Beren in wonder. There a light
like day immortal and like night
of stars unclouded, shone and gleamed.
A vault of topless trees it seemed,
whose trunks of carven stone there stood
like towers of an enchanted wood
in magic fast for ever bound,
bearing a roof whose branches wound
in endless tracery of green
lit by some leaf-imprisoned sheen
of moon and sun, and wrought of gems,
and each leaf hung on golden stems….

 

Of course, the landing point for SAN02 dumps you right underneath the build; BUT, the good news is you can still move. You  actually land under this water, so just fly up till you are hovering above it. If you fly straight up you will be in the heart of the build, but for clarity´s sake I would prefer to take us outside for a moment. Go to the right fly slowly over the water under the bridges! You might want to turn on your mini map- the waterway is windy and branches off at times-STAY ON THE BRIDGED WATERWAY!! the first leg is south, then northwest, and the last leg is north. You come out under a big slab of rock. When you are out, fly straight up and turn around.
This build is where Silver Baroque straps on her Elven boots and starts to kick serious ass. Do you see the door at the bottom? Fly down to it.
Look for this picture. THIS is where the landing point should be!

The painting depicts the  greatest archer of the Sindar, BELEG ,leaving the  Elven  fortress city of MENEGROTH, which was built entirely underground for the Sindar  by their friends, the Dwarves of Belegost, after  QUEEN MELIAN ‘s vision. And while Silvers Baroque´s vision of Mengroth is still taking shape,  it is nevertheless a complex, powerful build, you can truly savor exploring. At this point you can just open the doors and fly down the stone corridors to the build´s center..

Or you could fly up and check out the guard towers, then fly in from the openings at the top!Either way you will eventually wind up…
In the Main Hall. There are doors and tunnels everywhere.
Go exploring.
Keep exploring this truly behemouth construction.  For somebody who appears to have come out of nowhere, Silvers Baroque is a formidable talent I plan on following!!

 

PART FOUR: THE RIV AND ROM REGIONS

Okay, now I know this is hard to believe, but Silver Barok´s Menegroth is NOT the big Tolkien build I pictured in the post opening.  Romenna City is our Tolkenesque leviathan; originally a 4 sim build called  OSLIGAITH in Second Life that went belly up due to finacial reasons. Gasp. What a shock. BEFORE IT WAS EVEN COMPLETED in SL it stood out as a must see build, when completed it set an artistic standard that transcended role play and received attention from the broader ARTISTIC COMMUNITY (See my link to inworld and real life intellectual powerhouse  Elif Ayiter/Alpha Auer, and don´t miss my New Genres Grid post!) When Osligaith folded, PM Grid offered creator Nick Lassard upwards of 16 regions to basically just go nuts, which he has. There is a bit of a problem with lag that is definitely improving,( this may be due to a low power home server, but apparently there was also lag on SL), and apparently going in GROUPS can be tricky,  but the thing I found really bizarre, is the lack of visitor attention. Nick Lassards inworld profile asks folks to say hi, because it gets” lonely here” and there is a comment thread on TIDAL BLOG where Nick actually wants to give the oar away in some form so it can be used and loved. Then it went all techy, but still!

So let´s get go say hi to Nick! A significant number of the Riv and Rom regions have non viable landing points. Lotta giant prims. I will take you through the landing points that actually work, as well as pointing out bad lag. There is also an absolutly massive water system of huge pipes, canals and chambers running every which way for you to explore. The entrances are hidden, so this is a SPOILER ALERT!!! I will give you one big hint, and then four of the actual entrances at the end of this section, so you can play this any way you want!

I’ve thought about it a lot, and I think the best place to start our tour is Rom31, which will set you down in shallow water. Fly up, and turn around.

Welcome To Romenna,  the Isle of Numenor’s grand seaport and city, raised from the Great Sea by the Valar as a gift to Men.
This is a map I found in the city; you can see little Numenor in the middle of the Belegaer Sea, between the Undying Lands on the left and Middle Earth on the right.
And this is MY map of Romenna and Rivendell(?) ! Yes, virtualchristine, cartography queen has wheedled yet another helpful document out of her Windows Paint Program, for the benefit of her beloved readers!

This is a very general map; I am mostly going to highlight viable landing points, so you can teleport around without getting stuck in lag like molasses, or under a floor or rock!

1. Located in surf on the left hand corner of the map , number one shows the position of the rom31 landing point, which is off the coast, just beyond the statue.

This is still Rom31, which still goes a ways into the city.The roms and riv regions are all pretty big. And now we should talk a little bit about the city structure,and lag. This balcony is located on a balcony in the upper city level, above the quayside. In Rom31 the  upper level is less laggy than the quayside.
This is the quayside in Rom31, more or less below the balcony. It is definitely laggier, but you can still walk and fly normally, just a tiny bit slower than usual. My inworld stuff, such as my camera, gestures etc, all worked perfectly throughout the entire city (with one exception), as did my Wordpad Program and Mozilla.

The third level is under the city; Nick’s wonderful sewer  labyrinth, which is virtually lag free.

2.  Rom 10, the best landing point for entering the city on foot.

This is exactly where you land outside the city wall. Turn around and walk back, to the corner where the wall turns outward.
This is the entrance to Romanna! One tip, once inside the entrance I would hang a right. The gate you will see to the left with the black horse behind it just takes you under the build.
3.  ROM20- who´s upper level is a lag hotspot, which I have circled in red dots on the map. The area around this fountain is just pure molasses, which also bunged up my camera and inventory, and crashed  my Mozilla. Thank Iluvatar, it gets better on the quayside…
But even on the upper level, the lag begins to kick out about halfway across the bridge! The gang at PM Grid said they have been working on the lag problem, and I believe them!
4. The woodlands, compromising rom00, 01, 02, 03. Meander over the bridges, follow the paths , see if you can find the village. All the forest regions have relaxing ambient sound,little to no lag, and viable landing points.
5. The black dotted line on the map roughly shows the border between the Romenna(below)  Rivendell(above) regions. This picture shows the landing point for Riv03, on the outskirts of the build.
If you want to land in the thick of things, the riv13 landing point is inside the building behind me. Just fly out the window!
6. Is a series of raised, unfinished builds not in the Tolkien theme-riv21 and 31 have viable landing points to explore them. The picture is the landing point for riv20.

 

If you are interested, here is a link to a page on the VOLENTINE GAMBIT, an Apple Computer text adventure and game written by Jim Long in the mid 1980′s.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now we are going to talk about how to get into the  wonderful sewer labyrinth!

First the hint! Romenna is built as a normal human city. No mystical portals and such. So WHERE WOULD THE SEWER PIPES COME OUT?

If the hint is not enough, keep going!

If you teleport into Rom20, you will land in the water next to that sand pile. Fly to my position, and start exploring!
This entrance is in ROM30, which does NOT have a viable teleport landing.  Just walk down the quayside past the boat with the red sails. You´ll get there!
This is Rom20, where I discovered there was an entire water system, not just underground sewers. Carefully check out the water tower behind me!

I am sure there are even more entrances than than I´ve shown you here! I had an absolute blast in the underworld, and I am sure you will too!!

There is almost as much to see down there…
..as there is on the surface. The scale of this build never ceases to amaze.

And now my dears, I will finally post this and get some sleep! Thank you to all the folks at PM Grid for making the metaverse a MUCH more interesting place! And thanks to all of you for joining me in my small adventures! Your company makes me so very happy! And if you see me out there, don´t be a stranger! I love hearing about your adventures too! The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to all of my beloved readers! Until next time then, Adieu!

 

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