Here I am in the gorgeous Inworldz region GYPSY MOON, the site of last years Art Festival.( This isn’t the IMAB event, that comes later) I look like myself, and can navigate, which sound simple, but took more than a little work. In all honesty, I was initially so seriously underwhelmed, that I nearly wrote my first ever negative grid review! But I am a tenacious little beast, and in the end, when I finally managed to get up and running, the talent of the artistic community, and hospitality of individual communities won me over. Now let me save you some growling and teeth grinding!
Hello my dearest dears, How marvelous , here we all are again, ready for another exciting adventure on OpenSim, the software platform that hosts hundreds upon hundreds of independent worlds. Many of these grids are connected by an amped up teleportation system called the Hypergrid that allows you to dive down that rabbit hole from world to world, exploring, and making friends and snagging so much great free stuff you need, oh, half a bottle of wine, and maybe a little deep breathing before even attempting to open your inventory.
If you do not know how to get on OpenSim( believe me, you are not alone!), please read my “How to get on OpenSim in Six Easy Steps” page at the top of this blog. If you do not understand any terminology used in this post, please see my super easy to understand Newbie Glossary, also at the top of this blog. Come spread your wings in the free metaverse!
For today´s adventure we are going to go one of the largest commercial grids on the OpenSim platform. By commercial, I mean that, like Second Life, it has it´s own inworld economy, complete with currency, and stuff to spend it on. Inworldz is a closed grid, meaning you can’t travel there via hypergrid.And why aren´t they on the hypergrid? Mostly, they are afraid of content theft. Hypergrid security, or lack there of is a HUGE subjects of debate on OpenSim, really; don’t bring it up unless you have serious time to spare and just can´t get enough of really big words. Some retailers and artists are simply not comfortable putting their creations on hypergrid enabled worlds. Then there are the politics: Open Source, OpenContent, Free Information v. Capitalists!! Personal Liberty and Rights v. Socialist Oppression!! Closed,commercial grids can be viewed with real suspicion by the rest of OpenSim, where I spend most of my time.” Closed grids are cultural nothings; merely pale copies of an earlier SL . They are souless money grubbing rip off artists, little Linden Labs in the making! They will ultimately derail our open source OpenSim project!” I’m not so sure. The only time I was ever been” off the grid” had been to 3RD ROCK , which was freaking awesome; the word “stranger” held no meaning in this laid back community of big honkin’ Lefties, Rockers and Trekkies, their 209 regions were packed with a jaw dropping variety of great stuff to do and see, and the only time I ever saw the currency was in really neat fundraisers for DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS. No one ever tried to sell me anything; I never saw a store, and when I once asked Laz, the actual owner, where all the shops were, and HE DIDN`T KNOW!! If my beloved home grid CRAFT ever folded, once the authorities had talked me down from the ledge, and the psychiatric team had given me the all clear, I would move to 3rd Rock in a heartbeat.
So, when I began researching the INTERGRID METAVERSE ARTS BIENNIAL, or IMAB, and saw that at least one event was “off the grid” in Inworldz, I had no negative preconceived notions. I would go to Inworldz early, slap an avatar together, learn the ropes a bit, then hit the exhibition and write a post!
Yeah. It was not what I expected, in fact, sometimes I was cross eyed with frustration , but in the end it also surprised, even impressed me in some good ways. So, with no further ado here is my mini guide to the inz and outz of Inworldz.
HOW TO LOG IN!
1. You can register an avatar here INWORLDZ HOMEPAGE. It is free and the registration form is simple.
2. You will get an email almost immediately to activate your account. It will also offer you a link to download the” Inworldz Browser”. This browser is a slightly modified Imprudence Browser. IMPRUDENCE works just as well. Just open the grid list on the bottom of the browser, and click INWORLDZ, then type in your new name and password, make sure the region box says home, and Log In! By the way, Phoenix Firestorm doesn´t work here at all!
HOW TO GET UP AND RUNNING
Okay, I am going to be completely honest with you here. INWORLDZ DESERT ISLAND was the weirdest Welcome Area I have ever been to, anywhere. And not the good kind of weird . Even though it was full of people, including OFFICIAL INWORLDZ MENTORS NOBODY SAID ANYTHING AT ALL TO ME FOR THE FIRST TWO DAYS!!!!! I mean, I was directly addressing mentors and the general public, by name, for two days in my three languages (they don´t seem to have translators), and not one person responded!It was like I didn´t exist. Then, on the third day, when I logged in for about the tenth time, a mentor actually said” Hi Virtual”. And that was it. I had to say “excuse me” three times before she finally spoke to me again. And that was after I had waited next to her, looking at her, waiting for her to finish talking to someone else. After that, sometimes, when I landed, a mentor would say Hi Virtual. Period. Once some residents said hello. No one has ever asked me if I needed help. The last time a mentor spoke to me it was to tell me to get out of the landing area. He didn´t even say hi. The mentors do a lot of talking to residents they seem to know quite well, and most of the newbies seemed to be SL residents who were accompanied by Inworldz friends. I could tell because they were all yakking to anyone but me on open chat! I hope my beloved readers have better luck with the natives than I, maybe I just caught them on the worst ten day stretch ever; but if not, take comfort. It happened to me too!
Now don´t get me wrong, I didn´t think the island was a total loss! The shops with the striped awnings are generously stocked by the Inworldz commercial community with an impressive selection of starter freebies! The black rectangle between the shops is a landmark hub- You can see a close up of it in the second picture. Doesn´t it look interesting; I got really excited!
Yes, it’s honesty time again. I, personally, found Inworldz navigation to be inadequate. Okay, I thought it was a train wreck. Firstly, it is very very commercially oriented- and all these folders, including Points of Interest, Attractions, Tinies, and Art, are largely a mish mash of repetitive, commercial landmarks; I even if I´d wanted to go shopping, I would have been confused. Secondly,on a 1200 region grid, the search engine has no working Destination Guide or Showcase function at all. Thirdly, the Welcome Area has no cultural announcements, landmarks, or links at all.Which wouldn´t be a thing if someone would maybe acknowledge you exist. Fourthly, in keeping with the spirit of honesty, I thought the World Map search engine was stab yourself in the eye with a fork hideous. On the OS grid, you can search the word Furry, for example and get all the different regions that start with Furry. In Inworldz you have to type the perfectly exact name of the region, or you get nothing. I have found one exception to this- by typing Inworldz, you get a small list of stuff including public sandboxes, and this:
Desert Island 2! Yes, if you can’t take the overwhelming hospitality of Desert Island, you can come to this lovely, mentorless welcome area and avail yourself of the freebies and many attractions! Try out the drums, what wonderfully complex rhythms! And the trampoline, what imaginitive scripting! Inworldz may look like SecondLife in 2006, but the creative community is definitly in 2012! I think I’ll go stand in the landing area.
The Landmark Folders from Desert Island were not a total loss by any means. Just tediously chaotic. I deleted all the overtly commercial landmarks and went from there. In the Attractions folder( which is almost identical to the Points of Interest):
The Community Library in region DELPHI, had some interesting newbie information, cultural announcements, and free coffee!
The 01 landing point landmark to 19 sun system are all one region named COSMOPOLITANCE, owned by innovative builder Gipsy France, who has stacked his fantastic builds on an unbelievable scale! 01 landing point is a teleport hub located over an undersea adventure region! You can see from the next two photos what I mean about the stacking! And never forget tolook up! You will probably recognize Trafalger Square from the LONDON landmarks. this is a great build with a tube station, a National Gallery with exhibitions, and lots of great stuff to explore. Below that is the EDO JAPAN landmark, a beautiful Japanese garden and village, chock a block with neat surprises.
Jammy Stone Park North was a pretty Yosemite themed Tinies area, Poseidon was an interesting event venue( I got shot out of a cannon!), The Vortex landmarks are Star Trek (My people!!) themed builds, and Equinox landmarks are part of 50 maritime regions, with waterways that lead to the Inworldz ocean! I haven´t been to the rest of the landmarks,but the most memorable one I did visit was hands down-
Can you see me standing on Gullivers chest?
For my non western readers, GULLIVER’S TRAVELS was a series of four books written in 1735 by Irish Clergyman Jonathen Swift. This region loosly depicts a scene from book one, where a shipwrecked Gulliver is captured by the tiny residents of Lilliput Island. The sumptuously detailed build actually came to my attention outside Inworldz! I had been perusing the over the 88 e books about metaverse art published by the organizers of IMAB, when I noticed two of them were about Inworldz! Fortunately, this happened early on in my time on this grid , or I would probably have judged the whole thing based on my welcome area experience. And never come back. INWORLDZ FANTASY FEST 2012. was put on by the ELVEN CLAN, who have a landmark called ” Home of Elf Clan-Please build OU Elvenholde”. Sigh.
The landmark actually takes you to ElvenMyst. Fly straight up, and head for the castle in the southwest. The door is on the other side, ground floor. At this point, the Elf Clan’s organization becomes immaculate. There are nice fantasy themed freebies, a really well organized, informative, introductory notecard, and a free wearable teleporter hud!!! You just put it on and click the little map for a menu that will offer you 37 destinations! Fantastic!( Perhaps one could discover some of those great exhibits from the Fantasy Fest!!) I just do not have time now to explore all these regions if I ever want to finish this post, but the few I did pop into were very intriguing; I plan to go back, heck; I even joined the Clan! Can you see the smoke in the picture below? Can you see the patterns emerging? Fantastic. A great big virtualchristine round of applause to the Elven Clan for their attention to detail in every aspect of their realm!!!
In the Art Landmarks Folder, I only made it briefly to the Visual Poetry Art Gallery, which was lovely. So by all means have a crack at the rest of the art landmarks. I think we can all see that this grid has an artistic community that is worth following.
FINAL NOTE ON THE FOLDERS: If you use the folders to teleport, when you get there, look at the top of your browser! The FIRST name you see on the address is the name you need if you ever want to find the place by a world map search! There are lots of inconsistencies- so watch out!! Gulliver´s Travels is the real name of the sim, but for some reason, it is GULLIVER TRAVELS on the browser; and that spelling, without the apostraphe and letter s, is searchable on the world map!
The search engine works best by setting it on All, and running searches on broad terms- art steampunk, gothic, sea, spiritual, vampire, wiccan, fantasy, you get the idea. Running a search on someone´s name, or on a region, worked for me less very sporadically. Even when I was standing in the region, looking at the persons name on a sign. With the general search you still have to sift through the commercial stuff, but I sifted this out of an art search…
This was where they display some of the awesome builds from the other cool e book on Inworldz INWORLDZ DREAMZ AND VISIONZ FESTIVAL 2011. Yahoo!! Let´s take a look! In the first picture you see one of the beautiful sculpture gardens; in the second is what I think was the first prize winner, of course the butterflies and birds are swooping and singing, the water is flowing. Go inside and share teatime with the dragons! The third picture was a beautiful snowglobe, entitled hope, where butterflies energed out of the snow. The fourth picture was a wonderfully creepy dark Alice themed game!
Anyway, let´s wrap this up with what I came for in the first place. the location address on the IMAB website said the Inworldz address for Alizarin Goldflakes Aquarella Rising was Acquarella Rising: http://places.inworldz.com/Alizarine%20Lakes/27/20/701. Now I can never get these web links to work for me inworld, and I was wise enough at this point to know searching for Acquarella Rising would get me a big zero. So I took a good hard look at the address, and summoning my full ten days experience on this grid, decided my best shot was running a world map search on the words Alizarine Lakes.
And there I was! Acquarella Rising is the apocalyptic tale of a young goddess who rises after the fall of man. She seeks purity in a world without color, then gets into it with the devil and everything burns. the godess wins, but falls into desolation, taking the world with her.
She gets over it.
It is late, and I am being flippant; it is really a beautiful story and this IMAB PAGE TO THE AQUARELLA EXHIBIT has a good synopsis, links to the Machinima the build is based on ( which was shown at the Shanghai Worlds Fair in 2010), as well as links to the real life artist and filmaker Martha Jane Bradford.
So, I am going to wrap this up now- but first, I accidentally logged onto the main Desert Island a few minutes ago, and a SENIOR mentor was there, who greeted me, and gave me a welcome folder! Then someone actually IMed me to make sure I recieved it! We actually EXCHANGED PLEASENTRIES!!! Thanks again Arkady! So maybe there is hope for the Inworldz Welcome Area! Irregardless, the outstanding artistic standard of this community, and the generous retailers, who stock both Desert Islands so plentifully with starter supplies, and the genuine hospitality of individual communities, are more than enough to give this grid a great big virtualchristine thumbs up!
I am falling asleep! Thank you all so much for joining me in my small adventures! I hope you enjoyed reading this, I had an absolute blast writing it! The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to all my beloved readers!!! Until next time, Adieu!