Here I am after my longest break from blogging in two years, recovering at last from some hideous mutation of the sniffles and f**king ebola. For weeks I launched everything in my big fat hippy mama arsenal at that damned bug- I enschewed spirits in the midnight hour for positive chi in the morning light, I ingested whole fields of herbs, inhaled groves of eukalyptus , lit candles, drank purifying water,and downed mountains of vitamens. After the THIRD freaking relapse, I stormed my doctor’s office, wild eyed and howling for a limited thermonuclear strike. She ran a couple of tests and said, “Okay. All this stress about around your son’s health seems to have knocked down your immune sytem. You need antibiotics.”
“NO!!!” I cried. ” NOOOO!! You HAVE to give me antibiotics!!”
She gave me that look I know so well from the dentist. “Christine, sit down.” she barked ” I AM giving you antibiotics!””
Tears welled up in my eyes as I slumped into a chair ” I don’t understand why I can’t have antibiotics!” I moaned.
That within 20 minutes I had been hustled out of the office, humming show tunes and excitedly clutching my prescription is a monument to the Marshall Plan, the Hypocratic Oath, and the distinct possibility that my doctor and dentist have tapped the NSA database in some sort of tactical alliance. Proving yet again that virtual spycraft is NOT a pack of overpaid dweebs conning their idiot overlords into letting them play World of Warcraft on office time! It saves lives! God bless you Cory Ondrejka.
Hello my dearest dears!How marvelous! Here we all are, ready for another whirlwind adventure on OpenSim, the software platform that hosts hundreds of independent grids, many of which 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 fabulous adventures, and continually scoring so much fantastic free content, that your rejection letters from the casting directors of reality shopping shows will be reduced to the the word: ” Spooky.”
And at this point I normally tell everyone how to get onto OpenSim, and then launch into a chirpy travelogue. Although I have every intention of chirping, this last month and a half hasn’t involved much traveling. It did involve alot of keeping close to home on my beloved home grid Craft, and reading what my virtual friends were saying on G+ and Twitter.
The new Linden Lab Terms of Service, which now, a la Facebook, basically gives them rights to anything you create with their software, has created an unprecidented level of interest in OpenSim. SLers are showing up in droves, and what they don’t know is staggering. How to explain OpenSim to them has become a massive theme. My favorite answers came from steampunk time traveller, writer, builder, blogger, and now grid owner Danko Whitfield. His most excellent nutshell of how the hell to explain OpenSim to an SLer was “very carefully.” So in that spirit, these are some carefully selected ramblings and observations I hope will be of some use in explaining OpenSim .
Personally, I have been explaining and explaining OpenSimto anyone who would listen, for the the past two years. And now, reading so many discussions and questions focusing almost exclusivly on the big closed commercial grids who use OpenSim software, to be honest, made me a bit sad. Inworldz and Kitely do have interesting communities, and some really cool residents I am lucky to count as friends, but to my way of thinking, the grand adventure, the free metaverse, that rabbit hole of song and legend, is this wildly eclectic gathering of non profits from every corner of the globe that constitute hypergrid community. Where bigger isn’t neccesarily better.
This is Dorena’s World, a charming grid of about 140 regions, and 300 something registered users, packed with wonderfully weird builds, quirky museums, pubs to crawl, tons of good quality free content to snag, and now this lovely Weihnachts Markt! (Which is German for Christmas Market if you haven’t had enough coffee). Sparkling little jewels like Dorena’s are scattered all over the hypergrid!
This is New Genres Grid where there are about eleven regions at any given time, and 250 something registered users. Its project partners are places like Sabanci University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Istanbul Turkey, and Zurich University of the Arts, ZHdK Switzerland. What the high falutin’ website boils down to, is that this very small grid is a warehouse/workshop for, cultural powerhouses like Alpha Auer, Selavy Oh and MosMaxHax. As it is wide open on the hypergrid, you can march right in and act out your more insane night in the museum fantasies until they yank your internet connection and/or take back to the “home”.
This is Terra Mater, the oh so brilliant LEA veteran Cherry Manga’s home on le metaverse sophistique, Franco Grid. 225 regions, 5200 registered users, and a creative community that builds three dimensional haikus for light entertainment. Alive with stunning builds, gorgeous freebies, film making, art, live concerts, philosophy- the hypergrid’s first Francophone grid has a user base that extends from Quebec to Paris to Dakar. Utterly fascinating!
And then there is my warm and wonderful Craft- the Friendly Grid, which I always encourage new citizens of the free metaverse to make their home base! Let’s take a look around. This is slightly nutty region Onda. From here you can walk over the mainland through hills and valleys, over mountains and streams, past ranches, villages, and the cracked walls of antique towns, to the picturesque lighthouse on region Pelago.
Region Agra is also on the mainland; a pretty middle european village- wander through the vineyard and sunflowers down to the beach. Grab a swimsuitsuit off the boat and go for a dip.
Region Margye Dreams, part of a project devoted to invalid artist and poet Carmen Auletta, who’s work as the avatar Margye gained recognition in Rome, the European Union and finally, the United Nations.
Region Pyramid OSIta, the famous SL cultural group, who among other things, developed the Margye Dreams project with member Carmen Auletta. They are in OpenSim as the Pyramid Cafe!
Region Delta is a shimmering woodland region and public park.
Region White Light is a somewhat surreal reproduction of a city whose name escapes me, and is also a Myst inspired game….
Region DesMaldives has some of the most exquisite virtual island scenery you will ever see.
This is a long view of the western mainland. Notice how the ban lines, and for sale signs are somewhat different than SL ? GOTCHA!!!! THERE ARE NO FREAKING BANLINES AND FOR SALE SIGNS!!!! There is also no abandoned land, or ugly malls jammed up next to the meditation garden! The hypergrid is big sky country, and personally, I never, ever, want that to change!
Craft has 136 extremely well developed regions, 5700 registered users, educational groups, artists, graphics designers,builders, the largest Arcadia Aslyum Museum anywhere at all, whacked out bloggers; Rainbow, Sinus, Uptown, Noah and The Craft Department Store are some of the most famous shopping sims on the hypergrid, where shopping means freebies 99.9% of the time. Italian, German and English are spoken, so slap on the translators that are laying around everywhere, and start yakking.There is a calendar of regular social events,birthday parties, contests, grand opening -okay, the Italians throw parties at the drop of uno capello- semi regular community meetings(where admittedly, most decision making is shoved off on the grid owners while the rest of us swap animations and giggle), various group meetings, classes if there is enough interest, and…
This is region Victoria, and all the beautiful victorian houses behind me are rent free to anyone from any grid! Pick out a house and click the rental box for instructions! There are also rent free tropical beach homes on region Cloe’s Village.
Regions Kalahari and Sahara have rent free islands. A great many hypergrid enabled worlds have some kind of free homesteading or housing. Always ask! Rent free shops are also pretty much the norm! Craft has two regions and a luxury liner deck of them!
And don’t forget the awesome Avatar Tools on the Craft Homepage!! For any SLers who thought they might like to try out a region in OpenSim, and so attempted to read the OpenSimulator Project website without adequate preparation- such as a gaggle of math nerds chained to the floor, or a big hit of whatever is passing for LSD these days- you can yank the fork out of your eye and climb in off that ledge right now!!
Hehe! Just go to Avatar Tools, and plug in your Craft name and password!
1) If you rent any land at all in Craft, you can check your payments, and pay with almost any credit card or paypal, here. Even in OpenSim, servers (the hardware the grid is on) cost money, so if you want a whole region on a grid you don’t own, you will have to fork out. I think of it as a donation with benefits.
2) You can order a region online! It will be on Craft’s servers, under Licu’s watchful eye, so if something goes freaky, the buck stops in Sardinia, (although Tao Quan, Craft’s other owner, is no slouch in the tech department) There are six options with various prices , maturity ratings and prim allowances. A standard public region with a 25,000 prim allowance is 25 euros. That’s 34 bucks. In SL a mainland region with a 15,000 prim allowance costs 295 dollars a month. Welcome to OpenSim:)
3) You can change your profile when you are not inworld!
4) You can change your password as easily as making change for your girl scout cookies with a gaggle of math nerds “on call”!
5) This is homo sapiens single greatest moment since the Pink Mojito. You know how it is when your avatar is a red cloud, or flashes in and out, and everyone keeps jibbering “Refresh! Refresh” like nightmarishly tech saavy baboons? Yes, I have been drinking. Instead of spending the best years of your life tearfully smacking Ctrl+Alt+R or stripping off one motherducking thing at a time in a doomed attempt to work out what infitesimal corner of which texure has been marked by Satan, you can just click this and power flush of the whole enchilada! Woooooooooot!
5) And this is the apex of something I could name if that damned glass of wine had started out half full- the Sim Managemant panel! Hit connect…
…and move those math nerds to a holding cell in the basement! Managing a region is now as easy as clicking a button! Seven buttons, so you can put your socks back on too!
If your region is being laggy, or stuff isn’t working the way you think it should, you can restart it, the way you shut down and restart your computer when it is drooling ! The panel tells you whether your region is online or off. And if some freaky little doodad(like a nasty script you picked up somewhere ) is hanging the process up, there is my personal favorite, the KILL switch. It absolutly brings everything to a grinding halt, so your region can restart in an orderly manner. You can also send a general message inworld to warn folks that the region is being shutdown, or mess with their heads and say you are Saint Theresa of Avila, or the the hypergrid SWAT team, whatever takes your fancy.
Remember how, when you were trying to read the OpenSimulator Project Website, that the last thing you saw before the fork went into your eye was a bunch of initials? Well, here they are again, dumbed down to the point that even this blogger was able to safely eat lunch with her eyes open! An OAR is a a complete copy of a region, from the mountainous landscape to the wineglass you left on the table. The first button lets you make an OAR of your region as a backup. You are allowed 5 backups. You can download any of the backups onto your computer by clicking on it. You can see how much space your region is using on the server ( the MB number). If this number is too big, (over 200)it could be causing you trouble. Welcome to my world. When making an OAR, loading the MB count takes a few minutes, and you can see the current number by hitting the panel refresh button, to the left of the word “simulator”. It is two big white circular arrows you can easily see through your veil of tears. Or maybe that’s just me.
The next box allows you to load an OAR from your computer to your region. It may be one you got from the management panel, or one you bought, or got as a cool freebie inworld, or from the internet!
And the final OAR box allows you to upload DIRECTLY from the internet.
The final tab on the Sim management panel gives you a visitor’s list from the past two months!
Please remember, this level of excellence was the product of a small non profit grid, run by just two dedicated grid owners. There’s no place like home
Unless of course you have two! Now I will let you in on another hypergrid tip- almost everyone belongs to at least two grids. Why? Because of the upredictable nature of the hypergrid, it is always good to have a couple of travel options. Remember, no one is actually in charge, and EVERYONE is messing with the code. My Craft avatar works for 99.8% of everything I need to do on other grids, but if you want to be in a group,and be sure you get all the announcements, having an account on that grid is a good idea.
And Metropolis Metaversum is the grid I have been the most involved with outside of Craft. At 3500 regions, with 5,000 registered users, and it’s own radio station, a community sandbox that is often a wilder free for all than the most carefully planned events, spontaneous street parties and just massive cultural festivals, combined with it’s “rockin in the free world” spirit of democratic virtual living, Metro is undoubtedly the most dynamic big member of the hypergrid community.
…my buddy Crystal Brewton, the Indie Author Extraordinaire started an exciting new project on Metro! Crystal, on the right, also has an in- your- face age and weight appropiate avatar. To the left is her role playing avatar Buni Chuku, who is currently running action packed , and extremely well written supernatural roleplay on Crystal’s Metro HGRP region! Where we are all standing is on a very old dream of Crystal’s from back in the SL days, that the affordability of OpenSim has made a reality!
Crystal has opened an artists colony! On region Independently Spoken, independant artists can showcase thier work along the lovely canals in 400 prim rent free studios and beautiful brownstone apartments! I had a great overview photo, but the third horseman, who I can assure any theology students out there is definitly named “Pestilence”, seems to have ridden off with it. Big pox ridden jerk.
There is a clubhouse with free avatars and a room for artists to display RL photos and social networking links, a bar and dance floor- Crystal has really thought of everything! Oh, and as Buni, she is reading Christmas stories here on Metro at Dec. 15 at 19.00 CET! I am gonna run home from a Christmas party and try to make it!!
This project is just getting off the ground, so get in there quick while there are still studios avalible! This one belongs to Vanish Sands/Seraith/ Avatar /Firecaster of TGIB and OpenSim Creations fame! When he is not changing his name or his website’s name, very intellectual Vanish ( he is ALWAYS Vanish) is a huge champion of the free internet, a musician, film maker, speaker, poet, builder, someone everyone pays attention to, whether they agree with him or not. I was actually kinda nervous meeting him inworld for the first time- sheesh , you should see it in the G+ when he takes on a pro copyright engineer or something- clash of the titans indeed. Anyway, he was as well mannered and unpretentious as he comes over on the battlefield, had read my blog (woot!) so I calmed down and we had a really nice conversation that I fastidiously copied. Sigh. Gone, of course.
There is some boxed free content and vendors, textures etc. My neighbor to the right is Crystal, and to the left…
…is a creator named Burnt Plaid, who makes lovely contemporary furniture! I had more pictures, and guess where they are! Sorry Burnt, but I am not getting my ass kicked by a divine entity armed with a quiver of anthrax dipped arrows, over a sofa photo, however engaging the pattern may be!
And last but not least , I found Dings Digital had taken a studio! He is a Metro artist and event organizer, also known as Ben Oldenberg on G+. I had heard of his work, and we say hi at events, but had never had a really good talk . I had also never been to his region, Seneca. Holy Heraclitus!
When you are done wandering around the very cool surface, by all means teleport up…
…to Dings attic. This is where he keeps old Art Expos and bits he is working on. The guy is a philosophy teacher, who appears to really, really like his job. Thanks for showing me around Dings!
Thus endeth my rambling little missive on the charms and benefits of the hypergrid community. I hope some of you found it helpful, and the rest of you were not too annoyed.
And now my dears, I must love you and leave you. I would like to thank Sir Alexander Fleming, Crystal, Dings, Vanish, Burnt, Miss Auletta, Licu and Tao for idiot proofing my region for me, and of course, all of you for joining me in my small adventures. Your company means more to me than I can say! The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to you all! Until Next time, Adieu!