party crashing

To everyone like soror who’s bundling up in front of virtual beaches, or roasting their nuts in front of particle fires, and feeling glad they’re not stranded in an airport on the way to Marrakesh, I have five words for you Road trip to Palm Beach; woot, but let’s be honest,  I’m not going to find anything as gorgeous as this in Florida, am I? No no, not Oberon Onmura although of course he is geek-chic in his glasses and Jo Ellesmere skin; however, I meant his new creation. I’ve been having cloud/clothing issues in Craft all week, so his greeting didn’t come as a big surprise. Except that is was in Italian.

Oberon Onmura: vicino allarme donna nuda!
He was wearing one of those translator things, which work fine about 60% of the time and, like many an Italian Studies undergrad, can’t cope with the gap between received and idiomatic English, creating some hilarious lapses. In preparation for what may be a long stay in this decidedly Italian land, Oberon has been working on his Definite Articles as well as a new installation…
Oberon Onmura: if I was Italian, I’d call it Waves of Desire
Oberon Onmura: se fossi stato italiano, lo chiamerei Waves of Desire
Don’t ask me why it didn’t translate the name into onde del desiderio. On the other hand I could tell you why it used the past subjunctive, but then I’d have to kill you, because term time is over, thank God.

The problem with the Translator is that, no matter which two languages you’re mixing it up in, the ‘translation’ give the illusion that you’re learning the other language when in fact you’re picking up botspeak. But don’t let that stop you visiting the MdM on Craft. It is more beautiful and interesting every time. The Italians are doing some cool RL/SL  crossover work this December, in collaboration with the prestigious Brera gallery in Milan. Thanks to Imparafacile Runo and his team, the Brera Academy Virtual Lab has a presence on the grid, and Second Life has taken up ‘residence’ on screens in one of Milan’s biggest railway stations, San Giovanni. Merlino Mayo wrote a little about it, if you’d like to know more, he can point you in the right direction.

Back on Oberon’s region in Craft: he’s currently working on getting the colors of Waves of Desire to change gradually. Right now they ‘just go’, changing hue rather more suddenly than he’d like, but gradual color changes wreak havok on the server, which he monitors closely -in fact, it’s getting to be a bit of an obsession, watching all the values, and that raises another question: does all the reporting out to the console eats up a lot of processor time? Yeah, like I would know.

Later, Lollito Larkham showed me his brains (yuck). Nobody could see me, but at least I wasn’t all nekked on their screens, probably due to my on-the-road crappy connection. This also explains the low quality of these pictures. There was much talk of the mysterious instant rezzing script/object they give you in InWorldz. Or is that just voodoo.

Minutes I became another willing victim of the Bodimosa skin by Artistide Despres. II’ll kee those snaps for private viewing. It’s the semi-official club skin, so feel free to come here, join up and ask for your own copy… if you’ve got the nerve.

They were pushing the limits in Veesome this week, also, with a  ‘Crash my Cloud’ party on Wednesday afternoon. If, like me, you don’t really know what a cloud is, try clicking here and see if that helps.

Tessa Harrington, Victor Hua, Sunny Salamander and the rest of the team set up a version of Thoth Jantzen‘s Area 54 Club, and bots, guest testers and regulars alike tried to crash the cloud. Sunny was Cloudmaster, and had a big graph and everything!

No, you’re right, I have no clue. Bots are particularly good in this setting because they do a lot of physical stuff like running into one another and leaping strangely in the air, which is RAM hungry, I’m told.

Definitely not bots, the rocking musical entertainment was provided by Anek Fuchs and Jimmy49 Dukes. Anek has played Veesome before, and he’s blazing a trail for other musicians out to explore grids beyond SL.

Among the guest testers, Mal Burns (sitting on the toadstool) and Chantal Harvey, unrecognizable in a basic avie. She enthused over Thoth’s build (seen here in only its partial glory) and vowed to come back and make a machinima of it. Can’t wait to see it!

InWizzy

This has been Meet the Grid Owner week – wow! Namedropping Time!!  Licu Rau of Craft and Tessa Harrington of SpotOn; Jokay Wollongong from Jokaydia was at the Hypergrid Adventurer’s Club (there’s a really interesting interview with her on this week’s Gridwrap ) and Elenia Llewellyn of Inworldz! Does this mean I’m going to bump into P Linden before the weekend? Hmm signs point to 404. Anyway, as my dad used to say, it only counts as kudos if the VIP goes around boasting that they met you.

Here’s Elenia, standing in the InWorldz welcome plaza looking gorgeous in a seasonable off-the-shoulder santa dress. As you can tell from the background of the photo, which took about 5 minutes to rez to this point, I still get atrocious lag when in Inworldz, unless I’m far from the madding crowd; but no matter, the point of my visit was to see Wizard Gynoid’s colossal fractal at Ed Hinterland’s Werk gallery. Bigger is better, that’s Wizzy’s credo, and  it really works in this setting – lots of space, so you get the full impact of her latest creation. A structure of these dimensions and this sort of prim count – over 1400 for the InWorldz version, she used even more to make the one in Craft – would be impossible in Second Life, says Wizzy. It’s far from the biggest primcount on record (check out this cool half million on a German grid for sheer enormity) but it certainly is massive. We sat in the middle and she talked about what it means.

Wizard Gynoid: I find it to be a magical mystery, a surprise, a spiritual clue. A door or portal to higher dimensions of reality. More advanced entities that we come across will no doubt understand these things. I like to think that they are puzzles/tests left here for us to solve. And artistes have used phi – the golden ratio for millennia; this fractal is based on phi.

Would she like to be on a pure Math grid? Sure. But there’s something about the random miscellaneousness of grids like IWz and SL that has huge value, something you wouldn’t find in a single themed world.

Wizard Gynoid: I am surprised and stimulated by the unexpected approaches of other artists; sometimes they stimulate me to do something different, inspire me, and it is nice to discover others who are working on similar things. Some of my best experiences in SL came from totally random discoveries. just flying around the map, and I have very high hopes for the open sim grids, what i call the Omniverse. As long as it is free to all, it will evolve into something amazing.

jokaydia

Nobody reads this blog, but I should point out that Craft has a proper Welcome Centre, on sim Hydra. There is a bug in the system that makes some people land up in the dungeon, but they’re working on it – hey, it’s The Friendly Grid.  And I’m to say that ‘Craft offers more than just the Museo del Metaverso’.  Just to be clear. Yay! Like this classy freebie shop!

They have Italian shoes here, and lots of other goodies, including Josina Burgess‘ dresses. Art you can wear, she calls it. Lovely.

Maya Paris suggested I go to the Hypergrid Adventurer’s Club, over on Jokaydia, I said no, sigh, yet another Thirza avie, but then I threw together a sort of travel pack – importable hair, dress textures, a prim skirt, a transparent texture, because I can never make the default one work, and shape parameters. While it’s as easy as (INV-> CREATE NEW-> SHAPE) to make your own shape,  it’s unclear how to export it, unless you’ve got either Second Inventory or a copybot. A familiar-looking avie makes it easier to navigate a new place, it’s one less distraction. There are about 70 shape variables, and the window only lets you alter 3 at a time, that’s irritating but it’s quicker than the alternatives – experimenting with shape options (ages in Appearance and less time for exploring the new world), or freebie shopping/trying on, or settling for the default shape (yuck).

Skin and shoes are the hardest accessories to make, I have a kind of pigtaily thing going on made in Veesome, it’s a breeze to import it complete with textures, but DIY is such a time sink, and as much as I fuss over it, it’ll never be anywhere near as lovely as SL Thirza’s Damselfly hair. I miss it. Sometimes freebie is the best option, just to move on from the introspection of newbiedom.

Time to put InWorldz Thirza in some sort of order while the mood strikes. What a delight to wake up in the shadow of soror Nishi‘s enormous tree-based confection. No lag on Soror Nishi Island. At the InWorldz welcome centre-cum-coffee shop, however, it was quite another story. Pure treacle.  The conversation turned to snow, and someone asked for a snowangel anim, and I imported one of mine, (I love the way Inworldz has free uploads!) but it kept going weird – arms and head twisting as if I’d been cursed by someone…

hmm I wonder who…

Back in Veesome, I ran into Tessa Harrington. She’s looking forward to the Virtual Worlds Conference in Washington DC in February, and very pleased with how her grids are growing – yes, grids, SpotOn is a sort of family of grids, and with one click you can tp from one to another – and the newest is Musicajam, and she’s got the people who make Hermes interested in working with the grid, here’s an interview with Philippe and Jim on Grid Wrap which is a TV show hosted on Metaverse TV. If you’re a musician, and want to sell your music securely, you probably already know all about the Hermes workbench – if not, you really should check it out.
Rumour has it, in a few weeks, we’ll be able to use the Phoenix viewer in Veesome – finally! Just in time for the arrival of Purdue University on the grid. I suppose I’d better start making academic earrings, then.

Jokaydia is an art/ed grid, up and running since March, hosted by ReactionGrid. They describe themselves as a Community of Practice, but it seemed pretty perfect to me. I crashed about five times at the very beginning while importing stuff on the Welcome sim, but after that, it was solid as a rock.

Search doesn’t work on Jokaydia, so finding friends is not easy, but a nice man called Johnny Cider provided a tp to Pathfinder’s sim. There were about 10 people present including grid creator Jokay Wollongong. Pathlandia is very pretty.

Pathfinder Lester is the one squatting on the log, if you’ll excuse the expression. The club is a fun group, Their conversation was over my head, but you can read everything that was said on Path’s blog, obviously. It’s been said that Hypergrid jumping could be dangerous for the security of your own computer. For example, naughty photos could be either accessed, or, if you don’t have any, added to your computer by passing visitors! There are malicious minds out there, we all know. What did the group think?

Vanish.Seriath @tgib.sytes.net:9000: Thirza, in theory it will allow others to run software on your computer, so there’s never to say what might happen, but if you’re not running a standalone on your computer that’s open for the public, the implications are very minimal.

Pathfinder Lester: The only potential security issue I’ve read about is the very remote possibility that a grid owner could possibly tweak things to be able to get into the inventory of someone visiting via hypergrid but nobody’s seen this happen. Ever. It’s just theory and the latest version of Hypergrid closes that potential hole completely, from what I’ve heard.

They discussed video games, something called hyperica, and the hypergrid stargate on Mal Burn’s Estate (doesn’t that sound very Beverly Hills??) And then it was time to step through the Gate –

woohoo! We first landed on this Hypergate platform on RG, and from here, gridhopping means you cut and paste an address into the Search part of your viewer Map. Took a few tries, but eventually…

there we all were on this fantastic French grid, ooh la la that’s some tower… no time to stop…

it’s upwards and onwards to Vanish Seriath and El Silven’s The Grey Inn Between.

This is an amazingly beautiful place, and the creations there – trees, houses, and furniture – are all free to copy and use in opensim.

Not all textures or attachments travel safely from one grid to another, but it doesn’t matter; the company was amusing and lively, and the locations take your breath away. I’m useless, I know, I have no clue how to get back to the Eiffel Tower or to the Grey Inn, but club members keep notecards of their favourites, and of course Pathfinder’s blog supplies the rest. The Hypergrid Adventurers Club is a must-do adventure experience. They meet on Sundays at 11.00pm GMT 5pm and 10pm GMT every Sunday, and 2pm GMT every Wednesday on sim Pathlandia in the Jokaydia grid. See you there.

feedback

Easily sidetracked, I started exploring the idea of selling my earrings and such in Veesome and got lots of encouragement from Grid Gear creator Lindy Low. Unlike SL, all shopping has to be done through the website,  which is more secure and all. Lindy’s making money as the new grid begins to get populated with corporate and academic users, so if clothes and such is your field, you should try to get in at the ground floor, they’re crying out for content.
If, however, you just want simple larks, nothing’s more fun than pulling Crap’s chain. Too easy. Just insert a random name into a random sentence, tag him, and watch him whir off into the distance like a semi soggy firework. A good time for this activity would be during a poker game. Just a suggestion. And he really does have a voice best suited to listening.
Speaking of people working themselves up into a state in a mildly amusing way, it’s polemica time at the MdM over on Craft: it’s in the ‘which grid is better’ family of fights. Nothing new there, right? As gky gianky put it,  ‘Nella rete gli animi si accendono molto più del grisù nelle miniere.’

So, the best time to whir around Craft this weekend is after the Italians have gone to bed, unless you’re good at tiptoeing.  The current setup in the Cassiopeia Art community is more granny’s attic than artist’s garret, a tumbling bundle of famous names from SL. It’s a sort of multi-storey art … well, park, for want of a better word. I’m not sure any of them take the new grid seriously, or if they just want to hedge their bets. Wizard Gynoid’s whattheheckadron is a bit squished but if you turn your DD way down low you can see some of the pieces in isolation.

On the other hand, the picture below is Artistide Despres’ install. Through the walls you can see the surrounding art (the steel mushroom cloud thingy is the new tower shellina Winkler is working on) and it turns the whole concept of ‘piece of art’ on its head. Each item is an individual, but when they are seen together, they speak together, not always a harmonious chorus, some name-calling involved, but it’s definitely a dialogue, and it’s good to talk. Well, with some obvious exceptions.

Jumping to Autumnus

“… it may be full of beautiful pictures and churches, but we cannot judge a country by anything but its men,” she remarked.

“That is quite true,” said Philip sadly.

Henry James, Where Angels Fear to Tread

I stumbled briefly into SL last night, to see what Ina Centaur’s Twelfth Night might be like. To see, really, if anything had changed since the last time I watched a production there. Crap Mariner was one of the first players to speak, so the show was at a disadvantage from the start – he has an unattractive voice at the best of times, but it’s especially unsuited to Shakespeare.  Skylar Smythe sparkled, but she sparkles in everything she puts her mind to; apart from that, and of course the lovely if predictable avies by Ina, things lagged in every sense – unremitting and appalling lag in all four sims. And before you say ‘oh it’s just your rubbish graphics card’, I asked three people near me if they were also suffering and they all eventually replied yes. If you can believe anything people tell you.

Interestingly, Ina chose to play Malvolio herself, she made a good job of it, using the voice morphing, I think it was the first time I heard someone morphed (unless Crap has been Beta testing all along, which would explain a lot) and if I never hear it again, it will be an easy fate to live with.

But I met a new friend, who explained to me that the company is made up of old-age pensioners (I’m sure Ina and Skylar would be interested to hear their Social Security has already kicked in) so it wasn’t an entirely wasted evening.

Ina’s theatre is lovely and she puts so much into her work, she really deserves less lag.

On the other hand, Craft is effortlessly beautiful. OK I lie, you do quite often have to relog when stuff happens. But who cares. It’s full of wonderful places already, like this fabulous Renaissance villa, on sim Hiems, complete with pineta and parterre and a lovely loggia. There are fountains, statues and – well, everything you’d expect to find in a Second Life sim, and why not, creator Nicola Reinerman got his start over there, and is now beautifying  a new world, one region at a time.

I ran into him, because Oberon Onmura was trying new terrains on his adjacent sim, Titania. I was standing on it – well, flying just above – when he first attempted the terrain file swap. I got chucked in the air to a height of 90,000 metres. Woohoo. It was a bumpy ride, and a lot of fun, but then I thought I’d better land somewhere and chose the sim next door, Autumnus, where you’ll find this pretty (if empty) house.

From here I could watch Oberon’s progress  in comfort. His sim looked like a big grey cake, just waiting to be sliced and iced.

Being able to see other sims from your own seems a great way to foster a spirit of community and cross pollination; privacy is great, but company is the lifeblood of virtual art.  Especially when you think that this is all part of a hypergrid. That really rocks.

Autumnus is another build by Nicola Reinerman (that’s a BOY’S name in Italian, thankyouverymuch). He was a regular both on OSGrid and in Cyberlandia, the Italian world created by Carlos Roundel, which faced significant structural changes last May as you probably remember. At the same time he was closely involved with the Museo del Metaverso in Second Life.

Nicola Reinerman: I’ve been making buildings, flowers and trees for years. More than once, I have come across items that I immediately recognized as my own, only to discover they had a different creator – they had been copybotted. It’s annoying, but I guess it’s a sort of a compliment in a way – someone thought they were good enough to steal.

Perhaps in part for that reason, he has been building and experimenting on his own server for some time now; and has found it a great place to test out architectural and textural ideas – in fact he first built the current MdM structure here, before importing it into Second Life. Wow virtual Euros. Insert your own exchange rate quip here.

Nicola Reinerman: There’s a certain amount of prejudice against Open sim worlds. But I think nowadays it’s misplaced, we’ve come ahead leaps and bounds over th epast two years.  Licu Rau has had both the courage and the knowhow to put together a new Grid – this one, Craft. Since September there’s been a huge migration of builders and artists. Our idea is to make it a creative grid, and the presence of the Museo del Metaverso is a really important element of that. It’s not the only project in hand on Craft.  Lyth Karu and his collaborators are putting together a virtual library of copyright-free books, and we hope to welcome many non-profit organizations, including educational organizations, who, as we all know have been having a tough time of it tier-wise – but we’re still in the early phase so we will see where that goes.

Dozens of metaverse-class artists like soror Nishi, shellina Winkler,La Baroque, and Artistide Despres are taking up residence on the grid. It’s pioneering stuff to be sure, but being a newbie here is not the same as when we were all noobs in Second Life – gosh even I can throw down a sculpty and make a new shirt on my first day. (OK still haven’t done the hair thing, I grant you, but bear in mind I’m not really here.) And a man on his knees on our first encounter, hey, that’s none too shabby.

treetime

woot I threw my first prim in Craft ! ok a bizarre flouncy heart, not a dodecawhoodron, like Wizzy would make, but something, at least – and I have my own teeshirt, even if the rest of me is all noob. It’s the shirt from Oberon Onmura‘s world Portable1, it has ‘Visit Thirza’s Rock’ written on the back. Thirza’s Rock (version 2)  is on sim Titania on Craft, it’s surrounded by much larger, more important mountains, but naturally, I like mine best.

This is the sandbox at Craft, but there are loads of more interesting things to look at, like the castle you get trapped in visit when you first arrive. The residents are all artists of note, so there are lots of interesting sims to discover, just not enough time for it all…

The thing with all these worlds is that, going from grid to grid and viewer to viewer, you’ve got to keep track of all the bizarre places in which your pictures get saved in the PC, making it hard to find clothing textures and souvenirs. Who the heck would have time for alternate name tags? I can’t keep up with all the various Thirzas. Also, I still haven’t figured out how to import prims into Craft, but that’s a mere Q/A session with one of the tame brainboxes in the new world. Italian powerhouse Roxelo Babenco has loads of events going on, even a gallery show by the absolutely wonderful La Baroque. Join the MdM group in FB to know more.

Back in Veesome, it’s tree time. Fel‘s trees are all completely modifiable, and it’s fun to twist the palms a little. Then I made my own invention, an abstract tree, pink of course. It will have starfruit on it.  What can I say, it’s an obssession.

To balance it out, the ruined castle tends towards lapis lazuli. I have no idea where I am going with any of this.

In an unrelated Veesome ping, German poet Morgue Mcmillan is here! What a thrill to speak to her. She was drawn into Veesome by Mike Burleigh‘s ROF organization, – that stands for Remember Our Friends – but she’s also organizing some nice literary events in the new grid, pictures and news to follow. If I can ever get my land to stop bubbling.