Twinity

It was homesickness, probably; I really only wanted to go and see Tower Bridge. The virtual world Twinity is famous for its precise reconstructions of  London, Berlin and so forth, and for the longest time I’ve been thinking it would be nice to walk the bridge. So in I went. And yes, yes, I know it’s still in Beta.

Obviously. It’s pretty,  their version of St Paul’s. Pretty, but not immersive. It’s very clean, too clean.

They pay you to go through the Twinizen  Tutorial (shouldn’t that be Twitizen? Oh, right, no. No.) You learn how to walk, run, see, speak to others, and shop, and you end up with a whopping 450 globals, enough to buy some more black hair (there’s a hair color option in Appearance but I couldn’t make it work), a dress and a couple of pairs of shoes. None of it would pass muster in the freebie store of an Open Sim grid, let alone in Second Life. You can’t fault them for choosing different keyboard shortcuts, but it’s all very awkward; no at-will TP to another space, no camming out to any distance worth mentioning, the volume controls are tucked out of sight, and you can’t drag the screen out to the size of your choice. You can’t inspect objects, or properly zoom in on them, and of course, you can’t build. At least, maybe you can, but if so, they have hidden the tools very thoroughly.

Well, not all the tools were hidden. Who could resist Deepak’s classic chat-up line, as he browsed the sex animation shop, and I browsed the (probably equally erotic) columns of the Brandenburg Gate. He asked me what an avie was, I found that odd.  I wonder what his 6 achievements are; they clearly don’t include finding the  ‘Hide my current location’ option in Settings. It’s also odd that you can’t change the sky without going deep into the innerds of the system to sync it with your RL location.

In Berlin there’s this quite almost interesting recreation of the Berlin Wall, but not really. Sepia is a nice touch, but it’s not enough.

Where were all the people? I saw a cluster in the Search feature and TP’d right over. It was a shop auction. I kept my hands to myself, and admired Twinity’s version of lag-induced slow rezzing. That’s quite cool; you’re a shadow of your former self.

Twinity is money-based, and so it’s back to 2007 and quizzes for cash. I wonder if they also have camping. Shoot me now. Just look at how much money you can get for answering a few trivia questions, one every 15 seconds or so! Bear in mind a pair of basic shoes is going to cost you 50 globals.

Shoes like these red ones. Totally uneditable; believe me, I tried, but the working mirror is a cool effect.

This is Singapore. I was just getting ready to look around when there was an incoming invite from Beefy. How could I say no.

Beefy turned out to be a guy in  black suit. It turned out to be a pool party. And me without my sequin bikini. Or sparkling wit. Volimkia “Dirty sex” reminds me of a painting. Or maybe it’s a photo from Belsen. Not sure. I decided not to join the Snake Mafia, and went to look for the sex anim shop instead.

Apparently sex in Twinity involves a lot of waving.

And some crying. Well, we’ve all been there, right?

I wandered around Central London, still trying to get to Tower Bridge, but it didn’t show up in Search, and I couldn’t TP there.

But on the whole, I’d stopped caring. Twinity (yeah yeah, Beta version,) has very precise architecture, but it’s like plastic fruit, photo-realistic, but fundamentally unsatisfying. Add to that a lot of bad radio, very greasy hair, some new-b friends you could probably do without, and lots of open windows obscuring the screen, and one’s left feeling oddly homesick. For Viewer 2.

Neogrid

This is Neo Cortex on his brand new grid. He makes really nice jewellery, by the way; his partner Aloe Cortex is one lucky lady. Well, Neogrid isn’t a grid, as such, just nine sims put together to make a base on the hypergrid ‘continent’ of HG 1.5. A base, a jumping off point to discover strange new worlds, and (even nicer) run into funny, interesting and kind new friends.

Neo Cortex

In previous posts we’ve talked about how there are two kinds of virtual worlds; in closed worlds like Second Life and InWorldz, you have to make an avatar specific for that grid. But there are the open sim worlds, where your avatar can go from one grid to another via portals called hypergates, often built to look like the Gate from, well, Star Gate. But – and this is a big but – not all these open sim grids run on the same system. They divide up roughly into 3 ‘continents’ or groups of grids operating on the same system, and you can’t travel from one continent to another, you need an avatar on each continent if you’re going to see the whole world. So for example, Pathfinder Lester can’t come over from his home grid Reaction Grid and break into my my kick-ass house in Craft and steal my rocking horse. Well, not without making a new avatar, anyway, because RG is on a different continent to Craft World. Also, I don’t think he is that into rocking horses. I could be wrong, though.

Vanish Seriath

I asked Vanish Seriath about the different continents and he said it works thusly: “Bellona is HG1.0, Veritas is HG 1.5 i6 and “other thingie (by which he meant Unxsia) is HG 1.5 i7”. The names were chosen by Hypergates.com’s Kidd Piko, but the whole hypergrid, they say, was developed by two people, Diva Canto and Melanie Millard, Melanie Thielker IRL, with help of course from… (catch-all phrase coming up) “lots of other people, you know who you are.” I’d always thought the whole thing grew like potatoes, in the dark and organically, but apparently not.

The freebie corner on Neogrid

Obviously, most of these little grids in Open Sim are private worlds,  they don’t have a website like SL, where just anyone can join and get an avie. So, to make it possible for Pathfinder’s Hypergridding Club to come to this continent, Neo Cortex set up a base. Much of it is built by Vanish Seriath, and Neo has set up a freebie corner. We all kind of lost out minds adding to it – everything is copyright free; I put two dresses in, as did Delenn Daines and Caledonia Heron. Pathfinder contributed a bunch of farmyard animals, a jade lion, a house, and a flying bicycle. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

Neo Cortex: The idea for this place was born as an idea at a HGAC meeting. I tried some VPS (virtual private servers) first, but those are unreliable and slow. This one is a real one, dualcore, 2GB, located at a German provider. I have been in SL for quite a while, been a jeweler there, besides some other professions,  but this here is more like being a pioneer this is really “our imagination, our world”. I have been following the development of opensim nearly from the start. SL and open sim – each has its advantages and disadvantages. I am glad Philip had that vision, it was my start into this wonderful world, but I don’t want to pay a fortune, nor do I need any drama and both are easy to find in SL.

Gentle reader, you can imagine my stunned surprise at that revelation. For Neo, it’s about concrete collaboration, and respect for other’s right,s especially creative rights.

Neo Cortex: I love the “stonesoup” idea, ask someone for a kettle, someone for a bit water,  some fire… then add some vegetables… you get the point? I provided the stone, Vanish gave me a wonderful kettle, you add some vegetables…

So, today’s meeting of the hypergridding club was a historic occasion, and the future was on everyone’s mind. Accoding to Jeff Kelley, it’s all about version 0.7.1 , but everyone had their own priorities. Many, like El Sliven, want good open sim content for the avatar about town – shoes, hair, dresses, hair, hats and HAIR and other feel-good items, others are focused on protection across the grids, and coherent policies. Pathfinder expressed a great satisfaction in having a new base for exploration, and many voiced an interest in getting a really reliable and bang up to date mapping system for all the grids out there. Great work has been done by the likes of Pam Broviak at govgrid, Maria Korolov of hyperica and Kidd Piko of thehypergates.com but they’d probably be the first ones to admit it’s a huge task, and a constant one. So talk turned to some kind of wandering bot, keeping up with all the twists and turns of emerging and migrating grids. I said they should get something like Sasun Steinbeck’s ArtGalleriesOfSL. thing, which could be both a HUD and a website.

One thing is for certain – there’s no shortage of bright minds, enthusiasm, and good company, we’re got something good cooking here.

Lost

Sad news in Craft
Owing to a serious error during maintenance, the Craft Database has been damaged. The Grid will be restored to its status as of 23 December 2010. This means anyone who joined Craft after that date needs to sign up again. All inventories will revert to 23 December. Payments for whose who are renting land in Craft are suspended. Sims are being reviewed on a case by case basis, and wherever possible, the most recent version will be restored.
sigh my beloved chess clock; I didn’t even remember to take a photo of it before it went. Everyone’s shouting about backup in that stable-door-shutting way.
I lost a lot. But not the friends of Craft.