Bearings

Maps are nice. You can read them. They are even nicer when someone explains what you’re looking at. This is the hypergrid map by Pam Broviak, of govgrid. Pam Broviak: The hypergrid idea and setup, while very cool, is confusing. The continents represent the different versions of opensim/hypergrid software. An avatar based on one continent can only travel to other grids on their continent – they cannot go “across the water.” So for example,  if you want to visit the German Grid, you can create an avatar in Craft then hypergrid to the German Grid because they are on the same continent. I left some “brown” space between the regions on each continent to try to designate the levels or locations of the regions. On each continent, there is a lower region, a middle region, and an upper region separated by barren land. Each grid is located within one of these 3 regions depending on the coordinates of the grid. The reason for showing this on the map is that an avatar can’t travel directly from a lower to an upper or the other way – they must go from lower-middle-upper or upper-middle-lower. So the map should accurately depict this relationship between Craft and German Grid in that they are on the same version of hypergrid (on same continent) and you can travel directly from Craft (an upper region grid) to the German grid (a middle region grid).

Pam says it’s a work in progress, and always will be, as she continues to figure out where in the world certain grids like Metropolis fit innot to mention the new grids that came online over the past few weeks. On top of that, grids shift on the map – sometimes even changing continents! – when they upgrade. An endlessly fascinating task, and a big Thank You to Pam for taking the time to do it!
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Immaterial girl

Blogging doesn’t pay, apart from the dubious honour of being plagiarized and having my photos stolen, of course; but shopping for pixels was never  high on my To Do list. Isn’t it better to be inquisitive than acquisitive? If you consult the blogosphere  about the state of shopping in open and closed worlds, there are dozens of capitalist rants about quality, rights, and self-affirmation through the almighty dollar; and just as many equally boring blogs about freedom, la rivolucion, and fetid fools. Good grief.

Shopping! But not on Craft; it does have a rocking freebie shop, but the hypergate beckons.

OK, it’s true. When it comes to manufactured goods, nobody beats Second Life; InWorldz is getting a lot of brand-name stores, but why pay real money to re-purchase all my favourite stuff, which then only looks like grey blobs and unrezzed flexiprims, just so I can re-meet all the people who used to be in SL?

Among the closed, money-oriented worlds, Spoton is surely the worst for shopping. Part of the magic of retail therapy is the chance to soak up the atmosphere of the store,  otherwise you’re just an Amazombie. In Spoton they kill the immersive element by forcing you to buy through a website similar to SL’s Marketplace; same principal, you have to buy their currency (at a price) and then they also take 5% of the purchase price of every item, this on top of the $4 monthly fee for the right to build and the $30-40 you pay for a sim and 15k prims. It’s a place to go when you want to build, try out new things, and be quiet. Very quiet.

The website SpotOn Synergy, which features a Double Dutch Delivery system, allowing content providers to make their goods available on different grids, at different prices, is not very user friendly and has very little on offer, and frankly none of it, including my stuff,  is going to win awards for style or quality.  Tessa Harrington the grid owner promises, “they’re going to get more very soon” – better goods, more people, regular interesting events, it’s always all going to happen ‘soon’. Since there’s virtually no-one in SpotOn and its fragmented, childproofed miniworlds, not having much to buy doesn’t seem a big deal. Pioneers are rarely consumers.

What about Open Sim? This is Freebie Heaven, Klarabella Karamell‘s hipster marketplace. Simple furniture, fireplaces, textures, buildings and plants are available here, along with a number of sculpty farm animals. No, I don’t want to know why you need a sculpty goat. In German and English she invites OS creators to donate their original work, and while this is far from being steampunk quality, it’s a resource for people who just want a chair to sit on. For fun (and to see if I can really bring things through the hypergate) I bought this sculpty cat.

Then it was off to Wild Shopping on the German Grid – wild as in Wild West, not erotica, the sauciest shop was Lady Fashion, featuring the latest accessories for the mid Victorian floozy.

Ouch.  By the way, if you’re going to gridhop, it’s wise to wear trousers or a skirt, prim skirts don’t always make the trip. On sim Wild Shopping you’re going to need OS$ to purchase your ankle boots and corset, although there was  a free buffalo skull. Who could say no to that. Show of hands.

Back in Craft, and YAY the cat came too, there he is, on the couch. I kind of like my wind chime cat better, but then he’s never been through a hypergate. When he’s done, with his nifty scripts and all, he’ll be available in the freebie art shop on Arts Park, in Craft.  No charge.

Hyper and hamster

This is Jeff Kelley of Newworld Grid.

He is the rocking inventor of the first Multiple Avatar Hypergate, and that’s a big deal for reasons that should be obvious (*whistles and pretends she knows*).

OK, I kind of know – we all get to travel together! I call shotgun! The HGAC (yeah, try not to confuse it with HVAC, all these acronyms, I was in America for 5 years before I found out that a CPA is not some sort of first-aider)… anyway the Hypergrid Adventurer’s Club met today. There was the usual 30 minutes of mad chat in which all the educators and devs tell their latest news – a sort of technical/verbal version of PiRat’s Art Kahos, too much happening at once, I never know what the heck is going on. Pathfinder Lester puts a chatlog on his blog, so look for enlightenment there.

I did learn that, apparently, there’s a sort of ‘suitcase’ now. Content-paranoiacs everywhere fear that if they go into someone else’s sim-on-a-stick, that sim owner is going to steal all their goodies – it is technically possible, and the suitcase (it’s a crocodile-skin folder, I hope) is supposed to protect your stuff. Except it doesn’t work – well, not yet. Another work in progress. It’s a lot of fuss about nothing – feel free to steal my hair. Know my pain.

And then, as quick as you can say server-side integration, off we went to Jeff’s house on New World Grid, aka ‘regions.newworldgrid.com:12000’. That’s the address, or URI. Nice house, and very informative landing point, and then there’s this beast on beast action…

Apart from his taste in evil penguins, he is a brilliant guy, Jeff. Look at this – he has set up a 12 frame powerpoint spelling out the whole hypergrid jumping thing. Here are the highlights.

Apparently there are hippos at large in OSGrid also.

I hope those hippos don’t do unnatural things to the poor hamster.

There are several different ways to use a hypergate (or blamgate, as they’re sometimes called).  Some gates are set to a particular destination, and you just walk through to get there. Some offer a menu when you touch them, or a link to thehypergates.com. But you can also just stand near the gate and open your Map, and copy your destination into the Search feature of your Map, and when it finds it, hit TP… I like the club because Path holds all our hands, so we don’t get lost. Or not very lost, anyway. We did take a detour to TGIB, but it was nice in the woods.

The best bit is the lovely map showing the HGAC’s explorations so far.

They can’t get to Craft yet, it’s on a different system or something, but when they do, I plan to have the coffee and sherry ready on Arts Park. What do hamsters drink, anyway?

Stepping out

Tao Quan described Craft Grid as a baby the other day, and it’s apt – there are lots of exciting firsts are going on, sweet small steps forward that probably seem no big deal in a place like SL or InWorldz, but for the Crafty Ones are a delight. As you can read in an earlier post, we got the Craft version of the Radionne, Vaudrouille Zepp‘s  trans-grid talking device (woot before even InWorldz got it, soror says!) and we also got grid-wide Voice – how neat, to be standing on Oberon Onmura‘s sim Elena talking to Tao who was ten sims away on Hydra. Very exciting newness  also for the ArtsParks sims, the arrival of artist-in-residence Maya Paris who has taken over the installation sim Locus Amoenus. Can’t wait to see what she makes of it!

Then yesterday evening we had the first public performance of Alien Bolero, by Velazquez Bonetto, Josina Burgess, and Junivers Stockholm of CARP, in front of a dozen residents. Once the prims had finished dancing to Junivers’ music, it was our turn to step out in the shadowy, lag-free theater, accompanied by Josina’s colourful particles and dancing circles.

Talking towers

When it comes to my stupidity, let’s face it, the cat has been out the bag for so long that it can’t even remember if it was paper or plastic. Thank goodness you don’t have to be smart to know smart when you see it. More than that. Imagine having a problem with a building project and being able to ask, not just a clever builder friend, but Lumiere Noir, founder of Second Life’s Ivory Tower of Primitives, and have him come right over and take a look!

Lumiere Noir

You’d like to know what he fixed for me. No.

Let’s just say that our conversation ended with the words:

Lumiere Noir: You’ve got to know all you can about the tools available to you 🙂
Well, I think we all know that’s never going to happen.

Licu Rau owner of Craft, at the Ivory Tower of Primitives, Craft

Craft Grid now has its own updated, wooden version of the Ivory Tower of Primitives, on sim Sophia, which will soon be filled with streamlined information on primpinching of every kind. And there’s more – Lumiere has started a Prim Wiki at http://ivorytoweronline.com/primwiki/index.php?title=Main_Page .
Lumiere Noir: The wiki is a lot of fun to work with. I hope that by putting it on the web, people will be able to get instant translations. For now the wiki is closed because the last time I tried this it got spambotted out of existance, but the blog and forums part is open to all (I think!) – I just set it up a couple of days ago.

Paidos Woodall, the first speaker in Craft, with Tao Quan and Thirza Ember

Yet another source of buildery goodness. Also in the news, Craft has Voice! Today was the first test of the system. Not everyone’s a fan of voice, both in SL and other worlds, in fact moderately grumpy sources inform that it’s properly termed as ‘Voip’ and not that sophisticated, technically speaking. But I don’t care. I was the first person ever to giggle audibly in Craft, and they can’t take that away from me.

The dancing prims of Uqbar

This is sim Uqbar on Craft grid, the home away from home of CARP Diabolus. Two guesses who I met there.
Josina Burgess: This is a project of Vela.  He made the theatre and the dancing prims. It is called Alien Bolero. It will change a little here and there. The music is the final part of Ravel’s Bolero, arranged and played by Junivers stockholm.

We sat down, turned on our stream. Velazquez set the whole thing in motion. The prims began to dance and you could feel the glee radiating from his avatar.
Velazquez Bonetto: What I find absolut great , this is the first theatre production in OSG what works perfect! We tried one year ago to build the Metropolis theater on the Metropolis grid, but it was not OK. Here it works perfect!
nicola reinerman: Well, one year ago it was impossible even to imagine what are we doing here now!

It’s clearly far above my pay grade – complicated stuff – but Vela’s a quick worker, and in just an hour and a half, he had brought the whole thing over from SL and set it up here. The dancing prims was part of the Cybernetic tour in the Nicolas Schoeffer Tower, but as Josina pointed out, ‘of course not the same but improved’.

But why Craft? With less than 700 people enrolled on the grid, it’s not likely to offer the sort of capacity crowds that CARP productions usually attract in Second Life. So what’s the appeal of this much smaller world, and other boutique platforms that make up the OpenSim grid?

Velazquez Bonetto: OSGrid has much more potential in the future as SL. First, this is an open source software. SL is a closed system with many restrictions. I hate restrictions. In many components OSGrid is better as SL, but it must in the future to be safe and stable, that’s all.
Josina Burgess: Even with no audience, artists will create because they can’t exist without creating. We try to develop other ways of entertainment – other than is possible in RL, or in a movie – another kind of experience.

Velazquez Bonetto: Theatre in the metaverse is something other than in RL. Here, can you really imagine. The story is always something human, but the new virtual tools makes the difference.
Velazquez and Josina are still playing with textures, transparencies, and they need a ‘new master timing controller’, whatever that is – because things don’t exactly translate between SL and other worlds. But the tweaking won’t take long, and they plan to put on a show some time in the next week or so.
Josina Burgess: Yes, we will have a party afterwards as well!
Be there.

And in the meantime, if you want some good theatre, go over to Youtube and see L1aura  Loire’s brand new Machinima Open End. It’s a meditation on a number of things, including irresolution and the navigational skills of leopards. Not to be missed.

L1aura Loire on Elena in Craft

Calling Craft

[11:44 AM]  radionne: [ CW ] »en» ☻ Thirza Ember ► hello all ◄

Want to venture into new worlds but afraid of missing out on the gossip, or being a lonely newb? Pick up the Latest accessory from Vadrouille Zepp, the Radionne. It’s a walkie-talkie for the omniverse. Anyone owning a Radionne can see messages from any world! (no private conversations as yet, but Vadrouille is working on that, probably refining it down to group use first.) You just wear, touch and follow the simple instructions.

Available in English German and Classic French flavours, the Radionne is Free on SLMarketplace and will be available in all good Freebie drop-off points in Craft – look on sim Hydra first – from this evening.

Here’s Tao Quan modelling the nifty device on a white belt. I wear mine on my left hand because I’m a dork and enjoy trying to click hopelessly for five minutes before sending messages of any kind. The Radionne has a nice ringtone to let you know people are getting in touch – lots of “good night” and “bon apetit” for now, but this is a great way to find out if other grids are working, who’s inworld, and what the weather’s like elsewhere.

Wow, a blog post about Virtual Worlds that’s not anguishing about Identity Monologues. You might have to mute me.

[11:39 AM]  radionne: Reminder, no insults, no sex, no ads except for events.