Saturday, August 11, 2012

Open Wales

Welcome, or should that be Croeso, to Little Wales, Susannah Avonside's home from home on Speculoos grid, handily reachable from Osgrid, for anybody who still hasn't figured out HYPERGRIDDING IS EASY, AND HAS BEEN FOR AGES...  
OK, calm down, have a cuppa, and a Welsh cake, and remember the people who get on the bus last are always the noisiest. The folk of Open Sim have been plugging away quietly for years, refining and improving the system in many different ways, and Susannah's been doing her bit, by adding a fascinating corner to inform and delight anyone who's curious about wales and its culture.
Susannah.Avonside: After being on SL for a while, I kind of got bitten by the virtual world bug and felt that SL was needlessly restrictive, predicated on greed. Being an enthusiastic supporter of Open Source (I've been a Linux user for four years now) I read up and discovered Open Sim and OS Grid. I created my first OS Grid avi in April 2010, but that first experience must have left a lot to be desired, as I didn't log into OSG for more than 18 months. Eventually I found my account details and password on an old half forgotten HDD, and came back to, well, 'Ruth'. I saw that there had been
huge changes, and I'd read about HG, and wanted to try it out. In late January of this year, I came here to to Speculoos on a whim. I'd seen that it was a free region. I thought 'what's the catch?' No catch! I flew around this cluster of regions for a bit; it was pretty empty then, only one other person, and they'd only planted a load of palm trees and put a house in mid air. I saw this bit and really liked the terraforming, so I rushed off and created an account on Speculoos. The rest is history.
As the travel Writer's dictum goes, the less you know about a place the easier it is to describe; it's way harder to provide an overview of the place in which you were born and raised. To accomplish that in 3D with the resourced of open sim, even tougher. But the sim is instantly recognizable as South Wales - Suzi's rendition of Cardiff castle is unmistakable, and she's added lots of features that will remind anyone who's known the green hills and black mountains of Wales, not to mentions the slightly frightening road signs, of just how rich and beautiful its culture is. There's plenty of Welsh language for you to soak up, and more on the way. I really loved the Zion chapel, although the goat was a little alarming. Building her own Wales has been a learning experience, and Susannah's approached it in a savvy way.
Susannah Avonside: As far as feeling confident my content is safe from grid crashes or corruption,  Gudule Lapointe, the grid owner, is meticulous about doing backups; she's a professional IT admin and very supportive. I've become unofficial stress tester for the servers! As far as my content gathering strategy, it's basically opportunist. I love to adapt, as you will see if you wander around a bit but long term the plan is to replace much of the stuff I've collected elsewhere with stuff I've made myself so this place is a bit of a mish-mashof ideas a bit of an elaborate brainstorm. I came here and just started building and things just sort of went that way!
She's also a keen advocate of Open Sim to her SL friends.
Susannah.Avonside: I still maintain a presence in SL, I don't go there a lot: but I have managed to persuade a fair number of them to at least visit OS Grid, and one has the region next to this one. I also did a mailout about this place to my SL contacts and friends, and generated some considerable interest. And I'm planning a considerable post about it on my blog.
Even in her SL days, Susannah had builds that featured Welsh street scenes and frequently had people ask her 'what language is that?' - a circumstance that made her acutely aware of the lack of general knowledge of the Welsh language, and also the wonderful opportunities that virtual worlds offer for sharing knowledge and improving people's awareness of cultures other than their own, in an immersive environment and using mutlimedia. Susannah is passionate about her Welshness, in particular the written and spoken word. Her favourite writer is Mihangel Morgan, author of, among others, Melog and The Mysterious Man, aka Dirgel Ddyn, (the two d's means it's pronounced pronounced Thin, by the way.)
 Susannah Avonside: One or two of his books have been translated into 'The Thin Language', as we Welsh like to call English.

The build has been a lot of fun, but Susannah continues to think about new projects and challenges. The idea of offering a virtual tourist destination, and increasing people's appreciation for her wonderful country, have already inspired a few ideas. And while SL often gets bogged down by narrow minded intellectual rights paranoia, (witness the Frank Lloyd Wright sim disaster) Open Sim offers far more freedom to interpret and celebrate great places with all that stink of filthy lucre hanging in the air.
Susannah Avonside: Virtual Harlech Castle anyone? I went to college in Harlech in the 80s and had a wonderful view of the castle and the mountains behind it. I also worked on an archaelogical investigation on Cardigan Castle, another good one. Although I'd probably go for building a replica of 'real' were Welsh castles rather than the Anglo-Norman ones. Something like Drysylwyn or Carreg Cennen.
I hope she does. Until then, don't miss her sim. Get there by visiting sim Redoutable in OSGrid. Wela i chi'n nes ymlaen!

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