Thursday, December 25, 2014


Wizard Gynoid: I've got Stangens up the yazoo
         Well, we all did by the end.  'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the club, we were getting ready to visit some Hypergate hubs. Jump stations have always been an important part of any grid, and now increasingly grid owners are looking for ways to make their grid hyperfriendly.  Above and beyond that, there are those who've made Hypergrid Hubs central to their virtual life. Are they all equal? We put together a very short list: Hyperica, the venerable mother of all hgstations, the splendid stones of Sanctuary, The great red Weltraumbahnhof most associated with Metropolis, although it runs in fact on a home server, and two smaller collections, the brand new Hydra sim on Craft, and Selea Core's pristine windows on worlds. The great Thinkerer, Selby Evans was there at the start, but we lost him. Not on purpose. Here's hoping he gives us another shot next time.
          Here are the URIs
          The idea is you go to all five destinations, take a selfie on each stop, and count the working gates. You're welcome to go try them yourself. Which of the destinations did you find most useful?
Talia.Sunsong: We look like a festive herd
Alizarin.Goldflake: sheesh we supposed to count all these?
Wizard Gynoid: how come Maria never comes hypergridding?
Thirza Ember: We don't let her out of her office, except to visit Mal, and even then, I imagine Mal is armed at all times. Where is Mal, anyway?
Alizarin.Goldflake: I need to straighten my antlers
Wizard Gynoid: i'm leaving my antlers crooked as a statement
Talia.Sunsong goes into rut and starts head banging people
          I think Talia is our kind of safarista.

Truelie.Telling: ok, far as I can tell, only this one aisle is working
Alizarin.Goldflake: oops I just cammed and found some more
Thirza Ember: working gates... or just gates?
Alizarin.Goldflake: does that make a difference to the contest?
Truelie.Telling: yep
Alizarin.Goldflake: was it in the rules?
Thirza Ember: it was in the fine print
Wizard Gynoid takes swig off vodka bottle
Alizarin.Goldflake: oh sheesh - pass me the bottle!
Thirza Ember: everyone has a generous quantity of gates to Kitely, but Kitely never seems to have gates to go anywhere else. I can't imagine why.

 We were lucky enough to run into Shaun Emerald on Sanctuary.
Talia.Sunsong: Hi Shaun
Shaun.Emerald: Hello!  Love the antlers. :)
Thirza Ember: we came to count the gates. They'll ask you how many gates you have - don't tell them!
Alizarin.Goldflake: i get 83 working
Shaun.Emerald: ~80
Alizarin.Goldflake: oh TY!
Wizard Gynoid: i get 96
Truelie.Telling: yay!
Shaun.Emerald: 194
Talia.Sunsong: wow 193

Thirza Ember: good save there, Shaun
Shaun.Emerald: 100 of them are up in the sky. They are part of the rollercoaster. :)
Talia.Sunsong: Blue and red gates don't work?
Shaun.Emerald: Blue are (or were) down. Red have issues (at least for me). When I see a gate is down, I mark it blue to remind me to test it when I see it's up again.
Alizarin.Goldflake: have you been to all these grids, Shaun?
Shaun.Emerald: Yes, I test every gate.
Talia.Sunsong: Shaun is an intergalactic traveller
Shaun.Emerald: If you go to the back row, far right, you will see the 101 gate. That's the entrance to the rollercoaster. :)
           We did and it was AWESOME. An crazy trip of TPs and drops, one after the other. How many times have travelers passed through Sanctuary without realizing this was here?

          Next up, we went to the Weltraumbahnhof. Try spelling that after a few glasses. Snow everywhere. Quite a wonderland, a weltraumsbahnhofwunderland. *Lies down in a darkened room*

Wizard Gynoid: this is Spike's place?
Spike Sol is Online

Thirza Ember: yes! the new improved version
Talia.Sunsong oh many gates
Wizard Gynoid: i found the HG Safari gate!
Thirza Ember: A lot of the places we've been to - almost all of them, in fact - have gates here
Wizard Gynoid: this gate is to our Metropolis clubhouse. we have a new one on Francogrid.

Spike Sol: yes i know  - here is the gate to Franco grid.
It was getting so close to Art time, but Alizarin managed to snap a photo of Hydra before joining us on Metropolis for Art Blue's show about the moon. 

           Here's her picture. She's right, those horns are a bit off.
          None of us ever did get to Selea Core, but it will keep for next time.

          Art's show on Futurelab, Metropolis Grid, was about the Moon. It was dreamy, strange, trippy, with particles, music, words, and light, not all of it annoying. 
          There was a flying ship and some bizarre particles and animations that had Mal Burns walkin' on the moon, and Wizzy in magical pose mode. The moon kept handing us Stangens that you had to wear, with particles, and rods that were still circling my head this morning, despite the fact I took them off like 12 times and hyperjumped all over the place.
          Before we knew it, there were gifts and goodbyes and off we went back to Francogrid for Truelie Telling's concert that featured her Hunt song, an unexpected 'hello' from her RL husband, who sounds like a sweetheart, and of course, a rendition of 'Where's My Hair'. 

The Safari anthem. What fun.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Classic Safari

Once upon a time, there was a grid called Virtyou, and it had gallic village on a sim called Niflar. This was all pre mesh, you understand. Well, Virtyou seems to have sort of morphed and amalgamated with another grid, Nick Zwart's 3DLES grid, a language acquisition environment in association with Digischool. The idea is to make immersive environments for the students to play and learn in - there are Quiz chairs, videos, Sloodle boards, and games like Snakes and Ladders, which is Snakes and Chutes to you, probably. This is Chatterdale, with its pub, Belisha beacons, Job Center, fish and chip shop, and so on. You'll find a potted version of France and Germany on sims Parolay and Plauderstein respectively.
 Nick frequently has 20 students on the grid at any one time without his system even blinking. OK, now you're thinking: "hahaha, famous last words" and of course, you're right. Hypergrid visitors are not like regular local visitors. We really should get that printed on a tee shirt or something.

Many kept trying to move around the grid to lessen the lag. Serene Jewell got as far as the language sims and came back and said nice things about the concept. Others attempted the games, but on the whole it was pretty tough going for a group such as ours - definitely worth adding to your 'list of places to visit by yourself' though.

Anyway, Niflar was a sim with an Asterix village on it. It was one of those cute places that many of us, wandering lonely as a cloud - often quite literally - just happened upon. Nothing all that mind shattering, but a classic build, and part of OpenSim heritage. It was offline, but Nick very kindly fired up the oar, so you can go visit it. 
Mildly Asterix/Obelix

There are full perm Asterix and Obelix helmets in a box at the Francogrid clubhouse, too, if you want to risk looking silly. Not as way out at Nick, but kinda.

Full-on Obelix
You can also get a set of Fuschia Nightfire antlers!
Our next stop was a Christmas Carol reading in Kitely. Not everyone appreciates the Christmas spirit, a fact that people who do like Christmas often find hard to fathom. A bit like the way some smokers don't get why anyone would object to second-hand smoke. Dickens, who generously handed out large supplies of both, is a classic and whatever your views about Yule, we were extremely delighted to listen to a truly classic reading from Caledonia Skytower of the Seanchai Library whose Winterworld sim is a nice compromise between the season's greetings and a generally snowy playground. Getting Voice to work in hypergridding can be a bit of a challenge, but we soon overcame it (huh. Turns out, it helps not to have Voice muted when you're trying to listen to a reading.) 

Miso stands listening as Caledonia Skytower tells of Marley's ghost  
Caledonia made the chains clank, she made Scrooge mutter and squirm, boy, you could smell the roasting turkey by the time she was through. Shandon Loring, dressed as a snowman when we arrived, did a reading for the later group at 6.15pm grid time, and by all accounts it was equally well done, with everyone donning the snowman look by the end! 
Shandon Loring the welcoming snowman extraordinaire!
At the end of our session, we all hurried off, the Kitely contingent to their grid meeting, the rest of us bound for NGrid. 

Sadly Alpha Auer who hoped to join us was too ill to be present, but we had a great time exploring two excellent sims we'd not been to see previously on this amazing grid.
Arriving on Ouvroir. The cat is Guillaume-en-Egypte.

Chris Marker's installation on sim Ouvroir was our first stop. He's a pretty interesting guy, and if you take a moment to check out his website then the install will probably make more sense to you.  
Miso and Snowy check out the laxative

Ooo Twelve Monkeys associations. Plus this giant can of... something. 
Truelie's headwear choice of ape, not hair, proved strangely appropriate.
This is another Classic build, it actually dates from 2008, but for most of us, it was our first ever viewing.
 NGrid is always a joy, the biggest challenge is usually finding your way back to some completely mindblowing corner of a sim that you would love to bring friends to see. 
Blurring the line between books and film on Ouvroir
  After Ouvroir we took the tiniest look at one last piece next door in the Synthetic University on HyperSim. Works by Olga Vlasyuk,  Mosmax Max aka Max Moswitzer and others crowd and flow in mindboggling variety up into the clouds. We stopped in this Tron-esque structure, and took stock. What variety, what talent, what luck to be able to share it all with friends. A truly classic safari.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Safari In Wonderland

Wizard.Gynoid this is starting to look obscene

 Not one Wonderland. Three. On three different grids. Because this is OpenSim, not merely SL. We saw Alice, rode dragons, made new friends, honed our ability to grid jump, and thoroughly came to terms with the instability - and beauty - of hypergridding. 
Cherry Manga's new Alice build on Francogrid
First up, a Winter Wonderland, Canadian style. L'Hiver du Grand Nord is on Dabici Straulino's VAR region full of snow and fun, and oh boy did we take advantage. Kelso Uxlay and Dabici herself were on hand to welcome us when we arrived, via a gate she supplied, although the Safari Landmark seemed to work OK for most. The HG Addresses are at the bottom of this post, and of course, the LMs and explanatory Notecard (not reading the NC can make your life more difficult) are still available on both the Metro and Francogrid bases, and in Group Notices on Craft, Francogrid, and Metropolis. 
L'Hiver makes you shiver
Creanovale is the biggest little grid, and has a gallic smart ass bot called Jean-Givre on hand to keep you company if you go over there by yourself. If you're into festive stuff, there loads of decorations in the winter market. James ATLOUD found what he described as an HG Wells lost underground vessel (an excellent excuse for another visit) but that's not why we came. 

Tobogganing on a Bullet sim. Now that's fun. Cluster tobogganing may look obscene to Wizard, but it's a blast! Well, until you crash.
Rezzing on ice!

DS Tobogan Mesh-T-04: snowbody.Cortes riding toboggan!
Nara.Nook: Oh this is cool!  love having a driver
snowbody.Cortes: I'm a crazy driver
Kelso.Uxlay: I never though it could be multi sit.
Nara.Nook: what is yeehaw in Italian?
Jessica.Pixel: WHEEE
Jessica.Pixel: I'm sitting on Wizzy's lap lol
         The teleporting within Var regions turned out to be challenging. Ending up at the bottom of the bay without your bits was par for the course, as Truelie Telling found out more than once! That might have been because there were 15 of us though. Some couldn't make the jump at all; going to your home world and trying again will often help with that, it seems. Although it's all voodoo. 
Ferd shows us how it's done
           Next up, a preview of the new Ferd Fredrix' Quest, Elves and Dragons. Ferd and Debbie's grid is called Outworldz, and it's challenging to get there. Not German Grid challenging, but almost. Two different landmarks, personal TP's and the URI got most people there but a few experienced the bug that takes you to a 404 web page when you click Accept on Teleport Offer. 
Stuck at the Safari clubhouse on Francogrid? Check out the freebies including Jessica's new opensim tanktop!

          Here's a piece of bizarreness; there were three people stuck on Francogrid. The Map address wouldn't work for them, nor would the LMs from the dispenser. When I passed them a 'fresh' yet identical version of the  main LM, two of the three were immediately able to jump. 
          Later, Scottius Polke joined us, he couldn't jump from Francogrid, couldn't jump from the *Startregion* of his home grid of Metropolis, even after relogging... then from a nearby sandbox on Metropolis, poof, the Landmark worked. 
Outworldz Welcome Hub. That's a small door!

          Worth all the hard work? Yes. Not just because the Phaze team have made an outstanding build yet again, but because... grid jumping is a bit like a new cell phone. You have to tough through the ineptitude/enemy interface bit, then it gets easier and you can stop looking for a phone booth.  If you HG Jump enough it becomes easier. I swear. What does that easiness mean? That you can, with confidence, go to new places without having to find a tp gate. That you reach out and spark new alliances and inspiration, and gain perspective about your own builds and the world in general. That you find ways in which you can make the community stronger. That you're no longer tied to gates, that you don't get caught in the same-old same-old. That you take a leap. 
When the game's fully up and running, you'll be able to customize your dragon with a million permutations

          Speaking of leaps, a dragon wonderland! This quest is all about - will be all about, it's not finished yet - having your own personal, personalized, dragon. After years of volunteering and creating and giving in SL, Ferd Fredrix has finally closed his sim there, to focus 100% on his work in open sim. This is not the only quest you can visit on Outworldz, but it is perhaps the most ambitious so far, with two tribes of NPC's (so much great mesh by Debbie Edwards!), a village, a castle, tunnels, lava and - of course - a lot of pesky sheep.

Ferd's heavy Book of Magic may be affecting his posture
           Here is a game people will be able to come back to again and again,  honing their dragon skills, and just delighting in the gorgeous landscape. Not a lot of it was visible in this viewer during the Safari, and many people reported being frozen, but it's such a beautiful build that even if you could only cam a bit, that gave a general idea of its greatness. And our Safaris are more about discovering places to return to, rather than having the full experience of each region on your first visit.
Check mate. Like this build? Show your appreciation by making something free for OpenSim!

          Last up the Wonderland par excellence, another preview but oh what a sight, Cherry Manga's new Alice in Wonderland. It's is her way of paying back to the community, and in particular, to her sim provider, gill beaumont. Francogrid is a not-for-profit grid, and if ever there was an example of how virtual worlds can escape the boring confines of mere money exchanges,  this is it. 
gill beaumont: mon cadeau de cherry....
gill beaumont: c'est magnifique pour moi... 
gill beaumont: desolĂ© pour le lag, faut optimiser la regions.. mais ce soir c est un bon test niveau server 
gill beaumont: merci a vous!
Visitors from four different grids: Dabici, Serene, Patti and Jessica take in the sights

Serene.Jewell: It's so pretty at this spot.
Thirza Ember: this is just a preview
PatriciaAnne.Daviau: it is awesome so far!!
Serene.Jewell: I love it.
Dabici.Straulino: it so beautiful, well crafted and imaginative

Fuschia.Nightfire: don't eat the cake, james had his feet in it
PatriciaAnne.Daviau: ewhewww gross
James.Atlloud: very cooling after all the walking
Fuschia.Nightfire: this is usually the time of evening when Thirza dances on the table
       Not this time. It was all Fuschia, in the lingerie costume that wouldn't cooperate for the Hedonism party last week. Pretty in pink... and what a dance!
This week's URI collection:
L'Hiver du Grand Nord
Elves and Dragons 
Alice in Wonderland

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Kids are Arles Right

James.AtLLOUD Thank yous to our hosts and organizers. W00t w00t.
If you'd been on Metropolis about 3 hours before the start of this week's Safari, you would have found Art Blue rehearsing his performance on a perfectly functioning Futurelab sim.  Art's Performance, which kicked off the first Safari of the month had as its theme 'open sim identity', although this being Art, it was a lot more complicated than that. But to help him illustrate the point, there were four Thirzas online, three of them hanging out in Futurelab, his combination workshop, theater, community sandbox and meeting-place sim, complete with Harry's bar. We sat in the Safari zoo and tested the stage as he went through his lines, little thinking that by 12 noon grid time, something sinister would happen.
 Here's Lena's 11 pm post on the Metropolis Forum *thanks, Google translate!*
Huhu metros,
Metro is already been the target of an attack. This time the attacker has taken the inventory structures targeted. It seems that he knows / she fits well for the OpenSim code and has exploited a vulnerability in the inventory-handling.
Zak Spot, Uncle CM and I are just going to sift through the damage and take remedial measures. Until we have the database properly restored again, we have to turn off the grid. We can not yet say whether we still hinbringen today now. But we try.
Since it seems someone pretty nasty sight on us. We will keep you up to date.
many greetings
Patti, Strannik, Pathfinder and four or five other avatars form a TP Totem Pole on Futurelab
What does 'hinbringen' mean? You find out.
The only thing for sure was, the show couldn't go on. Those outside Metro were not getting in and those inside couldn't communicate except by yelling at their computer; satisfying, but not, as you know, terribly safari-efficient. What to do in the circumstances? Regrouping on Francogrid at our clubhouse worked for some, while many more headed to the second destination, clearly much too early. Nothing new there.
Aine shows off her marvellous mesh

Aine Cohime also known as Mata Hari greeted us graciously as ever. She makes lovely mesh items, and her sim Hedonism is on a new and pretty stable grid, founded by a handful of experienced open sim creators after the effective demise of OSGrid. Refugegrid is really easy to get to, and sim Hedonism is an exotic dance venue with a clean and simple layout, designed to enhance the many NPC performers and to keep lag low.
The Galaxys show us how it's done
But not last night.
Was it the lingerie or the lusty boy dancers that managed to keep everyone's enthusiasm piqued enough to keep coming back after the crashes? It's always fun to hear people speculate about what's making a place or an avatar crash: it's the Atlantic, or your choice of Viewer. It's packet loss, or something hinkey with your a/o, or any one of a few dozen other variables. There were freebie boxes of lingerie available on the sim, but with  so many of us, we seemed to overwhelm all scripts. Mal Burns appeared to be ogling, but he claimed the lag made it impossible for him to move.
A likely story.
Despite the problems, we couldn't help but admire Aine's dance systems, or her beautiful mesh work, not to mention LadyJo's dee-janeing, and we all hoped that the second party - the Safari by Moonlight event, debutting yesterday, would have more luck than us.
As the sim crashed and crashed again, many regrouped on Francogrid. It was tempting just to stop there since jumping seemed so fraught, but Wizard wouldn't hear of it. And thank goodness we followed her lead.

Mudpuddle Cleanslate's Arles sim is an absolute gem with seventeen viewpoints that re-evoke his paintings. It's a sort of artistic quest, but there's even more than that, for he's also expanded the build upward and outward. The ideal start point is in the square in front of the cafe, but beware, if you hypergrid in, using the hg address rather than the Landmark, you may find yourself inside the railway bridge.
Find van Gogh's house, tucked away on a quiet corner of the sim, and go inside.

Downstairs there's a special tp among the artist's brushes. Upstairs, if you walk through the famous bedroom... well, you need to go yourself and see what happens.

You'll be astonished. Quite astonishing was the sight of Apmel in lingerie. It seems the Ladies got all the good stuff and the guys felt left out.
Apmel Fransson mixes and matches in a way best described as 'disturbing'.

Mal.Burns: yep - need male lingerie Thirza!
strannik.zipper: I have the painting in my Cafe on Pirate's Atoll!
I bet it didn't have quite all the same features.
Strannik Zipper: I love having a kilt! Now I just need a Ghille shirt and a skindoo!
We were all loving not having lag.
Mudpuddle joined us, and we were all able to compliment him in person for the wonderful install.

strannik.zipper: Mudpuddle, did you ever see the Van Gogh exhibit in SL about 5 years ago? You have outdone that for certain!
No surprise there, since Mud has been modelling van Gogh paintings in 3d for thirty years. But he's also a fine machinima maker, and more!
Apmel Fransson: this was worth all the trouble we had on this safari.
Mudpuddle.Cleanslate: I'm gonna give you all a link to my new and last machinima regarding van Gogh. The music was specially written for it by keoki trask [here's that link]
Fairy.Constantine: omg, amazing that you tube thing:)
Nara.Nook: bookmarking all the videos
If you haven't joined us on Safari, this build alone should get your hypergridding juices flowing. You can find, as always the URI at the bottom of this post.
beware the friendly Ironbridge NPCs.
Our final stop was Ironbridge, on the newly hypergrid-enabled 3rd Rock Grid. What a build! What a welcome! Tommy Rock, Sunny Tomorrow, Kered Owl, and more of the team were on hand, to make it even more special. Ironbridge, the lovely work by VelvetVoiced Vixen, surrounded us. It's an important real-life Heritage site in England, marking the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The build is educational, but also fun as it involves a quest for pies. What on earth more could you possibly want? And now HG Accessible.
Tommy.Rock: We figured it was time to join the crowd, or be left behind, and being pioneers of the permissions systems, we have no plans of sitting on the sidelines

3rd Rock Grid gives every indication of being rock solid, and there was very little lag and almost instant rezzing for 8 or 9 HG visitors. Famous for its music, the grid has in fact numerous destination sims and if they are all as high quality as this one, you are going to be heading there again and again.
Thirza.Ember: after metro failling, and Hedonism crashing 3 times, these last two destinations have been a lot better than we had any right to hope, tonight.
Nara.Nook: all ended well :)
sunny.tomorrow: I'm glad we worked then hehe
Thirza.Ember: I know it's been a lot of work for all
sunny.tomorrow: well we sure have been trying hard for sure
Nara.Nook: Metro needs some serious relief
James.AtLLOUD: ah, that's where the original HG Clubhouse is, no?
Apmel Fransson: so Francogrid is next for big trouble.. first HG clubhouse at OSgrid..and then Metrogrid and now.. oho
An unattached Fuschia makes friends with the pieman. Let's hope his hands are oven-warm.

Kered.Owl: reminds tommy no hg safari club house here
Tommy.Rock: Nope; PLEASE, TRY to crash it, lol ;)
 James.AtLLOUD: That's the spirit!
Tommy.Rock: Our servers eat a can of spinach daily! ;)
Mal.Burns: Were you going to put clubhouse on Hyperica Thirza? Using that as safest jump point recently
Apmel Fransson: well we even have an embassy in SL..and it hasn't crashed SL yet
Fuschia.Nightfire: we should put a club house on every grid, then we always got back up
Nara.Nook: yes you can never have too many alternatives in the hypergrid
Thirza.Ember: Keeping track of more embassies?  I need to lie down in a darkened room
Fuschia.Nightfire: This is Thirza without wine - normally she would be agreeing with me
Apmel Fransson: got a head ache Thirza?
snowbody.Cortes: I confirm she is without wine :)
Nara.Nook: *passes Thirza mulled wine*
Thirza.Ember: I think it better be absinthe at this point
Tommy.Rock: :)
Tommy.Rock passes his glass...

Art Blue's Futurelab performance space:
Mata Hari's Hedonism dance club :
Mudpuddle's Van Gohn installation:
VelvetVoiced Vixen's Ironbridge reconstruction and quest: