Friday, June 13, 2014

So near, safari

This week's safari was a bit of a change of pace. We met on Miguel Rotunno's sim, Ilha Magica, in OSGrid, and there were about 8 of us, which was a nice number - some cool new friends from Kitely were there, and even SaveMe Oh popped over to wish us well on our travels. We have plans for a machinima competition in open sim, I hope she and many more of you will join in, more about that in coming weeks.
We really lucked out with destinations this week. Our first stop was Francogrid. Their Fest'Avi was last week, and they have launched a new range of full perm avatars,with lots of weird and wonderful looks for you to try. Praline B, Cherry Manga, Phil, Gill, Cendres and all the guys and gals of Francogrid interrupted their weekly meeting at LeVillage to come over to sim Avatar and welcome us. It was immensely heartwarming. There are about 20 avies so far, and the plan is to add to the collection, so by next year, as Cherry said, there will be twice as many! It still very slightly a work in progress, not all the outfits were complete when she unpacked them, Wizard Gynoid tells me, so once you're grabbed your freebies, check in with the folks over there if you're missing a wing or a wingnut, and I'm sure they will sort you out.
From Francogrid to OSGrid, managed to lose a few Safaristas in the process, but bear in mind, our meeting time is the lunch hour/early afternoon in the US, not an ideal moment for many, and we much appreciated them joining in if only for part of the tour. We went to meet Avia Bonne on her sim DutchMountains. It's important not to add a space between the two words, or you may never get there! In fact quite a few people had problems jumping back to OSGrid. Your alternatives are, I suppose, two. Either move to a different sim within grid you're on, and try again or just log out and back in again, in which case you'll find yourself back on your home grid.
Avia's shops put the lie to the rumor that there's little or no mesh in open sim, or that you can't be a 'real' virtual designer unless you sell your stuff. She has everything from menswear to houses, dresses to sofas, (unmissable is Garry Beaumont's wall of manly accessories!) and it is all up for grabs. But please, don't actually grab the items! Take a copy, not the original. 
Duh, I know, seems obvious, but sadly, she keeps coming inworld only to find creations are missing from her stores, because someone took the shop 'original' by mistake. If you do use her creations, remember they took hours - even days - to make, so drop her an IM to say thanks. 
That's the open sim way. If you're not on someone's friends list, or are from another grid, you can still IM a person by clicking Edit on one of that person's prims, and in General, click on the Profile of the creator, then IM them. 
 Take a moment to pan away from the shops and see the full extent of her bravura. The sim has more than freebies to share!
 Avia has been in open sim, she said, for about 5 years, and has a huge portfolio of work on her regions, lots of Steampunk, plenty of fashion. Her generosity extends beyond the many free items she has made available, she's always quick to praise her fellow builders. 
Avia suggested we visit her neighbor Kathje Kitaj's sim, Hill Valley, based on the movie Back to the Future. The entire build is basically all mesh. It is amazing!
Next stop, the grid created by Vanish Seriath and his dear wife, El. The name is TGIB; it's pure poetry. The Grey In Between, The Good In Bad, The Ground Is Below, and a host of different meanings. The regions are poetry too, a tribute to the spirituality and charm of both halves of this lovely couple. All the anxiety of grid hopping seemed to melt away, helped perhaps by a quick dip in the lake.  Vanish explained about OpenSim Creations, which is of course an online 'community shop' for open sim items. I notice they also have a monthly building challenge, how neat! Vanish explained to me what a Var is - turns out you can have a variable sized sim now. I know, right? These crazy scientists! 
It was also a joy to listen to Miso Susanowa, who has been in vw's for just about forever, chatting about the early days of virtual living with DJ Phil and SSM back on Francogrid, as well as talking about the wonderful skin resource that Eloh Eliot put on line, oh centuries ago. Lag is probably the biggest headache in hypergridding. So many proxies, servers, signals, programs. It helps to have a second computer for Facebook or Skype or anything heavy that you need to keep open. Taking Ultra photos is a sudden pit of treacle. Inexplicably, people suddenly are reduced to a name tag and a head of Ruth hair.
 Fuschia looks invariably gorgeous in my viewer, I think it has a crush on her, but when Vanish Seriath, who had been along with the group from the start, took us to TGIB his upper torso disappeared. Does it matter? Not really, on the whole. There's a sense of being on the edge of a great ocean of progress and possibility in Open Sim, a world where people are in it not to make money but for the love of the game, the love of creating. 
Luckily everyone in the group is good at getting pictures, and a special shout-out to the lovely Wizardoz Chrome, who always takes such great shots. We now have a Flickr group too, for those who want to join there.
What about if you don't even have an open sim avatar yet? Don't let that hold you back. Sure, there is going to be an initial moment in which you'll feel dorky, or even invisible. You will crash, I can't lie. But we are in no rush, we'll wait while you come back on line, we keep FB chat open so you can send an SOS and get the hg address of where we are, in real time. Let me stress, it's not just me. You can also contact Wizard Gynoid, Wizardoz Chrome, or Fuschia Nightfire if you need help.  
Next week - the future, today! Join the Facebook group and page, both called HGSafari, if you'd like to know more.

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