We got the answers to some important questions like - is 'Ball' the 51st state? How important are jars to education in virtual worlds? Is guinguette a made up word? Does Pathfinder own any shoes? What is VIBE? and... How many avatars does it take to crash a sim on Ignis Fatuus Grid?
First stop this week, a long overdue chat with Professor Stephen Gasior, who showed us around REDgrid, the OpenSim home of Ball State University.
Jessica.Pixel: right clicking my head made it show up, so we're good
Wizard Gynoid: We are now in Indiana
Lucy Afarensis: oh my
LuAnn.Phillips: sounds like Alice in wonderland dialogue
Wizard Gynoid: why is it calleld Ball State?Stephen Xootfly: It's named after the Ball Family who gave a lot of $ - ever heard of Ball Glass?
Jessica.Pixel: wait, the Ball family that gave a lot of money is the jar family? cause that's awesome, i love those jars.
Selby.Evans: My family canned with Ball jars. And made preserves.
REDgrid is small, sturdy and has several very different sims, featuring some beautiful and accurate reconstructions of the campus buildings, and we started out by the pixel version of Shafer Tower.
Stephen Xootfly: The grid and the original builds here are run by the IDIA lab. IDIA's work has been used for History Channel shows but, also they tend to partner with students and faculty for intersecting projects.
Serene.Jewell: It's really great that you opened up to the hypergrid. So many educational builds are hidden away where we can't see them.
When it comes to Educational grids and regions in OpenSim, it can get a bit confusing, between the all the names of the various institutions and projects. Stephen is busy here with REDgrid, which is part of IDIA, but he's also very much a part of VIBE. So how did he get started with teaching and virtual worlds?
Stephen Xootfly: I got my start teaching in Second Life at U of New Orleans. They used to have a big SL presence and many classes, and I'm a technophile. HG safari has visited my VIBE projects in the past, that's a collaborative working group with Clowey Greenwood, Max Chatnoir, and several others. I happened to come work for Ball State and got involved with IDIA Lab. REDgrid predates my being at BSU. IDIA lab is well equipped with lots of good computers. So they just set up one to be a dedicated Opensim server. Working with BSU IT to get it setup for hypergrid was difficult, but we have an outside line now. I've recently started a community here at BSU for using REDgrid. Very recent, but we've already had a class use it for a gender identity project, and I have a build I"m going to make this summer.
|The crowd descends on Sursa Hall|
Stephen Xootfly: Ball State has a history of accommodating disability issues. So, I'm hoping REDgrid can also facilitate that, and we have a lot of online students, so having this be a social spot for them would be great. We have Sursa Hall, a recreation of one of the main campus performance halls. A nice recreation of the artwork in real life on the wall here, a colorful light display. I'd love to redo it with particles. IDIA has its own Quicktime streaming server, and ICECast so this will be a place we can stream live campus music events or videos.
|Inside Sursa Hall|
LuAnn.Phillips: Is Ball State still working in Blue Mars?
Wizard Gynoid: BLUE MARS?
Wizard Gynoid: blue mars is still a thing?
Stephen Xootfly: Ball State is heavily invested in Blue Mars although, it's not the most active all the time in terms of educational build development.
Pathfinder.Lester: it's not a public commercial tech anymore. http://idialab.org/ball-state-universitys-idia-lab-is-granted-rights-to-blue-mars-virtual-world-technology-from-avatar-reality/
|Owsley Art Gallery|
Stephen Xootfly: Let's go check out the Owsley museum. Inside are actual re-scanned pieces of real life art that the real museum has in their collection. I would really love to have the real museum coordinate shows with this inworld one.
The globes in the atrium can be a bit overpowering if you don't modify your graphics, but the overall effect is wonderful. The photo art is a little mysterious, it seems to be places in virtual worlds, but there's no signage, leaving us to wonder where they were taken. It's always so nice to visit a grid with a local guide, rather than just hopping about by yourself, which nearly always means you visit the main sim, perhaps one or two contiguous sims, but don't see the outlying areas. Stephen supplied a visual aid to help us see how much building there is on the grid.
Beyond the campus sim, other points of particular interest include the airport sim, called Prototyping....
Pathfinder.Lester: whoa. huge
Selby.Evans: not enough parking -- very realistic
Stephen Xootfly: I think it's based on a real airport, and the idea was to use it to model passenger foot traffic patterns
... and the nursing school sim, called BSU Instructional. TPs from region to region played havoc with attachments, but we're all used to that by now.
Stephen Xootfly: In this room is the most used and longstanding education piece. I was not involved with it, but the nursing department used it quite a bit for several semesters.
Pathfinder.Lester: aw, I wanted to take a copy of this Ball State coffee mug as a souvenir. Stephen, you should give away these cups to HG visitors. ;)
Selby.Evans: take a picture
Jessica.Pixel: how many avatars does it take to pick up a mug?
Stephen Xootfly: I'll make it copyable
Pathfinder.Lester: cool! I will display it proudly in my home on Pathlandia!
There's one on show at the clubhouse on Teravus Plaza, OSGrid also.
After our educational extravaganza, it was time for the Guinguette! Off to grid Ignis Fatuus, for a specially organized dance party in the style of the early 20th century. The Ignis team, Max Hill, Harthelie Deux, Aime Socrates, Jeff Kelley, to name but four, have really pulled out the stops on this one. A dedicated sim just North of the main Ignis landing point, it is filled with flowers and lights and gorgeous textures. About 32 avatars from seven or eight grids were present, and yes sure we crashed it once, but considering how much was going on, that's not bad!
Dancing styles turned out to be many and varied, everything from the waltz to breakdancing. No purists on Ignis, luckily, so scifi or fantasy avatars were made to feel at home like the rest of us in our big dresses and even bigger hats.
Some people had gone to a lot of trouble with hats and dresses, Serene Jewell (center of this photo in autumnal orange) managed to come up with a tree-related gown which deserves special mention, I hope more intelligent photographers got a better picture of it. And not just the ladies were dressed to kill...
...there are many more photos on Facebook and in the HG Safari group on Flickr, which you are welcome to join.
Wizard Gynoid: what does "guingette" mean?
Ange Menges: The guinguette were places where people can dance along a river near Paris
The simplest way, though not the fanciest way, to find a place via hypergridding, is by using a HG Address or URI. 'Simple' in that it is low tech and works with all viewers and doesn't require you to rely on anybody but yourself and your computer. One click hypergridding is never going to exist, it's a skill like eating or driving that involves several working parts and an ability to interact with others, so it you want something fast and simple, HG is not for you.
Open your viewer of choice and log on to a HG enabled grid. Open the Map (button at bottom right of screen usually) and copy the HG Address into the Search box, hit Search, wait for the Map to find the destination, and then Teleport.