Thursday, May 21, 2015

A year of Safari

whirli placebo: i made it back!! hahaha can i navigate these hypergrids or what     
A year ago today, Wizard Gynoid showed up for the first HG Safari. It was just the two of us.
Wizzy on Week 1 of the Safari
        We left from Craft Grid, because that's where she had an account in open sim. Wizard was no OpenSim noob, she was one of the first to have her fantastic geometric art shown on Reaction Grid, and spent many happy years commuting between SL and Inworldz. But the idea of just jumping about, bouncing off servers and leaping into the unknown, well, that seemed like something that might be more fun to do as a group, where nobody laughed too loud if you were a cloud or had your hair stuck... elsewhere.
Early Safaris were often cloudy. This is week 4, in our first clubhouse on Ilha Magica
          It's called a Safari because
it's a wild ride and survival is not guaranteed. You never know if you're going to see something major and memorable, or if you'll just see empty savanna.  Or whirling dervishes and a flying shark.
Tip Corbett concert on Alpha Auer's Shapeshifter sim, NGrid
         People say that OpenSim is 'empty'. It's not empty, it's just big, and it's not always easy to find a bit of life if you don't know where to look for it. 
Francogrid's weekly meeting at Levillage
          Francogrid and Metropolis hold their weekly grid meetings on a Wednesday, so it seemed like a good bet we would run into people if we chose that day.
Clubhouse, Teravus Plaza, OSGrid
         One year on, and we have visited close to two hundred sims on about 60 grids, great and small. Well over 100 people have joined us on Safari, although (thank goodness) not all at the same time. Some have shown up once, and never returned. Some like Spike Sol started out as hosts and became regular attendees. Others have come and gone and come back again, depending on their RL schedule.
Scottius Polke hosts the safari at The Docks, OSGrid
           Many who began as tourists like Neo Cortex, Mal Burns and Scottius Polke have gone on to host very enjoyable Safari visits. Having seen the experience from the inside, they were ready for all our extravagances.
hgsafari sim, Francogrid
          We have moved our main HQ from OSGrid when it went offline to Metropolis Grid (thanks to Nara Malone) and then to Francogrid (thanks to Gill Beaumont) and now we meet once again on OSGrid, in the little house by the waterfall on Teravus Plaza. Many other grid owners have generously given us a place to meet or to display information about the group.
Clubhouse on Outlands sim, Metropolis
         OpenSim's motto ought to be Liberty, Variety, Instability. All things come and go, but friendships and the desire to have fun while discovering new places, those are constants.

         This week, about fifty people showed up on Event Plaza, over the course of the two hour concert by Truelie Telling and Safari newbie Whirli Placebo - we had 41 on the sim all at the same time, at one point. Yeah, the point just before we crashed the sim.    
Pathfinder - the Jumpfather of Hypergridding - and a Safari Jeep.
           Fuschia Nightfire put on the most amazing light show, inspired by the moving attachments and textures of SaveMe Oh, but with a lot of Safari related elements... photos just don't do it justice. Here is a tiny taste of what went on.
         By Week Three of the Safari, there were four of us. Wizardoz Chrome does a lot of exquisite photography and machinima among the euro art crowd in Second Life, Fuschia Nightfire is a real world artist with an impressive body of work in SL and OpenSim, from sculptures to murals to clothing, and is also well known in the SL music community for her machinima.
Wizard, Wizardoz and Fuschia at Lani Global's place. This is my favorite Safari photo of all time.
Add to the talent of all three an extraordinary patience... because that's probably the thing hypergridding demands of you most. The first few HG jumps will often throw your Viewer and/or computer for a loop. When your Viewer isn't acting up, it's the destination that is misconfigured, offline, or just being annoying. That was part of the challenge, to keep together, and survive the frustrations of teleport limbo, lag, and missing bits.
Art Blue performance, with his famous Annoying Light
          Once we started having regular parties of ten people or more, we began to warn folk we were coming, so they could restart their regions and show them off to their best possible advantage. This led to more performance events, including Art Blue's mindbending happenings, and concerts by Wolem Wobbit, Tip Corbett, Scofi Robson and a regular monthly events with Safari Songstress Truelie Telling, who has many original songs about virtual life, and even one just about the Safari!
Truelie Telling
          There have been naysayers - one sent me a Notecard listing places we MUST NOT VISIT - there were many suggestions of how to better run the Safari. Everything from using only blamgates to travel, to the concept of sending one avatar to visit the grids, while the rest of us watched on a screen. Many have attempted a HUD device for the Safari, but so far nothing has been shown to beat a low tech approach. Keep it simple, sweetheart.
          Sometimes we have broken sims.
The destruction of Spike's grid
          But our purpose was to push the limits of what is possible in three ways: to hone our individual hg skills, to inspire our hosts to make their grids more stable and visitor friendly, and to get developers to make hg travel better. All in the spirit of cooperation, chaos and fun. Thousands of hours have been spent tweaking code, load testing, building, writing, and decorating in preparation for Safari visits - thank you to all those who have worked so hard to make the Safari happen.
Halloweening on Insula Aeternum
          As the Safari has grown, so has the hyperverse. Some grids we visited have since disappeared, some have gone away and come back again, others have expanded and improved.
Elephant riding in Virunga, Outworldz
Others, like refugegrid and outworldz that came into being during the "OSGrid Incident" have become great successes.
Wizzy with Spike Sol of Weltraumbahnhof, Soloton
          Two outstanding hypergridding gate hubs have emerged - Spike Sol's Weltraumbahnhof, and Eld, on Shaun Emerald's Sanctuary grid. Several online Destination Guides have come and gone, and more are promised. The sheer number of people you'll find on grids has increased exponentially.
Shaun Emerald of Sanctuary
          There are social events every day of the week, on one grid or another, and for the most part, we're shedding that medieval, intolerant, 'my grid is the best grid' mentality. This means that people are sharing their information and solutions to problems, and being less grouchy and weird. OK in some cases only marginally less weird, but it's still progress, right?
Sitting on a fountain, Landfall, OSGrid
          And for our next trick? Where in the worlds will we be? Join us on Wednesday and find out!


  1. Wonderful post Thirza and great photos!

  2. I am amazed and so happy how well this group has gone on. Great Job! and may there be many more!!