Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Fact and Fantasy Safari

          Sometimes we think of it as a fail, but one of the virtues OpenSim is that it has no theme, beyond its variety, liberty and instability. Everyone does what they feel, and it's a testament to the inherent positive spirit of, well, humanity, that here are so many grids and regions that celebrate beauty, generosity and goodness, without being self-conscious or coy about it.
          This week, the Safari visited three grids, Saraneth region on Ignis Fatuus, ArcadiaShop on OSGrid, and three sims on Craft Grid, Hildesheim, Heritage and ESOC. HG Addresses, as usual, at the end of the post. Some builds are factual, some are pure fantasy either of an original form, or developing beloved stories or images, but all of them teach us something.
Saraneth is a var region on Ignis Fatuus Grid. This small, francophone grid is best known for its small team of fine builders, with their love of Voice and large landscape builds. 
They take no prisoners in terms of slowing down to accommodate a franco-friendly but international crowd, but if you enjoy hearing French at sixteen to the dozen, and are online in the evening Paris time, this is definitely the grid for you to visit and set awhile.
           Saraneth is only the most recent of a vast collection of immersive environments or 'landscape art' on Ignis Fatuus grid, and you may remember we visited Shenn Tao's sims just a few weeks ago.

James Atlloud: Very smooth tp
Franziska Bossi: cool sim
Thirza Ember: amazing fast tp!
Lucy Afarensis: yes - and no lag
Spike Sol: What for Mountains
ShennTao: welcome bienvenus

          Set around a lake, Saraneth is an architectural fairy tale; palaces, cottages, temples, caves, and pools are the jewels in the crown here. You're going to want to visit at your own place in order to truly discover this region's secrets.          It was a visit at a furious pace, as Max Hill, Harthelie Deux, Chip Angelvi, Jeff Kelly, Shenn Tao and possibly more of the Ignis companions (there were about 25 of us present, so I may have missed the names of some 'natives' - sorry) led us around, from one place of interest to another.  Hard to keep up, mostly because the gorgeous panoramas left and right of the path were absolutely enchanting. Also sorry for the fact that it was more than halfway through our visit that I remembered their pension for voice, and only then did I turn up te volume, so much of the locals' explanation was lost.

Thirza Ember: so lovely here... what is the story of the sim?
Shenn Tao: the sim story  comes from a picture
Jeff.Kelley: The inspiration came from a video game, the Max added his own touch. the main building is the 'palace' with the blue roofs over, located inside a large valley.  so the project needed a var region
Max Hill: The-Book-of-Unwritten-Tales, this is the name of this game

          We only had an hour to visit, and they clearly wanted to make sure we saw as much as possible! Camming is another god way to explore, but really, it's worth taking the time to explore on foot. Scripted poses abound, as do exquisite textures, something we've grown accustomed to seeing on Ignis. Not everything's mesh, this building for example is all prim...

          There's Max's house, a gorgeous belvedere, some interesting designs in fountains and windows, and a nice mermaid's grotto, reputed to be the new home of Harthelie, which also explains her mermaid costume from a couple of weeks ago.
          My favourite bit though is this wizard's grotto which I stumbled upon with the cam, but never could get back to on foot.... see if you can find it!
          Stop two was an exercise in hg fundamentals - patience! we went over to make a quick shopping trip to Aaack Aardvark's region on OSGrid. Aaack's regions are, just for the record, hosted on his personal computer somewhere in exotic South America.
      Aaack has set up his store on a sim called ArcadiaShop - no, no nothing to do with Aley, this shop is about mesh and original Aardvark content, but yeah, full perms, which we love! The building, which is woth waiting for if it doesn't instantly rez, is an early creation by Aaack and represents a progression from the terrestrial to the celestial. That is why the windows go from heavy frames to lighter frames, to no walls at all on the top floor. There are a number of rigged avies, attachments, household items, and a very nice Cyberman avie that I just had to have. Aaack's happy for his creations to be modded and passed around, but please, give him credit if you do.
Waiting for the ArcadiaShop to rez
     Think that's poetical? Well take a while to meditate on the meaning behind the fact that, in your own viewer, you're often fully clothed and perfect, when it appears that your friends aren't all there... and bear in mind, they see you like you see them!
Mook takes a look at the goodies
          Aaack wasn't able to join us on this visit, which was planned as a last-minute deal. But it's important to remember that his sim is here in OSGrid, and also Aaack's YouTube channel is a great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about Blender! Like his inworld creations, this is a free gift to the OpeSim community, so show the love - be sure to subscribe and like videos, if so inspired. His tutorials cover just about everything from those Beginner problems you're to embarrassed to ask about (and by you, I mean me) all the way up to weighting, baking and mirroring. Yeah, neither do I. Must watch more vids, it will sink in eventually!

          Our first stop was on Hildesheim sim, which is a fabulous reconstruction of the historic center of the ancient German city of Hildesheim. Work here was done by Pixel Prim and includes some of the most amazing photorealistic textures you're likely to see. As you know, good photos for building facades are really hard to do - the angles are always tricky, and often good textures are marred by being repeated too often, spoiling the look. 
          But these are awesome. The other downside on sims of this kind is that they're often only building fronts, with nothing behind them. Not so here! several of the buildings are visitable, including the Guild Hall, shown here. 
          Inside, there are many information boards, and you can even watch a film of the real town as you sit inside the virtual version!
         We met up with Yoster Allen on Craft grid. Yoster, who is 90 years old in the real world, is an amazing creative force and together with other builders, notably the great Pixel Prim and Craft-world's own Tao Quan, is responsible for this region together with the two next to it. It was very cool to go from the super frenciness of Ignis to this very German set of sims. We all did surely appreciate the effort all our non anglophone friends put in to make s understand their art and craft. It's really fun to travel the world without leaving home in this way.

          From Hildesheim, Yoster invited us to join him on the contiguous sim called Heritage, where a Louvre style building houses a massive collection of images representing Heritage sites all across Europe. It's a work in progress but already impressive.

Mook Wheeler: Yoster's energy is what made this possible, I guess :)
Sunshine Szavanna: so much Europe in one place
Max Hill: ich liebe this place
Spike Sol: hahahha yes Szavanna: beautiful
Mook Wheeler takes her hat off to Yoster :)
Yoster Allen: in this building (the Louvre), over 400 pictures. Click on the photo and you get info from websites. I have written everything in English
Mook Wheeler: the scale of the building project, and its informational content, is mind-boggling
Cheops Forlife: good to have it here, the Seine could put the true one under water last week
         Nearby, we admired another project by Pixel Prim, St Michael's Church, a 13th century place of worship in Hildesheim, and also a World Heritage Site. The textures aren't all up, but as you can see it' a good looking build. Finally we walked through to the last sim, a space-themed region called ESOC.
        Again, the buildings are visitable and contain a huge amount of information about space exploration, beginning with the basics, like this model of the planets in the solar system, and dozens of models of space craft

Yoster Allen: this Sim has a built in Tao and I, since I don't see too well. All the buildings are full of info and models - to see here everything you need a day.
       It's a great place to visit t learn more about these missions, with a mixture of photos, info boards and 3D exhibits. That makes it interesting because you get a much better idea of the physical dimensions of these wonderful machines. 
Wizardoz Chrome: It reminds me of the muesum in Washington!
Finally we saw the control room - a copy of the original in Darmstadt, Germany. The attention to detail here is a tribute to the passion for precision of the builders, and a huge compliment to the men and women of science who run the real world space programs. 

Tannoy OSgrider: all even future missions included? wow
Cheops Forlife: congrats to the owner
Mal Burns: great build
Wizardoz Chrome: Many thanks to you:) Yoster, it's an awesome build!
Tannoy OSgrider: here is much more to see than anywhere today
George Equus: Sehr beeindruckend!
Spike Sol: so i have to go.. thank you for this nice evening
George Equus: Mir auch. Vielend Dank
Yoster Allen: Was a pleasure. Please visit again. Good night!

         What a wonderful range of places we have to visit, and extraordinary people we get to meet in opensim! Don't miss any of it!
HG Addresses
Max Hill's build, Saraneth...
Aaack Aardvark's shop, OSGrid....  hg.osgrid.rg:80:arcadiashop
Yoster Allen and friend's sims, Craft....

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