Category: Places


Some 3 or so years ago I went to visit a friend on an OS Grid called Inworldz. Can’t say I was too impressed at that time as every time I logged in I kept floating upwards in the air!. Flash forward to 2014 and I decided to go back. Why? Mostly boredom with SL and also to see if there were opportunities there. Appearance wise it is much prettier now as the improvements in graphics and rendering has kept up with the SL grid. Plus it helps that a lot of creators have migrated over. The sole welcome area is staffed with genuinely helpful people. There are a fair share off, how can I put it, fetishists also present but they are well behaved and also are very helpful to new arrivals.

At Inworldz

Setting up your Avatar to somewhat resemble your SL one is difficult due to a lack of content, especially if you prefer a darker skin. If you’re white you’ve got lots of options. I was able to find a fairly close tone match for my skin, so I am was satisfied in that regard. Hair was a lot harder for me I’ve yet to find anything remotely similar to my SL style in appearance and quality. Eyes took a bit of searching to find one I liked. Just about every style I found had all those reflections in them, blocking out the much of the color of the iris! Clothing is pretty decent in my opinion. There are a lot of stores offering a wide variety in styles. Like skins and hairs, finding a style of clothing you do want will take a bit of searching to find. There are freebie places, but the pickings are slim compared to SL.

I recommend that you use the Inworldz provided viewer at first. I have been using the OS version of Firestorm, but a few things don;t work well with it like buying currency inworld or search. I use both. IWZ for transactions and Firestorm for general use.  One glitch I have noticed is making changes stick. A few times I have updated my profile, only later to see they didn’t stay. Or I would modify the texture on a freebie hair and the colors would revert back the next time I log in. Eventually if you keep at it, they stay permanent.

Perhaps the biggest negative is the lack of people there. One of SL’s criticisms is that it’s mostly empty. The same can be said of Inworldz. At best there can be up to 1,000 people online at it’s peaks. Once you leave the welcome are it’s hard to find anybody at all. Fortunately there are event boards all over the place with a calendar of events. Click the board and it TPs you to the location. With all that being said I still recommend you visit. Perhaps the best analogy I can come up with is to compare Inworldz to a remote colony of SL. The infrastructure is the same, the builds are familiar, but the economy and social life reflects a low population and a slower pace of life. If you like peace and quiet with less drama, then this is a safe haven. Look me up if you’re ever there!
Codie and Paypaback Writer
Codie and Paypaback are there too!
GoSpeed in Inworldz
My look so far.

In the past two months my interest in Second Life has picked up with the advent of my rediscovering of sailing and flying. Flying is a bit trickier than sailing as the average speed is much higher. This higher velocity makes sim crossings more hazardous and exposes you to more ban lines and full parcels. Typically in the past sailboats were the ship to use. Powered boats were frowned upon as crass and too easy to use. That’s all changed now and powered vessels are common place on the grid’s waterways. Me being different prefers the bigger, less common ships. Ships like oil tankers, aircraft carriers and destroyers:

We get an airshow-2

SLS Konahawk sails the Blake Sea - 2
Underway in the Dire Straits-2

Approaching aircraft

See you on the high seas!

One of the neat things about being on Plurk is seeing all the new memes roll through and sometimes partaking in them. This week’s meme is a website called Pummelvision. Pummelvision takes your Flickr feed and makes a movie out of it. Here’s my effort where I took the last 2,000 pictures which stretches nearly a year back in time.

 

http://vimeo.com/25058149

You’ll notice it posts everything that’s public to include shots of my garden, SL, Blue Mars, BSG Online and EVE Online.

Go

For a fortunate few of you out there you got to experience the “Hemisphere of Love” before it was closed down a few months ago. The HoL was a grand, hemisphere made from a large mega-prim and had a few levels to dance on. Projected on the walls and even the floors was a continuous loop of jazz, standards and R&B tunes.

Love Hemisphere 1

It closed down back in the late winter and it was sorely missed. A few days ago A Romantic Thespian Commented on my blog that a replacement was now in operation. A quick look through search located it and I teleported my way there.

First off it’s not a sphere or hemisphere. It’s a cube 50 meters on each side with the video projecting on all sides.
Cube of Love with Joe Walsh

A compromise I suppose to save on prims, but the resulting video is pretty jagged when stretched to fit 50 meter walls. Also the walls turn a bright white between videos which kinda spoils the atmosphere. On the lower level are vendors for various items, most which seem to deal with bondage and other rough stuff. I think I’ll stay on the upper level tyvm.  The music I saw had more blues and soft country rock than anything else. Still the execution isn’t too bad. If they could perhaps add more screens to remove the jaggies and maybe place video on the floor that would help revive the old feel of the original HoL. And Oh yeah, some more standards and romantic videos too?

Hemisphere of Love's replacement

The SLURL http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Sensual%20Paradise/15/226/2904

I’ve looked but not found a Marching Band animation for a machinima idea I have. Does anyone have an idea where I can find one? Ideally it will have 6-8 pose balls with the owner acting as the driver. IM me more leave a comment here if you know where I can buy or have someone create for me.

Marching Band

The Saturday Night Motown Party was a success! We met a lot of KONA Radio fans who play KONA on their sims, homes and off world. Keep listening! We love you all!

Motown Night went well

Blue Mars is doing quite well nowadays. Slowly but surely improvements are made. The other night we had a great time bowling in the Beach City bowling alley.
Bowling Night 28 June 2010

And lastly the Odd Ball. Tuna Oddfellow always puts on a great visual treat. If you’ve never been you got to go, set the draw to 256, turn up the SOMA FM space music and relax….
At the OddBall with Kel - 3

TTFN!

Wow, been an exciting few days in Blue Mars! The friends list has been fixed and one can now Private Message to any friend logged in. A lot more clothing items are now up for sale in several spots including Beach City, SigTel, and Grid Rock City ( and a few more places too). A few cities have been updated and a new city has also been added to the line up. First let me show you a neat effect I’ve noticed at Digital DNA. It’s now raining and thundering there and if you look closely at the trunks you’ll see water running down the sides. It shines and shimmers like real water.

Rainy Digital DNA

Last night a new city was added, Turkish Island. What a lovely island it is! Perhaps some 15% of the island has been developed so far but what is currently there is beautiful. The arrival area is dominated by a mountain on one side, a bridge on the other and park on the other side. As you arrive you’ll immediately see a pair of lovely waterfalls.

Turkish Island - 1

Turkish Island - 2

There is a much larger waterfall behind this one that falls off the mountain.

My new friend Anilise from Hong Kong joins me in exploring it.

Turkish Island (with Anilise) - 4

Turkish Island (with Anilise) - 5

I see a nice place down there for a picnic blanket.

Turkish Island - 7

Hope to see you there!

GoSpeed

Love Hemisphere no more?

I was about to log off and go to bed (night shift sucks btw) when I decided to make a quick stop at a favorite joint. The Love Hemisphere was an awesome place  that took advantage of a simple concept. All the walls and floor sections were a video screen that played jazz and standards  videos courtesy of You Tube.  I was shocked to see my LM did not work. Figuring they moved I looked at search. It’s gone! There’s a group still in existence but no one answers my questions in IM chat. **Sigh**

Love Hemisphere 2

Love Hemisphere 1

They also had clothing for sale too.

bdreams Madison  3

I would think that this idea could be easily replicated. I seem to recall the owner did sell “kits” so you could build your own club. When I get time I’ll see what I can find out. So sad to see it go :)

This past I had more time to explore in Blue Mars and attend a few events. Last weekend was a fashion show of sorts at the Welcome Area. It highlighted the work of several pioneering content creators in Blue Mars.

Fashion show - 2

Fashion show - 6

Fashion show - 14

There were also Q&A sessions with experts in clothing, shapes and skins and city developers. There will be more of these soon and I hope to be able to post the days and times they occur.

There was also some bowling at the lanes in Beach City
Bowling - 1

I also explored a bit more in a few cities. Here’s a planning map for the Capitalantis City. Currently devoid of buildings it is still a visual treat to behold.

Capitalantis planning map

Waterfalls. Capitalantis has a very big one!

Big Falls Capitalantis - 5

Big Falls Capitalantis - 1

Big Falls Capitalantis - 6

More pictures below the fold…

Continue reading

It had been a month since I last logged into Blue Mars and when Patricia Daviau brought it up in a recent discussion I decided to go back for a look see. First thing was a 2mb patch, no biggie. Oooh, what do I see here? Two new cities and updates to almost half the existing ones. First off I noticed was Capitalantis on the launch page:

This City is an environment preview of the later metropolis “Capitalantis”. Its 64 million square meter big map gives you enough room to explore, build, shop and socialize. Come and take a look at the massive mountainside or the endless ocean with its wonderful islands.

We hope to see you soon in Capitalantis.

The Virtual International Regions team.

Amazing! I download the city package and enter it. Now, first off most of you know how far you can see in SL. Typically we set our draw distance to 128-200 meters. More or less depending on your connection speed and the horsepower of your computers. The Emerald will let you set it to 1024 meters. The further your draw the greater your pain, your FPS will drop to nearly zero. Great for snapshots, but not for moving around. Upon arrival in Capitalantis you are on a platform up several hundred meters below a a wall of mountains (most likely a crater wall. Before you is a broad plain that meets the sea and an archipelago of small islands. The furthest island is some 6,000 -7,000  meters away. An array of signs will teleport you to them.

Capitalantis - 7

Capitalantis - 1

One of the outermost islands some 6000 meters from the mountains.

Capitalantis - 6
Another island. Notice the haze? Imagine the fun you could have sailing or jet skiing!

Streams flow downhill and go  over waterfalls, but they are still working on those. That shouldn’t be too hard as waterfalls are quite common in Crysis2 games.
Capitalantis - 2

Capitalantis - 3

This developer needs to work on the rapids effect.
Capitalantis - 5

A broad plain,  or flooded crater bottom.

The Singtel city features a big shopping mall. Just a few items on sale and the mall is basically deserted at this point.
SingTel shopping mall

Lastly I visited Digital DNA. It’s a fairly big place too, but only the immediate surroundings of the arrival spot are filled with content. But is it ever pretty! A nice forest with winding paths.
Digital DNA - 2
I followed a new patch that led me to a cave.
Digital DNA - 3

The lighting is also a bit different in this city too. I look a bit golden here :) .

Aesthetically speaking this is a great step forward. Recent improvements in IMs and the introduction of currency is a good move forward too, but still needs much work. However, I do have some suggestions on how to improve the experience:

1) Getting around. Just like RL getting from here to there takes TIME.  Virtual World users are used to quicker transport. Teleports, elevators, flying, etc… I can see where personal teleporting may ruin the immersion of Blue Mars and teleport devices may not always be where you want them and you have to end up walking a ways to get where you want. On a city that’s 4,000 , 8,0000 or 16,000 meters on a side surely we deserve wheels or a hovering vehicle? Hoverboards (like they had in There.com or what Marty McFly had in Back To The Future) , scooters, cars, boats and helicopters would sure be nice to have. And fun too! These larger city maps would also work great for WW1 or even WW2 aircraft as there would be room enough to maneuver at speed.

2) A robust and useful friends list. Like our book marks in a web browser we need to be able to categorize our friends and tag them with labels.  Every IM client on the web or mobile phone does this. While we can now IM friends, I have more friends on my list than I have screen space. As a result I can’t IM some of my friends. Come on guys, fix that! Chat is where it’s at!

3) Too many cities, too much space. A possible problem I see is that there are several large cities that will open up to residential use very soon. While people love elbow room they also like being where the action is. I’m not sure how quickly these cities will fill up but I can imagine having a glut of real estate will not be good for the city developers looking to break even in their early days.  How many people can rent or buy in Beach City? How many “residents” and merchants does it need before it can break even? Beach City is 16 Million square meters of which maybe 60% is usable (flat land). How much concurrency is it rated for ?? 250, 500, or 1,000 avatars? If a big a mass influx of customers to fill these places up does not materialize  I’d hate to see a developer not meet their goals and walk away, abandoning their city.

4) City prices. I’m not sure the prices are competitive, at least at this point. This is the list of what they offer: http://www.bluemars.com/hosting/service.html

Features Outpost* Village City Metropolis
Land Size User Defined User Defined User Defined User Defined
Concurrent Users 5 50 250 1,500
Support Forums Only Forum & Email Forum & Email Forum & Email
Setup Fee $100 $750 $2,000 $7,500
Monthly Hosting Fee $30 $275 $1,000 $5,000

A city that holds 5o avatars cost about the same in fees (tier) as a sim in SL costs. A very popular event in SL can easily approach 100 avatars.  Of course it’s going to be laggy as hell, but you can be there and share the experience with a very large crowd of people. Of course in BM the lag is a lot less pronounced or non existent. The biggest selling point for BM is less lag. Why place such a low arbitrary number on a product that is priced nearly the same as the competitors product?. If you got lots of room and low lag then you should be able to have a higher concurrency. I’d suggest these new numbers for concurrency:

Out post : 25 (This would be a Homestead Killer)

Village : 200 (Ever own a sim in SL but wanted to have a multi-sim estate?)

City : 750  ( Definite estate or corporate killer)

Metropolis : 2000 ( For deep pockets or short term events)

5) Avatar appearance. It looks like clothing and skins will come along just fine from the rumors and pics I’ve seen so far. The one weak spot is the avatar shape. They simply are not very customizable. Everyone pretty much looks alike from the neck down. from the neck up the range of variance is very minimal. No one’s Blue Mars avatar comes close to looking like their SL avatar. Personally, my BM avatar is pretty homely. Bleh. If I could import my SL shape that would be awesome! Could it be as simple as using XML or something like that to do the trick?

I’m hopeful points 1,2, & 5 will be addressed to my satisfaction by the end of the summer. Time will tell if points 3 & 4 will work themselves out.

GoSpeed

DJ GoSpeed at The Black Cat Club 7-9pm SLT – Wednesday

Getting back into the swing of DJing again!!! Join me tonight at The Black Cat Club in Grand Harbor spinning some awesome music. I plan on a lot of Motown tunes so strut your soulful  self on down!

Dj GoSpeed Black Cat - 3 Dj GoSpeed Black Cat - 2

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Grand%20Harbor%20I/60/169/502 Just follow the RED carpet to the club.

Dj GoSpeed Black Cat - 1

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