“We were here” – Discovering Footsteps in the Wilderness and Flags across the Hypergrid

I started the Hypergrid Adventurers Club because I think the development of Hypergrid-enabled interconnectivity between Opensim grids is a beautiful and fascinating evolution.  And in my experience, if you want to help cultivate growth and innovative uses of a new technology, it’s a good idea to do whatever you can to build a supportive community around it.

Recently I noticed a very interesting phenomenon across the Hypergrid.  On regions in areas that allow visitors to build or rez objects, some people are planting flags.

We were here.

An old friend from Finland left this one on Pathlanda many moons ago.

These flags typically have hovertext indicating the person’s home grid, and the image on the flag itself is usually either the flag of the visitor’s home country or a symbol of their home grid.  Groups of flags seem to most commonly spring up next to Hypergates.  And in addition to flags, in some places I’ve noticed graffiti tags left by visitors.

We were also here.

Who started this trend?  Who knows?  But whoever and wherever you are, I salute you.  Now we have people exploring the Hypergrid and leaving little calling cards of their visits for other people to discover.  A fun and fanciful way to let people know “I was here,” to share information about other Hypergrid-connected grids, and to encourage even more exploration.  Simply beautiful.

Here’s my own flag. Have you found it anywhere?

I’ve created my own flags and have started leaving them across the Hypergrid.  And on my home grid of Pathlandia I’ve designated a special area and made it clear that I welcome anyone wishing to leave a flag.

Your flags are welcome here.

Bob Solo recently left his flag on Pathlandia. Great to meet you Bob!

Have you discovered any interesting locations of flags, or do you have a place on your own grid where you would like to encourage people to leave them?  Please let us know in the comments.

Such is how communities truly grow.  Footsteps discovered in the wilderness, voices across worlds, and the making of new friends.

- John “Pathfinder” Lester

About John Lester (Pathfinder)

John Lester is an expert in the educational use of virtual worlds and 3d simulations. His background is in neuroscience research and medical education, and he previously worked at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Linden Lab. John is currently the Chief Learning Officer at ReactionGrid Inc., helping clients develop new systems for immersive learning using web and mobile-based virtual world platforms.
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13 Responses to “We were here” – Discovering Footsteps in the Wilderness and Flags across the Hypergrid

  1. graememackie says:

    Hey John. Simply to say thank your sense of wonder and curiosity as you go about your adventures, and for bringing back such amazing news from the new frontiers.

    Best, Graeme
    virtualyou.me

  2. graememackie says:

    Just left the same message in your pathlandia blog to say “big thanks for being such a great explorer, and from your messages back home from the new frontiers”

  3. Ummm … Better get my flag designed … also need to think about what permissions I should give some land for flag planting without taking the risk of people just leaving rubbish on the land … any suggestions?

    • To be cautious, you could set up a small parcel where people are allowed to rez objects but keep scripts disabled. And make sure the surrounding land has Object Entry disabled and Autoreturn enabled. That should probably do it.

  4. John –

    I recently took down the little plots on Hyperica regions where people could leave stuff because a kid showed up and left a million spheres all over the place. Fortunately, I have automatic daily backups and it look one click on a Web control panel to restore the region to the last clean state.

    Is there any way to set up a sandbox area where folks can’t do that?

    I can see how turning off scripts might help — you won’t have stuff that makes copies of itself. But someone can still show up throw some coalesced collections of giant litter up in the air and let it roll out all over the region.

    I can just see a new job title for the future: virtual security guard. You sit around in front of a bunch of monitors showing activity across all your key areas, automatically zooming in on the busy ones, and if someone shows signs of causing trouble, you kick them right off.

    • Hi Maria,

      Probably the best you could do would be to set up a small parcel where people are allowed to rez objects but keep scripts disabled. That stops self-replicating objects. Then make sure the surrounding land has Object Entry disabled and Autoreturn enabled. That should stop anything from potentially leaving your rez area.

    • Kim Rufer-Bach says:

      Virtual security guard = online community moderator. At one company where I worked in that capacity, we even had star-shaped badges.

      But there could be a less labor-intensive solution to this specific prim hogging/self-replicating object problem in OpenSim. Wouldn’t it be nifty if there was a built-in feature or scripted gadget that would allow you to limit how many prims a given user could leave on a parcel? It would just be a tweak to the usual sort of autoreturn feature we know. Heck, could even tie it to group roles or something like that, so visitors would only get a few prims, but those you trust would have a higher limit or none at all.

      Thanks for blogging about this emergent behavior, Pathfinder. It makes me want to make a flag and go exploring. This is the kind of cool stuff that got me interested in virtual worlds in the first place. :)

  5. John Sheppard says:

    I’m going to make an area on my sim, which is Whisky, connected to Furry Village.

  6. Ferran Brodsky says:

    script your own (rez-a-flag / push pin map / floating text display / graffiti wall) system for explorers to click, not as nice as stabbing your own flag into the virtual dirt, I know. This could be an alternate solution for those worrying about having 9001 retarded batman flags dropped.

    I say leave the building option, imagine how Columbus would have felt if he got this –
    Sorry we missed your conquest, please leave a message at the beep. *beep*

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