Hypergrid Adventurers Club visits a Myst and Uru inspired world: Devokan Trust on OSGrid

Yesterday, the Hypergrid Adventurers Club visited OSGrid to explore Devokan Tao, the central hub of a collection of regions called Devokan Trust.

The entire area is inspired by Myst and Uru.

About 10 of us made the journey across four different grids, and you can follow in our footsteps by looking at our travel plan.

Our guide was Dot Macchi, who explained the history of the project to create a Myst/Uru inspired world built by many different people.  It’s an amazing collaborative effort.

What we found were places of such stunning artistry and subtle aesthetics that I’m at a loss for words to describe them any further.  So I’ll simply share pictures.

Thank you again, Dot, for spending so much time with us and explaining the beautiful storyline behind it all.

Continue reading

My Opensim Grid “Pathlandia”

More pics of Pathlandia

To help with my exploration of the Hypergrid, I’ve set up my own Hypergrid-enabled Opensimulator grid running out of my home.

Continue reading

Hypergrid Adventurers Club visits OSGrid – January 5 2012

To celebrate the reboot of the Hypergrid Adventurers Club, we took a trip from jokaydiaGRID to OSGrid.

It was a very successful journey, and I hope everyone had a good time.  Read on for a summary, some pics, and instructions on how you can make the journey yourself.

Continue reading

The Hypergrid Adventurers Club RELOADED

I started the Hypergrid Adventurers Club (HGAC) over a year ago to create a venue for folks interested in exploring the Hypergrid together.  While we were working on some major OpenSim upgrades here at ReactionGrid the past few months, I decided to pause our weekly HGAC meetings.

We’re all very excited about rolling out OpenSim 0.7.2 to all our OpenSim clients.  We’re doing this major upgrade on a case by case basis, and one of the great new features of this newer version of Opensim is upgrading to version 1.5 of the Hypergrid.  This version is supported by the majority of OpenSim grids currently online.  Which means we’re dramatically expanding the universe of interconnected OpenSim grids that our clients can explore during their hypergrid explorations.

And thanks to all the hard work of everyone at ReactionGrid, the Hypergrid Adventurers Club’s home base on jokaydiaGRID is now running OpenSim  0.7.2. 

Starting this week, I’ll be resuming weekly meetings of the Hypergrid Adventurers Club.  The first new meeting will be Thursday, January 5th 2012 at 4pm Eastern Time.  We’ll be meeting on the region “Scooter” on jokaydiaGRID.  For more details, please see this event on our calendar.

And be sure to join our Google Group if you’d like information about upcoming meetings.

See you on the Hypergrid!

Take care,
-John “Pathfinder” Lester

Chief Learning Officer
ReactionGrid Inc.

Report: The Hypergrid Adventurers Club tests ReactionGrid’s Opensim 0.7.2 Alpha Grid

Today, the Hypergrid Adventurers Club tested ReactionGrid’s Opensim 0.7.2 Alpha Grid.  It was quite an adventure, spanning 4 different Opensim grids running 4 different versions of Opensim.

We gathered on the region HGBridge on ReactionGrid’s 0.7.2 Alpha Test Grid, and from there we began a series of Hypergrid jumps.

About 10 of us joined in on the Adventure.  Here’s where we went if you’d like to follow in our footsteps:

1) START: ReactionGrid Alpha Test Grid
HG Coordinates: secondlife://alpha.reactiongrid.net:8002:HGBridge/139/156/22
Grid Location: (4000,4000)
Grid Software: OpenSim 0.7.2 ReactionGrid.

2) NewWorldGrid
HG Coordinates: secondlife://grid.newworldgrid.com:8002:BioZone/
Grid Location: (6991,6995)
Grid Software: OpenSim 0.7.1.1 Release

3) GermanGrid
HG Coordinates: secondlife://login.germangrid.de:8002/
Grid Location: (8000,8000)
Grid Software: OpenSim 0.7.2 Dev

4) END: FleepGrid
HG Coordinates: secondlife://fleepgrid.com:8002/
Grid Location: (9013,9013)
Grid Software: OpenSim 0.7.2 RC2

I chose these locations because they represented 4 different versions of Opensim which, theoretically, are all Hypergrid-compatible with each other.  It’s always good to test theory by putting it into practice.  Some folks initially had difficulty logging in to our Alpha Grid.  This caused some chat and movement lag/freezing.  But despite this initial glitch, the region and grid recovered all on its own.  Then we were able to start jumping.

Starting out on the region HGBridge in ReactionGrid's Alpha Grid

A few of us made it to GermanGrid when it suddenly stopped accepting connections.  This might have been caused by a region crash due to the load of our visit.  Our apologies to the GermanGrid admins if we caused any problems.

Those of us who couldn’t make it to GermanGrid simply hopped from NewWorldGrid to FleepGrid, since both grids are within the 4096 region limit for Hypergrid jumps.

We arrive in FleepGrid

Fleep Tuque, the owner of FleepGrid, joined us on our Adventure.  She welcomed us all when we all finally arrived on her grid, and grid performance was excellent.

Chris Hart, ReactionGrid’s CTO, attended the test.  Here’s what she had to say about the event.

“Overall the event was pretty successful. While we had some issues with teleports between regions, the server stayed up and running for the whole time. We had a wide variety of clients logging in to the grid at the same time which seemed to cause a few lockups, but after a little perseverence most made it inworld and were able to HyperGrid teleport out successfully. Those that had difficulty logging in, and even those that didn’t, we welcome feedback on your experiences, please let us know which clients you were using to connect and whether you were logging in locally or were visiting from another grid.”

As always, the best way to give us feedback is to submit a ticket on our Metaverseheroes support site.  If you were part of our adventure today, please let us know all the details about any glitches you experienced.  We want to make sure ReactionGrid’s version of Opensim 0.7.2 is as stable as possible before we officially release it.

This upgrade to Opensim 0.7.2 will be a big step with many new features and additional stability.  And once it is finalized, ReactionGrid will be part of a much bigger universe of Opensim grids interconnected by the Hypergrid.

Thank you all again for helping test things out today.  I hope you had a fun time, too.

Take care,
-John “Pathfinder” Lester

Anniversary Celebration of the 1939 New York World’s Fair in ReactionGrid

On April 30th 1939 (that’s 72 years ago!), over 200 thousand people gathered across an acre of land that only a couple years earlier was an ash dump.  Thanks to four years of hard work and planning, those people were able to get a glimpse of the future.

They were attending the opening of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Paul M. Van Dort has organized a celebration of the Opening of the World’s Fair in ReactionGrid.  This is the first time an event commemorating the Fair’s opening in a virtual world has ever been done.  While only a few of the pavilions have been constructed so far, this is an opportunity to see the Fair and to actually walk around and explore it.  Walk through the Trylon and Perisphere, view Democracity, and travel down the Helicline. Visit the New York City Building, the Belgium Pavilion, and Westinghouse Electric.

And keep in mind that what you’re seeing is a vision of the future from 72 years ago.  It’s pretty mindblowing to remember that fact.

Continue reading

Hypergrid Adventurers Club – Visiting a recreation of the astronomical observatory at Pic du Midi de Bigorre

Our Hypergrid Adventurers Club visited a virtual recreation of Pic du Midi de Bigorre in NewWorldGrid this past Sunday.  Follow in our footsteps and check it out for yourself!

Pic du Midi de Biogorre is a mountain in the French Pyrenees famous for its astronomical observatory.

Aime Socrates (who has also built some amazing recreations of nuclear research facilities at CERN and physics education spaces) is building the mountain out as a learning space for students interested in astronomy.

Here are some photos from our journey.

Continue reading

Hypergrid Adventurers Club – Visiting China Town in Francogrid

Our Hypergrid Adventurers Club visited a beautiful region called China Town in Francogrid this past Sunday.  Follow in our footsteps and check it out for yourself!

China Town is under construction and being built by Vinc Sonic, but he’s already done a fantastic job of creating a very atmospheric cityspace with lots of detail.

Here are some photos of our journey.

Continue reading

An Obscured Opportunity: Opensim and Content Creators

Opensim is a compelling platform for virtual world development.  And some new technologies have recently popped up that could potentially make Opensim even more compelling.

Tipodean has launched a preview of their web-based viewer.  And Kitely just opened its doors for people to create on-demand Opensim installations.

Opensim continues to grow, bringing both new opportunities and new challenges.

Content Creators and Opensim – Here There Be Dragons

Opensim poses a very real challenge for content creators who are used to selling and distributing their products in Second Life.  The permissions system in Second Life offers a reasonably decent DRM solution, allowing content creators to specify exactly how their products can or cannot be shared among other people within Second Life itself.  And Linden Lab responds to DMCA takedown notices to deal with illegally copied content that slips through the cracks.

But in Opensim?  Here there be dragons.  Permissions systems can be circumvented by less reputable Opensim grid owners.  Content can flow between grids in ways that strip the original creator’s name from an object’s metadata.  And content can sometimes be found that, while appearing to be freely copyable, is actually being distributed freely without the consent of the original creator.

This situation is not too bad for folks using Opensim as a way to distribute content licensed for creative commons or public domain use.  But for content creators looking for the same DRM safety net that they currently have in Second Life, the situation with Opensim is less than optimal.

These are all technical challenges for the Opensim core developers. Over time I have no doubt we’ll see new types of DRM solutions evolving in Opensim that will put content creators more at ease.  There are also various commercial Opensim grids that have ways of implementing DRM for people selling content within their own grids (the downside being that only users of their grids can use this content).

But I think all this fear of dragons is obscuring a broad opportunity for content creators and Opensim as a whole.

How the Rest of the World deals with the Distribution of 3d Content

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time exploring the world of 3d content development outside of Opensim.  I’ve been using Unity3d to develop virtual worlds using ReactionGrid’s web-based Jibe platform.  You can even check out my own Jibe world if you’d like to see what I’ve been building.

With Unity3d, as well as in any other professional 3d development platform, you build environments that use industry-standard mesh models.  There’s a huge amount of commercially available mesh models for folks to purchase on many different commercial websites.  If you need something, and you lack the skills to create it yourself, it’s probably out there for sale somewhere.

And almost none of it has any DRM.

All these mesh-based items for sale typically have very clear and explicit licensing agreements.  But that’s basically it.  Content creators generally rely on legal agreements to protect the use of these creations, not any kind of DRM.

Many professional and hobbyist 3d artists make a good living selling their 3d content on the web in this fashion.  It’s a business model that works.  If it wasn’t, you simply wouldn’t see so many commercial websites selling content like this.

And I personally think it’s a business model that holds a lot of potential for creators of content in Opensim.

If it’s easier and more enjoyable to buy it than to steal it, people will buy it.

The devil is in the details, of course.  You need to create systems that let people easily buy and use content.  Apple and Amazon have learned this, which is why they are very successful at selling DRM-free music.  So have very large and successful 3d content sites like Turbosquid.

The only thing worse than piracy is obscurity

Right now, I see very few people selling DRM-free content for use in Opensim.  Most content creators are probably afraid that any content they sell for use in Opensim might escape out into the wild, or even be copied illegally into Opensim from Second Life without their knowledge.  And that’s a valid concern, absolutely.

But I think the opportunity to sell content to people who want to legitimately buy it and use it in Opensim far outweighs the downside of illegal copies floating around.  Not just in terms of making money from sales that otherwise would never have happened, but also in the fact that you will be building awareness of your brand and content.

And if you discover someone has a pirated copy of your work, definitely file a DMCA takedown notice.  But consider reaching out to such people in more thoughtful and creative ways.  You might be surprised at the results.

Mind the Dragons, but don’t let them Rule you through Fear

At best, DRM helps to keep honest people honest.  If someone really wants to illegally copy 3d content, there’s no technical way to stop them.  That’s simply the technical nature of digital media.  The best way to deal with illegal copies of any kind of digital media is through effective laws and legal process.  DMCA is a step in the right direction, but the legal world still has a ways to go in catching up to the world of digital media.

If you are a content creator and are not comfortable selling any of your 3d content for Opensim use without effective DRM, then by all means don’t do it.  But don’t let your fears obscure your ability to see new opportunities.

Think about dipping your toes in the water and selling some things, or even just giving a few things away for free.  Put up a website that makes it easy for folks to buy and download your products for use in Opensim.  Publicize it.  See how much money you make and how many new customers you get.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

-John “Pathfinder” Lester

If you are a content developer and are selling DRM-free content for general use in Opensim, please let me know in the comments.  I’d be happy to add a link to your website in this blog post to help raise awareness of your business.

Special Hypergrid Adventurers Club Meeting – March 13: Exploring Hypergrid 1.5

The Hypergrid Adventurers Club has its home on the region Pathlandia on jokaydiaGRID.  That’s where we start all our meetings, and where we begin our jumps to other grids on the Hypergrid.

Our challenge right now is the fact that the Hypergrid is currently fragmented into three different protocol versions (HG 1.0, HG 1.5 i6 and HG 1.5 i7).  If you are on a grid running one of these versions of the Hypergrid protocol, you can make hypergrid jumps to other grids running the same version.  But you cannot jump between grids running different versions.

All of the grids hosted by ReactionGrid (which includes jokaydiaGRID) are currently running HG 1.0.  We’re pretty conservative about upgrading things at ReactionGrid, since the majority of our customers are educators and businesses who value stability above all else.  While many people are successfully running grids using the newer HG 1.5 i6 and HG 1.5 i7 versions, we’ve found in the past that serious bugs often only become apparent when running larger grids.  So we’re still waiting for the dust to settle before we upgrade things at ReactionGrid and the 100+ grids that we host for other people.

But in the meantime, there’s a lot of cool stuff on HG 1.5 grids that we want to explore with the Hypergrid Adventurers Club!  Fortunately, our club has pioneering members who have set up outposts on the network of HG 1.5 i6 grids.  So for our March 13 meeting, we’re going to explore two of those outposts.

What you need to do to explore HG 1.5 i6 with us on March 13

Our two meetings on Sunday, March 13 (5pm+10pm GMT) will begin on the region HyperBase42 on NeoGrid.  NeoGrid has been set up by Neo Cortex, and he is designing it as a convenient place for hypergrid explorers to begin their exploration of HG 1.5 i6 compatible grids.

If you already have an account on a HG 1.5 i6 based grid, you can reach our meeting on NeoGrid by logging in to that account and hypergrid jumping to this address: hbase42.hopto.org:8002:Hyperbase42

If you don’t have an account on a HG 1.5 i6 based grid, you can sign up for a new avatar account on Hyperbase42 by going to this account creation page.  Neo has to approve each account, so be sure to register your new account as soon as possible to it will be ready for Sunday’s meetings.

Once you’ve created an account on NeoGrid, you can log directly into it using the following settings in Imprudence’s Grid Manager tool:

For the first 30 minutes of our meeting, we’ll hang out on Hyperbase42 and get a tour of all the hard work that Neo Cortex has been putting in to the space.  Then our group will make a hypergrid jump to explore Vanish Seriath’s HG 1.5 i6 compatible TGIB grid.

The home base of the Hypergrid Adventurers Club will always be the region Pathlandia on jokaydiaGRID.  But until all the different versions of the hypergrid are sorted out, we’ll occasionally have more meetings like this in the future.  Stay tuned as we adventure into the wider constellation of interconnected worlds!

And if you have any questions or need help getting set up for this special meeting, please join our HGAC Google Group and ask away.  Lots of friendly people in that group (160+), and we’re always happy to help.