Devokan Storybuilders celebrating 5 years in OpenSim


Vespers, Dot’s Kitely homebase in OpenSim

Looking at the dates of archived region files the other day made me realise that the 5th anniversary of Devokan moving from Second Life to OpenSimulator is rapidly approaching.

Time for Devokan Storybuilders to celebrate? Yes!

In that time OpenSim has improved leaps and bounds. I mean this quite literally — in early days region physics crashed regularly so we moved by sitting on a prim and editing it.

Hypergrid technology means we can build on different grids, choosing them by matching their individual strengths to particular projects, while still keeping in touch with each other, even using a single avatar to visit all.

So… what is planned?

Read the rest of this entry »

Devokan and Kitely

Over the past year several of the Devokan OpenSim builders have switched from sharing a big hardware server to host regions on OSgrid to holding accounts in Kitely, an OpenSim hosting service based on Amazon cloud servers.

Time Vault, on Kitely
Time Vault, a 2×2 Devokan megaregion on Kitely

We’ve generally been very pleased with performance, support and ease of use — it has meant, for example, that less-techie builders have been able to make their own full-region backups (OAR files) using a simple web-based interface.

So why am I posting here now?

It’s because the plans are changing in Kitely at the end of this year. The plans used by many of the Devokan crew (Silver and Gold plans) are going to be grandfathered in, if they are current on the 31st December 2013. So it’s worth letting people know if they would like to take advantage of the grandfathered rates.

Here’s the Kitely blog post announcing the changes: Upcoming plan changes and a limited time offer.

The new plan will be called the Premium account. It will cost $19.95 per month, and includes 5 time-based full regions.

The current Gold and Silver plans are going to be grandfathered and even upgraded at the same time. For storybuilding or art projects they are ideal. Here’s what they will include when the new plans start on 1st January 2014:

  • Premium account (Silver) — similar to the Premium account, but with 10 time-based regions, for $20 per month
  • Premium account (Gold) — now 30 time-based regions instead of 20, for $35 per month.

If you are intending to build in OpenSim, it is worth considering signing up for the Kitely Silver plan before the end of this month to lock in the extra regions, given the similarity in cost with the Premium account (marginal cost of 5 extra regions = 5 cents!). If you decide later it is not for you, you can cancel at any time.

Many of the Kitely Devokan crew seem to be plumping for Gold accounts. The 30 full-region allowance makes it an extremely good deal.

Part of the motivation behind these changes to the plans is to facilitate Kitely linking to the OpenSim Hypergrid in the future, so that we can go exploring other OpenSim grids with our Kitely avatars, and have friends from other grids visit us.

Fan Ages, Dog House and The Immortal Augustus Gladstone

Fan Ages & Dog House

The Myst Forum has a recent discussion regarding fan content. JWPlatt initiated the thread about the need to push for fan content to help keep interest in MOULa and touched upon the ongoing difficulties of licencing issues. He mentions that discussions over the years  have  indicated a user Nexus is most likely needed to port explorers to fan ages. (Start of the thread is HERE) Discussion is also underway in Open Uru on the same topic. Both RAWA and Rand appear to be in favor of a separate Nexus and discussion continues to suggesting possibly modifying a copy of the current Nexus to make it possible. Chogon suggests putting an additional page in the existing Nexus book on the Relto shelf as a link to the fan Nexus.

If Cyan is interested and later discussion in the thread indicates they may be very interested, this could help push fan ages forward more quickly.

There is vocal opposition to this idea by some who seem to prefer linking books scattered about and call the idea of a fan Nexus “ghettoizing” fan content, keeping it separated from Cyan content. They want high quality content (which we all want) integrated with the story line. Rudolphson  made an astute comment saying, “I’m guessing that … means when commenting upon the fan nexus that it goes against the idea of explorers finding ever more books to make available post DRC in an ever expanded area of the explorer restored city. Explorers rebuild the ancient culture and for good or for worse making it our own (meaning IC mainly but you know it blends). A fan nexus takes us into the hobby room of fans, and something is lost, is it not! I agree with that sentiment very much but I’m a pragmatic person however. An explorer Nexus is a way forward, and the faster way forward, possibly the only way forward that does not put the existence of moula in jeopardy. If done right it need not be sad. If done good and fast it will be lovely. Build it and build it now please and save our future moula.” 

The push to get content in appears to be on fan shoulders now.  JWPlatt explains, “A fan Nexus is a means to an end. It helps to establish a process and work toward a solution. It’s something rather than nothing – for now. I alluded previously that being able to create a copy of Cyan’s Nexus has implications. Think about it. Putting objects into Ae’gura can’t happen until we have an agreement to do things like that. I’m not going to get into it right now because it’s premature and things won’t be clear until we get there. But just getting the Nexus, working on it, and putting it into MOULa is a big deal that might better clear a path to a license solution, for one. Pushing content through should also push licensing along because then there’s a purpose. The Nexus is the one thing we currently know is acceptable, so we need to use it as a technical, political, and legal tool to get something done instead of nothing. What happens after that is not set in stone (heh, Stonehenge, get it?). It is a proving ground. Content is malleable. I rather think that once Cyan sees fan content is not a threat, can be done well, and can be managed well within the community without their attention, they might relax a bit, making licensing an easier task to accomplish. Things have a purpose, it’s one step at a time….the ball is solidly in our court, not Cyan’s.”

Some think the concept will bring fans back but that the problem of continual ongoing new content in order to keep interest is still an issue as well as maintaining quality as well as quantity.  As discussion (sometimes heated) continued, HarveyMidnight proposed an idea on how to integrate a fan Nexus within the storyline. “I call it the ‘dog-house’. Recent discovery of a new Bahro stone that leads to an ‘eder tomahn’– aka the little room in “descent” — it’s low in the shaft, labeled as an “unsafe depth”. Not to mention, the DRC has closed it off with a steel door that is padlocked on the outside AND deadbolted on the inside– even if anybody braved the climb down to the door, they couldn’t get past it.. NOBODY could get in or out of this little room unless they already had a Nexus link to it. Oddly enough, there’s a “Beware of the Dog” sign on the inside door; thus, the odd nickname. Of course, inside the room? Long bookshelf, filled with books… 

The idea is that, storywise, there may be Ages that were written AFTER the fall of D’ni, .. these Ages have never been inspected, nor created by any known master of the Art with ties to D’ni— There’s no telling how dangerous these Ages might be. in fact, it looks like some of these Ages are written with Gehn’s method, i.e. copying out whole passages from the books of existing Ages — and we all know how safe Gehn’s Ages were! Eventually, it’s revealed that DRC was in the habit of seizing any Ages that appeared to have been written by any “Non-D’ni writer”, and locking them away in the dog-house. The sudden appearance of a Bahro stone that leads to the dog-house is a mystery…tho it suggests Yeesha or the Bahro themselves feel it is time for these Ages to be discovered, despite their origins… Which is the perfect parallel to the idea of Cyan Worlds welcoming the Fan-Ages as a part of the Uru experience.” (SIC)

I for one find this an ingeniously simple way of integrating a fan Nexus and if it pushes the content that fans have worked so hard to make forward, even better. HarveyMidnight continues, “…I personally don’t see any enmity in the part of Cyan— Cyan wouldn’t deserve the blame for a problematic fan-created age, nor would Cyan deserve the CREDIT for a wonderful fan-created Age.. If they distance themselves entirely from the work of fans–make it clear it’s something SEPARATE, that reduces the likelihood of either situation being an issue. Just seems like a good business viewpoint to me.”

A lot of good ideas were put forward in this thread from a new stamp to differentiate fan ages from Cyan ages, notices/disclaimers warning this is a fan age, to a new book(s) discovered in the city. So far from the discussions the Nexus idea seems most viable and welcome to Cyan and the Dog House concept as well seems to have struck a chord with many and a sour chord with others.

Today Chogon posted that he has spoken to Rand and RAWA about the Dog House idea vs a Nexus styled age for entry into fan ages. They liked aspects of the idea but indicated that fan designed, created and maintaining would be what makes this possible.

Chogon said the points they liked about the idea were:

1) A storyline reason why these ages suddenly appeared (doesn’t require a new age to appear out of nowhere to get to new ages that appeared out of nowhere) 
2) A storyline and area that does not interfere with already established stuff on the MOULa shard (you can go crazy on your own shards) 
3) The new area is complete designed, created and maintained by the fans 
4) New ages can be added (nearly) completely by fans 

However, how you get to the “dog house” needs help – which should be easily accessed by even novice users. 

Chogon asks for fans to start designing, fleshing out the already presented ideas or coming up with additional ideas. He asks, though, that the designs need to hit the above points.

The discussion on the thread continues and the ongoing passion of the community never ceases to amaze me after all this time. If these ideas become viable I hope this leads to some wonderfully inventive and thrilling ages to explore. The thread is an interesting read and should continue to be as these ideas develop and hopefully come to fruition. Hopefully, the community will step up with ideas and talent to make this happen.

The Immortal Augustus Gladstone

Agustus is back. I was intrigued and charmed by my first glance into Augustus’ world some time back. Robyn Miller has written the soundtrack for the film and now has given us a peek at the finished trailer.

The Immortal Augustus Gladstone Trailer 2013

Robyn gave the folks on MOUL Forum first dibs on seeing the trailer on this fictional documentary. Watch and let Robyn know what you thought HERE. I found it spooky, fascinating and definitely wanted more. And I loved the music! This movie is on my must see list and I will be watching for when it officially comes out.

For anyone who did not catch my first post about Augustus here is the first video posted (look for the other videos posted by augustusgladstone).

Adventures and Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone Part 3: Civilization and Another Desert

The next morning found some of the spectators from the night before picking through the ashes of what had been.

I knew it was finally time to go.

A linking book would have been wonderful to have so I could leave and get back into a comfort zone I knew fairly well but then I would not have had the time to process all that I had seen and done in my week at this strange place. I drifted in and out of a light sleep reenacting events as myself and my fellow travelers were borne back to a decidedly different city and civilization.

I suppose my comfort zone of a cityscape I was more familiar with would have been terrifying in its own way to the denizens of the desert community. Somehow I felt they would be more flexible than I since they seemed to have adapted to their harsh environs and yet used the remnants of the civilization I knew to craft the city around them in the dusty and arid plain.

As I readjusted back to what I was familiar with, I looked around me with new eyes. I felt I could appreciate the beauty of the architecture and I saw it in a different way, from the large buildings to the small.

Even nature lent a hand in enhancing what man had made…

I could imagine elements of the D’ni in some places and elements of their ages in others. Garden ages came to mind, lush and full of life.

What I had experienced gave a richer meaning to what I now saw in the city environs from parks to aquariums.

Even wandering amongst various museums, I viewed the art in a changed way.

The magnificence of the city made me want to continue my journey to find the opposite of the desert. So I took to the sea. Another austere place in ways much like the desert yet a salty, wet different from the arid, dusty desert. Another difficult journey out of my comfort zone where the world pitched and swayed in unimaginable ways. Yet here again was life just like in the desert, here were hidden things to discover.

My journey ended with a return to my comfort zone. My own bed, my own armchair, my friends and things I am familiar with. I do not regret my adventure. I may do it again, return to the desert or I may have my sights aimed at a different place with the intention of hopping out of the comfort zone yet again to see what I can discover and challenges I can surmount.

I met a young man at the very start of my experience who said he hoped he would enjoy this adventure and wished that I would too. I saw him later in the desert, looking part of his surroundings and in his comfort zone. He expressed how much his expectations had been fulfilled and asked me if I was enjoying my adventure. I said, “Yes.”

“A journey should be shared…”

And oh, yes. I did find another cone migration and even found a nest!

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