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?

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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.

New World Notes, Hypergrid Adventurers, and Devokan

Expanded Devokan Tao hub, 10 March 2012
It all started two weeks ago with a comment by John “Pathfinder” Lester on the photo of the expanded Devokan Tao hub in my Flickr stream:

Simply amazing. I am going to bring my Hypergrid Adventurers Club on a tour of these regions this week.

Hypergrid Adventurers Club? A tour THIS WEEK?

A few minutes with Google unearthed more details about the Hypergrid Adventurers Club, including their calendar. Today was Tuesday 10th April, and the next tour was scheduled for Thursday 12th. Panic!

The next couple of days I spent alerting the others and checking that all was working as it should be — this was potentially a chance to test out how well the server could cope with a larger group of visitors…

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Devokan-Tao news (OSgrid)

One of the things I’ve noticed about building in 3D worlds is that it can be difficult to let go of virtual space. So it is in this case.  😉

Shenn contacted me about a week ago, saying that he would like to experiment more with mesh in OSgrid. Now, other projects in real life are an issue for most of us on the Devokan-Tao team, so a reduction in virtual space makes sense. However, with OSgrid’s flexible set-up, we are able to downsize very easily.

The result is that Shenn and I will be sharing the costs of a smaller, less powerful server that will run a subset of the current Devokan-Tao regions.

One region, Inspiration, will be a sandbox for experiments in mesh — and everyone is welcome to come and try their hand here.

Other key regions will remain for exploration, enjoyment, relaxation:

  • Devokan Tao, complete with updated linking books to other Myst/Uru-style regions on OSgrid, such as Anarta and Colorado’s K’veer regions, Filbert’s Nuevo Relto and other areas, Mat’s wonderfully diverse environments, Nal’s guild hall;
  • Rivages du ciel, expanded with some new inspirational sky builds; and
  • Illusion, which will be the culmination on OSgrid of the current Devokan story.

At a later stage, as we see how well the server performs, further regions may be added.

But what about the current regions? What are the plans for those? Well, the current server will remain online until 25 January 2012. So, if you haven’t yet been able to take in all the sights and sounds of the Devokan-Tao regions, now’s your chance. And do, please, post screenshots of any areas that strike you as particularly photogenic — it would be great to build up a photographic record.

Having said that, all will not be lost: I’ll be saving back-up OAR files of all the regions so that they can be recreated at will at a later stage — one of the advantages of OpenSim!

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