winterfell

Time For A Reboot

Also posted on Danko Whitfield’s blog, Journey To the Center Of The Metaverse

First, this Hypergrid address…
dankoville.outworldz.net:8002

(If I didn’t do that, my buddy 111shawn would bust my chops loudly enough to be heard throughout the Metaverse. And I just can’t have that.)

Ahem…

Real life hasn’t been treating me well and it’s screwed up my virtual life. While they’ve been kicking me around, health issues have limited my virtual world activities for quite awhile now. Recently, when things calmed down for a few days, sort of a time out, I changed things up quite a bit to bring some order to my virtual life, to make the structure of it fit the circumstance.

In December and again at the beginning of March, I had a few better days in a row. Each time I messed around with a new toy, Fred Beckhusen’s (FerdFrederix) Outworldz/Dreamworld OpenSim Installer. It’s changed my VL massively, like Sim-on-a-Stick did at one time. It’s a free program that makes it easy to create and manage your own OpenSim virtual world, connected to the hypergrid. Just takes a few minutes to set it up. It’s so flexible, I was able to test a bunch of things in a very short time. Somewhere along the way while I thought about the different ways I could use this new tool with my many virtual world projects, I realized that the advances in OpenSim of the last few years, along with what I’ve learned about how to get the most out of those features and now this new software had led me to a place where…

I can do anything I want. There are no more limits! Not only can I have any kind of virtual world I want, I can have EVERY kind of virtual world I want, as many as I want. And if I choose, I can do all of this without spending a dime.

I made a plan that would not affect the projects I already had online. I’d take all of my other virtual world projects and put them online, connected to the hypergrid. All of them, even the ones I was sure were too big to ever get out of Sim-on-a-Stick. I’d put all of them online and have a mini-grid of projects in various stages of undress and fully dressed, works in progress and completed projects, projects from the past, anything worth showing or working on, studying, testing.

I run my worlds off my PC, so I wasn’t going to put all of them online simultaneously. That would be silly, silly. Instead, I’d rotate them, as needed. I would create a separate OpenSim instance for each project and only run a few regions at a time. I’d boot up whichever project I felt like working on that day or that week. I’d have the same welcome region on each instance with easy-to-update info for visitors about which regions were online today, with direct teleports. And because the welcome regions would all have the same name, I’d only have one HG address to publicize. Not that I’d publicize it much because it would just be a personal mini-grid, a place to work on stuff, test stuff. I wouldn’t have it on 24/7 like with Dankoville or past projects. But once in awhile I’d put one of those past projects online and say, “Open House!” and keep it on 24/7 for a couple weeks. I would actually be creating multiple virtual worlds but to a visitor, it would seem like one grid that changes its regions around rather often. It would all be pretty flexible, well-suited to the situation.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? I suppose it is, in a way. But Fred’s software makes things so easy, I set up all those instances (twelve!) and their regions, loaded my content (via OARs and IARs), tested everything and was done in an afternoon.

Wow. Now I had everything all ready to go whenever I was ready.

And that’s when I bumped into a limitation.

I can turn worlds on or off, edit them, save them, bring them to a different place, even give you a copy so you can do all of those things. But I don’t have that kind of power over Time. Even with all my experience as a time traveler, the control of time is beyond my reach. There is only so much time available at any given point in time. And, at this point in my time, there isn’t enough of it to use all of those worlds as outlined above. But it’s still a damn good idea and if I had the time, I’d pursue it. But since I don’t, here’s what I decided to do…

I’ve shutdown all but one of the places I had online. (More about that last one in a moment.) I’m going to focus on one virtual world project, a new one. I’ll keep a couple others handy so I can play with them a little when inspiration strikes or I need a break. Everything else goes on my virtual shelf, where it most likely will collect dust. If my situation changes someday, I can dust them off and play with them again but otherwise those projects are inactive and I don’t have to worry about them anymore.

The new project is actually a new take on an old project. Dankoville has been my main virtual world project since it first went online in September 2013. The configuration of regions changed a number of times as OpenSim advanced and I got better at using it. If I could do then what I can do now, I’d do some things differently. Hey, there’s a thought!

I had that thought four weekends ago. Then I ran a couple more tests using Fred’s DreamWorld. And I thought about that “I can do anything” bit. When it got to the part about “I can do anything but I can’t do everything anymore,” I asked myself out loud, “Why don’t I blow Dankoville up and start again?”

So I did.

The idea is to make it a much bigger world, (because we can!) depicting the fictional town of Dankoville, which appears in some of my stories, and the surrounding area. I want it to cover a big enough land area that I’ll never be able to finish it. As I’ve said before, a virtual world is the model train set of this time. I want a world to build out, tinker with, revise, play with…forever. And to use for inspiration and feel in my writing. I have new ideas to pursue, new characters that I want to build-in to the story and the virtual place. It’s fun to live in a make believe place you are writing about. Creating it in story and then standing inside it, is still awesome, as is the reverse, building something and then writing a story about it. And then there’s writing and building at the same time. Each process is fun, rewarding. A lot of learning goes on. It keeps the creative mind going. Some call it, “storybuilding.”

I came up with several ideas for the new grid layout. I may try more than one. This is a project best done in my own sandbox rather than connected to a grid. And, if I’m working on a new Dankoville – and that new version will be open to the public as I’m working on it – then it’s time to close the old version. I let Nara Malone know what I was up to and gave her my thanks. I’d like to thank her publicly too, for hosting Dankoville on Naras Nook grid (Nook is a virtual writers colony, check it out!). She came to my rescue at a time when I wasn’t sure if Dankoville would survive and during my two years on Nook, Nara was as gracious and supportive as could be. I can’t thank her enough.

When I can, I’ll do a separate post with specifics about the new Dankoville project.

The one region that I did not shut down is on Craft-World, it’s called Elsewhere. It’s a wooded area at the intersection of two small state roads somewhere. I’ve got a house there that’s been a retreat at times. It opened in July 2015. The region’s content was originally from an early version of Dankoville and I’ll be moving it to the new Dankoville and using it as my home there, keeping the name Elsewhere because when people notice I haven’t been around much – not that it happens often – and they ask where I’ve been, I like to say, “Elsewhere.” I’m thinking about using the Elsewhere region on Craft as a showcase for some completed projects of the past, the region name still fits. A couple of these projects had been on OSgrid for a little while recently but I never got the chance to promote them.

I saved this part for last because it’s the most difficult, special, important. My tenth Rez Day in Second Life comes this June. I started out just awed by the whole thing. I explored non-stop, chatted with people along the way. I met so many nice people my first two weeks in Second Life, how could I not be drawn in? It was beautiful, it was crazy, it had everything. I’ve had lots of great fun there and I expect there will be more…but I’ve given up my last remaining parcel there as part of The Great Shutdown of ’17, as it shall be forever known in Whitfield family lore.

I spent a lot of time in SL for several years and got a lot of enjoyment out of it. It was a great escape from RL, to state the obvious. When I wandered into OpenSim – here it comes! – it opened a whole new world(s). No? Didn’t think so. Well, if I can’t do a pun, I’ll do a cliche: …it truly broadened my horizons. Truly. With a cherry on top.

Eventually, I spent nearly all of my time in OpenSim, never intending to choose one over the other. OpenSim gave me many more possibilities. And it worked well with my writing. But I never left SL completely.

I couldn’t. Because I couldn’t let go of Winterfell. It’s magical. There’s something about it that you just can’t shake. It must be The Mists. I arrived there seven years ago this month. I’ve kept a home there all through these times that I’ve been away. And now when I’m in Winterfell, which recently adopted the new name, Rosehaven, I’ll be the old friend visiting from out of town. Or out of century. To Lady Twilight and Princess Selena, a salute to your excellence in leadership and management, thanks for making such a beautiful, fun and extraordinary place to live and play in and for cultivating a fun community. My first community involvement in Winterfell was posting RP stories on the old online storyboards. (Which have had a recent rebirth in Rosehaven, nice to see.) It was fun to be writing about a world other than the real world. It still is and I hope to get back to it soon. I always smile when I think of how it started in Winterfell.

And finally (just for now, I mean, don’t get excited), I still plan to be a tourist in new worlds too. I’ve visited one briefly and will explore there and Elsewhere (got it in there again!) as time allows.

Dankoville hasn’t been online for the past week but since I’m posting this, I’ve fired the grid up for the next few days. There isn’t going to be a regular schedule but I certainly hope there’ll be many days when it’ll be online from morning to late night and I’ll be in for a few hours. I’m running four adjoining 4×4 varregions (1024s). Sometimes I’m running a sandbox or two. Sometimes I’ll run some crazy test, so enter at your own risk! But do feel free to stop by, look around, maybe say hello.

The website needs updating but here it is…

http://dankoville.weebly.com/

And that HG address again…

dankoville.outworldz.net:8002

Thanks for reading.

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Welcome To My Worlds

As promised in my recent piece, Revirtualizing, here’s a summary of my current virtual world places and writing projects.

Dankoville

This is my main inworld project and currently my main source of story material. It’s a 768 varregion, the size of nine standard regions in a 3×3 square. The location is “somewhere in the Corn Belt of the U.S.” The sim consists of the small town of Dankoville, several farming communities and two small cities. In story, this sim constitutes most of Strange County. You can visit Dankoville on Naras Nook grid. Here’s the Hypergrid address:

world.narasnook.com:8900:dankoville

Winterfell

Danko has lived on the Winterfell estate in Second Life for the past five years. It has been his home base from which to travel the Metaverse and the Chronoverse. Danko has at various times owned one or more of the following here: a townhouse, a cabin in the woods, an office, a pub, his own region with a castle. Currently he has one small parcel in the Winterfell Laudanum region for the Storytellers Pub. He has a private office and sitting room in the sky above the pub. You can visit Winterfell in Second Life. Here’s the SLURL address for my pub:

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Winterfell%20Laudanum/210/210/23

These next three sims are all currently located offline in Sim-on-a-Stick (SoaS).

Medieval Project

This will be a “forever project.” It will never be finished and it will never go online. It’s simply too big for that. However, parts of it may very well go online someday.

In January 2014, I started making a four-region Medieval sim on Kitely. The buildings were those I bought or freebies I’d collected as well as some mods I’d done. Early on in the process, I got a story idea and eventually wrote a 9200 word story that took place in this location. That was much too long for my story blog.

Soon after starting the first Medieval sim, I decided to build another one at the same time, an unrelated place. The big difference being that in this sim, it would always be winter. It was also a four-region world on Kitely. I made the southern half of one region lower than the rest of the sim so it could have farmland and a growing season to sustain the frozen northern area. I started getting an image of the ruler of this land.

Both of these projects sat on the shelf on Kitely for months, never open to the public. I’d visit them once in awhile. Last December, I was fooling around in SoaS with varregions. I wanted to investigate multiple varregions sharing borders – which there had been trouble reports about; I wanted to have a grid with only varregions and no standard regions – because there was a lot of talk about how mixing the two caused trouble; I wanted to use only 512×512 varregions – because some said larger ones caused trouble and others said mixing the sizes of vars wasn’t good.

If you’re not familiar with varregions, a 512 var is the equivalent of four standard regions in a square, a 2×2 layout.

I placed three of these end to end from north to south on my grid. To the east of that, I placed two vars end to end, north to south, lined up so they were centered next to the row of three. Then to the east of those two, I added another row of three, then a row of two, and one last row of three vars.

I now had a grid with 13 varregions – equivalent to 52 standard regions – laid out in a way that on the World Map…sort of looked like a castle. Which got me thinking…

That’s when the Medieval Project started taking shape. I moved the two medieval sims from Kitely to this new world in SoaS. I then began thinking about which vars to leave as open bodies of water and I began investigating names of little kingdoms and started thinking about the story possibilities. I uploaded some free OARs which feature castles including four by Giacomo Rexen of Craft World grid. And I’ve done a lot of terrain work. I’ve written one major scene for this world, involving a meeting of the ruling council. Danko is in that story but the names of all the other characters were left blank.

So, as you can see, a start has been made on several fronts but only a start.

Victorian Steampunk Project

This is a long-term project in SoaS. I’d like to make a Victorian Steampunk location setting for Danko’s travels in the 1870s. He keeps an office in this time. Over the past five years in his story blog, he has written about his travels in Winterfell and Caledon as well as (Second Life) Steamland nations, past and present, and allied nations. But much of the current writing I’m doing requires that I create the place and place names and the people, of course. Although I gave initial thought and a small amount of inworld layout work to this project over a year ago, it’s been sitting on the shelf since. I don’t expect to have serious time to devote to it any time soon but I have already written one story that takes place in this location, so I would like to make some progress on the build. I have put out the word that I am looking for Victorian-era buildings and clothing and I will be shopping for those items in my travels.

New England Island Project

This is the project most likely to get finished.

In early 2014, I created a one-region world on Kitely depicting an island town somewhere off the coast of New England. This region was about 90-percent done but it sat there for months, closed to the public, as I was busy with other things. When I downgraded my Kitely account the other day, I moved my unfinished regions there into SoaS to have them available offline. Because this Island build is so close to being finished, I’ve decided to take a serious look at its story possibilities. I think this may become my secondary project after Dankoville. I’ll tell you more about this project soon.