Thursday, December 5, 2013

Big Winter


Finally finished, the music video to accompany my sculpture 'Big Winter' has been posted.

This is the story that was going through my head while making the sculpture.  

As Lou Reed said, "There's magic... and a little loss to even things out."

The video & sculpture are about clinical depression and my fight to turn it into something beautiful.

Big Winter on You Tube





Monday, April 29, 2013

What's In A Name (or phrase)?



Just meditating on the art of words today in the wake of the GOP House resurgence.


"A Pledge To America" is the new Republican governing document, akin to an art school's manifesto. It's interesting to contrast it with 1994's "The Contract With America" as an exercise in rhetorical style and function.

*-*-*-*

In 1994, business was rushing into the dot-com boom/bubble, "The Superhighway Summit" was held at UCLA (where Al Gore spoke about the convergence of technologies exploding on the net), the Fed Funds target rate was raised hugely, Apple released the PowerPC chips, Wired was just getting hot and everything was business, business, business, so "contract" sounded all buzzwordy-happening-meme-ish, the style du jour.

The second sentence of TCWA uses the words "official evasion and posturing" and "no fine print" and then goes on to talk about "government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money. It can be the beginning of a Congress that respects the values and shares the faith of the American family"... "To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace. To make us all proud again of the way free people govern themselves. "

The TWCA then goes on to actually propose specific legislation on 10 major concerns; talking business, setting out the job outlines.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

I guess that was 1994 attack-dog, Art Of War- style business, getting that all up front right away, cards-on-the-table, Masters O' The Universe school. In contrast, APTA [a PTA? ACTA/APTA? at least their acronyms have gotten more refined] begins by bombastically recalling us to our 6th grade History lessons; you can hear "Stars And Stripes Forever" humming underneath; the soundtrack to a speech by His Honor The Mayor as the highlight of a Fourth of July ice-cream social.

There's no admittance of any responsibility or culpability for What Has Gone Before.


After that affirmation of principles you couldn't possibly reject without being some kind of anarchistic god-hating sociopathic terrorist child pornographer [did you involuntarily cringe or flinch just a bit when you read those trigger words?] the return of the pointy stick from 1994 (itself a kindler, gentler pointy stick than in 1992) reveals the righteous indignation of men of good character and moral grace for the government haughtily doing all these bad things to people.



This is a great phrase here:

"An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down longstanding laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people."

It says that the entire government - all three Branches - is hopelessly compromised and corrupted, and goes on to ring "thwart" "overturn" "strike(ing)" and "scorn." Dang! Those dastardly villains! I love the echoes of genteel effrontry. Pistols at dawn, Edmund?


Next we get:

"An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many."


Here's a nice swipe at science, education and knowing stuff - setting up the spectre of a cold, bloodless Atomic Brain clique and pinging the continued war on science, yet manages to insinuate ("self-elected") that these government officials were not legitimately voted into office in the first place.

"Like free peoples of the past" - I hope you kept that You Tube link active above (or I can provide one for "Lilies Of The Field" if you need one).




It then goes on for another several paragraphs strangely reminiscent of the Girl Scout Promise and Law or a conversion/coming-of-age ceremony. In contrast, TCWA perhaps implied much of this rhetoric but actually set forth what it proposed as a series of specific actions to remedy specific problems.


I also love the title-shift. It hold invocatory echoes of the Pledge of Allegiance, the current "virginity pledge movements" and Promise Keepers associated with evangelical Christians and pure old Scout humility and earnestness while managing to avoid the taint of being "big-business friendly," another one of the current disenpowerment memes ("they iz doing it to us all wrong!")


In both cases the documents imply that there has never been fairness in elections; that there has somehow been a hostile takeover of government by men of nefarious and unAmerican® persuasion; that "the people" are oppressed and calling for champions and that all current troubles can be laid at the feet of "The Government"("reclaim our government for the people").


In APTA the rhetorical style of blowsy bombast alternates with stirring echoes and references to the American Revolution, Star Wars and Spartacus. I guess the Congresscritters' cozy partnership with MediAmeriCo® pays off in being able to recycle cheezy schmaltz and outtakes from "Leave It To Beaver."


Bits and pieces:


"reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values "

"We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations "

"to whom much is given, much is expected" [Luke 12:48] and that the blessings of our liberty"

"make this pledge bearing true faith
"

"we invite fellow citizens and patriots"

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Virtual World of TES


"With the acclamations of the Fellows of the Imperial Society still 
ringing in my ears, I decided to return to Morrowind..."

In anticipation of the opening of The Elder Scrolls Online (TES Online) and spurred on by playing Tweeria, I have been revisiting Morrowind with the assistance of the Morrowind 3.0 Overhaul, a huge upgrade that cures most of the code bugs, upgrades graphics with 1x1024 textures and a pile of integrated mods that make it worth returning to Morrowind. It's several GB so be prepared to be downloading for awhile.

 The Overhaul also contains the monstrous Morrowind Code Patch which fixes most of the bugs in the game that made it aggravating before. Morrowind was released in 2002, so this means 10 years of patches, mods, addons & etc. It really makes a huge difference in the game.

Pretty water with reflections & transparency

If you have played Skyrim, you might be interested in the differences between Morrowind, Oblivion & Skyrim. No doubt that Morrowind looks a lot less slick than Skyrim, but as another gamer said to me, Morrowind is HUGE. It also has over 500 quests (see? I meant HUGE).

Don't worry; you'll still be aggravated getting stuck in some tight places (the Console & tcl are your friends here) but in most cases it will not crash your game, unlike before (I experienced a total of 1 crash in several days of playing, and it was probably my fault; I mashed several keys together in the heat of battle). You'll also miss Map Travel; in Morrowind you cannot just travel to any city you've discovered before, unlike Oblivion & Skyrim. You will miss both Levitate & enchanted items recharging themselves from Morrowind in the succeeding games :(

There's plenty to aggravate you (in a nice way) in Morrowind,
like the huge blight/dust storms and Cliff Racers.

You might also find people just hanging out in their underwear.


The Elder Scrolls has a huge mythology behind it, communicated through inworld books (someone counted the 3 last games and reported that there are over 1000 books to read inside the game world), speech and investigation.The previous (to Morrowind) games in the series, Arena (1994/DOS) and Daggerfall (1996) were eye openers in the  gaming world, with Daggerfall featuring one of the first true 3D worlds on a large scale, a game world claimed to be twice the size of Great Britain. Daggerfall also won the 2003 RPG Game Of The Year. Two in-between games, Battlespire & Redguard, were spinoffs and not very interesting and did not share the incredible backstory available ingame.

The world of TES has a deep and sprawling mythology. As you play the games in the series, you end up realizing you are Joseph Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces, the Prophesied One. Each game is set in a mythological period: Elder Days, Dawn Age and First through 3rd Ages and on separate parts of the gameworld Tamriel.

All of this history interlaces throughout the games; for instance, have a look at one of the books in Morrowind:


You might recognize this passage (from 2002) describing the Nords of Skyrim. You can find many books in Morrowind (and probably the first two games of the series) that describe the mythology developed further in Oblivion (2006) & Skyrim (2011). All this mythology will be behind TES Online, which will make the virtual world very rich and far-reaching for role-playing types. If the execution of TES Online is anything close to Oblivion & Skyrim, it should beat the pants off WoW in terms of story and complexity.

The world of The Elder Scrolls is known for its attention to detail, including well-developed lore and back story. If you're used to RPG  games like Final Fantasy, you're in for quite a culture shock. In this game, you actually have to do some independent thinking and not just walk mindlessly from place to place, knowing that some story cut-scene will soon take over. It's a little scary at first, and very much overwhelming,

On the other hand, if you can put up with somewhat dated graphics and game mechanics compared to Oblivion & Skyrim, you might find Morrowind to be an interesting game to play, at least until TES Online opens.

"Ugh! Dead body!"

Saturday, December 29, 2012

How to be trolled on the internet

This is how rants, freaking out, misunderstanding & plain old assault on the interwebs happens:

I was interested by a friend's remark about the well-known Skud so I tuned in to see this:

Having this had happen to me before & the embarrassment along with it, I tweeted:


and the reply I got was:


 I was tweeting before I got the above:




After her tweet, I tweeted:


I had damaged my shoulder once and had to have a massage every 3 days to keep it from healing clenched. I must have done through a dozen "masseuses" who said a straight, plain medical massage was fine... until they were inside, me with only bottoms on and their questioning "accidental" fingers... ugh, yeah. It happens more than you'd think.

Evidently this was not of interest to Skud, who then blocked me. However, that didn't stop the hangers-on from deciding this was some rape apologist thing:

my reply:


But nope, it went further - I tweeted the friend who's feed I originally read the Skud tweets off:


Which was enough for this troll, who I guess was eavesdropping, to leap out of the twittersphere:

and my reply:


But yet it goes on:


At this point, the way this "rape apologist" worm is taking shape I do not care for at all. Mr Beer Can there doesn't appear to be able to see that 1. I already did apologise for any misunderstanding (tweet #6, above). 2. The ranter blocked me, making the suggestion moot. And now I am pissed off with this bullshit; this is a damned serious charge to be laid on me for a mis-taken tweet:



This happens, you know it does; you've had it happen to you. One mis-taken tweet can gain you a rafter of bullshit exactly this way. In this instance, it's a bad slur for me to fight, and I will because it's a really serious charge. It doesn't matter how big a persona on the net is - I won't take a smear job lightly.

This level of hysterics make almost any topic you're talking about into a shrill yapping that brooks no interference. Not so cool. The solution to a word problem is always more words, not silence and repeating the story for your own personal network, destroying my reputation at the same time.

Get off my case, Skud; you took it way wrong, played it up big for your audience then had a few puppets talk back to me. The only reputation you have with me is your words and actions, and I'm definitely filing this one in the "famous assholes who don't think they are assholes" box.



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Community Library Fantasy Exhibit in Inworldz


Community Library Fantasy Exhibit

GRAND OPENING

As part of the Intergrid Metaverse Arts Biennial 2012, the Community Library on Delphi in InWorldz is having a grand opening of their largest exhibit to date. Library board members, consultants and artists will be at the region at 1:00 pm PST / IWT to give tours or discuss the builds and book collection.

At 1:15pm PST, Storyteller Kaikilani KaLeoNani will read stories of fae and fantasy. From 2:30pm to 4:00pm PST, DJ Astoria Luminos will entertain us with Celtic and New Age dance music. Fantasy dress is optional.

The mission of the Community Library is to serve the InWorldz community's needs and wants. The Fantasy Exhibit is the work of several artists, builders, and librarians. For this exhibit we wanted to have not only books in the category of fantasy, but also several immersive fantasy environments built by artists and builders on InWorldz.

Our immersive environments built on over half of the sim are built by Tiana Genesis, Alizarin Goldflake, soror Nishi, Elwing Qendra, Strand Starsider, Miso Susanowa and Quadrapop Tree. Tiana Genesis built the lovely Elven forest, cave, and treetop terraces complete with a storytelling area.

Over 40 books were created and are on the third floor of the library building. Dawn Greymyst produced the bulk of the books and Amvans Lapiz, Jillian2000 Quintessa and Agnesa Capalini assisted. Dawn also created a number of cutouts in fantasy dress and two slideshows about fantasy. Snoots Dwagon of Elf Clan loaned the library his beautiful collection of Elven swords. Wolf Hartnell built a model and helped us get started. Strand Starsider built an underwater mermaid venue by the plaza that is complete with his Mer dances. There is more, but you need to visit the Community Library!

Updated events for this will be posted on the Community Library website:http://www.metaverselibrary.com/news


YouTube video of the library by Adam01Time Time:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTGynFyjSrA&feature=youtu.be

Links below are for past publicity about the Community library

** ACRL Virtual World Interest Group tour of library in August 14, 2012 - slideshow created by Valibrarian Gregg.
http://animoto.com/play/zp91MAIF9z831h1dvNJ8Xg

**Steampunk exhibit and tour at the Community Library - Machinima by Valibrarian Gregg in June 2012
https://vimeo.com/43742003

The Fountain of Salmacis

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Guide To Tweeria, the Twitter RPG

Finally, Tweeria, the "lazy Twitter role-playing game" is out of beta and open to the public, so I thought I'd make a mini-guide & help page for it. There is some information on the Tweenk blog and some in-game but a lot of it is just discovery by playing.

Exactly what is Tweeria? "Tweeria is a game with minimal user's involvement. Every time you tweet, your alter ego finds adventures, kills monsters or finds items.Every tweet you post can change hero's life." As you Tweet, Tweeria uses the Twitter API to move your character around on a map and discover monsters, dungeons and other characters. You have the option to combat other players if you so desire (PVP).


You can check out my character here.

There are a couple rough edges and small glitches in the game but the amount of work Alex/Tweenk and others have put into this new game is amazing and they are very responsive to feedback from players and  get things fixed in good time.
 
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Inventory Management


In this version of Tweeria, Items will go into your Inventory automatically as you adventure. When your Inventory is full, you won't be able to pick up or buy any items unless you have free space in Inventory. One way to clear that up and make some gold is to sell the stuff you pick up:




To sell, you click on an item in Inventory and drag it to the bottom of your character, which will pop up a sales box. This part can be a little glitchy so do it slowly. If the sales box doesn't pop up, just reclick the item and drag slowly.At this time the report of sold items shows 0 or 3 or some low number but the actual gold gained is more; this is one of the bugs that are being fixed.
 
Of course, if an item found is something you want, you can drag it onto the gear slots around your character to start using it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Crafting Items


I've made a post on item crafting before but I'd like to add some more information in a step-by-step process.

If you played Tweenk, the predecessor of Tweeria, you'll find much familiar in this interface. One thing that is new is the ability to craft items and spells, with a healthy market in both.


In your wanderings you will pick up items and Ore or Enchanted Ore; these are your crafting materials.

There's been an explosion of items and spells in the last couple days, showing that most Tweeria players are crafting their own and having a ball at it. Except for one or three rude/obscene/druggie items (which  have been rejected), everyone is making  items for their character and taking the effort to write cool, whimsical & wry descriptions.


 On the Item Creation page, you use the standard slider-distribution setup for 8 attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Intellect, Luck, Hit Points, Mana, Damage & Armor. You get 3 points per level to distribute across these attributes. There is also another slider for Enchanted Ore, which adds 10 more points to be distributed if you have the ore.



Basic item/armor types are listed in dropdown menus. There is also a space for a 100x100 user-created graphic depicting the item; you must have an icon to represent the item or you cannot complete making one.


Obviously you're not going to put Armor on a blade, but less obvious is that certain stats aid different types. If you're a mage character, you won't be using (or able to equip) bows or axes; your defense is weaker because the Mage profits more from letting Dexterity and Luck be her shield. If you're going to be a Human Hunter or Orc Warrior, you will be wanting Strength, Damage & Armor on your items. All classes benefit from Luck, which can help you out in a close battle or find you that nice item in your wanderings.

Finally, there will be a cost to set in gold - Tweeria has a minimum cost-per-level so you can't set the price too low (to discourage twinking). You can, of course, always set it high if you think your item is that valuable.

Tweeria cautions you about making items - they should fit into a fantasy/RPG form; no gold-plated spaceships or ray guns. Tweeria will also reject items that are trolls, hate speech and all the rest of that crap.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Crafting Spells


You will also pick up Magical Parchment for creating spells in your wanderings. The spell creation page is similar to that in many RPG games:


You can add up to three effects in any one spell and you get +5 pts/level to distribute. The restricting factor is similar to many RPGs - each point of the spell costs a point in mana, so high-powered spells will cost a lot of mana. There is a Spellbook where your spells collect; you can choose to have 5 spells on standby (although one of the small glitches is that you only can select 4 at this time).



This is a pre-buff spell to use when I'm going on a Raid. The word below the title of the spell [ward] is the key/trigger. As my current Mana reserve is at 325, this spell costs more than half of my mana but lasts for an hour, as do all other spells that aren't direct damage. The Intellect/Power boost is substantial as are the Endurance (an offshoot of health) and Dexterity buffs, so this gives me time to cast, pump up and withstand a few attacks while my mana recovers or I use spells with less mana requirements like a straight Fireball or Frost Nova attack.

The method of spell use seems to be this: if the spell is on someone/thing, it is invoked with a single exclamation point before the keyword that casts the spell [example: !fireball]. If it is on your character (a 'buff') then you use two exclamation points [example: !!ward]. It also seems that the spells work better/easier if added after the Tweeria hashtag like this: #tweeria !!ward. Everyone is still experimenting in these areas.

If you cast a buff/powers spell on yourself, you can go to the Abilities tab, highlight the spell & it will tell you how much time is left on the power-up. You'll also see the buffed attributes in green:



When you use the spell form "!spell" you will see it in your Timeline like this:



* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Market



I have my own Creation Center which lets me see my items and a sales report for any items I have made. There are pages and pages of interesting items people are using and selling in the 3 days Tweeria's been up, highlighting this as one of the parts of the games people are really enjoying. If you make an item other people like they will buy it and contribute to your gold stash.

Some things are ridiculously priced as a joke or to discourage other players from buying them and being equal to you in power stats. Most items are reasonably priced for your level, and some people (like me) are making low-level sets to help people get started in the game. Those 20-50gold items get to be quite a trickle at times ^_^ It's worthwhile to just scan some of the items in the Market for their neat, strange or humorous descriptions.

I highly recommend you experiment with making your own items as this is a great way to customize your character & gear.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Raids

The Events menu will take you to a raid staging area. Raids are set up by time & will reflect your timezone settings in Twitter. I had a little trouble at first getting synced up because the timezone was 1 hour off (seems to be fixed now that DST ended). Once I figured that out, I started trying to go on raids...

Here's Alex/Tweenk from the blog explaining about Raids:

Along with usual dungeons like Tweenk’s, there are new dungeons with stronger monsters, better loot and higher difficulty level. Only large groups of players can manage those dungeons.
That is why we made the raid system where a player can gather a group or join an existing one.

Some words about current mechanics:
1) Raid is appointed to a fixed time and last about one hour. All tweets of its participants don’t score in the “main” part of the game, but have a direct impact on the success of the raid.
2) After the raid ends, every participant finds out its results.
3) If the raid is successful, every participant obtains loot regardless of the other players.


Restrictions:
1) Players can’t attend more than one raid at the same time.
2) Players can’t be registered for more than 5 raids simultaneously

At the moment we are working on interface and features of the new system: there will be a detailed log of players’ activity and other improvements.


I went on a couple raids with a lot of low-level peeps just to try them out... and all failed.  Raids are definitely harder than dungeons and even if you have a full party of 5 (or 10 for higher lvl dungeons) you will fail the raid if everyone is not tweeting at the time. You might also fail it if you just aren't strong enough as a party.

This isn't too clear from the description so I will emphasize it again:

You will not get points or a bonus item if you are merely leeching; it takes all the party to be active. You also really don't want to go on a raid until you have at least a couple of higher-level peeps (I just finished one finally [Raid to Great Salt Lake] and I am a level 16).

On the Events page, you'll find listed all of the upcoming raids and a place to create another one. You'll see the time (in a 24-hr format), who is the group leader, the other party members and the location of the raid.


You'll see any raid you signed up for at the top of your timeline and below the small map. The result of the raid will be posted in your Timeline approx. 5 or so minutes after the raid ends. Tweeria only pings the Twitter API every 15 minutes (to keep the hit on Twitter down) so you might have to wait up to 20 minutes to see the result. You'll also be able to tell by your Inventory, which now might have an elite weapon with very nice stats tied to your level.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Frequently-Asked Questions

1. "I am seeing [yourname] was killed by [yourname]"

 This means you have lost all your Hitpoints. Every encounter, whether you win or not, will cost you HP. To slow down your encounters, stop Tweeting so much until you have sufficient HP.  You get HP with every level-up or from items.

2. "I am not updating on my Timeline although I've been tweeting for 20 minutes."

  This is probably becauseTweeria must query the Twitter API for updates, and Twitter announced they would lengthen the amount of time between updates for third-party programs like Tweeria. Tweeria can do nothing about this. The current wraparound time is about 30 minutes or so for Timeline changes. Not the same as:

3. "I am not updating; Tweeria doesn't seem to be doing things for X hours"

This is most probably the Tweeria code being updated; patches, bug fixes, new features, etc. Usually the fixes are done in 24 hrs or less. If you see your last events on the Timeline in terms of "hours ago" this is what is happening. Stay cool; all the "missing tweets" will restore when Tweeria is open again.

4. "How do I party with other players?"

Parties at this time are only for raids; you and your friends can all sign up for a raid at X time.

5. "Here's my spell tweet -  !blizzard !blizzard !firearrow !death" - [Multiple Spells]

Multiple spells like this on a single tweet are only a waste of mana - Tweeria will only apply the first spell. Doesn't help in encounters either.

6. "I'm a bit confused by how PVP works."

PVP, at least for me & a few experimenters, decreases the amount of loot or encounters. You get PVP points instead of regular. It also seems to slow up leveling. Experiment.


7. "I made an item but I didn't get it back/get a copy."

Either you had no space in Inventory to hold it (in which case, make items after clearing out your Inventory) or the item was rejected for not following Tweeria's Creation Guidelines as published in the Tweeria Help File.

Please note that Tweeria reserves the right to reject any item without reason given. Most often, the reason given is "does not conform to Tweeria item creation guidelines." There has been an avalanche of stupid, nasty, hentai, sexual, ugly hate & similar items, which has caused a massive slowdown in the approval process.Don't be stupid - if your item was rejected, you already have a pretty good idea why.

From the blog:

There are several restrictions on user created things:

1) An item, a spell or an artwork must properly fit into a typical fantasy medieval environment. Tweeria is not a place for spaceships and blasters.

2) We do not object humor, but do not turn Tweeria into 9gag.com. Please know the limits when it comes to humor.

3) When creating items, artworks and spells, you are allowed to use only the images created by you or by a person who gave you permission to use his/her creation.

4) You must provide a reference to a source of a picture if it is required by its author.

5) Violating the terms of using images belonging to other people is prohibited even if you provide a reference to their source.

6) Images, text descriptions, objects’ titles must obey ethical standards and moral principles.

7) It is forbidden to use images and texts that offend, discriminate or violate the dignity of other people. Your materials do not have to call for racial or national discrimination, nazism, extremism, violence, drug abuse or anything that is not accepted by a normal society.



* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Nyms Guild

This is our presence in Tweeria; it's an open league so you can join it or make your own. We have a Facebook presence also thanks to Wizard Gynoid, where you can hang out, drink some mead and be part of the glorious Nyms, tweeting to save the world from abominable abominations or whatever.

There's a lot of backstory on Alex/Tweenk's blog if you are interested; some of it is written by other players.

You can sign up to play Tweeria here. Come join us lazily playing Tweeria!


 Two of my popular items


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Yippie Ki Yay at VideoRanch3D

I decided to see if I could go home again (despite what Mr. Wolfe said) after coming across a reference to a virtual world platform I used to spend quite a lot of time in - ActiveWorlds. The reference pointed me at Michael Nesmith's [yes, he of Monkees, MTV and Liquid Paper fame] site VideoRanch. This is the official site for Nesmith presence on the web; you can keep track of Nesmith's concerts, mp3s, interesting videos, books and merch.

I came wanting to check out the VideoRanch3D world. The software on the site is a bit out of date; it took 6 tries to download all the revisions and the program would not let me in until they were done. It didn't take all that long and soon I was rezzing inworld. The software is pre-coded to log you in to Nesmith's world.

ActiveWorlds spaces have had physics for a long time & the VideoRanch3D is no exception. Some worlds incorporate hardware physics, although not this one.


There are a lot of options and controls in the Settings panel, on par with some of the browsers for gridworlds. I meddled with the interface controls for awhile, picking bandwidth, draw distance and the like, refamiliarizing myself with the world controls. At last I was ready to do some exploring.


One thing the Ranch does well is layout, with very clear pathways and nice but unobtrusive teleport stations at every major intersection. The ActiveWorlds browser controls are fine-grained and intuitive, with lots of rollover Help. Anyone who has visited different virtual worlds should have no problem picking it up. The program comes with about two dozen default avatars; I picked the first one, Lucy; the second default avatar was Ramona, a subtle nod to Nesmith's tune Cruisin'.





See those TVs? There are about 20; they float around in a big corral... and each one is a video link. You touch the TV & a video plays, with no chopping, lag or interference. I've asked before - why can't Second Life do this? It's 1998 technology; one of the first media extensions that was implemented in AW.  Video on a prim? Yeah, we had that. Notice also that my avatar throws a shadow.




The next area I found was a splended water-garden that I am sure would please soror Nishi as much as it did me. All of the water plants, as well as the fish, are sculpty-like/mesh and look very good.



I took the nearby balloon ride for an overview of the world. Worlds in AW are similar to sims in Second Life, and the balloon toured me above the Ranch. The pathfinding/movement of the ride was well-done and glitchless.



I got off the balloon ride and wandered around, finding some nice builds equal to any in Second Life. One of the differences of AW worlds is that there is no open building; you must own/admin the world to build.



The main stage is very well done and I noticed that the builder is also putting out holiday things. This is evidently where Nesmith & friends do appearances and concerts. Nesmith is engaged in the reopening of this space, tying in a Twitter and Facebook presence. There are a few videos up on You Tube showing Nesmith performing against a greenscreen for these inworld concerts.



A closeup of a bulletin board/post board told me that there are frequent inworld performances by a variety of interesting people. I met one person, Margy, who told me there was a dj/dance party in a few hours, so I took some photos and logged out.



When I came back later, a respectable crowd of 12-16 avatars had gathered to listen to DJ Linsey do an excellent set of mixed musical styles. I met Rolly, who is a very old hand at AW; we talked about the early days of virtual reality (1995-1999). Rolly is also a Builder in the space who made her own avatar. Many of the people I met at the party were involved in building/landscaping and my impression was that they'd been maintaining this space a very long time; at least as long as SL. This is what 'community' means.

AW Worlds might seem a bit cruder to residents of SL, IWz, OSgrid and the like, but you must keep in mind that this space has been up a long time and is currently in revamp stage. The default avatars show a nice selection, much better than the offerings of Linden Lab, and there is a space for Custom Avatar if you have privileges. Crossing "regions" was smooth, watching videos the same; no lag was found. The music did cut out once or twice, on par with SL/IWz.

According to people I met the second night (with Wizard Gynoid in tow), there are many little "discoveries" to be found on the Ranch, all relating to Nesmith's body of work, including videos from Elephant Parts, Television Parts and Rays.

So, Mr Wolfe wasn't exactly right - you can go home again, but it's different. It was nice to visit Nesmith's world - Nesmith's always been on the forefront of technology and I'm interested to see what happens with this space.