It Never Hurts To Ask

I have decided to ask for donations. The hardware needs to be upgraded. Services have to be paid for.

Although Excelsior Station will eventually generate its own revenue, through such things as Land Rentals, it will not operate on a for profit basis.
Excelsior Station is not and will not be a registered charity.
Excelsior Station is not and will not be a registered non-profit organization.

But, if you want to help with the costs, feel free to donate. There's a button on the left side panel.

Thanks in advance.


We Have Lift Off

October 17, 2014

Well, gridlings, it looks like Excelsior Station is a go.

As a said previously, it has its own site with all the info you need, so feel free to head over there and check things out. Here's the link: http://excelsiorstation.weebly.com/


A Barrier Lifted

October 12, 2014

Well, gridlings, it has been a very long time since I've written. Not really sure why. Some ill health, some RL stuff, and all not wirth saying much about. I do know that I have withdrawn somewhat from the Metverse as a whole. I simply saw too much male bovine fecal matter being spread around.

But, its time to get back at it.

I recently moved, folks, and included in my rent is land-line based Internet. That's right, no more Mobility Internet, which doesn't allow things like port forwarding or running No-IP.

That particular barrier to getting Excelsior Station online has now been lifted.

Over the next little while I will be copying my current version of the Station to my other computer. Its a single core machine with 4 Gb of RAM and 320Gb of harddrive. That should suffice until next year when I purchase a new system and this current one, a quadcore 64bit with 6Gb of RAM, can be added to the Station's resources.

Excelsior Station will be running WhiteCore. That means no HG or NPC at the moment, but those are coming. I hope to get the Station set up for people to be able to access the Kitely Market. There will be a new website, probably hosted on Weebly. That will be a more social, grid oriented site while this one will continue to be my own stuff. There will be voice. Financing will initially be out of pocket with donations. Land will be available, either by renting or by some other arrangement.

Excelsior Station is 8,192m by 8,192m in size. That is 1,024 SRE (Standard Region Equivalent). It will be supporting science fiction themed MMO-style role play using the Myriad RP System. It uses ODE physics and supports OSSL as well as AuroraSim's ASSL, though not yet fully.

I have no estimate of when it be online and accessible to you. If everything goes very well, perhaps next week. But, most likely, it will take longer.

I look invite and look forward to your thoughts, suggestions and ideas, but please, save them for when the new site is up.

And I very much look forward to having you visit.

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WoaS And Multiple OARs On A Variable Region

February 2, 2014

Well, gridlings, its been quite some time since I have published anything. Chalk it up to too much BS in my life that has drained me of most of my energy. But, things are coming along and I find that I do have a few things to share with you.

The first is that we have a new flavour of sim'ware available, WhiteCoreSim. This is a fork of AuroraSim that is being worked on by Fly Man, Rowan Deppeler and others. "After debating a lot the past months I have decided to break the chain and say that AuroraSim has been forked and will be continued under a new name: WhiteCore. Why the name WhiteCore and not something else: White stands for the pureness of the code, completely clean and fresh. Core stands for the essential things that are needed." (https://plus.google.com/108629605645251041781/posts/3g51Vywq6va) I have already seen 'movement' on the development of WhiteCore. I am already using WhiteCore instead of AuroraSim. The reason is that the developers are a lot easier to talk with.

Many of you will be familiar with SoaS, or Sim-on-a-Stick. SoaS makes it very easy for almost anyone to start using OpenSim, which has been a big benefit to getting OpenSim available to everyone. I say almost because you can only get it for Windows. I was even able to adapt it to use with AuroraSim. Well, Rowan Deppeler has done the same thing for WhiteCore and then some. The WoaS also has a Mac and Linux versions. Okay, so there's a caveat on that. The Linux version still needs some work. But, it is there and the more savvy of the Linux users should be able to work with it.

WoaS has two default regions, one is the standard 256m by 256m and the other one is 512m by 512m. There are also two default avatars, one male, one female. Yes, Simona Stick is still with us. And now she's brought along her brother, Simon. And their wardrobe is updated, too. Here's the links to get your copy:
Windows: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1666738/WhiteCore-x86-Setup.exe (you can get a zipped package at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1666738/WhiteCore-win.7z )
Mac: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1666738/WhiteCoreInstaller.dmg
Linux: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1666738/WhiteCore_Linux.tgz

And you can read the whole of the thread at the G+ AuroraSim Community https://plus.google.com/104093615269456865894/posts/9keWL67G52Y . And of course, you are welcome to join the Community.

Being a fork of AuroraSim, WhiteCoreSim has variable regions. Which are coming to OpenSim, too. Which is perfect for something like the recent release of MOSES's Atropia simulation. MOSES is a project run by the US military and the Atropia simulation consists of nine OARs. (You can get them at: http://militarymetaverse.org/?page_id=519) And that leads us to the rest of this article, setting up and loading multiple OARs onto a variable sized region.

From scratch.

I will be using Rowan's WhiteCore Windows Setup version for this. I believe that this is a step towards mass adoption as it behaves in a way that is familiar to the average user. The computer I am using is nothing special. I have described it before as an off-the-WalMart-shelf system which, again, is something that the average user is likely to have and is familiar with. And it actually is from WalMart. I purchased it approximately three years ago for CDN$500. So, no specialty equipment.

One thing. Please keep in mind that this is new. It is still being worked on.

And now, on with the show …

Clearly, the first step is to double-click the installer. If asked, choose 'Run' and then a familiar looking setup window will open.

WhiteCoreInitialSetupWindow_zpsb286c7c6.png

Click next and you will be presented with usual choose destination folder option.

WhiteCoreFolderWindow_zps747b03e8.png

WARNING! Do not change the destination folder! Changing the destination folder will bork some things that rely on being setup in that location. [Update: To quote Rowan Deppeler, who put WoaS together, "The instal to C:\WhiteCore has to do with the restrictions that windows places on programs, restricting write operations, particularly in the Program Files directories. You can install to a directory owned by your 'user' e.g Documents etc.but even this can have problems if windows restricts write access. It is just a heap easier to use a directory that will always work." This is being worked on so that we can choose where to install WhiteCore in the future.

Click ‘Next’ and you will come to the final window which launches the installation. Just click ‘Next’ again and off it goes. If User Account Controls opens, just click to allow the installation. The installing process only takes a minute or two and then you will be presented with the usual "Click to Finish" window. Something to note here. You have two checkboxes. One to open the Readme file and one to launch Whitecore. I highly recommend checking the box to open the Readme file as it has the info to login. As for the Launch option, that is up to you, but I prefer to personalize my setup first. And since this is my blog, we're going to do this my way.

Now, having worked with this installer for a little while, I have discovered that how my system is setup is a little different from the average person's. You should be able to use the link that has been placed on your desktop. If not, all is not lost. Simply open Windows Explorer and go to C:\WhiteCore\. Locate the WhiteCoreMysqlStartup.bat file and create a shortcut. Then copy that shortcut to your desktop. Now you can use whichever one you want to launch WhiteCore. Simply double click on the one that works for you.

WhiteCoreMySQLStart_zps072b2593.png

and it will run through until you have

WhiteCoreStarted_zpsd5fabab1.png

One icon to double click and everything is up and running. At this point, you can go ahead and use your sim. Simply use the login information from the Readme file to login as either Simona or Simon. You will have two regions to play in. Woas which is the SRE of 256m by 256m and WoaS512 which is, you guessed it, 512m by 512m. I know you’re thinking "But what about that big red warning at the top of the console?". If you look closely, you can see that it is trying to connect to a remote server. But this is a standalone. It doesn't use a grid server so it is looking for something that doesn't exist. Beyond that, I will refer you to developers. I've never had a problem with it, so I just ignore it until I go into the configuration files and change things to my liking. I debated with myself whether or not to carry on from this point or to go into more detail about personalizing your WhiteCore. In the end, I decided to present you with everything I do and to let you decide what it is that you want to do. If you just want to get to the part about creating your own account and regions, well, feel free to skip through to that part.

So, I simply enter the command shutdown in the console and then open the C:\WhiteCore\ folder again. In this folder, you are looking for a folder named config. IN that one is grid and sim. Since we're working with a stand-alone setup, we want the sim folder. And this is where we find the first configuration file, WhiteCore.ini. Looking through it, there really isn't anything I need to change. You will find that the hostname is set to 127.0.0.1 and the port is set to 9000.

So, now we go to the next folder in which is the Configuration folder. In this folder you will find two more configuration files, Main.ini and Includes.ini. Again, no changes are needed.

The next folder I go to is the Standalone folder. In here are four more configuration files, GridInfoService.ini, Standalone.ini, StandaloneCommon.in and WebInterface.ini.

Since I will be using the MOSES Atropia .oars on this instance, I will be naming it My Atropia. So, in the GridInfo.ini file, I change the gridname to My Atropia and the gridnick to myatropia. I uncomment login = http://127.0.0.1:9000/ by removing the semicolon (;) at the beginning of the line. I then save and exit that file, moving on to Standalone.in.

There’s nothing in the Standalone.ini file that I change, but I will point something out. Towards the end of the file you will see a section named [SSAService]. Looking at that you will see that WhiteCore already has ServerSide Appearance. Now, on to StandaloneCommon.ini.

In the StandaloneCommon.ini, you will find a section named [GridService] and in that section you should see Region_Gateway = DefaultRegion, FallbackRegion. This is the region where newcomers will land and where people are teleported to in the event that their region crashes. I change this to read Region_My_Atropia = DefaultRegion, FallbackRegion. Note the underscore (_) that is used instead of a space in the name of the region. More knowledgeable people than I can explain why it is required to replace the spaces with an underscore, but all I need to know is that it is required.

Next, scroll down a little until you come to where it says RegionSightSize = 1. Reading the description you will easily see that this sets how many regions you can see across. Leaving this as is is fine, but since I work with a few regions on the same instance, I set it to 4.

Next, under [LibraryService] is the setting to name the Inventory Library. This is that part of the Inventory that is loaded for all accounts. Since all this is from the military, I will change this to “QuarterMaster Stores”.

Then there’s the welcome message under [LoginService]. Its a nice way to (sort of) personalize everyone’s visit. Beneath this are a number of options, such as loading a ToS and requiring an agreement and setting up a series of default avatars. Towards the bottom is where you can set the default landing coordinates for new accounts. Its currently set at 128, 128, 21. That’s fine, you can come back later and change this once you have a default landing point set up. I’m also going to point out where below that you can change the textures for the Sun, Moon and clouds.

And that’s it for what I do with StandaloneCommon.ini. Look over the WebInterface. Ini file but I’ve had to make any changes to this file. From here, we go to config\sim\Configuration\Data folder for a quick edit of the FileBased.ini file.

Open this file and look for TimeBetweenSaves = 5 entry. WhiteCore, like Aurora, automatically saves a backup of your regions. This setting is for how often that occurs and is in minutes. I set mine to 60.

We’re almost done, just a couple three more. The next set of configuration files to edit are in the config\sim\Configuration\Modules folder. Right away you will see one .ini file and eleven .ini.example files. Yep, those .ini.example files are used the same as in OpenSim and AuroraSim.

The first one I edit is the WhiteCoreModules.ini file. In this file you can set thigns like shout and whisper distance, a welcome message that gets said in a new arrival’s chat, map rendering and a lot more. I generally leave most of this alone, though there are a couple of things I do change.

About two-thirds of the way down you come to ;[OpenRegionSettings]. My understanding is that the semicolon will comment out the whole section, so I remove that first. Next I go to the ;; ## Prim Scale subsection and change things to the following
;MaximumPrimScale = 256 change to MaximumPrimScale = 256
;MaximumPhysPrimScale = 10 change to MaximumPhysPrimScale = 256
;MinimumPrimScale = 0.01 change to MinimumPrimScale = 0.001
;AllowPhysicalPrims = true change to AllowPhysicalPrims = true
I know, this is just a matter of uncommenting things that are set to those values by default. Its an Old School habit of mine where I simply make sure of things.
Next, under the subsection ;; ## Prim hollow and hole sizes, I uncomment ;MaximumHollowSize = 100 and change it to MaximumHollowSize = 99.99. That’s my paranoia of what a computer might do when trying to render a prim that is 100% hollow. Maybe a tear in the Virtual Space-Time Continuum?? I also uncomment ;MinimumHoleSize = 0.01 and set it to MinimumHoleSize = 0.001. I don’t know why anyone would want to have such a small hole, but I know that I do build some weird things. And a .001% hole size on a 256x256 prim is still .00256 metres.

Under subsection ;; ## Maximum Link set counts I uncomment ;MaximumLinkCount =1000 and change it to MaximumLinkCount =255. I have run into linkset limits imposed by viewer export/import in the past, so this is simply so I don’t end up with messed up imports. I also change the limit on linked physical prims, from ;MaximumLinkCountPhys = 32 to MaximumLinkCountPhys = 256. 32 was always such a sever limit. And when you consider that such viewers as Singularity can export linksets as mesh, well, why not make the limit to something that we can really have some fun with.

And that’s it for the WhiteCoreModules.ini file. At this point, feel free to look through the various .ini.example files, edit them if you widh, though don’t forget to save them as .ini files. Once you’re done, we are ready to go.

Now we come to that “serious” first run. I recommend that you copy your various .oar and .iar files and place them in the C:\WhiteCore\bin folder. Doing so means a lot less typing when loading them in. I will be doing that with the nine Atropia .oar files I got from the MOSES site.

So, its just a matter of double clicking that Desktop icon to launch WhiteCore

WhiteCoreAfterEdit_zps4b2b755d.png

And the first thing you see is no red error message.

Now, if you want to keep the two default regions, that’s up to you. I don’t need them and they’re in Simona’s name anyway, so I get rid of them. This is where WhiteCore gets a little tricky. First, you have to ensure that the auto-backups of the regions are deleted. In the console, you go to each region using change region, then you use the command remove region and confirm when prompted. Repeat for each region. Next use grid clear. (Thanks Shawn) If you enter the console command help grid you will see that there’s a few variations, so its actually a bit more flexible than in OpenSim. Since we’re removing all the regions. The one we want is grid clear all regions which removes, well, all the regions at once.

WhiteCoreGridCleared_zps70c9652e.png

Now we’re ready to create our own regions. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to create only one region that I will name My_Atropia since I will be loading the MOSES .oar files to it. I have loaded Atropia previously to see if I wanted to incorporate it into the Station and I found two things that we need to address. The scene set by the nine .oars is in a valley and the mountains on both sides are sheared off in “back”. Very unnatural looking. Since nine .oars is 756m by 756m, I’m going to make the region 1024m by 1024m and I will place Atropia in the middle. That way, I can landscape things to look proper. Rather, you can. I’ve already done this on Excelsior Station. The other thing to deal with is that the scene is 17 metres below sea level. We’ll handle that as part of loading the .oars.

The console command to create a region is similar to OpenSim except that you do not enter a region name of .ini file name. It is simply create region. Once you enter that, you will be asked a series of questions about the new region.

WhiteCoreNewRegion_zpsd79548ab.png

I had to restart just after clearing the grid due to a mis-click on something unrelated which is why that pic is a little short on what is displayed. Anyway, it is at this time that I create my own account. You can see where its asking for the Estate owner name, well, WhiteCore will setup you account and your Estate if you enter your name at this point.

WhiteCoreNewAccount_zpsb6b4f4a3.png

So, here we are. A single region named My Atropia, part of Sarge Misfit’s Estate, Atropia. It is 1024m by 1024m, has a prim allowance of 500,000 and is located at 1000,1000. You can now enter your new WhiteCore sim. Just add your sim to the grid manager as usual using the settings you made, in this case, http://127.0.0.1:9000.

WhiteCoreFirstLogin_zps3baa49bb.png

And here we are, on our brand spanking new flat 1024x1024 variable region all ready to load things up. I am not going to take the time to load my .iar inventory files as there’s nothing different from how its done in AuroraSim and OpenSim. But loading .oar files is a bit different.

WhiteCoreFlatLand_zps7928fc59.png

The next thing we are going to do is load the Atropia .oar files. I cam up wiht a very simple thing to help with placing an .oar. First, rez a prim, then hollow it to the max. Now resize it to 256x256x20. Because we’re going to be loading a 3region by 3region sim into a region that is the equivalent of a 4region by 4region sim, then placing this is easy. Set the coordinates to 512, 512, 30. This prim now shows where the middle-most .oar is going to go. Now we set this up to give us the offsets that we will need. If you are not sure what I am talking about, just bear with me.

The next thing I do is to rez a second prim. I make its size .1x.1x50. I colour it red so it is easy to spot. Position it at 384x384x60. 384 is what you get when you subtract 128 from 512. You subtract 128 because teh big prim is 256 and we are after putting this pole prim into the SW corner of the big prim. Link the big prim to the pole prim so that the pole prim becomes the root. You now have a positioning template for your .oar files.

WhiteCoreFirstPositionTemplate_zps5b8a6f37.png

Okay, so now we need the other eight positions. Get out your calculators, gridlings, you might need it. You see, all the other positions will have coordinates that are plus or minus 256. What you do is shift-drag to make a copy. Then either add or subtract 256 from 384 to get that particular coordinate. This is what you should end up with.

WhiteCoreAllTemplates_zps9b140136.png

Now you will find out why I added those red poles and made them the root prim. You see, the X and Y coordinates of the individual position templates is the values we will need to set the positions of the relevant .oar files.

But first we have to prepare to deal with that 17 metres below sea level problem. This seems to be relatively easy to solve simply by using –OffsetZ=17 but that will only raise up the objects, not the terrain. So, first we plan things so that we can raise the terrain into position later on. And we have to take into account the surrounding terrain. On this sim, its not such a big deal. But if you are dealing with a much larger sim, then we need to be able to integrate the new terrain with the old. This is actually simple to do. All we do is lower all the terrain by 17 metres. This is done using the console command terrain lower 17 and then confirm the change. Now we are ready.

First, which .oar goes where. Well, someone thought of that and posted a good pic of where things go http://militarymetaverse.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/atropia_map_lrg.png. And now we begin.

First we make sure that we are in the proper region.
change region My Atropia
We do this as a good habit. You see, if we stay in [root], then everything we do affects every region in the instance, not just the one. If all you have is a single region, that’s not a worry. But it is a good habit to gain so that you don’t screw things up when you do add more regions.
Using the Edit window inworld, we highlight the first positioning template in the SouthWest, were Atropia_00.oar will go.

WhiteCoreLoadingFirstOAR_zps3da16032.png

As you can see on the left is my viewer window showing that the coordinates of this positioning template is 128,128 and we don’t need the Z value. On the right it is showing that I am in the My Atropia region for console commands. Now we load the first of the .oar files Atropia_00.oar using the console command
load oar Atropia_00.oar —merge —OffsetX=128 —OffsetY=128 —OffsetZ=17
that is two - infront of each of those switches (I believe they are called). If merge is not used, then all objects currently in the region will be deleted before laoding the .oar, so this is required. And notice that I didn’t add any path to teh file anme, which si the result of copying those files to the \bin folder.

WhiteCoreFirstOAROffsets_zpsf18916a1.png

Tap Enter and we quickly end up with

WhiteCoareFirstOARLoaded_zps5f593336.png

You can now delete that first postioning template, thereby ensuring that you don’t accdinetly use it for any other .oar positions. Also, if you look at the viewer part of the pic, you should see a building that is sort of flaoting in mid-air. Later on, when we raise the terrain back up, that building will be sitting on dry alnd where it is suppossed to be. So, now we carry on with teh rest of the loading. Highlight the next positionign template, enter the console command to load the proper .oar and repeat until done.
**WARNING! NPCs are not yet functioning in WhiteCore. When you load Atropia_11.oar will see a lot of red error message. These all relate to NPCs. They can be ignored as they don’t interact with anything else. You can look through the bin\WhiteCore.logfile to get the coordinates of the scripts if you want to remove them.
You are also going to see a bunch of yellow warnings about missing an asset and the UUID of it. And tis all the same UUID. I have not found what it is, but it doens’t impact anything else, so I’ve simply ignored it.
Now that you ahve loaded all nine of the Atropia .oar files, you see

WhiteCoreAtropiaLoaded_zpseffcc017.png

The whole village is up in the air. Now is the time to restore the terrain height with the console command
terrain elevate 17

WhiteCoreAllDone_zpsbcbb5909.png

And there you have it, gridlings. Setting up WhiteCore-on-a-Stick and how to position and load multiple .oar files to a variable sized region.

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More Pics!

July 7, 2013

We got a roadway! And what a roadway it is. It starts at the parking lot at the Landing Zone.

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Each section is 100 metres long. Those round spots are the antigrav units that support the roadway. Each has a paved area that is 21m across.

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I did come up with a different solution to intersections.

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Its not very long before the roadway passes through the mountains. The Fangs can be seen up ahead.

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And here we are, beside The Fangs. We can see where the town is beginning to be laid out.
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The roadway only goes this far. I haven't counted, but I think there's over 30 sections, or 3 kilometers of roadway, including that 'spur' that runs off to the east. Eventually, it will run all the way out to the First Prim. And perhaps to that island I put in the southeast corner.

I'm also looking for a good set of scripts that will operate a 'train'. Think "transit pods", though. There would be one one-way line between any two points, so two lines between each place. LZ to PortSide. LZ to StarPort, StarPort to PortSide. When you consider that the structure is going to be made of tubes, well, I picture something wonderfully complicated. The way it would work is that a person would go to the start of one of the lines and rez a pod. The sit in the pod and press the 'Go' button. Off the pod goes, zipping real fast through its tube until it gets to its destination. It decelerates and waits for the passenger to UnSit before it derezzes.

I put some emphasis on myself to get these done as soon as I can. That is because such large infrastructure systems relating to transportation have always affected the surrounding urban, suburban and rural environments. Even at the Landing Zone, you can see how some of that area will develop. Stairs and a walkway to the primary Landing Point. Transit Station to be added, probably on the east side so as to make running the transit tubes alongside the roadway easier to begin.

By the way, if anyone has something they would like to add to Excelsior Station, please let me know. A monument, starship, wreck, tech, whatever. No promises to include it, but we'll talk about it, including proper attribution.

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Pics!

June 21, 2013

Well, things are going well with the new build of Excelsior Station. Though I have to admit that I still get a little surprised at the size of the place whenever I travel to different parts to work on things. And there are a couple of issues with travelling. Teleporting, in fact, but only when using the command line function that many viewers now have. The command line function is where you can type a short command, such as gtp x y z to teleport to a specific point without looking for a LandMark. I’m pretty sure its due to the 4096 limit that has used to plague SL and OpenSim, and still does when using HyperGrid. But, in AuroraSim, I’ve had no issue with it when using LandMarks. I haven’t tried any teleport devices yet. I simply haven’t got around to building any, though.

But, that’s not why I’m writing this particular piece. This time I just want to show off a few things that I have done so far. Mostly terrain, though I did import one build from the old Station. So, here we go …

First is the default Landing Zone.
9099693341_de58b8669b_c.jpg
Nothing there yet except for the main platform. I just don’t know what I want to place there. There will be structures for freebies, though the freebies themselves will come from future residents. And I will be importing a number of Linda Kellie’s things into the Inventory Library, which I’ve renamed to WareHouse.

Here’s something I call The First Prim.
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This is something my late friend, Ravin, used to do. Its the very first prim that I rezzed inworld. And it has a secret. I don’t know what the prize will be, but that unknown prize will go to the first person who solves The Secret of The First Prim. The platform and railing is simply to keep bystanders from coming into contact with it. So far, the scientists haven’t found anything harmful about it, but you can’t be too careful.

What self-respecting RP world doesn’t have Fangs?
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You’ve likely noticed that there’s no grass anywhere. I’m experimenting with the idea of an all sand and sea world. I’ve also found that it helps with terraforming as shadows show much more clearly. Its easier to find potholes and land spikes that make things look unnatural.

Just for the fun of it, the Devil’s Sceptre.
9101923146_f13a83e29b_c.jpg
I was looking for pictures and layouts for starports when I came across a build that used a rock spire as the foundation to “hang” everything off of. I’m thinking this would make a good military style outpost. And I’m not really happy with the name, so that will be another little contest to run.

Here’s the one build I imported from the old Station.
9099691363_5983c85d5e_c.jpg
I call this Skyville, but, again, I’m not happy with the name. So, another contest. I still have no idea of what sort of prize to give, but I’ll think of something. Perhaps a permanently free region sized parcel? Would that be a good prize for the naming contests?

Well, that’s it for now. I’m definitely taking it slow, trying to keep within my health limits. I am having fun, though, and that’s one of the best remedies there is.

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Getting Back to Norbal

June 14, 2013

One of the things that added to my stress levels over the last while is discovering that my database is corrupted.

Or was. I guess I kinda lost it and wiped the whole thing. Yes, I have past copies of the Station, but I choose to begin from scratch. Take the opportunity to fix some things, make it bigger, better.

I haven't really done anything beyond that until yesterday. Hell, it was the first time rezzed a prim in months. And now I am at something of a loss. I don’t have a clear idea of what I want it to be.

Oh, it will still be loosely sci-fi themed. But beyond that … I don’t know.

So, I am going to set myself some ground work here, some foundations.

It is still using AuroraSim, though there are some problems with that. Mostly due to changes in how it is configured, changes to console commands and a lack of documentation. Excelsior Station will be 8,192m by 8,192m in size. That is the same area as 1,024 OpenSim regions.

It won’t have a Freebie Centre. Instead, those will be incorporated into the Inventory’s Library, or Station Warehouse as I have renamed it. This doesn’t mean that freebies won’t be allowed. They will be. Some space will be set aside at the Welcome Centre for a small building where future residents can place a few, but otherwise, people can provide them at their own locations.

But, beyond that, I am at a bit of a loss. I have a landing spot build, but nothing beyond that. Its a bit daunting the thought of having 1,024 regions to build in. I know its going to be a couple of years to build something I will be happy to share with everyone. I will be moving some of the builds from my previous version to this, but that version is only 16 regions large.

I do have a few goals for Excelsior Station, goals which have not changed. One is purely mercenary. I want it to earn a profit of $1,000 a month. When you consider that I live on $800 a month, such a profit would mean that I can get off this government medical pension and tell them to kiss my ass. I will say that this is not a primary goal. I do live within my means, though with some help from community resources. But achieving this would sure be nice.

I want to feature people’s builds. Their large ones. Buildings. Ships, both wet and space. Installations. Factories. Anything and everything I can put my hands on. Roleplay, of course, including ship-to-ship combat. Driving, sailing, flying. Music and entertainment.

Come to think of it, I can wrap all that into one goal. To build a city. Not one that is only a setting or backdrop, but a place where people live. That is the primary goal. A place where people live.

As I said, I am at a bit of a loss. I know I will get it built, its just a matter of having the ideas begin. And I am also inviting all of you to join me on this. I know, you can’t login as Excelsior Station is not yet online. But if you have things you would like to see included, please let me know. Point me to where you have things for download. Comment here, tweet me, post on G+ with ideas. Give me links to pictures and drawings of things that would be cool to include.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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An Unhappy Camper

April 17, 2013

Imagine you have built a home for yourself and your friends. Its a great home with everything you could want in it. Plenty of bedrooms for people to stay in, fully appointed kitchen with walk-in pantry, fridge and freezer, dining room, wine cellar, spa, gardens, living room, den, library, games room, the whole works. And you’ve built it yourself. You know every nail, every bolt, every two-by-four, brick and shingle that went into its construction.

Now imagine leaving that and settling for a smaller place. Imagine trying to build for yourself a one bedroom bungalow for you and your friends. It looks nice and your enjoying the building, but it just is not the same. It simply cannot be the same.

This is the situation that I find myself in with Excelsior Station. In moving to OpenSim I find myself trying to rebuild an estate into a bungalow. It is not the same and it is not satisfying.

I am not a happy camper.

So, I am rethinking my decision to switch to OpenSim. Actually, I’ve pretty much made up my mind. Excelsior Station using AuroraSim is far more satisfying to me than this rebuild can ever be. But there are some questions that need some pondering on.

If I do open the Station to the public, it will be a closed grid due to the lack of HyperGrid functionality. Which brings about the question of, will people take up residence there? I do want the Station to be a success and how popular it becomes will be one indicator of that. Other questions are, how to deal with currency? Can I attract a programmer to handle the AuroraSim software? What sort of arrangements can be made to host the Station? What about expansion, such as private regions? Or should I go with the anyone-can-connect model, such as used by OSGrid?

In the meantime, I’m going to dust off the archives and get back to work on the “estate” of Excelsior Station. And feel free to share your thoughts with me.

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Leapin' Before Lookin'

March 20, 2013

So, I had another one of my ideas for a project. With the move to OpenSim, I have been thinking about where to start. I have an idea for which terrain to use, and I still have my backups of various regions I have worked, so I have a starting build. But now what? Those other regions are all workshops of one kind or another. So, I have been letting things sort of simmer, waiting for some images to come to mind (that's what happens for me, I get a mental image) of how to make the changes form a workshop, to something that made sense as a hangout RP place.

So, why not as a real rebuild. Its a rebuild that is the result of moving from AuroraSim to OpenSim. So, I got to thinking about that, and started picturing how to explain things. That is, a sim has to make sense when you are there. Energy sources, buildings, travelways, all the things for role play to take place in.

Next thing I know, I am imagining how station commanders have done things across the history of science fiction.

Many of my favourite sci-fi is the ones that use a log, diary or journal.

What a great way to give Excelsior Station its own story.

A Station Log

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The Loud Silence

March 19, 2013

A couple of days ago, on March 17, I asked a question on both Twitter and G+.

Is anyone working on a HyperGrid module for AuroraSim?

I asked this question because, despite my recent reassessment and decision to move to OpenSim, I truly do not want to give up AuroraSim. If someone is working on a HG module, I would reverse my decision, exercise patience and would carry on with the plans that I had.

So far, nobody has replied. And while two days isn’t much time, there are a lot of people on Twitter and G+ who keep themselves continuously up to date, so one can expect to receive some sort of response over that time.

While I can hope that there is someone working on this and is not a social media user, I can understand why there might be nobody working on such a module. Why would anyone do so if the developers themselves do not support the inclusion of HG capability in the first place? Especially in light of the fact that it already exists with OpenSim.

This shows us a large error in the development of AuroraSim. It is not an error in the coding of the software, it is an error in judgement. The developers of AuroraSim do not put enough importance on public engagement. They are proceeding with the development of AuroraSim based on their own desires with little regard to what the public wants. They show little concern for their future end users.

As I said, their refusal to include HG capability shows an error in judgement. That error is the lack of public engagement. There are other indicators that point to this error. Their main website, http://aurora-sim.org/, shows that the only thing that has been updated is the copyright date in the bottom left corner of the homepage. The site still lists a version of AuroraSim that is over a year old, 0.5.0.1, yet the most recent coding is at version 0.5.4. In other words, it has been over a year since the AuroraSim developers have released a public binary.

There has been no news releases in that time, either. Their forums have at least one support question that has gone unanswered for over a month. Under General Topics, threads go months without replies. Their Wiki has been showing a 404 error for over six months. There is no mailing lists for users or developers. Despite having a Twitter account, the only things that get tweeted about are the various merges, pulls and other changes to the coding. Nothing about features or improvements.

You cannot help but compare AuroraSim to OpenSim. The OpenSim developers make regular releases of binaries for people to use and test. They have active mailing lists that are responded to very quickly. Every release candidate is announced via social media as well as on their site. OpenSim updates their Wiki promptly and the forums are very active.

I have always stated very clearly that AuroraSim is better software. I have written the results of my own informal testings to show this. To bring that up to date, Excelsior Station is the equivalent of 128 OpenSim regions, with a prim allowance of 3,000,000. It is currently has nearly 80,000 prims rezzed and is running well over 7,000 scripts, including particle engines, listeners, vehicles and texture modifiers. All on a Windows 7 single core machine with just 4Gb of RAM. With OpenSim, I can get up to 30 empty regions on the same machine before lag renders it unusable.

But the quality of the software matters little if people find it difficult to use. Yes, its relatively easy to compile the source code that you can download from their GitHub site (https://github.com/aurora-sim), but just saying that it has to be compiled will scare people off. Many people want to download and run a compiled binary. People want to be able to find the latest news about recent changes. They want to find information about feature improvements. They want to be able to get answers to questions and solutions to problems. And they want those things with reasonable ease.

That is where OpenSim is superior to AuroraSim. OpenSim engages the public. It is that simple. They listen to what people want and they do their best to include those wants. If they cannot meet those wants, the OpenSim developers tell us why.

Is anyone working on a HyperGrid module for AuroraSim?

The silence is speaking very loudly indeed.

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A Reassessment

March 16, 2013

I have been reassessing what it is that I am doing with Excelsior Station. This has come about due to recent health diagnoses and the resulting need to do the same in my Real Life.

Although I have been writing about Excelsior Station for a couple of years now, it actually began almost three years before that. That was when I first began checking out OpenSim. I learned how to compile the code, add regions, import and export my builds, save and load OARs and IARs. Soon enough, I discovered AuroraSim and began testing its limits. It was while I was trying to figure out MySQL that I came across Sim-on-a-Stick and things began to come together for me. It was also around that time that I thought I should start sharing what I was learning. And so this site was born.

It was also during that time that Excelsior Station itself began as a specific world. A world where people can drive, fly, sail or any other type of travel using any sort of vehicle that they can dream of. It would be a world of role play, of combat and contest. It would be a destination for people to visit and enjoy themselves, a world that was connected to other worlds in a network of role playing virtual worlds, creating the ultimate in MMOs.

An MMO that is a network where the users, not a corporation, create the challenges and the things to be used to meet those challenges.

Excelsior Station began as a sixteen region OpenSim megaregion, but I soon found that AuroraSim was simply better suited. AuroraSim has physics, currency, no region borders, yet uses fewer system resources than the same land area, prims and scripts do in OpenSim. It also had its own system for intergrid travel called InterWorld Communication. Soon thereafter a hypergrid module was created.

That was the beginning of Excelsior Station. It has grown and changed over the last couple of years. As has AuroraSim and OpenSim. I have met many people that have met many people in that time and many have helped and there have been a few AuroraSim based grids that I have been involved in, as well. Nova Grid, Created Worlds, AuroraScape. Zarta, Nichodemous, Timothy, to name a few.

Most recently, Timothy and his Zetamex hosting company have been helping me to get Excelsior Station online and open to the public. The plan is to run it as a stand-alone with a community created Terms of Service. I have been focused on achieving this, too focused, I find.

AuroraSim no longer has a functioning HyperGrid capability. Changes in the coding has broken the module that allows intergrid travel. Furthermore, the primary developer of AuroraSim is against coding HG capability into the software. While he is not against someone creating a module for it, he is not going to do so himself.

This is a mistake.

When you write software for the general public to use, you must compromise. You may not want to include something, but when the people you are designing the software for want it, you have to compromise and include it. By not including HyperGrid capability in AuroraSim, it becomes limited in the eyes of the public.

It also means that I cannot achieve my goals for Excelsior Station.

Without the ability to travel to and from other grids, every AuroraSim based grid becomes a closed grid. Including Excelsior Station. While I am in favour of both open and closed grids, Excelsior Station was never intended to be closed. Any currency and economy it should develop was to be dependant on a secure HyperGrid. Its support of role play and vehicles are dependant on intergrid travel.

In short, I cannot achieve my goals for Excelsior Station if it were to remain based on AuroraSim.

I refuse to give up on my goals. However, without a functioning HyperGrid capability, I do not see how I have any other choice but to use OpenSim.

It is not the software that defines the world. It is the goals and the people of that world who do.

I look forward to the day when Excelsior Station and the people who come to it achieve their goals.

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Fighting the Child Avatar FUD

March 6, 2013

Over and over again I keep reading those declarations that anyone who uses or supports the use of child avatars is supporting paedophilia.

By the logic of those people, anyone engaged in using child avatars to overcome childhood trauma is supporting paedophilia. So is everyone who engages in Family RP. As is anyone playing the role of a drummer boy in a Civil War recreation sim.

The people who are making such statements seem to have no understanding of human behaviour. I don’t pretend to know how a paedophile’s mind works. But I do have a basic understanding of human nature.

Nobody is going to go looking for something where they know it cannot be found. If I am wanting to meet a woman who has similar interests as I do, I am not going to go to a gay singles site. I am not going to go to Sesame Street World (if there is such a site for children). I am not going to go to a site for college students. I am going to go to a site for people like me and her.

So, why would a paedophile go to a grid that doesn’t allow children? A paedophile is going to go to sites that cater to children, even if he has to lie about his own adulthood to gain access. He is not going to go to a grid that does not allow children to enter.

Yes, its true, there are kids who sneak onto grids. But let’s be realistic. A paedophile isn’t going to enter a grid trying to find one of those hidden children. Too much work when he can go hangout on FaceBook for easier pickings.

Human beings do not pursue sexual relations with others who do not match their ‘orientation’ or who do not fit that particular ‘type’ that attracts them. Being straight, I’m not going to go to a gay bar to pickup a woman. Furthermore, if you are straight, are you going to have sex with a man who is wearing a dress? If you are attracted to weightlifter-fit types with long hair, you aren’t going to seek out a balding accountant type. If you are attracted to short people, you aren’t going to seek out basketball players. The same behaviour rules a paedophile. It doesn’t matter how realistic the child avatar is, being on a grid that doesn’t allow children, he will know that the person behind the child avatar is an adult. And so no matching of ‘orientation’ or ‘attraction type’.

Hopefully, those points I have made will work against the FUD that surrounds child avatars. But there’s one more point to bring to your attention. A factual one. Crime statistics.

According to Stranger Danger (http://www.lindenhurststrangerdanger.com/?page_id=2) “In 1986, child sexual abuse cases were 16% of all reported cases. In 1998, child sexual abuse cases were 10% of all reported cases.” From 1990 to 1997, there has been //”There has been a 26% decline in the rate per 1,000 of substantiated cases of child sexual abuse since 1992.”

According to Free-Range Kids (http://www.freerangekids.com/crime-statistics/), juvenile homicides of kids under 14 were down by 36% from 1993 to 2005 and down 60% for those 14 to 17.

That’s right, crime is dropping. Including crimes against children. I can list site after site of reports and statistics that show this, but don’t take my word for it. Go ahead, Google “crime statistics 2000 to 2013” for yourself and you will see that I am correct.

I am not saying that we should not be vigilant. I am not saying that we should not care for and protect the well being of all children. I am saying that we should not use the protection of children as an excuse to promote hatred and intolerance of others. Especially when that hate and intolerance is based on something as transient and changing as an avatar.

The hatred and intolerance against child avatars is nothing but FUD.

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Birth of a ToS

March 2, 2013

Well, March 1st was a good goal to aim for to launch Excelsior Station, and we almost made it. The files are uploaded and so its in the hands of hardware and server people at Zetamex. That means that things will launch any time now.

One of the things that a grid should have is a Terms of Service. For good or bad, it does define responsibilities and obligations. Its an agreement, a contract between you and the grid. A contract is an exchange of value between two or more parties. When it comes to a grid, well, they are providing a service and you are providing good will. Yes, even that has a value. If it makes a person feel good to see their sim being enjoyed, well, that’s a pretty valuable thing. That is only one exchange of value involved, as well, but that’s not the point here. The point is, that a ToS should be treated as an agreement between two parties, you and the grid, regarding an exchange of value.

A ToS does tend to be one sided. Though, when you consider that it is the grid that has the majority of liability and risk under the law, a ToS that is heavily weighted in favour of the grid is understandable. But that doesn’t mean that the user shouldn’t enjoy some of the benefits and protection that a ToS can give them.

Something that has become very clear to me in thinking on this is that it will take some time to create a good ToS. So, this is only a start.

The best place to start is to define what we are talking about. I like the way Firecaster put it about recognizing the Avatar as being an extension of ourselves. I prefer to look at it this way. Our Avatar in the Metaverse is to our Self what our Body is in the Universe. Yes, I used upper case to be clear that I am not just talking of the mundane aspects, but the whole of the concept that each embodies.

So, Avatar would be our digital Person, while avatar is our digital body, the vehicle for our Avatar/Person. Avatar would be used to refer to the person controlling the avatar. By according those recognitions, we can then be clear that we have similar rights and protections within that virtual world as we do in the physical one. Think of it this way. Just as nobody has the right to assault you in RL, nobody has the right to grief you in VW.

Now I said similar rights, not the same rights. That is because of how a grid is structured, just like a feudal government. So, no right to vote for a new leader. On the plus side, no election campaigning. And no matter what any of us might put in a ToS, there is no exemption from Real World Law.

The following is what I have in mind so far. I very much look forward to your contributions.

~~~<>~~~

Preamble

“The term ‘Avatar’, in the upper case, shall be understood to be referring to the person controlling a virtual world representation of themselves. Such virtual world representations shall be referred to as ‘avatars’, in lower case.”

“It is recognized that an avatar, being the digital representation of a Person, acts in the same fashion as that Person’s body does, it being the material representation of that Person.”

“In this regard, every Avatar shall be accorded similar rights and protections for their avatar as they do for they body.”

This next section would be about the legal necessities, including privacy and intellectual property rights.

Legal Needs

“Excelsior Station and every Avatar shall comply with the Legislation, Statutes and Regulations of the Province of British Columbia, Canada in so far as they pertain to the operation, maintenance, access and use of Excelsior Station and its services.”

”Information about any and all Avatars that is collected by Excelsior Station is held in trust by Excelsior Station. That information is not available to anyone without the expressed and informed consent of the Avatar or by lawful court order.”

”Excelsior Station provides the environment, tools and services to allow an Avatar to interact with and to modify that same environment. It is recognized that it is the Avatar that creates the content, not the tools or services. As such, content created by an Avatar, and the copyrights to that content, is owned by that Avatar.”

”Excelsior Station has no rights to copy content, except as part of necessary maintenance and security of data. Copies of content made by Excelsior Station are done so for the purpose of data recovery in the event of any data loss.”

Next would be terms that ensure that everyone has the right to speak their mind, to disagree with policies and decisions. Dispute resolution.

Well, like I said, its a lot of work. This is an opportunity to create an honest ToS, one that is community built. I hope to see lots of comments, good and bad, they are all worth it.

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Legalities

February 26, 2013

Every grid has to comply with the Law. So does every person. Normally, this is very straight forward. But the Metaverse is an international place, and so different laws apply to different grids. This where jurisdiction comes in, something I’ve written about before. The laws that apply to a grid are those that apply to the Real World location of the grid.

Second Life has its headquarters in California, so the laws of the State of California and the Laws of the US apply. InWorldz has its headquarters in New York, so that state’s laws and the federal laws of the US apply. It should be noted that it is not where the servers are located, but their place of business.

For Excelsior Station, its place of business is Canada. I’ll be making all the Real World info available, on a new site. I’m not giving up this blog, just going to setup a small site for the Station itself for information and account registration.

So, it is Canadian Law that applies, and the laws of the Province of British Columbia, as well. For the most part, there’s nothing of any significance to note between the way the US and Canada do things. But there is one area that matters to all of us.

The protection of our intellectual property.

When it comes to copyright enforcement, we are best acquainted with the DMCA. That is due to a few factors. The largest and best known grid, Second Life, is US based and has suffered a bad reputation regarding enforcement of the DMCA. The second factor is simply that there are significantly more US based grids out there. There are apparently more websites that have information regarding the DMCA than that of any other country.

The most important thing to understand is that the DMCA is American law. It is not German law. Or British. Or Canadian law.

I went looking for information about how we handle copyright infringement cases in Canada. Including emails to one of the top professors of law. As it turns out, Canada has a Notice-and-Notice system enacted as law. Which means, if I receive a Notice of alleged copyright infringement, I am to Notify the accused of the matter. There’s a problem, though.

Regulations have yet to be enacted. So, I don’t know if I am to remove the content or not. There’s nothing specified about what information should be included in the Notices or in what form those Notices have to be. That was when I was reminded about Common Practice.

Common Practice gives a person something of a precedent to work from when the law is unclear. Common Practice in Canada is to honour DMCA Notices and to act in accordance with the DMCA. The reason is to prevent liability as a secondary offender.

Excelsior Station will do the same. It will honour DMCA Notices and will act in accordance with Common Practice by removing any allegedly infringing content. Excelsior Station will also treat a DMCA Notice as a Notice of Infringement under Canadian Law and will act in accordance with Canadian Law by forwarding a copy of the Notice to the alleged infringer.

There’s some other legalities to go over, as well. Excelsior Station will operate on a not-for-profit basis, though it is not a registered non-profit. If you choose to donate any money, you will not receive a tax exemption receipt.

Excelsior Station will be renting parcels of land, with payments being made via PayPal for now. Inworld currency is not available. Whether one is developed or not will depend on the community of registered users and the laws that pertain to the handling of virtual currency.

Otherwise, we’re still on track for March 1st.


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Still Truckin’ On

February 22, 2013

Its been busy over the last little while. Taking on Grid Press has been quite a job. Fun, though. I plan on putting out a call for volunteers to help staff it. I’ll be adding a Twitter Follow button and feed here very soon. Grid Press has been assimilated by FaceBorg, so go ahead and look for it. Its there as an organization, not a personal account, so none of my personal info is there.

I’m still upgrading Excelsior Station from v1.024 to v4.096. That is, from 1,024m by 1,024m to 4,096m by 4,096m.

The Colony build is done, that’s the name of the Welcome Centre parcel.

I’m stocking it with a bunch of Linda’s freebies. My hat’s off to her in thanks and recognition of her creativity and generousity. Nobody can take that away from her. To me, there’s an added benefit to having some of her things available. Doing so does help people to get a good fast start on getting themselves settled. But there’s also continuity. A person can go from grid to grid and have an avatar that looks the same on each grid without having to import or manually edit their appearance. Continuity is important as it is the root of being recognized from grid to grid.

And there’s lots of room for others, too. There will be four areas with a floor space of roughly 30m by 50m. The areas will be for female avatars, male avatars, RP (including avatars and costumes) and odds ‘n sods. A couple of free buildings, furnishings, things like that.

The hosting hardware is ready. I’m going with Zetamex. I’ve worked briefly with Timothy Rogers, their CEO. He’s highly motivated, very community oriented and a likeable person. So, I’ve been working hard to finish the OAR for uploading.

No promises, but I am targeting March 1st to go public.

So, with some good luck, it should open New Years Day.

I have some thoughts about a preamble and some definitions for the future Terms of Service. Initially, things will run on a best behaviour expectation. I’ll write something on this in a day or two. The same for intellectual property and copyright information. That is the subject for another day.

Okay, so for today, I want to tell you of some of the open ended plans I have. I want inter-grid travel, but both the HyperGrid and InterWorld Communications (AuroraSim’s version of HG) are non-functional. To my knowledge, there are currently no developers working on either of these.

So, at this point, Excelsior Station will be a closed grid. It will open when we have functioning inter-grid travel. And if the majority wants it. And not 50%+1. To me, a clear majority is two-thirds, sixty-six point six percent.

Then there’s the question of currency. I don’t know. I have to look into what is involved to be in compliance with regulations. I am in favour of having a currency, perhaps the cred, using e$ as the symbol? USD$1 = e$1,000 as an exchange rate?

In the meantime, I can rent land, using PayPal as the medium. Here’s a different way of doing business. What do you think is a fair rate, in US dollars per month, for a 128m by 128m parcel of land with a 10,000 prim allowance. I’m not looking to make a profit, but bills do have to be paid. Oh, and don’t forget, AuroraSim is still alpha’ware.

For now, I plan on limiting those parcels to 100, and give each person a choice of location. They will also be allowed to build roads, small harbours and other things that would contribute to the general enjoyment of role play.

There will be some free land available to individuals, but I am still thinking that one through. It would be a small plot, with a choice of one of the free houses not counting against a small prim allowance. Okay, there’s another question for the community. What would be a fair prim allowance for a free plot of what size land? Okay, so that’s two questions.

I am open to giving some land to be used as bases or HQ’s or some such for role play groups. I think you all will like this one. Once a group gets to a minimum size of four members, no alts, it can register as a role play group and will receive a free bit of land. Measured as a the most minimum of plot sizes, 4m by 4m, per member. The more members in the group, the more land the group controls. Location by choice of the group and cannot be changed. The maximum would be a plot of 128m by 128m. And the limit would be a total of the area of ten standard region equivalents. That would allow a minimum of forty groups of maximum land allowance per group. Oh, and no swelling of the ranks with alts.

There will be freely available a 128m by 128m parcel each to Furries, Tinies, Elves, Vampire, Lycan, Artificial, Mer, Gor, Family, and whoever else I can think of or be convinced of to add to that list. Oh! Star Trek, Star Wars, Star Gate. With their starbases to remain from 10,000m down to 3,000. Yes, depending on your viewer, you should be able to build up to 10,000m on Excelsior Station. The same for any starfaring role play group. Keep the base to a maximum of 200m by 200m by 200m. And they can be mobile.

Well, those are my thoughts regarding land at Excelsior Station.

The Welcome Centre is coming along nicely. Some tweaking of buildings on PortSide. I’ll set aside a place to hold public meetings. Lots more to be done, lots more to talk about.

And I’ll keep on truckin’ on.

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Moving Forward

February 18, 2013

There has been a lot of controversy across the Metaverse, gridlings, centered around decisions and actions taken by the main grid of the OpenSim Metaverse, OSGrid. A controversy that continues still, though not as heatedly. I still see people posting about child avatars, the blocking of HyperGrid access, legalities and more. I see people divided, some calling the others haters and trolls while others call for reason and resolution. I see respect for each other lost and friendships broken.

Whatever your position is, whatever you think the issues are, I’m moving forward. I will still talk about those issues, but those issues will come to a resolution in their own time. I am not going to let them hold me back from working towards my own goals.

Yet those same issues have had their own influence on my goals.

Excelsior Station will have a Bill of Avatar Rights, in some form, as part of its Terms of Service. It will be written in plain English so that it is easy to understand. It will detail everyone’s rights and obligations.

This is not a new idea. Vanish Firecaster at TGIB recently posted about some work he’s done at http://v.tgib.co.uk/?p=13240 and there’s been some discussion in the OpenSim Virtual Community on G+ at https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/116284417302234467612?cfem=1 .

I expect there are those who will declare that its not feasible. To them I ask, have you ever tried? Some will laugh out right. Well, let them laugh. There are others who will point out that grids are inherently feudal in how they are governed. I agree, they are, but why can’t a kingdom ensure that its citizens are protected from abuse and injustice?

I had thought to start by posting what Vanish has published, adding those things that were talked about in the conversation at OpenSim Virtual, and to work from there. But this isn’t the time. This is only the very start of it, the very first few steps.

I’ve had the goal of making Excelsior Station a place to showcase what AuroraSim is capable of. To make Excelsior Station a place where people can have fun and to explore their creativity. That has not changed. What has changed is that those goals have expanded. They have been added to.

Excelsior Station will not only showcase what AuroraSim can do, it will showcase what people can do.

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Is OSGrid Based in the USSR?

February 13, 2013

You know, I started writing this article to share my thoughts and outrage over recent actions taken by the Administration at OSGrid. How they are unilaterally blocking HyperGrid connections to other grids, sudden changes to policies that were never fully disclosed to begin with, a hidden ToS, eliminating methods for community input and discussion, censorship and banishment of individuals for disagreeing with them. I intended to do so in a respectful and well thought out manner.

Fuck it.

OSGrid was setup to for testing the ongoing development of the OpenSimulator software. They allow people to run their own software on their own systems and to connect their regions to OSGrid. Out of that has grown a large, vibrant, creative and intelligent community.

But it is not free nor is it a democratic community. It believes that it is, but recent events have proven that it isn’t. Anyone who disagrees with the decisions or actions of the Administration at OSGrid will be censored and kicked out.

In the old USSR, anyone who disagreed with the Administration was sent to the gulag. There the dissenters, the "bad thinkers" were taught “right thinking”. Think this isn’t happening at OSGrid? Here’s what Walter Balazic is promoting in the OSGrid forums; “Go out and when you see a negative or incorrect post about the grid. Post the "right" information. …” ( http://forums.osgrid.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4669&start=10 )

I was posting to that very same thread when my forum account got deleted. Shortly afterwards, my account on OSGrid itself was blocked. Read my posts that thread and do so soon for they could very well be deleted. I was not disrespectful. I was not trolling. I haven’t been on their grid itself since before December, so I certainly haven’t been griefing anyone. I have not been telling people to stay away.

All I did was have the balls to voice my disagreement with the Administration at OSGrid.

I do not blame any one individual. The Administration at OSGrid is a group effort and they have been supporting these actions and decisions.

The choice is yours, gridlings, to support an organization that is administrated by a group that practices censorship or not. At least you still have that much freedom.

I sure as hell won’t be.

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The Future of Excelsior Station

February 9, 2013

Well, when all the legal crap came down two months ago, I removed all of my instances from the Metaverse, including Excelsior Station. Well, the legal crap got flushed and I am able to get things back up and running. Including finding a new home for the Station.

And I may have done that. Things are still waiting on details and finalization, but it looks like I may achieve one of my original goals for Excelsior Station, that is become an independent grid. In other words, not a region on someone else’s grid but its own virtual world.

Now, its going to be awhile before anything gets going, maybe as much as 3 months, but I am confident that things will work out. Which means that this is a perfect opportunity to rebuild the Station.

So, what do you think about a single region that is 4,096 metres by 4,096 metres large? That is the equivalent to 128 standard OpenSim regions. 16.77 square kilometres, or 6.55 square miles for all you non-metrics out there. Central Park in New York is only 1.25 square miles. You can fit five and a quarter Central Parks into that large a region.

And how about 2,000,000 prims? Can a person O.D. on prims? Oh, but there’s a bit of a (virtual) reality check here. In SL 128 regions would have a total prim allowance of 1,920,000 prims. Still, that sure is a lot for one person to handle.

And just think of the possibilities. With that much room and absolutely zero region crossing issues, racing would be awesome. And how about starship battles? Four kilometres form one side of the region to the other leaves a lot of room for 200 metre long battlecruisers to manoeuvre in. Oh, and you just know I’m going to have water happening, so there’s a hell of an opportunity to having wet navies duke it out. Those of you who have known me for awhile know that those are things I dearly desire for the Station. But what else?

Frankly, I’m not sure. There is also an opportunity to get you involved. You see, I’m thinking of setting things up so people can rent parcels. They can have a piece of the Station and help to build it into something truly awesome. And it’s something that isn’t dependent on being a closed or open grid. Speaking of open or closed, what about HyperGrid? Is having HG a good idea or not?

So, there’s a few things to think about here. I invite all of you to comment with your own thought, ideas and wants. I can’t promise to include them, but I do promise to listen and to tell you why.

Oh, and since its likely to come up. There won’t be any restrictions on avatars, other than what is mandated by law. Canadian law at that. We’re a little less uptight about such things than some other countries are.

Yes, that means that child avatars would be allowed. As I’ve tried to get across, I don’t have anything in particular against child avatars, its the controversy that surrounds them that I don’t want to deal with. The thing is, when I weigh that want against what can be accomplished here, well, I can handle the controversy if it means making Excelsior Station what I know it can be.

So, go ahead, tell me what you would like to see happen.

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Hiro and the Kid

February 8, 2013

Although I’ve been sidelined the last couple of months doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention. And one of the things I’ve been trying to keep up on is this controversy regarding child avatars on OSGrid.

Child avatars has been, and will likely to remain, a very controversial and contentious issue. And this current controversy on OSG is part of that. It has also drawn its fair share of drama llamas and rabble rousers. I detest such things. People should be free to decide for themselves based on reasoned discussion, not emotionally loaded diatribes.

Let me start with my own position about child avatars. Whether a grid’s owners allow child avatars or not, I don’t allow them on my regions. I understand people using child avatars as a therapy to deal with their own childhood issues. I don’t have a problem with that. I know and recognize that roleplay is a valid therapeutic tool. Involving a virtual presence make it all that much more powerful. Hell, the military is using virtual world RP to help their people to deal with such things as PTSD.

But I don’t want to be a part of someone else’s therapy. I have enough issues of my own.

Another reason is that my regions get setup for combat, heavy vehicles, bars, nightclubs and more. All environments that we would never allow RL children to be in. There is nothing worse for my RP than to suddenly have a child skipping along through my environment.

And then there’s all the RL issues, such as paedophilia. If I don’t allow them, then I don’t have to deal with that.

Now, here’s the important point. No matter what anyone might say about that, making such a decision and taking this position is my right. I won’t argue it. I won’t debate it. I won’t discuss it.

And this is the exact same right that the owners of OSGrid have.

This dispute has become divisive within our community. It has become so because people are inflamed by emotional biased statements. And it appears to have started with a posting on one blog. The blog of Jai the Grid Explore Kid, found at http://jaigridexplorerkid.blogspot.ca/

So, let me show you a few things I noticed in the postings on the Kid’s blog. At the end of January, the Kid was at the LBSA Plaza on OSGrid when he contacted by Hiro regarding the avatar he was wearing. During that conversation, Hiro, acting as Admin, informed the Kid that child avatars were not allowed. The Kid started arguing the point. He was told there was no discussion, change avatar or leave. There’s not much more than that. There’s no pic, so no way of knowing what the av looked like. And the quoted section appears to be only a section, so there’s no way of knowing what happening in the minutes before. Nor do we know if the Kid complied or was booted. An important point from his Jan 29th post, though, is that the Kid admits he was wearing a child avatar.

From this pint on, it is clear that the Kid is targeting Hiro. He doesn’t accept the rule, so he declares Hiro to be a dictator. In fact, he Godwin’s himself in his Jan 30th posting …
“What we have here is the real world equivalent of WW2….one may think that view point sounds a bit extreme but i think it suits as a very good example. In the 1930's germany had it very bad off, they didnt know what to do which could help them recover there nation from horrible problems that loomed over them. Then ONE MAN got into power….forced his way into the position. His solution to the nations problems was to exterminate the jewish race from existence. “

Yeah, right. Banning child avatars is the same as murdering 6 million people. Clearly there is a huge emotional bias being portrayed here.

And then the Kid decides he’s going to push. On Jan 31 he returns to LBSA wearing a child avatar after he’s already been told they aren’t allowed! Something to note about the Kid’s posting of that day. ”… I did not have the time to copypasta that part of the chat as he ejected me from the plaza before i could properly do so. “ So, just how long does it take to copy and paste something?

In his next posting, the Kid then states ”It is my belief that this new rule in Osgrid has gone on long enough. Hiro cannot be allowed to get away with this injustice, if we allow him to have his way on this then that will only spell trouble for everyone on the grid in the coming future. Furries shall be at risk, Faieries, anyone that is different or lives a virtual life that is not within what he views as normal shall soon be in danger. “

Really? Injustice? Allowed? It would be a true injustice if OSGrid was the only grid. But it isn’t. It would be an injustice if OSGrid was a government. But it isn’t. It is a privately owned organization. It is made available to the general public for develop, use and enjoyment of OpenSimulator. There is no "allowing" involved. Seriously. How do you "not allow" this? Shoot him? Lock him up? Put him on trial? Clap him in irons?

On February 3rd, there was a Town Hall meeting. And the Kid decided he would attend. In a child av. His complaint is that the Meetings are open to all, but he’s not allowed because of his avatar. By that same logic, I should be able to attend RL Town Hall Meetings dressed in a bunny suit. But that’s not allowed. So, if I want to attend such a meeting, I either dress appropriately or I don’t go.

Overall, we have here a person who doesn’t like a rule, refuses to abide by it and believes he can have one of the owners removed. And we also have a number of other people who are buying into this. They have resorted to name calling, “dictator”, “Caesar” and others.

It should be noted that, from what I have seen, Hiro has behaved admirably. He has not responded with the same. At no time have I seen him call anyone names or imply anything negative about them, despite all the crap being thrown his way.

Here’s another important point. Hiro is not the only owner. There are three others. From what I understand of how any privately owned organization, non profit or for profit, is run, if the other owners don’t like a decision, the vote on it and change it, if the vote calls for it. Since the rule has not changed and Hiro’s decision has not been reversed, then it is reasonable to conclude that the majority of owners support him.

The owners of any grid, open or closed, for profit or not, have the right to make whatever rules they want. Just as we have the right to not go to hose that we disagree with. However none of us has the right to “overthrow” the “rulers” of a grid.

The behaviour that has gone on surrounding this issue is deplorable. People are behaving like gangs, not like a community. Rather than engaging in discussion, people have been engaging in mud-slinging and rabble rousing.

There’s more than enough of that shit in RL. Leave it there.

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