Sunday, 29 May 2016

Inworldz on the move.. keeping in touch via tablets and phones

Oztotl East Inworldz
 Like many others, I spend more time on the net using mobile devices than I do on my Inworldz capable pc. So how do you stay in touch while on the move?

 Your first stop could be the official Inworldz website.  Here you can pick up messages, buy currency, organise inventory backups, discover events and many other administrative tasks. The forums are an important part of the website, offering residents the chance to interact, get help, catch up with group news and discover the latest releases by Inworldz creators.

The Lumiya Viewer
  If, like me, you use an android device, then I find Alina Lyvette's Lumiya viewer quite helpful. Currently costing £1.80 in the google play store, this app allows  to log in to a range of virtual worlds. The visuals are limited, but you can reply to messages, teleport, change outfit, interact with objects, pay bills etc. It isn't suitable for exploring, but if you forgot to pay your rent, or need to contact someone urgently it can be a lifesaver!

  Of course you can follow blogs and track and news feeds while out of world, and twitter has a good selection of posters using the #inworldz hashtag, including the founders and staff.
 If you check out my twitter profile and see who I am following that could give you a good start.

Unofficial Inworldz Advertising group on Facebook
 Most social networks will have IW fans, Google+ has some active posters, and of course Facebook has several groups, unofficial as well as the regular company pages.
 One enterprising user has intitiated the InworldArtists group on Deviant Art , and encourages anyone who would like to join up and post there.

 Flickr is a very popular site for all sorts of virtual world image sharing, and Inworldz posters have a choice of groups to join there, from those dedicated to IW alone to wider virtual world image collectives.  I'm told that Instagram have an active group of posters, but I have yet to visit!

  Several large social sites, based around virtual worlds,  have a section dedicated to 'other grids', and members can be helpful, but beware that a certain amount of misinformation, or out of date facts can be posted from users who don't regularly use IW. However, many issues are common to all grids and it can be worth persisting!  Don't forget that viewers such as Firestorm, and Alchemy have their own websites with helpful information (The official IW viewer is based on Alchemy)

 One of my favourite sites when I'm missing my Inworldz home is the IW region map . This map is interactive from my android device, so it can be fun looking for new sims, or plotting my next sea voyage!  The sims are spread out a long way, so keep grabbing and scrolling.  Similarly, is a live updated login screen, where you can see how many avatars are enjoying themselves online while you are stuck in a traffic queue, or doing laundry :D

 I am sure this is not a comprehensive list, and if you have discovered another mobile friendly site please let me know. Comments are welcome.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

InWorldz Light and Shade

Cruising The Northern Isles of the Magellan
 The default settings for the day and night cycle in classic virtual worlds are 3 hours of daylight then one hour night. The change is gradual, so evenings and sunrise can be very scenic.
  There is nothing better than to pootle around the islands surrounding the Inworldz ocean, and find the sun sinking slowly to create new vistas at each turn.
  Of course you can override the settings in many ways. Under World / Environment Settings / Day Cycle editor it is possible to set the ambience to match the theme of your sim, even having perpetual night, or endless sunset if you like. When visitors arrive they will see your choice instead of the default, but they can change this if they like.

 Outside your own land  the advanced sky editor is most often used for photos. Depending on your viewer the editor comes pre-loaded with a range of different looks. The appearance of the ocean can be changed also, in the advanced water editor. Only you see the changes in this case.
 A keyboard short-cut you may find useful is Ctrl-Shift-Y. This overrides the current settings and activates midday light levels. Very handy for finding your way, or locating lost items.
Animated Particle effects under the sea
 created by Lexxy Moore
 At a recent event, the organiser suggested switching our sky settings to midnight, so we could better enjoy the amazing light show created by Lexxy Moore.

 Light levels can change dramatically, depending on graphics settings.
 Edit / Preferences / Graphics leads to a wealth of options, where you can balance your needs for performance against more advanced rendering techniques, which allow more detail and shadows.
 It is your world, you can choose how you see it! There is something rather wonderful though, about finding the right sim, at the right time of day and resting your virtual feet while gazing at the sparkling reflections on the sea. 
Land's End

Friday, 20 May 2016

Marketplace Buzz Marketplace Under Construction
   Just came back from a family trip to discover a really great buzz developed around the upcoming online marketplace. Wolf Hartnell has opened the site for merchants, and they are busily filling the shelves as I type. Nothing to see for shoppers yet but you can visit the website and investigate the categories.
  Wolf has been obviously touched by the warm and appreciative comments he has received so far, and also been very pleased that merchants have been helping each other get started, so he can get on with sorting out any bugs or necessary tweaks which arise.
Wolf-Tek hub
Dreamcatcher Sim Inworldz
  This new marketplace is completely created by one resident, and isn't an official part of the Inworldz company, though it is obvious that this venture is much supported and appreciated by the founders. The project is a huge achievement for Wolf himself, and for the community at large, as so many residents are supporting this development.
  Check out this forum thread for announcements and information.

Friday, 13 May 2016

My Avatar Is Me?
  "In a virtual world, you can be anything, or anyone, but you always wind up being yourself." Raspberry 2016.
  It is inspiring to know, or read about people who find that virtual reality enhances their existence, by allowing them to experiment with something outside their normal range of possibilities, and that something becomes a big part of who they are back in their first life!
  Someone I know spent two years as a male avatar, before taking the step towards gender reassignment. Many artists get their first break in virtual reality, whether as a musician or photographer, and then go on to expand that into their non avatar life.
  This can work in the opposite direction. A friend lost her retail business due to the recession, and found she could set up again online with a new venture which utilised her creative talents in a much more satisfying way. She could work from home and came to find that she enjoyed this better than the previous work.
  Friends who in the physical world have difficulty getting around, relish the freedom and equality that their avatar has in meeting and interacting with others. Whereas, some don't feel comfortable of properly themselves unless their disability is made more obvious.
  On a less fundamental level, I'm pretty sure that seeing my slim avatar helped me to shift my perception of being somebody chubby, to someone who could also be skinny. I got so fed up that virtual self could walk into any shop and buy what she liked, and it all fit...whereas in real life I was stuck with what I could find. I solved the dissonance by losing weight.
 Right now, my pixel me and I are having discussions. One one is about shoes. Silly as it might seem, watching my avatar walk in heels made my back twinge. Similarly, those sleeveless tops gave me the shivers.
  She is fighting back with logic. Why was she blonde and I was not? Ok, we'll give it a trial and see how a more matching colour sits (though I really need to add some grey streaks!) Why does she look half my age? Give me a break step at a time!
 One thing is accurate, she lives in a village, or at least a village sized population of virtual people...though to be fair some of them are cats...or tinies..or fairies....or pirates..or other fun things.
 Some things can be play and pretend, but some parts need to feel...real? We'll work it out. She's paid next month's rent on our sim, so we are shopping, and experimenting, and if we get it wrong...hey,there's always another month .

Shopping notes:

Unisex sneakers & socks by Tip Toe
(Custom tinted by Raspberry)

Hair - Sarah in Chestnut by My Pretty Pixels

Jewelry- QT Grey Rainbow Offset  by Quadrapop Tree

Pink jumper, hand knitted in filter forge :)

Shoot Location
Sendalonde Library


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Finding A Home In Inworldz

  There are a huge variety of builds in Inworldz. Some are function orientated, Inworldz desert Island for example, where new residents land, and are then led through a series of orientation exercises which help anyone unfamiliar with viewer controls navigate and find their inventories.
Inworldz Virtual Beginnings
 Other builds are commercial, designed to be both functional and to provide a shopping experience where the surroundings complement the goods available for purchase. Privately owned or rented plots reflect the needs and desires of their owners. Some are crazy sandboxes full of the latest gadgets, whilst others are tranquil havens.
  Many users prefer the mainland. A series of sims connected by land and water. Whilst others gather together in groups to create their own separate cluster of themed plots. Whatever your need, you can usually find somewhere that suits, even if that means a far away island all by yourself where you can lock yourself away and create whatever you please!
  On our return to virtual life I have found myself drawn towards community groups, where residents choose to live together and agree to stick to certain building codes. For instance, our own sim lies in the Magellan cluster.
  We trade off some of our building freedoms in order to live in a cohesive mini-world, which joins the official sailable Inworldz ocean. This is a compromise we are glad to make, especially after experiences in different virtual worlds, of living next to huge walls, or unsightly glowing towers on neighbouring plots.
Screen capture showing rental box on the Phantom Rose Estate in the Magellan Sea
  The overall Magellan charter requires that we leave room to sail around our island, and in our case create an environment which fits with a temperate theme (other parts of the Magellan sea have alternate themes, such as tropical, pirates or fantasy).

  Further along this controlled environment spectrum are rental plots within larger, owner created estates. These areas feel very restful to me, whatever their theme, as there is so little visual disturbance, and the geography often contains communal areas designed purely for their decorative effect.
The White Hart Inn, Kingswood, Charlesworth Estates
 There really is a huge choice, from the beautiful english country-side themed Charlesworth Estates, to the dramatic sea-scapes of the Shoalwater Estates or the balmy tropical beaches of Calia Estates, and these are just a quick selection from many more.
  Many smaller landlords will just have a few plots for rent, but they can be just as pleasing, especially if connected to to a group you are interested in, or part of a larger themed world such as the many role playing or magical realms.
  If you find the idea of starting from scratch on a bare sim daunting, then why not check out the rental classified section in the Inworldz forum, or just hop around in world and see what you fancy. I have found many cute cottages, or wonderful homes just waiting for the right tenant, it might be you!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Murder Mystery and Beach-Side Fun at Ipo Cove With the Rookery Sci-Fi Role Players

Who dunnit?

   Ipo Cove
 doubled as that fabled leisure planet from the Star Trek universe, Risa. Asked to wear beach clothes, or Star Trek themed clothes, we were greeted with a well populated dance floor on arrival.
  After a few fan based quiz questions thrown into the music mix, the treasure hunt began.
  I was impressed with the thought and organisation that went into this event. The clues were just a little challenging, but not so much as to get frustrating, and  the added murder mystery story theme was a bonus.
  My inventory is bulging with the treasure hunted freebies and I found the event a lot of fun.
  I wish I had more time to talk to the folks in the group as the hour I had available was way too short, but the treasure hunt was a really cool and quick introduction to the beautiful beach themed sim, and I've land-marked a few places to go back and explore.

  The mountain-top tai chi venue at Aloha Island really took my breath away and I scurried back this morning to grab some screenshots ( I had been way too occupied during the event to take any snaps!)

   Ashember Love is the driving force behind the role playing group who normally meet up on their beautifully crafted Star Trek themed builds. You can find out about the group and their regular sessions here; . The group have some wonderful Star Trek themed builds and undertake regular role playing sessions.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Try Out Free Homes and Shops in Inworldz!

I spotted this on the Inworldz forum this morning, and thought it looked like a great opportunity so I went to check out the sim and took some snaps.
 Would you like to try out life in Inworldz, or maybe have a second home? ** Trouble Mooncurser **  (see note below) is making the generous offer of free rentals in the new town of Batenburg, in the role play Black Powder sea region, set in a sailable ocean.
 With no obligation to join in the role play, you can even try out a free shop rental. This would be a great opportunity to test out a retail business without financial risk.
 Trouble is offering 100 prims for per house, or space for a low lag vendor. The buildings are two storey with nicely designed communal outside space. Check out this forum link for full details.

Or why not go take a look at what is on offer?

**Note: Listed as Trouble Morgan on the forum but you need to contact Trouble Mooncurser in world.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Virtual social cues, or who are all those green dots on the Inworldz map?

I like maps, and virtual world maps especially...because if you see somewhere interesting, you can just click and go.

Green Dots Near Inworldz Desert Island

  Generally I try to avoid the possibility of landing on another avatar's head,. When I'm not sure of the nature of a sim, and it shows as occupied, I  teleport in cautiously and survey the outskirts first.  If the sim is a shopping mall, or other public place, then I'll carry on exploring. If the build looks like someone's private space, then I can back off without disturbing anyone.

  It has taken me a while to work out that not all the green dots shown on the map are what they a live avatar connected to a logged in user, but can be bots. I'm starting to recognise the signs though. Four stationary dots in a large building, probably fashion model bots in a mall. One stationary dot in the only small building, that could be the sim owner relaxing at home.

  There's a complication in that moving, or zooming the map causes the dots to glide from one position to another, so a group of bots seem to walk from one spot to another (on the map). I have now realised though, that the chances of a group of live avatars walking together in unison is quite small, and if the movement stops if the map is left stationary, that's the big clue. However, if a single dot, or group of dots are stopping and starting, or moving slightly randomly, those are likely to be live users.

  Having more information means I can be chatty when I want to, or spend time on my own if I'm in the mood, and interacting with someone in a public space is very different prospect to the danger of teleporting into their house when they are struggling to get their hair on. Landing a little distance away, even in public spaces gives others the choice about interacting as well.

  I am glad to say I haven't yet needed to find the mute button to deter the kind of pests which sometimes showed up in other grids, asking for directions to the german foot fetishists conference for instance. Well I assume that is what he wanted, sometimes language is such a barrier :D