Builders and content creators needed

I’ve long felt that virtual worlds are an ideal technology for senior citizens.  Virtual worlds allow seniors who are no longer as mobile or as agile as they once were to lead active lives as members of a community even if they find it difficult to leave their home in the physical world. Yet until now, virtual worlds have been regarded as more for the young even though in my observation in Second Life, OpenSim worlds, and There.com, older people account for a surprising percentage of active participants.  Despite this, virtual worlds have pretty much ignored them.

That’s why I am so excited about the SeniorCan Care corporation asking me to build an OpenSim grid that’s explicitly for senior citizens, with the intent of creating a virtual world where seniors can lead active lives as contributing members of a community.  Working in conjunction with a medical device maker, it will initially be marketed to Chinese living in Canada and later in the United States.  My hope is that it will be successful enough to expand to the general population of seniors.

The SeniorCan Care grid is buying creative content of just about every type – houses and other structures, avatars, vegetation, clothing, animations, etc.  There are three ways you can sell your content or services to the new grid:

  1. Selling from your existing inventory.
  2. Custom building to order (there could be some interesting custom building jobs)
  3. Selling your goods to members of the new grid.  We recognize that this is a side business for most creators and that you lead a busy life, so we will set up a store for you if you don’t have time to do it yourself.

For content creators and builders, SeniorCan Care presents an unusual opportunity to sell content to an OpenSim world that’s relatively well funded, has a positive social purpose, and is committed to protecting intellectual property rights.  The company behind the new grid is committed to its success and will be publicizing it.  this could be an opportunity for your work to be seen by a wider audience.

If you’re a Second Life or OpenSim content creator and any of this interests you, please get in contact with me by using the contact form on my personal website, erikbainbridge.com/formmailer.

A word about my own background: I’ve had my own OpenSim grid since 2011 (formerly Diva, now standard OpenSim), I’ve been in Second Life since 2004 and I’ve been writing about it for examiner.com since 2009, I was a beta tester of There.com in 2003-4, and my Master’s thesis in 1995 dealt with future virtual worlds.

Do you know any interesting opensim regions?

A recent post by Han Held on Google Plus reminded me of the fact that folks in SL often don’t know what OpenSim is all about, and that it can be hard to explain openSim’s attraction to people who’ve never spent time in OpenSim worlds or maybe just made a cursory visit.

One way to educate them is to show some interesting locations and activities in OpenSim worlds, both in open grids that can be visited on the HyperGrid and in closed worlds. I’d like to start highlighting them in this blog. If you know of OpenSim locations I could write about, please tell me about them. There are three ways you can reach me:

  1. Reply to this post
  2. Use the contact form on my personal website, erikbainbridge.com/formmailer
  3. In Second Life, give a notecard to Apollo Manga.  Don’t IM me.  My IM’s frequently get capped.

A lot of people in SL seem to think that being involved in OpenSim means leaving Second Life  It doesn’t.  I have my own HyperGrid-enabled OpenSim grid, but I also own land in Second Life.  I love both, as do many others who have ventured out from Second Life to OpenSim worlds.

If you have ideas about good places for me to write about and photograph, please tell me about them so I can share them with others.

 

1800s New Mexico teleport hub

OSGrid_NewMexico_Hub_400px

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Darmstadt City

Darmstadt City (OpenSim)
Darmstadt City (OpenSim)

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Awahua teleport hub

Awahua teleport hub (OpenSim)
Awahua teleport hub (OpenSim)

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Diva Wifi 7.4 released

Diva Canto has just released Wifi 7.4.  This means that those of us who have been waiting since OpenSim 7.4’s release last week can now upgrade.  Diva’s Wifi provides a convenient user interface for managing OpenSim logins.  To download Wifi 7.4, go to https://github.com/diva/d2/downloads and download wifi-0-7-4.zip. You can download OpenSim 7.4 at http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Download.

If you want to experiment with your own grid but don’t want to contend with the much greater technical challenge of full OpenSim, the Diva distro is a very nice preconfigured package that handles many of the technical details for you in setting up your own standalone OpenSim 7.4 world.  I’ve used it and it worked very well for me.  Diva Wifi is included as part of that package.  Go to https://github.com/diva/d2/downloads and download diva-r20232.zip.  It includes the Wifi package.

Exploring alternatives to Second Life

With Second Life® undergoing profound changes, many of us who love it have been left wondering how we should react to the changes.  Some people have been exploring other virtual worlds and a few of us have been experimenting with building our own.  In future posts, I’ll be writing about both.

In particular, I’ll be sharing my own experiences in creating my own little virtual world, which is still in very early stages of development.  I need to state up front that I am neither a Linux expert nor an OpenSim expert.  I’m learning both as I go.  My intention in this blog is to share my experiences from time to time with you, in the hopes that it will help you start and run your own world.

My little virtual world currently consists of 8 sims hosted on my own OpenSUSE server that I built and configured myself, running on my home dsl.  It’s still under development.  Time pressures have kept me from resolving some issues that I want to take care of before inviting more people into it.

I started by creating a test world using WAMP with Windows, and the Diva distro.  Diva is great – you can read about setting it up in an excellent Hypergrid Business explanation.  It allows you to get a basic four sim world up and running quickly, and a WAMP server is fairly easy to set up.  The problem is that WAMP is not very secure.  It’s a great way to start getting server and OpenSim experience, but if you choose to try it, don’t do it on your regular computer, or on any computer containing personal or confidential data!  Because I build my own computers, I had a spare lying around on which I could run WAMP without taking any great risks.  WAMP is a great way to do development on Windows, but it should not be used on a regular basis for an OpenSim grid that’s open to the public.

After getting a good introduction to OpenSim using WAMP and Diva, I built my own OpenSUSE Linux server and created an entirely new world with full OpenSim rather than Diva.

Why didn’t I stick with Diva?  I was impressed with Diva.  It’s fairly easy to set up and works well.  Diva does require a fair amount of technical skill, but much less than regular OpenSim.  For most people, Diva is the better way to go.

However I’m someone who enjoys tackling technical challenges and although I didn’t have much prior Linux experience, I am technically proficient – I’m a former software engineer and I’ve been building my own computers for 20 years – so I decided to plunge into regular OpenSim.

In future posts I’ll be writing about some of the challenges I’ve faced, solutions I’ve found, and useful resources.

I still love Second Life and although I’ve scaled back on my land ownership there, I have no intention of leaving. However the universe of virtual worlds is growing and in the future, we’ll probably be active in more than one.  For me, the prospect of being able to create my own world is even more exciting.  Not long ago it would have been an impossible dream, but with alternatives such as CloudParty, Kitely, Diva, and OpenSim emerging, it’s becoming a possibility even for those without technical skills.