Welcome to the first Sign of the Kite (SOTK) newsletter of 2016 and best wishes from all at SOTK for the coming year. Remember SOTK is the shortform newsletter that keeps you up to speed with all things Kitely and OpenSim. It is written BY residents FOR residents and is neither sponsored nor endorsed by Kitely.
Got news of your world or group, an event, a recruitment drive, a newsworthy shop, product or promotion? Drop a brief notecard on avatar Graham Mills_2 inworld or PM Graham Mills via the Forum. All that’s needed are 2–5 sentences with a title, URL and/or hypergrid address. All times in PDT, please, and nothing A-rated/NSFW.
Copy deadline is 17:00 Wednesday for inclusion in Friday’s news. Some regular items are held over to the next issue due to holidays.
It’s not quite springtime (by a long way!) but thoughts turned to inventory “spring cleaning” at the pre-Christmas Community Meetup. This followed an announcement regarding improved loading of large inventories to reduce stress on the world on an avatar’s arrival with a particularly large inventory.
Inventory hints from Ilan included (i) use inventory folders rather than storing items in inventory within prims/boxes or notecards, (ii) save single items rather than coalesced objects, (iii) inventory listings do not display more than the first 1,000 items so items must be deleted or moved to sub-folders in order to display further items (helpfully, a folder can contain 1,000 sub-folders), (iv) avoid excessive numbers of root folders in inventory (better to use sub-folders of root folders), (v) inworld storage is preferable to inventory.
Sign of the Kite update
Christmas Gathering on Intersections
Christmas Day Service at Vespers Chapel, on Intersections (photo: Virtual Christine)
Christmas was celebrated with an informal service and meetup on the beautiful Intersections region courtesy of host Dot Matrix.
Snowballs at 20 (very small) paces
Boxing Day saw another gathering on Intersections, where Dot guided a tour arranged by Virtual Christine around the many picturesque and intriguing locations with stops for target archery (not many avatars killed) and the slightly more traditional snowball fight. (pix)
HG address: grid.kitely.com:8002:Intersections
Have fun at Hobo Amusement Park!
Spoilt for choice
Just before Christmas, the multi-talented Judy Muircastle opened a 2×2 world to house the latest iteration of her awesome Hobo Amusement Park. Created in memory of her late husband, Judy’s Park contains a good proportion of the 67 rides she has crafted and scripted with more to come. It’s a great place to meet folk and particular favourites with groups are the bumper car and tank rides.
HG address: grid.kitely.com:8002:Hobo Amusement Park
Social media developments
Google Plus (G+) is a popular choice for OpenSim users and Kitely-related groups have figured prominently this year. Kitely Virtual was in the top 10 for both rate of growth (179 members since January) and total size (555 members). Also prominent was the Hypergrid Events community started by the Seanchai Library.
In early January 2016 Serene Jewell started a new G+ community, OpenSim Technical, to discuss possible ramifications of the move to OpenSim version 0.9 and improve liaison between developers and the wider OpenSim community as represented on G+.
Seanchai Library works in progress
In anticipation of the latest movie release in the saga, beginning in October Seanchai Library presented the entire first book of the Star Wars series in live voice storytelling sessions at Spaceworld in Kitely. FORCE AWAKENS is finally here, yay!
We have reworked Spaceworld and will continue applying enhancements. Right now it’s a great place to explore, offering freebies such as a full–scale Mos Eisley Cantina building, some droids, free avatars, of course the Falcon, and more goodies scattered hither and yon! Also here is a terrific Hubble Space Telescope Gallery and SciFi book library. As interest dictates we will be presenting more scifi stories here, maybe even more Star Wars!
HG address: grid.kitely.com:8002:SPACEWORLD
2016: The Year of VR?
Virtual Reality is in the headlines for 2016 with the release of three premium headsets scheduled for later in the year. Pre-orders are now open for the Oculus Rift at $599 with the HTC Vive (delayed to allow addition of pass-through video) and Sony PlaystationVR to follow.
Currently the Rift seems most relevant to OpenSim with third-part viewers likely to provide support in due course (it’s unclear whether the widely used CtrlAltStudio viewer will support the consumer Rift edition), albeit limited to Windows and with a hefty price-tag for both the headset and, if required, a compatible PC (a Rift/PC bundle will be available in February for $1499). Widespread consumer adoption may be slow as a consequence.
It’s possible that 2016 may also see the culmination of the quest for the Holy Grail of OpenSim, a web-based viewer. While Bright Canopy already provides a browser-based streaming service, a number of projects have announced a serious interest in developing a WebGL-based viewer, perhaps most notably the US military project MOSES (see YouTube interview between Dr Kay McLennan and project director Doug Maxwell).
The machinima of Kitely resident Zuza Ritt
Better known as an ace mesh artist, Zuza also has undoubted talent in the area of machinima and two of her recent creations are especially worthy of note. The first is a tribute to the BBC TV series Sherlock and muses on what happens in 221B Baker Street when Holmes and his trusty sidekick Dr Watson are away on a case.
The second brief clip from the same set takes OpenSim machinima into the realms of 360 degree video, most likely for the first time. Simply click-and-drag to look around as the proof-of-concept video plays (Chrome browser or similar required).
Shakespeare 400 MOOC
It’s a safe prediction that 2016 will see a plethora of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) devoted to Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death. One of the first is a British Council-sponsored MOOC run by the UK FutureLearn Consortium. Called “Exploring English: Shakespeare”, the MOOC starts on the 11th January and already has more than 30,000 registered participants from all round the world. Registration is free and the MOOC is designed to highlight the Bard’s enduring contribution to the English language and should be suitable for non-native English speakers who have studied English to intermediate level.
If you are interested in joining an inworld study group to accompany the MOOC, there will be an initial meetup at the Kitely Welcome Center on Monday 11th January at 13:00 PDT/21:00 GMT. You can also join the Shakespeare400 Kitely group.
The Virtual Worlds Best Practices In Education conference is one of the longest running events on the inworld education calendar as well as a great exemplar. This year’s theme is Horizons and deadlines for presenters are fast approaching.
- Machinima proposals: 10th Jan
- Presentation proposals: 17th Jan
- Exhibitor proposals: 31st Jan
The conference itself takes place 9-12th Mar and is free to attend both inworld and by livestream.
Blank page syndrome?
With the start of a new year, thoughts may turn to new building projects but sometimes a new world can be intimidatingly blank. There are several ways around this. You may, for example, find it useful to import a map or sketch of your intended layout and put it on a megaprim. Alternatively, you could get a headstart by importing an OAR file to adapt at your leisure. There are number of freebie repositories including Outworldz and the Linda Kellie collection at Zadaroo as well as the commercial OAR webshop SirinHGpole.
Finally, why not break down your build into more manageable (and reuseable) chunks by using a rezbox? According to your humble editor’s definition a rezbox is a system for storing the location and orientation of inworld objects so that they can be successfully restored; Builder’s Buddy is a popular OpenSim variant, albeit with some constraints on use.
Think in terms of a four–part story that can be divided between the four quadrants of your world. Build with suitably licensed and/or freebie content and use the rezbox to store interim stages of your build. Maybe the first quadrant would be an arrival point, a rail station, a dock or the driveway to a mysterious mansion. Perhaps share your rezbox with friends with each taking the story in a different direction.
No need to rush; why not aim for a finished build by the year’s end with a quadrant “finished” every three months? Well, that’s your year (and “blank page”) mapped out!
Weekend reading: These Tricks Make Virtual Reality Feel Real
An interesting compendium of insights, observations and, yes, some tricks.
Where to find freebies on Kitely – an incomplete list
Here are a few regions offering free content. We’ll update as time goes on. This is not a complete list by any means. Don’t forget to say “thanks” to the grid owners.
Vana Harbor Bazaar
grid.kitely.com:8002:Vana Bazaar and Botanical Garden
Just4yucks Main Store/Gallery
Handy’s Tools Freebies
grid.kitely.com:8002:Stuff (mainly intended for educators)
Finding people: part 1
One commonly asked question is “How do you find people to talk to inworld?”
In fact, there are several ways you can do this – some via inworld tools, others via the Kitely website.
- Join the Kitely Community group inworld.
- Use inworld search to find individuals.
- Use the Kitely website to find worlds with people in them.
- Subscribe to the Kitely Events Calendar and go to events and activities that interest you.
This week we look at the first method. The others will be covered in subsequent newsletters.
How to join the Kitely Community group
Open the viewer search tool (command-F or control-F) and switch to the Groups tab. Search for “Kitely Community”, and double-click the entry when found.
To join the group, click the “Join Group” button at the bottom right. A confirmation dialog box pops up:
- You are joining group Kitely Community.
- Do you wish to proceed?
To start a group conversation, click “Join Chat”.
To find which individuals are online, open the group profile and click on the “Status” column heading.
Production team: Dot Matrix, Serene Jewell, Graham Mills_2, Shandon Loring
This week’s editor: Graham Mills_2
Thanks to forum and community meetup participants for suggestions
Stay in touch
Stay in touch with Kitely events and announcements.
On the Web
Kitely Google Group:
Kitely Market newest listings:
Kitely Company blog:
On the Hypergrid
HYPEvents Event listings: