Trying out New World Grid today – Part 1

Yes, the adventure continues looking at Alternate grids (alternative to Linden Labs’ Second Life).

Today we look at a grid focused on non-profits and educational uses, whose regions may be rented in-world like most other grids, as well run on your own computer like OSgrid and some other OpenSimulator based grids.

A few key differences about The New World Grid, one is their software is a custom build like OSgrid, they have a prepackaged sort of world builder tool which runs on your Windows PC or under Mono framework on Linux,. MacOSX, etc. Well I am going for the later since I am on a Mac.

The first thing is, they have a different set of default avatars and don’t leave you standing like a Ruth.

Certainly you still look like a crazed newbie, but some of the basic avatars aren’t bad, skins look decent, whatever. Not quite the look I would want, but better than early-day default Linden avatars, along the caliber of the last generation Linden default avatars.

On logging in, they have validation over email. You must select a password using alphanumeric characters only, and you have your own choice of first and last name, but otherwise good and simple to do.

You don’t need to build your own sim to use the New World Grid, but that seems to be their focus. You can login with any suitable viewer. They recommend my favorite viewer, Imprudence (yay!) which is built for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

On connecting a region to their grid, they give you a distro package that is almost ready to go out of the box. The requirements are:

1 – Download .NET Framework (required)
2 – Download New World Studio 0.6.9.B installer (Recommended)
3 – Download New World Studio (0.6.9.B) ZIP or TAR.GZ
4 – Download the OpenSim.ini file, preconfigured for MySQL and Wamp Server

( I guess it comes with MySQL and Wamp, but if not, those are easy enough to get )

Linux & Mac
1 – Download Mono (required)
2 – Download New World Studio (0.6.9.B) ZIP or TAR.GZ ARCHIVE

That is pretty simple too. Mono may or may not be installed on your machine depending what dev tools you have already, but since I already run my own OpenSimulator region (stand-alone) I already have Mono and SQL-lite or whatever database the default uses.

I chose the Mac ZIP file which was about 20 Mb to download.

Before unpacking the file I went to the worldmap and picked a region where my sim would exist. This part didn’t come with instructions but basically you click on the map where you want your region to be.

You can’t be next to another region (so in this sense you aren’t on a mainland grid where everyone is interconnected, but appear to be more stand-alone, even though, technically, you are still interconnected!)

I chose the name Islandia4 since this would be the forth iteration of the Island I started out with (Islandia3 exists on my stand-alone today) and wound up not too far from the welcome center, at the lovely coordinates of 7035,7000 — try to find that on the map..

I then proceeded to lose my place on the map, closed my window and tried logging into the website from a side link on the bottom right, but couldn’t πŸ™

Well I did go back to the worldmap and found that my registered region was still reserved (say that 10 times fast..) —

I then went to the top-left menu drop down to login, and that one worked fine.

So good to go? I am ready to unpack the software, but I think I will login first.

Launching Imprudence, I select “thenewworldgrid” from the drop-down and enter my login credentials.

Ooh this place is a bit smaller, but then, it’s new. We have 9002 total users, 500 regions, 569 unique visitors the last 40 days, and 18 people in world (gasps).

They are running a version of OpenSimulator 0.6.9 and have website chat and support areas ready for you. It’s neat their splash screen gives region names and teleport coordinates of open places you can go.

Currency- The New World Grid has no currency system, in fact, they forbid it. You can however rent land via PayPal, but they discourage any sort of monetary compensation for anything going on in-world … I guess that adds a whole new level to ideas of free sex and freebie objects, though, this isn’t your adult-activity centered place. Like I said it appears most of the content is geared toward educational and non-profit (art?) peoples. Sure, sure, I am sure that love and romance exists but I will login and poke about to see what myself and the other 18 people online are doing. or, uh, not doing, of course.

Imprudence tells me I can’t login. I checked the IRC and the welcome people say no problems logging in from there, though the website did have a posting which said: “Following the relocation of central services on a new server, some people may experience connection problems. This is a problem updating DNS. The solution is to reboot your modem-router. Thank you for your understanding. Posted on Aug 29th 2010 by lycie. Comments Off. Comments are closed.”

I gather that is a bit dated but I will reboot and try again. (click thumbnail for bigger screenshot image)

Continued in part 2..

Tried to login again after rebooting, but it didn’t work. Maybe my password is too long or complex? I went for the full 20 characters of random alpha-numeric strings. Sigh, ok I am going to try changing it to a standard *nix style password to see if that does the trick.I’ll go for two upper, two lower, two numbers, no special characters.

Yep, that worked! Yay! I’m in..

Now when it comes to install the software, which is basically a custom build of OpenSimulator server.. Thus far I unpacked the ZIP file which gives me a folder of random files. It looks like a installation of OpenSim but there are no docs or “start here” icons or scripts glaring me in the face. I guess the fancy easier-than-pie software is only on Windows?

Hmm. I wonder how it all works then. I will poke around in world and see if there are any tips to getting it connected and online.

Once logged in I hit the nearby freebie store (called Free Market on the worldmap) and picked up avatar customizations, then teleported over to the sandbox (called Sandbox 1)Β  to put them all on.

Well I have certainly a interesting look going. I also imported my shape (thanks Imprudence!) so I will look somewhat similar across the grids..

On my first visit I ran into the builder of several sims, who created a virtual representation of CERN facilities in France, complete with the control room, planetarium, and several exhibits encompassing many sims linked together, it was fascinating stuff and he was very informative. Like me, he was once quite active in SecondLife, but around 2 years ago left it for New World Grid. Since Linden Labs is doing away with their whole non-profit/educational benefit programs and incentive practices in SecondLife, with that idea I am sure a lot of places are going to be seeking out other grids to build and teach others.

You can visit these places inworld (that I went to..) just by going to places called CERN, Physics, Dolce Vita, and Portland Heart (once you are logged in with your chosen viewer, of course!)

They are all linked together and I am offline right now, so just guessing on the sim names. If I have made some horrible mistake, I will come back and fix this article later πŸ™‚

Gallery of photos is here:

The pics you see are me mostly in his other sim, a place where everything is proportioned so that your avatar is the size of a mouse. Very cool stuff going on and lots of scripted things to play with.

Other than CERN and the huge place, he has a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa complete with 4 degree lean and a exhibition about Galileo inside. Well worth a look.

I also went to another sim created by someone else, this was a virtual representation of a gothic/medival age town and church, however when I approached the one person there on the sim she poofed away. I did take the snapshot shown which has the church in the background. This place was called Mount Grace and is comprised of four interconnected sims. I gather this is also a realworld place (perhaps the one in North Yorkshire, UK?) which has been virtualized for New World Grid. I found the religious imagery disturbing but I guess that’s the whole point of medival age things, they shocked and struck fear in the hearts of more primitive minded peoples so that they would submit and give their alls to the church LOL … anyway… there were lots of other places to explore on the New World Grid, small that it may be, it is well worth a look.

So that makes 4 grids that I have visited thus far. Really, they do all seem the same. InWorldz seems to be the closest in function to SecondLife, as they have groups, a money system, events, etc., but then so does OSgrid in a round about way, and New World Grid may have events and things I just haven’t stumbled upon yet. Mind you, New World Grid is in France, so volunteers may keep regular daytime hours. I logged in and what would be 2:00am and it was a ghost town, seriously, there looked to be only 5 or 6 people anywhere in the whole grid from where I saw it.Β  Like SecondLife, OSgrid is quite busy with lots of people and places to go. InWorldz seemed fairly quiet, though again I was on at odd times.Β  If you just want to hit a grid and build in the privacy of your own sim, any of the OpenSim ones would probably do. You could prevent access or manage your sim accordingly so that nobody can get into where or when you don’t want them to.. but then you can do that in SL too.. I may give 3rd Rock grid a try too, since they have a few mentions here and there by other bloggers. But ah, that’s for another blog entry πŸ˜‰

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