Sansar Atlas Hopping, Episode 45!

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The Ferris Wheel at Lakeside

Today we visited six Sansar experiences:

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Aerial View of Felsenmeer

Here are some photos that Andrew took:

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Drax Addressing the Atlas Hoppers at 114 Harvest
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Ant Farm
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Felsenmeer

And here’s Drax’s livestream of the event:

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Sansar Pick of the Day: Ebucezam

Ebucezam won second prize in the recently completed Sansar Labyrinth contest. The Sansar experience, created by Tron, consists of a huge cube-shaped maze:

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Elevators located at various spots take you up from one level to another. Along the way, you collect crystals of various colours which allow you to operate more of the elevators.

This is a confusing maze! Despite my many efforts to follow every passage, the pink crystal eluded me, and I could not complete this puzzle. Maybe you’ll have better luck?

Sansar Pick of the Day: Beat Blocks

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Beat Blocks is music creation experience created by GranddadGotMojo, which allows you to easily build a music track using blocks (hence the name). According to the instructions that GranddadGotMojo placed on GitHub:

Beat Blocks is an experience in Sansar where you can do you own Live DJing. You can create music by adding beats to build up a song. The main component for building up a song is the Beat Block. A Beat Block is a 1/2 meter cube that is initially stored on shelves that are in the Sample Warehouse. These shelves are on the right hand side when you enter the Experience. Each Beat Block contains a sample which is basically a short recording of music. Examples of samples are drum beats, bass lines, guitar riffs, keyboard riffs, lead riffs, pads, risers, etc. All the basics of modern Electronic Music. There are over 400 Beat Blocks and corresponding samples in the Techno Experience using Beat Blocks. These samples are arranged on Shelves by Instrument Type. There is a shelf for Drums, Bass, Guitar & Keyboard Instruments, Leads & Vocals, Effects and Pads (Strings and Ambiance).

Essentially, you pick blocks from the supermarket-like shelves on your right, and place them on special shelves on the left in order to activate them. It’s very easy to use!

Here is an 11-minute YouTube video that GranddadGotMojo created to explain in more detail how Beat Blocks works:

Next to the spot where you assemble techno tracks is a spacious dance floor, where your friends can dance to the grooves you create! Beat Blocks is great fun, and I would encourage you to visit this Sansar experience and try it out for yourself.

Sansar Already Has a Strong Sense of Community

My father, Hugo Schultz, was a machinist for the Canadian National Railway, and I grew up in the eastern Winnipeg neighbourhood of Transcona, home to the CNR Transcona Shops where he worked almost all his life. At the time of Transcona’s Centennial, CBC Manitoba reported:

Transcona was founded as the site of the repair shops for the Grand Trunk Pacific and National Transcontinental Railways. The name “Transcona” is an amalgam of Transcontinental and Strathcona, the latter from Donald Smith, Lord Strathcona, a former Manitoban who was instrumental in building Canada’s first railway. It was Lord Strathcona who drove the last spike into the CPR railway in 1885.

The CNR Transcona Shops opened in 1913, and during the First World War, the shops were used for the manufacture of munitions.

Transcona attained city status in 1961, and in 1972, it amalgamated with the City of Winnipeg, along with 11 other communities.

On the block where I grew up, there was a very strong sense of community. All the neighbours knew each other. Every summer the block got a permit from the City, and threw a weekend block party. Our house was in the middle of the block, so during the block party, people tended to bring over their lawn chairs and congregate there. We even had an annual North Side versus South Side volleyball game!

This all seemed so normal that it wasn’t until I grew up and moved away that I realized that this sense of community was not the norm. Many people nowadays feel isolated, even in the midst of bustling neighbourhoods.

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The reason I am telling you all this is that today, for the first time in a long while, I had an opportunity to explore the 114 Harvest experience. Drax recently gave the houses lining Harvest Street to other Sansar residents to use, and people have lovingly decorated their virtual homes.

Here’s a glimpse inside Strawberry Singh’s tastefully decorated home:

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(Note that in Sansar, just as in Second Life, it’s quite acceptable to explore other people’s houses when they are not there! In SL, sometimes people set up security orbs to turf trespassers, but most people don’t bother.)

And while I was exploring it struck me that, even though Sansar has been open to the public for less than a year, it already has an amazingly strong community. It may not be a very large community (yet), but it is robust, wildly creative and quite active.

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A virtual world is not a success based on what features and tools it can offer; it is a success based on its sense of community, of belonging. This is what keeps people coming back again and again, to meet friends old and new and build something wonderful together. This is the secret to the success of Second Life, still going strong after 15 years.

Given its small but strong community, Sansar can already be seen as a success at this early stage in its development.