I thought I’d take some pictures from the Under the Stars Formal Party, which is currently going on in Sinespace, to share with you all. SpiralSilverstar is our DJ, and he is playing an entire set consisting of covers of well-known pop and rock tunes performed by a classical string quartet!
Today, I did something that I have never done before: I attended the regular Wednesday Morning Buzzz event, which is hosted by Mimi Marie and held in the Greenela world in Sinespace. I was told that I should attend at least one of these meetings (which normally I don’t go to, because they usually fall during my workday in my local time zone up here in Winnipeg), because it was one of the best ways to get the pulse of what was going on in Sinespace, and glean ideas for future blogposts.
(Working in self-isolation from home during the coronavirus pandemic gives me a bit more flexibility to be able to attend those events which I normally would have to miss, which is a rather unexpected perk of the pandemic! But it also means that I find myself responding to work emails and editing collections spreadsheets on Sunday mornings, so obviously, this cuts both ways.)
Anyways, back to the topic of this editorial. As my friend had suggested, it was well worth my time to attend this morning’s events (in addition to Morning Buzzz, the Technical Office Hours was held this morning, another in-world event that I had never attended in person before today).
I had quite wonderful, wide-ranging, and very informative conversations with a number of different people, whom I had not gotten to know nearly as well as I should have by now (especially since I am the embedded reporter for Sinespace!). In fact, my whole experience today in Sinespace was highly instructive, and it got me to thinking.
And I was reminded, yet again, of a universal truth: that the success and longevity of any social VR platform or virtual world lies in its ability to foster, build, sustain and enhance community. The connections made between avatars, and the communities that form around those bonds, are what bring people back, time and again, to particular virtual worlds. In fact, I would suggest that community-building is absolutely critical to the long-term success of social VR and virtual worlds.
One of the reasons that Second Life’s user community has been so resistant to even contemplate a move to another virtual world, is that in all the years that they have spent in SL, many people have made a sizable investment, not so much in the number of items in their inventory (although that is certainly a consideration), but in the number and quality of their in-world relationships.
Think of all the vibrant Second Life role-play communities that have proved to be perennially popular, for example. Think of popular in-world gathering places in SL like Frank’s Jazz Club, Muddy’s Music Café, and FogBound Blues, for example. These are places where people meet each other, friendships are formed, and community is forged. And people tend to tell each other about these places and these communities, always bringing more people into the fold.
Sometimes, I think that the various companies that are busily building various incarnations of the metaverse focus too much on the technical features, at the expense of something more important to any platform’s success: the ability for people to form common communities of interest, and create virtual spaces that meet their community needs, goals, and dreams. This is why such community-building features as text and voice chat, user profiles, and user groups and notices, are so vitally important. (Remember the unholy fuss that erupted when Linden Lab wanted to cut the number of groups that Basic account members could subscribe to? They quickly backtracked from that particular corporate decision.)
What I do find interesting is that, even on platforms that have sometimes struggled to get higher concurrent user figures (e.g. Sansar, High Fidelity), there are still small but stubbornly committed groups of people who continue to plan events and promote them. Witness the tireless work of the volunteer COMETS team in Sansar, who are behind many of the events in the Sansar Events calendar.
Community is critically important. Never forget that!
I received the following message from Mimi Marie in Sinespace yesterday:
~ Under The Stars Formal Party ~
What: A Spring Garden Party will be held in the region of the beautiful Mystery Isle! Join us for dancing in the temple while watching the sunset and the stars glimmer like diamonds in the sky. Our music this evening will be a mix of String Quartet and Cello versions of popular rock songs presented by SpiralSilverstar, your DJ and host. Put a 1000 Watt smile on your avie and join us! Gold prizes and other gifts will be randomly given.
Where: Type Mystery Isle in your search tab
When: Wednesday May 20th, 2020 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST.
Dress: Semi Formal/Formal Attire encouraged but not required.
Side Note: Please support our amazing creators and designers and consider a purchase from the many beautiful products that might be suitable for this special event. Thank you!
For this event we ask that you come prepared with a “Snow Ball” to sell to Spiral for Gold prizes. This will simply make the gold give smoother and less time consuming. Go to Shop>Gestures>Snowball. Its is free to grab. If you need more information on how to do this transaction please contact me here or via in-world mail.
The snowball gets around a quirk of Sinespace: avatars cannot give each other Gold, Sinespace’s in-world currency! However, you can “sell” a free item (like the snowball) to another person, which is a clever work-around way for someone to send you a gift or prize of Gold.
So, get dressed up in your finest outfit, and come join us as we dance under the stars!
ArtemisBane and Carsten Stark have just opened one of the most visually stunning places that I have visited in any virtual world, a hangout and café for the cyber crowd that is intended to form part of a much larger project. Artemis tells me via email:
The main goal is to slowly move an active community from Discord to in-world. And also to integrate two groups that used to meet in real life to meeting in Sinespace, many of whom have zero virtual world experience. So, this region is to be a community gathering place and new user tutorial area to get people up to speed quickly. You’ve caught us at the coffeehouse experience only. And prior to all interactivity that Carsten is still coding.
This evening, I paid a visit to Localhost Connection, and I took a few photos.
The list of goals for this project (from the project proposal Artemis and Carsten shared with me) are quite ambitious, including hosting a Toastmasters group:
1. Create an atmosphere that is cyberpunk/sci-fi, but also cozy/warm and inviting. Color scheme is neon purple and teal instead of traditional blue and orange.
2. Provide a place for technical minded individuals to hang out. Often in real life I have dual monitors, one where I am working on a project with my head in software, and one where I have a virtual world. So the main idea for Localhost came from my initial wish to be social with other geeks/developers. By being together in a virtual space,great collaborations can happen.
3. Lots of interactivity and immersion: working arcade machine, spatial audio with falloff, voice zones, interactive NPCs/quests.
4. Host events beyond simple DJ sessions, ie: Bookclub, vehicle outings, live podcast (with a studio audience?), informative tutorial/build sessions/tips and tricks.
5. Expand to multiple buildings all serving the community of Localhost.
6. Provide an alternative new user walkthrough. Not to replace the Sinespace welcome center, but to build on servicing the needs of our community, specifically.
7. Provide resources for people interested in developing. Being newcomer and newbie friendly. Feature tutorials, recommendations for software, Sinespace blogger/vlogger websites, etc.
8. Create an object that would allow a person to subscribe to the localhost group announcements by allowing touch to sign up for newsletters. By touch, you enter in your email, with another touch allowing unsubscription. This would have to be hosted on our own server. An alternative is to have announcement group signups on a terminal that goes to our website.
9. Host a Localhost calendar for our own event promotion and with a notification function for members.
10. Extensive utility of the Sinespace questing system.
11. Hidden areas, achievements and collecting of hidden objects.
12. A story behind the region, themed environment, and interactivity strictly within theme for fullest immersion, as the main idea behind the region is creating an experience that helps show the magic that one is capable of within a virtual world,
when you don’t have to mimic the real world.
13. Registration with Toastmasters International for inclusion in their virtual chapters directory, holding meetings monthly in the coffeeshop.
Here are a few pictures I took of the coffeehouse interior. Carsten and Artemis have clearly achieved the first goal on their list! The interior is inviting but stylish.
This is a tastefully and beautifully decorated space, easily a place I could see myself having technical discussions with fellow geeks! There are all kinds of inviting nooks tucked away in various corners of the café, perfect for casual conversation and private tête-à-têtes, such as this quiet spot tucked away under the stairs:
To pay your own visit to Localhost Connection region, click on the Explore button in your Sinespace viewer, and search for “localhost”. Here is the region page on the Sinespace website, with some more snapshots.
And if you haven’t had a chance to explore Sinespace yet, I would strongly encourage you to drop by the Localhost Connection and experience it for yourself! Here’s a handy step-by-step guide to getting started in Sinespace.