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.

114 Harvest 1 July 2018.png

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:

114 Harvest 2 1 July 2018.png

(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.

114 Harvest 3 1 July 2018.png

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.

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Atlas Hopping, Episode 31

Well, there was really no Atlas Hopping this week, due to technical difficulties on Drax’s end (Strawberry was unavailable as well). But I did get a great piece of news which I wanted to share with you! This picture from 114 Harvest is a hint:

Ria and Loz 24 Mar 2018.png

Riz Bazar (a well-known Second Life furniture maker and the builder of most of the wonderful content at 114 Harvest) and Loz Hyde (another well-known content creator in Second Life, who is also in Sansar) went and got married! Congratulations to Ria and Loz! Best wishes for a happy future together!

Both Loz and Ria have only just started putting content up for sale in the Sansar Store. If you want to support the happy couple, go and buy some of their products in Second Life or in Sansar!

 

Er… Make That “My Top Sixteen Sansar Experiences”

Ten days ago, I made a popular blogpost titled My Top Fifteen Sansar Experiences, where I assembled an unordered list of what I considered to be the best experiences on Sansar. It even got reblogged by New World Notes (thanks, Wagner!).

Well, something has been bothering me over the past few days, and I want to amend that list to add another extraordinary experience to that original list.

Number sixteen on my list is Drax and Ria’s 114 Harvest. I honestly don’t know how it slipped my mind when I was drawing up my original list! Maybe because I visit it so often, I just got so used to being there, that it stopped being a “special” place. That’s a mistake, and I am rectifying it today.

Ria, who did almost all of the design work on the experience, did a marvelous job, and furthermore, she has gone out of her way to redecorate for Hallowe’en and other events like Drax’s birthday. The level of detail, right down to the Mensch Ärgere Dich Nicht board game and the coffee cups to the covers on the books lying around, is astounding. Drax’s basement is inviting, comfortable, and has become a sort of central gathering spot for avatars in these early days of Sansar. (I understand that Drax is also planning to host a show there, once avatars can actually sit down!)

114 Harvest 29 Nov 2017

So, Drax and Ria, please accept my apologies for overlooking your experience. (I have updated my original blogpost content to add your experience to the list.)

Two Sansar Events Coming Up Saturday, October 21st!

There are not one, but two different in-world events taking place in Sansar on Saturday, October 21st.

First, Draxtor Despres and Strawberry Singh are hosting another Atlas Hopping event, this time focusing on all the new Hallowe’en experiences! Meet up is, as usual, at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time/Sansar Time, at the newly-redecorated 114 Harvest experience. I’m not sure exactly which experiences Berry and Drax are planning to visit, but it promises to be great fun!

114 Harvest 18 Oct 2017

The second event is also on Saturday, October 21st, at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time/Sansar Time at SIN’s Studio Club – Karaoke & Hang Out. Jenn posted to the official Sansar blog:

Come enjoy the hauntingly beautiful sounds of VR Karaoke at the Studio Club – Karaoke & Hang-Out. Are you brave enough to show off your vocal stylings? Aspire to be Sansar’s Next Top Talent? Saturday, October 21st at 2 pm (PT) is your chance to bring your karaoke A-game. The only catch is – since it’s Halloween – the tune must be in theme with the season. Monster Mash, Purple People Eater, anything that screams HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

See you at one or both events Oct. 21st in this Hallowe’en season at Sansar!

 

Pick of the Day: 114 Harvest

I have blogged about this experience often; it is the starting point for our Atlas Hopping adventures every weekend. But I have not yet chosen 114 Harvest as my Pick of the Day! I am rectifying that situation now.

When you arrive at Draxtor Despres’ and Ria’s Sansar experience, you find yourself in a California suburban neighbourhood. Head for the house at the end of the street, with the red car parked in the driveway.

114 Harvest 1 26 August 2017

Enter the house, turn left, and head down the stairs to the basement. There’s a comfortable rec room with a TV and a German board game, Mensch ärgere Dich nicht (“Don’t Get Angry”) spread out on the coffee table. If you have an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headset you can actually pick up the individual pieces and play a game of Mensch ärgere Dich nicht!

114 Harvest 2 26 August 2017

In a corner of the basement is Drax’s recording studio.

114 Harvest 3 26 August 2017

There’s still the remains of Drax’s birthday party on a table next to the fridge!

Drax's Birthday Cake 24 August 2017

Ria has done a wonderful job making the items that make up this experience. It’s become a favourite gathering spot for many avatars in Sansar. Drax has written about the goal of 114 Harvest:

When we embarked on this journey a couple months back, all we wanted to prove is that social VR can work if there is engaging “place-making” going on. What started as a tiny little basement grew conceptually, and (this is what we hope!) will grow even more now that you can write the story of this place together with us.