Islandz Virtual World (the Successor to InWorldz) Has Launched: Will People Come Back?

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If you missed all the excitement, here’s a link to all my blogposts about InWorldz and their sudden shut-down, so you can get caught up.

Last week, the owner of the former InWorldz grid, Beth Reischl, flipped the switch on its successor: Islandz Virtual World. Like InWorldz before it, Islandz is based on the same Halcyon codebase which forked off from the standard OpenSim software back in 2010. (Purists insist that InWorldz/Islandz is not a “true” OpenSim grid for that reason.)

Note that this grid, like its predecessor, is not Hypergrid-enabled; it is a closed grid. This bucks the trend where the overwhelming majority of OpenSim-based virtual worlds now allow their users to freely jump to other OpenSim grids via Hypergrid. (There are two main lists of OpenSim grids: one from the OpenSimulator website and the other from Hypergrid Business).

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To add Islandz to your Firestorm viewer, all you need to do is open up your settings (Ctrl-P), and select OpenSim from the left-hand-side menu. Then copy and paste the following into the Add New Grid field, and press the Apply key: http://login.islandzvw.com:8002/

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If you had an old account on InWorldz, you can transfer that avatar name over to Islandz Virtual World. Just use this log in screen. Please note that your InWorldz inventory has not been carried over; you are a default system avatar, although a number of people have kindly made free clothing, hair, and body parts available at the spawn point when you arrive in-world for the first time at the Islandz Welcome Center:

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I picked up the Ruth 2.0 mesh avatar, some hair (a layered bob hairstyle freebie by Linda Kellie), and a basic clothing applier for the Ruth mesh body, and after about half an hour I had an avatar that I was fairly satisfied with. Here is Vanity Faire (with an “e’) in Islandz Virtual World:

Inworldz 5 24 Nov 2018

It remains to be seen how much InWorldz inventory that people frantically tried to save will be able to be resurrected and returned to them. I might never get back my inventory, but then again, I didn’t have much to lose, so it would be easy for me to start all over.

But the Welcome Center was, with the exception of one AFK avatar, deserted on the Saturday afternoon when I visited. The question is: will people come back?

The even bigger question is: will the content creators come back? Some of them, upset at the handling of (and communication about) the sudden shut-down of InWorldz, have since moved to other OpenSim grids and will likely not be coming back to set up shop in Islandz Virtual World. Others may decide to come back and try again.

Many of the original InWorldz residents have also moved on, mostly to other OpenSim virtual worlds. Whether Islandz can recover any of the lost glory of InWorldz remains to be seen. But they’re back; it’s now up to Islandz Virtual World’s new and returning residents to rebuild.

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Former InWorldz Staff Plan to Start Up a Separate Grid from “InWorldz II”

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The InWorldz saga continues…

Talla Adam of the blog Metaverse Traveller reports that a team of former InWorldz staff members is planning to set up their own grid, separate from Beth Reischl’s team, which is working to set up “InWorldz II”, an as-yet-unnamed replacement grid for the now-closed InWorldz:

In the wake of the InWorldz shut down, the exodus of refugees to Opensim grids and the declared aim of Beth Reischl (Elenia Llewellyn) and those close to her to launch InWorldz II, other ex-InWorldz staff members say they plan to launch a new grid as well and they intend to port the best of Halcyon code to their Open Simulator version. The grid is called Infiniti and the slogan being toyed with is “Infinite Dreams, Infinite Possibilities – Yours at Infiniti Grid”

Legion Heinrichs (John Arnolde), Lecktor, and April Chung were part of the original six founders of InWorldz along with Beth Reischl and two others who Lecktor says he has lost contact with. He said, “Over the years, Beth’s strong type A personality, managed to alienate all of us. As time went on she added David and Jim to her team as technical folks.” Neither David (Tranquillity Dexler), former CTO who left in 2016, or Jim Tarber, who says he won’t be involved with InWorldz any longer after helping to recover content, are involved in the Infiniti project.

Lecktor continued “It is with great sadness and pain that we’ve watched InWorldz deteriorate over the years and what motivates us to this project. We are all excited however with the prospect of helping the Opensim/InWorldz community heal from the hurt.”

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out. I think it will be especially difficult to attract content creators to any InWorldz spin-off grid, given what has happened. As they say: once bitten, twice shy!

UPDATED: The End of InWorldz

Today was InWorldz’s last day. Grid co-founder Beth Reischl estimated that Rackspace would shut off the InWorldz servers at the end of their business day, 5:00 p.m. CST, which works out to 3:00 p.m. InWorldz time. While the main servers have not yet been turned off as of this writing, the InWorldz login server was shut down around 5:00 p.m., leaving only a handful of avatars still online on a few sims. No users can log in. InWorldz is now gone.

Over the past few days, avatars gathered at spots like InWorldz Desert Island 1 (the site of the original welcome centre) to chat and commiserate with each other:

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After InWorldz Desert Island 1 shut down (as many sims did throughout the course of the day today), people went over to InWorldz Desert Island 2, which was still up, to spend their last hours together:

InWorldz Desert Island 2 gathering 27 July 2018_001.png

Despite heroic efforts by Beth Reischl and her team to do as many OAR backups of as many sims as possible before shut-down, many people are still facing the loss of most of their inventory. Some are bitter and angry; others are resigned. Nobody is happy about this turn of events.

InWorldz was the victim of some poor business decisions and just plain bad luck. In a period of sixteen months, two of the largest and most popular OpenSim-based grids—Avination and InWorldz—have failed.

Does this mean the end for OpenSim? No. Many of the people affected by the Avination and InWorldz closures simply decided to move to other OpenSim grids, such as Kitely, DigiWorldz and the Discovery grid.

But InWorldz is officially dead, as of this evening. Now we wait to see whether a new grid will rise from its ashes.

UPDATE July 28th: After they completed doing the OAR archives of all the sims, InWorldz staff turned the login server back on. If you try to log into InWorldz this morning, you will be able to get into InWorldz Desert Island (IDI) 1, which is the only sim that is left running. Even though Rackspace has not been paid, the servers still seem to be running! Right now there are about 50 avatars chatting with each other. We have no idea how long the sim will stay up, so you might want to come and visit with some old friends before InWorldz really is gone for good!

Here’s a snapshot of us at IDI:

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Yadni Monde’s Creations in InWorldz

Among the many InWorldz sims that will be shutting down on Friday are those belonging to long-time prim sculptor Yadni Monde, who started off in Second Life and later moved over to InWorldz. Beth Reischl recently interviewed Yadni on her news show iNewz:

So I paid a visit to Yadni’s sims and took a few pictures:

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It makes me sad to think that we may never see these wonderful and inventive creations again.

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