Category Archives: Inworldz

Ghosts on the grid; echoes in the metaverse

There are ghosts
and
they inhabit other grids.

They are the souls of avatars lost to us,
like echos from other dimensions,
it is said,
though no one knows for sure.

What we do know is
A weakness in the structure of metaverse
has opened
and they now
wander.

So opens the description of Glyph Graves’ Ghosts of the Internet, a fascinating installation which continues the artist’s reflections in virtual space. Fascinating, because it exists both in Second Life at LEA21 and in the Inworldz region of Translation – and those in one can see the “ghosts” of those in the other moving around, and can even converse with them.

The landing point at each installation provides instructions on how to get started, together with recommended graphics settings (using Firestorm as the example). There’s also a teleport to deliver you to ground level, which is more-or-less identical in both regions (Sasun Steinbeck provided a tool to help copy items between the two environments), comprising barren rock, partially flooded and surrounded by tall hills.

Within either landscape sit a series of semi-transparent otherworldly forms, with shifting colours within, which might be taken as alien crystal growths or exotic sculptures. Some of these are the “bridge” between Second Life and Inworldz, allowing communications between the two to take place. Others, spread around the borders of the landscape are the Pylons of Binding – move beyond them, and contact with “the other side” is no longer possible. Snails also roam each of these realms, and at least one is large enough to slide run over you if you’re not careful, although they are shy: touch one, and it will retreat into its shell for a few seconds.

Ghosts of the Internet - conversing with myself (SL to Inworldz)

Ghosts of the Internet – my Inworldz ghost floats before me in SL

But it is the ghosts which are really the focus here. These appear whenever someone on either side is within the boundaries set by the Pylons of Binding (although if there is no-one in the region on the other grid, no ghosts will be visible). In other words, the ghosts that appear represent avatars visiting the installation on the other grid.

Communications between world is initiated by touching a ghost (which will then become somewhat multi-hued) and then typing into open chat (you may have to wait for the “ghost” to respond to your initial touch first). Only one conversation with a ghost can be established at any given time, so if you touch a ghost already in a conversation, it will not respond to you. It is also not recommended that you touch several ghosts at once to initiate multiple conversations, as “bad things will happen” as a result (and it might get very confusing).

Be aware that whatever you say to the other person is also repeated in open chat at their end of the link, not in IM, and so will be heard by anyone else who is near them. Chat from any other avatars around you, however, is not transmitted. To terminate a conversation, or if you do not which to speak to someone on the other side who touches your “ghost” there, simply touch the appropriate ghost to terminate the connection.

Ghosts of the Internet (Inworldz) - conversing with myself (Inworldz to SL)

Ghosts of the Internet (Inworldz) – facing and conversing with my SL ghost as it appears on Inworldz

If you have accounts on both Inworldz and Second Life, Ghosts of the Internet brings a whole new level of meaning to the expression “talking to oneself”; nevertheless, it is an easy means of experiencing the installation should there otherwise be on-one else on the other side with whom you can converse. Alternatively, if your focus is solely on Second Life, you can enjoy something of the experience by having a friend hop over to Coppelia, and converse with them from the Ghosts of the Internet installation on LEA21.

As well as being a fascinating technical / artistic piece, Ghosts of the Internet carries with it echoes of the past. Remember the heady days of 2008, when a group of brave explorers set-out to move between dimensions, travelling from Second Life to OpenSim, and the promise therein? It is also – possibly – a hint of a potential future, given Ebbe Altberg’s comments on SL and the metaverse.

Both of these give the installation an added philosophical edge in terms of what might have been and what might yet be. I also found that when talking two myself between the two worlds, prompted thoughts of how the metaverse might be used as an expression or reflection of the multiverse, and our own multiple existences therein …

So, for a while at least, there are ghosts on the grid, and echoes in the metaverse. See them and hear them while you can. Recommended.

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Keeping in shape in InWorldz

There has been a lot in the blogsphere over the last twelve months about virtual world and matters of health.

For example, there’s Fran Serenade (Fran Swenson in SL) and the benefits she’s personally experienced in using Second Life as a sufferer of Parkinson’s disease which has led to Donna Davis of the University of Oregon and Tom Boellstorff, an anthropology professor at UC Irvine researching the matter in-world.  Virtual Ability has a long history of helping people with disabilities make full use of SL for the betterment of their real lives, and the Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses is based in Second Life. There have also been numerous projects involving medical workers, such as the research performed by a team at the Imperial College London to improve patient management skills among surgical residents at hospitals.

Now over on InWorldz, the team there have taken things a step further – literally and figuratively – with an app which allows you to exercise at home while still exploring InWorldz.

InWorldz InShape is currently available for Android devices, although iOS / Windows versions are promised for the future. It essentially gathers data on your real-world exercising when using a treadmill, stationary exercise bike or elliptical bike / trainer, and translates it to in-world movement. Thus, people using it can explore in-world regions with their avatar which exercising, and even compete against one another.

InWorldz InShape: spend time in-world while exercising at home

InWorldz InShape: spend time in-world while exercising at home

The app and idea are still very much beta, but already InWorldz residents have built a park where those with the app can go for walks / runs / rides, and there are plans to start weekly exercise sessions, allowing users to meet in-world and go through a routine together on a “group treadmill” while also exercising at home. The InWorldz team also hope that residents will build race tracks, walks and so on to make use of the app and offer further opportunities for combining fitness training with in-world activities with friends, making it easy to keep fit together.

InWorldz InShape in action: a walk in the park in-world (left) while exercising at home (r)

InWorldz InShape in action: a walk in the park in-world (left) while exercising at home (r)

An InWorldz beta programme for the app has been launched, and the InWorldz team are looking for people to join them in trying it out. Those wishing to sign-up will need to have an InWorldz account and meet the following requirements:

  • Be in good enough physical health to start or participate in a light exercise programme (consulte your doctor if you have any concerns)
  • have enough time to participate in testing once a week, during the weekend, for about 45 minutes
  • own or have access to an android powered phone (Android 2.3.3 or later)
  • own or have access to: An exercise bike, elliptical, or treadmill and a computer or tablet that can run a viewer (/Lumiya) connected to the InWorldz Grid.

Those meeting these criteria can register their interest at the InWorldz website.

A demo video has been produced, hosted by InWorldz’s own Tranquility Dexler, which provides an in-depth look at the app in use.

This looks like a very practical and fun application for a virtual world environment, and could potentially see a lot of new opportunities for competitive undertakings in-world or bring a whole new dimension to something like the RFL track walks for people – again, providing due care is taken with RL fitness condition.

I’m keen to sign-up myself, but I don’t have the requisite exercise equipment. I wonder if they’ll ever be able to include a rowing machine and a lake to paddle across …?

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All images courtesy of InWorldz.

InWorldz to kick-off second Relay for Life season

InWorldz have issued details of their kick-off rally to mark the start of their 2013 Relay for Life of InWorldz season in aid of the American Cancer Society.

The press release, circulated to virtual world bloggers, reads in part:

InWorldz community members are uniting at a rally to officially launch their Second Relay For Life season of Many Worldz For A Cure. Hundreds of participants again are will ringing in the new season with a rally that educates everyone on how their involvement benefits the American Cancer Society’s goal to save lives and create more birthdays. Money raised will fight cancer by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back.

Come join us, as we meet the American Cancer Society organizing committee and a live performance by Russell Eponym. Come rally with us to begin a campaign we will not lose.

The kick-off event will take place on the InWorldz Paradise by Design region (please note that is an InWorldz IWurl) on Saturday August 24th, 2013, commencing at 09:00 InWorldz Time. The current schedule comprises presentations from the organising committee and then the aforementioned live performance:

  • 09:00 – Hairy Thor – Chair
  • 09:10 – Neill McCullough – Teams
  • 09:15 – Bain Finch Co Chair
  • 09:30 – Key Note Presentation
  • 09:45 – Russell Eponym – live performer

Sponsorship

According to the RFL of IW website, sponsorships for the season are currently open, and comprise three levels, starting at $50.00 USD and rising to $150.00, each with unique benefits to sponsors, including website promotion, event mentions, logo promotions, and more. For full details of each level of sponsorship, the levels still available, and how to become a sponsor, please refer to the RFL of IW sponsorship page.

Further Information

About Relay for Life

Relay For Life (RFL) is an inspirational overnight fundraising event that honours cancer survivors and celebrates life. Each Relay is a community-led, non-athletic event where teams fundraise and then join together in the Relay event. There, teams take it in turns to walk round a track for up to 24 hours to signify that ‘cancer never sleeps’.

RFL started in the United States in 1985 when one man circled around a track for 24 hours raising $27,000. Now, over four million people from twenty countries world-wide participate annually in Relay for Life events. RFL of IW is officially sanctioned by the American Cancer Society and a recognised RFL event.

Related Links

InWorldz second Relay for Life season announced

IW RFLThe Second annual Relay for Life of InWorldz (RFL of IW) season has been formally announced.

InWorldz held its first Relay For Life (RFL) season, fully sanctioned by the American Cancer Society, in 2012, raising some $15,000.

The 2013 season will commence in late August 2013 and run through until the start of November, culminating in the Relay itself on Saturday November 2nd.

Key Dates

The season opens on Saturday August 24th, 2013 at 09:00 InWorldz Time at Paradise by Design (IWurl).

The “half way” event will take place on Saturday September 28th, starting at 09:00 InWorldz time.

The Relay itself will be held on Saturday November 2nd, commencing at midday, InWorldz time.

Sponsorship

Sponsorships for the season are currently open, and comprise three levels, starting at $50.00 USD and rising to $150.00, each with unique benefits to sponsors, including website promotion, event mentions, logo promotions, and more. For full details of each level of sponsorship, the levels still available, and how to become a sponsor, please refer to the RFL of IW sponsorship page.

Further Information

About Relay for Life

Relay For Life (RFL) is an inspirational overnight fundraising event that honours cancer survivors and celebrates life. Each Relay is a community-led, non-athletic event where teams fundraise and then join together in the Relay event. There, teams take it in turns to walk round a track for up to 24 hours to signify that ‘cancer never sleeps’.

RFL started in the United States in 1985 when one man circled around a track for 24 hours raising $27,000. Now, over four million people from twenty countries world-wide participate annually in Relay for Life events. RFL of IW is officially sanctioned by the American Cancer Society and a recognised RFL event.

Related Links