Thursday, May 6, 2010
Reaction Grid Update: April 2010
Location: Jokaydia in Reaction Grid
Given the extended downtime in Second Life recently, I thought it high time for Iggy Strangeland to visit Reaction Grid for a bit, before his real-life driver dove back into grading final projects.
Note that for both RGURLs (is that what they are called?) the path still includes "SLURL" and "secondlife" so I'll leave it to readers to find the region and locale using whatever best practices they choose.
I began, as I often do, with a visit to Jokay Wollengong's land ( Jokaydia/121/115/23 ) . She's expanded her work in RG and linked a good deal of what I saw to the recent Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference. She's holding two "Unconference" weekends in Reaction Grid, the first at the end of May. Read more here.
Jokay has a large sandbox for visitors who agree to her terms (it's a PG grid, so nothing objectionable may be made). Mega-prims are not objectionable in Reaction Grid, and I captured an interesting picture of some planetary-looking spheres hovering on the horizon.
All this was great. I had my graphics pumped up, which might have accounted for the problems I later found: sim-crossings by flying were nearly impossible. After a few attempts, I crashed and crashed hard.
I returned bald and in a garden of sculpted plywood in MellaniuM sim ( MellaniuM/155/118/49 ). The effect was of a builder's sandbox, and it was a curious installation and worth a look.
Following that very advice, I walked back, on the bottom of the ocean, to Jokaydia. The crossings worked, but it was not an intuitive or immersive way to travel, compared to my easy sim-crossings in my virtual car in Second Life. For my Mac OS client, Jokay's media would not work. I understand there's a Mac plug-in for media. I'll try it soon.
These alternative grids continue to expand. They need to add more functionality, such as as seamless cross-platform support (40% of our last first year class came in with Mac laptops), attachments that stay with you, and grid crossings that work. In time, they will. Right now, the green dots on the grid map are sparse.
And by the end of my journey, I did find my (bad) hair. But, hey, free is always good, and there's no chance in hell I'll get too immersed in poor, skinny, pale Iggy Strangeland. He looks way too much like some of my creepier (tip of the hat to my students who love that term) friends from UVA in the early 1980s.