Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Relay for Life Holds Final Event of Season in InWorldz

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Saturday November 9, The Relay for Life held it's Relay Weekend event for it's Inworldz fundraising season. Besides Second LIfe, the Relay for LIfe has been holding events on this smaller virtual reality grid as well. And this was the final and largest event for the year there. This was the second Relay for Life in InWorldz season.

The event took place on three sims, with the track on two: RFL Jazz Paws and RFL In Biz. At 9AM, Red Ryder spoke over on the radio at a gathering on the third sim, which numbered a little less than two dozen. While much smaller than the Second Life Relay, the enthusiasm was still there. Following Red's words of encouragement, the crowd went to the track, grabbed a pedometer, and began making laps. Unlike the Second Life Relay, there was no "Walk and Talk" wearable, so people stopped to chat on a number of occasions. One Relayer commented she was doing the walks around the virtual track on her real life treadmill as well, InWorldz hooked up to it via an app known as InShape.

Besides the human avatars, there were a number of Tiny avatars at the event. They were a higher percentage of participants than at the Second Life Relay. Between this and the sim sponsored by Jazz Paws, the Tinies had something of a big presence on the InWorldz Relay.

"Oh I absolutely love the RFL events," Ladyheart Muirin told me "I always used to do them in SL and I think it's wonderful that people work so hard together for such an amazing cause. It's just wonderful that it's now in IWZ and everyone is having lots of fun too (smile)." Ladyheart explained she hadn't been to Second Life on anything more than occasional brief visits "in a very long time." "We don't play in the old world much," Tadhg Muirin informed of his friend and himself, "our lives are here."

 I ran into Bain Finch there, who earlier this year worked with Second Life's Relay. He explained there were some technical challenges in getting things up and running here, "the bigest tech problem was getting the team tracking database up and running and rewritting the kiosk and vendor script to work with it. … but we had lots on people step up to the plate to help out develop the tech. And yes, a lot of work to do during the off season to fix all the short coming everyone help hash out …You know, I've always had a great appreciation for the work Dwen (Dooley) done for RFL of SL. Now, even more so. … and I am so overwhelmed by the offers of support we received from everyone in InWorldz." Bain credited Wolf Hartnell with making the RFL in InWorldz pedometer.

I asked Bain if he felt the InWorldz Relay was getting more attention due to the Terms of Service controversy in Second Life. Bain's response was, "I'm not sure on that Bixyl. I do know there been a steady increase of people coming to IWz, whether that due to to the SL TOS or just the normal progression of growth, I couldn't say. He explained another reason more people could be coming here as the Grid was becoming more stable, "As more parts of the IWz tech comes online like the physic engine, now mesh and other advance stuff, the content creators are having a field day with their wares."

Bain had the goal of involving established InWorldz residents from the start, "from the start of my involvement, I knew we had to make this IWz Relay for and by Iwz'rs. And because of the attitudes on the residents here had to adapt how RFL conducts itself. … A good number of the folks here left SL for various reason and they settle here because this grid is different. They left due to the various political issues of the LL and here and founders are so much more hands on." Being smaller than the Second Life Relay, there was one other difference, "One of the things we do, is almost all our planning meetings are open to everyone to attend and contribute. As we grow we will not be able to keep on doing that, but while we are small we will."

As the event went on, the Relayers not only went around the track and chatted with one another, but also had some fun on the various "camps" inside it, such as the bumper car ride. There were also music events in which a DJ would play at a place, and s number of Relayers would dance. The event, and InWorldz Relay season, would end at 9PM IW (and SL) time.

Bain Finch later told the Newser $796,000 InWorldz dollars, or "Izzies," had been raised, or about $800 US, for the InWorldz Relay season. A small amount compared to that raised in Second Life. But still a welcome contribution in the struggle against cancer.

Bixyl Shuftan

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