Monday, December 23, 2013

Interview with Elenia Llewellyn, InWorldz Founder

By Bixyl Shuftan

Somewhat like Second Life, the InWorldz Grid has a development and support team bend it. This includes three Founders, Elenia Llewellyn, Legion Hienrichs, and Tranquility Dexler. Unlike Linden Lab however, the InWorldz team is willing to talk to residents outside special events. I got in touch with Founder Elenia Llewellyn, and we met up at her home on the InWorldz grid.

"Welcome to my hidey hole," she greeted me.

I thanked her, and after a little talk, I asked her, "So what do you do here in InWorldz?"

"I am one of the partners,"  Elenia answered, "Where Tranq handles the day to day development of the grid and the developers, I handle the day to day administration and support."

I then asked her, "How did you get your start in virtual worlds?"

"Through Second Life actually," Elenia told me, "I remember watching it on the news one night, and I had long thought it would be cool to see a world where people could create their stuff and use it. Then a couple years later, I heard about SL (again) and had to go check it out. I didn't particularly care about the social aspects of it, as I'm a tinkerer and someone who likes to know the mechanics of something. So I dove into learning how to build. My big goal was to do furniture, but I have this obsession over making things look real, and this was just as sculpties were coming out. With the prim market of SL, my builds were too 'prim heavy.' It was kind of sad."

"So, I was talking to my friend, Bob Bunderfeld one day about this, and he pointed me to the metaverse at large. Tried another grid, and that didn't pan out, so I said to my friend Legion Hienrichs (who is also a partner) that I thought we should test out OpenSim and getting it up and running on our own."

"That was Feb. 12, 2009, our first successful test!"

"That's the date you set up your Grid?" I asked, "How did things go in the first days?"

Elenia laughed, "Not bad actually! Considering we were on GoDaddy barebone servers, and had to find a real host. Which meant a couple of re-installs of the system. After a while, we talked to friends who logged in and next thing we knew, what we had started as our own little building spot was quickly being asked for regions as well. (It) blossomed into a business before we knew it, albeit a non profiting business. But a business nonetheless."

"As time went on though, we quickly realized the limitations of the systems and the code and that we'd need a professional developer to handle it."

"How did you go about getting one?" I asked.

"Well, had a couple who tried," Elenia answered, "but I had put the word out that we were looking. One of our residents, Scotsgraymouser Janus knew some of the IBM folks over on SL, who knew Tranquility and referred him to us. Him and I talked via emails and then he worked on a particular module for us. Next thing you know, he was on board full-time and then a partner in the business."

"Btw, he'll forever deny the fact that I told him it would be hard work... he swears to this day I told him it would be easy-peasy as a joke." She grinned.

"About when did a number of people start coming here?" I asked, "Is it true that "the first thousand took almost a year, the second thousand just bait over a month"?

Elenia pondered her answer, "Hmmm, our first year we were pretty obscure. Sure we had a lot of people take a look, but it really started up after we got the economy going and groups working properly. But yes, that story is true as far as the second 1k took just a month. I don't tend to look much at registered users though to be honest unless I'm looking at the retention numbers. I look at people online, region sales and I'z buying/selling for real numbers on our growth."

"And when would you say that started growing?" I asked.

"We go through growth spurts," Elenia told me, "usually during the spring and fall, then that churns down during summer and fall. But our first real growth, unfortunately was from SL's handling of the homesteads. Then our next big growth spurt was recently as the TOS started to really get discussed which also coincided with our full PhysX rollout for vehicles."

"Now that we've been around for almost 5 years though, and have some really long term customers and residents, I think people are feeling comfortable with the idea that we are working hard to make a better virtual experience for users, and not going to disappear tomorrow."

"What have been some of the challenges in operating the Grid," I asked, "other than what you mentioned?"

Elenia thought over her answer, "Mmm, we had the technical issues of course of getting more and more avatars onto a region. The prim limits were a challenge. Physics was a challenge. Our scripting engine was a great challenge, and of course inventory fetching for users. On my side, biggest single challenge was fraud which we dealt with. Then keeping up with the grid code changes to keep support rolling as it should."

"Finding enough time in the day, is still a challenge while we balance real life and get more help. Those I think now, are our single biggest challenges."

"InWorldz used to be close to the size of one or two other Grids," I reminded, "Today no other virtual world is as large, except Second Life. What do you see as the reasons people choose InWorldz over other grids?"

Elenia answered the reasons for their success as, "Well, as I mentioned we do have longevity now almost 5 years later. People know our name, they've heard it a few times over the years. We've worked hard to provide a really great stable environment for our users, give them support, and outside of that, I think our biggest single positive is that we do listen to our residents and change things if we find a good way to do it. They feel that they are part of the world with a voice, that this IS their world and that's exactly what it is. Without their voices or opinions we can make changes all day long, but it has to be for the right reasons. They are the users and they know what they want to make their world into, we can only guess. They are our greatest source of inspiration."

"And, our biggest source of advertising! I can't count how many times I've heard from a new resident 'my friend told me to come check it out.' "

I then asked, "What would you say have been some of the best examples of resident creativity here?"

"Oh wow, where to start without showing favoritism?" Elenia needed a moment to answer, "I love our art shows, I love seeing our residents fantasies coming to life on the grid. It's almost a little insight into how they work and think. I love our events we sponsor. There's just so much talent out there, it's hard to define as best examples. I think the best example though, if I have to give it thought, is not individual creations, but individuals able to create now. Where before they felt constrained. To see them tackle things they've always wanted to try, and were afraid to do so."

"I have stuff in my inventory from the very early days of the grid still, of residents who wanted to show us that they were building and creating and thanking us for making it available to them. Those pieces, while old and beginner stuff, is really precious to me." She then began rooting through her inventory, putting objects on the ground, "And then I get this stuff from residents (grin) … Hey now I don't need a Christmas tree! .. Awwww a tiny snowglobe!"

She turned back to me, "And this is why I can't really give a best example.... I look at some of these gifts, people I've known for a long time and where they first started at. And they've come such a long way. Which is what we wanted, we wanted to free people to be creative, to test themselves, to learn and most of all, to love doing it."

I was briefly interrupted in real life, but Elenia stuck around until I returned. I then asked, "Will there be any special event for InWorldz on it's anniversary?"

"We are working that out as we speak as a matter of fact," Elenia answered, "laying out the plans for the 5th B-day bash in April."

I then asked, "Will there be any kind of event for when InWorldz reaches 100,000 residents?"

"Hmmm, they like to get together to have on the fly parties on IDI and welcome in the Xth user to log in." Elenia told me, "We encourage it and let them have fun on IDI. If I know our users and mentors, they will be watching that login screen like hawks. And next thing you know, there will be a dj, a disco ball, and all sorts of crazy going on." She giggled.

After a chuckle, I then asked, "So besides this, what are the future plans for InWorldz?"

Elenia responded, "Well, now that we've gotten our big portions handled and taken care of and feel we're on a more equal footing we want to expand this technology. Tranq has been working on InShape and getting that completely tested and working right. We've got some feedback there and then I'll start pushing that forward. We always want to look at ways this technology can benefit our lives, and we see a lot of great opportunity there for expanding it out for more users."

"We want to move more into delving into what PhysX can do in relation to the avatars and clothing and hair. We have a lot of good stuff we want to get going, but it all works hand in hand with growth so we can achieve those goals."

"Was there anything else you wanted to add for the readers?" I requested.

"A huge thank you to our users." Elenia smiled, "It's because of them that we do so much and keep going and for being our inspiration."

"Thank you for your time Elenia."

"Thank you Bixyl (smile)."

I then bade the InWorldz founder goodbye, and we both went our separate ways.

*  *  *  *  *   *  *  *  *  *   *  *  *  *  *  

On a personal note, although I requested members of Linden Lab to talk in the past, none would so much as answer me. I never saw my predecessors James and Dana interview a Linden either. This marks the first time Second Life Newser has sat down with one of the founders of a Grid for a talk.

Perhaps this willingness to chat with residents on their terms is one of the reasons some from Second Life have been checking out InWorldz.

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What's New With the Angels in Minecraft

By Bixyl Shuftan

Besides the official Minecraft, there's a modified version known as "Feed the Beast," or FTB for short. Made not by Mojang, the company founded by Minecraft's creator, but by other players, FTB is different from "Vanilla" Minecraft as there's more kinds of minerals to dig and players are able to build more things, and do more things. The catch is FTB can "lag" a bit for players, and crash quite a bit, due to that severs can be quite taxing to the computers they're hosted on.

The "Angels" group in Second Life, friends of Nydia Tungsten, the majority whom reside in the Angel Estates, have a number of creative players. They had a taste of what they could do earlier on a FTB server hosted by Kit Repine. They could build new suits of armor, special boots that would keep you from being hurt in falls, energy guns that could take down hostile mobs, robot miners that could clear out huge sections of rock, "Portal" guns that allowed players to take shortcuts in getting around, being able to access new realms, and more. So when Nydia got a new computer about the time a new updated FTB was available, she created a server for it. She invited players over to "do their worst" with the most elaborate builds, and a number obliged, making huge machines that yours truly can barely figure out how to work, let alone build.

Unfortunately, Nydia's new computer failed. Not wanting to frustrate the Angels, Nydia moved the server to her older computer, but the server was frequently down due to crashes. Finally Kit offered to host Nydia's server on her computer, and it was transferred over.

 Players made huge, fancy, builds, such as a huge palace made by Valkyrie McGil.

There was also a giant "Tardis" constructed by Hojo. Note the big tree next to it, which was hollow, and could be made into a treehouse, which Jasmine did with another.

Yours truly while exploring near Hojo's base around found a tall, thin, natural feature beside a hill. I christened it "The Finger" and made that my base of operations, hollowing it out, and digging down to mine for ores and diamonds. I never did find any of the latter (nor closer pics of my base that I could have sworn I took). Jasmine would help in making a tunnel from it to just outside her hollowed giant tree.

FTB has a number of new mobs, such as wisps which can dart around and zap players. One player, Skylark (wearing a squid hat), came across a wisp spawner. But instead of destroying it, she grabbed it, and decided to cage it. 

Skylark made a place offshore, and putting the spawner down, began to encase it in glass. The spawner soon created new wisps, which took a toll on her. But eventually, she got it caged, and the wisps inside could only dart around harmlessly, unable to zap anyone.

Near Nydia and Brandi Streusel's base, a huge mining pit left by machines. Note the oil geyser behind it.

There were other features, such as "Mystcraft," which allowed players to travel to other worlds. Some could be hazardous, as their own laws of virtual nature could be quite different. One had burning sunlight that damaged players out in the open. We mused we finally knew what it was like to be a zombie.

Unfortunetly, the world would run into trouble that was beyond even Kit's computer and Nydia's skill. An early sign was when one of Skylark's pet squirrel's got loose, and when poked, it exploded and left a huge crater. The joke was it ate uranium from a reactor and turned into a "mini-nuke." But before the joke got old, a nuclear reactor build malfunctioned and blew. The result wasn't a big hole, but the whole minecraft world on the server had its code corrupted beyond repair. We would have to start over.

As it turned out, there was a new version of FTB out, or rather of the "Direwolf" which we used (FTB Launcher 1.3.2 / Minecraft 1.6.4 / Direwolf20 1.0.07). So we'd be getting new things to see, and play with. We were given about 48 hours of "creative mode" to aid in getting about and building what we wanted, then it was back to survival mode.

Near where I first appeared was a volcano, which made for a great reference point at night. The island in the sky seen to the upper left turned out to be made out of slime.

And not far from the volcano was a village. I went ahead and made it my base of operations, using creative mode to make a wall around it. Besides looking cool, it had the bennefit of helping keep out most of the mobs ... most. A few still spawn on the inside.

There were new mobs, such as blue mana creepers, and icy "Blizz" creatures that tossed snowballs. In creative mode, one could take on the appearance of mobs that the player clobbered at least one of. In the new FTB, focusing on an object or player up close would give you the name.

Jasmine and Kryxia built their own base some distance south of the volcano village. They would also build a fenced area of horses, donkeys, and other critters, and then a stable.

And to the north, this fenced in forest area with deer, squirrels, sheep, including the new rams, and other critters. I believe it's Skylark's base.

*Addition* It turned out it was Valkyrie's forest.

This new kind of tree's a bit big for cutting down for wood.

Not all wood has to be chopped down. Some trees have fallen and lie on the ground to be chopped up.

And so, the sun rises on a new world for the Angels of Second Life to build on. It's not their first, and most likely not the last. But they'll be making a few memories here when not in Second Life.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Second Life / InWorldz Group: The Grid Walkers Welcome Center

By Bixyl Shuftan

In recent months, interest in the InWorldz virtual world has been growing. The majority of people visiting the place have been from the larger Grid of Second Life, often annoyed with updates that their computers have problems with or policies from Linden Lab that they do. But without anyone or anything to help you out, it can get pretty confusing on how to go about there.

Fortunately help arrived in the form of the InWorldz / Second Life Connection Center. This group in both grids, with locations in both, helped residents from the older grid get started and go about on the new one. It also helped organize a public discussion in Second Life about what was true and what wasn't about InWorldz.

But without any warning, on December 8 Amore Crux, the owner of the Connection Center, suddenly announced the group was closing. While the groups themselves have remained open, many of the staff have found themselves locked from posting, and most of the virtual locations were deleted. Zia Larina, the former manager of the center, was caught off guard like everyone else, and made a public statement to help clear up some misinformation going around. There has been much speculation as to why Amore closed down the place, and the reasons are still unclear.

The group's sudden closing meant that residents commuting between the grids would be without reliable help. Nydia Tungsten of White Vixen Enterprises, which had cooperated with the IW / SL Connection Center, made the decision to found another group to take it's place: The Grid Walkers Welcome Center. Zia began helping her out from the start.

"We started the Grid Walker group to address the need that was made by Amore's announcement and then closure of all the Connection centers," Zia explained, "The volunteer coaching will continue and the coaches are willing to keep helping people. There is a connection between both worlds and a group we can stay in touch with each other here or in SL. I feel sad that the Decisions that were made. In the end playing our game is for us and being able to do that with help and laughter makes playing and working in both SL and IW enjoyable."

At the Angels Foxshire sim in InWorldz, managed by White Vixen Enterprises, Nydia explained, "We were planning to make this area a form of welcome center already, when we found Zia and Amore. I thought to join with them in promoting a cross grid community, that is why WVE and IW/SL got together to hold the Q&A meeting in SL. I was blindsided by the closing of their welcome centers then found out it was a decision Amore had made on his own because of.... "differences"... he had with the founders, his decision affected ALL their members and left them out of the loop as to why and what would happen now."

"The idea behind the group was too important to let hang in limbo, so together with Zia we have formed 'Grid Walkers Welcome Center,' leaving it open for not just SL and IW for for ALL grid visitors, we have a Inbiz ATM here now for those that need it, and it should also be said that there was NO disruption in ANY inbiz services."

Asked about InWorldz's rate of growth and if the new group can handle the influx if numbers continued to grow at the level, Nydia stated, "I think as the grid grows our group should grow and the number of guides along with it, I have every confidence Zia will handle and train our guides so they can handle the new arrivals as then get here."

So once again, Second Life residents needing help while getting themselves established in InWorldz have a place to turn to.

"In the end, words of intention are all fine. It is the actions that we do that people will grow to trust," Zia commented, "not our words, but our actions and our consistency."

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, December 8, 2013

InWorldz/Second Life Connection Center Closes - Statement From Zia Larina

On December 7, Amore Crux suddenly announced the InWorldz/Second Life Connection Center was closing. Taking place less than a week after the discussion in Second Life about InWorldz which it helped organize, and about a day after the article on the event was published, this move was a complete surprise. Amore made a short anouncement, and deleted the center's regions in InWorldz and Second Life. The groups themselves are still up, though word is many people have already started leaving them.

Zia Larina, the manager of the Connection Center group and places, was not online at the time. Today, she made the following statement to the group in InWorldz and Second Life.

*  *  *  *  * *  *  *  *  * *  *  *  *  *

Hello A/all,

I had some things happen in my real life that needed my attention starting about a week ago.  I needed to give up the IRT management position because I have real-life schooling.  Because of some issues concerning classes I needed to let that go and just focus on the Coaching which allowed me to be more random in my schedule; focused around my real-life classes.  I am in my BS/MS degree program right now and that is my primary focus in my real life.

I was in SL when Amore decided to close the centers and send word in group chat here.  I received some IM's in SL saying to get to IW.  When I went to IW I was given many NC on the conversation that happened in the group chat.  I will attempt to answer the main questions that were being asked and didn't get addressed.

1)  I sincerely apologize for what happened yesterday and the choice of Amore to close the connection centers down.  It was a big shock to all of us and to be fair I am not sure what really happened.  He has officially closed them down and there is no going back from that.

2)  All of you that have been volunteering your time to help people link and get set up here in IW and making their expansion of game and business we can still help and I am leaving lm's at the bottom.  Any terminal can be used as a linking point to help people get connected.

3)  For those of us who wish to still have a help group in case this one gets shut down.  Contact Nydia Tungsten.  She has created a group here and in SL for those of us still wishing to have a help group for each other.  This is their attempt at participating in helping us in this new direction.

4)  Elenia did a clean house and removed 6K from the welcome center group last week it is in the forums on the website.  Elenia did have a private discussion with Amore and made and official request that he stop a certain provision (check certificates).  To be fair she has never said anything against the centers, the group, and sat on a stage with us in SL answering questions in the meeting last Saturday.  If her official stance was in distancing the founders away from connection to us and our group then she would never have sat on that stage and would have done official IW answers based on the Feed after the meeting was done.  I had been speaking with her last week about getting connecting link to help people know solidly the reporting  people if they had issues with specific people at the Welcome Center and how to navigate that.  This was going to be included in the Coaching staff pieces.

5)  InBiz is a viable and established business and the terminals are working and linking and transfer of fund is still running as it has always been available.  You are able to use any atm terminal in IW at any location to access InBiz market place and to transfer lindens to IW.  There is an InBiz HQ on SL side.  ......Ellesmere (173,26,147)

**when using any terminal that will take money from your account whether it is a store or an ATM use the ctrl+alt+T if the prims are NOT red they are safe to use.  Use the Ctrl+alt+T to turn off again and shop or transfer funds.

In Conclusion,  I did not agree with the decision and I can understand if there have been stresses on Amore that maybe we don't know about.  I am at a loss as to how I can help on a personal level and that can not be helped.  I so sincerely apologize for all for all of the upset.

There are some options for all of you if you wish.  I will continue to help people if they need it and be available for questions the best I can.  I am sorry that Amore chose to close the centers and I apologize for the closures of the physical center locations.  If you have any questions please IM or send a NC and I will do my best to get answers to you as soon as possible.  For those of you who were coaching please IM me you are still very much needed and we can stream line this process a bit more if you are willing.


Zia Larnia ~~ Ex Manager of the Connection centers.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Answering Questions About the InWorldz Grid

On Saturday November 30th, a discussion about the InWorldz virtual world took place in Second Life. A stage had been set up in the Purrfection Estates sim, near the beach club there. Originally scheduled to start at Noon SL time, it was delayed a few minutes due to minor technical difficulties. The meeting and talk was hosted by Nydia Tungsten, the owner of White Vixen Enterprises which runs the sim.

Besides Nydia, on stage were Zia Larina and Amore Crux, who run the Second Life/InWorldz Connection Center in both grids. Elina Llewellyn, whom Zia identified as one of InWorldz' founders was there. Kelly Mekanic was also one of the speakers. Zia and Kelly used voice the majority of the time. The size of the audience varried, with people leaving early and dropping in late, though it is believed more than forty people saw at least part of the discussion.

The idea for the meeting came around mid-November due to Nydia and her friends getting asked a number of questions, and having a number of concerns mentioned about InWorldz. This included some harsh accusations about the place, calling it a pale imitation of Second Life, and worse. The owner of White Vixen Enterprises, which has recently purchased a couple sims in the InWorldz grid in addition to the number in Second Life it manages and outright owns, got together with Zia and Amore and soon organized the meeting.

Kelly Mekanic started off with explaining that had gotten her start in Second Life before expanding to InWorldz, later adding she was in the larger grid for seven years, and feeling the need for a "fresh start" went to InWorldz. She compared going between the two like traveling between the busy city and the quieter countryside. One thing that she disliked was the talk comparing Second Life to InWorldz turning into "Us Vs Them" talk, "you don't have to choose, you can do both." She loved InWorldz, and had no intention of stopping her going there.

Zia Larina added she too had started in Second Life and learned quite a bit there, including running sims, management, and time in business. Once in the InWorldz grid, she was able to focus more time on content creation. She found her time in both virtual worlds a positive experience. She commented if people found her voice unusual, it was from spending years on American Indian reservations.

There were numerous questions asked and answered. The first was about scripting in InWorldz. Elenia explained it was once based on the OpenSim code, but had long since branched out, "We have rewritten inventory, assets, physics and phlox which is our scripting engine from the ground up." One InWorldz resident present, Morrice DeClaun (morphman), commented, "There's some scripting differences, but not too many. And there's a great scripter community to find out what is different there." Kelly added, "InWorldz has done great work with the Beta mesh support viewer which is the equivalent in appearance and use of the Firestorm viewer that we here are used to without the new code that has caused apparently many issues for users with older comps."

Kelly went on to say, "InWorldz is a builder and creators' heaven. (It) gives people a chance to create and learn. Not only that..but they have a mentor team that is very helpful to get started and when they arent at the Welcome area..many creators and residents spend their time there to help. She compared going between Second Life and InWordz to commuting to and from a busy city and a quiet country home.

Jenn Chant, a Second Life resident who has spent some time in InWordz, commented, "While InWorldz is a closed grid like Second Life (good for keeping IP rights intact), I do love the fact that they are still far more open then SL in many respects. You can backup your inventory from their website. Also there is no charge to upload resources. I often feel in SL like I'm being nickled and dimed to death, and that's just not the case in InWorldz." Kelly commented, "Second Life is a money-making venture," saying the Lindens have been up front about that.

Storm (electrasky) asked, "if InWorldz will charge in the future for uploads to cover their costs?" Elenia answered, "we can not speak for LL, however, our vision is to create a place where people can explore freely their own imagination. Part of that is uploads. Sure, it's great to make money off that, but we want the imagination to run free, and how best can you do that? By uploading for free. Will we ever change that policy? We have no plans anywhere in the future to do so. And we certainly would not think to make such a massive change without input from our residents beforehand as we value their input strongly when we make decisions."

 Syndi Dryke had a shopowner's question, "How does the cashing out work? Is it reliable and do you lose more in the transactions, then you do in here? And can you transfer currency back and forth.. I know it works that I can deposit money here in SL and withdraw it in IWZ, but does it work the other way around too?" Elenia answered, "Syndi, we removed the ability to transfer back to SL on a general basis because the credit card fraud was becoming intense, causing both companies to lose thousands of dollars. As a smaller company, we have a pretty good view on fraudulent transactions."

Mimi Juneau had a question about copying and transfers, saying she had seen someone wearing a brand from SL Elenia answered, "The problem revolves around the Safe harbor that we are under Mimi, which is the US law for Copyright. If we remove things from our service that are not in fact stolen, we are liable by that person for discriminating. The Safe Harbor is designed that an ISP / OSP can not ever know what is in their service byte for byte. .... What they need to do, and what you can do to help them is to send them the picture, and have them file a DMCA with us.  I MUST have a DMCA. Without a DMCA I can not do anything about it, otherwise I end up in liability for removing something. We're also not allowed to play judge, jury or executioner ..."

Nydia commented, "the community itself helps to fight this as well, in a group chat I have seen botters harassed for copybotting, residents in BOTH worlds need to call out the copy botters." Kelly spoke in voice that it was important to "cover your own butt" as Grid owners couldn't be expected to do it for you. Those who wanted to be big designers, she advised to copyright their work. Elizabeth DeClaun  (kenniem) remarked, "I get why people are so up in arms about the new TOs, but its gotten a lot of creators to pull their finger out and Copyright their stuff. Linden Lab isn't going to do it."

Mimi then asked what the InWorldz policy on freebies was.  Elenia answered, "InWorldz, as many know, has removed the freebies from the main welcome area. We only have a generic ao, the LM hub and one other thing. We are allowing it to be ran by our residents instead which is proactive to the region owners, shop owners, etc., rather than us running it." Kelly felt, freebies were welcome and can be found most anywhere in InWorldz, "gives (new) people a chance to get a head start." Morrice felt, "As with SL, creators generally keep the stuff they've worked on the hardest at a price and have older things and lesser things for free as promotional tools."

Pammy Jo (pj.arnott) was worried about seedier elements taking over, "How much time do you give InWorldz before it becomes overcrowded and full of sex places, perversion, griefers and becomes Secondlife Jr? I see little happenings now. So many griefers coming in now. ... The Mentors are trying to protect us ... but soon I think the inflow will be too large. Why not keep Iwz word of mouth and protect it?" Zia answered, "people will play their video games how they want to, and if you want to go to those places ..."

On the subject of griefing, Zia contrasted the InWorldz welcome center, which has a strict code of conduct, with the one of Second Life, which "gets a little crazy." Kelly commented with the recent influx in InWorldz, a few griefers inevitably came with the new people coming in due to it's newfound popularity. There was talk about griefers giving new accounts a bad name, as they often made new and disposable accounts to do their dirty deeds. Kelly commented that the griefers were bored kids whom were basically angry at the universe and anyone else. But fortunetly InWordz was seeing little griefing.

Should InWorldz have an age verrification? Elenia didn't think so, "There is nothing out there for true age verification. The fact is that age verification is a company's way of CYA for minors being where they shouldn't be. We see no point in putting something in that's completely baseless in real action." One resident from InWorldz wondered about the possibility of a way for InWorldz to identify and ban those who were banned from Second Life to stop griefers from there. Elenia told her not to expect it, "it would require cooperation between the two grids. And other than fraudulent activities, which was a one sided bit of cooperation on our end, I doubt you'll see it. Also note, in the US, giving out IP's is actually illegal." Morrice added, "A true griefer would use an IP mask, so that wouldn't help."

Kelly then brought up the Terms of Service mess, suggesting it was the result of Linden Lab's history of trying to improve the graphics in Second Life. Unfortunetly, their "server-side baking" improvement earlier this year actually worsened it's performance of residents using older computers. She explained InWorldz began getting a number of POed Second Life users at this time. She felt Linden Lab's new Terms of Service in regards to content creators was caused in part by this to help ensure those going over couldn't just take their stuff with them, "anything you make here, you can't take out." Someone else countered that if an InWorldz user made something, of course they could bring it over. People also talked about the merits of creators copyrighting their work. Nydia commented, "There ARE creators that say 'if you buy my things here you can rip them where you like as LONG as you don't sell them.' "

Treminari Heut then brought up the subject of gambling, "We got a gambling group here which violated the business and professions code which overhangs SL up and down across the law.... " Elenia told her, "Our simple answer Mina is literally gambling is not allowed. The Federal laws flat out do not allow for any online gambling." Treminari also mentioned that the gamblers had gotten into a feud with a privacy group, "and as a result these 1100 member group was all sent a series of threats slandered blackmailed and attacked on several locations.... Linden Lab chose not to get involved causing the situation to degenerate into two bickering groups both accusing the other side of being criminals ..." What would InWorldz have done? Elenia answered, "it really depends on what is being done, and how we view the situation. We have had to step in between groups when it begins to hurt the grid as a whole. Sometimes they need a cooling off period, but in most cases, there is a true TOS violation that causes it and that is what we look for." Treminari continued, "It sounds good that you dissallow gambling and all.... what about games that try to skirt around notice of enforcement and get excused here... such as sploders and whatnot?" Elenia's answer to this was, "We have that down tight as well and our residents do let us know Mina. The concept of gambling is centered on the risk factor. That means if a user has the ability to lose monies on chance, it falls into gambling. Even games of "skill" we tell them flat out monies can not be the end reward as based on possibly losing. Therefore they must give away actual gifts. This removes the gambling aspect for them and we're not really equipped to go fight the DOJ for online gambling."

A debate on gambling and what it is started in voice and chat. One resident expressed confusion as she had never come across it in Second Life. It was mentioned that some places in both Second Life and real life get around gambling rules and laws, including Japan where pachinco machines get around by awarding players with numbers of metal balls, which can be exchanged for prizes. Morrice commented, "I don't think grids are good for gambling. There's plenty of gambling sites out there, so why would you do it in any grid? Gambling, per definition, is all about money, money in, chance of money out. Items are not gambling." Elenia's answers to her questions satisfied Treminari, "I fully approve that your cracking down on it and just for that I'm gonna be checking out InWorldz, I've gotten really tired of being threatened by what is essentially the SL Mafia."

The Avination Grid, one that had made some news in the past along with InWorldz, came up. Someone commented it was "dead." Kelly thought that the lack of freebies for new people was a factor. It was also brought up that gambling was allowed there, and one resident felt some of the places were cheating.

The InWorldz viewer came up, "is there a specific reason that the IW Beta viewer is still beta? The current stable release still can't see mesh and the beta has been in beta since February." Elenia answered, "I actually had a skype with McCabe on this, and he's close to release on the viewer again. however, if you can't see mesh in the beta viewer, you really should get a hold of him as that should not be the case." Of why it was still called a beta, "the reason for beta on the viewer is because of skin and shape issues and search issues. ... Once it's done and the big issues are fixed, then we'll switch over to pushing that instead of 1.4.8(10). "
Kelly commented in voice, "It's not beta, its an exceptionaly stable viewer ... its a great viewer ... in terms of content, if you want to cross grids and make this a source of income."

Of computers, Amore stated in voice, "I got a new computer, Second Life is okay, but not good. Second Life is hell on computers these days ... InWorldz runs more smoothly on your computer." Kelly's response, also in voice, "InWorldz is no different, except that it doesn't have the new code." Many of the new people coming to InWorldz didn't know how to adapt to the new code, or didn't want to. And InWorldz was mesh enabled. Morrice commented, "InWorldz works fine on my office laptop, and that thing can't even run Minecraft." It was brought up that the number of viewers available could be confusing to new players as Massive Multiplayer Online games all have just one viewer while Second Life has a number, "it is such a foreign concept for new people," Morrice felt, "because no other 'game' or 'world' uses several clients for the same program."

The talk turned to Second Life users coming to InWorldz. Kelly commented in voice, "The impression I've gotten is many people are afraid. Afraid of what? If you're that good here, why not head to a new place and do better?" Morrice added, "Nobody will hate you for doing more than one world. InWorldz is not a mistress on the side. (grin)" Jenn Chant commented, "It's not SL vs IW. this isn't US vs Them. We are all virtual citizens and we can be in as many grids as we feel like. She went on to say, "I think the fact that we have a founder of InWorldz here at this meeting in Second Life when we don't have an SL rep in SL speaks volumes for how awesome IW management is!" It was brought up that Opensim in the begining was sponsored by Linden Lab. But their support for them has been gone for years, Elenia saying, "The project fell apart due to a fight over who would control the information."

Elizabeth DeClaun  (kenniem) asked, "When I talk to those who try out inWorldz they always say that inWorldz reminds them of Second Life circa 2006. Do you think that inWorldz is progressing at the same rate as Sl? I mean inWorldz is 4 years old now?" Morrice answered, "I see IW as an alternate universe. Go back in time to 2006, change a few things, then flash forward to today and see how it developed differently."

The prices of getting places on the two Grids came up, Erik Mouse saying, "You could find InWorldz to be better cost wise since you can get a 45,000 prim region for $75 a month on InWorldz rather than pay $295 a month for a 15,000 prim region on SL." Elenia added, "The Magellan group is great, and a good example of our listening to residents. When we put up the 2nd mainland it was way off in the hinterlands. And they stood up and said, 'HEY put them close and we'll fill the gap and build this great spot there.' So we did." Kelly felt people want to just be able to go about in a virtual world without having to update otherwise fine computers.

One InWorldz resident spoke, "it is so exciting to see more creators come in. There is SOOOO much room for growth there as a creator. We are begging for more!" Nydia seconded the need for builders in InWorldz,"no offense but the builds I have seen there so far are about the same quality as the old freebies here." Morrice responded, "Yeah, that's the builders, not the grid. I've seen amazing buildings, but there's not enough builders there, so most people end up build their own houses and just as here in SL, most people aren't expert house builders."Nydia did mention one content creator recently setting up at InWorldz, "Many of you may know 'Alessandra Skins and fashions.' She is expanding there as well."

It was also asked if InWorldz had a Marketplace website like Second Life. Elenia answered, "we do not have one, there are resident owned ones that are up and running, but we are firm believers in keeping our people firmly rooted inside the viewer and grid, not out on the webpages browsing."

One estate owner dropping in the meeting around the middle of it spoke up, " I own several sims in SL, been playing there for gong on 8 years. So I have amassed alot of stuff. So to move over to Inworldz and just leave it all behind, it totally impractical. You are talking $1000's US. So unless there is a way to move everything I have over, I see no solution for many of us." She was told no one was asking her to leave Second Life behind, "not saying to leave SL ... just expand to InWorldz and build yourself up there as well." "I think you need to see it as a similar world, not the same world. The stuff you have on your computer, you can transfer for free to InWorldz, but see it like any other game. You don't go getting all achievements in Call Of Duty and expect to have everything unlocked in Battlefield. In the same way, you cannot really expect all that you have amassed in SL to be available right off the bat in InWorldz." Elina told her, "one of the things I hear so often about InWorldz in comparison to Second Life. We're like the vacation home compared to SL. Many of our residents, including the Founders, have toeholds in both worlds. Nothing says you have to live in one world only. (smile)"

The conversation went on for a while to marketing, adult content, and other subjects such as fun with frying pans. Elina eventually had to excuse herself, as did some other residents. Zia and others kept the conversation going for a while, even after the meeting seats had been taken down, and many residents fell into the beach surf.

Jenn Chant, "I love the fact that I've got friends in SL and Metropolis Grid and IW from around the world. It's always cool to meet people from another country and have different points of view and outlooks on things."

Elenia Llewellyn, "I think the biggest thing is we have such a diverse culture of people and what they use."

Two videos of the meeting have been posted by Nydia. The longer one can be found at: There is also a youtube that can be found at:

Bixyl Shuftan