Blog and Event site for the Elf Clan virtual reality group.
(events and photos links coming soon)
ELF CLAN is a group on the virtual reality system Inworldz (http://Inworldz.com). We feature the genres of fantasy, science fiction and steampunk on more than 60 regions.
Anyone may read blogs. To comment, please sign up. Blog site Membership is for current members of Elf Clan. Blogging or commenting regularly assures retention of site membership over time.
ELF CLAN CHARTER New members please read this
INTRODUCTION TO ELF CLAN A quick overview with photos. : )
Why is Elf Clan Family Friendly? G-rated? Yup, and we love it.
BLOGS The thoughts and observations of our members.
SANDBOX EVENTS Join us for our themed group exhibit.
IMPORTANT VIRTUAL REALITY TIPS-- USING INWORLDZ
INFORMATIVE AND FUN BLOG POSTS
INTERESTING MEMBER BLOGS
Thanks to Cinnamon Raymaker and Cyall Cookies for helping to restore several of these blogs from a prior blogsite.
It's been a long time since an update here, but that doesn't mean Elf Clan hasn't been busy. We now have over 60 regions in our group and Elf Clan is one of the largest groups on the Inworldz grid. Inworldz has been plugging along plugging holes in the SL Viewer code and OpenSim server code, needing to re-write major areas to get performance up to snuff. PhysX has been installed (the Nvidia physics driver) as well as Phlox (the efficient Inworldz script-handling engine that replaced Mono). As we write Inworldz is getting set to install a new grid release that according to claims, will virtually eliminate region-crossing issues on the grid (lag, crashes, void-travel, etc). So we're waiting to see the results of that.
Both Second Life and Philip Rosedale (the Founder and ex-CEO of Linden Lab) have each announced plans for totally new virtual worlds. Not much more is known at this time. Whether they will present additional competition or flop is anyone's guess.
Inworldz has announced they will begin their "market push" this year (2014), which is welcome news to residents who have been waiting 5+ years for the grid to "take off". Currently Inworldz land growth has somewhat stagnated, remaining at around 800 regions for the last three years or so. Such stagnation is not unique; it is being experienced by all virtual worlds, including Second Life (which has suffered a constant decline in both region numbers and premium users) and OpenSim (which has experienced grid closings and general failure-to-launch). It seems virtual reality has lost the majority of public interest, giving way to online game and social networks such as Facebook. It's an uphill climb all the way. Only time will tell how Inworldz fares in the near future. Users are largely split in their opinions and forecasts-- which are all fairly without hard-data basis these days. All that can be said for a certainty is that Elf Clan has grown and Inworldz is hanging in there.
In June Wayfinder (alt Snoots Dwagon) announced "semi-retirement" from virtual worlds after 14+ years of heavy activity in the field. The Founder of Elf Clan isn't leaving VR entirely, but will be far less active, taking a back seat and turning duties over to the other Eldar in favor of real-life activities. According to the announcement blog event attendance, event hosting, land management and group management will be largely left to others, with VR focus remaining on DragonForge (Snoot's VR business) and Ships Ahoy! (co-run by Ferrator Montoya) and customer support of both. In the place of VR Snoots/Wayfinder is focusing on the creation of real-life musical instruments, music writing and volunteer activities.
Second Life makes an unannounced change in their TOS allowing them full right-of-attorney over any and all user creations. Users are not happy. See Cautionary article.
At this time Elf Clan has more than 40 regions along with several "Scenic" regions-- one-builder, 5000-prim sims used primarily as water connections. The group has been active despite the summertime, with members hosting regular live music shows as well as other events. Inworldz is quickly approaching the 1000-region mark. Phlox (the custom-made scripting engine) is up and running well, with the PhysX system now in beta-testing and expected to be going full-bore by the end of the year at the latest. At the same time Second Life sim count is steadily decreasing, with reports of that grid losing 400 sims last month alone. We celebrated this month the Grand Opening of Snoots' "Hall of Funny" (a sci-fi / fantasy "demotivational poster" museum) with many people attending. Elf Clan regions have never been more beautiful or numerous.
Our group now has 33 regions on Inworldz, plus several ocean sims. Builds are beyond what we've ever accomplished in our history. In addition to the expected fantasy regions, we have a science fiction city, steampunk city, dragon lands, several mer-based ocean regions and of course, a prehistoric volcanic region (much to the delight of the dragons and orks). We also have the first of our moving vehicles: a clipper ship, monorail system, and tour-oriented Star Trek shuttlecraft (not to mention Balpien Hammerer's incredible non-physics physical vehicles). Inworldz has proved to be an excellent platform for the Elf Clan group. We still visit our old friends based on Second Life of course, but our entire group creative effort has focused on Inworldz. Our lands are beautiful, unique, and Elf Clan has a good reputation of being a friendly, hospitable and helpful group. We're very pleased with the Inworldz platform.
Catching up: Elf Clan left Second Life in November 2011, finding the platform and policies increasingly restrictive and the prices excessive. We were down to one sim (from our previous eight), our group suffocating and stagnating. We are now based at Inworldz.com and as of now have 25 regions and a lot of happy members. Region prices have dropped from $350 a month to $50, and we now have 45,000 prims available (compared to 15,000 on SL) and full use of megaprims and no link distance limits. Elf Can is growing as we've never grown before. Our members are delighted with the increased building power on Inworldz, as well as the much friendlier atmosphere overall. The lowered costs have enabled members to own regions who never dreamed before they could do so. In the 7 years we were on Second Life we estimate as a group we spent appx $50,000 (yes, that's real money), and have little or nothing to show for it. On Inworldz regions cost 1/7 what they cost us on SL... with three times more prims. We're happy with the move... and for the first time since October 2008, we're thriving.
The Grouply blogsite closed unexpectedly, leaving our group without blogging capability. After careful consideration, we have resumed using the Ning site on a limited basis. Events will be posted in the form of blog comments. Membership (limited to 150) is necessarily restricted to regular members who blog and comment. Anyone can read our entire site; membership is only needed if someone plans to regularly blog or comment on this site. We thank our members for understanding these necessary limitations. (The alternative is paying Ning $300 a year... understandably not possible for a non-profit group with no membership fees). ; )
Ning (this blogsite) has closed ad-paid services and has started charging heavy fees ($240 a year) for blog services. Elf Clan has migrated to a new bogsite http://elfclanvr.groupy.com and has left this blogsite in an "archival" format (which does not incur such excessive fees). There is a wealth of historical information and posts here, but all new posting will be at the Zonkk site.
Linden Lab laid off 30% of their workforce this month. Shortly following, Mark Kingdon was replaced as CEO of Linden Lab, Philip Rosedale stepping back in as "interim CEO". What this means for Linden Lab is anyone's guess, but many are breathing a sigh of relief that a blatant profiteer like Kingdon is no longer in the driver's seat. Will Rosedale be any better? I have serious doubts we will see any major improvements on Second Life... or that Rosedale will be able to stop its eventually and foreseeable crash into a brick wall. We will know better in 6 months to a year whether Philip shows a lick of sense and learned a harsh lesson from the last 3 years... or whether it will still be Linden business-as-usual (translated: profit gouge as much as possible and customer welfare / needs / wishes be hanged).
Recent announcements by Linden Lab have set a lot of teeth on edge. Plans to prevent users from backing up their own builds if they contain components by other creators (such as public domain textures, megaprims and sculpt maps) as of April 30 are of course proving very unpopular (just how unpopular remains to be seen. Lawsuit time?). Release of a very user-unfriendly, cumbersome and buggy "Viewer 2.0" has customers barking in anger. We're not seeing much good come out of Linden Lab at this time. Predictions of implosion are widespread.
The release of Snowglobe Viewer 1.3.1 has finally brought about the switch from UDP to HTTP texture protocol, greatly speeding up the loading of textures on SL. It's still not perfect, but a move in the right direction. This is a major issue that after more than 6 years of texture loading problems, we are glad to finally see corrected. Unfortunately, there are still major areas in which this hasn't been implemented-- and texture tracking (so as to prevent redundant loading) is still not corrected.
THE YEAR IN RECAP
Linden Lab profiteering in the case of Open Space sims (trying to raise their prices by 67%) forced the shutdown of 6 of our 8 sims.
This month Eldar Peter Lioncourt added ElvenDream, his own personal building sim that allows public access. It is a beautiful sim with a garden setting, surrounded by sailing waters.
Elf Clan just celebrated its fifth anniversary with two days of head-to-toe events. Members report having a wonderful time. Thanks to our Greeters for their efforts.
Elf Clan has decided to expand to an external grid, Reaction Grid. We will host additional, low-cost rental lands there. Time to stop putting all our eggs in the Second Life basket. We had tried Open Life grid but the company proved to be abusive and untrustworthy. Reaction Grid is an all-PG grid that seems almost tailor-made for our group needs. We are starting with 4 sims there, with hopes for significant expansion in the near future.
Current State of SL
Haven't posted here in a while because well, things were just too much in a jumble and forgot this section was here. LOL. I'll try to keep this better updated
Linden Lab decided to raise the price of Open Space sims by 67%. Their claims for doing so proved to be bogus. As a result, as of mid-Feburary 2009 more than 5,500 OS sims shut down operation. The company seems to have no compassion or concern for the thousands of people they are hurting. LL responded by removing publicly available tracking stats on sim ownership and user participation. These are apparently the desperate acts of a company that doesn't wish the consequences of its decisions to be known to the general public.
User Balpien Hammerer discovered an internal, self-created Denial of Service attack on LL's own computers, caused by user cache failing and requesting reloading of the same textures over and over again. This has caused serious impact on system asset servers and heavily degrading sim performance.
New releases are performing worse than those before them. Some have claimed that it's almost as if Linden Lab is intentionally sabotaging the grid, trying to force people to abandon their sims. IMO, they're just plain incompetent. I have never seen such a poorly performing platform-- or poorly performing software with years-long bugs. Not trying to stomp LL; just being factual. Performance is degrading on a montly basis.
The discovery of "ghosted scripts" has caused great impact on sim performance-- scripts that continue to exist and operate even when their host prims have been deleted. Sim script performance times are increasing greatly (on ElvenMyst it has jumped from around 15 to 19.9). Similar reports from all over the grid.
Future prognosis for SL at this time is not good. Management seems to be continuing to tred the same "failure path" and ignoring (even denying) continued system degradation. Worse, they continue to blame users for what are clearly management/coder issues. At this time, based on current evidence, I predict the demise of LL and SL (at least in its current form) within a year... likely much sooner.
* CLIENT VIEWER 1.21 is busted. The texture edit box is taking a minute or more to open, with numerous people reporting crashes at that point. It is slowing down building horribly. Users are also reporting excessive lag and choppy movement across the board. THE FIX: Revert to version 1.20.17. Performance is much more stable.
* TYPING SOUNDS and animations are being turned off by many people. This is a personal choice. However, please be aware that the typing sound and animation are designed to let other people know you are currently communicating. In RL we can hear your voice and see your lips move. Not so on SL. Nullifying the typing function may result in people walking away while you're in the middle of "talking"-- because there is nothing to indicate you're typing. Solution: turn the defaults back on, or use a scripted type replacer to indicate you are communicating.
* LOGIN PROBLEMS. Many are experiencing difficulty logging in due to the changes in SL. Possible solution: Go to the EDIT drop down menu at the top left of your login screen and choose PREFERENCES/GRAPHICS. Move the graphics slider all the way to the left (LOW). This will set graphics requirements to minimum. Upon entering the game, you may then click the CUSTOM box to set graphics to your personal preferences, according to the abilities of your graphics card and computer system.
* REDUCE LAG Everyone suffers from lag from time to time. If you're experiencing regular lag, you can disable clouds. Clouds take a great deal of graphic rendering time. To disable clouds during any session, press Ctrl-Alt-Shift-(minus).