Clouds, camera puzzle this first-time user

My name is Tyler Brabo, and, ten days ago, I was hired to research hypergrid destinations for Hyperica.

This required that I create an account in OpenSim, get an avatar, and figure out how to surf the hypergrid.

My boss, Maria Korolov, asked me to keep track of what problems I ran into along the way, since it’s always useful for grid and region owners to know where first-timers get stuck.

So many grids, so little time

When first starting out, I didn’t know what a grid was, but Google answered that for me: Grids are virtual worlds linked together. [Editor: Some of them are linked together. Not all.]

I did not realize that were over 300 grids, some of them with thousands of regions.

Googling further brought up the OpenSimulator wiki’s Grid List, and I randomly picked OSgrid because it based in the United States.

None of the grid names really popped for me or drew my attention, and many grids seemed to be all the same.

After choosing OSgrid, I made an account with them and dove into the metaverse.

Also — so many viewers

Before I could log into my new OSgrid account, I had to pick a viewer. My Googling skills turned up three options: Singularity, Firestorm, and Kokua.

I looked at all three and found Singularity to have the simplest user interface, so I went with my gut feeling. Armed with Singularity, I logged in for the first time into the metaverse, and I was able to figure out how to build, use the map, and communicate fairly easy.

When logging in with my viewer, I could either choose a grid from the grid list — OSgrid, FrancoGrid and so on — or use the grid manager.

At first, I logged into OSgrid.

Later, I got the loginURI for the Hyperica grid, where I was issued a work avatar, and Hyperica wasn’t on the grid list.

So I clicked on grid manager, took my loginURI and pasted it in there, and it worked.

The process could have been a step easier, however, if there was a way to add the loginURI right from the main screen of the viewer.

A cloudy welcome

Back to that first time I logged in. I was a cloud-shaped blob.

And I could not for the life of me figure out why.

My life as a blob. (Image courtesy Tyler Brabo.)

My life as a blob. (Image courtesy Tyler Brabo.)

I Googled and tried all of the mentioned methods but what really happened was that when I had teleported in, I walked right through the welcome center where you were supposed to get your starter avatar without noticing it.

Maybe grid owners could put some more info or tutorials in the welcome region, so newbies like me don’t miss it.

It took some time, but eventually, I got my avatar looking human and began exploring.

Help, my camera is out of control

Movement controls were easy to figure out — WASD worked fine to move my avatar around. But the camera controls were a little trickier.

During the first day, I did not know how to pan around with the camera, and that was a hindrance. All the snapshots I took for Hyperica were at the same angle — and each of them had my little avatar cloud right in the center.

The boss sent me back to redo the pictures, and clued me in that by pressing the CTRL and ALT keys simultaneously, I could then swing the camera around with my mouse.

I could have used some guidance about the camera controls when I first got in-world.

Where is everything?

I didn’t see a destination guide when I logged in. I had to search for destinations on the Map since there was little to see in my immediate vicinity.

I did use Hyperica to get some addresses to start my exploring.

All kitted out at the company offices region on Hyperica. (Image courtesy Tyler Brabo.)

All kitted out at the company offices region on Hyperica. (Image courtesy Tyler Brabo.)

Maybe it would be nice to have a region showcase at the welcome area, or a hyperport to nearby grids.

If all grid owners did this, it could increase travel between all the grids and make things easier for new users, as well.

OpenSim versus Second Life

I have spent a little time in Second Life, and I’d have to say the best thing about OpenSim was the creativity. One person could create their awesome realm and then save it and share it with everyone.

This in turn means lots of custom content, creativity, and interesting worlds. There are online universities, geographical locations like Brazil, crazy night clubs, and fantasy worlds.

The best thing about this is that its all community made.

Speaking of creativity, I’d like to see more public building areas on the hypergrid.

And if you’d like me to visit your grid and add your destinations to the Hyperica directory, just email me at [email protected].  I’ll be around.

Tyler Brabo

Tyler Brabo is a freelance writer and researcher based in Florida.

  • Some info for other first time users:

    Firestorm is the top pick for most OpenSim users, with Singularity a strong second choice: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2015/04/firestorm-by-far-most-popular-on-hypergrid/

    I agree that grids could do a much better job of differentiating themselves!

    Meanwhile, I’m working on creating a Destination Guide that any grid can adopt — or adapt for their own use:

    Here’s the Hyperica guide: http://www.hyperica.com/destination-guide/

    And here are the instructions for how to enable it on your grid:

    http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2015/04/how-to-create-a-destination-guide-for-your-grid/

    I agree with you about the camera tutorials. Some grids do have OpenSim tutorials on their webcome region, but they typically cover too much stuff, so people just skip them. Figuring out how to present just enough starting information, but not too much, is a tough challenge for any grid, and not even Second Life has cracked that puzzle yet.

  • Geir Nøklebye

    One thing about Singularity is they are relatively slow to issue updates (last was sept 4, 2014), but if you feel comfortable using their nightly builds you can get much more recent code and bug fixes at http://alpha.singularityviewer.org/alpha/

    Most of the time the nightly works pretty good, but not always, so some caution is advised.

  • Welcome-) you can use any on this page and it has a link to the my first page. Some may be gone and some change around, but there is quite a few you will be able to see.

    http://minethere.blogspot.com/2014/12/metaverse-destinations-ii.html

  • Bryan French

    All grids are different and some grids are more user friendly than others for first time users.

    “Maybe grid owners could put some more info or tutorials in the welcome region, so newbies like me don’t miss it.”

    Some grids do that and some grids don’t. It also depends on the purpose of the grid and who it is targeted to. When signing up with Exo-Life a new resident MUST choose a beginning AV and we have 10 to choose from when signing up. Also a new resident, or anyone rezzing at our default region will see who on our staff is on-line and there is a TP to our new user area which has complete instructions in an ‘Orientation School’ I think most on OpenSim grids assume everyone started on Second Life. I started on an OpenSim grid 6 years ago and didn’t go to Second Life until about 6 months later. When I first started I was like ‘How do I move? How do I talk?’ I didn’t know about camera controls until 2 months later, hahaha.

    “Maybe it would be nice to have a region showcase at the welcome area, or a hyperport to nearby grids.”

    We have this at Exo-Life. The first thing a new resident sees when entering the world is a map of our world and 10 HG locations all clickable from a teleport board. Our grid also has a fully functional search using the search button in the viewer. Many grids though do not have a functional search.