Thursday, December 12, 2013

How my hypergrid standalone is like a 90's homepage.

After a short hiatus, Raz Cafe is back!  ( )

I can finally focus on getting back to whatever it I was doing on HG

... which was nothing, really.

Its like back in the early 90's when everyone had to have their own homepage on the world wide web- for absolutely no reason other than to have it out there. Its not like it even did anything important, it was just some site with a bunch of gif's and jpg's you saved off of another page and put them in (bad bad bad!).

If you were being tech savvy maybe you had your resume up there, with probably some sort of badly repeating texture- the kind where you just see this square block of some sort of general color tiled across the entire window. And we thought this kind of thing was cool. Some people do this with their terrain textures- good job, keep the tradition alive.

OH. And MIDI everywhere.

I basically think that every homepage in the 90's was building up to the hamster dance. (TIL that the hamster dance song is actually a sped up version of the beginning of disney's Robin Hood, where the rooster sings dee dah dee dah doh doh on his mandolin).

So, lets make a hit list here:

Raz Cafe vs. 90's Homepage
  • Parcel Media.........................MIDI (f'yeah)
  • LSL guest list........................Guest Book
  • Hypergate.............................Links to other websites
  • Broken Hypergates..............Broken links
  • Maybe 3 people visit.............Maybe 3 people visit
  • Has no substantial content.....Had no substantial content
  • Repeating textures.................Badly repeating textures
  • A drawing or two..................Cheesy clipart
  • Some guest snapshots...........Awkward snapshots

At the end of the day? I still have no clue what I'm doing it for, but I enjoy having it up there and knowing that other people have visited. Its the kind of thing you do because its fun and you enjoy tinkering with it.

I'll have to figure out a way to post a dancing hamster somewhere in the cafe.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Raz Cafe, hypergrid, and Raison D'etre

Thanks to a very generous friend, I was finally able to get Raz Cafe onto the hypergrid. I have nothing against the grid's I've been on, but there's nothing quite like being able to hand someone such a short, sweet, domain name. Seriously, to access Raz Cafe on the hypergrid, this is all you type into the map:

I love it!

Now, a little about setup.

I'm currently using the least restrictive permissions on the sim possible. I want to be able to give away items if I happen to collect or make any here, and I want everyone to be able to come in with their avatars intact.

There is no registration to this grid, its available only as a visitor's location, and only via hypergrid. Also, the sim is built from the latest trunk, so I imagine I can keep up with the latest goodies as they come up.

The entire grid is one sim.. so I guess it can't really be called a grid. A single sim instance, that's it. I may be romanticizing it a bit, but the idea of a little social oasis out in the middle of nowhere sort appeals to me in a bit of an endearing way.

But now that big looming question...

What the heck do I do now?

What is Raz Cafe for, anyhow? My goal is not to get as many people on it concurrently at any given time- though regulars would be incredible. I'm also not using it much as a testing sandbox. Someone visiting last night suggested something like branded t-shirts, that sounds sort of fun, so I may do that :) build up a little freebie gift shop, hehe. I'd also been thinking of a small hypergate hub, but there's already places that do that rather well. I wouldn't be offering anything significantly better or meaningful to the metaverse by doing that.

I think what it comes down to is I just want to make a nice place to visit, and I want it to be known as a nice place to see. In a world with endlessly growing virtual real-estate, and huge expanses of land, I think I wanted to make it a point to think small or compact. To make it cozy with a human element, the kind that can only be done by slowly gathering stories and ideas all into one concentrated area.

So in the end, I still really have no idea what to do with the cafe, but I do hope people continue to visit, and leave behind a bit of themselves in the form of a notecard with a story of their time visiting, or a photo to put on my photo board.

I really think a guest book would be nice.

I'll figure something out- at the very least, there's a home for the cafe now, the hypergrid standalone I've been wanting. I suppose until I figure out what to do, and mayb even from then on, I'll just continue prattling my thoughts out onto this blog, and talk about my own goings on.

In that vein, I'd like to note that my LSL bot is up and running. She'll be sitting there quietly, an identical clone of me, so the cafe feels like its' being maintained even when nobody is around for days, hehe.

I think one thing I'd like to do is add secrets around the cafe, I'll have to come up with some good ones :) 

Until next time!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Raz Cafe Google+ Community Information

I started a community on Google+ for my Raz Cafe sim! You can see it here:

Checking in this morning I was pleasantly surprised to see I'd already had a few visitors at the cafe! There's grey cube with hovertext indicating all the visitors, I'll reset it from time to time, maybe I'll rewrite it so that it keeps a more persistent list in notecards- ( thank you, osMakeNotecard! ).

More to the point, Linda mentioned that I could write a set of community guidelines so that the group was a little more focused, so here we go.

What to expect/post at Raz Cafe in G+:

The posts I would particularly love to see are:
  • Stories that involve you and your friends that reflect how you're enjoying OS and the hypergrid.
    • Especially stories how you found out about OpenSim and got involved!
  • Stories that just involve your own individual experiences with OS, (petting the cat while you try forever to get a firewall to work... *sigh*)
  • Personal projects you maybe working on in OS
  • Items or scripts you might want to share (I love tinkering!)
  • Photos!!!! Progress shots, finished shots, perhaps you want feedback on what you're working on.
  • Travel photos! As this is a rather hypergrid oriented group, I would love to see people posting pictures of what they've seen, with linkbacks so other people can see for themselves too.
  • Personal thoughts about living in the free metaverse (Simple things like, sipping tea while making a chair.)
  • Last but not least- photos of you chatting with your friends at the cafe~
This group is less about the OS and Virtual World community at large, , and more about the subtle inbetween moments, the things that make all the effort worthwhile. The small things you wouldn't normally think significant enough to post, captured in snapshots and blurbs. Those late night hours you spent getting your sim online, fighting with your cat and spilling coffee on the keyboard (actually I think a few opensim induction stories would be great).

I want to know the human side of OS, the small triumphs and trials. This is what a cafe is to me, a place to learn, share, and tell stories. I hope to hear from you ^^

Introducing Raz Cafe

Some Background

While my other blog, Atop the Garden's Walls, has become a bit of a thought piece, I've found myself wanting to do more writing that isn't necessarily quite so cerebral.

The original idea for this blog was to be about a sim that was tucked away on a remote hypergrid standalone, giving a sort of wonderfully isolated yet accessible feel to it. Unfortunately, because the server we use is firewalled by pfsense, any amount of googling or asking for pointers or advice has turned into a nightmarish dead-end. So rather than let the idea sit any longer, I decided to find a grid that allowed hypergrid, and connect to it.

It was a really close tossup between the grids craft and metropolis, I don't actually have a particular dedication to one or the other, both seem like nice communities- so as shallow as it seems, I settled on metropolis simply because the url "" was just too good to not use. I expect the cafe may float from grid to grid depending on circumstances, until maybe one day it can finally find its place as a hypergrid standalone.

As for naming, originally I was calling it Sabishii - The Lonely Avatar Cafe. I actually still rather like this name, but I felt it might be too long and assuming for such a tiny build. Over time, the title on the headboard seemed to be succinct enough to carry the point, and three syllables are rather short and sweet- easy to remember.

Raz Cafe

So the general concept is that its supposed to be a small haven for hypergrid visitors to meet up at. Of course, with such a small build, the novelty would wear off fairly fast, but its more about the atmosphere than anything.

The picture board at the very front of the cafe is a bit of a photo album of the history of the place over time, from its humble beginnings on Timothy Rogers' first OpenSim grid project, CyberWrld, where I first met him and Linda Kellie.

At some point I think I may go back and reminisce on these individual pictures. A few of them were taken with hypergrid travelers, and people I'd pulled from SL to come see what opensim was like.

Many will recognize the cafe relies heavily on Linda's assets, and a few scattered bits and bobs, with many modifications, such as adding my own shadows, changing a few textures around, and supplying my own custom textures fixed up in photoshop. Many pieces were left intact and just placed together because they fit the theme, I also rearranged asset pieces around. All in all, Linda's content has made it possible for me to roam freely from grid to grid (my avatar's clothing included!) feeling more or less safe that I'm free to do such without any complications.

Indeed the feeling of being completely outside of SL's grid yet somehow feeling like you've never left it is quite an exhilarating one, especially when you realize that you're in control of everything. The idea that everything is under your lock and key rather than someone else's is quite a comforting feeling, but most importantly, there's an air of serene calm when you have the chance to share this moment with friends.

I still need to look into getting voice working on this instance, it had it at one time when it was on other grids, but in the end, what I want most out of Raz Cafe is to grow my photo album by the front entrance.

If any of you happen to visit with some friends, take some pictures, and send it my way- either to my account on metropolis or to my email razwelles (@t) gmail (dot) com. I would love to put them up, and continue the small little history I've been gathering here.