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stargategrid

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A way was seen to make a space station in InWorldz, 256 metres in diameter, the size of a region, by 64 metres wide. The torus is built on a single round prim stretched to 256 metres, and hollowed, to make a wheel. Basic prim building in Second Life has a building limit of 64 metres, so a large torus space station has to be built in parts there. A section of space station like this could be made in Second Life, over a smaller area of land, and would be fully usable via avatars, as if rotating in space. The illusion of rotation could be generated, by have a star cape outside revolve. That can be done quite easily, when there is land available to do so.

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Much was gained from our work in InWorldz, but sadly, the company hit a financial rock in July 2018, and InWorldz sank suddenly, beneath the pixel waves. Many InWorldz refugees escaped to join other virtual worlds, including Discovery Grid, or return to Second Life. 

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We hunted high and low in Second Life for a way for the avatar to walk around the inside of a torus, as if in space. For years the closest method that we could find, was with this space station made by Tunes Meness, a Dutch architect in real life. Inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, Meness built a drum that turns around inside his station, with chairs attached to the drum. By sitting on the attached chair, the avatar can ride around the drum. By going into Mouselook, the camera view will be from the avatar riding around in the drum, but the avatar cannot walk around the inside of the drum. The Meness station can be examined in Second Life, accessed with our stargate teleporter, found in the Space Pioneers embassy building, as destination Station 2X at Atai.

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When we found out that there was a new function in Second Life, called Castray, which allowed the avatar to walk on any surface, the possibility dawned of being able to walk the avatar around the inside of a torus space station, as if it were revolving in space. We owned an area of land at Nautilus city island measuring 32 metres by 128 metres, so we built a torus space station that is 32 metres wide, with a diameter of 128 metres.

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A simple spacecraft can be flown from the hub of the Space Station, around the Moon, and Mars, and among the asteroids.

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stargategrid

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These four blue balls in the South Arm of the Space Station can be clicked on, enabling Castray, so the avatar can then be walked around the inside of the torus, as if it were rotating in space. The avatar's hover level will need to be adjusted, as the feet sink into the prim. A commercial product is available that does the same, but the hover level is built in.

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For the walker to work, the avatar must be in Mouse Look, which is limiting, compared with normal avatar activity. We therefore tend to rarely, if ever now, walk around the inside of the torus, with activity in the Space Station being focused on where the avatar can move around normally. Another set of virtual world physics may allow normal avatar activity around the inside of a torus, as if it is rotating in space, but we are not aware of such a system. In the following photo my avatar, Starfarer, is using the Walker, while Visinda is standing upright with Second Life physics.

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A product is available in Second Life that allows the avatar to float, as if in free-fall in space. The floating and tumbling is random, though the avatar can be moved around, as if walking, or flying. With a greater level of sophistication, and the ability to use the avatar's hands, which is not possible in Second Life yet, a more realistic space experience could be created. A body suit in some form may cause the avatar to reflect the movement of the human body. Such systems, and gloves, are under development.

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When we built the Space Station, we also set out an Earth that is rotating. The aim was to present a simple overview experience from the Space Station, for Overview Effect meetings with Frank White, the author of the book, 'The Overview Effect'.

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An event was held in South Arm with the launch of the third edition of 'The Overview Effect', with the author presenting.

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Space Pioneers holds weekly meetings in the South Arm of the Space Station, with people attending from different nations, via their avatars. At this meeting, we were discussing the growing of food in space. Discussion is typed in chat, with the transcript captured and then sent to a larger list by Email.

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Come that time in December, the annual Christmas party is held in South Arm, via avatars, as if in space.

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Team of a Dozen

A dozen determined individuals gunning for a space future, could form a team to work on a shared project, such as with robots. A dozen avatars is around the number that would comfortably work on a region in Second Life. More avatars can be accommodated on a region, which would allow for visitors. A team head and second can be democratically elected to represent the team. The team could hold a weekly meeting, and capture the transcript to share with members and associates.

Each participant can have a room in a space station, just like the room they plan to have in space.

The Second Life region of Nautilus - Eshmun, where the Space Pioneers embassy building is located, is highlighted on the map below.

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Village of Sixteen Teams

In the map of Nautilus City, below, sixteen regions are highlighted. If, or when, there is a rumble of determined individuals forming teams gunning for a space future, sixteen teams on sixteen regions could form a village. This would be around 200 people, which is a good number for a successful community. This is one way that a community of space pioneers can use the virtual world, physically, to build the community that plans to move into space.

A village council can be formed of the team heads, with a village leader and second elected by the committee. This would create a good way to communicate important messages and information through the organisation, and from individual space pioneers to the village committee.

If the village approach is a successful and happy model to organise globally with the virtual world, then a second village could form, and a third. Sixteen villages could form a town, with a town council, and a mayor and deputy. A council and mayor might be elected from candidates nominating from town residents, and voted into office by the residents of the town.

Town by town, an organisation of space pioneers could be built, toward ten million and more in number, all gunning for a future in space.

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Visinda and Starfarer with Bryan Versteed's impression of the Kalpana design on the wall of our present space station in Second Life.

Space Pioneers are preparing for the construction of a new torus space station, to be located above Star City, using the best quality building materials available, which could be from Isil. A later project will be to construct a space settlement, just like the one that will be built in space, which can be used via avatars, just as we use the old Space Station now. We will need much more land to create this new space project.

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Larger meetings can be arranged in Second Life, in venues such as this spaceship, which is also a large theatre. Trade fairs can be set up in Second Life for a limited time on land rented temporarily. There is a monster Science Fiction fair held in Second Life every year, which could include a more chaotic market area. Such facilities would allow an event in one place on Earth, to be global via the virtual worlds.

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Anyone can now set up a virtual world in their home computer, and a small number of people can visit this in-house virtual world. Many makers use a stand-alone virtual world as a place to create content, which is then exported and uploaded to one of the main virtual worlds.

We can but wonder if writers like Charles Dickens would have used the virtual worlds to explore characters as avatars, and develop stories.

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In 2012 Space Pioneers launched a small virtual world for youth, as a trial project, which served the interests of three South Korean youths for a time, but did not grow further.

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A pyramid the size of a region had been built by Starfarer in one of the Open Sim virtual worlds, which was then transported into Space Pioneers Grid.

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One of the youths was quite talented, building a Moon buggy with many individually shaped prims.

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A round gallery was designed and built by Starfarer and located on a floating sky island.

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In 2017 Space Pioneers closed our own very small virtual world, and moved to a new virtual world, called Discovery Grid, where it was possible to have mega regions, either 4x4 (16 old regions) or 8x8 (32 old regions), with the same number of prims as an old region. We chose a 4x4, and a raw terrain of islands and water. Though our main activity remains in Second Life, our activity in Discovery Grid allows us to set out the old region sized builds, including the pyramid, the large torus space station, and the VOSS. The cost is much less than Second Life, and allows more work to be done, but is a pioneering virtual world, so more effort is required to find or build content. A Space Pioneers team could maintain a small project in Second Life, and have a much larger project in Discovery Grid.

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Reply with quote  #29 
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Robots

Pandorabots have been used with avatars in Second Life for many years, though this is less common now. Anya Ordinary is one of them.

Space Pioneers has a Pandorabot in the Space Station called Sabrina, which we access via a red box to chat with.

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At ground in the embassy building, we have the access to Sabrina set in a golden mannequin. We have an avatar called Stusty, with a robot form, set up ready to be the access for a robot system, to explore how far robots can go in the virtual world.

A ship's AI in a deep space mission, or in a Moon base, could meet with the crew in a virtual world, via avatars, to explore problems, or engage in recreation. This could even be in a working model of the ship or base, where the robot could demonstrate where the problems are located.

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Just as drones are flown now, half way around the world, human workers on Earth could work with robots in space, using remote-control systems, or the human workers could be located in safe environments in space. The robots could be nano-machines, and human operators could be among them, via remote control systems, seeing through the camera eyes, and using robot hands. Systems are now being developed which will allow direct mind to machine communication.

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The VKC pets in Second Life use an AI system, so that the pets can learn. This system may be one way that robots can be trained and learn in a virtual world, toward working in space. VKC cats, I am informed, are programmed to obey only half of all commands, to make them more like cats.

On their website we can read ~ "The VKC Pets have true artificial intelligence (AI). The intelligence of the pets is based on Machine Learning, a scientific discipline concerning computers that looks for patterns in data and learns rules to predict when those patterns recur. The result of this complex scripting is that the pets are able to observe and act upon their environment. They can, for example, recognize you or your friends and act in particular ways depending on whom they see.”

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Reply with quote  #30 
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A while ago Second Life supported VR (virtual reality) headsets, but this is no longer the case, for technical reasons. Even without the VR option, Second Life remains a pretty amazing virtual world. This was amply demonstrated with a recent light show and concert, which was quite immersive, even just watching the show on the computer screen. Far more important than technology, is imagination, and being able to engage with an imaginative experience, like this light show. Paintings by artists that we love increase in value, because they become windows to our imagination. A book needs no VR, or computer screen, but can take us on the most amazing journey, as if we were there. 

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After the show, there was dancing on the floor. Dancing in Second Life is the work of a selected animation for the avatar. Some control is available by moving the avatar around, but the steps are set. Clever animators and film makers can create quite a well coordinated show, as seen in this YouTube set in Second Life ~ I’m Too Busy To Date Your Avatar! ~

That song and youtube was a response to a hit that came out of the gaming community ~ Do You Want To Date My Avatar ~

Where in the gaming platforms anything used was purchased, Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life, hit on a new approach in 2003. Originally, Second Life was going to be another game platform, until the idea was applied of the user making the content for a social medium, and thus, creating a second life, which has around a million users at present. It is the Second Life technology that will allow ten million and more space pioneers to drive a global campaign for a space future, and winning back a safe Earth, matched with hands-on action in real life.   

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