Monday, December 20, 2010

Season for Giving

'Tis the season for giving! And with only 5 days left before that Merry day (and I think my kids are close to counting down hours now), I thought it would be nice to spread some really good cheer!

The Holidays always seem to somehow show our best side as humans. We give more to charities, we try to be a little nicer (unless we are aiming for the last SOMETHING in the store that we simply MUST have) to both our elders and our fellow  humans. We are more friendly in general, to anyone than we normally are. I was giving directions to some poor soul in Toys R Us today, trying to find Barbie stuff.

The above goes the same for VW's, at least in InWorldz the last couple of weeks. Raglan Shire has their Tiny's Holidays Tree (which I hear tell they are referring to it as WootMas now), and are preparing to go caroling all over the grid. If you get a chance, please do not miss the caroling! I've had a preview and it will absolutely put you in the season mood.... or make you laugh like crazy, either of which is a good thing  ;)

We have the Yule Tree over on Isle of Anu started by Marie Ravencrow, and I hear presents are piling up and people are sharing their best for it.

We had a great event all weekend: InWorldz Winterland Event. I didn't get to spend much time at it, but that's ok, I heard a good time was had by all who attended it. I do know, it was well attended all weekend with an avg count of about 25 people at all times, and held up beyond well all weekend.

What was very cool, is we hope a new tradition has been born in InWorldz. Over the last week, our residents pulled together more than $500 to donate to Toys for Tots, which InWorldz will match to make it over $1000 to be donated to Toys for Tots this season. It's wonderful to see our community growing and wanting to give to those less fortunate. And hopefully, we'll see this number grow immensely next year.

I both hate and love this season personally. I love to see people be so good to one another, because barring some major catastrophe, we seem to have lost our way a bit, and this time of the year brings us back to our roots. The parades, the window shopping, the snow (ok, for us in the colder northern part of the world), the Christmas Carols, and can NOT forget "A Christmas Story" ("he looks like a deranged Easter Bunny!"), the Salvation Army volunteers outside the stores with their bells, the smell of cookies in the oven, or pumpkin nut bread in my case hehe. I hate it because it also can bring out the absolute worst in people. I despise the traffic during this time of the year. I hate going physically shopping, and yeah I did part of my shopping online (someday ask me how that worked out for me!) this year, but I do like going out and picking things out and seeing what's new. And no, silly bands were NOT a part of presents this year!

But, the best part of the season, is the day itself. Yes, it's a big day of cooking, presents, family and laughter. For me, that means my girls waking me up at the ungodly hour of 6 am (and it took years to get them to that point! It used to be 5am!), rambling downstairs and telling them to be patient, let mom get some coffee first, and finally settling down in one of the chairs and to watch them open their presents. What took me hours if not a couple of days to get all wrapped, is destroyed in mere minutes between howls of happiness, thank you's galore, ooooohhhh's and aaaaahhhhh's.

At the end of this huge day, we're exhausted, probably stuffed from eating way too much food, happily sated in our beverage of choice, and we've added another wonderful memory to the book.

To our residents, this our 2nd Christmas, although many of you are new. But thank you for sharing your lives with us, on the forums, your blogs, in the world... for sharing your kindness, your thoughts and your hopes. For being patient, having humor, and most of all, for just being you. May the Holiday Season bring you many blessings, laughter and joy.

Now... let me see if I can work on getting up at 7am this year... Til we meet InWorldz!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The InWorldz History

I'm in a bit of storytelling mode tonight and my sincere apologies for not blogging last week, but I had a bit of the winter doldrums. Reading through the forums, and Whiskey's blog challenge last week brought up some old memories (and when I say old, ok, they are only almost 2 years old but still!). Grab some hot cocoa, or vodka, or whatever liquid you prefer and read on!

Once upon a time, there were a few people who saw the promise of Virtual Worlds beyond what was being presented out there. The playbooks almost identical with a twist here or there: one jacked people's inventories after breaking a deal they made; one ran by a scam artist who had a trail of unpaid bills behind them; and yet others who felt that a grid was a great way to get rich quick. Far and few between were the grids that actually were doing anything on their own, or providing awesome support, but finding them after the other fiasco's is slightly akin to having severe PTSD. Once bitten, twice shy kinda deal. These few daring souls, figured they could do a grid.

It all started back in February, 2009, when we got a very bare bones server, from GoDaddy of all places. I mean seriously, it was a 512Mb RAM system, 1 core. And on Feb. 12, we were able to actually log in, all of us, into the one little region that was our "grid". I don't even remember the name of it back then. It was a test to see if we could even get it going. We were ecstatic! There we stood, on our very own little blob of a region, saying well HEY lookie at this! Obviously, this server was not going to do what we'd want for long, but the test was completed, we knew it could be done.

Within 2 weeks, we had researched providers and compared prices and even found our first "dev". That box itself, was nothing massively special either, but it was dedicated and we started with it. At that time, the discussions started on what we wanted IDI to look like. Which btw, is where the name comes from! InWorldz Desert Island was slated originally to be a.... you guessed it! Desert! We were a tad sick of tropical. And we were gonna do something kinda romanish. So here's one of the oldest pics from InWorldz:

That is myself, Lecktor, April and Loki. Playing with columns and sculpties. As you can see, there wasn't even any formation to IDI at that point. Date there, is March 10, 2009. Now possibly Legion or Lek may have some older pics, but that is the oldest one in my inventory. I also have a picture in my inventory, nicely framed of our first InWorldz Party:

That's Legion (baldie), Lecktor, myself, and I'm fairly sure one of the other females is Circle Widdershins and the red head is Copper Rau, but please don't quote me on that, I could be terribly wrong there. And yes, the first dance ball in InWorldz is there. That's from April 12, 2009.

Then I have this picture of Bob Bunderfeld, on his rez day March 19, 2009 in a crazy shirt trying to figure out why his arms were still black hehehe:

There are the stories as well, of when one of the Founders decided to drop 3k textures into a single prim. Now mind you, you couldn't OPEN that prim, but let's throw 3k textures into one. That took us almost 2 days to clean up.

What is most interesting is that by our first little party above, we had paying customers! Not alot mind you, but a few.  Some of them have since moved on, or were only around for a quick month, but others stayed: Jim and Jo Smart, Rosa and Gaius (sorry Gaius, love you two dearly but I'm NOT typing it all out!), Bladax who came with Erasmus and stayed, Scotsgraymouser. These were the first real beta residents who have stuck with us through thick and thin, when there was NO ONE on the grid, to where it is now. They've expanded their regions, contracted their regions, but no matter what, they've always been there.

By August, 2009, we had already shed 3 Founders, for various reasons. April left, as did Lek, one we got rid of and then we got rid of our "dev" in August. That left Legion and I and one other. Scots managed in her ever so tenacious spirit to keep asking me what we needed. My response was always the same: a real dev. So scouring SL, did she go in her little mouser way. And she got to talking to PatriciaAnne Daviau and telling her that we were needing a dev. Patti then talked to Tranq, who in turn emailed me about doing dev work. This was early September, 2009.

By this time, I had gotten the groups code rolled in, gotten the currency turned on and running, and had made some huge changes so profiles worked sorta. I didn't actually finish them until Nov. 2009 IIRC. But we seriously needed a dev who could delve far deeper into the code than I was able to, and start sorting things out. Little did Tranq know what he had signed on for  ;)

We also, had upgraded to what was then referred to as The Beast. It was seriously a pretty heavy duty system, that allowed us to expand and grow. In November, we shed our final Founder. I remember Tranq working on rolling the groups code so it was all C# native rather than what it originally was with outgoing calls to PHP to run DB queries.

In January of 2010, we were only running that one server. We now run 36 servers. In the space of 11 months, that's how much we've grown. We went from excitement over 5 avatars in world at one time, to Tranq's mission to have 20 avatars online by March, 50 by June, 100 by September. I'm not sure what his next target is, but so far we've made them all.

In March, 2010, we brought Tranq on board as a full Founder with all the rights and privileges assigned to us Founders: long hours, lots of stress, massive breakdowns of systems whenever least wanted, and lots and lots of support for our customers. We signed our LLC in April, 2010 into actual formalization, which is also when we kinda sorta met. Well ok, I met Tranq, and Tranq met Legion. This is also when we had a sudden wave of new residents.

As with most things, we had a lot come by, if for no other reason than to keep their name intact, some to check out our progress, some to snipe our residents to other grids, some to try and be drama queens, and some to really find another avenue. Lots left, but quite a few stayed. And they expanded our growing core of residents. Some of them are incredibly outspoken, some of them not so much, some I rarely hear from, others I hear from often. Some I consider friends, and others are not "friends" but they are customers and they have that same open door as any one else.

But there's a bit of our history, and I've left some names out, because to be quite honest they aren't worth mentioning. We've had our share of drama, tension, stress, fights, sleepless nights (seriously, nights where I had very little sleep worrying about the grid), and a lot of fun times too. I hope you enjoyed story hour, and there's much more information in our forums in regards to when things happened as far as patches rolled out and such, just feel free to dig around until we see you InWorldz  ;)