The groups intention as written in its Facebook profile:
'Want to discover open sim and learn to hypergrid? Join our friendly weekly trips to destinations all over the hyperverse, and get help with shopping for your avatar, free land opportunities, and sympathy when you run up against snags and bugs.'
The administrative crew are Thirza Ember, Fuschia Nightfire, Wizurd Gynoid and Wizardoz Chrome. The "Hyperzette" had the chance to ask Thirza Ember a few question about herself and the group and here are the questions and the answers.
When did you start your virtual life and where ?
I started in SL in November 2007. In the spring of 2008, Giuditta Broome founded a group called SL Arts Parks. She had visited the RL home/museum of Salvatore Quasimodo and thought it so perfectly captured his poems, life and work that she got the idea we could build 'literary' or 'art' parks in SL, using scripting and all the NPIRL (Not Possible In Real Life) features of virtual worlds to bring to life great cultural figures, and make them accessible to people living anywhere on the planet. The group organized many events, including a big art hunt. My job was to write a blog about places worth visiting. So the www.slartsparks.blogspot.com blog began. The inworld group still exists but all the key players either left SL or moved on to other projects after the first 6 months.
If it was SL, why did you change to hypergrid ?
Soon I found that 'arts parks' in SL were almost impossible to build, because of copyright issues, so I covered original art also. I met many artists. One took me to Reaction Grid when it opened. When InWorldz started I went there to see it, also Blue Moon... there are 15 Thirza avatars at last count.
Another artist got land in SpotOn3Din 2010 and I got a sim next door. It was my first non SL experience as a whole sim owner. I loved the free uploads but disliked a lot of other things about the grid and its policies, and I soon moved to Craft grid, where I had 4 sims. Then my partner snowbody Cortes built our own grid, called EasilyDone. it is a small place, more like a sandbox than a destination. We both still visit SL regularly.
When did you have the idea to travel the hypergrid and why ?
John 'Pathfinder' Lester started a hypergridding group and I joined in 2011. It was called the Hypergrid Adventurer's Club (HGAC). People from many small grids attended, including Vanish Seriath, Neo Cortex, Jo Kay, Johnny Waugh, and many more. It was the beginning of regular hypergridding, and it was very exciting! But when Pathfinder changed jobs, the HGAC stopped meeting.
I have read the Facebook profile of the HG Safari Group (see top of article, ed. note) but can you tell the readers about the intention of the group ?
Back in SL, if you talked about Open Sim, people thought you meant OSGrid, in other words they thought there was just one rival grid out there.
Or they had been to InWorldz, or Avination, not really 'open' sim.
Or they had visited an Open Sim grid a long time ago, when it was unstable and not very nice, and they never went back. Most people were like me, they do not read/pay attention to the info out there! So it seemed easier to accompany them, and let them discover Open Sim a bit at a time.
I remember all the crashing, and frustration, and the feeling of having gone back to the stone age when I got to Open Sim and had to rediscover and find so many things like a/o, hair, shoes. So the safari is about having patience and helping new ones get through that stage. The 'pioneer' experience also taught me to understand a lot of things about how the virtual environment works. So it's worth it.
HG Safari helps people understand
1. how to grid jump
2. what open sim is, and how it's improved
3. the advantages and disadvantages, compared with SL,
4. how to organize themselves to use open sim as an alternative or as a workshop while still using SL.
I have seen many people try to set up rival art communities in Open Sim for SL people but those galleries usually end up being a seldom-visited dumping ground.
HG Safari is intended as a learning experience, for artists or builders to understand their options, and then branch out, if they want. So we try to visit grids when there are people on them, so we can establish some links with long term open sim people.
Are there fixed times when you do the group travels ?
The HG Safari currently meets
once a week on Wednesday, 12 noon SLT (pdt) which is 21:00 CET.
We are currently starting on OSGrid on sim Ilha magica, but check the Facebook HG Safari page and group for the latest information.
The safari lasts about 3 hours.
The first half hour, waiting for people to arrive and rez and answer some questions, then we start jumping. Let us know via Facebook or an IM if you are coming so we know to wait for you!
Anyone who gets there late can IM me or one of the other admins in Facebook to find out where we are.
We usually go to 3 different destinations each week, to practice grid jumping skills and just see what is out there.
We have been lucky to be welcomed by some great builders, and have some more special trips organized to see art and meet prominent open sim residents, but it all happens Wednesdays between 12 -3 pm SLT (pdt).
How are the destinations selected and who is doing the selection ?
Open Sim residents who would like HG Safari to visit can contact me or one of the other admins with suggestions. This way we work out a variety of destinations on different grids each time. We each have some current LM's of shops, and can share those, and what we know about the free land options in Open Sim, and help people network with the right expert to solve their problem, but we are fellow travellers, not big Open Sim experts, so we are all learning together.
Do you publish your travels somehow and if where ?
In 2011 I started a blog about non SL places, called
Is there an inworld group existing and if anybody has any questions to the group whom one should approach ?
Yes, there is a group in OSGrid, and there will soon be one in METROPOLIS, and anyone can join. HG Safari admins are Fuschia Nightfire, Wizardoz Chrome, Wizard Gynoid, and me, Thirza Ember. I generally use my OSGrid avatar, so you can friend me there.
For HG Safari: Thirza Ember
For Hyperzette: zaphod Enoch