If you caught my Finnix in Second Life post on the Finnix blog, you know I’ve been dabbling in Second Life as a whole. I’ve had an account for almost 3 years now, but before the beginning of this year, I rarely logged into it because, frankly, it was boring. But after I bought land and started building the Finnix Information Center, I found my hook: the exciting part isn’t being in Second Life, it was building in Second Life. Making things. Creating.

However, once the Finnix Information Center was “done”, my interest started waning again. Sure I could tweak things, but it just wasn’t the same as full scale creating. That’s when I started looking, and found OpenSimulator. It’s open source software that re-implements the Second Life protocol (libsecondlife) and allows you to build regions and grids. While that doesn’t mean you can just attach your own server to Second Life (although in theory Second Life could be run on OpenSimulator some time in the future), you could run your own grid, or attach to a public grid. The most popular is OSGrid.

I’ve had a simulator running for over a month now, and it’s been… fun. It’s definitely a challenge. OpenSim is very beta and a moving target, which means recompiling software every week or so, random crashes, etc. Nonetheless, I have a main region up (Undef Lagoon, used to be “Undef Island” (yes, that’s a pun) until it was no longer an island), and have given out space to homesteaders. It’s also allowed me to try some larger scale projects than I could do in Second Life itself. Well, with enough land and money you could do anything in Second Life, but this is “free”.

First up is The Cube, a massive 64,000 cubic meter cube of girders and glass. The first level is hollow and can be explored (and is the default landing point for the region), but inside it is 4 more levels of smaller embedded cubes.

The Cube

The Information Center is a smaller version of the cube, for visitor/resident information.

Undef Information Center

This next one… well, took on a life of its own. I started by using Valve Source textures (CS:S players will instantly recognize them), and it sort of took off in its own direction. I now see what artists mean when they say that the ideas themselves come into being, and the artist is merely the conduit. That is to say, I accidentally created a cult.

Temple of the NOOB

The characters themselves (NOOBs) are an in-joke in Second Life, and OSGrid in particular. In fact, there is a 50-meter tall version of one in one of the OSGrid plazas.