If you're having a lot of trouble with the learning curve, you can consider getting your start in a larger virtual world which has more support established for newcomers to online communities. 2nd Life is one option, although The Sidhevairs do not recommend them as more than a free and temporary spot to learn due to high costs and cavalier treatment of many of their residents. Nevertheless, they've been around awhile and have a website with help topics about frequently encountered problems. That help website can be explored here. We do not recommend spending money on that company's grid or purchasing a membership there for the above reasons.
Mythopoetics in Virtual Settings
Things to keep in mind:
• While there are many games online and many are available to you in the context of virtual worlds, some of the worlds themselves are not intended to be approached as games. Rather than "games", these are nascent virtual communities which form around shared tastes, interests, goals or ethics. It's like: all apples are fruit but not all fruit are apples.
• There are people behind the "cartoons" of the avatars you encounter, just as you exist behind your computer screen and the eyes of your avatar. Avatars are people with real feelings and are as diverse and differently intending as people you encounter in what we in The Sidhevairs call "The Outworld". The people behind other screens can be hurt and "virtual tears are real tears". Treat those you encounter with the same caution and respect as you do the people you meet in your daily lives. Some are out to scam you, or trifle with you for fun, but others are wanting to share the beauty of what they love about virtual worlds with you. So take some time to figure out who is talking to you. Trust your instincts.
• People who have built homes or other virtual 3D structures in virtual settings often see these as private. Treat what you encounter "as if" it were as real as the buildings you pass on any walk through a neighborhood. Knock before entering somewhere, or call out and ask if it's ok to visit. Don't trespass in private spaces. The Sidhevairs mostly have an open door policy so unless the door does not open, feel free to explore if nobody answers. This is often not the case in other parts of virtual worlds.
• Virtual worlds give far-flung people access to all sorts of ideas and creations. People with similar interests and likes tend to find one another. Make use of your search bar and keywords to hop about and explore.
• Just as there is everything under the sun that you can imagine created in virtual worlds, there are those who have varying interests in sex and nudity. Some areas in the wider virtual landscape may ban or encourage nudity or sexual behavior. There are also all sorts of "between approaches" to the issue of cybersex or wandering about naked.
The Sidhevairs are clothing optional in the sorts of places where you might expect to find people unclothed in the Outworld. This usually means in the privacy of someone's home, or out in corners of Nature in and around spas, rivers, pools, or other waterways where someone might choose to skinnydip. Usually, if you come upon someone who is naked that you don't know, they will quickly put something on to be polite. Just because someone is naked does not mean they are asking for cybersex or silly come-ons. Overt sex play in public spaces and pushy sexual behavior will get you asked to leave and in many cases such behavior will result in your avatar being permanently banned from entry to the Lands.
If our "things to keep in mind" hasn't unnerved you, below are some specific "getting started" details which may help with what you need to know to visit The Sidhevairs:
After creating a registration name and a free account with Inworldz (your name should be something you should consider as something you like and are happy to live with as your virtual avatar's identity) you will need to download a viewer. This is the software that helps you interact with the huge servers that host the virtual world you are about to begin to explore. To get that software, you should drag down from the "downloads" link at the top of the webpage at inworldz and then download the viewer that is best for your particular machine's operating system. Your computer will need to at least (preferably more than) meet the minimum standards required to run the software. It's very demanding software and requires a good graphics card and if you are using a laptop you will really want one of those laptop support-thingies that are like platforms with fans under them to keep the laptop cool.
My personal preference as to viewers is called "Firestorm" which I think may help you deal with what's known in virtual communities as "lag" and has other very useful features you will want later. Just pick the viewer for your mac or pc platform. In future of course there is likely to be a refinement of what's available and the version or viewer will change. (I may not have updated this page by then, so be sure to look at the options.)
Note that once you have downloaded and booted the viewer you've chosen you will need to choose from a dropdown menu (found near the bottom center of the viewer window) which virtual world on the grid you wish to "enter". The selection you should make when you boot the viewer and see that dropdown menu is "Inworldz".
My suggestion once you have the software downloaded is to first familiarize yourself with the info below before trying to go inworld or try to find The Sidhevairs.
As Inworldz is a place formed by and primarily for folks who are already very virtual world savvy, there is less available on the public parts of that "world" to support people who are brand new to virtual worlds. There are usually people available, however (mentors), who are very helpful whenever you come inworld. Tell them that you are not just new to Inworldz but are new to virtual worlds in general and they will better know how to help you.
The first time you "rezz" (come alive in virtual space--"resolve") you are likely to be really confused. You will also look just plain "awful" as people are expected to choose how they want to look and dress after they first rezz. There is a lot available that is free of charge to help you look and dress the way you want, and many residents of Inworldz, mentors and any member of The Sidhevairs can help you with that.
Navigation is done via the arrows and page up and page down on your keyboard. From an avatar's default standing position the up arrow moves you forward at a walk, the down makes you back up, the left makes you turn to the left, the right makes you turn to the right. The page up arrow if held down very briefly makes your avatar jump, held down a bit longer and your avatar can fly. Page down brings you back down to the ground. Note that at first you are likely to fall into a river, get stuck in a crevice, tree or wall, and this can be very frustrating. It's also funny, and the best attitude to take is to laugh and accept your newness without worrying about being embarrassed. All I can say is that those of us who have persevered are REALLY glad we did so.
To get out of "being stuck" you can try to sit on a nearby object. Just right click it and chose "sit" from the round dialog choices that open. If the first thing you try to sit on won't work, try something else. If all else fails just tp (teleport) out of the spot by opening your minimap on your viewer, clicking nearby the dot representing your location and choosing "teleport".
All this is probably a lot of information and if it feels overwhelming, try to get someone to help you and show you the ropes.
It's a good idea to arrange to have one of us there to help you out and get you to The Sidhevairs to ease the process of adjusting and figuring things out.
Another good option if you aren't sure that you are ready to take the step of creating a new avatar and outfitting it, etc., is to make use of one of our "guest avatars" from The Sidhevairs so that you don't have to go through all the initial stages which can be daunting. To do this, after downloading a viewer you can basically borrow a guest avatar from us and rezz for the first time in The Sidhevairs at a pre-arranged time that allows for someone there to meet you and help you figure stuff out. That requires some logistics and email discussions/plans and then I can get you a temporary password. The Sidhevair guest avatars only work for a brief period of time and then their passwords expire and you won't be able to log back in. Once you have the hang of things and if you decide you want to explore more you can log off as the guest avatar, rezz as your own avatar and get what you want from the freebie store and then pop over to the Lands.
I hope this is helpful to those of you wishing to take this first bold leap into a wide virtual world of possibilities.
If you are new to virtual worlds, and unfamiliar with virtual communities and the software needed to "get there" you will need some help at first . It can be quite a shock dealing with the learning curve, navigation, and interactions in virtual space and community. Members of The Sidhevairs are helpful sorts and many of us are more than willing and happy to help new folks with the adjustments and technology needed. Below at right are some specific getting started details, but first...
Learn more by doing...
Ready to make the jump? Come visit us in the Sidhevairs!
• Visit the Inworldz website.
• Check to see if you meet minimum system requirements.
• Download the appropriate viewer. (starting with Firestorm is a good option).
• Pick a good avatar name you won't mind keeping. You'll be naming yourself, so unless you are a Borg...a number in your name is probably right out.
• Create an avatar and log in to Inworldz.
• Talk to mentors and avail yourself of the freebies there.
• Use the map tool to search for Estel Sidhevair.
• Teleport there and start exploring the islands.
Then, please drop us an IM or send a notecard for more help to Maerian Sidhevair, Clankus Sidhevair, Astoria Luminos, Kiriana Inigosdottir, Andros Baphomet, Aeona Silversong, or Aramir Sidhevair for advice, to join the Sidhevair group, or to find out more about the Lands.
The video above takes an academic look at virtual worlds and video game technology as it relates to fantasy quests and mythopoetics.