At my second visit "Commonwealth Estate" has changed to a VarRegion and therefore is only reachable if you teleport from a place using the 0.8.1 OpenSim software.
My second visit was laid interest in the fact that there are a few stores for freebie items and it might be good for a review for the shoppers.
But on that second visit I met the person behind "Commonwealth Estate" Mattie McBride and she told me about her ideas of this project which was far beyond just offering freebies.
This very interesting conversation leads to an interview with Mattie about her ideas and plans with "Commonwealth Estate".
Publishing this interview will again give another view on what is possible in Virtual Worlds when seeing and understand the potential in it. And may draw interest in having a look closer at this project and to generate synergies.
Hello Mattie, I have met you at "Commonwealth Estate" in the OSGrid and we have had a interesting talk there. So I know that you started your virtual experiences in Second Life. Would you tell us why you changed to OSGrid ?
I left Second Life because of a number of factors:
First and foremost I was struck by Linden Labs greed and their lack of interest in providing services that would benefit the community at large. I was shocked that they repeatedly changed the TOS without any regard for the rights of the members.
And finally I stopped having fun when they developed marketplace and the stores began shutting down and I felt the whole atmosphere take a turn to the negative.
I moved to Reaction Grid for a brief time but it was not a good experience and then I discovered OSGrid.
OSGrid has been amazing. It is a very stable grid that provides me the freedom to create and freely express myself. The community is a remarkable group of gifted people who are friendly and willing to support each other. It's my home.
When we talked about the "Commonwealth Estate" you used the term "balanced community". Could you explain this a bit closer ?
In the very beginning I was struck by the potential that Virtual Worlds have to provide us not with just a creative outlet, entertainment and social experiences but with information and education.
I believe we have a moral responsibility to provide that information and those services for free.
I felt that it was essential to have a community that was balanced in the sense that it provided not just for adult Avatars but a much broader range that incorporated children and all of the other unique groups of individuals that may come about.
I have a granddaughter that lives thousands of miles away and it was a delight to bring her in and have a home, decorate her bedroom and go shopping and establish a connection.
"Commonwealth Estate" is not only an Estate in the common sense but a social virtual experiment ? Is that right to say so ? And can you tell about the ideas you have in mind ?
After several years and a variety of great adventures I recognized that there was an opportunity to create a slightly more structured community that would offer more to individuals that weren't exclusively interested in content creation but who wanted to socialize and learn and perhaps make a contributuon themselves.
I came up with a grid concept that was based around a central core. Specifically a small town like Mayberry, USA with stores that provide all the necessities for an Avatar to have an attractive comfortable life.
What can one expect when being a resident at "Commonwealth Estate"?
Stores have skins, shapes, hair, clothing, shoes, household goods, art, furniture, gardening supplies. Surrounding the central core are a variety of areas that serve different purposes.
The Stamford areas is housing - 24 townhomes and 20 apartments plus a "Newbie Haven" Hotel style type of housing that comes with a house mother who will give special attention to people who have no idea how to even dress themselves.
I have built a total of 60 regions that are a continuation of the Commonwealth concept. They surround the core and serve as additional larger housing areas that are themed and can be expanded depending on demand.
There is a medieval and gothic area, wilderness, high mountains with skiing, ice skating and winter wonderland village. There's a farming country with Wild West Town, Indian Village, Beach Cities and a Fun Zone with rollercoaster rides, bumper cars, and other carnival like activities.
I cannot afford to have these sims hosted so the OAR's are being saved until sometime in the future. Gimisa Cerise has developed an OAR rezzer that we will be experimenting with in the near future. It will rez sims on demand and might make it possible to have the other sims available.
"Commonwealth Estate" is a large area already. On my first visit in May it were several common size regions but changed now to a VarRegion.
I currently have 10 regions hosted by Ken Savage. Originally they were standard regions but its been switched to a 3x3 VarRegion plus 1 region Sandbox. I am delighted by the VarRegion. It runs very smoothly with almost no lag and no problems. The developer, Robert Adams, have been incredibly attentive in helping work out all the small glitches and it seems to be flawless.
What are the requirements to become a resident of "Commonwealth Estate" and has one to commit when being a resident ?
In order to get free housing an individual needs to commit to making a contribution to the community by taking a job. I have an employment agency with a list of potential jobs or an individual can create their own unique position based on their skills and interests.
For example on the simplest level you could be a 'Shopper' and do nothing but travel throughout OpenSim and write a newsletter once a month about interesting sites to visit.
You could be a 'Greeter' or a 'DJ(ane)',or on a higher level become 'Director of the Learning Center' or 'Hospital Administrator' or 'Educational Director'.
The key is to make a committment to make a contribution no matter what size.
As we talked you mentioned the wish to offer Education - and Health Support. Could you explain this a bit closer ?
Of primary importance are our schools. I have a beautiful High School where I hope to offer school tutoring in all subjects to high school students and also give those that are home schooled or perhaps disabled to socialize.
I also hope to offer career and college counseling, scholarship information and anything else that would be beneficial for high school students.
Our Elementary School is also available for tutoring, social interaction, story telling time plus teaching parenting skills and perhaps other classes for parents like nutrition etc..
We have a University campus with classrooms available to anyone who would like to teach anything. I am also working on developing a program for autistic individuals.
I have a Hospital built by Zia Frimon that I hope will offer Patient Support Groups for cancer patients and all other illnesses. I would like to see a pediatric unit so little kids can see what a hospital experience might be like for them.
Is "Commonwealth Estate" already a working community ?
"Commonwealth Estate" is not yet a fully working community in the largest sense. I have residents and people around.
The stores are open to anyone and housing is available. When I finish the Learning Center then I will focus on populating the community.
This is a very complex concept and I am proceeding slowly and carefully. I am not in a huge hurry because the key will be to find the right people who are interested in making a contribution and becoming involved. I was initially hoping to find a University that would be interested in taking over and I have talked to the people at "Moses" but so far no one has stepped up.
What are the plans for the future ?
Rainbow Island is being developed to provide help for people who were abused as children. A fun place staffed by licensed psychologists.
There is a Learning Center under construction that will provide very detailed tutorials on how to build with prims, sculpts, and mesh. How to work with textures and scripts, make clothes, set animations and so on.
My goal is to make this the most comprehensive Learning Center in all of Open Sim. I hope to see it staffed with volunteers that teach or are available to help others learn. Volunteers don't have to spend a tremendous amount of time, One hour or two each week when its convenient.
My personal passion is building and creating wonderful realistic spaces. I would prefer to continue doing that and not have to worry about managing people.
I have 2 goals in life:
- first to do the right thing and
- second to make a contribution.
This is my contribution.....
Thank you very much Mattie
Interviewpartner "Commonwealth Estate": Mattie McBride
For the "Hyperzette": zaphod Enoch
OSGrid Region Commonwealth Estate