A little while ago I was standing in our Welcome Centre and thinking about the transitions that 3RG had gone through over the years. From a closed grid to a hypergrid, and from a commercial grid to a ‘Not for Profit’ Community Foundation . It wasn’t the same grid I landed on nearly five years ago .But then again, it was the same in spirit. 3RG has always been a homely , friendly grid with a personal welcome to every citizen we could manage to meet . Kered Owl and I had such a great welcome experience we bought a sim the same day. I was looking for a place that I felt valued and safe. It soon became clear these were people I wanted to be friends with . I didn’t want to just build in isolation I wanted to help the community. To try and retain that warm feeling I had on landing in a place I became very proud to call home.
I have always been drawn to ‘Welcome’, and over the years have served as a greeter with many others, especially our grid’s 6th sign up – Sunny Tomorrow. And although we felt that our latest centre was a good design , it was made for 3RD Rock Grid past. So while Sunny was off elsewhere fixing up a new mall area, I spent some time updating all of the information it contained. I stood back and felt quite pleased with myself. But that didn’t last long. I looked at it with a new persons eyes … it wasn’t quite right … it had to change.
So armed with my up to date information, I borrowed a spare sim and started to tear it apart. Around the same time I was working on that an amazing review came out saying how great our welcome centre was- but it was flawed as well. It wasn’t what you would expect for a hypergrid. Although all the nuts and bolts were there – it wasn’t quite enough. My suspicions were confirmed.
Before 3RG went hypergrid, I spent three months looking at greeting, and what kind of welcome you got on other worlds , and by far we were one of the best. But what about when we were not there ? How could you manage to find your way about and access all the information you needed for setting up home on a new grid. Oh I had lists and lists of what you needed . Notecards with landmarks to everything I thought was useful, even a list of information of things you needed to pick up. But then I realised people didn’t read anything… or why would we be bombarded with those ‘How do I’ questions.
I asked around the new people coming in, and hypergridders passing through , and the answer had been there all the time – less was more. A personal greeting is always nice, but unless you are a totally new person to a virtual world , what they in reality they wanted was a good starter avatar, directions to a sandpit and to head off and look for land or things to do. So all my lists and information sat in its folders unread and the questions kept coming.
Its always good to have somebody review what you have, its a wakeup call , and even harder to change something that had such a favourable review. But like it or not , the old 3RG was gone and we had to be fit for the new Foundation and a hypergrid.
It was already a low prim build but with some canny de-priming we lost 2000 more. Firstly the ‘doors’ to all the different areas were lost ,and a simple walk around circle was made. We added a hypergrid port, and gates to places of interest so people could find their way about easily.
Just after Christmas Day, when the grid was quiet we did a swap and put it online . It was as close to ready as could be and as people kept finding it ,and so we thought it best to go ahead. Now all we need to do is see how it performs. All the information you need is there in that welcome circle where you land. But it’s a new welcome fit for a hypergrid.
We all need to stand back now and again and look at what we are doing. And one of the most important things in my opinion is a good welcome centre. Its the heart of the grid. It shows who you are , what you are, and what you stand for. I hope this new ‘Welcome’ is an indication that 3RG is on the move into a new era. An era of Community participation with support from the voluntary Board of Directors and Community Volunteers . Our aim on 3RG is for a better world and that is part of our foundations guiding principles. To enhance human dignity in an international cultural, educational, and social exchange, modelled in an immersive virtual environment. An exchange based on equality, empathy, respect, and compassion, and through a process of sharing, participation, and cooperation.
Its a big challenge, but one we are embracing as we move forward into the future with our longstanding citizens and a new generation of 3RG users. People who just don’t want a bit of land and build . But people who we can do business with as we strive towards our goals. To share and assist the community in joint projects and support our grid charitable events. The real world may be in a bit of a mess at the moment but by looking ahead and sharing our philosophy who knows, maybe: just maybe we can make a small difference in our own way.
Zinnia Frenzy Program Director.