“In a country right behind the mountains, let's call it the magic land of dreaming books, something strange happens every night.
As soon as a person closes his eyes on earth, a book opens here.
And a voice begins to read from it softly.
The magic land of dreaming books. A Sim full of mystery and secret corners.
Follow the path of the flying books and find the mysterious passage to the cave of the library of the universe.
Or come to a reading in Rudi's reading room.” Rudi Bakerly co-owner of Soul grid with his wife Nasti.
We featured Soul grid in our August 2020 issue and at that time Rudi explained that he would be opening his Book of Dreams installation soon. I think it would be a good idea to visit Soul grid again and Rudi’s new region “Story” and his Book of Dreams.
MM Rudi is your Book of Dreams based on a Real-Life Dream? Please tell us about how you came to realize this incredible region Story.
RB First of all. Everything made in our Grid is a result of teamwork between Nasti and me.
For us, the idea behind this region was that we asked ourselves “who is responsible for the dreams at night ?“
“Who makes up the stories we dream?”
And so we said to ourselves that somewhere there is a city that is all about books. A city with a castle and a hidden library in a huge cave.
And as soon as someone on earth closes his eyes, a soul awakens in this city, chooses a book and begins to read a story that appears to us in our sleep.
MM Please share with us how you created Book of Dreams the books are amazing!
RB Nasti has a huge inventory and a lot more ideas in her pretty head. So we bundled our thoughts and started working. We looked for many materials, the books, from the Hypergrid together. Libraries untied and decors taken apart and put back together again. Most of the work, however, was done by Nasti as she is the more creative part of both of us.
We were also helped by many residents who brought us decorations and books from their travels in the Hypergrid.
MM I too am an avid reader and book lover, my home is stocked full and even when the internet came along, I never thought once to thin down my pile of books, I will keep every one till I die. What is your favorite book?
RB I like historical literature, but I also like the funny. That's why I have two favorite books: “Ken Follets“ Pillars of the Earth ”and Tom Sharpe“ Wilt ”
MM Do you have poetry recitals at your region Story? Or lectures?
RB Yes, we plan to start a series of readings this spring. They will take place in “Rudi's Leserei”. But it wil be in german language
MM Your region Story is filled with Magic, please share with us your thoughts on Magic.
RB Magic is something that you cannot grasp. Magic takes place on another level in your head. Magic can be a magician on a show, a little flower in the ice or the smile of the woman you love.
MM When building this region what was most important to you to convey?
RB The message is that Science is important. Especially in the current situation. But finding non-rational explanations for scientific processes looks nicer and also stimulates the imagination.
Creativity and imagination come first in our Grid. And that's what we are proud about.
MM Do you build all your own props or does Nasti also help with creation of the props?
RB Well, Nasti is the creative part for us. I had the idea for this project and I built a lot myself, but Nasti played most of it. Her imagination and creativity far exceed mine and I am always amazed and enthusiastic when I come home from work and see what new she has created.
MM Do you write, Rudi?
RB No, last time I wrote, I was 18 and wrote for the school newspaper. But this is centuries ago.
MM What would you like the readers to know about Book of Dreams that I have not asked?
RB Book of dreams is a region for which you should take your time. It is not a shopping region, it is not a party region. It is a region that you should experience. Discover the little details. Enjoy the colors and internalize the idea behind them. You have to take some time for this. We want to create some little holidays for the brain and soul with our regions.
MM We featured your grid Soul with wife Nasti in our August 2020 issue, please share with us the updates to the grid since then.
RB We have grown steadily. We got a lot of new builders as residents . All are creative people who pursue an idea and we can
support them with a region. We will soon be celebrating our 1st birthday and are really looking forward to it.
MM At that time you had just built Big Falls, what other large installations will you create? That was your first, wasn’t it?
RB That's right. But we lost it in the hacker attack because I hadn't made a backup. Maybe I will build it again.
At the moment I am building a fantasy region. A city that blows up, that's all I'm not going to reveal yet. Otherwise, I help my wife manage the grid and decorate or stand in her way when she is building :-)
MM When visitors arrive at your grid, Nasti’s welcome area is so inviting, what is the next stop people should visit?
RB We have a large teleport board there, on which you can find the individual public regions of the residents. Each one is worth seeing and elaborate and built with love.
I will go into the individual regions again at the end.
MM What events do you have at Tosca?
RB Tosca is the center of the grid. This is where people meet to talk, play or go to the parties. We don't have parties as often as we did in SL. But when we party, it crashes. Nasti is a great Djane and has a huge portfolio of music.
We always announce the dates and topics on our website or in Opennsimworld.
We also have a permanent exhibition by the French painter Ieko Catnap in the Tosca garden
MM How many regions are at Soul now? Please share with us the names of your regions so visitors can find them.
RB We have a total of 60 regions. 50 of them are privately rented: the rest are social regions or such as the Book of dreams.
You should have a look at:
Bastelwastel von Karin Becker
Dark Moon Roses von Karin Becker
Delphina von Nicke Brogal
EUPHORIC von Nasti Bakerly
Japan von Suzan von Otter
Jumeirah (Palmeninsel aus Dubai) von Brogals
Moonshine von Conny Deluxe
Story (Book of dreams) Nasti und Rudi
Sunshine Island (Santorini) von Doris Ultsch
Sunshine Island 1 (Roma) von Doris Ultsch
Tosca von Nasti Bakerly
Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory
Castle of Versailles
MM Will you have Easter events at Soul this year? An Easter Hunt perhaps?
RB We will have a little easter market and maybe an easter party. But the most important thing for us is looking forward to our 1. grid birthday in the middle of may
Thank you, Rudi, for taking the time to be interviewed, we love how you and Nasti have worked together to create a grid that is loving and inviting, a place where friends unite and collaborate. Thank you for all that you contribute to the opensim community, and for keeping magic alive.
I became an Opensimworld member five years ago, and in all that time I have seen Satyr Aeon manage his Opensimworld social platform keeping controversies and drama in check when he could. Over the years there have been ups and downs of opensim and he has seen all the battles that came with it.
Satyr has also been a creator of multiple opensim enhancements the Satyr Farm my favorite. I thought you would enjoy getting to know him a little better so thought it would be an excellent idea to ask a few questions:
MM Where did you learn your coding skills?
SA Hi Marianna, thanks for doing this Q&A. Well, I’ve worked as a web developer before and picked up a variety of programming skills. SL scripting is one of my favorite hobbies.
MM Opensimworld (OSW) has been a great asset to Opensim enabling grids and regions to be found easily and visited, thank you for this. It is a genius idea, linking grids using beacons. Please share with us what inspired you.
SA I started with SecondLife around 2014, and found building very addictive, but was frustrated at how constrained SL is. When a friend mentioned Opensim, I jumped on the hypergrid and never looked back.
It was a struggle to find regions to visit in Opensim at that time. There were a few region directories but most regions were either offline or empty. I knew there were people out there somewhere, but it was very hard to know where to find them. Initially I planned to make a web-based directory that did not require beacons, however I realized that there is no way in Opensim to inquire the number of users in a simulator. Therefore I had to make a beacon system, which would also function as a teleporter, so that people have an incentive to use it. I posted about it in some grid forums, and it turns out some people did rez it in their regions. From there it seems to have spread through people using the teleporters and word-of-mouth.
MM When laying out the website OSW what features are the most important to you and why? What new features would you like to add?
SA OSW is primarily a region directory, however over the years it evolved as a way for people to have a permanent page for their region where they post their news etc. The most important goal is to let people find each other online and enjoy a more social experience in Opensim. Photos are also very important as a way for region owners to showcase their work making beautiful screenshots.
I am adding new features from time to time, such as the chat, instant notifications, the farm directory etc. Depending on how they are used I will evolve and keep the best parts over time.
MM We encounter different dramas at OSW fighting grids and residents. Some like to see their rant public, others don’t. How do you keep it balanced there when it becomes toxic? What rules are most important at Opensimworld?
SA The most important thing is to respect each other even if people disagree. Inevitably some drama will occur, so I had to reduce its exposure in the homepage. I definitely do not like banning people from OSW, and I prefer to ask them to change their comments or tone. Surprisingly it most often works!
I think a lot of people who come to Opensim carry this overdramatic culture of SecondLife. I think that Opensim, being a very small community, can do much better and in many ways it already is.
MM What are the future plans of OSW?
SA The future of OSW will depend on the future of Opensim itself. Right now OSW is still a very small community (~5000 monthly users). I have some ideas for new features but no plans yet, so nothing to announce at the moment.
MM What do you think Opensim is going to look like in 10 years? Will it still exist?
SA That is difficult to tell. The development of Opensim is not very well organized and it is advancing slowly. The interest seems to be slowly dropping for years and even during the pandemic it did not pick up. Opensim was also sidelined by a lot of investment that was made in VR related projects in previous years, like High-fidelity, even though those projects ended up in disappointment. A lot of progress is hampered by the legacy of the SL viewer and SL compatibility, which is off-putting for developers who want to work on the project.
Opensim ‘s fate seems to be tied to the SL viewer at this point, so it seems like it might exist for quite a long time in the future.
MM If you could change one thing about Opensim what would that be?
SA There are a lot of things that could have been different in the development of Opensim. I think the major issue is the fragmentation to different versions that are used by proprietary grids which do not always contribute back to the main branch of opensim, and even if they do, it is adding features that are redundant. If I had to change one thing, it would be to change the opensim license to a copyleft license such as GPLv3 in order to re-unify the project code.
MM The Satyr farm has brought so many people pleasure, including me, it is pure magic to have a real garden in opensim, the plants actually grow. What scripts were created to achieve this?
SA A friend of mine mentioned that he only went back to SL to feed his animals, so he gave me the idea to start a farm system. Given the constraints of Opensim I could not just copy the functionality of SL farm systems, since asset permissions can’t be guaranteed. On the other hand, I could make use of OSSL functions which allow the farm scripts to be very lightweight, so people can have huge farms.
I had to travel the hypergrid to find assets for plants and animals and I also had to create a lot of them, cutting out models that are available online. I made the first farm packages myself, but then later on Unregi Resident joined and helped to revamp the whole system making it much easier to upgrade, adapt and extend the farm. Overall it has been a very fun project to build (especially because I grew up as a farmboy), and I’ve seen people create amazing custom farms with so many different themes. The base scripts were purposefully made open-ended since people use the farm for different purposes.
MM Do you have ideas for other scripted interactive activities for opensim communities?
SA Usually ideas come up whenever I encounter something I need. I have built an NPC scripting system (ActiveNpcs) for live interactions with NPCs, which I would like to revamp and extend in the future. I am also building a feature-packed but lightweight animation controller (SFposer) that tries to cover the most needed features of other sitters.
MM What has been the biggest hurdle for you as a coder in opensim?
SA There are different versions of opensim running, which means that the newest scripting features can’t be used in public scripts. OTOH, opensim offers a better version of SL scripting, without memory constraints etc.
MM Have you ever given any thought to creating a RL social media platform? We have seen the controversy at Twitter, what would the ideal platform consist of?
SA I have created other online communities in the past. Social media is a very tough space which is dominated by a few companies which give everyone a megaphone, so everyone is shouting. There is no ideal platform, but I think there is space for smaller platforms that allow decent and respectful interactions. That cannot happen in world-wide centralized platforms, so I believe we will see a lot of de-centralization and fragmentation, a sort of reversal of trends.
MM You recently added a Chat channel to OSW thank you, are there lots of users of the new channel?
SA The chat is really meant to be a replacement for our Discord community. Discord is nice and useful as a communication tool, but it is also centralized which creates privacy issues, and will inevitably become like other commercial media when they decide to make money.
There is not a lot of activity in the chat right now, but I do see people asking questions and getting answers. It is just a complement to the website for now.
MM What features do you love about your virtual home? Please tell us about your region.
SA I love architecture and I like building historic regions, such as Rome and also using ancient themes like in the Opensimworld region. My home region is quite chaotic as I build and test out different themes. What I like is that I can give out parcels to friends who build their own homes. This makes a lot of them return so the region is less lonely and boring.
MM What is your favorite pastime in Opensim?
SA Building and improving my builds. I like to visit high-quality builds to get inspiration. Also, scripting things and adding interactivity is magical.
MM If there was one thing about you that you would like us to know what would that be?
SA That OSW and other projects are still fun hobbies for me!
MM What would you like the community to know that I have not asked?
SA That we need more people in Opensim! Tell your SL friends to come over, get new people involved, and help newbies get started.
Thank you Satyr, I agree we need more great people in opensim!
If you have a region please add an Opensimworld beacon found here hg.osgrid.org:80:OpenSimWorld while here please pick up the other great items Satyr offers like his farm!
Mari entered OpenSim in 2015 as a resident of a grid in Canada, called to manage their magazine as an Editor, thereby meeting her future partner Reyn Softly.