Danko Whitfield

Dankoville On Kitely

In Places on August 28, 2014 at 9:11 am

posted this today on the Kitely forms…

My OpenSim mini-grid Dankoville has “Closed for Renovations.” I hope to be self-hosting it again when a new and expanded version of the grid is ready. I’m working on the new grid in SoaS and will be for a few weeks. During that time, I’m holding an Open House here on Kitely – a preview version of the new Dankoville is now open to all Kitely accounts and HG visitors.

I use Dankoville as a story setting in my writing. It’s meant to be a depiction of a small town somewhere in the Corn Belt of the United States. The Chamber of Commerce brags that Dankoville is “the third largest town in Strange County” after the small cities of New Teasdale and Stevenson. Most of the rest of the area is farmland. It’s really a quiet town, off the beaten path, really not notable for much of anything. Well, other than that family of time travellers that lives on a farm a few miles outside of town.

The sim is 16 regions and it’s very obviously “under construction” but there is plenty there to make it a good stop for explorers or anyone who wants to hang out or RP in a “small town life” setting.

Here’s the world page for Dankoville on Kitely…


and the official Dankoville website…


I hope you enjoy my little town. :)

The new HG address for Dankoville is:





Testing 4, 5, 6..,

In Places on August 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm

At the end of July and again in early August, I spent a few days running tests related to my personal mini-grid, Dankoville. It currently runs on OpenSim 0.7.5, powered by New World Studio. My license to use the NWS software runs out early next month and I’m not inclined to renew it.

I had previously tried to upgrade to OpenSim 0.8 with the Diva Distro package. However, I remain stuck on Step 1 – configure MySQL. I can’t. End of story.

Then along came something called ArribaSim, another distribution of the OpenSimulator program. I was able to use Arriba offline a la Sim-on-a-Stick. This was helpful in testing other aspects of upgrading to 0.8. I did not make an attempt to connect Arriba to the hypergrid because the one set of instructions I found (in German) appeared to have a mistake in them. I know Arriba works as I have been inworld on both OSgrid and Metropolis on regions powered by Arriba. If I read German or had more tech knowledge, I could figure it out. But trying and failing would result in new problems for the grid, and I had no interest in that.

As I said a couple months back to a relative – I’m weird enough to be a geek, I’m just not smart enough. He had a laugh at that partly because it was meant as a compliment to his intelligence. He works in the software industry. Some sort of whiz kid. And he’s offered to help me out with my software problems. Problem is, he lives in another state. We may still do this in person or maybe by phone but for now, he’s going to try and do the setup on his own machine so he can then advise me. So probably in the next few weeks, as RL allows, we’ll get this done.

I have been giving thought to setting up Dankoville both in 0.8 and in 0.7.6 so I can fallback one version if that seems to be the better way to go for now. However, the latest release, has fixes, including for one of the biggest complaints I’ve seen about 0.8 – “the attachments bug” – the one where your shoes or belt or hair might not show up where you do. Or they might show up twice.

In addition to trying to figure out exactly what to do next – once I’m able – I’ve also had a lot of creative questions to deal with regarding Dankoville. The biggest one was “fitting” Dankoville into a varregion. Varregions – variable sized regions – have to be square (kinda makes the name sound contradictory). My 12-region Mainland on Dankoville is not a square. It could fit into a 1024×1024 varregion – the size of an old 4×4 or 16 standard regions – but obviously there would be additional space on the new grid.

There was also the consideration that the southwest corner is the default arrival point in a varregion just as it is in a mega-region. But the Dankoville grid is not run as a mega and the main arrival point, the town of Dankoville, is not in the southwest corner. Although, it is supposed to be easy to change the arrival point, I know firsthand that it doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to.

Rather than continue to swim against the tide on this question, I made a major creative decision. Even though I did not want to do it, it seemed a good idea in the long run and also better to do it now than later. So, I changed my map, the layout of my regions. I put the town of Dankoville in the southwest corner so no matter what I do with it now – varregion, mega-region, individual standard regions, hosting it on someone else’s grid…whatever…a visitor will land in the middle of the southwest corner and the town is now set around that idea.

And yet, I did this without changing the town. Instead, I just turned it to face the opposite way. No rebuilding required. Just one command line in the console. This is a cool new OpenSim feature.

In OpenSim 0.8 varregion mode, I could take the town of Dankoville and rotate it 180 degrees. And do the same with some adjoining towns. I even took a mountain that I liked from a region I was going to eliminate and put that mountain in the southern part of the Dankoville region…so that the view from the middle of town was exactly the same as before, though when you looked at the mountains you were now looking south instead of north.

But now it felt a bit different, a feeling I liked very much. It reminded me of an RL place I’ve visited, a small city in the shadow of a mountain. So then I did make a couple changes, inspired by this new element in “the atmosphere.”

Then the new version of SoaS came out with 0.8 and varregions. Since then I’ve done all inworld work on Dankoville in SoaS.

However, none of these changes have been uploaded to the live grid. It’s still humming along with the old map configuration in 0.7.5. But with that New World Studio license about to expire, I have to do something if I want to keep Dankoville open while I’m trying to complete the upgrade to 0.8 …or even the fallback position, 0.7.6.

So, although this is not definite yet, here’s my thinking for the short term…

Sometime this week or next, I’ll be turning off the current Dankoville grid, most likely for all time.

Before the end of September, I hope to bring the new version of Dankoville online – whatever OpenSim version and distro I decide to go with but definitely with the new map and layout.

In the interim, I will be doing the inworld creative work in SoaS. There are four new regions on the grid and seven of the twelve old regions now face the opposite direction. So there is all kinds of work to do. Just one example of work made necessary by these changes – once I turned regions around, all of the road signs were wrong – the ones that said Route 22 West had to say Route 22 East and vice versa. And with new regions and some old regions turned or even moved, I had to create an almost entirely new road system.

Dankoville grid was already a work in progress but now there is more work to do than before. But that’s great! And it leads to more (and new) story possibilities.

But all this does mean that Dankoville would not be online at all for awhile. Except that I don’t like the idea. So I am seriously considering moving it to Kitely for the interim period until I’m ready to power up the new setup on my own. In fact, I have just loaded it to Kitely as a 16-region non-mega. I need to check it out thoroughly and see how much work would be involved in opening it to the public on Kitely. I already know, for example, that I will have to redo all my Landmarks, Notecards and Givers in the Dankoville Information Center – which is now your arrival point. The question is: do I want to do that – and do other updates around the 16 regions – just to optimize it for Kitely for a few weeks use…before I move it to its own new place on the grid and then have to update all those same things again?

So it’s not open on Kitely right now and I’m not sure if it will be but I will certainly announce it widely if I do open it up there. If so, it will be open to all types of accounts as well as HG visitors. I definitely see promotional value in having it open on Kitely for awhile before moving it to its new home on the grid…so that might be a consideration in whether it’s worth it to do the customization work I mentioned.

And, if I may borrow a phrase, that’s the news from Dankoville, my home town.

Stay tuned to this page for updates.

(Cross-posted to the News page of the official Dankoville website)



Testing 1, 2, 3…


A Comment on Export Perms & Fees

In Virtual Issues on August 13, 2014 at 5:37 am

There’s a thread on the Kitely Forums about the Export perm and how much it should cost. I posted the following Comment in that thread…

A lot of makers of virtual goods base their price on the amount of work or cost involved with producing the item. On the surface, that makes sense. But it actually misses the point completely. It’s not about what it is worth to the creator or seller, it’s about what it is worth to the buyer.

You can be a great creator but that doesn’t mean you know anything about business or marketing.

In the case of Export perms, it’s not a question of how much the creator is “giving up.” It is only – and always – a question of how much value the buyer is going to get out of the item and therefore, how much they are willing to pay.

Remember, in OpenSim, people have done without for a long time. Because of this a few may be champing at the bit to buy but for most – they have done without it for this long, so if you charge too much, it is very easy for them to keep waiting for a better deal. Or go without forever. Heck, these folks are OpenSimmers – if they REALLY wanted that thing and it wasn’t available for free, they would have learned to make it by now.

So if you want to sell to them – make it good, make it convenient and make it reasonably cheap. And remember this – you are not actually selling a product in virtual worlds, you are selling a service.

If you don’t think that’s fair – don’t sell it. You won’t be missed.

Don’t get hung up on the “They can take it anywhere and use it all over the Metaverse. That’s worth money.” It might be but that’s not what they’re buying.

In January, I wrote:

“Just because you’re granting them the right to go anywhere in the free Metaverse with their purchase doesn’t mean they’re going to go everywhere with it.”

Export Perm – How Much Should It Cost?

Although I used to be willing to pay a 100% mark-up, I’m not sure about that anymore. Why should I pay an export fee at all? What did I do to deserve that?

And with HG prevalent now, what sense does an Export perm markup make really? It’s a cover charge. A “convenience fee.” Don’t those convenience fees have a bad name?


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