After many hours of upgrades, tests, ideas and feedback we are now at the stage of testing where we feel ready to open the doors and welcome new people in. As present members know, this is not a step we take lightly. We are committed in trying to give all of us the best stable experience we can. This has been our focus and will continue to be what we concentrate on. Avatar Connection is a very different platform since the necessary changes we implemented shortly after the new team were in place. Let's go over some of the new experience you can expect as of now.
1. We have a new name. Avieku, while being catchy just did not convey our intention of a very social world. Avatar Connection sums up our goals perfectly. We want avatars (i.e. users) to connect with each other. We will aim to offer tools that can enhance that goal.
Which brings us to...
2. The new website with its much improved and easier sign up process. The new team and a web development company looked over the code and both came to the same conclusion, we needed a new site, in short a fresh start. We moved away from the jumbled code and shaky foundation that the old website had. An impartial observer likened it to a house of cards. One removal of an application could bring the whole thing down. So, we forged ahead with a complete rebuild that testing already shows performs better than ever.
It was a similar story with the grid code...
3. Back in March it was clear we needed to do a complete wipe of the old grid. We really wanted to avoid having to do that as we knew it would mean lost items, names, etc. This was one of our hardest choices to date, with the added decision on whether to put back up a grid before the new website was ready as we knew it would take some time. It would have been easy and cheaper to just shut up shop and do our work completely behind closed doors. However we made the discussion to keep it open for land owners and active members, free of charge to give them a chance to rebuild their lands and inventories. The grid as it stood before the wipe was a fairly jumbled up mess. The new Techs that joined the team found many different instances of OpenSim code and slapped in code from a very Alpha level code base, that is a fork of Opensim code. Even the head Developer of that code has said it is not ready for grid use and stability is not the focus yet for it. We continue to watch that project and hope to see great things arise from it, but we will not put it into our grid for the foreseeable future. That also makes the road map you may remember from before outdated. Most of the features covered in that road map were based on that Alpha level code. Most not even implemented at that Alpha level yet. We aim not to make announcements of any new features until we see them at a usable level, even with the OpenSim code and Viewers we offer.
4. We have the latest stable OpenSim code running as of now. That brings some neat features and from our tests even better stability and performance. One feature we talked about in a past meeting was "coalesced" objects. Some refer to this as "Soft Linking". That mean when you take objects to inventory that are not linked (i.e. a house with a separate door) they no longer go to inventory one at a time. They instead appear as one object. No more selecting a mass of prims and having them individually listed in inventory!
5. We also have the latest stable Imprudence viewer preconfigured for use on Avatar Connection. The viewer has some custom tweaks that we think will enhance the world experience. Of course you can use an alternate viewer if you like.
6. We now offer parcels of land starting at just $4.99 a month! Our prices top out at $39.99 for a complete "Private Neighbourhood" (aka full region) with no set up fees. Avatar Connection is meant to be a custom experience for each user. You can join the world for free with no monthly fees or if you want your own land we offer that too. There are also sandboxes to create in if you like as well. Couple those features with free uploads and a fun social network (through the community pages and forums) you can see, we offer a lot of potential for you to build an avatar world how you like it.
Our hope is that you will find Avatar Connection to be a place you look forward to using. After all, what is a Virtual World for if not for fun.