Arius is a region, lone and distant in the endless ocean of the DigiWorldz virtual world. It is also my in-world home, as well as the sole remaining publicly-accessible region in the Kingdom of Irukandji.
That isn’t a sad thing. I still have all the other regions on my hard-drive. I just don’t have them online. That’s because – and I doubt there would be much argument – the once great virtual worlds of Second Life and Open Simulator have well and truly peaked, and are now on the decline.
A greater truth is that it has been slowing down for about ten years. And again, that’s fine. Lots of games go on with only a small core of aficionados keeping the fires burning.
All of this brings me neatly back to Arius.
Note: if you are trying to visit the current Irukandji world, the landing sim is Arius on the DigiWorldz grid. The region is hypergrid enabled for easy teleportation from other Open Simulator virtual worlds. If you have the Firestorm viewer, use this link to teleport to Arius.
Even as recently as 2017, I still had 30 or so Irukandji regions on DigiWorldz. The most noteworthy of these was the HUGE uber-region, Aratura; the equal of 36 standard regions. Now that was a lot of fun.
And one day something occurred to me. Nobody was asking what I was doing. No one was dropping by. I would see the green dots of avatars flitting around my shops on Aratura, do their thing, then teleport home again. No one was staying or exploring or looking for a community to call home.
Aside from a couple of tenants who had followed me through several grids, none of the old crew remained. They had moved on, or more likely, grown up, now distracted by new loves or grandkids or the latest new social media distraction.
It wasn’t that they had found a new virtual world – They had left them altogether. Again, sad, but I was content to stay. It’s always been about the art for me. I love building and I love scripting. I’m happy to dance without an audience.
A month or so later, with my enthusiasm for maintaining such a massive var-region utterly dulled, I faced the truth – I just needed a single region. I didn’t want to taint the history of the islands but nor did I want to replicate them yet again, especially if it was merely a vanity project.
I needed a new concept, some far-flung outpost way out west of Aratura that could be true to Irukandji but also be itself. And thus, Arius was born.
Arius the microcosm
In it’s five year history, this poor region has been re-imagined and re-terraformed and rearranged a dozen times. I will see old photos I took and have a sudden lightbulb moment – “Oh yeah, I forgot that used to be there.”
I have come to realise Arius’ purpose after all this. Everything makes sense now. The purpose of Arius is to be a tiny museum, a microcosm of everything that Irukandji once was, contained in a single region.
Further, it had to be self-sustaining financially, which meant I needed some blocks of land subdivided for my only-God-knows-why loyal tenants, and for a few of my key shops such as Electric Pussy, Pump, Iconic, IruMoto, Tamita Motors, and especially Irukandji Fish Farm and XTC Landscapes.
Trees and fish, that’s what people want. 😄
Aside from that, and in the absence of the residents who used to roleplay so much in the islands, I’ve replaced them with NPCs. The Princes of Irukandji, their subjects, the soldiers, the shopkeepers – they are all automated now. It keeps the place moving and there is always something happening.
So that’s what Arius is about. I won’t put too many photos here. Just go in-world and check it out. Go for a walk and explore. That’s what virtual world communities used to be about.
Andrew has created, nurtured, and destroyed many glittering kingdoms, but nowadays just tinkers with code, occasionally yelling like a madman at his scruffy NPC minions.