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Astra Grid and Viewer

Astra Grid and Viewer
Astra Grid is a new kind of service, powered by Aurora-Sim, and created by Pleiades. Astra Viewer is a Metaverse (SL) viewer with an emphasis on usability and bold changes. We offer both sim hosting, as well as sim backup and transfer services.

Our vision statement:

We are approaching a turning point in our mission to restore game-making, the spirit of a curious, boundless imagination, to the formal education of students. The connected, digital world, to those born into it, is not an extension of the telephone, or of the photo album, or of the video game. It is an extension of the self. It is the chosen and natural medium for expression, identity, and exploration. To a contemporary student’s growth, online communities, resources, and games are not irrelevant. A school, however, that proscribes or clumsily ignores them, is.

As educators—and we count ourselves among you—the onus is on us first to earn the attention of this generation of students, and then to help them flourish and replace us. It is too easy to forget that attention is only skeptically given. We earn it by being elevating, by being inspiring, and above all by being relevant.

Gameplay is instinctive and compelling. It provides perpetual challenge. With virtual worlds, right now, we have an opportunity to go one step further, into game-making. As a student steps up to this challenge, he or she must master the concepts at hand, experiment with rules, literally re-cast the concepts of mathematics, or chemistry, or history, or literature, into the pieces of a game, and then apply the critical emerging skills of programming, scripting, level design, information design, modelling, texturing, animating, and debugging. Here, if it is anywhere, is the epitome of the interdisciplinary, thematic, outcome-based unit of educational advancement.

We intend to be a technological enabler, a point of contact, an Earth on which a new and great ecosystem of education will lurch, flower, re-make itself, cross-pollinate and blossom into every niche and form imaginable or not yet imaginable. With you, we are going to advance into this unimaginable future knowing only that it owns us more than we own it, and that, like our students, we are at our best when we are fearlessly improvising.

Our first priority is less to build infrastructure up—we have been doing this for years already—but to tear barriers down. The user interface has been a barrier. The price to play has been a barrier. The restrictions against freedom of information, especially where these have come from a mis-guided approach to creative rights, have been a barrier. Even the idea of a single, immobile and immutable garden for all people and all purposes, has been a barrier.

The world we want you to live in is inexpensive, and permits free passage between regions in a loosely-coupled, but searchable and backed-up metaverse. It is decentralized, and permits grids to connect to each other no matter who owns them, on terms the grid owners are free to negotiate and agree. It is permissive and operates under the assumption that all content is educational in nature and in use.

We look forward to seeing what you, and all this generation of students, is capable of.