If you’ve got a flash drive, you can make a world
I’ve recommended this before to friends who wanted to know where/how to get started in 3D Creation (known just as Building to those of us addicted to it), but in case I haven’t mentioned it here, SOAS (Sim on a Stick) is about the niftiest thing ever. Basically you plug in your USB flash drive, install a few programs onto the drive (all zipped together conveniently and ready for download on the SOAS website) and boom, your own private virtual world is ready for your commands, with endless modifications and customizations available. The only limits are your imagination and how much time you’re willing to dedicate to hone your Building skills.
The reason that SOAS is the coolest nerd thing since pop rocks is because you can take it with you. The compactness itself, the very idea of slinging an entire virtual world into your pocket, is what appeals. I know there are comparisons – for instance, just about any Xbox game will fit into your purse – but unlike other online MMO’s that must have an internet connection or a dedicated gaming console, you can take Sim on a Stick anywhere with you, plug it into any relatively recent computer USB drive, and it should run. By recent, I mean within the last 4 or 5 years. My workhorse desktop is that old (I’ve made a few mods, mainly video card and RAM), and SOAS runs just fine.
This is the brand new world inside my flash drive using the latest build of SOAS. It doesn’t have any homes or structures yet, just a name (I’ve called it The Riverlands. Hello, Game of Thrones). It has mountains and water, and an avatar that I’ve dedicated zero time to customizing. I did quite a lot of work on my last world (Horus), but it was a little buggy (user error, not program) and I managed to mess it up. I wanted to start again with a clean slate.
In case you’re thinking this all looks too complicated for your tech level, it’s not. Building in 3D can certainly get complicated, but compiling the world itself has been streamlined to idiot-proof levels, which is quite handy for us idiots. If you can unzip a folder, you can do this.
I should mention that the latest build of SOAS has the option of not having a viewer compiled with the zip folder. In order to enter a virtual world, you not only have to have the world available, you need a viewer capable of interfacing with it. If you follow the help link into the SOAS website, you can download the Custom SOAS Imprudence viewer that will not only teleport you into your own world (localhost), but many other virtual MMO’s.
PS: Okay, I missed Earth Day. Because I spent it planting tomatoes, I think I should get a pass to make my Earth Day post today instead. Yes, I do.