We've received a lot of emails recently about Casmira, our virtual world application, and I thought it would be best to create a forum to answer those questions. Some of the more basic, recurring issues are covered here...

First and foremost: Casmira has only been online for two months, so it's very likely that when you enter at some random time during the day or night, nobody will be there to chat with you at that very moment. Even so, this does not mean that nobody is in the world. Casmira is divided into chat "areas" and, if you're not present in a particular area where others are currently spending time, the browser will not give you any obvious notification that those others are actually around because the area you're in might be empty. Enter the Casmira Gate Station and go through the teleports. You will be transported to the different Casmira building areas (Spirit Glade, etc.). If other users are in those areas, you will be able to chat with them.

To overcome this "people not in the same area" problem, we're setting a specific meeting time so folks who want to can get together and chat. Either Brutal_Dreamer or I will be in the Ground Zero area (your Casmira starting point) between 8:00PM and 9:00 PM Central Time on most weeknights. My Casmira user name is "lja" there as well, so if you want to talk to one of us live, that's the time to enter. If you want to talk to other people too, that's also when all of you should log on.

Be sure to enter "Advanced Mode" as soon as you understand how to move around. If you are having video problems, check out the FAQs in the Casmira help files (the Casmira Help and Overview link) on the website or click the User Guide tab in the browser application itself (available after you enter "Advanced Mode"). You can use Casmira as a simple "Live Help" application to do nothing but ask us or others a quick question, or you can delve into the system and really build yourself a virtual space in 3D.

Two of our most recent registrants, "Texark" and "Murphy," have built some very nice 3D spaces that are worth checking out. Texark has built in "Dark Lankin," and Murphy has built in "Spirit Glade." If you have a little time and the inclination, you can do similar things, and it's not hard. We implemented Casmira to create a virtual 3D community of folks interested in orchids who would want to get together and chat, so if that's you, registration is free and the system is pretty darned neat. (You can chat without registering, but your text will appear light grey and you will not be able to build...)

About Julie: Julie is Casmira's caretaker "robot." I'm trying to program her to do more useful and sensible things than simply greet you when you log on. (Right now, she literally moves the sun across the sky and manipulates lighting and cloudcover to simulate dawn, day, dusk, and night, and she keeps an ear out to manage serious troublemakers, but she's not exactly "user friendly" yet. This'll change as I get time to program her with more complex behaviours...)

In any case, post any questions or comments about Casmira in this section.

See you online, and good growing!