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Virtual Reality

by Aaliya Shakti

The Simulation

Nuna Art Gallery is located in a virtual reality called 3RG (3rd Rock Grid). 3RG is a simulation run out of the Netherlands by a non-profit entity. It is open to the public and free to access from your personal computer anywhere in the world using an avatar. The software that lets you create and customise your avatar is free to download, simple to set up and entry into 3rg is also free. With an avatar you can wander around all five floors of Nuna (catching an elevator between floors) to enjoy a fully immersive art gallery experience.

Nuna is laid out like a regular—albeit extensive—art gallery. Its collection of artworks is displayed by category throughout the main building. The collection includes important art movements and styles beginning with prehistoric and folk art and moving chronologically to the present. Works are captioned and short essays introduce periods and genres. There is a sculpture park at ground level and the gallery is set in park-like surrounds. It also has a gallery shop with free 3d models, posters, books and even some Nuna branded clothing for your avatar.

So how, exactly, does one experience this virtual gallery? What equipment do you need? What knowledge? Do you have to be a virtual gamer or developer to do this? The answers are: you already have the technology if you're reading this article—any modern PC with an internet connection is fine, and no special knowledge or aptitude is required. You need to sign up with 3RG for an avatar where you will be walked through a simple set up. This sign up will also direct you to a free viewer download. You need this viewer to appear "inworld" and to control your avatar.

When you log in for the very first time you will appear in a Welcome landing area. On 3RG this is just outside a large building that has eggs on its roof (don't ask!). Inside the building are treasures. There are tutorials to guide you on how to move and manipulate your avatar, and resources for customising the look of your avator—an array of different avatar sizes, shapes, clothes, skins, eye colours, and animations to customise how your avatar moves.

Think of all this as the loading programme in The Matrix. Your avatar is a virtual extension of your personality and is your property. Naturally you can treat your avatar as a simple vehicle to explore virtual space but you will meet and talk to other avatars wandering around this environment and there is something in the human psyche that generally asserts a principle of individuality over generica. The resources in Welcome and tools in your viewer allow you to customise your appearance without limit.

The next step is finding your way to Nuna. The Welcome centre can help you here too. Avatars teleport from region to region and at the welcome centre you'll see signs advertising Nuna—touch one of these signs with a right click to magically appear at the gallery. If you log out from here, your next log on will return you to the same spot so there's no hurry to see the whole collection in one visit. Enjoy!

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