OpenSim Glossary

Grid

A horizontal map composed of one or more regions, similar to the way that a chessboard is made up of individual squares. A grid is normally identified by a URL and a port number, for example, the OSGrid is located at osgrid.org:8002.

Hypergrid

All grids that are linked to one another by teleport links — similarly to the way that the World Wide Web is the collection of all the websites linked by hyperlinks. Many grids are not on the hypergrid. Like sites running behind company firewalls –intranet sites — many grids are private access only, and are not accessible from the outside.

“Hypergrid” can also be used as a verb. For example: “Can you hypergrid over to ScienceSim to check out the new Intel conference center?”

Portal

Portals — watery blue disks reminiscent of the StarGate on the SciFi channel show — are often used the indicate the presence of a hypergrid link, similar to the way a blue underline is used to indicate the presence of a hyperlink on a webpage. Portals are usually activated by stepping through them, or by clicking on them. Some portals only go to one destination, while others give the user a choice of destinations.

Region

An area on a grid, similar to a single square on a chessboard. Each region is 256 meters by 256 meters, or about 16 square acres. Each region is identified by a unique name, and also by a unique set of coordinates.

Parcel

A parcel is a subdivision of a region. Parcels can be of any size, and are commonly used when a region owner rents out parts of his region to others to use for homesteading, retail locations, or office space.

Sim

Short for simulation. Used variously to refer to a single region, or to all the regions handled by a single instance of the OpenSim server application.

Avatar

An avatar is your character, your animated representation in a virtual world.

Inventory

An inventory is an avatar’s belongings. Inventories typically contain of clothing, body shapes, furniture and other objects, text files, small programs called scripts, name cards of other avatars, and favorite landmarks.

Script

A script is a small program written in a language understandable by the virtual world platform. The Linden Scripting Language (LSL) is the most common virtual world scripting language. Scripts can be used to make doors that open and close, make pets follow their owners around, automatically translate if other avatars speak a foreign language, and perform many other functions.

Primitive

All objects in OpenSim (and also in Second Life) are built out of geometric solids — cubes, spheres, donuts, and pyramids. These geometric shapes are called primitives. They can be twisted, stretched, and otherwise manipulated and combined to form any object. By default primitives look as if they’re made out of plywood. By pasting a photograph to the outside — a texture image — a primitive can look as if it was made out of brick, glass, metal, or any other material.

Texture

A texture is an image, usually 512 by 512 pixels, which is used to cover the outside of an object to make the object appear to be made of a particular material. Common textures include wood, glass, metal, and stone. Textures are also used in the creation of clothing and hair, and even avatar skins.

Hippo

Hippo is one of the most common browsers used to access the OpenSim virtual worlds. Other compatible browsers include the Second Life browser and the realXtend browser.

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.