Vivox spreads fast through OpenSim grids

Note: Updated with new contact email address.

Ever since Vivox made its hosted voice service available for free to small and non-profit grids on December 23, OpenSim grids and individual region owners have quickly adopted the technology.

Large commercial grids like Avination (which had Vivox first, several months ago) and Kitely were quickly joined by InWorldz, OSGrid, FrancoGrid, Logicamp, Virtyou, Avatar Connection, Island Oasis, New Genres, AnSky, and other grids either testing Vivox, rolling it out for select regions, or across their entire grids.

Just chilling, listening to myself talk, on my private company grid.

In addition, hosting companies quickly lined up to offer free Vivox to their clients, including Dreamland Metaverse, TalentRaspel, Oliveira Virtual Lands, and Nova.

Individuals owning regions and small grids weren’t left out. John Rogate, who runs the OSGrid Educational Cooperative, rolled out Vivox on his regions, which are on OSGrid. Other OSGrid regions that applied for and got free Vivox voice include Hidden Leaves, as did the Vue regions.

OSGrid, like many open grids, is not run on a single set of servers. The plaza regions are operated by grid administrators, and these have Vivox, as a result of an agreement between the grid itself and voice company. Many other regions are run by third-party hosting companies, such as Dreamland Metaverse and Nova — here, the hosting company would talk to Vivox to get the voice set up. Folks running OSGrid regions on their own computers or servers, such as Rogate, have to contact Vivox directly to get their own access codes.

The process is simple. Applicants get a set of papers to sign — basically saying they won’t share their access codes with anybody else — and then add a few lines enabling Vivox to their OpenSim .INI file. The voice never actually passes through the simulator — the voice stream goes directly from the viewer, to the Vivox data centers, and back again — so there is no additional load on the region.

Boston-based Vivox Inc. is currently the gold standard of in-world voice, used not only in Second Life, but also in EVE Online, EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, DC Universe Online and in many other massively online multiplayer games. The company reported 60 million users as of October of this year.

To get Vivox, send an email to Kamal Jain or one of his associates at Vivox at [email protected]. Jain is the company’s director of network operations and the leading force behind getting Vivox into OpenSim grids.

The free Vivox service works much like Vivox does in Second Life — there’s directional voice and lip synching and speaker indications and private chat. Users don’t have to do anything — all viewers automatically support it.

However, the free service is missing some premium features, such as voice morphing. In addition, there’s no service level agreement or support, and all OpenSim grids on the free plan share a common set of servers.Grids that need these features can talk to Vivox about getting a commercial license, Jain said.

Kitely and Avination have a commercial license providing them with dedicated servers and service level agreements, Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business.

InWorldz also has a commercial license — see comment from InWorldz partner and software architect David Daeschler below. He is also known as Tranquillity Dexler in-world.

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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.

  • With the amount of usage voice will get immediately after rolling the solution out, we (InWorldz) have worked out a commercial agreement with Vivox. I want to stress that any commercial entity looking at Vivox should definitely get ahold of Kamal and work out licensing terms rather than just going with the freely available servers. 

    Vivox (and especially Kamal) have now made commercial licensing very friendly for small businesses and are willing to work with you to meet your needs. 

    I was very impressed with the amount of time and effort that Kamal took with me to understand my business and where we are headed as well as acknowledge my genuine interest in looking for ways in which both companies could benefit from the relationship.

    Kamal and Vivox have shown through their behavior that they now better understand small business, and are moving into high gear to pick up and retain a new class of customers. Hats off to all the hard working people over there.

    • Thanks, I updated the story (in case anyone can’t see the comments).

    • I would also like to comment and note that Kamal and Vivox was extremely easy to work with and put forth a great deal of effort to provide this service to us smaller grids.  I am very please with the quality of service provided so far and it has been a pleasure working with Vivox.

      Damean

  • “However, the free service is missing some premium features, such as
    voice morphing. In addition, there’s no service level agreement or
    support,”

    I have vivox on my 8 regions in OSgrid the set up was as easy as cop/paste, save, only one resident had a little difficulty and it turned out the password was wrong.

    In any case I will be hold a cultural voice event on one of my regions next Saturday afternoon (likely each Saturday) and it will also be  a server test load as well.
    What I have been seeing in the past few days with the new voice are a few things people should keep in mind, either those who have never used voice, or used it in SL long ago and forgot how, or whatever- these are important things to keep in mind;

    1) You should have a set of headphones, they don’t need to be $299, the $19 set I have had for several years made by Logitech/USB is perfect.

    2) NEVER leave your mic “open”, accidents happen to everyone, but never talk in a group chat and then leave your mic open!
    What happens if you do is there can be a feedback loup- especially if you use external speakers. Another thign that happens is extraneous noise in your room is continuously transmitted to everyone else, including your spouses’ TV set, the kids screaming, your air conditioner fan or computer fan.

    You would be surprised how much such noise there is in a room that is transmitted and amplified over a chat channel.

    3) If you are in a room with a lot of noise, please do not go into a group chat, either move to another room if possible, or only voice chat when the room you are in is quiet. Nothing is more disruptive and confusing than hearing a TV blaring away, kids screaming, dogs barking- other people in the room talking etc.

    4) if your computer is nearby, consider the sound the fans make are amplified in chat to near single engine airplane  on the runway levels. My long time solution was to place my computers on a shelf in the BASEMENT directly under the floor under my desk in the kitchen. It took longer cables to do it but the result is the machines run cooler, stay cleaner and I hear NO sounds whatsoever. This may be a  solution for many others.

    Every viewer should have in pref’s the voice communication tab, you need to enable it there, go into device settings there and select what you use- speakers, headphones etc, press “reconnect to chat” and anything else in there applicable and save.
    You may need to restart the viewer to activate voice afetr doing this.
    Usually on the viewer’s toolbar is a button for voice chat and a tiny “lock” button on it, and another button that brings up a “local speakers” list.
    You will need to press the talk button and lock down, and use the headphone’s on/off button if any, and use it like a walkie-talkie.
    The “local speakers” list will show who else has voice around you, and their individual sound levels will have sliders to turn them up or down.

    You also have 2 selection in pref’s, on for listening from the camera position, and one from the avatar position, your sound levels will vary accordign to which you select, how far you or you canm is from the speakers, and the angle at which you are turned->  Left-Right channel volume depends on your angle to the speakers.

    It may take some fiddling and experimenting to learn how it works, you may ALSO need to check your computer’s own sound levels in the configuration as well since that will also have a slider and balance.

    • YourSimSpot had also implemented Vivox voice on they grids, it seems that almost every on has it now.

  • According to  OSGrid president Michael Emory Cerquoni — also known as Nebadon Izumi in world — there are now 1,342 OpenSim regions with Vivox voice enabled! 

    Cerquoni looked up the figures at today’s OSGrid Developers Meeting:
    http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Chat_log_from_the_meeting_on_2012-01-10 

    He added that two users on separate grids can even voice chat with one another if they are hypergrid friends with one another and both grids are on the free Vivox plan.

  • ty first i heard nova have vivox, i quickly sign up to voice my grid while we r on move last few days, boy they were fast on getting us hook up, very small grid

  • Didier Preud’homme

    Hello,

    just to say that we have installed Vivox on the Logicamp Grid.

    Didier Preud’homme