DaseinGrid fails to launch with SimHost

[Note from Editor: SimHost‘s James Stalling responded to this review with the following: “He was a difficult customer who did not give OpenSim a good evaluation before he got involved, and didn’t give it a fair shake after he got involved.  I have to say that I disagree entirely with his notion of what occurred; but I think really they are more unsatisfied with OpenSim than SimHost, and we’ll just leave it at that.”]

……………………….

To a Second Lifer used to paying as much as $12 or more per acre per month, $1 an acre seems like great value. That is the monthly price charged by a major OpenSim hosting company, chosen by Hypergrid Business as one of the four best OpenSim hosting companies, for 256 acres of virtual real estate. In Second Life the same area would cost nearly $5,000 per month! Such was my thinking when I contracted with SimHost to provide me with a 16-region grid recently.

My intention was to create DaseinWorld, a virtual environment for creators and educators. But, as I was to discover, buyer beware! Not all virtual reality worlds are fun and games. As the old adage states, you get what you pay for — $288 and three weeks later, I was to discover how true this is.

I should have been warned when the technician, who also appears to be one of the partners in this small business, claimed that OpenSim is a superior virtual platform to Second Life and the performance of his servers is vastly superior to those of Linden Labs.

I confess I wondered about this too. After all, Linden Lab is a $500 million company with enormous resources at its disposal. And the success of his company — I reasoned — depended on my continuing satisfaction with their product, so, despite his weird claims, I assumed he must know what he was talking about. It did not take long for me to realize my mistake.

Even though I was told during my initial due diligence that SimHost would train me and my Second Life business partner in the technical aspects of OpenSim, including admittedly fragmentary documentation, once they had my money in hand they admitted that in fact the only documentation they had was an unfinished and abandoned book on OpenSim, and that all of the training would have to be through chat and email with a technician.

Even after three weeks the installation was incomplete and flawed, plagued by problems that SimHost finally admitted was not a configuration problem but rather a systemic failure of the OpenSim version itself, culminating in the declaration that the entire installation would have to be redone. Finally our techie acknowledged that despite his original claims, motivated apparently by the desire to make a sale, OpenSim is not really ready for production quality implementation.

Even after three weeks and repeated complaints, DaseinWorld was plagued by problems, including:

  • sluggish and erratic performance;
  • repeated crashes, especially while flying (which was significantly slower than Second Life);
  • avatars flying away into what is euphemistically referred to as “the void” (a bug that Linden Lab fixed long ago);
  • apparently random sim crashes, for no apparent reason, requiring frequent manual restarts;
  • non-rezzing or partially rezzing OpenSim objects;
  • OpenSim objects rezzing pieces of themselves all over the terrain;
  • randomly appearing pseudo-holes in the terrain;
  • objects rezzing underground;
  • avatars sinking into the ground;
  • prims self-replicating themselves for no apparent reason;
  • objects rezzing as phantom and no way to make them solid (when I tried to do so, they failed to change their state);
  • objects that could not be selected and therefore could not be deleted;
  • distortions and loss of textures in objects made in world;
  • persistently cloudy avatars; and
  • the inability to sell land to avatars, even for zero currency, despite claims to the contrary (we were told that parcels could be set for sale for zero currency, as in Second Life; however, attempts to do so never worked).

Even though OpenSim does not support many features of Second Life, especially an in-world currency, and appears to suffer from serious internal politics including administators’ abandoning ship and slow development, we intended to make the best of it and continue our project in the hope that over time OpenSim would eventually prove itself to be the superior platform.

We spent many hours creating and installing a landmap, partitioning the land and building a welcome centre and placing trees and buildings around the sim, as well as learning the intricacies of server management, the last straw came when our technician turned on us and, even though he admitted that the problem lay with the OpenSim installation itself, attacked us in the next breath for not learning MySQL well or fast enough, even though my associate is himself an experienced Unix and MySQL user with a background in engineering.

We, in turn, were seriously frustrated by his complete inability to communicate, his slow and irritable responses to our complaints and requests for technical support, and his failure to complete the installation within a reasonable timeframe.  Despite my repeated requests to communicate with us from a user and task-oriented perspective, he seemed determined not — or perhaps unable — to do so. This was the last straw, and I cancelled the Paypal contract  before SimHost could charge us for a second month. I also didn’t think it would be fair to our future potential settlers to inflict all these problems on them.

Despite all of this, I am still a big fan of OpenSim’s potential, if they can get their act together. But don’t buy the lie that OpenSim is even comparable to Linden Labs in terms of stability, ease of use, or features. Perhaps they will be in the future, but OpenSim development is still behind Second Life.

Whether OpenSim will ever catch up is unknown to me, but for now, IMHO, OpenSim, not Second Life, is the choice of amateurs, enthusiasts, and geeks. I certainly would not recommend it for any serious purpose at this time. Most, if not all, OpenSim worlds that I have seen are sluggish, ugly, and incredibly complex to implement. What OpenSim desperately needs I think is to develop a true turnkey system with proper documentation, since not everyone is, or wants to be, a MySQL geek.

Alexander Duncan

Alexander Duncan is a long-time virtual worlds enthusiast, entrepreneur, and content creator, having been a resident of Second Life since 2007, where he was the proprietor of Gladstone Realty. Most recently he exhibited his Space Elevator at the SL8 Birthday Exhibition. He is also an obsessive blogger, with blogs and Youtube channels including An_2045, a blog about technocracy and the future. He is also a published writer, proprietor of Chroniker Press, writer, and and editorial director of a major Canadian financial educational publishing establishment.

  • I think the point about OpenSim is not that the experience is perfect but that it is in many cases good enough to get the job done. On the other hand, unless you push the envelope a little, you don’t discover the limits. If you want a turnkey experience then it might be worth trying Dreamland Metaverse.

    • WhiteStar Magic

      /me sputters coffee everywhere… Version 0.7.1 ! ?? !!!  you are aware that current Master is 0.7.4 and the last Release is 0.7.3.  There has been huge, even massive changes between 071 to 074 which affected 90% of the simulator’s operational & stability in a most positive way. 070-072 were major growing pain revisions due to the massive refactoring from the previous 069.

      OpenSim has been improving slowly & steadily as time progresses (sometimes too slow for some, other times too fast for others) and while some would expect it to do everything that SL does the way SL does it, simply cannot be technically done that way and in several instances, best not to at all.  Lessons learned from LL mistakes and all that Incorporated.  Also consider the amount of resources that SL has in regards to tech & engineering their platform and the amount of cash they lob into it paying for those small insignificant things like Havoc Physics, Vivox commercial voice services etc which add up to a huge pile of cash annually.

      It’s not a Plug N Play application and likely will never be a user installable fool proof, click & go system.   This is a Server Client application and to borrow a fine example, look at Apache Web-server, if you know your way around it, easy, if your not a techie & have no clue then the learning curve kicks in.  OpenSim is a very complex and flexible system and the result is complex management & maintenance.

      Certainly the documentation could be improved, no doubt about it !  The simple fact is, OpenSIm is changing and is a fast moving target which makes documenting things difficult.  The majority of the documentation is produced by volunteers & helpful souls who try their best to cover things it has it’s gaps.   People like Nebadon Izumi & the team that operates  OSGrid have done more collectively to debug, document & create tips, tricks, how-to’s etc should be rewarded & thanked as they all do it voluntarily … imagine what OpenSim would be like without good folks like Nebadon who has been known to pull 36 hour days non-stop at times trying to sort out things to benefit everyone.

      • Yes, I am well aware, thanks. I have a region at Dreamland Metaverse running 0.7.3 (or I would not be talking about it) as well as those running 0.7.1 and I have used both for teaching this year (which stretches back to September 2011 in academic terms). Incidentally, as you are doubtless aware, Vivox is no longer an exclusive to SL. OSgrid is a marvellous resource for those at the bleeding edge/frontier but that is not in my opinion what educators require and why I did not move to the Educators Enclave there. Dreamland has an excellent web backend that effectively insulates the user from the need to have console access (I have run console-based regions as well by the way) and Kitely is headed in the same direction (and many other grids as well for all I know). If you are telling me that I can’t effectively use OpenSim without firsthand knowledge of the intricacies of the server then either you are wrong or I am giving up OpenSim forthwith. In reality I pay people money to do that for me so I can focus on my job which is teaching students.

        • WhiteStar Magic

          I was not trying to say that you specifically couldn’t use or had knowledge or capability.  It’s simply not something for the faint hearted to operate & run opensim, it does have a steep learning curve.  Host providers like Dreamland, Reaction Grid, Simhost etc all do their best to provide a great service, it makes a lot of peoples lives easier and they get what they need, as is in your case.  OneI was trying to make was to consider that as OpenSim changes at the pace it does, these same providers, have to adapt & maintain and constantly adjust large scale operations, which is quite a lot more difficult to keep up with than most appreciate.

          In any case, no offence intended or directed so accept my apologies.
          WhiteStar

  • Huh, having experience as a user, that is, not working with the server’ware, in SecondLife, Inworldz, OSGrid and others, I have found that the OpenSim based grids are better than SL. Having worked with both OpenSim and AuroraSim, they do take a bit of learning, but the community itself is the best resource for dealing with any problems.

    With respect to Mr. Duncan, he sounds like someone who came face to face with his own expectations versus his limitations. The reality clashed with what he envisioned. Being an enthusiast does not make one an expert.

    • Sarge — You shouldn’t have to be an expert to have an OpenSim grid, and some vendors do offer turn-key solutions (like Gray mentions below) and great support.

      I was actually surprised that SimHost isn’t offering a refund here, instead of blaming OpenSim and the customer for the problems.

      Even if the customer isn’t actually right, it’s in the vendor’s best interest, PR-wise, to act as if he is. In any case, the vendor is supposed to make sure that the customers’ expectations are in line with what the vendor is able to deliver. There is nothing wrong with referring a customer to another provider who might suit the better, even to a competitor — eventually, they’ll return the favor when a customer fits your offerings instead of theirs.

      •  I agree, Maria, and we don’t have all the information. I can only go by what is reported and compare it against my own experiences, both as a service provider and as a service consumer.

  • Zauber Paracelsus

    This doesn’t surprise me at all.  A year or two ago, I had been looking to get an IAR export of my inventory at OSGrid before it got broken yet again.  I asked anyone if they could let me set up a region real quickly so that I could get the IAR exported.  Only one person offered any help.

    But, rather than just set me up with a region that I could use for a few minutes to export my inventory, he expected me to rent out a region at his company’s full rate.  And he seemed rather clueless when I pointed out how silly that was.

    • Any OpenSim vendor out there right now should be offering a free trial of a week or two (many already do) so that you can test out their technology and support. After all, you’re dealing with — mostly — unknown entities, mom-and-pop shops (or just mom or just pop), startups, etc… 

      OpenSim vendors need to prove themselves to you. You shouldn’t have to prove yourself to an OpenSim vendor. 

      It may cost them a little money in the short term, but will pay off BIG in the long term.

      • Zauber Paracelsus

        Having something like that back then would have been fantastic!

        Too little, too late now though.  I just logged in to OSGrid this morning for what was the first time in what seems like a year, trying to recover an old script of mine.  My inventory was completely empty, back to the default ‘noob’ state with nothing in it except empty folders.

        • Nebadon Izumi

           If you were to just ask this could be fixed..

          • Zauber Paracelsus

            Aye, that would be great

          • Nebadon Izumi

             should be fixed

          • Zauber Paracelsus

            Unfortunately, the backup that was restored was just a total of 56 items out of the 3000 or so that I had.  I don’t know if you’ve got any earlier backups, but thanks anyways for the effort.

          • Nebadon Izumi

            no i restored 6670 items, try clearing your viewer cache, actually i do see some other issues give me a bit to fix.

          • Zauber Paracelsus

            Okay, thanks.  I logged in with a different viewer and its working now.  Must have been the weird workaround that Imprudence uses for inventory versioning in opensim.

          • Nebadon Izumi

             ok try again, should be fixed.

  • Nebadon Izumi

    So basically you have come to this conclusion after playing with OpenSimulator for a whole three weeks? Honestly to me this just sounds like a rant to try discredit the OpenSimulator project.  I am sorry but 3 weeks experience with trying to run software as complicated as OpenSimulator should not be making these types of conclusions about a project they do not seem to have much knowledge about.  and Maria I am disappointed that you would even allow something like this to be posted on your website.

    • Neb — The reason that I ran this column is specifically that — too many people have a bad experience with a particular *vendor* or a particular *version* of OpenSim, and decide that the problem they had is endemic to OpenSim as a whole — then tell everyone they know.

      Duncan would have written OpenSim off, and went home. Instead, he’s hearing from other people who have different experiences and has since told me that he’s going to give OpenSim another try, with a different vendor.

      (Duncan — Please post an update and let us know how it’s going.)

      And the other reason I run columns like this is that because at the end of the day, I’m not actually on the side of OpenSim developers and vendors.

      Sure, I like them, and enjoy the product of their work, and promote them whenever I get a chance. 

      But my primary allegiance is to OpenSim users. Particularly enterprise users. The folks who want to use OpenSim for their work, their communities, their non-profits, their schools. 

      These folks deserve a good experience. Good support. Stability. Reliability. Features. At a reasonable price. 

      And they can now get that with OpenSim. 

      They don’t have to settle. 

      • I am very disappointed in Maria’s comment of:-

        “And the other reason I
        run columns like this is that because at the end of the day, I’m not actually
        on the side of OpenSim developers and vendors.”

        I understand part of
        what you are saying there, that the site is for the users more, but there are
        some vendors you will defend to the death like here with Alexander, almost like
        you have an agenda/favourites. As an “editor” I feel you should not be
        commenting like you do as your views come across as unbalanced and at time
        badly informed. This is only my opinion and how I see your site, you most likely
        disagree, but I hope you are a big enough person to take them on board.

        Final note, let’s
        remember without these developers and contributions from some of the vendors we
        would not have Opensim and would not be writing here 😉

        • Lara —

          Duncan wasn’t a vendor in this particular situation, but a customer. If he starts offering OpenSim-related services, and pisses off his customers, I’ll be more than happy to run columns about that, as well.

          SimHost is one of my recommended vendors — still is — on our vendor directory. And, because of the all the positive customer experiences they’ve had, they’ll stay up there (despite a couple of negative reviews).

          By comparison, I used to heavily recommend another vendor. But when a customer had a similar experience of that of Duncan, and we ran their review, there weren’t many people coming out in the vendor’s defense — and we took them off our recommended list as a result. (I was also hearing a lot of off-the-record negative reviews as well, from people who didn’t want to go public.)

          Right now, I’m also heavily recommending Dreamland and Kitely. I’m hearing a few bad things about each, and a whole lot of good things – overwhelmingly good. If that ever turns around, I’m taking them off the recommended list, as well.

    • Same here, the negative comments made about the specific grid operator have a libelous tone to them

      • Alexander Duncan

        You should learn what libel means before you utter such baseless comments. 🙂

        • maybe you’d better consult an attorney and run it past them  because some of the statements made could be construed as libelous, especially when posted on a public forum.
          Only costs a nominal filing fee to file a lawsuit, and the defendant is the one who has to get an attorney and appear in court at the appointed time, regardless of where they live.

    • Alexander Duncan

      Of course. You buy a new computer (or any other appliance) under warranty and the first thing you do is drive it into the ground, to test its mettle. If it breaks, you return it. That’s how any intelligent consumer evaluates a new product or service with a monthly fee, because that monthly fee represents a progressively increasing committment that may or may not be justified. The service must prove itself. If it doesn’t, it should be thrown away before one becomes too committed or involved.

  • lol, LL wishes they were a $500 million company!!!  $70 million is closer . . . =)

    it’s all about expectations and some personal ownership – i can only speak to my experiences and when i first came over from SL (and my $3000 a month) and started in Reaction Grid, i had a dreadful time

    some of it was RG and being allowed to far exceed the hardware’s capabilities but most of it were my expectations. i thought i could run 16 regions on one core and 1.5 gig of RAM. i do wish RG would have recommended less but, in the end, it was me

    now i know better and our SimHost 4 core, 8 gig RAM box for less than half one SL sim runs circles around anything i had inSL. BUT i also know that i can expect about the performance of 4 SL sims because of the 4 cores

    my experience has been solid – one region lockup because of DreamWalker’s scripting in 19 months! wow, only one forced region restart in all of that time – for me, this experience has been better than anything i can imagine

    but i’m also not your typical customer and want to be as personally in control as possible (doing my own backups, etc)

    our SimHost setup runs so well that not only can i build what we need but i still have enough energy and enthusiasm to do things like sim-on-a-stick (new version out today!!!)  =)

    but . . . that’s my experience and that is all i can speak to, i am very sorry to hear of anyone having the experience Alexander has had, whether on SimHost, sim-on-a-stick or any other place

    • Alexander Duncan

      In fact, I have read a professional evaluation of Linden Labs that indicated that they were considered to be worth $750 million before the recession, and are now evaluated at about $500 million. Unless the article slipped a zero. Maybe its $75 and $50 million. Still pretty good for a fantasy world.

      • Alexander Duncan

        Current evaluation is $304m, so its dropped another $200m. https://www.sharespost.com/companies/linden-lab/overview

        •  I think you and Ener are at cross-purposes — she was quoting estimated annual revenue for the business (with estimated profits of $5-10 million) rather than its index value.

  •  Re “Even though OpenSim does not support many features of Second Life,
    especially an in-world currency, and appears to suffer from serious
    internal politics including administators’ abandoning ship and slow
    development”, Dreamland Metaverse supports a choice of three currencies. I have no idea what “administators’ abandoning ship” is supposed to mean but this is an open source project so I guess people are free to come and go. As to “slow development”, OpenSim got mesh at pretty much the same time as SL although the waters were muddied somewhat by changes in format and policy by LL (which is their prerogative).

    http://dreamlandmetaverse.com/en/opensim-hosting-features#Money

  • 0Annabelle_Fanshaw1

    I have had a 16 region grid hosted by SimHost for almost a year now, it houses our enterprise standalone grid for my company Alchemy Sims. When I started this project, I was a total beginner, and once managed to shut down the server by mistake. Not one time, even when I made the most boneheaded move, did my tech from SimHost respond in anything less than a professional, and I would say even kindly manner. He has been there for us, while we work through all the complexities of sim grid ownership, often responding in minutes when we are really up the creek. I highly recommend SimHost, and James Stallings II.

    • I just saw your website — 
      http://www.alchemysims.com/ — and it looks like you guys are doing some really interesting work!

      • 0Annabelle_Fanshaw1

        Thanks Maria. We are always interested in helping people see new connections or visualizing ideas in 3d. Best, AF

        • and don’t forget my tech support! several very long emails to Annabelle =)

          but Annabelle “gets it” – SimHost, or at least the way she and I have it, is for the person wanting total control which means root access to your server

          i could install our website, the SoaS site, and anything else i want on that box – James lets me do as i please

          that’s a very different model than SL is where you have zero server interaction (except to restart and download a terrain file)

          for me (and I think Annabelle) SimHost, specifically James, is all about setting you up as closely as possible to running your own server. if i had the tech skills, i’d probably lease my own server, but i actually can get SimHost for less money than i can find my own server!

          and don’t forget that the welcome sim in OSGrid is a SimHost box donated for free and that James is a tireless admin on OSGrid  =)

          i should write yet another glowing post about my experience and maybe that can be reprinted as well – although positive lovefest posts don’t create much controversy

  • On a related note, I took a look at the hosting services listed and I noticed something. Most of them have a limit of 15,000 prims as an allowance. What’s the point of that?

    • If you’re referring to our directory, I use a 15,000-prim “standard region” as a way to compare different vendors, since most have a 15,000-prim option somewhere in their offerings. (They’ll charge less for a 3,000-prim water region, more for a 45,000-prim region, etc…)

      • Thanks for the clarification, Maria. I’ll look more closely at the sites themselves as the prim allowance is important to me.

        • Vendors don’t like to be compared on price, so they’ll try to confuse things by explaining how many CPU cores their servers have, and selling you hosting priced by processor cycles, or whatever. But most folks don’t buy regions by the server — but by the region. 

          Okay, some people do buy by the server. 

          But my goal is to make OpenSim more accessible for regular users — educators, dungeon masters who want to set up roleplaying grids, companies just looking for a place to hold virtual meetings, artists. 

          So they want to know: how much land do they get, how many prims they can put on the land, and how many people can come and visit. 

          And they want it in three flavors: cheap (but iffy), moderately priced and reliable, and super high-performance premium.

          • To me, its price, land amount, prim allowance. I check the hardware, but only to get an idea of the level of performance I can expect. As for how many people, I’ve always just thought I’d let things grow as they may. If I were to get lots of visitors, then I know its time to sell/rent land to pay for expansion.

          • Alexander Duncan

            That’s actually another point I didn’t make in my article. During my due diligence I was told by SimHost that I was purchasing a package specifically designed for “performance freaks.” So I had high expectations.

  • Well, I have been with OSgrid under a different name and a user of Opensim software since 2008 and I am still learning! I’m no techie but I have learned to use Opensim putting up regions on OSgrid including a 20 region sailing mega and a hypergrid accessed standalone mega of, presently, 9 regions. I use 2 q4 virtual servers of 16gig ram each which runs my little lot just fine. It is a rare event these days if one of my sims crash and it can usual be put down to my mistakes rather than Opensim itself.

    I think you were rather harsh on Opensim, Alexander when clearly you have problems with your host. I have had many problems over the years with Opensim but I always knew it would take time for the developers to get it up to speed and I am really very disappointed that just now, as Opensim is really starting to reach a high state of stability and usefulness to those of us working quietly away at building virtual experiences for the future to come across an articles like this to read when, believe me when I say, I know better. I learned it the hard way!

    But I also got lots of help along the way as a trip to Lbsa Plaza on OSgrid will always be rewarded most times by smart people who hang out there who are well able to help others, or even the Opensim devs IRC channel. I think it is unfortunate that you appear to have got frustrated and exploded with a list a Opensim failings, many of which are simply not true when you have to software running right.

    As others have pointed out, Opensim can be a simple as running SoaS on your home PC (with low performance) or a good deal more complicated on virtual servers with much higher performance than anything Second Life can muster.

    You are right about the sim crossings though as Opensim doesn’t hand off very well but I read Avination and Inworldz do it better. But, hey, that’s why we have mega regions with out those damn border crossings!

    I wish you well, Alexander and I hope you find the service you need and spare Opensim a little grace. It really is wonderful, free software and I for one am extremely grateful to the developers and the volunteers who run OSgrid on donations and their own time. Thank you, guys!

    • Alexander Duncan

      In fairness to myself I was told by SimHost that the problem lay with OpenSim and with us know-nothing SLers. You are of course correct: my article was a description of my experience, which was a combination of the host and OpenSim itself. I am not finding some of these problems with New World Studio, but I am only running 4 regions. Not sure about 16. And they are running as a megaregion apparently, not true separated regions. Not that it’s on the same level as SL, but close enough considering its free. I actually liked the old SL better than the current version in some ways. And I am very impressed by some OS regions I saw in OSGrid and also some OS objects I have seen (terrible selection, but some creators are very skilled). Once I have formulated a revised opinion I will be happy to write a new blog touting the virtues of OpenSim on the New World Grid. Maybe I will! 🙂

  • Whenever I have problems using OpenSim or find myself comparing it to Second Life, I remember these words from the developers:

    Out of the box, OpenSimulator can be used to simulate virtual environments similar to Second Life™, given that it supports the core of SL’s messaging protocol. As such, these virtual worlds can be accessed with the regular SL viewers. However, OpenSimulator is neither a clone of Second Life’s server nor does it aim at becoming such a clone. On the contrary, OpenSimulator lacks support for many of the game-specific features of Second Life (on purpose), while pursuing innovative directions towards becoming the bare bones, but extensible, server of the 3D Web.OpenSimulator is getting more stable as it approaches release 1.0, but we still consider it alpha software; so should you.

    source: http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Main_Page

  • Alexander Duncan

    Just a quick addendum to my article, above. Since then I have registered a free 4-region account with the New World Grid using New World Studio and Imprudence. I must say I am impressed! OpenSim runs from a civilized GUI, not an uncouth programmer’s console, which runs in the background and is completely accessible if you need or want it. I was able to make the world public at http://24.246.86.158:9000/ with a bit of effort. They even provide a website with account creation and login capability (neither of which  have verified yet) at http://24.246.86.158:9000/wifi. SimHost doesn’t provide any of this. (New World Studio does have one idiosyncrasy that I don’t like at all. Somehow all of the regions have been linked to the estate settings for region 1, so if you replace the landmap for regions 2 through 4, it changes region 1, not the region you are in. The menubar title of all of the regions is taken from region 1. Finally, the terrain settings for region 1 don’t actually change regions 3 through 4, so these regions seem to be stuck in the default state. You can however terraform regions 3 through 4 by hand, but you can’t change the terrain. Still, it’s pretty shocking when a free service is almost identical to a $189 a month service.)

    • The New World Studio — like Sim-on-a-Stick — is based on the Diva Distro, which is, by default, set up as a megaregion. The plus? No border crossings. The downside? The four regions kind of act like one single region, creating some weirdnesses. 

      It’s great for building on — as I said, no border crossings. Wonderful for corporate campuses, residential areas, etc… Not so great for saving individual OAR files, or some other region-specific tasks. 

      You can add as many regions as your computer can hold. If you’re only having a couple of visitors, you can probably add all 16. 🙂 

      In fact, you can run your grid this way — many hosting providers offer these “minigrids,” which are basically Diva’s running on single servers, no borders, in typical sizes of 4, 9, and 16 regions. 

      You can go into the .INI file and turn off the megaregion setting — or, and this is a little bit easier — go into the console and simply create new, standalone regions near your main landmass — when you create a new region, by default, it won’t be attached to any existing megaregion. 

      •  The minus of megaregions is child avatar loads, if you have a 9 sim megaregion, then every avatar than lands essentially is about equal to NINE avatars landing on a regular region

  • Lateral_Thinking

     An opinion on this articleQ: sluggish and erratic performance; A: have you checked your connection to the server Q: repeated crashes, especially while flying (which was significantly slower than Second Life); A: see above response Q: avatars flying away into what is euphemistically referred to as “the void” (a bug that Linden Lab fixed long ago); A: sea above above Q: apparently random sim crashes, for no apparent reason, requiring frequent manual restarts; A: see what’s causing it (SL scripts) Q: non-rezzing or partially rezzing Opensim objects; A: check your connection (are you using Dialup?) Q: Opensim objects rezzing pieces of themselves all over the terrain; A: do you know how to build? Q: randomly appearing pseudo-holes in the terrain; A: see scripts again  Q: objects rezzing underground; A: check your root prim position Q: avatars sinking into the ground; A: same as Pseudo holes Q: prims self-replicating themselves for no apparent reason; A: Do you understand Shift Copy? Q: objects rezzing as phantom and no way to make them solid (when I tried to do so, they failed to change their state); A: check the link set root prim I bet it is phantom unlink re link set to non phantom ^^ Q: objects that could not be selected and therefore could not be deleted; A: you should learn how to import a build or check your connection again as that is a bad asset issue  Q: distortions and loss of textures in objects made in world; A: bad upload check lossless and check your connection yet again  Q: persistently cloudy avatars; and A: yes a known bug but can be resolved with a little work (also that is a connection issue I would say 9 out of 10 times)Q: The inability to sell land to avatars, even for zero currency, despite claims to the contrary (we were told that parcels could be set for sale for zero currency, as in Second Life; however, attempts to do so never worked). A:  quite an easy fix that one if you want I will tell you but I do not think you will want to know as your 3 week experiment has soured you come back when Opensim is perfect Just like SL is that never has had any issues 🙂  Hmm last one they broke (RLV) and that I would imagine would upset a few  My Conclusion:I suggest you Use http://www.speedtest.net Regular as your connection sounds pretty bad well their is something wrong between you and the host I would sayAs for sim host they seem ok they have been around for along time in Opensim one of the first hosters and I visit many places that use them and well they run fine better than most if you had an issue with the person you dealt with ok but from this post here I would say a two way street might be involved.Opensim yep buggy has many issues very true but in its present incarnation its stable a joy to use and all these fixes are being resolved each update also features that SL would love but you would have to stay longer to find those out :)ok so  I have been a bit tongue in cheek with this response but if you are going to get serious with Opensim you will have to do a lot of research and work on it yourself as their are no definitive answers on all of the code personally before you went feet first in to such a project why did you not test it out fully before their are lots of variants and I would have thought you would have put a region up on osgrid to find the nuances with the code and function of Opensim so yes buyer beware but id have to say in this case user you should do more research in what is a really complex project. And I am pleased to see you are trying something else with new world grid out but remember it is a variant of Opensim their are many copy’s (duck it’s the cylons) :)(These are the thoughts of my avatar not necessarily my own thoughts)
    An opinion on this articleQ: sluggish and erratic performance;
     
    A: have you checked your connection to the server
     
    Q: repeated crashes, especially while flying (which was significantly slower than Second Life);
     
    A: see above response
     
    Q: avatars flying away into what is euphemistically referred to as “the void” (a bug that Linden Lab fixed long ago);
     
    A: sea above above
     
    Q: apparently random sim crashes, for no apparent reason, requiring frequent manual restarts;
     
    A: see what’s causing it (SL scripts)
     
    Q: non-rezzing or partially rezzing Opensim objects;
     
    A: check your connection (are you using Dialup?)
     
    Q: Opensim objects rezzing pieces of themselves all over the terrain;
     
    A: do you know how to build?
     
    Q: randomly appearing pseudo-holes in the terrain;
     
    A: see scripts again
     
    Q: objects rezzing underground;
     
    A: check your root prim position
     
    Q: avatars sinking into the ground;
     
    A: same as Pseudo holes
     
    Q: prims self-replicating themselves for no apparent reason;
     
    A: Do you understand Shift Copy?
     
    Q: objects rezzing as phantom and no way to make them solid (when I tried to do so, they failed to change their state);
     
    A: check the link set root prim I bet it is phantom unlink re link set to non phantom ^^
     
    Q: objects that could not be selected and therefore could not be deleted;
     
    A: you should learn how to import a build or check your connection again as that is a bad asset issue
     
    Q: distortions and loss of textures in objects made in world;
     
    A: bad upload check lossless and check your connection yet again
     
    Q: persistently cloudy avatars; and
     
    A: yes a known bug but can be resolved with a little work (also that is a connection issue I would say 9 out of 10 times)
    Q: The inability to sell land to avatars, even for zero currency, despite claims to the contrary (we were told that parcels could be set for sale for zero currency, as in Second Life; however, attempts to do so never worked).
     
    A:  quite an easy fix that one if you want I will tell you but I do not think you will want to know as your 3 week experiment has soured you come back when Opensim is perfect Just like SL is that never has had any issues 🙂  Hmm last one they broke (RLV) and that I would imagine would upset a few
     
     
    My Conclusion:
    I suggest you Use http://www.speedtest.net Regular as your connection sounds pretty bad well their is something wrong between you and the host I would say
    As for sim host they seem ok they have been around for along time in Opensim one of the first hosters and I visit many places that use them and well they run fine better than most if you had an issue with the person you dealt with ok but from this post here I would say a two way street might be involved.
    Opensim yep buggy has many issues very true but in its present incarnation its stable a joy to use and all these fixes are being resolved each update also features that SL would love but you would have to stay longer to find those out 🙂
    ok so  I have been a bit tongue in cheek with this response but if you are going to get serious with Opensim you will have to do a lot of research and work on it yourself as their are no definitive answers on all of the code personally before you went feet first in to such a project why did you not test it out fully before their are lots of variants and I would have thought you would have put a region up on osgrid to find the nuances with the code and function of Opensim so yes buyer beware but id have to say in this case user you should do more research in what is a really complex project. And I am pleased to see you are trying something else with new world grid out but remember it is a variant of Opensim their are many copy’s (duck it’s the cylons) 🙂
    (These are the thoughts of my avatar not necessarily my own thoughts)

    • New World Studio is an OpenSim installer. It uses the standard Diva Distro at its core — so it’s not actually a “variant” of OpenSim. 

      It does simplify the installation process quite a bit for new users. You’re not actually on New World Grid with this — you get your own standalone mini-grid from where you can hypergrid teleport to New World Grid, or to OSGrid, or 70-plus other grids. (That I know of.)

      Meanwhile, all those solutions you mentioned — the vendor should have gone through all that with the customer. 

      I really believe that vendors should bend over backwards, especially for folks new to OpenSim. A bad experience can easily turn someone away from OpenSim permanently, and not just them, but everyone they talk to.

      A good experience — I’m not saying everything needs to go perfectly — but a good experience with the vendor, even on a small project, can lead to bigger projects and good word-of-mouth down the line. 

      Vendors should treat even their smallest customers with courtesy. You never know who’s just dipping their toes in with a small pilot project before jumping in to do something really big.

      • Lateral_Thinking

        Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 Oxford University Press:variant/ˈveəriənt/
        ▶noun a form or version that varies from other forms of the same thing or from a standard.

        Semantics really it is a Diva Distro with another front end and maybe some more variations as I said there are differences with lots of Opensim code small though they might be as is a grid setup a variant.And I did say Buyer Beware I would say that you check out anything before making any financial decision.And we only have one side of the story really and people disagreeing with the article that have had and are having good service it seems but hey I was not there just as you were not. so I read it like a disgruntled customer that was not happy with xyz service but many are saying their experience has been fine. And I have met many people in Opensim that are going to do big things and find it a little tougher than that in the end with what is nearly beta code but is still Alpha. I think that is why there is passion on people’s comments as many many of us put time and effort and work very hard in the whole project and worlds and fun that are built from it. We all hope to get good service on all things in life I agree with you there!Also the Customer is not always right they can be mistaken as can be the vendor and at least they were speaking which is more than most services now even if they were at opposite ends of expectations.(These are the thoughts of my avatar not necessarily my own thoughts)

      • BlueWall Slade

         Diva Distro is *exactly* OpenSimulator with some additional modules.

      • “I really believe that vendors should bend over backwards, especially for folks new to OpenSim. A bad experience can easily turn someone away from OpenSim permanently, and not just them, but everyone they talk to.”

        How do you know Simhost didn’t bend over backwards? People are posting on here saying they have good service is from Simhost. It’s the old TripAdvisor thing, you have to read the good and bad reviews to get a true picture.

    • Alexander Duncan

      I won’t be reading the comments to my blog any further so I will just say here that less than half a week after converting to the FREE New World Grid almost ALL of the issues have disappeared, not simply for myself but for my two associates, who are logging in from other places, so it’s not attributable merely to the fact that I am “close” to my PC. So much for various theories of my lack of skill or the poor performance of my computer or my Internet connection. So one is left with only two choices: the OpenSim version or installation or SimHost itself. I’ll leave you to stew in your own collective soup on that one. I have better things to do than continue to read drivel such as this post.

      • Talk about toys out of pram, Alexander if you don’t want
        people to voice their opinion on your experience, don’t post it. All of the
        replies explaining possible fixes seem reasonable and fair, unlike your post
        that comes across more and more as sour grapes and someone having abit of a
        rant. (BTW I am having one now :-P)

        Both yours and Maria’s responses are sounding to me like a
        bit of a witch hunt against Simhost. People are commenting and giving possible
        fixes and saying they are happy with Simhost, but you are classing this as “drivel”.

        Fair enough you are not happy with the service you got from
        Simhost, but there are ways of addressing that, a blog is not it. TBF to
        Simhost they do state on their website:-

        “OpenSimulator and
        realXtend are both experimental pieces of software. They do from time to time
        break (and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise).”

        You’re now saying that you are happy with the New World Grid
        set up which is great, but it’s hard to compare this to the set up you got with
        Simhost as it’s like comparing apples and oranges. You signed up for a full dedicated
        server, (which if you want to run a full grid of any size you will need). If I
        understand right, New world  is running from
        your PC (very much like Sim on a Stick, which is fab btw) This is fine for you
        and a few friends, but if you are planning on lots of regions and members, good
        luck on that one and I’ll await your blog on how it all pans out 😉  Please forgive my sarcasm but looking at your
        site it does not read like you just want a grid for a few friends, it reads
        like you are wanting a full commercial grid in the end, which you are not going
        to be able to run off your PC. I do find it entertaining that you are now using
        a FREE system and asking for donations on your website, lets stew on that one
        in our collective soup. 

        Accept my apology if I have got you wrong, but I only
        have this blog and your website to go off and the above is how it looks to me.

         

  • Walter Balazic

    I can give you some first hand information about Simhost as well as OSgrid and/or Opensimulator.  We ran some regions for 5 years in Second Life™ so I can tell you this… 

         Is it 100% as stable as SL in all cases?  No… However, SL has PLENTY of downtime and mechanical failures that I don’t experience in Opensimulator, and I’m not paying 300.00 per month per region either.  I’ve been with James and Opensimulator for almost 2 years now and we run 54 regions in OSgrid, and 47 in our own grid LFgrid with a community of residents that is over 100.  All of the servers are hosted by Simhost, and I can assure you we almost NEVER have mechanical failure, and when we do, it’s corrected almost immediately.  We run Pingdom reports for our Network status and our connectivity is incredibly fast.  We happen to run one of the busiest and most complex set of regions on OSgrid with the Littlefield Mall which is 5 sims and over 150,000 prims collectively.  We get an average of 100-130 visitors per day there.  Granted, I probably have to restart that “particular” region at least once per day, but this is not due to the hardware or Simhost.  This is more caused by the opensimulator software’s nature of being opensource and the incredible amount of activity, primcount, scripts, etc…  Allow me to elaborate on this particular point.  We have people who come in with a whole variety of untested viewers.  They hypergrid in sometimes, they may wear some peculiar scripted HUD objects, or any number of variables.  Will this effect the simulator?  Sure.  I could turn off EVERYTHING so they had a poor experience when visiting there, but in my opinion, restarting a region once per day isn’t out of line, and if you have the appropriate configuration and setup this can be done almost automatically.

         Those of you who know me know that I have been in the IT business for over 25 years, and I can tell you that I have plenty of PRODUCTION software that can at times be equally as unstable.  I would also like to point out that people like to call this “Alpha Software”…  I wish people would stop calling this Alpha..  Something is only Alpha if there is a Beta and Production system in place or a map or project plan in place to move in that direction.  OSgrid has no Beta and/or Production systems in place that any of us are aware of, nor do they have any intention of doing so.. that being said, there can be no Alpha without those in place.  That being said, based on the fluid nature of the Opensimulator software, it doesn’t take much to find what for “your” environment is a nice stable release and SIT on that release until a release comes out that will add functionality for you and still maintain stability.  Anything worth doing isn’t something that is done turnkey and just happens as if magically.  Everything, and I mean everything that is worthwhile takes some form of work and effort for it to be productive.  That is the case with Opensimulator. 

  • Alexander Duncan

    UPDATE

    I have now been running DaseinWorld on my PC for several weeks with the assistance my two collaborators who were also involved wit the SimHost fiasco. Interestingly, despite some of the comments, many of the issues described above have disappeared, including: sluggishness; frequent crashes, both of the avie and of the sim; flying into the void (on the very few occasions that my avie flies away, it snaps back to its original postion as in SL); weird object rez problems; holes in the terrain (I now see how this problem arose: if you watch it, the terrain loads in a clockwise pattern from the outside in, the last tile to load being the centre – this is the where the hole appeared); self-replicating prims; and cloudy avies. Therefore, all of these problems were specific to SimHost, not OpenSim. Which is not to say that OpenSim is bug free. The worst problem I have encountered so far is “ghost prims” – prims which do not appear in About Land, but appear in-world as solid objects but cannot be selected or deleted. The fix for this, I have discovered, is to hit CTRL-3. The edit box will open, and one can draw a window around the prim. If you keep doing this, within a dozen or so tries it will “catch” and the prim will be selected. You still can’t delete it however. However, you can delete it by making it a Temp object. It will disappear within a couple of minutes. This and other fixes will be in my forthcoming book, The No-Nonsense, Kick-Ass, Kick-Start Guide to OpenSim.

  • dollarability

    The author of the following blog cites this article and confirms the author’s experiences with SimHost. http://ajthompson.com.au/live/virtual_worlds/inworldz-versus-second-life/#.UpuOTuq9KSM