Sex-themed grid launches today

Sex has helped drive many recent technological innovations, from printing to VHS tapes to the Internet itself. Second Life has been a big beneficiary of the interest in virtual sex, as has Utherverse.

But  there hasn’t yet been a commercial OpenSim grid dedicated solely to virtual sex.

That changes with today’s official launch of the Lust Airlines grid.

Shops, help wanted signs and boarding areas to other in-world destinations at the Lust Airlines main concourse. (No airplanes yet, though.)

Other grids may include adult content, as part of their broader social or role playing content.

“We’re the first one that we would say are 100 percent adult oriented,” said William Lamb, senior vice president at Lust Airlines and operations manager at parent company Dig-It, LLC.

Traditional business model

While the grid may be following a non-traditional content path, the business model is very much in line with other commercial grids.

William Lamb

According to Lamb, Lust Airlines will sell currency, content, land, and premium memberships.

“Lust Airlines originally started as a build for a client who wanted to create something that rivaled the Red Light Center [link leads to adult content],” he said. “We began construction on that. He backed out, but we decided that there was enough money-making potential there for us to go forward.”

The grid is hosted on cloud-based servers. As a result, land rental costs will be low, Lamb said.

The grid will also offer opportunities for freelance artists and virtual escorts to make money, he added.

Right now, the grid is in beta, and no land or premium memberships are available. Once they are, the memberships will cost $20 a month, and will include access to premium areas and private apartments as well as in-world currency allowances.

One difference between Lust Airlines and other OpenSim grids — and Second Life — is that Lust Airlines won’t be an open-ended social world.

“We’re not allowing people to just upload content into the grid,” said Lamb. “We’re trying to limit that to just the developers. We don’t have open build anywhere and if build is acessible, such as for unpacking packages, it’s set for short-term auto-return. We’re not trying for the free and open system you find in Second Life and other grids. This is going to function like a limited game.”

Most people who come to Second Life find that it’s too confusing, he added.

“We’re trying to create something that will appeal to people that this doesn’t usually appeal to.”

(Image courtesy Lust Airlines.)

Lust Airlines also differs from most other OpenSim grids in that it doesn’t currently support mesh.

“We decided to simplify, and sculpties are just fine for us,” he said. “We’re on a design level of 2005 to 2007 Second Life rather than modern Second Life.”

Another difference is that, unlike most other grids, Lust Airlines uses voice from Ventrillo instead of Vivox. Vivox is the go-to voice platform for many large online games, including Second Life, but is also free for small, non-profit and educational grids. Once the grid is bigger and ready to buy enterprise-level, supported voice, Vivox will be considered, Lamb added. “That’s when we’ll make the hard choice.”

Next, the company plans to build a long term medieval simulation and a role playing game featuring breedable avatars.

Seeking content providers, animators

The biggest challenge, Lamb said, was finding high-quality animations.

“Sex beds and S&M accessories are part of our core construction, and you’ll find those types of devices throughout our sims,” Lamb said. “However, there are only a limited number installed right now, because it’s increasingly difficult to find people to supply the files for animations. It seems to be the most underdeveloped business associated with Second Life, skills-wise.”

Lamb said that he hopes to see more animations now that free software is available for use with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect system.

In addition, he said, some Second Life content creators are hesitant about licensing their content to commercial users.

“They don’t see it as a business opportunity,” he said. “But we’re going to hand them money to use their product.”

Eventually, he said, the grid will probably look to hire more content creators or animators as employees, and also look for content partners interested in working on commission.

Folks interested in getting involved can contact Lamb at [email protected] or company CEO Ken Dencer at [email protected].

“We are definitely looking for animators willing to partner up with us,” Lamb said. “Right now, the only products we’re providing are avatar clothing and accessories. We’re trying to keep it simple.”

Dancers and escorts will need to register with the grid in order to be able to accept in-world payment, he added. But the grid won’t restrict users who want to do things on their own, say via PayPal payments.

Opening day celebration

The grid will have its grand opening party tomorrow, Saturday, at 7 p.m. Pacific Time.  The grid will be giving away free in-world currency and a free premium membership. All premium areas will be open to public access, as well.

You can register for an account here. Lamb recommends that users download the official grid viewer here, which is a version of Imprudence customized slightly for the grid.

Those who already have a viewer, or who have problems with the official viewer, can also add the grid’s loginURI to their viewer of choice: http://50.57.166.153:8002/

In addition to a two-region welcome area, styled to look like an airport, there are also a dozen or so regions built with Paris, Las Vegas, and Caribbean themes.

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

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.

  • Nick Zwart

    Can kids hypergrid to this place?

    • http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/ Maria Korolov

      No, it’s a closed grid. No hypergrid. You must be over 18 to get an account.

      • Nick Zwart

        Ok, but it can be disturbing for the promotion of OpenSim in education. Lots of parents have horrible ideas in their head about SL, and now it comes to Opensim too.

        • http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/ Maria Korolov

          I think some educators are looking at setting up trusted networks of hyperlinked grids, that outsiders can’t get in, with the idea of sharing resources while still staying secure.

          But they can also just share OAR files, say, with complete classrooms and lesson plans.

          • Jamie Wright

            I’m a big promoter in using OpenSim for Education but as a closed grid model so the places kids sign up for can be guaranteed a PG environment. I think awareness is good but panic is unnecessary in terms of announcements like this. It’s like anything on the internet – you need to monitor what your kids/students do online and guide them in appropriate choices. The same goes for television, movies and video games.

            I also think that having a designated themed grid like this means people over 18 who want to experience sexuality in virtual worlds will do so in a place where other people are seeking the same. It sounds like the setup is being handled very tastefully and respectfully.

            In a way news about a grid like this could open up constructive dialogue between parents/teachers and kids about internet safety and following the rules of age restrictions. Some places are for adults and it’s smart to make kids aware of that so they can set safe boundaries for themselves.

            I do have some concerns that people underage could dodge the age restriction system as it seems like there is always a way to lie on those things. Again that just further states the need for parental supervision of a child (especially a teen’s) internet habits. Computers in common space as opposed to bedrooms can be a very effective way to manage this without making a kid feel like you’re obviously intruding. And teachers – be roaming in your labs so they know you’ll be seeing their screen time. Sometimes people figure out how to navigate through the school filters. Also, take an interest in the games and sites your child/students gravitates to so you can understand them (whether you actually like them or not).

    • Samantha Atkins

      Worrying about kids learning about sex or being so stupid as to tell a predator where they live is way way overplayed imho.

  • Gaga

    I think one of the great things about Opensim is that you can set up a closed grid or, if I remember rightly, the next HG2 version will provide the means to restrict access while keeping hypergrid open. In any event, Linden Lab has not been able to keep children out of adult areas but with Opensim grids I think far more certain restrictions are possible.

  • Samantha Atkins

    I see that the basic business idea could work. But I think they are making a mistake not allowing participants to upload content on their own land or design their own adult spaces. Many people have considerable expertise in this area from similar activities (whether commercialized or not) in SecondLife. It is a mistake imho to not take advantage of so much voluntary expertise and labor. It misses the value add that is a core plus of opensim and SL.

  • Joe Builder

    Been in RLC back years ago for 3 years (Red Light Center) going to be hard to beat that the technology isnt available yet other than SL so good luck on this adult themed Grid. Maybe a little more open minded on the content thing.

  • http://twitter.com/iliveisl Ener Hax

    hmm, what about Sim-on-a-Stick! =p

    sounds kind of dirty if you say it right! =D

    they just need to tie into Kinect and teledildonics! o_O

    more power to them but i’ll stick to having fun doing educational stuff and remain flat-chested and silly =)

    • Gren

      Sims on USB sticks are a bad idea, USB sticks have a much shorter life than hard drives abd are more subject to failures. As a short term implementation ok, but for regular use no.

      • http://twitter.com/iliveisl Ener Hax

        i use mine like nuts and for classroom use, they are very cost effective =)

        i’ve been using one particular stick for two years with 6 copies on it and also use that stick for creating the packages. i also use that stick daily for surfing with Chrome – i’ll post about it if it ever dies =)

  • Gren

    Second Life is pretty much a dedicated sex world so… what is going to make this ‘Lust Airlines’ appeal to SL’s hordes of sad sicko perverts?

    I have to say this is such a great use of OpenSim software, quite inspiring really…

    Just what the internet needs… another haven for guys wanting to dress up as girls and abuse naive other males. Well done!

    • Jamie Wright

      I would speculate that it would appeal more to the already OpenSim converted. In my experience the OpenSim attracts more of a mature crowd which could lead to more honest exchanges for something like this. Having not actually been involved in the SL sex areas or the OpenSim ones (as more than just a tourist at their regions or events of a non sexual nature) I am indeed purely just speculating. However I can tell you this about the OpenSim and it applies to the regions in OSGrid which do cater to adult activities as well; I’ve never been solicited or worse; outright harassed in the OpenSim. When I was in SL I met some real creeps who had trouble acknowledging the word no unless you pretty much told them off and tped away or logged off. And that was while I just roamed the non adult rated areas in the usual exploration of a virtual world. In a few extreme cases I even reported the more frightening and abusive ones in the hopes of sparing someone else my disturbing encounter. The adult activity hubs of the OpenSim have been more safe and respectful communities than the regular lands of SL. If people who choose that lifestyle in OpenSim virtual worlds want a place to express that and they’re not harming anyone who doesn’t choose that then I completely support it. When I talk about maturity in the OpenSim – that’s the difference.

  • Domi

    tried to register but it aint working no more …i mean the registration page blank no page or maybe slow

  • Samantha Atkins

    Not allowing people to build and modify their own content is likely a big mistake. The rest seems reasonable. It occurs to me that one could do a online dating and sex hookup straight on top of Kitely with adult themed regions. Chat someone up in whatever environment online and pop into a 3D social/sex scene at the price of a button. Get a virtual room guys! :)

    • http://www.kitely.com Ilan Tochner

      You can definitely do that in an Adult rated Kitely world. You can even set one up in a Free Plan account and set it up so only you and your partner can enter it.

  • Guest

    LustGrid.com may still be available

  • Y Ev

    LustGrid.com may still be available…