Easiest OpenSim at $20 per year

The commercial version of New World Studio is due out soon, and prices start at $20 per year for individual users, $38 for non-profits, and $64 for businesses.

The Community Edition is still available for free, but has less functionality. (My review of its preview release is here.)

Both editions are by far the easiest way to set up an OpenSim world on your own computer, but the premium Licensed Edition adds some management features.

I got a chance to look at the pre-release version last week.

Free features

New World Studio is, at heart, a packaged version of OpenSim similar to the Diva Distro or Sim-on-a-Stick. The difference is the installer — once you download and unzip the files, you just click on New World Studio and it does everything — sets up the MySQL databases, Apache, loads a starter region, creates your avatar. It even loads up the viewer and logs you in automatically.

The free edition is available for Windows, Linux and Macintosh computers, and the interface comes in English, French, Spanish and German.

And if a new version of OpenSim comes out, there’s an automated update process.

Folks who know their way around OpenSim can still fiddle around with configuration files and do anything else they want with OpenSim, so New World Studio doesn’t take away any functionality for advanced users.

There is one downside to the product, though, and that is the size of the download. Since the Community Edition comes with not just the OpenSim itself, but also Apache, MySQL, Imprudence and several starter region OARs, it’s a hefty 166 megabytes in zipped form.

I would like to see an option to download the software without a viewer if you already have a viewer installed on your machine — or to have the installer download the viewer separately if there isn’t one already installed.

I haven’t tested the update functionality — that will have to wait until an update is available.

Premium features

The Licensed Edition of New World Studio makes it easy to set the avatar name and password, pick a starting OAR and starting avatar, set region coordinates, and choose the size of the world and whether to have megaregions enabled.

Initial setup screen of the New World Studio Licensed Edition.

Initial setup screen of the New World Studio Licensed Edition.

How big a world you can have — and how many prims you can put it on it — depends completely on your machine, and how many visitors you expect to have. If it’s just you, and it’s a powerful modern system, you can run 16 regions. For an average machine, four regions is a good bet.

Enable megaregions if you want people to be able to move around the whole world with no border crossings. This is good for vehicles and roleplaying or if you’re building megaregion worlds for uploading to platforms that support them, such as Kitely. Turn megaregions off if you want to eventually save each region as a separate OAR file.

The Licensed Edition is supposed to support hypergrid connectivity, automatically enabling routers, taking care of the networking, and dealing with the hypergrid settings. I wasn’t able to get it to work, possibly of my evil router. I could enter hypergrid addresses, but teleports failed each time.

Other problems I was were minor, and will probably be fixed soon. For example, if you run the Licensed Edition, you have to find and select your license key file, which is an unusual way to do things. The Licensed Edition also doesn’t automatically launch the standard functionality of the Community Edition. You have to launch it separately, since they are two separate programs.

The Licensed Edition will also have more features available in the future, including backups, viewer selection, and procedural terrain generation.

Is the Licensed Edition worth it?

For me, personally, the lack of hypergrid connectivity is a deal-breaker — this is the number one thing I want in a home version of OpenSim. However, if you’re using OpenSim for local building or classes, it’s a pretty good deal because it just makes things so easy.

But I’m going to pony up the $20 whether or not they can get hypergrid to work on my computer simply because I want to encourage developers to work on interfaces.

Related Posts


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. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

23 Responses

  1. savino@skynet.be' savino svm says:

    hmm yes i have also test this smal edition. good for people will learn opensim and will learn building unstressed. and i also have plannings for a pro edition allone the reason for suport this developers…this its a good start in this version..
    the simulator sit in the background this find i ok. newbies need not see all this codes rolling. this give more stressed.


  2. Maria, thanks. Hypergrid connectivity is meant to be included in the Community Edition.

  3. trrlynn73@gmail.com' Minethere says:

    wonderful start Olivier-)))

  4. Sarge Misfit says:

    I’m not sure I have this correct.

    It sets up the same things as SoaS, that is, Apache, MySQL and OpenSim. Which are all free.

    It updates OpenSim the same as Diva’s Distro does. Which is free.

    You cannot use your preferred (and free) viewer, you have to use the one that comes with it.

    It loads an OAR for your land, which, from the example shown, are free.

    It uses a GUI to interface with the console.

    For $20 per year.

    • vr@shadowypools.co.uk' KeithSelmes says:

      I haven’t used it yet, but it sounds as though it does a good deal more than SOAS or DD. Personally I can live with using consoles with idiosyncratic commands, precise syntax and unhelpful help, but a lot of people weren’t bred up on that. If NWS can wrap up the most useful functions in an easy gui, it’ll be very helpful and potentially encourage new users. One to watch, as it looks like it’ll have more functionality in future, and probably a solution worth recommending. Might even find it useful myself, as a time and frustration saver.

      (One thing, if I understood correctly, you don’t have to use the bundled viewer, it’s there to make sure you do have one)

    • Ener Hax says:

      $20 a year = 2 poutines with sodas =)

    • arpholdings@gmail.com' AviWorlds says:

      Sarge it may be simple to you but please do not be so selfish and not see the other people’s choices and perhaps abilities. Not everyone can OR WANT to change INI files and all in order to configure a virtual world.
      So let there be CHOICES!

      YES YOU CAN USE PREFERRED VIEWER WITH THE FREE VERSION. All you need to do is configure it. It is possible to configure the FREE version to do whatever you want.
      It is a matter of choice! And if you do not want to configure it just get the PAID version.

      I tried SIM ON A STICK and DIVA, I had to spend hours configuring it. I rather use NWS. Much simpler!
      I give my full support to OLIVIER and NWS!

    • isisdanaevirtual@gmail.com' Isis Ophelia says:

      Sarge to say it more correct. How I see it. NWS paid version its a console. It starts the NWS free version (which has all those free progis you mention above and which is available to anyone). I paid the 20 US$ to be able to use the NWS paid feautures, like to save and load OARs with 1 click. To make backups of my Inventory with 1 click. And I can use my prefered Cool Viewer. I just don’t click on the NWS Console on Log in your world, but start the Cool Viewer, pick Localhost using my local grid name and pw and there I am in my 4 Regions local grid. If the 20 bucks save me time changing INIs and loading files manually, they are worth to be spent. It’s not a big amount for 1 year. Besides that purchasing the paid version is for me a way to say ‘Thank you’ to the developer, because he gave the Community the NWS and NWS 2.0 free versions which I’ve used 2 years.

    • Sarge — All the things you mentioned, you can do with the free Community Edition of New World Studio. I did a follow-up article about how to get a lot more out of the Community Edition by editing the INI file: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2013/04/making-new-world-studio-work-for-you/

      And even with having to edit the INI file, the NWS Community Edition is still the easiest way to run OpenSim at home.

      The paid Licensed Edition just saves people the trouble of editing the INI file or having to pull up the console to load or save OAR and IAR files. If you have no trouble with editing INI files and using the server console, then you don’t need to upgrade (unless you feel like supporting the developers).

  5. services@farworldz.com' Gaga says:

    This is a great app for getting a standalone up and running. But, personally, what I want is an app that can be used to set up individual instances as single regions or mega regions to connect to other grids. That would be so useful I would happily pay much more than $20 a year.

    I mentioned this on G+ Opensim Virtual at


  6. savino@skynet.be' savino says:

    wrong Sarge this Gui the viewer its for help people this people have the name noob.NWS will this people. meet opensim in easy steps this the plan off new worldsstudio.. hmm simonastick have not loadable oars iars. the viuewer its free as you will run a other viewer need you allone copy the uri in you viuwer more not..see not there the problem for the vieuwer..as you not like this name virtual studio can you change easy the name in simonastick give this owner troubles. no i like it NWS. and now >>simonastick like i not. troubles in install and change region names. and the owner its simonastick alle time jakkes i am happy my sister not have the name simona or i come more crazy..hugs
    vote simonastick :3 points Newworldsstudio:5 points..

    • Ener Hax says:

      apples and oranges between SoaS and NWS

      SoaS is private workshop – not intended to connect and thus it does not matter your avatar name

      ideal workflow for SoaS is to build things/regions that you then export and use elsewhere in a robust shared environment – such as Kitely

      NWS is still on your own machine and will have limits to how many people can visit

      NWS seems ideal for someone wanting a “home” region to hypergrid from but it can also be used as private workshop as well

      and i’m not sure what you mean by loadable OARs? you can load OARs and IARs to SoaS – they don’t come with it because it is a blank canvas (but you can get some free OARs from me at enerhax.com)

      UNTIL OpenSim can be packaged and installed as an app on your home PC and then be 100% configurable from a web browser and used from a web browser, it won’t see much more uptake (ie, no mainstream appeal)

      people want simple – as simple as Farmville is to use in Facebook – and even that is more complex than many want to deal with

      doing your own thing and sharing: 100 points =)

  7. arpholdings@gmail.com' AviWorlds says:

    Life is a series of choices. Like me I will buy a NWS pro version. Why? Same thing I do with my TV. I could have the free channels but I pay for cable because its simply better and has more choices. More Features.
    Or when I travel I choose first class. Why? Because it gives me more leg room and more food! More space!
    So the same thing applies to NWS! You dont care for more features or automation? Go for the free one or not at all just download it from open sim site …and ..configure it all yourself.
    Me? I want it easy! Simple! No INI FILES to open…I want to click click and click and there!

  8. Revel Peters says:

    I’m not a “noob” but I have been waiting for this for awhile now. Although I can run things on my own and fart with files and install barebones opensim etc for the price tag why not have someone else do that work for me. I see schools and small business using it as well after all time is money and with this small price tag comes some support as well. To me this type of thing means that anyone who works with opensim or wants to work with opensim is free to do so now you just need the knowledge you already have and are not put in the situation of having to learn yet another new thing. As a private individual 20 bucks for my personal hypergrid enabled sim without any overhead and my isp being the limiting factor I dunno seems fair to me. If you are running a website on a windows server its also dead easy (assuming you have access to the virtual desktop) to run opensim behind your website now you need know very little. For anyone curious a great many of us have been asking for this to happen so obviously the price tag is not too high as there was a client base ready and waiting to pony up the cash for this!

  9. inara.pey@gmx.com' Inara Pey says:

    I’ve been using the Community (free) version for a while now, and found it to be pretty impressive. I’ve reviewed it on my own blog (but won’t usurp Maria’s blog with a link here) – including the ease with which it can be configured to run multiple regions / megaregions, use your preferred viewer, load your own OAR file, etc. I’ve not tried loading a custom avatar file as I don’t actually have my own custom avatar file … yet.

    Setting the .INI file is pretty straightforward (I’m hardly a techie myself), and Olivier is to be commended for the ease with which he has made it editable & understandable.

    For those that don’t want the hassle of poking an INI file, $20 a year for personal use isn’t exactly asking the world and – as Maria states – it goes towards helping development.

    As it is, I’ve a 16-region set-up running on my own PC, which I’m using purely for personal building projects – including basic export from NWS into SL (.XML files – not entirely ideal, but when working with prims, does the job). I’m curious as to how well it will play with the upcoming export / import capability in Firestorm (assuming that gets sorted out, as I understand there are a few issues), and the format this uses – last time I saw it active (in a pre-release version), it most certainly wasn’t using .XML; but whether that means it’ll also handle textures (permissions allowing), I’ve no idea. Will have to wait and see whether the bugs get sorted in time to make the next release.

    I’m not sure if I’ll open my personal regions for public access; I’m not entirely sure my PC / connection will handle things (although both are in line for updates now that fibre has finally reached my home). Time will also tell on that score. In the meantime, I’m as happy as a lamb banging prims together and twiddling with sculpts in an environment that is local and fast and not subject to the vagaries of the Internet. Who knows. Might even get me started playing with mesh in earnest … !

  10. lisajacka@gmail.com' Lisa Jacka says:

    I tried it and couldn’t get it to work. I’ve been using SOAS and set up a SOAS mutliuser so I know my way around. I was surprised that it didn’t work. I’ll have to try again. As for Savino saying you can’t change the avatar name in SOAS. You can you just need to use the wifi panel. I create individual avatars for all my kids.

  11. christian.noone@gmail.com' xchrisx says:

    I have used the free version and at first thought it was fab 😉 and recently bought the payed version now with extreme disappointment 🙁 its no better than simonastick at all. its not a one click this and that ect either. you do still need some basic knowledge of opensim and also most likely if you want your region public you will also need some basic i.t knowledge, because it don’t do these things in ONE click like it says on the website. My first time running the payed version it just wouldnt work at all but only for local host, and i have a compatible loopback router already setup for opensim use in the past and also for simona. My advise is to for sure play with the free version first and thinking about simona at the sametime before buying the payed version and also take into account how the developer of new world studio in the past just dropped the project before, so risky for your hard earned cash.

  12. dixydreamscape46@yahoo.com' Dixy Dreamscape says:

    I downloaded the free version a few days ago. I have used the sim on a stick and even downloaded the OpenSim files. The New World Studio is very easy to set up, I really like it and I intend to get a paid yearly version as soon as I can.

    • hanheld@yahoo.com' Han Held says:

      You might want to hold on to your money -the opensim version they use as a base for that is out of date, and missing several modern features (var regions among them), also if it’s able to hypergrid jump you might find yourself bald on others’ screens.

      Wait and see if the guy updates to, *then* plop your money down.