OpenSim regions drop on OSgrid’s spring cleanup

The top 40 OpenSim grid lost nearly 5,000 regions this month, as a result of a long-overdue spring clearing on OSgrid. The last time there was a net drop in regions in OpenSim was last April, when ScienceSim cut around 2,000 regions from its grid, an Intel-backed OpenSim testing platform. The last OSgrid-related drop was back in late 2012.

Other indicators continued to improve, however. The total number of registered users rose by 1,367, to 338,945, and the total number of active users rose slightly as well, to 18,957.

Without OSgrid’s cut of 5,127 regions, the rest of the top 40 grids gained 265 regions.

Number of regions on 40 largest OpenSim grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

Number of regions on 40 largest OpenSim grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

The biggest gainer was Virtual Worlds Grid, which gained 93 regions, followed by Kitely with 64 new regions, Open Virtual Worlds with 51 new regions, PMGrid with 47 new regions, and Zandramas with 30 new regions. All other grids gained 25 regions or less.

There were 224 public grids active at least some of the time over the past month, 196 of which reported statistics. There were a total of 28,684 regions, 359,351 registered users and 21,461 active users on those grids.This count does not include private grids, such as grids run behind school firewalls, or grids set up to run large corporate simulations, or the more than 2,000 mini-grids running on personal New World Studio installations.

Popularity

For company and school grids, relative popularity is not an issue — the grids are set up for a specific purpose, and if they meet that purpose, then they are successful. The same is true for grids run by niche communities or that serve a special need not met elsewhere.

But when it comes to general-purpose social grids, the rule of thumb is: the bigger and busier, the better. People looking to make new friends look for grids that already have the most users. Merchants looking to sell content will go to the grids with the most potential customers. Event organizers looking for the biggest audience… you get the idea.

With that in mind, here are the 10 most popular grids this month:

Top ten most popular grids:

The biggest changes on this list this month was that Kitely moved up one spot, so that it’s now ahead of Craft, and AviWorlds is back on the most popular list again, knocking off the Italian education grid EdMondo.

News from around the grids

The following are updates from grids running on some version of the OpenSim software. If your grid’s announcements aren’t included this month, please email [email protected].

InWorldz prepares for birthday bash

InWorldz is celebrating its fifth birthday starting on Sunday, March 16 and running through April 2, with events on 21 different regions.

There are dedicated areas to showcase on-grid roleplaying and fantasy communities including mermen, pirates, gypsies, tinies and furries. There are regions for fashion, for music, for visual arts, for adults, and for shopping.

Highlights include a  Boat Day on Sunday, March 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific, with racing events, a tall ships parade, a battle demonstration and other activities.  Then there’s a Birthday Cake  and a Crazy Birthday Hat building contest on Sunday, March 29 at 11 a.m. Pacific and 1 p.m. Pacific, respectively. The celebration will conclude with a final awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 2, starting at 11 a.m. Pacific.

InWorldz events calendar

For more details see the Celebrating 5 Years of InWorldz and the So Many Wonderful Contests & Events threads on the InWorldz forums.

Also see the InWorldz Event Calendar (free registration required) or its public Google calendar, for a day-by-day listing of all the events. Forday example, March 16 starts with a live performance by Russell Eponym at 10 a.m. on the Main Stage of the Sim 9 region, followed by Anek Fuchs live at 11 a.m., Melodee McDonnell and ChrisThomas Underwood at 2 at p.m., Jasher Faith at 3 p.m., Ganjo Monkeev at 5 p.m., and Astoria Luminos at 7 p.m. Thre is also a Fantasy Ball at 4 p.m. at the Tavern on Light RP Sim 20.

Virtual Highway celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

On, Monday, March 17, Virtual Highway celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with a party at Marphy’s Irish Pub, with plenty of green beer and leprechauns.

The grid has just concluded its Bike Week series of events, hosted by The Garage.

Bike Week on Virtual Highway grid. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

Bike Week on Virtual Highway grid. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

“There has been a big response from residents joining in the build-your-own bike contest and we’ve also had several new people join so they could also enter,” grid owner Gene Call told Hypergrid Business. “The bikes all look amazing and the wide variety of styles demonstrates just how creative our residents are. Voting on the contest is now drawing to a close and many are waiting with baited breath for the announcement of the winners. The Garage hospitality has been amazing and the arrays of DJ events they have been running throughout the week have been fantastic and very well attended.”

The grid has also welcome a new club, Saints and Sinners, with a grand opening party on March 13, and new entertainer Jimmy Ray Todd, who attended the party with his wife Luna Dukes.

Saints and Sinners grand opening party. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

Saints and Sinners grand opening party. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

“We are  looking forward to his performances in Virtual Highway starting very soon,” said Call. “We would [also] like to welcome Sarge Misfit to the grid and to give him our heartfelt thanks for the wonderful gifts he has placed in the gift area of our Landing for our residents to enjoy. ”

The next big event is the upcoming Spring Festival, with a themed build already underway on Festival Park.

The grid is also holding its Springtime Special on region rentals, where each regular 40,000-prim region at US$60 a month comes with a free 1,000-prim water or landscape region.

On the technology side, the grid is working with the ELDEXchange virtual currency exchange to offer residents more payment options and testing the next version of OpenSim to bring variable regions and vehicle sim crossings to the grid.

“As soon as the bugs are worked out, we will be implementing it all in our production grid,” grid owner Gene Call told Hypergrid Business.

Kitely Market gets closer to hypergrid delivery

It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the Kitely grid, with the testing of hypergrid delivery on its marketplace, and the addition of brand-name merchants like Heart Botanicals.

The testing has gone extremely well, Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business.

Most of the bugs discovered were either those that had already been fixed in the latest official version of OpenSim.

“We were able to create fixes for most of the other bugs by changing code on our end so that we don’t rely on changes to third-party systems for proper delivery,” Tochner added. “We’re discussing ways how to resolve the issues that do require patches to OpenSim with other OpenSim devs.”

Unless new problems show up, hypergrid delivery will open up to a public beta in another week or two, he said.

The new feature has been discussed in the Kitely forums here and here.

“Everything worked perfectly. Very impressive!” said John Lester, also known as Pathfinder in-world, in a comment on the forums. Formerly at Linden Lab, Lester is now chief learning officer at ReactionGrid. “Great work putting this all together. Seriously, this is a huge step in the future of the hypergrid.”

Tropical Paradise adds live music, currency exchange

The Tropical Paradise Virtual World has implemented a TPExChange system, allowing residents to transfer Second Life Linden dollars into the grid’s own B’s virtual currency.

The commercial grid, which is less than a year old, has also attracted some new live music performers.

Tropical Paradise VW pizap.com13948111838451

Every Friday at the Rider Cover region, for example, Kobie Ohanlon performs live. The Tropical Paradise Club and Mall hosts live DJs and live singer Chak Roberts every Saturday. Sunday is a day of performances at Peggy Sue’s, including Littlerosy Qinan, Kobie Ohanlon, and Chak Roberts.

AviWorlds adds upload fees, offers free parcels

AviWorldz, a Brazilian grid with a history of dramatic changes to its business model, is at it again. After turning off hypergrid connectivity for the third time late last month, the grid has decided to start charging for texture uploads a week ago. Most OpenSim grids do not charge residents to upload textures, which are typically used when creators build new objects. In addition, texture uploads are required when users upload virtual objects by Linda Kellie or OpenSim Creations contributors, which are distributed via the Web. Texture uploads are also needed when users download their own creators from other grids in XML format in order to bring them over to new grids. XML object uploads are the only way to bring in outside content to closed commercial grids, which typically do not allow users to upload OAR region files, IAR inventory archive files, or bring content via hypergrid teleport from other grids.

“The problem with a 100 percent free uploading strategy is that people instead of purchasing the content inside the grid instead they bring illegally copied items in order to satisfy their need for content,” said grid owner Alexsandro Pomposelli — also known as Alex Ferraris in-world. “So this scares creators away even more and kills any demand for content created by a growing community.”

To help reduce the burdens on creators themselves, the grid will issue grants of AV$2,000 to each creator, plus a free store. There is also free land for residents.

“Each new player receives a quarter sim parcel with 1,125 prim allowance free,” Pomposelli told Hypergrid Business. “And we have camping and explorers and a referral program that gives out AV$250 for each new player a resident brings in.”

(Image courtesy AviWorlds.)

(Image courtesy AviWorlds.)

Free parcels on jOpenSimWorld

Formerly just a test grid for the Joomla-based OpenSim front end jOpenSim, jOpenSim world is becoming a full-fledged public commercial grid. As part of the transition, the grid is now officially over-18 only, closed to the hypergrid, with Vivox voice and its own in-world currency, the jO$. The Austria-based grid has also updated its Terms of Service, which spells out that creators retail all intellectual property rights, and that the grid complies with DMCA take-down requests and the equivalent Austrian laws.

The grid is also making small free parcels available for would-be residents, owner Georg Klaissner told Hypergrid Business.

Free homes on Sammer’s World

Sammer’s World, a German-language grid that just launched last month, is offering free homes to new residents.

Sammers freehome_540

The grid is hypergrid-enabled, with Vivox voice and the SW$ in-world currency. The grid also offers commercial land rentals through its affiliated hosting company, for 15 Euro or around US$21 per month for a standard region. The grid also charges to upload content — SW$100 or about 0.31 Euro (US$0.43) for images, animations, and group creation and SW$10 to register a partnership.

Sammer’s World is currently the only grid that both allows hypergrid access and charges for texture uploads. It is an unusual combination because hypergrid teleports allow users to bring in exportable content from other grids at no cost.

Transitions

We’re listing 58 grids as suspended this month because we haven’t been able to get to their grid info pages or websites this month, including: 2142, AngelFire Grid, AnSky, araland, Austria Grid, Avatar Classroom, Bereft Living, Bongs Without Borders, Brillyunt, Britannia, CEHS Game Design, Classified Diabolic, Darpa Tech Edge Grid, Digital Art and History, Dreama, EduGrid NL, El Rayo Verde, Evermore, ExoSpace, Extension, Flatlandia, Gangster Wars, Genesis, Gimisa, Greek World, Greekifour, GreTICEland, HRD, JanesPlace, KUNDGRID, LDL World, Majickal Life, Majickal Network, Meridian Grid, Miguelinux, Morpheusgrid, NeuWald, Next Grid, Nilsen, NuevoMundo, OpenSim Fuchs, Ourworldonline, Pillars of Mist, Psychedelia, RandomWorld, Ruby World, SimGrid, Tellus, ThoMaxGrid, Traveler1, Tundra, Virtual Club, Virtual Harmony, Virtual Photography Gallery, Virtual Realms Grid, Virtual Universe, World-DC, and ZiggyZoo.

Meanwhile, we’ve added several new grids to our database, including Meet InstantlyD3DAheilosRedIsis, RedGrid3rd Experimental Primary School of EvosmosFantasy EstatesCastle ReaperTCU, and MajWorld.

If there’s a public grid we’re not tracking, please email us at [email protected]. There’s no centralized way to find OpenSim grids, so if you don’t tell us about it, and Google doesn’t alert us, we won’t know about it.

The stats page for the standard OpenSimulator distribution reported a record high of 5,896 new downloads this month, for a total of more than 28,700 downloads of OpenSim from the official website since the start of 2013, when they began publishing  the data. Interpolating based on trends from other distributions, the Hypergrid Business estimate of OpenSim downloads from the official website is now a little bit over 122,000.

The stats page for the Diva Distro, a user-friendly distribution of OpenSim, reported 452 downloads this month, for a grand total of over 29,100 downloads since the distribution was first released in May of 2011.

Sim-on-a-Stick, an even more user-friendly, packaged version of the Diva Distro, was downloaded 1,035 times this month, for over 28,000 downloads total since the distribution was first released in May 2011.

The even easier still New World Studio, which allows people to set up private grids in just a few clicks with a fully automated installer, recently began publishing its usage statistics. As of today, it reports 22,269 regions on 2,398 different active mini-grids running on this distribution of OpenSim. That’s an increase of 2,976 new regions, and 204 new mini-grids.

Adding in these three other major distributions of OpenSim, we estimate that the OpenSim server software has been downloaded more than 182,000 times since the start of 2010.

Meanwhile, according to data from The Hypergates, the number of hypergate jumps on their network this month dropped by 319, to 2,688. The system now has 735 registered hypergates, down by 35 compared to month, on 64 different grids.

This data is very limited, however. For example, not all hypergates are part of The Hypergates network — anyone can create their own hypergate by dropping a script on any object, such as our touch or walk-through single-destination hypergate script. In addition, many people do hypergrid jumps without using any gate at all, simply by typing a hypergrid address into Map-Search, or by using a hypergrid landmark created during a previous jump. There is currently no way of tracking that traffic.

Meanwhile, Second Life has gained regions for the first month since late 2011, according to data from GridSurvey, with 45 more regions today than the same time last month. The Second Life grid now has 26,176 regions total, down 1,398  regions from this time last year, and 5,709 fewer regions than its peak in June of 2010.

Second Life’s loss rate has been dropping steadily for the past four months, a possible sign of a turn-around in the grid’s fortunes. If growth is permanently back, it would be a good sign for the metaverse as a whole, since Second Life spends more on marketing and outreach than all other grids combined, and also offers a very wide variety of resources to help newcomers learn how to use the viewers and building tools.

Most recently, Linden Lab has been investing in Oculus Rift support, with a new viewer now in beta testing. Second Life seems to be tailor-made for the Oculus Rift, offering users an accessible, low-cost way to create virtual environments for others to enjoy. By comparison, other platforms, like the major video game engines or Unity, require highly specialized programming and content creation skills.

Second Life is also currently the major entry way to OpenSim, which combines an interface already familiar to Second Life users with lower costs and more control.

March Region Counts on the Top 40 Grids

The list below is a small subset of existing OpenSim grids. We are now tracking a total of 810 different publicly-accessible grids, 224 of which were active this month, and 196 of which published their statistics.

Many school, company or personal grids do not publish their numbers.

The raw data for this month’s report is here. A list of all active grids is here.

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.

  • Frank Corsi

    Can you add VirtualWorldCity.com , I had sent you message on facebook about it. Thank You

  • Frank Corsi

    Can you please add VirtualWorldCity.com to your list.

  • Lani Global

    This is a long overdue cleanup of zombie regions for OSGrid. The regions always appear again, along with even more regions. Today, I notice that OSGrid has 7208 regions online at this moment. It is the nature of opensim for many region owners using home computers to not have 24/7/365 sims. These tend to pop up whenever the owner wants to have some activity, and then go away for days or months at a time. They are all still there, ready to be energized 🙂

    • Yea, I think such things are not even worth mentioning as they tend to skew the proper picture of free opensim, where such things hardly matter.

      The numbers game is really only an invention useful for commercial grids anyways.

      Of course, I hardly think all these individual grid numbers are useful, really, and easily skewed in all sorts of ways….but only for seeing an overall trending, which is obviously to the HG enabled aspects.

      In fact, let me use this comment to post my latest blog/rant/piece of nonsense, touching on some of this.

      http://minethere.blogspot.com/2014/03/thoughts-q3-2014-opensim.html

  • AviWorlds

    After closing hypergrid travel and charging for uploading fees we did notice a strong grid stability. Meaning that now everyone is being more conservative when uploading. Less people uoading all the time stopped the madness of everyone uploading which was causing havok on the simulators. Plus the HG instability that was crashing our simulators.
    Another good result is that our community continued to grow and it did not slow it down. Creators are now selling and our grid economy started to pick up. Sales and currency purchases started to increase making everyone happy.
    This is a learning experience for me and I have to agree by my own experience and all the try outs ; that in order for a grid to have any value and be able to prosper it needs to be a closed commercial grid.
    So far our economic indicators say that with a very positive result.
    More quality content, more sales, more stability and more people joining because they want to participate in a grid that offers quality and safety. But not forgetting that we are a new grid and yes it does need to offer not only capitalism but also a strong social program meaning free parcels, incentives for our new creators and also ways for our residents earn our currency by bringing in more residents and other ways like xploders, rpg region and camping.
    I do want to say thanks to Timothy Rogers and his zetamex crew for an excellent help they have been and specially for working with me on the initial re opening phase of AviWorlds. Timothy and his crew have been exceptional! Thanks to my new partner Avi World(Gomes) and a huge thanks to my AviWorlds community!

    • Last time my wife & I checked Redgrave was only in Second Life & IWZ
      your grid is very dirty as this was just seen today while exploring around. I think we found so much infringing content that we will stay at IWZ, much safer we thinks, whats even worse is this person wearing this Redgrave has a store in this shopping area too let me guess selling infringing content as well?

      • George Walsh

        That does not look like a Redgrave skin to me. If you search the Second Life marketplace you can find many skin templates for sale, granted anything that looks high quality is stolen, but Linden Labs don’t care as they get their cut and leave them selling so are party to theft in my opinion.

        I digress, point is if somone buys a template in good faith on the Second Life Marketplace and then uploads it to their OpenSim I don’t see how they are to blame or why they should remove such content or why OpenSim Grid owners should do policing for Linden Labs…

        If that is a Redgrave Skin maybe it was bought on Second Life or InWorldz and the buyer does not believe in purchasing the same item again and again.

        Does Brasil recognise DMCA anyway? I know we don’t in Europe.

        • Vanish

          “All notices given by you or required under this Agreement shall be mailed to us at: Aviworlds, P.O. BOX 11501-4567, MINEOLA, NEW YORK, USA.”
          (from http://aviworlds.com/tos.html )

          Why does everyone think they’re in Brazil?

          • My fault — I keep referring to them as “a Brazilian grid.”

        • The DMCA is a US law, yes, but Europe has its own equivalents. Every commercial grid I know of, including those based in Europe, have DMCA-style take down policies in place, or state outright that they comply with the DMCA.

          Even China has a copyright infringement law in place — and US media companies have successfully gone after Chinese movie piracy sites.

          The laws might different in specific details — for example, the US law requires a registered agent with the US copyright office, while most other laws don’t have an equivalent requirement. But overall the takedown process is pretty much the same everywhere. The copyright holder or their representative sends a note explaining where they found the infringing content, and affirming that it is, in fact, infringing on their copyright. The content gets taken down. The person who put up the infringing content can appeal. If they do, the content gets put back up. At that point, the original infringer can go to court to fight further. Most infringers, when they get caught, just slink away because in order to appeal the take-down request they have to say who they are — and give the other guys an opportunity to sue them. Most pirates aren’t going to do that! If they give a fake name to avoid being sued then their appeal is invalidated and the infringing content is taken down after all.

  • it’s fun seeing Sarge singled out [he’s my bud!!]

    • *grins*

      Virtual Highway is a lot of fun. I had a total blast building a bike for the Bike Week Build Off. I look forward to being a member for a long time to come.