OpenSim metaverse nearly doubles in land area

The OpenSim metaverse nearly doubled in land area this month, as Virtual Worlds Grid added the equivalent of more than 18,000 regions to its grid, taking advantage of new variable size region functionality.

Virtual Worlds Grid is a hypergrid-enabled community grid which provides free land to educators.

The top 40 public OpenSim grids now have the land equivalent of 44,777 regions, up from last month’s 25,267 regions.

Total standard region equivalents on OpenSim's top 40 grids.

Total standard region equivalents on OpenSim’s top 40 grids.

Without Virtual Worlds Grid’s variable regions, the top 40 OpenSim grids would have gained 1,122 regions this month.

The grids also gained 2,578 registered users and lost 155 active users. The loss is partly due to my decision to not include user data from AviWorlds and Virtual World City due to some irregularities.

A total of 184 grids reported some statistics this month, out of a total of 211 active grids. There were a total of 46,925 regions on those 184 grids.

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:

Zandramas has made the ten most popular grid list for the first time, and AviWorlds is back on the list again.

News from around the grids

This section is going to be slim this month, since I’m filing this article while on the road. If I’m missing your announcement here, please email me at [email protected] and I’ll run it as a separate article when I’m back at my office on Sunday.

InWorldz first grid to reach 100,000 registered users

InWorldz, a closed, commercial grid and the most popular grid running on the OpenSim software — or, more accurately, a derivative of OpenSim software — became the first grid to cross the 100,000 registered user mark this month.

It was a close race with OSgrid, which — until this month –was the largest OpenSim grid by land area. OSgrid only has 98,613 registered users, to InWorldz’ 100,037.

Its closest commercial competitor is Avination, with 69,084 registered users.

Registered users numbers are not necessarily indicative of the health of the grid since they are cumulative, and and a grid that’s been around a long time might have a large number of registered users but few users that are currently active. This is not the case with InWorldz, however, which is not only a grid that’s been around for a while, but a grid which continues to dominate the popularity charts every month.

Kitely to join the hypergrid next week

Kitely, the largest commercial OpenSim grid by land area, is getting ready to turn on hypergrid connectivity.

Ilan Tochner

Ilan Tochner

“We spent the last few months improving various aspects of how the hypergrid works and developing access controls to protect export-restricted content from leaving Kitely via the hypergrid,” Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business. “We’re now doing final tests in preparation for the rollout of full hypergrid support on Kitely sometime next week.”

Meanwhile, the Kitely Market continued to gain new listings, with more than 100 new products added since this time last month.

Kitely’s marketplace is unique in that it allows merchants to sell their content, if they wish, to any hypergrid-enabled grid or closed grid that decides to allow Kitely Market deliveries, as Zandramas did last month.

“The Kitely Marketplace integration turned out to be a big success and a hit,” Zandramas manager and co-founder Suzan De Koning told Hypergrid Business. “Our residents love it, we all have been able to purchase things that we normally would not be able to purchase.”

Kitely Market stats May 2014

Zandramas celebrates first anniversary

The closed, commercial, invite-only Zandramas grid celebrates its first anniversary this month with a series of live music events on May 24.

(Image courtesy Zandramas.)

(Image courtesy Zandramas.)

The grid has also begun allowing residents to buy advertising on the grid’s main website, splash page and in-world billboards on the grid’s public areas. The goal is to promote merchants and organizations on the grid, manager and co-founder Suzan De Koning told Hypergrid Business.

In-world billboard. (Image courtesy Zandramas.)

In-world billboard. (Image courtesy Zandramas.)

The grid has also rolled out new self-service tools for region owners, including the ability to restart a region right from the website.

Region control panel with the new restart button. (Image courtesy Zandramas.)

Region control panel with the new restart button. (Image courtesy Zandramas.)

Zandramas has also been updated to the latest preview release of OpenSim, and Bullet physics is now in place on all regions.

The grid hosts its own regions, but uses Zetamex for technical help when needed.

“We continue our relationship with Zetamex, we pay them to help us in emergencies and help us maintain our backend as a management service and also on designing these custom features for our grid,” said De Koning. “We believe that Zetamex services are very top notch, they have helped us when no other hosting provider would even touch us and they helped us get our grid on par with the other big grids.”

Zandramas has recently taken a fresh look at its by-invitation-only membership policy, by surveying residents about whether they wanted to open up the grid to the public.

“The majority voted that they want to keep Zandramas the way it is because it has really made residents feel safe, and they feel they have a better quality of life in our grid instead of it being open 100 percent, where anyone can just join without validation,” she said.

As a side benefit, the invitation-only policy has also protected the grid against griefers and helped create a stable community on the grid.

“But Zandramas is working on a plan to open the door a bit more to people who have not been referred,” she added. “There will be more information about that soon!”

Virtual Highway upgrades servers, opens cafe, offers free islands

The closed commercial Virtual Highway grid has upgraded its servers to ones that have four times as much memory as previously, and a higher level of support. The grid has also opened a coffee shop at the landing area.

Coffee and chat at Virtual Highway's welcome area. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

Coffee and chat at Virtual Highway’s welcome area. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

“Any hardware problems will be handled in a much more timely manner,” grid founder Gene Call told Hypergrid Business.

“Andrew Hellershanks, our technical manager, has done a fantastic job on the upgrade,” he added. “Next, we are testing the upgrade to the new 0.8 RC 1 [OpenSim preview release] grid software with plans to use it once it is stable enough for production.”

Virtual Highway has begun working on preparations for the Fourth of July celebrations, with a planned country theme with barn dancing and a treasure hunt in a hay maze, free shops for merchants, and fireworks.

(Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

(Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

There will be a building competition leading to the celebration. People can take part by joining the “Festival Park” group, claiming a building spot on the Festival Park region and buying a hollowed-out rectangle prim, then building inside the prim. There is no cost to participate. The build must have a Fourth of July theme, and can be any size and any number of prims, but must be concluded by June 30 to allow for time for judging.

Virtual Highway free island

The grid is also offering free islands, 4,096-square meter plots with a 312-prim building allowance.

“It’s great starter land to come and claim as home while you learn your way around Virtual Highway,” said Call. “You can get either grass or sand just pick the one you want. There are free houses at the Free Island Welcome Center, also.”

There are twelve regions in the free land program, with eight island on each.

“If you need any help with the free islands, you can contact Geo Falcone or Gemini Solano,” Call added.

Transitions

We’re listing 44 grids as suspended this month because we haven’t been able to get to their grid info pages or websites this month, including: 3rd Life Grid, A Virtual World, AnSky, B-ATM, Brasil Tropical, Confederatio, CrimsonSpider, Cuddles’ World, D3D, Digilands, ExoSpace, Flatlandia, Four Ages, HomeTown, Jilmer Estates, Kadobikrew, LDL World, MajWorld, Nilsen, Ocean Grid, Olimar, OpenMOOC, OpenSim Creations, OpenSim Fuchs, OpenSim Shop, Pink, Pleasure Island, Sammers World, Siberspace, SimB2B, Speculoos, Superborea, The Hidden Continent of Chaxez, The Jungle Isles, The Loom, The Microverse Grid, The Verse, Titusville, Tundra, University of the Aegean, VIBE: Tooth Fairy, Virtual Clubbing Life, Virtualife, and Zombieland

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 1,952 new downloads this month, for a total of more than 31,000 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 124,000.

The stats page for the Diva Distro, a user-friendly distribution of OpenSim, reported 473 downloads this month, for a grand total of over 30,000 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 1,693 times this month, a record high for this distribution. That adds up to over 31,800 downloads 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 25,385 regions on 2,656 different active mini-grids running on this distribution of OpenSim. That’s an increase of 1,422 new regions, and 113 new mini-grids.

Adding in these three other major distributions of OpenSim, we estimate that the OpenSim server software has been downloaded more than 189,000 times since the start of 2010.

Data from The Hypergates was not available this month as the site was down.

Meanwhile, Second Life has resumed its steady progression of region losses this past month, according to data from GridSurvey, with 57 fewer  regions today than this time last month. The Second Life grid now has 26,119 regions total, down 1,229  regions from this time last year, and 5,766 fewer regions than its peak in June of 2010.

May 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 over 800 different publicly-accessible grids, 211 of which were active this month, and 184 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 hereA list of all active grids is here.

  • Virtual Worlds Grid: 19,665 regions
  • OSgrid: 7,538 regions
  • Kitely: 5,609 regions
  • Metropolis: 3,775 regions
  • InWorldz: 1,348 regions
  • Avination: 618 regions
  • SimValley: 541 regions
  • Open Virtual Worlds: 519 regions
  • Lost Paradise: 440 regions
  • 3rd Rock Grid: 368 regions
  • FrancoGrid: 305 regions
  • Virtual Highway: 264 regions
  • Littlefield: 246 regions
  • Grid Nirvana: 224 regions
  • SkyLife: 210 regions
  • Logicamp: 204 regions
  • MOSES: 202 regions
  • Island Oasis: 200 regions
  • Zandramas: 174 regions
  • Next Reality: 163 regions
  • Craft World: 155 regions
  • Adreans-World: 147 regions
  • Dorena’s World: 139 regions
  • SimudyneGrid: 139 regions
  • Anettes Welt: 135 regions
  • Virtual Gay Kingdom: 127 regions
  • AviWorlds: 125 regions
  • OpenSim.ru: 122 regions
  • Tangle Grid: 106 regions
  • Infinite Grid: 104 regions
  • PMGrid: 95 regions
  • Neuland: 90 regions
  • DreamNation: 88 regions
  • iSynergy3D: 83 regions
  • Japan Open Grid: 82 regions
  • YourSimSpot: 79 regions
  • EdMondo: 78 regions
  • GerGrid: 74 regions
  • CEHS Game Design: 68 regions
  • German Grid: 68 regions
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.

  • Quick calculation: 47,607 regions on all the public OpenSim grids … that’s 3,120 square kilometers or 1,205 square miles. Or about the size of Rhode Island. Or a little larger than the country of Samoa.

  • Joe Builder

    Good job for inworldz, Giving the virtual people what they want other grids should take notes.

    • Just to insert some quick real reality here, and not really to “you” Joe, just using your comment here as a nice and simple conduit. And with the usual disclaimer that I do not especially care for the current numbering system, as I have noted several times in several places, in several ways.

      And just to reiterate I did in fact watch stats quite closely for a couple of years, and even had a g+ community where some of us collected various ways to see them…where I determined to my own satisfaction they are too easily skewed by those with various agendas, typically by the sl clone types for marketing purposes, and I found many ways this is done, because the free Meta does not actually care [which is why such stats reporting gets very little commenting from that direction].

      The interesting thing here is plainly seen concerning inwz, where, imo, you make an excellent poster child for, Joe-)) I can imagine some kind of poster like they did for Uncle Sam, the finger pointing one where he says, “Uncle Sam wants you”. [this is just a fun paragraph, Joe, smile…you’re on Candid Camera!!]

      However, from the 14th to the 15th, the “1” metric they often point to in their forums, themselves [anyone can go read such things and there is a current thread going on there now about it all], is the total paid regions, for which you can note they lost 21 from the day of reporting to here [I am sure that was just a coincidence though] to the next day.

      Does it matter? no, because such things are easily done, which is the point of this comment. People are paying all sorts of attention to very small numbers, when we could all be discussing much more relevant matters, much more fun matters, and much more interesting things going on in the Meta that would more likely attract new users who [I imagine] can mostly not “get it” why we think 10 new users here and 30 new regions there, are important at all. They have no clue why varregion, megaregions, and standard regions distinctions even matter.

      All it does is give people, typically sl clone types, some more fodder to say they are all this, or they are all that, and add to the drama, of which outsiders who are on the net, get way too much of, already…

      So, here are some nice photos for the visually enhanced readers.

      • Joe Builder

        Maybe so, We cant deny by far the virtual residents have spoken loudly which type of grid they prefer. And sadly yes its a closed grid that Inworldz has. Now the gamble is where Kitley will go once they open to the public sorta. Some grids when they opened there gates was only the beginning of the end. Time and stats will only tell.

        • Good response, and why I likes ya-)) You are untweakable, which is a good thing, even if that does not seem to be a real word…lol

          Now if I can get you to add a little humour to comments sometimes, we might really have something going!!-))))

          For sure, Kitely will see some interesting new action, and apparently very soon. But I have watched them quite closely for some time now, and I think if anyone can do it, they can, despite whatever issues come forth.

          But Kitely is not the only commercial type grid exploring HG and I believe the trend will continue in this regard as more and more folks see how interesting it is and that it allows others to come in and easily see what they offer also.

          Zandramas may be the next one.

          As to stats, as I said, I find them too easily warped for all sorts of reasons…personally I am more for whatever a person likes, go for it.

          I just do my own little blogs about showing cool places folx might like to go check out. [shameless but salient and positive link coming]

          http://minethere.blogspot.com/2013/08/metaverse-destinations.html

          And I expect to be adding Kitely regions more visibly soon. Showing ppl the wonderful things happening in the Meta is my own first concern now….all else is rather further down the list of interesting.

          • Joe Builder

            Well ok then here is some humor, There is nothing in Kitley or any other grid for that matter is new. People build and create all basically the same stuff nowadays. If its the British version of sci-fi (Steampunk) to castles or even these fairy lands its everywhere. Now maybe if it had region and regions of Free content than that’s where the traffic will come from. There is no need to kid ourselves or others there is things as of not been seen before in many other places. Not sure where the small amount of hype comes from. And to be completely honest these days still a SL type of world is most preferred by most.

  • Doesn’t this just prove pretty unequivocally what a meaningless metric Land Mass is? Active users is far more telling as an indicator of actual popularity and activity. If I had a mind, I could hire a few servers tomorrow and become the biggest grid overnight.

    • “If I had a mind” can’t help ya there, wish I could…….

    • It depends on what you’re using the metric for. If you want to find out which grids to go to because there’s stuff happening there, and people are having fun, go to traffic numbers. I list the active monthly user counts for all grids in the stats report, and the top ten most active grids near the top of the article each month.

      If you’re looking for a grid with a lot of land — say, for big role playing campaigns, for free land allocations, or whatever — then you can go to the ones with the land.

      For me, personally, land is a bit of a vanity metric — I like the idea of OpenSim growing and offering more and more virtual land. To me, the metaverse is a place, and I like the idea of it getting bigger.

      I am MORE THAN HAPPY to share all my raw data with anyone who requests it (and can quickly do an Excel export from my database). And if anyone else wants to do a regular stats report, I’ll be very happy to run the results.

  • Should I add a varregion with the size of 40.000 normal regions to Metro? No problem! Just to show the world, that the OpenSim-community is growing like hell? Well, from this point on it becomes rediculous.

    Should we? In 10 minutes it’s done! We could use our prim-record-script (1 Million prims on a single region). That would produce 40.000 x 1.000.000 prims = 40.000.000.000 prims! WOW, and all other neighbor-regions must have the same size! Isn’t it wonderful?

    WOW, I am so excited! The Metro would be bigger than SL! Thank you Core-Developers, that you gave this wonderful, meaningful und useful functionality to us! I will love to see, how the Metaverse will be doubled again next month. *lol*

    • I figure if there’s value to it, grids will do it.

      For example, a large varregion could be great for sailing. Or airplanes. Or space battles. Or for large-scale roleplaying campaigns with groups of explorers marching across vast deserts and mountains — things you cannot currently do in Second Life except at great expenses.

      This is one of the unique affordances of OpenSim — to have a large swathes of land in which to do stuff. Why not take advantage of it, and promote it?

      Not every grid can afford to provide this much land to its residents. Even a varregion still requires server resources. For some grids, the money would be better spent on marketing, or support, or content, or upgrading the hardware on existing regions. But if a grid can afford it, and it benefits its residents, and benefits the grid — I’m all for it.

      • Sure, but varregions of this sizes don’t make sense. Could you imagine, how much memory you would need? On regions of this sizes you can do nearly nothing!

        In this case I find it rediculous, that the headline of this article says the Metaverse has doubled. Maybe, but with a lot of hot air! 😉

        • That SHOULD — I hope — be self-correcting. If a grid is advertising a whole bunch of land, and people show up trying to use it and can’t, those folks aren’t likely to come back again — and will probably spread the word about their disappointment. That would undo any potential marketing benefit of advertising large amounts of land.

          For example — I’ll be writing more about this a little later on — I recently visited a grid that was advertising a large amount of active users. The numbers turned out to be fake, and I’m not only going to write about it, but take their user counts off my stats report for the foreseeable future.

          • oh…now THAT should be quite entertaining!! Want more fake numbers to take off? I “might could” supply them-))))

          • Frank Corsi

            Virtual World City, the example grid mentioned above is still its beta testing phase and I would wish to thank Timothy of Zandramas Grid for his assistance in fixing some of the “stat” bugs which were found such as the randomly bouncing numbers which were meaningless. Since Virtual World City existence does not depend on any stats, some have now been totally removed and others are basically static numbers. This grid is opensim based with virtual cities sold to outside people unfamiliar with actual virtual presentation so the stats mean nothing to them. A grid manager/programmer has been hired to assist with any and all other bugs which were detected by the beta testers.
            We were pleased to have Maria visit the grid. She expressed her concerns about our inaccurate “Active Users Online” stat on our login page.
            An email was sent to Maria promptly addressing this issue. She was notified that our staff member had put random numbers there till we got that fixed.

          • hack13

            I m not of Zandramas, Zandramas just hires Zetamex to manage their grid for them. I needed to clear this up for legal reasons, the legal owner of Zandramas is Suz De Koning.

          • Zandramas Grid

            HI Frank / Virtual World City,

            Please check your e-mail

            Thank you kindly

          • Frank Corsi

            I do stand corrected that Timothy is not the owner of Zandramas Grid.

      • Joe Builder

        Sadly all sounds good on paper but at this time Var Regions use double the resources Mega regions do there just not practical for the average user using a average PC.

    • ooooooooo-))) I love it when Lena speaks…..

    • Lena, could Metro also run a new accounts script or something, also? Then we could be like the most popular AND biggest!!!

  • Gaga

    Since grid output stats make no distinction between a var region and an ordinary region I would just report the total number of regions as usual (I’m doing that with my own search engine). There has never been a need to state how many mega regions on a grid because they all consist of standard 256X256 regions so why try to do something different with var regions? Leave it up to the grid owners to say whether they support var regions, or scenic regions or mega regions or any other kind of region. It’s just not worth making Opensim look like a joke on this issue when reporting metrics.

    To my mind var regions are very useful for role play, sailing, etc, etc so lets not get carried away boasting about the area they create. Usage numbers are far more useful but I would say the growth trend is more telling still. Remember, Maria lets us know how many grids appear to be gone every month and usually a few new ones come on line. That’s far more helpful to know.

    • The difference is that if a grid has a two-by-two megaregion, by default, it gets reported as four region in the stats, and it shows as four regions, with four different region names, in the map. But if a grid has a two-by-two varregion, it only shows up, by default, as a single region.

      So, as currently set up, the use of varregions results in an undercounting of the land on a grid.

      I agree with you that other metrics are more valuable, but I would also like a way to be able to more accurately track the total land area in OpenSim.

      • Gaga

        I don’t see any convenient way to tract land area that is reliable and honest unless the developers code a method to test each and every region for it’s size and give a final figure as a stat. Grid owners could do all this manually of course and add a metric to their splash screen but these things never get regularly updated and it’s easy enough to not tell the truth. If the developers add a metric to the server code I would be happy to trust that number.

        • Aside from the “truth” factor [a whole ‘nother can ‘o worms!] Metro does report a land number, as can be seen here;

          http://chat.hypergrid.org/

          Currently 246,15 km2 [don’t ask me what that means, Lena is around…]

      • Joe Builder

        Simple Mega regions are many and can be split up to have borders where as var region is 1 region but oversized. Kinda simple math when adding. Mega region of 2×2 is counted as 4 regions. Var Region with the oversize of 4 regions is still 1 region in the count, Being it can not be split up and considered by the developers as 1. So maybe a recount is in order

  • George Walsh

    I just want to say the metrics are meaningless at this stage of OpenSim’s level of popularity. Dead regions, unused regions, fake accounts and low logged in figures are true of all the grids.

    The grid with the most logged in regulars appears to be OSgrid but we are talking about very low numbers, let’s see it’s Saturday morning and only 51 users logged in at OSgrid, the funny thing is you can look at their stats daily and it won’t go up much, then calculate monthly users logged in and it does not tally.

    This is a similar although lower real terms figure for the other grids. So, until grids start getting a few thousand logged in users, what is the good in talking about how popular they are when obviously they are not!

    You all squabble over these things like children on a frequent basis.

  • Zandramas Grid

    Maria Korolov Spelling Correction needed: for Sandramas to Zandramas =)

    “The majority voted that they want to keep Sandramas the way it is because it has really made residents feel safe, and they feel they have a better quality of life in our grid instead of it being open 100 percent, where anyone can just join without validation,” she said.

    Thanks and have a wonderful weekend