We will now be measuring land in square kilometers

Justin Clark-Casey’s monthly OpenSim development update reminded me that OpenSim now has a new command for grid owners — “show grid size.”

The command counts up all the land area on a grid, including the land of variable-sized regions, and gives the answer in terms of square kilometers.

And after a discussion in the comments of this month’s stats article, I’ve decided to begin the transition away from counting land by regions, to counting land in kilometers.

My reasons:

  • Variable-sized regions can be any size, but count as a single region.
  • The phrase “standard region equivalent” is too awkward to keep saying and typing
  • Normal people don’t know what a “region” is
  • And don’t care
  • Standard measurements make it easy to compare virtual land with real world locations
Area in square kilometers.

Area in square kilometers.

Low-cost land is one of the major selling points of OpenSim.

As vendors compete on hosting prices, and developers add new technology such as variable sized regions, the average price of land in OpenSim continues to fall.

This allows users create builds previously impractical in virtual worlds.

For example, role playing groups can now conduct military campaigns across wide swathes of desert, in the open reaches of outer space, or on the high seas.

Ecology simulations and historical recreations can take all the space they need.

What should grid owners do?

You can continue reporting your land stats in terms of regions counts, and I will convert them to square kilometers.

You can also report in standard region equivalents.

Or you can run the new console command show grid size and get the total area of your grid and update your website on a regular basis, or email me directly at [email protected] on the 14th day of each month.

The “show grid size” command is currently only available in the cutting-edge, development version of OpenSim. If your grid is being responsible, and only run tested and debugged official releases — which I recommend — you can continue reporting your regions the same way you always have until the the “get grid size” command becomes part of the official OpenSim.

You can also count up variable regions manually, like Virtual Worlds Grid is already doing.

Another grid that is manually counting up the variable regions is Lost Paradise.

Grid owner John Cloneu told Hypergrid Business that there’s PHP code on his website that goes to the database and fetches the current region counts.

“Then to that number, I add the varregions equivalent regions,” he said.

This is the code that is on the website now:

<?php echo $this->db->count_all('regions')+1096;?><br>

Say, for example, your grid updates 10 standard regions to be variable size regions 16 times bigger than your standard region. That’s a total land area of 160 standard region equivalents, only ten of which would be counted by the database automatically. So you would need to add 150 to your grid’s region totals on the website.

This technique requires that you update your website’s code each time you add variable size regions to your grid but, right now, that seems to be the most effective means of getting the information out.

If you don’t feel comfortable counting a single varregion as 16 regions, you can also add a new line showing square kilometers, like this:

Total regions: <?php echo $this->db->count_all('regions');?><br>
Land area in sq km: <?php echo $this->db->(count_all('regions')+1096)/15.259;?><br>

There are 15.259 regions in a square kilometer of land area.

Why it’s important

I know it sounds like a pain and a grid with more regions isn’t necessarily better than a grid with fewer regions.

The reason you should do this is to demonstrate that OpenSim is growing in land area. People are attracted to growing projects, growing communities, hot technologies.

We want people to be attracted to OpenSim, to come in and try it out, to become part of the community, and to bring in more people with them.

OpenSim is currently the world’s only free, open source, hyperlinked, no-programming-skills-required, Oculus Rift-compatible virtual world platform.

Right now, we are the metaverse.

But nobody knows it.

Please, update your stats. Help me get the word out.

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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.

11 Responses

  1. cobraeldiablo@yahoo.co.uk' Cobra El Diablo says:

    It’s about time these VR worlds started using real-world measurements, finally catching up with what can be achieved as I have been using kilometre sized regions for a long time.

  2. tribe_gadgets@hotmail.co.uk' TribeGadgets says:

    OK….so an equivalent metric is concurrency per square meter? (or possibly vice versa for those who don’t like crowds)

    • Concurrency per square meter isn’t a particularly useful metric, whether or not you like crowds. Say you have a hundred people on a region. That’s probably way too crowded. If your grid only has one region, then your concurrency ration will be really high.

      Now add a giant desert continent out beyond the horizon, where nobody ever goes except for one roleplaying game once a year — and still keep those 100 people on that first region.

      Now your concurrency-to-land ratio is going to go way, way, way down. But nothing substantive has changed at all.

      Or another example — a piracy or sailing grid. A few ports are busy, packed with people doing pirate and/or sailor things. Surrounded by water regions that maybe have one ship on them at any one time. As more water area is added, it doesn’t make the grid any more or less fun.

      I haven’t seen any suggestions yet of cases where density numbers would actually offer useful information.

      This is why I’ve been focusing on total monthly active users rather than density numbers.

  3. hanheld@yahoo.com' Han Held says:

    I think this is counter productive, but it’s a fairly meaningless metric anyway.
    People wanna go where the people are -figure out a way to tell people where they’re gonna find people, and then you’ll be on to something.

    • I agree with you — the number one thing for virtual worlds is that people want to know what’s happening right now, and where to go.

      I would LOVE to see a way to connect events with groups.

      Here’s my thinking: Searching by keywords isn’t particularly useful, since everything is called “primitive” and regions are all called some random variation of “my land”. Plus, does knowing that a region has a lot of chairs in it tell you whether it’s a happening pub or a classroom or a chair store? No.

      And searching for little dots on a grid to see where people are doesn’t work when grids are really far-flung — or for events on other, hypergrid-connected grids.

      But there are two things that DO have descriptive names: groups, and events.

      For example, a group might be called “Peabody Pub’s Jazz lovers group.”

      And an event might be called “Monday night live Jazz with Jazzy McJazzerson.”

      I would like to see an events module created for OpenSim, that allows grid residents or owners to create events and associate them with particular groups.

      And then (if the grid so allows) create a way to query the grid to get a list of upcoming events, the same way that you can now get basic grid info by typing something like: login.osgrid.org:80/get_grid_info

      So that someone (me, or someone else) can go around to all the grids, get a list of all the events, and when someone searches for, say, “Jazz” it will look for all the events with “Jazz” in the title or description — and then put the events WHOSE GROUP YOU BELONG IN first in your search, and events for groups your friends belong to right after those. If the event is for a group you don’t belong to, it would only show you listings for events marked public, and skip over private events that are just for that group.

      As the hypergrid gets bigger and bigger, this will allow you to prioritize results to show you the events that you most care about, and let you ignore the million listings for “On sale today: Jazz hands!”

  4. amy88smith@yahoo.com' Lani Global says:


  5. trrlynn73@gmail.com' Minethere says:

    People for the Ethical Treatment of the progression and progressiveness of OpenSim [PETOPPO]…a centuries old secret group that requires special winks, nods, handclasps, and butt wiggles in order to show others whom they are…approves this!!!

  6. fly.man.opensim@gmail.com' Fly Man says:

    In 1 of the upcoming snapshots for WhiteCore we will even split out the information into what we call “Mainland” and “Estates” so there’s a nice view of how large the “grid land” is and how much “privately owned” land there is.

    Why Mainland and Estate, aren’t those things that Secondlife uses as well: Exactly, and since the viewer will recognize those for Auctions and Land Sales makes it easier to show those details.

    And yes, WhiteCore is being used by some people for grids and those don’t show up in the large list that Maria holds these days but just wanted to clarify that we’re also “here”

    • Can you send me links to those grids so I can add them in? Thanks! (That’s how I find out about new grids, by the way — people email me their URLs!)