OpenSim passes 50,000 region milestone

OpenSim’s 40 largest grids gained over 3,000 new regions this month, many thanks to the new varregion functionality. Registered users and active users also increased this month, despite the summer season.

The exact totals are 50,017 standard region equivalents on the top 40 grids, an increase of 3,110 regions; 363,884 registered users, an increase of 6,729 users; and 20,324 active users, an increase of 833.

 

Number of standard region equivalents on the top 40 OpenSim grids.

Number of standard region equivalents on the top 40 OpenSim grids.

Varregions and super low-cost regions from Zetamex allowed OpenSim users to have easy access to more land than ever before, resulting in substantial growth on several grids.

OSgrid, for example, gained the equivalent of 2,746 regions since this time last month, more than 2,000 of which were part of variable-sized regions. Virtual Highway gained 127 regions, also partly due to varregions, and Lost Paradise gained 117.

There were 229 active grids this month, with a total of 51,988 regions, 382,081 registered users, and 22,894 active users. The total land area of all the public OpenSim grids was 3,407 square kilometers, more than twice the size of Second Life.

Land area, in square kilometers, of some popular destinations.

Land area, in square kilometers, of some popular destinations.

The land area of OpenSim is just a bit larger than that of Yosemite National Park, and a bit smaller than that of Long Island.

This does not count private grids run by schools, companies, and individuals.

The OpenSim software has been downloaded 4,205 times this past month, including 687 downloads of the Diva Distro, 1,483 new downloads of Sim-on-a-Stick, 90 downloads of New World Studio, and 1,945 downloads of the standard distribution at OpenSimulator.org. According to Hypergrid Business estimates, the OpenSim software has been downloaded 197,969 times since September 2010, when we first started keeping track.

OpenSim software downloads.

OpenSim software downloads.

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:

  1. InWorldz: 8,371 active users
  2. OSgrid: 3,560 active users
  3. Avination: 2,012 active users
  4. Metropolis: 1,512 active users
  5. Island Oasis: 990 active users
  6. Kitely: 799 active users
  7. Craft World: 452 active users
  8. 3rd Rock Grid: 379 active users
  9. Littlefield: 314 active users
  10. Virtual Highway: 261 active users

The biggest gainer was Avination, which gained 525 active users compared to last month. The other major gainers were InWorldz, which gained 219 new active users, Metropolis with 173 new active users, OSgrid with 124 more active users.

Another big gainer was Tangle Grid with 50 new active users, due to its outreach strategy of holding expos for the public. In fact, Tangle Grid was the fastest-growing grid among grids with more than 100 active users, reporting 53 percent growth increase this month. Avination was second with a 35 percent increase — very significant in a grid it’s size. Virtual Highway was third with an 18 percent growth rate in activity, Metropolis was fourth with 13 percent, and Los Paradise was fifth with 8 percent activity growth.

Kitely actually lost 110 active users over the past month, though it did gain 1,536 new registered users, coming in second only after InWorldz with 2,232 new registered users.

Kitely Market improves user experience

The Kitely Market has a new personalized homepage designed to help shoppers find items they are most likely to find interesting.

“This feature is based on detailed usage statistics we’ve just recently started collecting and so it will improve with time as the amount of data we accumulate grows,” Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business.Previously, the market home page showed a random selection of products.

Kitely also increased the idle user timeout from 30 minutes to two hours for people building on their own regions and for premium users no matter their locations.

“Kitely automatically disconnects avatars who have been idle in-world for 30 minutes,” said Oren Hurvitz, co-founder and VP R&D of Kitely. “This ensures that worlds don’t keep running indefinitely if you forget to close your viewer. However, we’ve received complaints that sometimes this timeout is too short. That’s especially a problem for builders, who might be working in Blender for a while and then return to the viewer to find that they’ve been disconnected, and have to login again.”

Over the past four weeks, the Kitely Market has added 85 new products, in 156 variations. Of those variations, 123 were exportable to other grids.

Kitely Market statistics. (Data courtesy Kitely.)

Kitely Market statistics. (Data courtesy Kitely.)

Kitely also gained 117 new regions this month.

Metropolis sweeps clean

Like other open grids, Metropolis allows its residents to connect home-based regions to the grid. These regions are typically only active part-time — in the evenings, for example, or on the weekends. To ensure that their spots on the map aren’t grabbed out from under them, grids typically allow regions to keep their locations even when they have been down for a while.

Sometimes, though, those regions never come back, or are moved to new locations but the old locations remain in the grid’s memory. To deal with this, large grids such as OSgrid and Metropolis do regular cleanings, removing all allocated spots that haven’t been used in a while. This does not delete the regions themselves — the regions are stored on user computers, and can be reconnected at any time. But it does reduce the official region count on a grid.

This month, Metropolis removed approximately 900 of these unused regions slots from its database. But the grid has also gained a few hundred regions, some of them variable-sized regions.

As a result, the grid’s total land area actually went up slightly this month.

Virtual Highway adds varregions, upgrades servers

Virtual Highway, a mid-sized commercial grid known for its live music scene, has completed a major round of upgrades that includes new, larger and more powerful servers, and an upgrade to the newest OpenSim 0.8 Post_Fixes.

That also includes new variable sized-regions for customers, configure as the equivalent of two-by-two standard regions, or four-by-four regions, with 40,000 prims.

“We also plan to offer a selection of terrain files for these regions,” grid owner Gene Call told Hypergrid Business. “For pricing please see our property manager, Geo Falcone.”

The grid has also created a giant variable sized regions — the size of 100 standard regions — that will soon be open to the public.

“It will consist of the entire mainland of Virtual Highway, which will be surrounded by two sims deep of water,” he said. “It will feature sailing, surfing, walking, and driving with no sim crossing. We are also putting in an airport for the adventurous fliers.”

In other grid news, bringing a big city feel to Virtual Highway, Keng City had its grand opening this week. Featuring DJs at Club Superfly and Grapevine, with his Jazz club soon to follow. Nubian Keng has established Keng City as a place to be, and to live. Keng City features the aforementioned clubs, a theater, spacious shops available to sell whatever a Virtual Highway vendor wishes and spacious, well furnished penthouse apartments with spectacular views.

Keng City. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

Keng City. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

“In keeping with the Virtual Highway’s love of entertainment, we are pleased to announce that Pink Vampire will be singing for us every month,” said Call. “This woman has an amazing voice, and ranks up there at the top of all the live singers in virtual worlds. If you haven’t heard her sing, please join us and enjoy yourself.”

Pink Vampire. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

Pink Vampire. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

She will be performing at 6 p.m. Pacific on the second Friday of every month.

Lost Castle, Troppo Club adds varregions

Two other grids which are taking advantage of the new variable sized regions are The Lost Castle and Troppo Club.

“We are very happy with the upgrade,” Per Eriksson, owner of the two grids, told Hypergrid Business. “Teleporting in, out and inside the grid is much better.”

The overall performance of the simulators has also improved, he said.

OpenSim is a first class product,” he said. “Kudos to the developer team.”

The Lost Castle is now a five-by-five variable-sized region and a three-by-three variable sized region, and Troppo Club is a three-by-three variable sized region. The benefits are that users don’t experience any problems at border crossings.

Logicamp updates software, offers first month free

Logicamp has upgraded to the latest version of OpenSim, 0.8.0, and has begun offering first month free to customers renting regions. Logicamp is one of the lower-priced commercial grids, with regions running just 10 Euros — around US $13 — per month.

The grid is also restarting its Friday night parties.

Transitions

We have several new grids on our list this month, including the new commercial social grid Pillars of MistExnixiaBunnehGridCrystal’s WorldEmbraced LifePomroys World, the science fiction-themed Aries, the Encitra Home Grid of the transportation and infrastructure consulting firm Encitra, and the tourism promotional grid Maui Tours 3D.

We’re listing 22 grids as suspended this month because we haven’t been able to get to their grid info pages or websites these past few weeks, including:  3dcolabStandAlone, 3rd Experimental Primary School of Evosmos, Another World, Bess Research, Brasil Tropical, Contepomi, Cuddles’ World, Dream Realms 3D, ELIP, Fine Grid, Insight Concepts, KUNDGRID, NuevoMundo, OpenSim Fuchs, Realms of the missing, SkyLine Grid, Speculoos, TaylorWorld, True Open Grid, VIBE: Global Health, VIBE: Repository of Knowledge, and Virtualife.

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.

According to The Hypergates, there were 2,518 hypergrid jumps made through the network over the past four weeks, a decrease of 334 compared to the previous month. There were 804 active gates on 60 grids — an increase of 67 gates and a decrease of one grid.

Meanwhile, Second Life has continued losing regions this past month, according to data from GridSurvey, with 169 fewer  regions today than this time last month. The Second Life grid now has 25,885  regions total, down 1,014  regions from this time last year, and exactly 6,000 fewer regions than its peak in June of 2010. The last time the Second Life grid was this small was in July of 2008.

August 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 846 different publicly-accessible grids, 229 of which were active this month, and 162 of which published their statistics.

All region counts on this list are, whenever available, in terms of standard region equivalents — a 512 meter by 512 meter megaregion or variable-size region would count as four standard regions for this purposes of this list. Active user counts include hypergrid visitors.

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.

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.

  • Mircea Kitsune

    That is nice news! But please wake me up when any OpenSim grid will also pass at least 5000 users constantly online at once. No matter how many regions there are, there’s not much to do when all of them are empty and there’s no one to interact with. Which is why I love OpenSim but barely use it, unless I feel like building something on my own regions.

    • Han Held

      >That is nice news! But please wake me up when any OpenSim grid will also pass at least 5000 users constantly online at once.

      I’d settle for 1,000 -or even 500- consistently online at once.

      I use OpenSim regularly, but for people I’m still in SL primarily; where else would I be?

  • lmpierce

    I’m starting to have a problem with the regions count statistic as it is currently displayed. With the advent of varregions, the difference between grid counts can be exponentially misleading.

    Why not put a note, such as ‘(v)’ for varregion enabled, next to grids that are so configured. That way as readers we can mentally allow for the extreme variances that are beginning to occur.

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

      Because it’s still the same land. Why should a four-region mega be counted different than a four-region varregion?

      A varregion is more of a psychological thing, I think. Getting a 20,000-prim region and expanding it to be four regions feels different, somehow, than buying four 5,000-prim regions and configuring it as a mega. Even if the price is the same.

      I think, with varregions, people think that they’re getting something extra for free — extra land. While with the previous setup, people feel that they getting less — fewer prims.

      It’s all usable land, and, over time, as all grids upgrade to 0.8.0, I think we’ll see pretty much every grid out there offer it.

      Personally, I’m perfectly happy if grids count all this land. Land is land.

      But some grids — Metropolis for example — are publishing two stats: a region count which counts each varregion as a single region, no matter how large, and an area number, in square kilometers, that adds up all the land.

      Okay, I can’t think of any other grid that does this, so just Metropolis for now. But other grids are welcome to follow suit. If they do, then someone could do their own land count, and add up the varregions separately.

      • lmpierce

        The difference is that varregions allow for exponentially larger spaces that no longer correlate whatsoever with megaregion-based grids for content or activities based on region count. In a list that ranks total regions per grid this leads to differentials between grids that are based on a greatly expanded “size for the sake of size” hierarchy. Until varregions, differentials between size and content also existed, but now the variations have been exaggerated tenfold.

        The psychological “thing” is exactly the issue. The numeric value for the number of regions in a 100 varregion space gives the astounding impression that the world is huge in all aspects, regardless of what is likely to be taking place; after all, there are still prim and avatar concurrency limits more consistent with megaregions. Since a grid with such varregions suddenly pops to the top of the list, it unequivocally conveys that such a world has a superior value in the context of that list. I say that such an ordering now makes the already problematic issue of comparing grids by region count more absurd than ever.

        Since I favor varregions, I believe the current region count list would be far more valid and revealing if there were a process of normalization, by bringing values measured on different scales into a notationally equivalent scale. Unfortunately no practical system has yet been proposed to do this. However, by indicating which grids feature varregions, readers would have the mental cue to realize that the unusually high region counts are not directly comparable to the region counts of worlds without varregions.

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

          One way to count would be to count individual “virtual worlds” or islands, i.e. counting the number of separate land entities (regions, magaregions, varregions) there are in the system regardless of how big those land entities are. As each such land entity has its own prims limit, concurrency limit, etc. this will represent the real capacity of the grid a lot better than counting the land area of the entity while ignoring the grid’s actual prim/avatar capacity.

          • lmpierce

            Yes, and this speaks to the issue of value versus a number that has been somewhat arbitrary in meaning and is becoming more so with each new development.

          • http://minethere.blogspot.com/2012/10/region-creations.html Minethere

            There –IS– a very good value in promoting not just regions but the technological innovations which varregions are but one aspect.

            Tech moves on and when the next new thing comes along, and who knows what that could be…perhaps that DSG thing Moses is working on…then things will change again.

            I say “bring it on” and show outsiders [and those who do not know what all this is about even being long time residents in this iteration of VR] all that is happening.

            Continuing to stay with 11 year old tech stat models is self-defeating, and by not further highlighting not only the vastness of land that is now available for anyone, but also highlighting what this really means to users, in whatever regard.

            There is way to much disinformation going around already on just this one issue, with some saying varregions are a hack just as they said with megaregions.

            We now know that megas can in fact be run well by those who know how to do so with Kitely, and –WE– know that varregions are in fact a very progressive innovation.

            I say we highlight innovation that sets core OS apart from others who are not using the tech as it improves, in any ways we can.

            Concentrate on that, explain it in more details, and we all win, especially people reading who do not fully understand these things.

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

          This is why I’ve moved the traffic rankings to the top of the story. I think ranking grids by popularity is a much more useful metric to users than ranking them by land.

          But the land statistics do serve a big purpose — they draw attention to OpenSim’s biggest selling point, which is super low-cost land. You can really spread out in OpenSim! Really let your imagination go wild!

          As far as separating out grid that have varregions from those that do not, that’s a lot of additional bookkeeping, and I have a hard time imagining who would benefit from it.

          Then there’s the practical aspects of it. Say one grid has several huge varregions, and another grid has a small varregion on it. Should they both be marked as “varregion” grids? And what about grids that don’t say anything one way or the other? It’s impossible to tell from the outside whether a particular set of regions is varregions or megaregions.

          If anyone is interested in doing this kind of analysis — or any other kind of analysis for that matter — I’m more than happy to supply all my data in the form of Excel spreadsheets so that they can work with it, or you can grab the raw stats from the stats pages.

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

    They have their own take on this, called advanced megaregions.

    • http://minethere.blogspot.com/2012/10/region-creations.html Minethere

      ok, welcome back from non computer land to me!! point fyi, Metropolis does not count hypergrid visitors in with other user stats….not sure where you got the idea others do, one of them say so?

      I would show that thread in the Metro forums but I have not gotten to that login yet…tomorrow will be busy!!

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

      Lol, I know perfectly how that works and it has always been one of my favourite features on Kitely, what I meant was not the Megaregion Mode witch is great, I meant regions of double size so – I already hear from you the difficulties of implementing that but that was what I meant

      When Kitely manages to have double sized regions or the possibility of normal size 5X5 than it will be perfect and nothing else will be missing on my perspective and needs

  • https://www.zetamextech.com/ Christopher Strachan

    Hi i just wrote a simple php web page that i hope will help not only Maria with her stat count but also grid owners to know how big by land mass their grid is. You can find the free MIT license open source php file at http://git.zetamexlabs.com/opensource-projects/land-mass-counter/

  • Avacar Bluestar

    OSGrid has been down for over 24 hours now… guess all that growth got the best of it?