OpenSim downloads hit new high, grids prep for Halloween

The total land area on OpenSim’s public grids rose by the equivalent of 1,616 standard regions to 52,180, the grids gained more than 6,000 new registered users, but the number of active users fell by 280 this month on the back of a continued outage at OSgrid.

Metropolis was the biggest gainer, with OSgrid refugees helping increase its total number of regions by 686, for a new high of 5,447 regions. SimValley gained 519 regions as part of its expansion plans, nearly doubling its size. Virtual Highway, Kitely, Lost Paradise,  ZetaWorlds, 3rd Rock Grid, FrancoGrid and the Great Canadian Grid all gained substantial numbers of regions, as well.

The biggest loser of regions was OSgrid, which — though it was down for this past entire month — still shrank by 133 regions.

Number of regions on OpenSim's top 40 public grids.

Number of regions on OpenSim’s top 40 public grids.

The most significant increase this month was in the number of OpenSim downloads. The top four distributions of the software were downloaded a record 7,299 times since mid-September. That includes 640 downloads of the Diva Distro, 1,230 new downloads of Sim-on-a-Stick, 66 downloads of New World Studio, and 5,363 downloads of the standard distribution at OpenSimulator.org.

Two new updates to OpenSim may have contributed to the record number of downloads, including 0.8.0.1, which fixed issues with avatar attachments and physics, and 0.8.0.2, which fixed a permissions glitch.

Monthly OpenSim downloads in the four top distributions.

Monthly OpenSim downloads in the four top distributions.

According to Hypergrid Business estimates, the OpenSim software has been downloaded 211,775 times since September 2010, when we first started keeping track.

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 ten most popular grids this month:

The biggest gainer was Metropolis, which was a top destination for OSgrid users locked out of that grid. Metropolis gained 356 new active users, for a new record high of 3,108 actives, making it the most popular open grid.

FrancoGrid, another open grid, gained 170 users, and The Great Canadian Grid — known for its $4.50 regions — gained 165 new users, though at 263 active users total, it wasn’t quite enough to make it into the top ten list.

Island Oasis, which rocked the latest grid users survey, gained 122 new active users and Kitely gained 102. Lost Paradise gained 92 and Craft World, another open grid, gained 55. Zetaworlds, which has also welcomed OSgrid refugees, gained 51.

Of these top gainers, only Island Oasis is not on the hypergrid.

The OpenSimulator Community Conference, with 686 active users, would have made sixth place in our list, as a result of running load and scalability tests every Tuesday.  The conference is still accepting registrations for the November event.

Tangle OS ready for new regions

Tangle Grid announced a new open grid, Tangle OS, two weeks ago and the grid is now ready for the public to attach their regions, at no cost.

Tangle OS is a completely separate grid from Tangle Grid, which is best known for its monthly expos. Tangle Grid is a commercial grid, with all regions hosted by the grid itself. Tangle OS, however, is an open grid — similar to OSgrid — and people can connect their own home-based regions for free.

Tangle OS is also hypergrid enabled, and — since users are running their own regions — allows residents to save and load OAR region backup files and IAR inventory backups.

The grid also makes manual weekly backups of everything.

“We are pleased to offer this service to metaverse members who were displaced by the temporary closure of OSgrid,” Tangle Grid consultant Kevin Klerks told Hypergrid Business. “We started this grid in OSgrid-style to give people a stable place to house their regions while waiting for OSGrid to come back online. Tangle OS, however, will not come down when OSGrid comes back online. It will stay up for as long as it is used and needed.”

The grid is running the latest version of OpenSim, completely with Bullet physics. There are some free clothes, textures, and animations in th welcome center plaza to help people get started. There are also free shops available for residents to use. Teleport in to check it out at tanglegrid.net:8102.

“In the spirit of OSGrid there is no monetary system available, this is a non-commercial grid providing a free service to the metaverse community,” added Klerks.

Tangle OS Welcome Plaza. (Image courtesy Tangle Grid.)

Tangle OS Welcome Plaza. (Image courtesy Tangle Grid.)

SimValley has big expansion plans

SimValley has nearly doubled in size, to 1,087 regions this month, and plans to offer variable-sized regions later on this month.

Like Tangle Grid, SimValley also has an open sister grid, called OpenSim.nl.

“We are expanding our grid OpenSim.nl to provide services comparable to OSgrid,” grid owner Johan Taal told Hypergrid Business. “We are very sorry to hear OSgrid was down. We all started our first OpenSim steps with good memories. A service like that can’t be disappearing like this. So we are testing on this moment. And if OSgrid won’t come back we like to continue this service with the help of our provider and business partners. Like SimValley, we will first start locally but will expand internationally in the start of next year if OSgrid does not return.”

Exportables grow at twice the rate of products on Kitely Market

Kitely Market merchants continue to embrace the hypergrid. Exportable product variations grew at 5.5 percent compared to last month, more than three times the 1.5  percent growth rate of non-exportable variations.

There are now 6,251 variations of 3,201 products on the Kitely Market, making it the largest multi-grid marketplace in OpenSim.

Ilan Tochner

Ilan Tochner

“Our goal is to make Kitely Market the go-to venue for virtual world and virtual reality related content,” Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business. “As part of our strategy we’re adding various advanced features to our marketplace. Last month we added an advanced analytics system to the marketplace and the additional features have helped attract new merchants to Kitely Market.”

Kitely has also been seeing more in-world activity, as some OSgrid refugees have made their way to that grid.

Exportable and non-exportable products on the Kitely Market. (Kitely data.)

Exportable and non-exportable products on the Kitely Market. (Kitely data.)

Most recently, the Kitely Market has seen new Halloween-themed products added, including pumpkins, kobolds, undead skins, haunted houses, and more.

Littlefield celebrates Halloween all month long

Littlefield Grid has opened its month long Halloween region at Stonehaven Party Isle. You’ll find bonfires, haunted hayride, haunted balloon ride, cornfield maze, and many other surprises. The region will be running until Monday, November 3, 2014. There will be a Halloween costume party on Halloween Night at 8 p.m. Pacific on October 31 with dancing, a live DJ, and prizes.

Teleport in via hypergrid at hg: lfgrid.com:8002:Stonehaven Party Isle.

Halloween on Littlefield. (Image courtesy Littlefield Grid.)

Halloween on Littlefield. (Image courtesy Littlefield Grid.)

Also ongoing this month is a crow hunt on Melody Island sponsored by Cerridwen Melody.

Hidden around Melody Island are 20 crows, filled with gifts such as mens clothing, ladies clothing, unisex clothing and random furniture items. The clues to the hunt are in the 20 Crows Poem. Teleport in via hypergrid at hg: lfgrid.com:8002:Melody Island.

Melody Island. (Image courtesy Littlefield Grid.)

Melody Island. (Image courtesy Littlefield Grid.)

Club Zandramas holds Halloween Hunt

Club Zandramas is going all-out for Halloween this year, with a holiday-themed hunt that runs from October 20 to November 1.

Halloween on Zandramas. (Image courtesy Zandramas Grid.)

Halloween on Zandramas. (Image courtesy Zandramas Grid.)

Zandramas, a closed, invitation only grid, is considering opening the Club Zandramas region to hypergrid visitors in the near future.

“We feel the venue is really a lot of fun and people really do enjoy it and we would like to share this with everyone on the hypergrid,” Zandramas manager and co-founder Suzan De Koning told Hypergrid Business. “If or when we do this we will do it in a way that only that region can be accessed and no content can come or go from Zandramas which would maintain our very good content protection and privacy already in place that makes content creators & residents in our grid very happy.”

Several grids have recently begun offering hypergrid travel in combination with content protection, for example, by not allowing non-full-perm items from leaving the grid. Kitely was the first, Spellscape and AviWorlds have done so most recently, and 3rd Rock Grid is about to follow suit within the next few weeks.

Zandramas has also brought a new grid administration on board, SkyeSunset Willow, who is helping residents. When not in-world she is a special events coordinator and wedding planner, with an educational background in marketing and business and experience in the fashion and entertainment industries.

Craft recovers from RAID-related outage

Craft was down for a few days earlier this month, when a planned maintenance shutdown turned into something longer when a problem was discovered in its RAID storage arrays, a kind of storage technology that has also been in a factor in the shutdown on OSgrid and on Next Reality Grid.

“For grids that have no big capital to spend in its structure, the challenge is ‘spending the least and having the most possible’,” grid owner Raffaele Macis — also known as Licu Rau in-world — told Hypergrid Business. “We can’t afford a central server with RAID 5 disks at the moment so we must go on with our RAID 1 server, although it is not the best solution. Indeed during the maintenance we found that one of the two RAID disks was not working at all. That was fixed in one day of work — our database is 250 gigabytes.”

By comparison, the OSgrid database is 3 terabytes in size, or twelve times larger.

“After that we proceeded with the planned improvement, which was a database replication of data from the main server to a slave server,” Macis said. “All our data is now safe in two different RAID 1 servers, and the quality of sleep — for me at least — made a big improvement too.”

Craft now has a 500 Mbps connection, RAID 1 storage, 12 Robust instances balanced by Nginz — four for assets, four for inventory, and four for other services — and a slave server with 250 Mbps Internet, RAID 1 storage, and a real-time replica of the central database.

(Image courtesy Museo del Metaverso.)

(Image courtesy Museo del Metaverso.)

It’s a good time for an upgrade because not only is the Museo del Metaverso starting back up after two years of inactivity, but Milan’s Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera — the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, founded in 1776 and one of the world’s leading academic institutions — will be getting six full regions on Craft, surrounded by 16 landscape regions.

The academy experimented with virtual  modeling lessons on the Brera Academy Virtual Lab region last year, and the pilot project went well, Macis said.

Halloween on Spellscape

Merrie Schonbach — also known as Andress Renault in-world, is organizing this year’s Halloween Ball on the Spellscape Grid. The event will be on the Honeywood region, at the Red Moon Club. Teleport in via hypergrid at grid.spellscape.co.uk:80:honeywood. on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m. Pacific.

The grand prize of the costume content is a free region on Spellscape for 12 months, a four-region varregion with 30,000 prims.

(Image courtesy Spellscape.)

(Image courtesy Spellscape.)

Littlebird adds currency

The recently-launched Littlebird Grid has added an online forum for its residents, and has begun rolling out currency.

“This currency has no value as of yet but we are working on the legal aspect of buying and selling and once we have everything legit then it will be very real,” grid administrator Matthew Marlatt told Hypergrid Business. “However, in the meantime please feel free to drop by and play with our Monopoly money — the more people we have testing it and using it the more easily we can identify any bugs within the system.”

The grid can be visited via the hypergrid at lbgrid.com:8002.

Transitions

We have three new grids on our list this month, including SuziWorld, Jnix World, Soloton Grid

We’re listing 1d 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:  Atcradar, Castle Reaper, D3D, Embraced Life, enghome3d, Grid Empire, Haven, iSynergy3D, Maui Tours 3D, OuterLimits, Pleasant Retreat, SimB2B, The World of Begabungs, Virtual Life Grid, and World-DC.

And we’re marking a few grids officially closed because they’ve been down for a while and show no signs of coming back. They include AviWorld3D, Another World, Cuddles’ World and Worlds4Us. In fact, there are 82 different closed OpenSim grids with the word “World” in the title.

My recommendation? If you’re naming a grid, try to avoid anything with “world” in it.

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.

I’m not going to list the Second Life region losses this month. I just don’t have the heart for it.

October 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 859 different publicly-accessible grids, 223 of which were active this month, and 175 of which published their statistics.

All region counts on this list are, whenever available, in terms of standard region equivalents. Active user counts include hypergrid visitors whenever possible.

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.

  • Arielle

    I think Osgrid shrank by 8371 regions Maria, not just 133. No doubt Osgrid being down has a lot to do with the record download of preconfigured and stable releases of Opensim as Osgridites finally gave up waiting for the grid to come back online and took matters into their own hands.

    • I’m waiting for the grid to come back online before coming out and saying that the grid lost XXX number of regions.

      The 133 number of losses is directly from their stats page. I don’t know how they were measuring that while the grid was down…

      I’m guessing that a large number of people, instead of moving their regions from OSgrid to other grids, simply ran up duplicate regions on other grids based on their latest OARs.

      Will they come back to OSgrid? Do they like their new grids and plan to stay there? It’s too early to tell. Stay tuned, same Bat time, same Bat station….

  • Talla Adam

    I think it is a wonderful thing that so many of the hitherto closed grids are now finding ways to open up, albeit partially, to Hypergrid visitors. As you mention in the article, Maria Tangle OS, 3rd Rock and Zandramas are helping to show the way and it makes such a difference to see cooperation between grids rather than the old competitive backbiting. Even more remarkable was the substantial donations made by 3rd Rock, Kitely, Zetamex and others including many individual members of the community to help OSgrid recover from it’s problems. At Google+ Opensim Virtual we are seeing many more new people wanting to learn about Opensim and it is clear that there is a lot more to our community across all grids than might have been thought. All this cooperation is not just good news for us but it demonstrates our community is welcoming, helpful and growing.

    See Opensim Virtual @ https://plus.google.com/communities/116284417302234467612

    • The hypergrid is the single hugest greatest accomplishment of OpenSim. Sure, varregions are nice. Sure, it’s nice you can run it on a home computer.

      Okay, having multiple vendors with lots of pricing options is nice too. And region and inventory backups. Those are nice. But there are other platforms that have some versions of these.

      The hypergrid is unique in that it is a completely decentralized system. There’s nobody in the middle keeping track of inventories. You can use whatever currency you like. There’s nobody registering grid addresses. (Ahem, High Fidelity, ahem.)

      The hypergrid is why I’m such a huge fan of OpenSim.

      It’s not for everybody — there are plenty of good reasons to stay closed — but I really really love seeing it flourish.

      And having some regions open to the public is a great way to have best of both worlds. I think of it as having a website with a member-only area. The public can come in to the home page, look around, see if there’s stuff they like. And if they do like, they an sign up for an official membership and be able to go inside and get the good stuff.

      I’m still waiting to see which style of content filtering will eventually win out. The Avination-Singularity way — of a fourth “export” permission is a nice, clean system that InWorldz is looking at, that allows creators to offer full-perm content while still marking it “no export.” Because sometimes you want even your freebies to stay local. Say, if you grid has custom themed content that it gives away to all residents to play with and build with, but doesn’t want that content going to other grids. InWorldz is looking at doing that.

      But the Kitely-Spellscape-AviWorlds way, which seems to be gaining more momentum, is just to use the current permissions. A grid might say, for example, “full perm” items can travel, but nothing else. So if a grid or a creator wants some content to stay local, then all they have to do is just turn off one of those perms.

      • Geir Nøklebye

        Absolutely agree with you on Hypergrid in combination with scalable hosting. It breaks the “California Dreaming” paradigm that SecondLife created for itself, and makes for a substantially richer set of cultural contexts people can both explore and move between.

    • Zandramas Grid

      We really do <3 Hypergrid and the idea around it and how it works. We believe in it the big issue is spreading this and convincing current residents. So many people have false fears about it. In all reality Hypergrid has grown so much but just now it's down to helping people understand it can be "safe". I wish we had someone join our grid that is very Pro Hypergrid that could help promote education on how awesome it is etc. It's just hard to find someone that wants to come and talk at our meetings about it etc.

      • John Sheppard

        Zan, I am a avid hypergridder, and am in your grid… what would you need to know?

        • Zandramas Grid

          Hi John, What I mean is that we need a person to help promote hypergrid with our residents to teach them that it is great and convince them to give it a try!

  • bagman

    At some point, the only grid will be the hypergrid, and we will all carry on our virtual lives entirely in the metaverse. There is no more need to join a grid to explore virtual worlds than there is to run a web server to surf the net. All anybody needs is a hypergrid-enabled standalone, and that only to provide a place to login and store your assets. The lingering coma of OSgrid has provided this one last revelation.

    • Arielle

      For a long time time I would have agreed with you but today I realize that grids are here to stay as a shared space where likeminded people can gather together for common purpose and share the expenses of it. It is the aspect of community which draws those people together and that comes through the actual sharing of the space as well as a common purpose. Similar to forums, G+ and Facebook.

    • I think the issue of avatar inventories is parallel to the issue of user mailboxes on the Web. Your mailbox is kind of your virtual stuff — but in 3D. It used to be that people would keep it all locally, with Outlook or a similar application (and many still do). And when you clicked on an email link on a website somewhere, it would launch Outlook for you.

      But many people also use web-based platforms, like Hotmail or Gmail. I personally find Gmail to be more reliable than having a mailbox on a home computer, and more convenient, since I use many devices to check my email. Now, instead of launching Outlook when I click on an email link, my browser launches Gmail. Plus, Gmail’s search is way better, and so is its spam filter, it’s integrated with my calendar and Google Apps — and I don’t keep any secrets, so the privacy issue doesn’t bother me. (Because my life is so lame. I WISH I had secrets!)

      Similarly, I think there’s a place on the hypergrid for a reliable, commercial vendor to just provide inventory services. They would market themselves by being super reliable, having excellent backups AND offering nice inventory management tools. Like a giant walk-in virtual closet with little previous of all your stuff, and you could sort it all in tons of different ways — I’d kill for that. Then anytime I was visiting another grid, instead of sending a message to my home-based, slow standalone to get my outfit, it would be fetched from the super-fast online inventory vendor.

      At first, this service would probably cost money. And if they threw in a little land for a virtual home — you know, to go around that giant virtual closet — I might well pay it. Especially if the closet was really good.

      But eventually the costs would go down far enough that a company would be able to offer it either as a loss leader to attract people to its other services — search, hosting, marketplace, currency, whatever — or simply support it through advertising.

  • AviWorlds

    hmm. AviWorlds had 77 regions and now we have 83. But before Maria did this stats article we had 78. We went down to 77 because we were adjusting one region. Still A virtual world a grid with 74 regions was placed in the top 40 grids. AviWorlds with more regions was left out. Why?