InWorlds reveals community support efforts

InWorldz also has the cool InShape mobile app, which bridges virtual and real exercise. (Image courtesy InWorldz.)

InWorldz also has the cool InShape mobile app, which bridges virtual and real exercise. (Image courtesy InWorldz.)

Some OpenSim users have complained that closed grids — especially InWorlds, the largest closed grid of them all — do not contribute enough back to the community.

Today, InWorldz co-founder and CTO David Daeschler made a strong case that InWorldz does much more than market OpenSim effectively to newcomers.

(Though that, in and of itself, is a valuable service.)

In particular, over the past 12 months alone the grid has:

  • reported bugs and donated bug fixes
  • donated code that allows OpenSim to manage extremely large inventories by using the Cassandra “big data” platform
  • made a $500 donation to help OSgrid recover and offered them a free and reliable asset database solution
  • helped the military’s MOSES grid bring the PhysX physics engine to OpenSim

“We have actively worked in the background trying to help the entire metaverse in many different ways,” Daeschler wrote today. The full post is here and is entirely worth reading.

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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.

30 Responses

  1.' XMIR Grid says:

    It is easy to dismiss the work that is done in the closed grids, but the fact is that most of the core tech we use originates from there after having been reverse engineered, or by direct code contributions via the LL viewer or other. Thanks to Inworldz for their contributions.

    I am looking forward to test the PhysX physics engine as it has performed pretty well with vehicles in InWorldz.

  2.' Elvia says:

    When i read about this from it becomes somewhat confusing from my perspective as a resident.
    Many of us who have supported the grid for going on 6 years,it seems like what we helped pay for they just give away,sure in charity but still?.
    When many of us asked to be part of the hypergrid got told the software was completely incompatible and that none of us wanted it.but at the same time they send in all this compatible code?.
    we begged them to advertise for years they ended up advertising for people on Facebook instead of the obvious places like HGB or SLU but again we have been ignored as the advertising on SLU is for Inshape a feature the residents never asked for and many do not care about.

    We asked to be able to buy from the kitely marketplace but was told the software was completely incompatible without even trying to work with kitly but at the same time they can work with another grid to give away a complete physics engine and help integrate it.

    Maybe that moses grid could have helped inworldz get Veritable Regions like many have requested as were we told 100% incompatible with other opensim.

    Forgive if i might be coming off wrong to others,it seems we get what we don’t want and never get what we do want, so after all the years the lines seems blurred between the actions of the lindens my clan left second life over to how the founders treat and respond to residents were we ended up at.

    To sum up what I’m trying to express here is someone in some place made a comment and they responded by showing all the things good they have done,that’s commendable but so many friends of mine have left our elven shores in inworldz from being ignored thru support/contacting the founders.

    whats more important what another persons says and cares about outside the grid or the day to day thoughts & concerns of the residents.? sure they need to defend the grid reputation but not everyone with a complaint is wrong or needs to be responded to regarding offworld opinions.

    I love inworldz but many of us are tired of many things year after year.

    •' XMIR Grid says:

      As far as I know Kitely use the Hypergrid protocol to deliver purchases to the grids, so if Inworldz has not implemented that, it would perhaps be difficult to make it work without quite a bit of work.

      •' Ilan Tochner says:

        We could easily work with the InWorldz team on an alternative delivery method to their grid, if they worked with us to define one.

        •' XMIR Grid says:

          You both have technical talent, so I am sure that would be worked out.

          •' Ilan Tochner says:

            That assumes they see value in our marketplace and want to enable it to work with their grid. Their past comments in Hypergrid Business indicate they don’t think enabling deliveries from our marketplace would be to their benefit.

          •' XMIR Grid says:

            I believe most of their merchants would benefit by reaching a bigger market, and in some categories they have a much richer selection to offer the rest of the Hypergrid. While many are looking for lots of cheap land, there is also a group of customers who would equally value great scripting, better physics, great support and a stable grid in combination with Hypergrid. I frankly believe Inworldz would gain population by connecting, while at the same time helping push Hypergrid connected OpenSim forward in general.

      • Several closed, non-hypergrid grids accept Kitely deliveries. And Kitely has posted instructions for how to do this (for grids that run standard OpenSim, that is):

        As far as forking code is concerned, I’ve long urged grid owners to donate their advances back to the community BEFORE the community developed their own, incompatible, alternative. If you don’t, then you wind up in the position of having to redo all the work that the OpenSim community is doing, on your own, while other grids are getting it all for free — mesh, stability improvements, bullet physics, varregions, OAR and IAR exports with filtered content, hypergrid content filters that protect creators, etc… etc…

        You wind up having to run faster and faster just to keep from falling behind — and you wind up paying for all the work that you have to do yourself. The trick is to find the optimum balance between getting the marketing benefit from having the new feature that nobody else has, and then knowing when to give it away. But, on the plus side, you then get a second marketing benefit when you donate it.

        The other thing to watch out for is to avoid spending too much time and money on technical features that appeal to developers, but make very little difference to end users. In our reader surveys, InWorldz residents don’t score their grid particularly highly for technology. In the reader survey last fall, InWorldz residents (who voted in high numbers!) scored their grid’s technology at around average – below Kitely, and below many grids running stock OpenSim.

        As time goes on, it becomes more and more difficult to recover from this situation. And yes, it is frustrating that the OpenSim community moves so slowly, and features take such a long time to get implemented. There are a lot of folks out there, contributing all kinds of things, and it all has to be coordinated, and it all has to work together. And everybody gets upset at the littlest things, and wars breakout over variable names (I’m guessing — I try not to follow the discussions!) It’s much faster to move on your own.

        That’s an illusion. A big community like OpenSim only looks like its moving slowly. Then the next thing you know, you turn around, and they’ve got mesh, and Bullet physics, and varregions, and the Kitely Market, and filtered hypergrid teleports that keep creators safe while letting residents travel freely, and other grids get all this for free, and are able to do things like offer $3 regions as a result.

        •' XMIR Grid says:

          There is no doubt a concerted effort would move everyone ahead faster than the bounce and leaps and sometimes steps backward we currently see.

          What I would like to see is a (product) plan for OpenSim, with some clear 1 and 2 year goals and milestones, and the community working together to get there. Everyone chip in as much as they can be it content, code, planning, bug tracking, testing, support – all the way up to fundraising and getting paid for contributions developed.

          • Tranquillity (InWorldz) says:

            I think people view us as anti-open, when really it’s a matter of our advancements and advantages being almost all “core” style code. Kitely has their market and advanced megaregions, only one of those is a core product, and rightfully they want to keep them to themselves right now to justify the cost of building them.

            All of our big advantages are core simulator code.. Mostly because I’ve always wanted to be working full time in 3d and not on websites or related. Everything being so forked and core to our competitive advantage makes some sharing very difficult without cutting off our own head. But if we can figure a way out to move forward I would love to see us fully open and collaborating. What we’ve all done would benefit a lot of people.

          •' XMIR Grid says:

            > But if we can figure a way out to move forward I would love to see us fully open and collaborating.

            It depends on what you think your end game is going to look like.

            We all know that SL as we know it coming to closure. I personally think it will be sooner than later (as in soon after SL v2 has been launched.) Even with a fraction of the current customer base seeking a replacement where they essentially can use their own creations and where content providers can move theirs without too much effort, given the current status of OpenSim (and I presume Inworldz) the preparedness to take on a significantly larger user base is low. Scalability is not there unless you scale horizontally across a large number of small grids connected with hypergrid. But even then there are lots of issues not handled.

            One of the FS developers said it during the OSCC conference last year; OpenSim is totally unprepared for what will happen as LL tries to move the customer base to a new platform.

            If people think growth will continue at the relatively leisurely pace we have seen so far with a lot of fragmentation, proceeding as in the past can continue. If we, however, think we will see a large influx of both customers/users and content, while at the same time modernizing the platform, then joint effort is required.

            Everyone, including the developers, must also accept that to grow the platform, economies built on the OpenSim must be encouraged and better supported. Otherwise it will be a niche platform that perhaps only is able to survive in academia where someone can pick up the tab for the “free” development process.

          •' guest says:

            IMO OpenSim will remain the quirky, buggy platform it is now. There is no development road map in place; nor is there even a good testing strategy.

            Anyway, who really cares about 30 or 40k disaffected Second Lifers? Here is what will happen after the the lights go out at Second LIfe: there will be the usual moaning; followed by a very brief toe in the opensimulator waters; followed by a wholesale embrace of the new platform, whatever it may prove to be. Let’s face it, most, not all, but most, Second Lifers are flummoxed at the prospect of even changing the port forwarding on their router. Kitely will pick up some simply because Kitely early-on saw the value of cloud computing as the only cost-effective way to address the elastic demand of an opensimulator server. And they seem to have gotten a handle on testing and debugging. Plus they have got the market in place.

            This will happen no matter what Opensimulator does in the meantime. Second Life and Second Life 2.0 are just a couple more silos. The true 3D metaverse will be connected, VR enabled simulators running on everybody’s computer as routinely as web browsers do now. For all its warts, opensimulator is quite likely defining this particular future.

          •' XMIR Grid says:

            > The true 3D metaverse will be connected, VR enabled simulators running on everybody’s computer as routinely as web browsers do now.

            Right, so you are essentially marketing HIFI? 😉

            My guesstimate for the SL population who would want to move to an alternative that is in essence identical to where they currently are (give and take some) is in the order of 10-20% of the current active user base. Meaning 100-200k. A significant increase over the 30k active base of today.

            In such a scenario one cannot assume the OpenSim platform is stagnant, even with preservation of current content. It should be possible to add a new avatar with flexible rigging uv mapped to accept the old system skins and clothing in addition to a new uv map. A better avatar would make it easier to use VR gear and scale the scene for reality. With better rigging follows better animation and the current avatar skeleton would just be a subset of the new rig.

            Physics and scripting can be updated to be on par with current SL has essentially been done with the work of Inworldz, Hypergrid is very effective for legislative and cultural scaling, unified inventories (one inventory for all your identities) can be developed, and the viewer itself would depart from the current LL dependency.

            Better admin tools, support for financial transactions, better scalability in the backend. I believe sim scalability is reasonably covered for now, and if better region crossings could be achieved, the sims are not doing too shabby. Frankly I think VAR regions, while nice for some use cases, are a technical side track as long as the region crossing and loading issues are sorted. LDAP support for authentication will also help any organization with an LDAP manage their users (think anyone with AD, Open Directory or other LDAP.)

            My take is that OpenSim has a much better chance to survive and adapt than what is often portrayed. It only takes a little bit more joint effort and some financing to speed up development.

          •' Ilan Tochner says:

            While we do track the main OpenSim releases and fixes, Kitely includes hundreds of proprietary patches to that codebase (some of which are completely new systems). The main core components that we’ve replaced are the inventory and assets systems, megaregions and code responsible for world startup times. The Diff between Kitely and regular OpenSim is more than 30K lines of C# code and many thousands of lines of Java code that are responsible for the majority of the OpenSim-related backend work.

            The reason Kitely performs better than regular OpenSim is not only because we provide more server resources per sim, it’s because our system includes many improvements to key components that are bottlenecks in unaugmented OpenSim.

        • Tranquillity (InWorldz) says:

          Honestly Maria, and I’ve avoided these wars before, but you keep bringing them up. We haven’t fallen behind on much of anything. There are features we’ve chosen not to implement because we wanted to spend time on other things. Vars? Well we spent time on region crossings instead since there is such a huge collection of landmass on InWorldz that it would take tens of gigabytes of memory to load into a var. We’d end up spending half our time rewriting them to try to save memory to hold the millions of prims on our mainlands and straits and we’d STILL end up needing to fix crossings.

          The biggest thing we’ve (admittedly) fallen behind on is viewer support of server side features, but that could happen to any grid trying to maintain their own viewer.

          There are a lot more people on InWorldz. Of course our ratings are going to start moving more towards average, escially when there’s nothing for many of our newcomers to compare to. Our responses also aren’t going to be as glowing as grids with 20 respondents. One grid with 10 gold votes can get to the top.

          We have mesh, we have physics in a more complete and stable form, it’s not bullet, it is PhysX, we have NPCs that are easy to work with, we have draw distance cuilling. Have we put as much time into features that would be less frequently used? No. That’s like saying a blender is behind a food processor because it doesn’t chop as good. Our goal has always been to try to provide a friendly place for people new to virtual worlds. We haven’t concentrated on the features that may be more important to open grids.

    • Its my understanding that Inworldz “forked” their version of OS at a very early stage. So whatever it is that Inworldz is currently running, its pretty different from what Opensim is now.

      That said, I dont see why things like hypergrid delivery or varregions should not work. I cant imagine that they stripped out certain functionality completely. Its just not switched on.

      Personally, I think its great Inworldz contributes back to the wider Opensim community. What I think is sad is that they have created a self imposed one way street, where Inworldz and its residents cant benefit from the advances the rest of us have made since they went their own way.

      •' XMIR Grid says:

        It would be great if they joined Hypergrid as it would enrich both sides of the border.
        There might be some issues for the current content creators that needs to be sorted out, but then again they also would benefit from a bigger market overall.

      • Tranquillity (InWorldz) says:

        We forked from opensim in 2010 at around version 0.6.5. Varregions came from Aurorasim much much later. Anything that would remain for HG (it it hadn’t been removed due to opening up attack vectors that we weren’t using/monitoring) would’ve been too old. I think people don’t realize exactly how long ago we started.

        Could we add some of these things back in? Hire core devs, or even call on Matt/Rev from Aurora who has done great work for us in the past? Yes. There have only been major calls for Varregions that have gotten to my desk, and we’ve spent a lot of time making the sharding model work so that most people seldom have issues with region borders anymore. I think what it comes down to is people wanting more physical land for less money, and that we’ll try to accommodate without Varregions.

        •' Cinder Biscuits says:

          Small clarification, varregions did not come directly from aurora-sim but are based on viewer code to support aurora-sim’s varregion protocol by nhede Core and myself. The opensim implementation was done by Intel developer Robert Adams. (There are small differences, for example, aurora-sim allows for non-power-of-two sized regions, OpenSimulator does not.)

          • Tranquillity (InWorldz) says:

            Thanks Cinder, sorry for the mistake. I was under the impression it was heavily based on Aurora work.

          •' Cinder Biscuits says:

            Oh, it’s definitely based on Aurora-sim’s protocol, and they deserve all the credit for developing the it but it’s sort of like the situation with OpenSim and SL where it’s original code written for an already existing protocol. 🙂 Anyway, sort of a tangent. FWIW, I can appreciate solid region crossings much more than var sized regions especially when vanilla opensim has no distance based culling and you end up downloading massive amounts of content for objects too far away to be seen or interacted with.

          • Tranquillity (InWorldz) says:

            Thanks Cinder. I hope things are (and continue) going well for you.

        •' gabegw11 says:

          I’ve always wanted an region on InWorldz but I just can’t afford the cost its still a bit too high for me. Someday when there are even lower prices I will swoop one up. I def am not saying the prices are unreasonable just I can’t afford them still even at the awesome price they are at.

      • Tranquillity (InWorldz) says:

        I know you’re looking at it from the other side of the glass, but to be fair, we have a far more mature physics, vehicle physics, entity transfer (region crossings) and script engine functionality which many people on the grid value very much. I know it is easy for our residents to get frustrated when we don’t do something they want, like varregions, but they asked for all those these other things too, before varregions even existed, which involved painstaking labor over the last 5 years.

        We both have our advances, they’re in different places.

        •' Mandy says:

          Care to comment on your G+ post stating “..I’m not seeing a whole lot of incentive at this point to release Phlox, PhysX, our hybrid asset system, or anything else if we’re going to be targeted this way”.

          So no more code patches to Opensimulator will be coming from Inworldz? Some might think that you are now doing exactly what Diva said.

          • Tranquillity (InWorldz) says:

            I would be very happy to work on friendly terms. That statement can be better summarized as: If your company name kept getting dragged around when it was mentioned in certain circles, how likely would it be you’d want to keep helping those circles?

            I do have to worry about my employees, partners, and their families first. I have to act in accordance with what we see as the best way forward for the people that depend on me. Giving away all of our tech to have grids with $1 regions advertising on our welcome center equipped with our physics engine may not be the best move at this time. But I can see a future where alternatives exist for us to still be able to put in software work and share it.

            I would love nothing more than to be able to share everything AND still be able to employ people to work on the software in the open. Projects like hifi have this ability because of massive investment. How do we foster the same environment without that money? That’s the ticket.

    •' Ilan Tochner says:

      We’d be happy to work with the InWorldz owners to enable Kitely Market to deliver to their grid. They wouldn’t need to implement Hypergrid for us to do so. They’d just need to enable us to send assets to their asset server and either send IMs to the InWorldz avatars we deliver to or, preferably, add items directly to their inventories. We’d be willing to do most of the work to make this happen. They just need to say they’re interested.

    •' Susannah Avonside says:

      If you are unhappy with a grid, and you are an RP or special interest group why not create your own grid? With OpenSim it’s far from impossible to do this.