Kitely residents can now change megaregion sizes

Kitely users on a flat-rate plan can now change the size of their megaregions for free via the Web interface.

(Image courtesy Kitely.)

(Image courtesy Kitely.)

Those on premium plans have a fee of 150 KC, or about $0.75, to resize their megaregions.

Kitely offers several flat-rate megaregion plans. For around $50 a month, customers get 60,000 prims that they can distribute over a single region, or over a megaregion the size of four regular regions.

For around $100 a month, customers get 100,000 prims that they can distribute over a single region, a four-region megaregions, a nine-region megaregion, or even a 16-region megaregion.

Premium worlds, which are charged based on use, can also be configured as a single region, a four-region megaregions, a nine-region megaregion, or a 16-region megaregion.

For some still-unknown reason, Kitely insists on calling these megaregions “worlds” even though they are not actually separate worlds, but just regions on the Kitely grid.

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.

  • Hi Maria,

    Each Kitely world is managed as a separate entity in our web-based control panel. You can copy it, export it, delete it, track who visits it, set separate access controls for it, etc. Those worlds are started, stopped, backed up and reset as atomic units. The fact that they are currently implemented as disconnected multi-region or Advanced Megaregion islands on the same OpenSim grid doesn’t make them any more related to one another than separate virtual worlds running on different virtual world platforms. In other words, the implementation details do not change the essence of what Kitely worlds are, i.e. separate virtual worlds.

    There are orders of magnitude more people searching for virtual worlds than there are people who know the terms region and grid. If OpenSim is to become relevant to the mass market we need to start using the terms laypeople are familiar with.

    • I still think they should be called “islands” not worlds. A virtual world has a single common login process, in-world teleports just require region names — not full hypergrid addresses. You can use search within a virtual world. You can search the map.

      A region on Kitely is virtually identical to a region on any other grid, except that teleports take a little longer if the region is currently down, and you can’t put two regions next to each other unless they’re both part of a single megaregion.

      But plenty of other grids don’t have mainlands, either, just independent regions separate by water.

      • Islands on the same OpenSim grid don’t have the same type of tools we provide for worlds. Islands are handled as a collection of regions (one or more regions, a megaregion, or a varregion) and not as atomic units. Kitely Worlds include tools which other OpenSim providers usually provide at the grid or standalone level, i.e. tools that manipulate the entire grid (or world in our case).

        Kitely provides a hybrid solution that provides the benefits of a shared grid with the control you get from a private grid. People get their own virtual worlds on Kitely but they can easily access worlds other Kitely users have created (assuming those people don’t restrict access to their worlds, which they can easily do via our web interface).

        Kitely provides various additional advanced tools for managing and manipulating virtual worlds:
        – You can easy switch existing worlds between multi-region and Advanced Megaregion mode.
        – You can import VarRegion OAR files and have them automatically converted to Advanced Megaregions.
        – You can switch physics engines between ODE and BulletSim.
        – You can define access controls, including based on information from third-party site (Twitter and Facebook).
        -.You can export OAR files in a way that respects content permissions and get a detailed export report.
        – You can replace a world with an OAR file and retain various settings that existed prior to the import.
        – You can view a live visitor count of all your worlds (the My Worlds page automatically updates with the current counter).
        – You can initiate multiple time-consuming operations concurrently without having to wait for them to complete (e.g. Copy World, Replace World, Export World and Resize World).
        – You can view all the events relating to your account, including who visited your worlds, when and for how long.

        As an aside, Kitely worlds don’t have to be set up as Advanced Megaregions, you can configure them to be separate regions in the same simulator using an easy to set option in our control panel. You can even enable/disable this feature for existing worlds and all the objects and settings will be automatically changed accordingly (e.g. each prim that was currently set at a high coordinate of the root region of a megaregion will be automatically relocated to the proper region). The new resize option is also not limited to worlds that are set up as Advanced Megaregions – it can be used on worlds set as separate regions as well.

        • Easy-to-use management features are nice, but they don’t elevate islands to the status of separate virtual worlds.

          The hypergrid address is part of the Kitely grid. User creation is controlled by Kitely. The currency is controlled by Kitely. Kitely sets all the rules.

          There are plenty of hosting companies that ACTUALLY offer private virtual worlds, with full user control, independent currencies, grid maps, their own domains, and the ability to set your own TOS.

          Kitely may have a nicer region management panel than some grids, but it does not offer private or white-label grids.

          It is true that some other grids have done a much better job of creating a cohesive community on their grids, with mentors, and events, and so on, but Kitely’s residents have been stepping up and making up for that lack on their own.

          • Kitely worlds are disjointed, they are quite far apart from each other on the map. The fact that you can see other worlds if you zoom out enough is exactly the same as seeing regions from other HG-connected grids that are mapped to your own grid map after you’ve searched for them via the viewer map. Seeing a world on the map doesn’t mean you can visit it (neither in Kitely nor in other grids).

            OpenSim is one virtual world platform of many, defining what constitutes a virtual world based on its idiosyncrasies probably doesn’t do its adoption any favors.

            There is a big difference between wrapping existing OpenSim admin features with a nice user interface and building new features. The partial list of features I mentioned in the previous comment are (almost all) unique to Kitely (as far as OpenSim grids and hosting go).

          • Ilan —

            I’d say that having control over your own users and your own TOS and your own map is a pretty common definition of “separate virtual world” that has little to do with OpenSim.

          • I can guarantee you that the VR platform Facebook will offer will all be accessed via FB and have its namespace and TOS defined by FB. Each separate area will be referred to as a virtual world by the 10s/100s of millions of people that will use that platform. The same will be true for the VW platforms offered by the other giants.

          • We don’t know yet what the nomenclature will be.

            Certainly on the current Facebook site, nobody says that they have a separate website when all they have is a page on Facebook.

            If they go with what other worlds have done, they’ll call their virtual spaces “rooms” or “scenes.” Or “spaces.”

            They *might* call them worlds, but given that in all other contexts “world” means separate world. I wouldn’t say that this was all that likely.

          • lmpierce

            As someone who has Kitely worlds, I find myself changing the terminology I use for my audience. For the most part, I use ‘sim’ to describe my worlds. I find that ‘sim’ is fairly well understood by non-users. To my ears, to say I have ‘worlds’ is too grandiose for those not familiar with the technology. Nonetheless, when I write about virtual worlds, I feel it is appropriate to use ‘world’ when describing what Kitely offers. In the context of those who follow these things, the terminology makes sense to me. Kitely basically offers regions, but if one says ‘region’ in regards to Kitely, it would suggest that Kitely is one large grid and everyone is together in a multi-region environment, like Second Life. ‘World’ correctly suggests that each user is in charge of their own, self-contained world.

          • But Kitely IS actually one large grid and everyone IS actually together in a multi-region environment, like Second Life. So I’m not following you there.

          • lmpierce

            I think the issue comes down to the experience, versus the technicalities. When someone enters a Kitely world, they do not simultaneously see the neighboring worlds. They cannot keep walking from world to world. Experientially, there is a real disconnect between worlds. In Second Life, I can walk from one owner’s region to a different owner’s region and so on. To use the Kitely metaphor, in Second Life I can walk from world to world to world.

            For this reason, I do not experience Kitely as one large grid, like Second Life. And if we get talking about details, Second Life offers private islands which can function like Kitely worlds, so I recognize there can be an overlap in what’s going on technologically and experientially under the right conditions.

            Still, when I go to use Kitely, I experience starting separate worlds. I do not experience myself entering Kitely as one large contiguous grid. Or in Second Life terms, there is no Kitely ‘mainland’.

            Again, I’m talking about the experience. And in that sense, perhaps there’s room to consider that different people experience these relationships differently?

          • To me Kitely feels like a bunch of separated entities with a common welcome region, user registry, search facility and asset server. It does not have the continuous flow that the SL continents have.

          • lmpierce

            And that has it’s advantages and disadvantages. It was interesting when during one session of a graduate course at the University of the West of England (UWE) held in Second Life, we had griefers that were persistent despite quick counter-measures, and they would have taken quite some time to expel using stronger measures, including region resets. Apparently the tradeoff is keeping the virtual university open enough for its purposes, while running the risk of griefing. The solution was efficient: we all reconvened in the university’s Kitely world. No griefers possible and it let us all breathe a sigh of relief to get on with our session. Since there are appropriate times and places for strong boundaries, Kitely has an intrinsic advantage in that regard by offering complete privacy by default, or HG and public access by overt decision. Something of a hybrid approach I’d say.

            Having said all that, I sometimes wish we could have the continents of SL in Kitely. I’m hoping that someday we can have truly enormous Kitely worlds, with hundreds of regions, that appear when they are within sight (and by appear, I mean gracefully, not popping suddenly into view). I find that for the sense of immersion, land stretching as far as the eye can see is compelling. (Yes, I know this would require a future generation of economical and fast servers, etc…. it’s just a wish!)

          • I believe the SL Mainland contributed to SL’s initial success simply because land (as in real life) creates a sense of unity and community. That also makes it easier for creators to spot markets, opportunities and it creates an environment where you keep looking over the fence so to speak for what the neighbor did and then outdo them (as we do RL). It is also easier to scale an economy in such an environment.

            Island nations usually have a large number of very individualistic small communities and persons, and is much harder to unify. – If that is your target audience, that is fine, but I believe it will limit your customer base and reach over time.

          • I’ve never spent much time on a mainland anywhere… but you know, I DO prefer to live in cities in real life.

            I think if I were to have a residential home somewhere, I’d love for it to be in a virtual city — or town — but my main concern is privacy and camming.

            I think as virtual worlds evolve, and we start using immersive headsets, camming would become less of a problem.

            But it kind of creeps me out when I can swing my camera through the inside of people’s houses — and know that they can do the same to mine.

          • lmpierce

            Camming is definitely a mixed blessing. I’ve used it a lot when shopping. It let’s me experience the virtual environment, but at a more satisfying pace. On the other hand, it means no place is private. Honestly, I’m surprised that just as there are ways to put up parcel boundaries that prevent an avatar from entering, why are there no controls to prevent camming in a specified area? After all, the system knows a camera has moved into an area, even if we don’t know.

          • lmpierce

            It seems, however, that over time, the SL Mainland also became a cacophony of conflicting themes, builds, products and levels of quality. I often found it hard to experience as a unified land. In real life this is probably also somewhat true.. for example, cities vary enormously in character. But then again, they are not sharing boundaries. By the time I go from one city to another, I’m also in a mindset to experience the differences. Moving around in SL can be quite jarring because everything is unrealistically close together.

            I have found that in Second Life, the places that are like ‘mini continents’ do the best job of what you are describing. For example, I’ve recently rented on a French themed location that started off as a collection of about 16 regions that were all designed to work together. In keeping with the design theme, events are planned accordingly, for example dances or literature readings. In the space of these regions, there is a strong sense of community and unity.

            On the other hand, the mainland of SL has no unifying character that I can perceive.

            One capability I’d like to see in Kitely, and perhaps it’s not beyond consideration with the current technology, would be the ability to have regions that connect at arbitrary sides. Right now, if I choose a 4×4 megaregion option, the world is still a large square. I could ‘sink’ some regions to create various organic shorelines, but I’d lose a lot of land doing that. In the French ‘mini-continent’ I described above, the regions connected to provide a long land form, with various ‘twists’ and turns… Like a (somewhat blocky) script form of the letter “f”.

          • If you go to XMIR, you will see I have done something of the same as the French mini continent you describe.

            I have used sufficient space to make a sense of realism and the viewer help add to that in the perspective it draws, so you don’t have to use so much elevation as a natural landscape would have. I have also used different water levels to create inland elevated lakes and lower a river in a steep valley.

            The land is sufficiently wide to create a sense of continuity on the E-W axis, while it is longer in the S-N axis that adds to the feeling of space.

            One of the things I have done in XMIR, and will continue to do, is to change the landscape with the seasons of the northern hemisphere. It will help sync everyone and get them on the same page as more residents settle.

            The SL mainland was completely mangled when they allowed 16 sq.m parcels and it never recovered. The Linden homes added to vacating it. Had the LL homes been dispersed throughout empty and sparsely populated mainland regions, there might have been some hope for it.

            Bay City could have evolved into something, but the land prizing was just too much of it. Add to that the drama around the info hubs so people moved. It was so bad I could only enter my own land occasionally as the info hubs filled up and spilled over to the surrounding sims blocking the landowners.

          • I know this is an old post but I really like what you say above – as far as the tools in place to keep each world contained and separate/private. Also I agree that it would be great to have an alternative. I would love to see a form of mainland, even if it were merely that users themselves could be the ones to create such a space. I’d love a 6×6 or 7×7!

          • I’m with you — I, too, think that Kitely needs a mainland. I think it would be cool, for example, to have a lot more land around the welcome center, with meeting facilities, shops, and maybe a residential area with houses around the periphery. I, for one, don’t like living out in the middle of nowhere — I like to have neighbors.

          • My guess is that FB will offer something like Facebook Connect for people hosting worlds connected to their “grid services” which will define the TOS people will have to conform with.

            It’s important to note that every website that is hosted anywhere public has to conform to its hosting provider’s TOS. That is also true for all OpenSim grids that aren’t hosted from home. And even then there is the ISP’s TOS that must be adhered to.

            In other words, the requirment to adhere to some third party’s TOS exists for all OpenSim based worlds on the net no matter how you define the term.

          • A grid/world TOS is a VERY different thing from a hosting company TOS.

            A hosting company is mostly concerned that you don’t break the law, and get them in trouble for facilitating money laundering or something like that.

            A virtual world TOS will govern user behavior, currency use, translate license terms into permissions, set backup policies, etc.

            When I own my own virtual world, I can make a backup of the entire thing, for example. Just like I can if I have a website. Nobody is going to come around asking me if I have the correct license to make a backup — that’s between me and my content providers.

            In fact, I don’t think there’s a single hosting company anywhere that will prohibit people from backing up the server space they rent from them — but this is something that virtual worlds (including Kitely) do as a matter of course, to protect content created by some users from being used in inappropriate ways by other users.

            It’s not just a difference of degree. It’s a dramatic difference in kind.

            TOS’s of all virtual worlds have a lot in common with one another, and are dramatically distinct from TOS’s of companies that rent server space.

          • While there is obviously a difference in the specific provisions, I think you’re ignoring the various previsions that hosting companies include in their TOS. Their acceptable use policies often limit the type of content and activities that may be hosted on their servers.

            Those limitations don’t just prevent illegal activities, they also prevent any type of activity which the hosting company deems to be potentially harmful to their operations or public image. Including various content and activities that are quite common in many OpenSim grids, e.g. adult material, gambling, various forms of speech that may be considered as harmful to other users, etc.

            Kitely doesn’t prevent you from backing up content which you have a license to copy/transfer or export. You can backup your worlds at any time using an easy-to-use control panel. The only thing that we prevent you from doing is exporting content which you don’t have a license to export (by automatically filtering content from the backup file).

            If you were to bring the fact that you wish to copy content without a license from a server hosted by a third party to that third-party’s lawyers, I’m quite sure they would not be happy with you using their servers for distributing unlicensed content (the act of copying data from their servers to other computers would be considered distribution even if data was transfered to just one computer). They might not have automatic tools in place to enforce this policy but their TOS most likely prevent you from doing so.

            I can’t speak for other OpenSim providers, but I can attest that our TOS were as liberal as we could make them given the underlying service providers we rely on and the jurisdictions they are active in (i.e. Amazon, PayPal and the United States). See: http://www.kitely.com/virtual-world-news/2011/04/29/terms-of-service/ (some things, such as our past reliance on Facebook logins, have changed since we published our first TOS version 4 years ago).

          • I agree with you that the above usually would constitute a virtual world.

            IMO there is not necessarily a direct link between a grid and virtual world. I think we can say that OSGrid is a grid of virtual worlds, since there is very little common TOS (in fact if you select Terms of Service from their Info menu, nothing happens) except for the plazas and perhaps for the asset server.

            I have consistently started using the term Region for the land area unit that is contained under the same name, be it the standard 256×256 or a VAR region. A sim is a technical term for a computer resource that can run one or multiple regions.

            Perhaps the term Estate should be promoted to more use, as in a Grid, the estate is an administrative unit consisting of one or more regions. – I am not sure if the Estate can have their separate TOS presented by the viewer (probably not). They can have different covenants, managers, ban and user lists etc.

            Virtual World sounds a bit grandiose for a small collection of regions IMO. 🙂

          • lmpierce

            ‘Sim’ is short for simulator, which can be a resource, as you’ve indicated, but it is also short for simulation, which is more the meaning that is conveyed when I use the word. And people seem to understand that already, perhaps because of products such as SimCity, not to mention Flight Simulator. And in education, ‘learning simulation’ is well known… the list goes on.

            My point is that in a discussion about what terminology to use, I think that it varies by audience. And many words have multiple meanings in various contexts, so the area of nomenclature is very complex indeed.

          • > so the area of nomenclature is very complex indeed.

            Agreed!

          • lmpierce

            We might also have an interesting (and endless) discussion about what happens when marketing considerations get involved. Good grief the names and appellations things are given!

          • Yeah. – You would want to tune that to your target audience. I am not sure World rings equally well across the planet.

          • lmpierce

            Yes, I think that gets to the heart of the matter… Tuning for the target audience.

          • Unfortunately, the word “sim” — in the broad public view of the word — is probably most familiar to people from the game “The Sims” where a sim is a simulated person (an NPC, in OpenSim terms).

            And, technically, in OpenSim, it means a single instance of the OpenSim region server software, which could be running any number of regions, either adjacent or non-adjacent.

            And a single server, on top of that, can run multiple simulators.

            So I do my best to stay away from the word “sim” altogether.

          • lmpierce

            That may be the case, although in numerous conversations I’ve never known anyone to think ‘sim’ meant a simulated person. But, it’s a big planet with lots of sets of knowledge that do not always overlap…

            Nonetheless, although I’ve had relative success using ‘sim’ myself, I generally go on to say more. It’s a bit like saying I have a ‘car’ – people get the general idea, but really want to know more… is it a sedan or truck or SUV… what make is it?… what’s my gas mileage? Who can say, “I have a car”, and stop there? I’ve never been able to say, “I have a sim.” or “I have a virtual world.” and leave it at that.

          • I think we should call them all “Minetheres”…………………..

          • Carlos Loff

            LOLLLLLLLLLLL – I tyhink we should just do more and moreeeeee, call them whatevers – I want 7X7 Var Regions and I want them NOWWWWWWW

          • -)))

        • Samantha Atkins

          Well, suppose I have a standalone VarRegion of 4×4 size. I import to Kitely and it is made a megaregion which I use and modify. Then I want to export it again eventually and have a VarRegion, not a megaregion be what the export is. Does that work? From the above I would guess not.

          • When you import an OAR file that was created as a Varregion into Kitely it is automatically converted to a Kitely Advanced Megaregion (which is solves many of the issues that exist with regular OpenSim megaregions). After the import you can change that to a multi-region world instead of an Advanced Megaregion mode. If you do so before you export the world (to an OAR file) then the OAR file will contain multiple separate regions instead of a megaregion. Import that into your grid, change the grid’s ini files and those regions will be set up as a Varregion.

  • Carlos Loff

    Yes Yes Yes, I want a 7X7 pleaseeeeeeee

  • Samantha Atkins

    Are varregions supported yet? I would much rather have a 1024×1024 varregion generally in opensim than a 4×4 megaregion.

  • Da Hayward

    why use “mega regions when VARS are Available?