[Update: You can browse all hypergrid-enabled public OpenSim grids with Hyperica, the directory of hypergrid destinations. Directory indexes more than 100 shopping and freebie store locations. Updated hypergrid travel directions here. Full, up-to-date list of OpenSim hosting providers is here.]
There are plenty of virtual worlds out there, floating, isolated in cyberspace. World of Warcraft, Second Life, OpenLifeGrid — each requires a separate login, and many worlds require their own software downloads as well.
But there are a few brave new worlds which are on the hypergrid — accessible to travelers from other worlds via hyperlinks, otherwise known as hypergrid teleports. They are OSGrid, ReactionGrid, Grid4Us, FrancoGrid, ScienceSim, and dozens of others.
Trying to say which of these is the best is like asking which website is the best.
But I’m going to try.
Best for: Hanging out with Developers and Getting Free Stuff
If you are an OpenSim developer — or just like to hang out with them — you’ve got to be on the OSGrid.
This is also the place for OpenSim hobbyists running regions on their home computers or on spare servers.
Warning: the OSGrid prides itself on running the very latest version of the OpenSim software – whether or not that software works. They are on the bleeding edge, and are proud to be there.
There’s plenty of free land on OSGrid, as well, for people willing to be guinea pigs for the developers. Just ask on the OSGrid Chat or on the Forums (both accessible under the “Social” tap on the top left on the website after you’ve logged in).
On the plus side, all the cool new features get tested here first, like voice and vehicle physics.
And the OSGrid has the best freebie stores. Check out Snoopies, and anything that starts with “Freebee.”
The OSGrid is non-profit. Connecting a region is free, as long as you’re running recent versions of OpenSim.
How to get to OSGrid: if you have an account (create one free here), you can log in directly — it’s the default choice in Hippo.
If you’re on another grid, you will need to hypergrid teleport in. The address for LBSA Plaza is plaza02.osgrid.org:9102 (enter it in the search box after clicking on the Map tab at the bottom right of your screen). Please note that the OSGrid is centered at coordinates 10000,10000. Some grids, like ReactionGrid, may be far away to jump from directly, and you may need some intermediary jumps.
Other HG TP-enabled regions on OSGrid (if Wright Plaza is down)
Jumping from high-numbered grids:
- Nibiru: 126.96.36.199:9000
- Hypergrid Business: 188.8.131.52:9000:Hypergrid Business
Jumping from low-numbered grids:
- Southern Cross: vimana.dyndns.org:9100
Best for: Hanging out with Teachers
If you like teachers, you need to be on ReactionGrid. Some companies are here, too — for example, Intel has a conference center here.
You can log in directly (create a free account here) by adding a new grid to Hippo (click “Grids” on the login screen) with an address at http://gsquared.info:8008 .
Or you can teleport in. If you’re teleporting from a high-numbered grid like OSGrid, teleport to 184.108.40.206:9009:HG Gateway 2.
If you’re coming from another low-numbered grid, teleport to directly to 220.127.116.11:9005:Welcome Sim (the grid’s home region) or to 18.104.22.168:9005 (the Code Torque Meeting Zone).
Don’t know which kind of grid you’re on? Try either and see which works.
The next release of Hippo, due out this summer, is expected to solve the high-numbered/low-numbered problem.
ReactionGrid runs stable, older versions of OpenSim, tested and debugged, making it good for teachers or small businesses looking for a nice, reliable place to meet with students or clients.
Best for: Hanging out with Scientists
Or you can just hypergrid teleport in. The upper gateway address is 22.214.171.124:9009, if you’re teleporting in from the OSGrid, Grid4Us, and other high-numbered regions. The lower gateway address is 126.96.36.199:9010 if you’re coming from a low-numbered grid like ReactionGrid.
The upper reaches are where you’ll find all the interesting builds — check out Galileo, Einstein, and Kepler. Another nice place to visit is the observatory at StHelens01. I recommend seeing the inside of that volcano.
You can see the full list of regions here.
Best for: Hanging out with French People
FrancoGrid is the top French-speaking grid on the hypergrid. Located at alicia.francogrid.com:9050 if you’re hypergrid teleporting in. If you want to log in directly, you can get a free avatar here — very cool section of starting avatars — but what do you expect from the French? The grid address is user.francogrid.com:8002.
If you teleport in, you will land on Alicia. There’s a nice aquarium inside the conference center.
FrancoGrid is pretty extensively built up, with over 130 regions, but only has 1300 registered users — only about 130 of whom have logged in over the last month. When I visited, there were only a couple of people logged in on the whole grid — and I didn’t find either of them.
Best for: Hanging out with Germans
Grid4Us is one of my all-time favorite places to visit, and to bring friends. Either for the live music at the Folk Cafe, or for off-road racing on four-wheelers — or just wandering around and looking at the quaint European architecture.
However, it’s even smaller than FrancoGrid, with just 24 regions and around 150 active users.
You can teleport in, to 188.8.131.52:9000 or login directly to grid4us.net:8002 after creating a free account.
Overall Best Grid
But the best grid overall is the grid you build yourself. Build it to suit your tastes, your employees, or your customers.
Host on your own servers, or with an OpenSim hosting vendor. Built the landscapes and buildings yourself — you can learn here (the same principles apply as with Second Life) or hire one of the many experienced Second Life or OpenSim builders.
Hypergrid enable it, so people can visit. And, once you’re on the hypergrid, you can take your avatar shopping on the OSGrid for clothes and furniture to equip your new digs.