New OpenSim market launches with three grids

HGExchange, a new online marketplace for OpenSim goods launched today, with live delivery to OSGrid, MyOpenGrid, and Haven.

It is not the first online marketplace to deliver items to multiple OpenSim grids.  Cariama delivers products to 3rd Rock Grid, Avination, InWorldz, Sim World and UFS Grid as well as to Second Life. Of these grids, Sim World is hypergrid-enabled. Cariama purchases can be made in any of the grid currencies.

Another potential alternative, SpotOn3D’s SpotOnSynergy platform, currently only delivers to SpotOn3D’s own grids and to Second Life and requires SpotOn3D registration.

HGExchange can be set up on any grid, including closed commercial grids, open grids, and private company and school grids, HGExchange owner Jefferson Costella told Hypergrid Business.

The HGExchange plans to expand to more grids soon, he said, and to offer more payment options. Today, the marketplace only accepts MyOpenGrid’s M$ currency, which can be bought online via PayPal, but plans to allow direct PayPal and OMC payments in the future.

Cheryl Shaw

“It’s a fabulous concept,” said Cheryl Shaw, co-founder of the Haven: Your World grid.

Haven is a start-up grid that is still in the launch stage, and the HGExchange allows the grid to have a ready-to-go currency and content marketplace right away. Haven has tried to install its own currency, but had problems getting the currency module to work correctly.

“The currency system they’ve got, we tested it today, and it’s working perfectly,” she said. “If we can get everything in one place, we find that’s best.”

And HGExchange owner Jefferson Costella leaned over backwards to get them started, she added. “He’s a very helpful guy. He sat up with us until 4 p.m. in the morning, his time, getting everything set up.”

Haven is a closed, commercial social grid similar to Avination, InWorldz and 3Rd Rock Grid. There are no hypergrid teleports in or out, though that may change as hypergrid security standards improve. Residents can export regions as OAR files, but only after manual vetting by grid administrators. Individual objects can only be exported by their creators.

Haven differentiates itself by offering residents a bigger say in managing the grid than other grids do. In addition, newcomers get three months of free rent, and building and scripting support to set up their regions. It is based in The Netherlands, and its primary language is English. The other co-founder of the grid is Corné Vergouwen.

Welcome Centre region on Haven: Your World. (Image courtesy Haven.)

Instant delivery

The way that HGExchange works is that you take your avatar to one of HGExchange’s affiliated grids, and visit the HGExchange region, where you can register your avatar with an in-world kiosk.

Avatar registers with the marketplace on HGExchange region on OSGrid.

On MyOpenGrid, HGExchange-enabled regions are HGExchange Mog, Beautiful Things, and Plaza Mayor. On OSGrid, the regions are HGExchange Osgrid and Money. On Haven, the regions are Haven, Oceana, Welcome Centre, Tranquil Bay, Sand Dune, Darkland, Twilight, Dark Island, The Hanging Garden, luxor Estate and Dark Water.

Then you visit the Website, sign up, buy your items, agree to the license terms, and the item instantly appears in your inventory. Currently, the only license available is a personal use license, which allows you to modify and copy the item, as long as you do not transfer it to someone else or sell it or use it as part of a commercial product. You are also not allowed to take the item via hypergrid teleport to other grids.

OpenSim flag. (Image courtesy HGExchange.)

You can try out the system by getting the free OpenSim flag.

The items that are delivered are complete, fully-functional objects, Costella told Hypergrid Business. That includes all textures and scripts.

The marketplace currently offers a small selection of avatar clothing and shoes — most other categories are empty.

PayPal payments are the first feature that the HGExchange will add now that it’s launched, said Costella.

That might make the HGExchange more appealing for other grid owners.

“The proprietary MyOpenGrid currency is not an option for us,” said Kai Ludwig, owner of Germany’s TalentRaspel virtual worlds Ltd. OpenSim hosting company and manager of the Wilder Westen and OpenNeuland grids.

His grids currently use the OMC virtual currency from Virwox, which is currently used by a total of 28 grids.

“Until the marketplace works with OMC we won’t use it,” Ludwig said.

Merchant-friendly system

HGExchange’s Costella took me through the process of uploading a new item for sale to the system, and it was remarkably quick and easy, though items do have to be uploaded invidually. Merchants can decide what grids their items can be delivered to.

For example, they can choose to have them delivered only to closed, commercial grids like Haven, or to any grid.

HGExchange online marketplace.

There is only one license option today, but two more license options will soon be added, at an extra cost.

The Premium license will allow users to transfer items between two grids — for example, they can buy an item on OSGrid and transfer it to their personal standalone or mini-grid.

The Enterprise license will allow users to transfer items to any number of grids owned by the company or educational institution, and will allow the organization to distribute the item to its employees or students.

Merchants will be able to decide which license terms are available for their products.

How to set up a grid

Setting up a connection to the HGExchange marketplace — especially once alternate payment mechanism are rolled out — is a great way for a new grid to offer shopping options to its members without having to build its own marketplace and find merchants.

To set up with HGExchange, grid or region owners or hosting companies need to request an HGExchange module license, and install the module on all the regions that will be enabled to work with the HGExchange. The license currently costs a nominal $1.99. More information about the module is here.

“We don’t want just anyone to download the module,” Costella said. “If you have a PayPal account, and you pay for it, we know that you’re at least 18 years old and are in good standing with PayPal.”

Region owners will then need to modify the OpenSim.ini file and drop the module in the OpenSim folder. This means that people who want to use HGExchange on their regions need to have access to their region servers — or ask their hosting providers to install the module for them.

Grids don’t need to adopt the MyOpenGrid currency system to use HGExchange. However, until other payment systems are in place, buyers will need to go online and add M$ credits to their accounts by buying them with PayPal.

Maria Korolov