It’s time to move all grids south

Hypergrid is probably one of the greatest and unifying features for OpenSim, and virtual worlds in general.

Basically, virtual worlds cannot be what they should be without the hypergrid. It is the same unifying feature and innovation as the hyperlink was – and still is – for the unification of the Web as we know it today.

Yet, we are still hindered by the 4096 region jump limit.

It is not the purpose of this article to define the technical reasons for this “bug” or whatever anyone would like to call it.

But the persistence of this issue is, obviously – or subtly – causing a potential distraction to usability, and the generation of the best user experience possible.

Many of us who teach others have to provide a wide variety of explanations and workarounds that really, in the big scheme of things, should be unnecessary. Sometimes the creation of these workarounds and explanations can take longer – cumulatively – than a true fix itself.

An avatar looks at Crista Lopes' model of hypergrid teleport connections between three separate grids.

I spent many years as a software engineer coding and providing solutions to corporations across New England. All I can say, it is code in an application that could be fixed. The effort to do so remains an unknown. But, if it cannot be fixed for whatever the reason, then I 100 percent agree with Diva – we should not be using coordinates above 4096, 4096 – and it’s time to start the conversion!

[Ed: Hypergrid inventor Crista Lopes, professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, called for a grid migration in June. She is also known as Diva Canto in-world.]

Putting every region at 4096, 4096 or lower would allow for more than 16 million regions per grid. This is more regions than any particular individual grid will see in this lifetime.

And it certainly allows for more than adequate regions spacing, if that is important.

Wouldn’t it be ideal if we could just hypergrid teleport to anywhere we want without an error message or having to take and intermediary unwanted route? Then all we have to deal with are the normal “cannot teleport” messages we receive from time to time.

The situation will continue to proliferate as more and more grids and regions are added to the hypergrid, and as more and more new users become involved in the metaverse. Usability and a steep learning curve has prevented Second Life and OpenSim from really growing where it can, and continues to do so.

Perpetuating workarounds to deal with the 4096 region teleportation limit further limits the usability of the technology.

Diva, the developer of the hypergrid, proclaims that everyone should just not use coordinates above 4096, 4096. Certainly a permanent fix would be the best, but her proposal is the best intermediary solution. For 100 percent of us small and personal grids, it would take five minutes to change.

Many of the smaller public grids can change relatively easy, and yes, based on the model used by OSGrid and New World Grid, for example, it would be a labor intensive change, but not impossible.

A few intermediary jumps as an exception is certainly better than making intermediary jumps the rule for using the hypergrid.

The issue resides in the implementation of changing the coordinates in all of the Region.ini files.

It can happen though through the forums, social media, and just general word of mouth.

It would help if, when first loading the ini file, OpenSim can display a message to say, “your coordinates are above the 4096, 4096 – are you sure you want to do this?”

Let’s devote the time to fix the software issue permanently or let’s all work together to make our grids fit within the 4096-region hypergrid distance limitation.

John Rogate

John Rogate is the director of the Master’s in Managing Innovation & Information Technology program at Vermont’s Champlain College. He is currently running eight OpenSim grids, totaling more than 100 regions.

Rogate started working in Second Life in 2007, when the Champlain College president got him funding to build a virtual campus. He became involved with OpenSim in October of 2008.He has a total of 27 years of industry-related technology experience.

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