Niche grids, Kitely do well in survey

The results of the 2011 Hypergrid Business grid survey are in, with mid-sized grids serving language communities dominating the rankings. A record 459 people submitted responses this year, with a total of 63 different grids visited — up from 194 respondents and 35 grids last year.

The most surprising result was Avination scoring the lowest of all grids on its overall rating, and at or near the bottom on content, technology, community and support.

The top scorer on overall quality was Island Oasis, a mid-sized grid with 43 regions and 997 registered users. Nine respondents wrote in the name of this grid as the grid where they spend the most time. Island Oasis also scored tops in content, community,  and support, and second overall in technology.

German Grid, with 77 regions, 2,858 registered users, and 294 active users, scored second overall, also with nine respondents.

German-language Metropolis was third, French-language FrancoGrid was fourth, and 3rd Rock Grid was fifth with 21, nine, and nine respondents, respectively.

Best overall grid

Kitely had a surprising showing, with 72 respondents giving the grid an overall score of 4.6 — where 5 was a rating of “excellent” and 4 “very good.” Kitely only launched this past spring, and is still missing many features common to other grids, such as teleports between the regions on the grid. However, this was offset by Kitely’s ease of use and innovative cost structure.

Italian-language Craft World, with 140 regions, 1,677 registered users, and 187 active users was seventh with 14 respondents. Gay Nations, with 136 regions, 513 registered users and 70 active users, was eighth with six respondents.

Of the most active grids, InWorldz saw the highest ratings, with an average overall score of 4.5 with 143 respondents. InWorldz currently has 845 regions, 48,731 registered users, and last week reported 4,500 active monthly users.

OSGrid was next, with 96 respondents giving it an average score of 4.4. OSGrid currently has 9,963 regions, 69,741 registered users and 3,507 active users. Unlike closed commercial grids, OSGrid allows people to connect home-based regions for free, resulting in uneven performance across the grid.

Avination saw the lowest scores, with 72 respondents giving it an average score of 4.2. Avination scored below private grids — company, school, personal grids and even grids-on-a-USB-stick. Avination currently has 632 regions, 42,606 registered users and 3,420 active users. After a meteoric rise to the top last winter, Avination has been seeing a steady decline over the past few months in both regions and active users.

All other grids had five or fewer respondents rating them, including ReactionGrid, SpotOn 3D, New World Grid,  JokaydiaGrid,  ScienceSim,  Avatar Hangout, Virtyou, MyOpenGrid, AlphaTowne, Dorena’s World, OpenNeuland,  Nova,  Haven,  MOSES, OpenLife, RolePlayWorlds, Virtual Highway, Aurora Test Grid, DestinyZero, GerGrid, IcaruS RealmS, Nirvana, SimWorld, Tertiary Grid, Twisted Sky, Virtual Worlds Grid, Wilder Westen, YourSimSpot, 2nd Life, Arda, Astra Grid, AvWorlds, New Genres Grid, NextLife, NZVWG, OneWorld Grid, Pseudospace, SecondLearning Grid, UFSgrid, and Virtual RP.

Community

Average scores about community.

Private grids and Kitely scored the lowest on community, which makes sense given that private grids tend to have few users, and Kitely has only recently been adding community-oriented features like the ability to find popular regions.

Content

Average scores about content.

Avination — surprisingly for a commercial grid — had lower scores for content than the non-profit OSGrid or private grids.

Support

Average scores about support.

One downside of running your own sims is that you’ve got nobody to turn to for tech support — and the ratings bear this out.

Technology

Average scores about technology.

Respondents were happy with German Grid’s technology infrastructure, while disappointed with Avination — even though its founder is an OpenSim core developer.

Most visited

Percent of respondents who visited each grid.

OSGrid lived up to its reputation as the cross roads of the hypergrid, with 89 percent of all respondents having visited the grid. InWorldz was in second place with 67 percent, and Avination in third with 48 percent.

Meanwhile, 30 percent of all respondents had visited some kind of private grid — company, school, individual, or Sim-on-a-Stick. This was up from 22 percent last year.

Many people wrote in with comments about their grids, and we’re reprinting a representative selection of these quotes below. Please note that all comments were submitted with the assurance of anonymity. In general, comments were overwhelmingly positive, with respondents praising their grids’ communities, founders, and support. This is only to be expected — people were asked to rate the grids they spend the most time on, and few people would spend time on a grid that they did not like.

Despite that, there were some critical comments about Avination and InWorldz.  People complained about gambling on  Avination, and a lack of physics, mesh, and other new features on InWorldz. In addition, although most people were happy with the community on the grids where they spent their time, some respondents said they had problems on Avination, InWorldz, and OSGrid.

3rd Rock Grid

“3rd Rock Grid wins hands down among all the grids for the partnership that is fostered between management and community. Management gifted community a 25 sim core and, aside from the ToS, the policies of the grid are determined by the community which elects its own leaders. I see it as an exciting social experiment in business management, quite different from any style I have encountered before.”

Avination

“Avination is a grid full of friendly, helpful and knowledgable people. The only grid I have been on were I have experienced very little griefing and no hassles. The support is fantastic and the bugs and features are constantly being dealt with and upgraded. The content is mainly very good and professionally made.”

“In Avination I can teleport to Welcome to find most of the time a Mentor or an A-Team member who cares about my little problems and a ticket system where I receive usually a response in less than 24 hours.”

“The grid owner doesn’t attend community meetings, and points that are discussed at the community meetings seem to take a real long time to be implemented, if they are at all. Management doesn’t seem overly concerned about the lack of residents, and for the first year and a half, did not allow freebies at all. Freebies are still restricted due to the obvious slant towards content creators over consumers. As a result, you get a grid full of creators with no one to buy their wares, and 600 empty regions.”

FrancoGrid

“Very stable grid, excellent support for media which is crucial to developments and projects that need to provide a media rich environment. This grid focuses on innovation to support integration with ventures and enterprises in real life and provides an excellent infrastructure for innovative development.”

GayNations

“I love this grid! This is so updated, so smooth, and we have had no problems at all rezzing, staying connected, anything at all on this grid. It’s amazing! I spend 90% of my time on here now. Kudos to the grid owners! Awesome job on this!”

InWorldz

“After so many years on Second Life, and having tried many other grids, after a year of observation, I felt confident enough in the future of the InWorldz grid to sell my sim in Second Life and ‘move over’ to InWorldz where I now have two sims. I have also brought several friends over who have also sold their Second Life sims and have now also settled on InWorldz. All of us are builders and creators from Second Life and we love the value and the service we get from InWorldz founders, staff and mentors.”

“I really like that the founders do try to keep out the griefers and gambling. The number or prims and low cost of sims make this a very appealing grid for builders and role players.’

“Everyone seems to be hanging their hopes on physics. Often I have heard, ‘Once physics gets here…this or that will be better…. then the people will come…..it will be awesome….’ The simple truth is getting physics working is merely restoring a missing feature. It may be new to InWorldz and a technical marvel there but it’s nothing new to anyone who has spent any time in Second Life or several other OpenSim grids. Other OpenSim grids have physics and yet Second Life has not collapsed because of the flood of people going there.”

Island Oasis

“Island Oasis has many things to offer to everyone that enters the world. They have combat, vehicles, games, clubs, and more. The low lag I experience is great. I would recommend this world to anyone who enjoys to build, script, socialize, and have a good time.”

“One of the nicest grids I have been to. The people there are very friendly and helpful. They have motorcycles that actually drive. I haven’t found that in anyother grid. I’m glad I made the decision to make this my home.”

Kitely

“As far as community goes in Kitely, this world is just beginning to start up and therefore wake-up in this area, so community is the last part to develop I think. With the excellent technology, hands-on support and drive of the CEO’s, especially Ilan Tochner, who is making community one of his main objectives, I have no doubt it will grow and make Kitely one of the all-around best OpenSim alternatives.”

Private grid

“While I have my own grid and spent much of my OpenSim time on it, I’m part of the communities of Dorena’s World and GermanGrid. With the hypergrid, its not that easy to separate the experiences. So albeit my grid has technically only one user — me — it is well integrated into those communities.”

OSGrid

“There is actually some good community and friendly helpful residents. For example there are small, but growing, role play communities — try Lani Global’s Dune world for example. Lani runs a roleplaying meet on Sundays in which players get to run with a story line and quests. They have great working combat systems and working space craft! There are plenty of freebies in OSGrid too, most notably Linda Kellie Designs. There are also regular weekly meetings at the plazas where you can voice your thoughts. Mentors are often at the plazas too, to help people.”

“For less than the cost of renting a measly 3750 prim homestead on the Linden Grid, I run a dedicated server capable of hosting more regions than I can fill with prim. I have total control of my virtual world and its content: extended scripting with OSSL, IARs, OARs, regions… you name it. I can get on with my building projects without Adult/Mature/PG dont-do-anything-that-might-offend-puritanical-Americans nonsense. OSgrid doesn’t try to be a Linden Labs clone with newbie avatars, a marketplace and ‘premium’ membership. It just provides infrastructure to connect regions to a grid.”

“One thing that always stood out in OSGrid is thenon-commercial aspect of the grid. There us a spirit of sharing there, with information, tools and goods.”

“OSgrid is marvelous, and a perfect fit for me personally. But it isn’t going to be perfect for everyone. To get the most out of this grid, you must not only be willing to tinker, but take joy in it, even when it means failure. As OSGrid is a test grid for the OpenSimulator project, these sorts of efforts can also contribute code and feedback that improves the server, benefiting all the other grids. I would easily recommend OSGrid to people who regard creating, experimenting, or being a crash test dummy as the highlight of their virtual world experience.”

SpotOn3D

“So so very pleased with SpotON3D, especially since they have voice that is needed for our educational group. We have 30 in our sim at times, with no lag; support is better than excellent, and security of grid is top notch!”

Virtyou

“This grid is very stable and the people of Virtyou work hard to get it even better. We run schools on it so we need a reliable environment. They are.”

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is a science fiction writer who covers cybersecurity, AI and extended reality as a tech journalist at her day job.
Check out her author page on Amazon or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Her first virtual world novella, Krim Times, made the Amazon best-seller list in its category. Her second novella, The Lost King of Krim, is out now.