Survey: Vehicle physics tops list of missing features

Vehicle physics topped the list of missing features in our survey of OpenSim hosting providers this week.

Because of the holiday — and the short notice — only 70 people responded to the survey, compared to last year’s 114. Of those, 52 percent said that vehicle physics was among the features they most missed in OpenSim. This was followed by content and search, at 29 percent each, with community next at 25 percent. Numbers add up to more than 100 percent because respondents could select more than one feature.

Which features do people miss most in OpenSim? (Hypergrid Business data.)

Script-based vehicles are widely available on many grids, including OSGrid, InWorldz, and Island Oasis. But it seems that OpenSim vendors should try to get together and solve the physics issues — or pitch in and hire someone to do it.

As far as favorite OpenSim features went, the responses were pretty evenly split. The vast majority — 70 percent — liked the low prices, 65 percent liked being able to save copies of their regions, 62 percent liked the fact that OpenSim was open source software, 55 percent liked the ability to make hypergrid teleports to other grids, and 54 percent liked the ability to save copies of their inventories.  Numbers add up to more than 100 percent because respondents could select more than one feature.

Vendors offering these features to their hosting companies would do well to highlight them in their marketing materials.

Favored OpenSim features. (Hypergrid Business data.)

As was the case last year, the overwhelming majority — 82 percent — said they would “absolutely recommend” OpenSim to others, about the same percentage as last year. (We didn’t count two votes because they said they would “absolutely not recommend” but rated their vendors as “excellent” — possibly a mistake in filling out the survey.)

Would people recommend OpenSim to others? (Hypergrid Business data.)

The majority of respondents said that stability of their regions or grids — how little they crashed — was “absolutely reliable” or “very reliable”.

How stable was their grid or region? (Hypergrid Business data.)

We also asked the respondents to rate Second Life, as a measure of comparison.

Stability of Second Life regions. (Hypergrid Business data.)

This supports other reports we’ve heard from OpenSim users: When they run up-to-date OpenSim on adequate hardware, their regions rarely if ever crash or have other problems. And if a region does need to be down for a period of time — say, for a backup or upgrade — the maintenance takes place on the user’s schedule, not that of some other company. This is a major benefit for schools and companies holding scheduled events on their virtual land.

Similarly, the majority said that the performance of their regions — how little lag they saw — was “excellent” or “very good.”

How well their grids or regions perform. (Hypergrid Business data.)

However, this performance should be considered in combination with the use these regions get. The vast majority of respondents said they had little to light traffic on their regions or grids.

How much traffic their regions see. (Hypergrid Business data.)

However, all respondents who said that their regions saw “very heavy” or “extreme” traffic said that the stability of their regions or grids were “reliable” or “very reliable” and their performance “very good” or “excellent.”

OpenSim allows users — or their hosting companies — to allocate additional resources to heavily-used regions, and to run them as independent process, so that activity on other regions doesn’t affect their performance. Again, this is a useful tool for companies and school, allowing them to plan ahead for large events.

Our readers were overwhelmingly positive about the support they receive from their hosting companies, a sign that OpenSim vendors are, overall, paying close attention to their customers. Those who ran their own grids or regions said they received support from the OpenSim community.

How good was the support they received? (Hypergrid Business data.)

We asked our readers about the user interfaces that their hosting companies provided. OpenSim allows vendors to offer grid or region management tools through Web interfaces. For example, some hosting providers allow users users to save a copy of their entire region to their harddrive with the click of a button. Other common tasks include restarting regions, creating new users, turning hypergrid on or off, starting up new regions, and even managing private currencies.

How good was their user interfaces? (Hypergrid Business data.)

Many vendors are still in the process of developing their management panels and Web front ends, so the overall scores are a little lower here than for support.

And it’s no surprise that folks are pretty happy with the prices they see for OpenSim.

How respondents felt about OpenSim prices. (Hypergrid Business data.)

This isn’t a big shocker — OpenSim is free for those with the technical skills to run and manage the software. And commercial hosting starts at $6 per region, with even high-end, high-performance regions available for under $100 each — with plenty of bulk discounts available. Most vendors charge little or nothing to set up new regions.

By comparison, Second Life charges around $300 per region per month, with $1,000 to set up a new region.

Vendor breakdown

We’re not going to provide individual data for the vendors, because there were too few responses for each vendor to have any statistical significance.

In addition, more than half — 54 percent — said they were running their own regions or grids. About 33 percent said they were running standard OpenSim, 9 percent said they were running the Diva Distro, and more than 11 percent said they were running Sim-on-a-Stick.

Of the rest, eight people said they used Virtyou, which offers both private grids as well as rents out land on it’s own, Virtyou grid. Many respondents rated them on their grid, not on their hosting. Nova had seven respondents. Dreamland Metaverse had three respondents, as did YourSimSpot and MA Rentals. JokaydiaGrid and ReactionGrid, which also host their own grids and provide hosting to private grids, had two respondents each. There were also two responses for SimHost and one for TalentRaspel.

Where do people host their OpenSim grids or regions. (Hypergrid Business data.)


What this data probably shows is that people who run their own OpenSim read Hypergrid Business more often, to stay on top of what’s happening with the technology, than do folks who have vendors run it for them. Or, perhaps, they are more technically inclined and more likely to check their Twitter and RSS feeds over the holiday week and see that there’s a survey being conducted.

We’ll try to redo this survey again in the late spring to get a more accurate indication of how people feel about OpenSim vendors.

Meanwhile, some quotes from the respondents:

Running their own OpenSim

” I run a full virtual server provided by a hosting company and run the latest Opensim code. I have full remote access so all options are open to me. I can control everything this way and allocate resources as needed.”

“Decent server plus decent connection plus decent info equals happier than ever been in Second Life.”

“Support is outstanding because I ask the community and get immediate feedback.”

“I use Sim-on-a-Stick for conference workshops … with as many as 24 participants. I have also used it on a couple of corporate projects as a tool for doing product placement proposals and to create elearning training videos. These two projects have earned my company $260,000 — reminiscent of the heydays of Second Life in 2005!”


All respondents except one said they would “absolutely” recommend it to others, citing support and personal service. One reader, however, was unhappy with their hosting, citing a sim that was down for a long time with no refund. “It happened after three months of bad performance on Aurora-Sim and OpenSim,” the reader added.


“We had 42 people … log into our grid for an hour and a half over the summer without incident — we still had 2 gigs of RAM free and that CPU never went above 20 percent.”




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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. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

13 Responses

  1. Ener Hax says:

    w00t! fill this thing out! don’t be a lump!  =D

  2.' Han Held says:

    I doubt this counts for the purpose of your survey; but I don’t use a ‘dedicated opensim’ host, I use a vps. The reason I mention this is (granting this is anecdotal) because in the time I’ve been playing with opensim most of the people I’ve talked to either go with a vps or a regular (non-opensim specific) dedicated host. Granted, we’re all hobbyists (therefore perhaps not your target audience).

    • I think that would count as “I run my own OpenSim.” You could add the VPS specifics in the comments — I’m sure other folks would be interested in knowing how well it works!

  3. Hard to answer when I have used many of these and now mainly run my own, some tied into osgrid or run regions on commercial sims. 

  4. Only 13% who clicked on region backups as a feature that is important to them likely means that 87% dont HAVE regions,  or builds they care about enough to want to save them.

    • Actually, 65% of respondents said that region backups was one of their favorite features…. looks like my chart and my spreadsheet don’t agree… Wonder why? Ah… the chart made the totals add up to 100 even though they didn’t. Stupid Google Charts!

      Hold on, gotta go redo those charts!

      • Okay, replaced the pie charts with bar charts and now the numbers are right. Can’t believe I didn’t catch this until now! Updating the text of the story, as well (I was looking at the charts when I wrote it, not the spreadsheet data).

        • Apparently, Google pie charts have to add up to 100% whether you want them to or not… I guess that makes sense. Can’t have more than 100% of a pie — unless you start adding more pies. 

          Wow. There is no excuse for an error like this. They’ll probably revoke my math degree.

          • Thats better, 65% sounds much better, leaving 35% who probably don’t own regions, can’t imagine anyone having a region and content and then not caring if something is deleted forever, but maybe those who only have a sandbox wouldnt care.

            The google pie would have to add up to 100, but statistics due to multiple answer submissions would normally exceed 100%, so we found a drawback to google’s pie charting.

  5. Ener Hax says:

    woot! neato analysis and awesome on the overall view of OpenSim. this has shifted quite a bit from two years ago! 

    and the person with the big dollar projects, to put that in perspective, they have a well-respected international company behind anything they recommend and a targeted audience whose return is many times what the cost is

    thanks Maria, this is lovely to read  =)

  6.' Wayfinder Wishbringer says:

    Now that is an awesome survey– with significantly valuable results.  As Maria stated the only downside… would have liked to have seen more responses.  Nevertheless, I believe even with quadruple the population response we’d have seen very similar results to the above data. 

    I don’t think there were any real surprises here at all.  The bottom line is that at this time, OpenSim software is by the vast majority considered acceptably stable, the performance acceptable, and people like it.   That is the best indicator I’ve seen to date that we’re heading generally in the right direction.

    Speaking with friends the other day, we all pretty much agreed the Achilles heel of the entire thing are the viewers.  Viewer quality, features and bugs differ significantly from one viewer to the next and make it very difficult for devs to debug server software.  What works with one viewer doesn’t work with another, and one viewer may have performance issues that another viewer doesn’t have at all.  This is a vulnerability that somehow, someway, someday I’d like to see addressed and corrected.  Imo viewers are the disharmony in the orchestra. While our instruments may be widely diverse in nature, I’d like to see us all playing harmoniously, according to an expert conductor. : )