Grids gain 915 regions; InWorldz is busiest

The top 40 OpenSim grids gained 915 new regions since this time last month, bringing the total number of regions on these grids to 21,595, a new record high.

OSGrid was the single biggest gainer. The non-profit grid, which allows users to connect regions running on home computers at no cost, gained 955 new regions, taking it past the 10,000 region mark, at 10,009 regions. It is the single largest public grid running on the OpenSim software.

The next biggest gain was Kitely, a cloud-based grid, with 83 new regions, bringing it to a new total of 1,410 regions, making it the largest commercial grid running OpenSim. Currently in beta, Kitely does not charge its users, and has just postponed the rollout of its billing system again, to the beginning of 2012.

The French-language FrancoGrid gained 72 regions, for a new high of 462 regions.

Growth in regions on top 40 OpenSim grids.

A few grids also lost regions. Nova, the largest grid running on the Aurora-Sim branch of OpenSim, lost 80 regions this month, for a new total of 66 regions. Craft World, an European grid with many Italian users, lost 52 regions, for a new total of 140 regions.

Avination, one of the largest commercial grids, lost 40 regions for a new total of 629. Avination briefly soared to the top of the charts last winter, but has since been losing ground to its chief competitor, InWorldz. Both Avination and InWorldz are closed commercial grids, with full regions starting at roughly $60 a month. Both have measures in place to protect content creators, such as limiting region exports (OAR files) and inventory exports (IAR files).

InWorldz maintains land base as Avination continues to slide.

In other bad news for Avination, respondents to the latest Hypergrid Business grid survey ranked it lowest overall of all the major grids. It even scored lower than private grids — which include not only school and company grids but mini-grids run on personal computers and even USB sticks. Avination also scored low on support — just above OSGrid and private grids, technology — only above private grids, and on community, with only Kitely and private grids scoring lower.

Kitely’s cloud-based infrastructure has made it difficult for communities to form on that grid, but the company has recently been adding more social features and plans to roll out more next year that will make Kitely look and feel more like a regular OpenSim grid. For example, Kitely users can not currently walk or fly from one region to its neighbor — they must return to the Kitely website and load up their new destination there.

Most surprisingly for a commercial grid, Avination scored lowest overall for content — lower than Kitely, private grids, and the non-profit OSGrid.

However, it should be noted that Avination scores are only low in comparison to other grids, not low in the absolute sense — the average response for all these questions was somewhere between “very good” and “excellent.”

The top scorer overall and in most other categories was Island Oasis, which isn’t even big enough to make our top-40 list. It currently has 43 regions and 1,012 registered users. Its residents had to write in its name in the ballot, but those that did were unanimous in their praise. However, its sample size was also much smaller — nine respondents called it their home grid — and only time will tell whether the grid will be able to maintain this level of customer satisfaction as it grows.

Grid health

Raw region counts are not the best indicator of a grid’s health. And some grids, like ScienceSim or Virtual Worlds Grid, roll out large numbers of regions for testing purposes without much activity on those regions. Better indicators are active user counts and growth in active user numbers. However, not all grids release those statistics.

InWorldz does not normally publish these numbers, but last week one of its founders said that the grid currently has around 4,500 active monthly users. That makes InWorldz the most social of the OpenSim grids, with OSGrid in second place at 3,510 active users, and Avination in third place at 3,412 active users.

Your Alternative Life claims to have 2,617 active users, but given that actives are typically around 10 percent of all registered users, and the grid only has 3,378 registered users — and only 21 regions — the grid is probably calculating its actives count differently than other grids.

No other grid reported more than 500 active users this month. Of the mid-sized grids, 3rd Rock Grid reported 428 active users, ReactionGrid reported 410 active users, German Grid reported 292 active users, and The Other Universe reported 252 active users.

All other grids had less than 200 active users each.

However, even if a grid has only 20 active users, if those 20 people are your best friends, then that grid would be a good fit for you. In addition, most smaller grids are hypergrid-enabled, allowing their users to participate in community events on other small grids, and on many big public grids as well, including OSGrid, GermanGrid, and FrancoGrid.

In other grid news

Annuna Grid is down while it is rebranding as MetaVentura and moving to larger servers.

AnSky grid has finished its latest transition, and increased it size from 9 to 80 regions in the process.

AvWorlds is still down while switching hosting companies.

We are tracking two new grids this month, Icarus Realms and the Czech S-Grid.

Elsewhere on the hypergrid

There is currently no central system for tracking OpenSim grids. The OpenSimulator.org website does not track downloads, and grid owners don’t have to register their grids with anyone — unlike websites, where owners have to apply for domain names. The OpenSimulator grid list is out of date and incomplete.

In addition, a single download of the server software can be used to set up several grids, or can be used to set up no grids at all.

If there’s a public grid we’re not tracking, please email us at [email protected].

However, there are statistics for one popular version of OpenSim, the Diva Distro, a four-region, hypergrid-enabled, pre-configured minigrid.

The Diva Distro has been downloaded 805  times over the past month. The total number of Diva Distro downloads now stands at 9,928.

Diva Distro is also part of the popular Sim-on-a-Stick, a version of OpenSim packaged to run on a USB stick. According to Sim-on-a-Stick creator Ener Hax, the USB-friendly OpenSim package has been downloaded 575 times over the past month, a record high, bringing the total of these downloads to more than 5,700.

Meanwhile, according to data from The Hypergates, the number of hypergrid travelers increased by 148 travelers, to 3,684, compared to the previous month. And the total jumps made has grown by 191, to 3,289 jumps made since mid November.

Not all hypergates are part of The Hypergates network — anyone can create their own hypergrid by dropping a script on any object, such as our touch or walk-through single-destination hypergate script. In addition, many people do hypergrid jumps without using any gate at all, simply by typing a hypergrid address into Map-Search. There is currently no way of tracking that traffic.

Meanwhile, Second Life lost 155 regions this past month, according to data from Grid Survey. Second Life now has a total of 31,254 regions, a decline, of 631 regions from this time last year.

December Region Counts on the Top 40 Grids

We are now tracking a total of 181 different publicly-accessible grids, 85 of which were active this month. SpotOn3D, OpenLifeGrid and Curiosity Grid did not release their numbers this month.

The raw data for this month’s report is here.

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.