Island Oasis quits the hypergrid

Island Oasis started out as a unique grid — a commercial world that allowed both region exports in the form of OAR files, and hypergrid access to the rest of the metaverse. (See related story: Why the fuss about Island Oasis?)

Both of these features were pretty darn resident-friendly, and our readers voted it the top grid for community, content and support in a survey last December.

“When we spoke several months ago … we indicated that if we feel that having hypergrid is hindering our ability to grow as a commercial grid, we would shut it off,” grid co-founder Karl Dreyer told Hypergrid Business. He goes by Damean Paolino in-world. “Well, we have reached that point.  We have lost several potential content creators and vendors due to the fact that we have hypergridding.  We have also had vendors leave as a result of it.”

Island Oasis shut down hypergrid access last Friday morning, he said.

“It really was not an easy decision to make but I think we had to take a step back and think about who we are as a company,” he said. “Up until now, we were sort of unique… a hybrid as it were.  A commercial grid that lets content leave the grid.  Although that made us different and unique, I think the idea was too different for a lot of folks and made people feel uneasy.  So, we made the decision to do what we feel is best for Island Oasis and our future growth.”

It’s not the first time the grid has changed its policies on what residents can do with their content.

In January, the grid reversed its position on OAR exports. OAR exports allow residents to save full copies of their regions and all the content on them — terrains, landscaping, building, objects and even scripts. Residents can keep them as backups, or upload them to other grids, or run them on their home computers, or distribute them to friends or colleagues.

Users — especially those who do a lot of building — love OAR exports. And so do people who want to move from one grid to another and want to bring their stuff with them.

However, OAR exports also allow users to make multiple copies of their content, and to access the asset database to change item permissions. As a result, many content creators are wary of selling their items on any grid that allows unfiltered region exports. Some commercial grids, like Kitely, get around this problem by filtering their OARs, only allowing items to be saved if the user has both copy and transfer permissions, and Kitely has donated the code to do this back to the OpenSim community for other grid owners to use.

This Island Oasis hypergate used to take local residents to far-off grids. No more.

Hypergrid teleports, like OAR exports, also allow content to leave the grid. Some grids turn on limited hypergrid access, so that avatars can teleport in and out but content can’t leave the grid. This means that visitors can come and look, but can’t take anything home with them, and local residents can teleport out and bring things back — but they show up naked at their destinations. Currently, no fine-grained hypergrid access controls are available, such as allowing only full-perm items to travel.

The closed minority

In shutting down hypergrid access, Island Oasis joins a small community of less than two dozen closed, commercial grids that include InWorldz, Avination, SpotOn3D, 3rdRockGrid, Kitely, and a few smaller role playing grids. Island Oasis, with 289 active users as of our last grid survey, is the fourth most popular grid.

But that pales in comparison to the more than 6,000 active users on the 100-plus hypergrid-enabled grids. The vast majority of the 131 active grids we’re currently tracking are on the hypergrid, and 60 of them are reviewed in our Hyperica directory. They include large non-profit grids like OSGrid, ScienceSim, New World Grid and FrancoGrid, as well as regional grids like GermanGrid, and a fast-growing number of grids run by colleges, universities, and individual companies. We’re working our way through the list, but new grids are popping up faster than we can keep up.

Meanwhile, as hypergrid travel gets increasingly secure and reliable, hypergrid traffic is increasing as well. Last night, The Hypergates — a hypergrid gate network — announced a record peak of 200 hypergrid teleports in a single day. The Hypergates, which today reported 4,078 hypergate travelers, currently has its gates on 42 different grids.

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.