OpenSim sets another land record

The top 40 OpenSim grids have reached 27,608  regions, a new record high. They also reported 306,942 total registered users and 17,922 active users this month.

Region counts on 40 largest OpenSim grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)
Region counts on 40 largest OpenSim grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

This is 709 more regions than on the Second Life grid.

Meanwhile, of the 266 currently active public OpenSim grids, 214 reported their statistics this month, and their land area adds up to a total of 29,961 regions — 2,983 more than on Second Life.

OpenSim continues to pull away from Second Life in land area. (Hypergrid Business, Grid Survey data.)
OpenSim continues to pull away from Second Life in land area. (Hypergrid Business, Grid Survey data.)

However, all the public grids combined reported a total of just 20,526 active monthly users.

The biggest gainers this month were OSgrid, which grew by 623 regions, Kitely, which gained 200 regions, and Metropolis, which gained 120 regions. Fifty five other grids gained 90 regions or less.

OSgrid allows people to connect regions that they run for free on their home computers. There are also a number of third-party hosting providers — like Dreamland Metaverse, Zetamex, and Oliveira — competing to serve OSgrid users with low-cost land and good customer service. As a  result, the grid is growing quickly. Other grids, however, also allow self-hosted and third-party-hosted regions, including Metropolis, FrancoGrid, New World Grid, Craft, and ScienceSim.

The top commercial grid — InWorldz — brought in the most new registered users, with a gain of 2,170 new accounts. OSgrid and Avination each gained 954 new registrations. Kitely gained 970. The OpenSimulator Community Conference grid gained 299 new registrations, as a result of new accounts for attendees, volunteers, speakers, and organizers.

Popularity

For company and school grids, relative popularity is not an issue — the grids are set up for a specific purpose, and if they meet that purpose, then they are successful. The same is true for grids run by niche communities or that serve a special purpose not found elsewhere.

But when it comes to general-purpose social grids, the rule of thumb is: the bigger and busier, the better. People looking to make new friends look for grids that already have the most users. Merchants looking to sell content will go to the grids with the most potential customers. Event organizers looking for the biggest audience… you get the idea.

With that in mind, here are the 10 most popular grids this month:

OSgrid reported the biggest increase in active users this month, with 647 new actives. The OpenSim Community Conference grid reported 358 new actives, as a  result of load testing in preparation for next month’s conference. Avalonia Estate — a new grid serving the femdom community –gained 211 new active users in anticipation of its grand opening.  Metropolis gained 112 new active users.  InWorldz also showed growth, with 462 new actives. Metropolis gained 186 new active users. All other grids gained 40 actives or less, or lost users.

The biggest single loser was Avination, which lost 208 active users. Island Oasis lost 110 active users.

First OpenSim conference to be held in September

The schedule is getting finalized for the first annual OpenSimulator Community Conference, to be held September 7 and 8 on a separate grid set up specifically for this event. The conference grid is hypergrid enabled. While all in-person attendee slots for the main conference events are already taken, the public will be able to teleport in to visit the exhibition regions. In addition, all sessions will be streamed to the public.

The conference organizers are still looking for volunteers, sponsors, and grids interested in hosting social events on their own grids in connection with the conference.

Even before it started, the conference has already had a positive impact on OpenSim, writes core developer and hypergrid inventor Crista Lopes in a recent blog post. As part of getting ready for the conference, developers have been working hard to make OpenSim more stable and scalable, for example.

The most recent load test saw 144 simultaneous avatars on a four-region corner, for example.

Load test with 144 avatars. (Image courtesy Austin Tate.)

Kitely gets ready to deploy marketplace

Kitely is getting ready to launch its multi-grid marketplace at the start of September. The grid rolled out a number of improvements recently designed to make the shopping process work smoothly. Featured merchant slots are still available, and the grid is currently offering a waiver of listing fees to merchants uploading content to the marketplace.

There have been other attempts to create multi-grid marketplaces, but none have gained any traction.

Ilan Tochner
Ilan Tochner

“It’s currently very difficult for content creators selling in OpenSim-based grids to earn close to what they can make in Second Life because it’s hard for merchants to reach their entire target audience when it’s spread out on thousands of standalones and small grids,” Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business. “We want to change that. Our goal for the Kitely Market is to turn the hypergrid-connected metaverse into a unified market where content creators can make serious money.”

Merchants can specify whether their products are for use on the Kitely grid only, or can be exported to other grids. Kitely has set up its own “export” permission system to handle this, which is a different implementation from the export permissions created by Avination and Singularity developers.

AviWorlds owner explains outage

Alex Ferraris, owner of the AviWorlds grid, has posted an explanation of what happened when the grid closed unexpectedly last month. He wrote that he was in a very serious car accident. If former residents are looking for refunds, they can contact him at [email protected]. He said he is still recovering from the accident, but has a temporary server set up for the grid.

Other grid owners should take note of his experience and ensure that they have policies and people in place to manage their grids in case anything should happen to them.

More news from the grids

Virtual Gay Kingdom launches for gay men

Virtual Gay Kingdom is a new German social and creative grid for gay men. “People who only want virtual sex are better off in other grids,” grid founder Andy King told Hypergrid Business. New accounts are only available on recommendation from existing users. “But they can visit us through the hypergrid.” All users get a free residential parcel, those who sign up for a 20 Euro (US$27) premium account also get a full 16,384-prim region with IAR and OAR uploads and downloads. Additional regions are 15 Euro (US$20) for a standard region, 60 Euro (US$80) for a nine-region megaregion. Plus, the fact that every new resident has a sponsor who already knows their way around the grid means that newcomers have a friend they can turn to for help when they first arrive, said King.

Avalonia Estate grid launches to serve femdom community

Avalonia Estate is another social grid focusing on niche alternative lifestyle roleplay, specifically serving the femdom community, and will have its grand opening on September 1. The grid has been in beta for the past few months.  Full 30,000-prim regions rent for about $22 a month. The grid is hypergrid-enabled and uses the OMC multi-grid currency. The grid already has some marquee content creators and merchants, including Cloee Heslop, Keiki Jones of StarBright Homes, and Sunny Whitfield of the Total Avatar Shop. Although the grid is hypergrid-enabled, commercial content is protected so it does not leave the grid. Payment is via the OMC multi-grid currency. Stay on top of the grid’s news on its Facebook page.

Island Oasis expands information portal

The commercial Island Oasis grid continues to expand its information portal with new slideshow tutorials. “Some residents have difficulty loading videos due to their computer or bandwidth limitations,” Island Oasis marketing director Liz Harrington — also known as Alysin Paolino in-world — told Hypergrid Business. “Upon networking with volunteer residents  we have found that unanimously all could easily view the slide shows.” The information portal also includes free directory listings for merchants, grid news, information about free homesteads, photo galleries, and more.

MOSES migrating servers

The MOSES Grid is undergoing a major migration to Simian grid services, according to grid manager Douglas Maxwell. “During our regimen of DSG [Distributed Scene Graph, which allows hundreds of avatars on a single region] tests with Intel, we discovered the Simian to be much more flexible and easier to code against,” said Maxwell, who is the science and technology manager for virtual world strategic applications at the U.S. Army Simulation & Training Technology Center. “It has allowed us to accelerate our MOSES Grid Management system and internally deploy the automated avatar, role, and scenario generation software. Lastly, this migration allows us to remove the Ruby dependency from our system to better align with Department of Defense information assurance policy.”

Your Alternate Life down for maintenance

The Your Alternate Life grid is down temporarily for major maintenance, according to grid owner Peter Schoots. “We hope to bring it up in a new way next week,” he told Hypergrid Business.

Spellscape adds photos, Twitter

The magic-themed Spellscape grid has added a photos section to their site with some screenshots of in-world locations and created a Twitter account.

Virtual Highway offers home plots

Virtual Highway residents can pick up a landmark at the Virtual Highway Landing region to get their free homestead land — a 4,096-meter-square parcel with 312 prims. “You can choose from four different terrain textures and pick whatever island is empty at the time,” grid founder Gene Call told Hypergrid Business. “Each island has a rental box on it so we can tell which ones are rented. But, the rent is 0V$.”

UFS Grid turns four

The science fiction-themed UFS Grid turns four years old in September, three of which it has been open to the public.

Virtual Worlds Grid free for educators

Educators looking for a place to hold classes can use the Virtual Worlds Grid college campus free of charge, grid owner Myron Curtis told Hypergrid Business. “But they do need to contact me first so I can mitigate any scheduling conflicts.” Email him at [email protected] or visit him in his virtual office on the Information Technology region Tuesday, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific time. The grid is hypergrid-enabled, and uses the OMC multi-grid currency.

Haven offers free lessons; working on virtual dating and child avatars

The commercial social Haven grid now offers free classes in reading music on its Virtual Worlds Radio region and free building and scripting classes on the Haven Campus region. The grid is currently developing a virtual dating region called Starlights and a child-avatar-friendly region called Cupcake Kids. The grid itself is 18-and-older, so the child avatars are played by adults. “We do have very strict rules on acceptable behaviour of child avatars which anyone who wished to appear as a child in world must adhere to,” grid co-founder Cheryl Haven told Hypergrid Business. The grid is also running a land rental promotion, where customers who order three regions get a fourth one free. The grid also has both free starter homes and starter stores available.

The music school on the Virtual Worlds Radio region on the Haven Your World grid. (Image courtesy Haven.)
The music school on the Virtual Worlds Radio region on the Haven Your World grid. (Image courtesy Haven.)

Haven currently has hypergrid connectivity turned off, but it will reenabled once the new welcome center is finished and the lessons will be available to hypergrid visitors. However, some regions will be limited to local residents, including Cupcake. In addition, while hypergrid visitors can visit their friends with homestead plots, they will not be able to get the free plots themselves because the currency system does not support hypergrid access. As a result, people will need to create local accounts to “buy” their free plots of land.

Transitions

We’re listing 74 grids as suspended this month, possibly because the owners have shut down down for the summer.

Meanwhile, we’ve added several new grids to our database, including 5DGrid QuestIgniting SigmaVirtual Gay KingdomCrimsonSpiderTaylorWorldCanonpauldingfunzoneWaterWorldPrim GridTurlingtonSandy on MarsYiffstudBrillyunt3DLES, and Virtual Earth Grid.

If there’s a public grid we’re not tracking, please email us at [email protected]. There’s no centralized way to find OpenSim grids, so if you don’t tell us about it, and Google doesn’t alert us, we won’t know about it.

The official OpenSim website – OpenSimulator.org – began tracking download numbers for the software in January. The software was downloaded 2,423 times this month, for a total of over 13,000 downloads since the start of this year.

The stats page for the Diva Distro, a more user-friendly version of OpenSim, was down this month. Sim-on-a-Stick, which is based on the Diva Distro, was downloaded 796 times over the past four weeks, for a grand total of over 22,000 downloads since the distribution was first released in May of 2011.

Meanwhile, according to data from The Hypergates, the number of hypergate jumps on their network this month increased by 127, to 3,343. The system now has 617 registered hypergates, down by 39 from last month, on 62 different grids.

This data is very limited, however. For example, not all hypergates are part of The Hypergates network — anyone can create their own hypergate 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, or by using a hypergrid landmark created during a previous jump. There is currently no way of tracking that traffic.

Meanwhile, Second Life continued to lose land according to data from GridSurvey, with 189 fewer regions today than the same time last month. The Second Life grid now has 26,899  regions, down 2,315 regions from this time last year, and 4,986 fewer regions than its peak in June of 2010. According to GridSurvey, the last time the grid was this small was in May of 2009.

August Region Counts on the Top 40 Grids

The list below is a small subset of existing OpenSim grids. We are now tracking a total of 686 different publicly-accessible grids, 266 of which were active this month, and 214 of which published their statistics. There were a total of 29,961 regions, 319 984 registered users, and 20,526 active users on those 214 grids.

Many school, company or personal grids do not publish their numbers.

The raw data for this month’s report is here. A list of all active grids 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.

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