The top 40 OpenSim grid lost nearly 5,000 regions this month, as a result of a long-overdue spring clearing on OSgrid. The last time there was a net drop in regions in OpenSim was last April, when ScienceSim cut around 2,000 regions from its grid, an Intel-backed OpenSim testing platform. The last OSgrid-related drop was back in late 2012.
Other indicators continued to improve, however. The total number of registered users rose by 1,367, to 338,945, and the total number of active users rose slightly as well, to 18,957.
Without OSgrid’s cut of 5,127 regions, the rest of the top 40 grids gained 265 regions.
The biggest gainer was Virtual Worlds Grid, which gained 93 regions, followed by Kitely with 64 new regions, Open Virtual Worlds with 51 new regions, PMGrid with 47 new regions, and Zandramas with 30 new regions. All other grids gained 25 regions or less.
There were 224 public grids active at least some of the time over the past month, 196 of which reported statistics. There were a total of 28,684 regions, 359,351 registered users and 21,461 active users on those grids.This count does not include private grids, such as grids run behind school firewalls, or grids set up to run large corporate simulations, or the more than 2,000 mini-grids running on personal New World Studio installations.
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 need not met 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:
Top ten most popular grids:
- InWorldz: 7,550 active users
- OSgrid: 3,313 active users
- Avination: 1,552 active users
- Metropolis: 1,300 active users
- Island Oasis: 798 active users
- Kitely: 629 active users
- Craft World: 614 active users
- 3rd Rock Grid: 375 active users
- AviWorlds: 372 active users
- Littlefield: 344 active users
The biggest changes on this list this month was that Kitely moved up one spot, so that it’s now ahead of Craft, and AviWorlds is back on the most popular list again, knocking off the Italian education grid EdMondo.
News from around the grids
The following are updates from grids running on some version of the OpenSim software. If your grid’s announcements aren’t included this month, please email [email protected].
InWorldz prepares for birthday bash
InWorldz is celebrating its fifth birthday starting on Sunday, March 16 and running through April 2, with events on 21 different regions.
There are dedicated areas to showcase on-grid roleplaying and fantasy communities including mermen, pirates, gypsies, tinies and furries. There are regions for fashion, for music, for visual arts, for adults, and for shopping.
Highlights include a Boat Day on Sunday, March 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific, with racing events, a tall ships parade, a battle demonstration and other activities. Then there’s a Birthday Cake and a Crazy Birthday Hat building contest on Sunday, March 29 at 11 a.m. Pacific and 1 p.m. Pacific, respectively. The celebration will conclude with a final awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 2, starting at 11 a.m. Pacific.
Also see the InWorldz Event Calendar (free registration required) or its public Google calendar, for a day-by-day listing of all the events. Forday example, March 16 starts with a live performance by Russell Eponym at 10 a.m. on the Main Stage of the Sim 9 region, followed by Anek Fuchs live at 11 a.m., Melodee McDonnell and ChrisThomas Underwood at 2 at p.m., Jasher Faith at 3 p.m., Ganjo Monkeev at 5 p.m., and Astoria Luminos at 7 p.m. Thre is also a Fantasy Ball at 4 p.m. at the Tavern on Light RP Sim 20.
Virtual Highway celebrates St. Patrick’s Day
On, Monday, March 17, Virtual Highway celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with a party at Marphy’s Irish Pub, with plenty of green beer and leprechauns.
The grid has just concluded its Bike Week series of events, hosted by The Garage.
“There has been a big response from residents joining in the build-your-own bike contest and we’ve also had several new people join so they could also enter,” grid owner Gene Call told Hypergrid Business. “The bikes all look amazing and the wide variety of styles demonstrates just how creative our residents are. Voting on the contest is now drawing to a close and many are waiting with baited breath for the announcement of the winners. The Garage hospitality has been amazing and the arrays of DJ events they have been running throughout the week have been fantastic and very well attended.”
The grid has also welcome a new club, Saints and Sinners, with a grand opening party on March 13, and new entertainer Jimmy Ray Todd, who attended the party with his wife Luna Dukes.
“We are looking forward to his performances in Virtual Highway starting very soon,” said Call. “We would [also] like to welcome Sarge Misfit to the grid and to give him our heartfelt thanks for the wonderful gifts he has placed in the gift area of our Landing for our residents to enjoy. ”
The next big event is the upcoming Spring Festival, with a themed build already underway on Festival Park.
The grid is also holding its Springtime Special on region rentals, where each regular 40,000-prim region at US$60 a month comes with a free 1,000-prim water or landscape region.
On the technology side, the grid is working with the ELDEXchange virtual currency exchange to offer residents more payment options and testing the next version of OpenSim to bring variable regions and vehicle sim crossings to the grid.
“As soon as the bugs are worked out, we will be implementing it all in our production grid,” grid owner Gene Call told Hypergrid Business.
Kitely Market gets closer to hypergrid delivery
It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the Kitely grid, with the testing of hypergrid delivery on its marketplace, and the addition of brand-name merchants like Heart Botanicals.
The testing has gone extremely well, Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business.
Most of the bugs discovered were either those that had already been fixed in the latest official version of OpenSim.
“We were able to create fixes for most of the other bugs by changing code on our end so that we don’t rely on changes to third-party systems for proper delivery,” Tochner added. “We’re discussing ways how to resolve the issues that do require patches to OpenSim with other OpenSim devs.”
Unless new problems show up, hypergrid delivery will open up to a public beta in another week or two, he said.
“Everything worked perfectly. Very impressive!” said John Lester, also known as Pathfinder in-world, in a comment on the forums. Formerly at Linden Lab, Lester is now chief learning officer at ReactionGrid. “Great work putting this all together. Seriously, this is a huge step in the future of the hypergrid.”
Tropical Paradise adds live music, currency exchange
The Tropical Paradise Virtual World has implemented a TPExChange system, allowing residents to transfer Second Life Linden dollars into the grid’s own B’s virtual currency.
The commercial grid, which is less than a year old, has also attracted some new live music performers.
Every Friday at the Rider Cover region, for example, Kobie Ohanlon performs live. The Tropical Paradise Club and Mall hosts live DJs and live singer Chak Roberts every Saturday. Sunday is a day of performances at Peggy Sue’s, including Littlerosy Qinan, Kobie Ohanlon, and Chak Roberts.
AviWorlds adds upload fees, offers free parcels
AviWorldz, a Brazilian grid with a history of dramatic changes to its business model, is at it again. After turning off hypergrid connectivity for the third time late last month, the grid has decided to start charging for texture uploads a week ago. Most OpenSim grids do not charge residents to upload textures, which are typically used when creators build new objects. In addition, texture uploads are required when users upload virtual objects by Linda Kellie or OpenSim Creations contributors, which are distributed via the Web. Texture uploads are also needed when users download their own creators from other grids in XML format in order to bring them over to new grids. XML object uploads are the only way to bring in outside content to closed commercial grids, which typically do not allow users to upload OAR region files, IAR inventory archive files, or bring content via hypergrid teleport from other grids.
“The problem with a 100 percent free uploading strategy is that people instead of purchasing the content inside the grid instead they bring illegally copied items in order to satisfy their need for content,” said grid owner Alexsandro Pomposelli — also known as Alex Ferraris in-world. “So this scares creators away even more and kills any demand for content created by a growing community.”
To help reduce the burdens on creators themselves, the grid will issue grants of AV$2,000 to each creator, plus a free store. There is also free land for residents.
“Each new player receives a quarter sim parcel with 1,125 prim allowance free,” Pomposelli told Hypergrid Business. “And we have camping and explorers and a referral program that gives out AV$250 for each new player a resident brings in.”
Free parcels on jOpenSimWorld
Formerly just a test grid for the Joomla-based OpenSim front end jOpenSim, jOpenSim world is becoming a full-fledged public commercial grid. As part of the transition, the grid is now officially over-18 only, closed to the hypergrid, with Vivox voice and its own in-world currency, the jO$. The Austria-based grid has also updated its Terms of Service, which spells out that creators retail all intellectual property rights, and that the grid complies with DMCA take-down requests and the equivalent Austrian laws.
The grid is also making small free parcels available for would-be residents, owner Georg Klaissner told Hypergrid Business.
Free homes on Sammer’s World
Sammer’s World, a German-language grid that just launched last month, is offering free homes to new residents.
The grid is hypergrid-enabled, with Vivox voice and the SW$ in-world currency. The grid also offers commercial land rentals through its affiliated hosting company, for 15 Euro or around US$21 per month for a standard region. The grid also charges to upload content — SW$100 or about 0.31 Euro (US$0.43) for images, animations, and group creation and SW$10 to register a partnership.
Sammer’s World is currently the only grid that both allows hypergrid access and charges for texture uploads. It is an unusual combination because hypergrid teleports allow users to bring in exportable content from other grids at no cost.
We’re listing 58 grids as suspended this month because we haven’t been able to get to their grid info pages or websites this month, including: 2142, AngelFire Grid, AnSky, araland, Austria Grid, Avatar Classroom, Bereft Living, Bongs Without Borders, Brillyunt, Britannia, CEHS Game Design, Classified Diabolic, Darpa Tech Edge Grid, Digital Art and History, Dreama, EduGrid NL, El Rayo Verde, Evermore, ExoSpace, Extension, Flatlandia, Gangster Wars, Genesis, Gimisa, Greek World, Greekifour, GreTICEland, HRD, JanesPlace, KUNDGRID, LDL World, Majickal Life, Majickal Network, Meridian Grid, Miguelinux, Morpheusgrid, NeuWald, Next Grid, Nilsen, NuevoMundo, OpenSim Fuchs, Ourworldonline, Pillars of Mist, Psychedelia, RandomWorld, Ruby World, SimGrid, Tellus, ThoMaxGrid, Traveler1, Tundra, Virtual Club, Virtual Harmony, Virtual Photography Gallery, Virtual Realms Grid, Virtual Universe, World-DC, and ZiggyZoo.
Meanwhile, we’ve added several new grids to our database, including Meet Instantly, D3D, Aheilos, RedIsis, RedGrid, 3rd Experimental Primary School of Evosmos, Fantasy Estates, Castle Reaper, TCU, and MajWorld.
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 stats page for the standard OpenSimulator distribution reported a record high of 5,896 new downloads this month, for a total of more than 28,700 downloads of OpenSim from the official website since the start of 2013, when they began publishing the data. Interpolating based on trends from other distributions, the Hypergrid Business estimate of OpenSim downloads from the official website is now a little bit over 122,000.
The stats page for the Diva Distro, a user-friendly distribution of OpenSim, reported 452 downloads this month, for a grand total of over 29,100 downloads since the distribution was first released in May of 2011.
Sim-on-a-Stick, an even more user-friendly, packaged version of the Diva Distro, was downloaded 1,035 times this month, for over 28,000 downloads total since the distribution was first released in May 2011.
The even easier still New World Studio, which allows people to set up private grids in just a few clicks with a fully automated installer, recently began publishing its usage statistics. As of today, it reports 22,269 regions on 2,398 different active mini-grids running on this distribution of OpenSim. That’s an increase of 2,976 new regions, and 204 new mini-grids.
Adding in these three other major distributions of OpenSim, we estimate that the OpenSim server software has been downloaded more than 182,000 times since the start of 2010.
Meanwhile, according to data from The Hypergates, the number of hypergate jumps on their network this month dropped by 319, to 2,688. The system now has 735 registered hypergates, down by 35 compared to month, on 64 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 has gained regions for the first month since late 2011, according to data from GridSurvey, with 45 more regions today than the same time last month. The Second Life grid now has 26,176 regions total, down 1,398 regions from this time last year, and 5,709 fewer regions than its peak in June of 2010.
Second Life’s loss rate has been dropping steadily for the past four months, a possible sign of a turn-around in the grid’s fortunes. If growth is permanently back, it would be a good sign for the metaverse as a whole, since Second Life spends more on marketing and outreach than all other grids combined, and also offers a very wide variety of resources to help newcomers learn how to use the viewers and building tools.
Most recently, Linden Lab has been investing in Oculus Rift support, with a new viewer now in beta testing. Second Life seems to be tailor-made for the Oculus Rift, offering users an accessible, low-cost way to create virtual environments for others to enjoy. By comparison, other platforms, like the major video game engines or Unity, require highly specialized programming and content creation skills.
Second Life is also currently the major entry way to OpenSim, which combines an interface already familiar to Second Life users with lower costs and more control.
March 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 810 different publicly-accessible grids, 224 of which were active this month, and 196 of which published their statistics.
Many school, company or personal grids do not publish their numbers.
- OSgrid: 7,376 regions
- Kitely: 5,655 regions
- Metropolis: 3,676 regions
- InWorldz: 1,354 regions
- Virtual Worlds Grid: 1,268 regions
- ScienceSim: 1,189 regions
- Avination: 623 regions
- Open Virtual Worlds: 518 regions
- Lost Paradise: 445 regions
- 3rd Rock Grid: 338 regions
- Virtual Highway: 263 regions
- FrancoGrid: 254 regions
- Grid Nirvana: 215 regions
- Logicamp: 204 regions
- SimValley: 202 regions
- Littlefield: 186 regions
- Island Oasis: 182 regions
- Next Reality: 178 regions
- Craft World: 163 regions
- Adreans-World: 156 regions
- Zandramas: 147 regions
- Dorena’s World: 134 regions
- Anettes Welt: 134 regions
- SimudyneGrid: 129 regions
- Virtual Gay Kingdom: 127 regions
- OpenSim.ru: 122 regions
- AviWorlds: 107 regions
- Infinite Grid: 104 regions
- PMGrid: 95 regions
- A Virtual World: 93 regions
- Tangle Grid: 93 regions
- Neuland: 90 regions
- DreamNation: 88 regions
- Virtualife: 85 regions
- YourSimSpot: 78 regions
- GerGrid: 74 regions
- Meet Instantly: 74 regions
- Kadobikrew: 72 regions
- EdMondo: 69 regions
- TUIS Open Grid: 67 regions