OpenSim metaverse nearly doubles in land area

The OpenSim metaverse nearly doubled in land area this month, as Virtual Worlds Grid added the equivalent of more than 18,000 regions to its grid, taking advantage of new variable size region functionality.

Virtual Worlds Grid is a hypergrid-enabled community grid which provides free land to educators.

The top 40 public OpenSim grids now have the land equivalent of 44,777 regions, up from last month’s 25,267 regions.

Total standard region equivalents on OpenSim's top 40 grids.
Total standard region equivalents on OpenSim’s top 40 grids.

Without Virtual Worlds Grid’s variable regions, the top 40 OpenSim grids would have gained 1,122 regions this month.

The grids also gained 2,578 registered users and lost 155 active users. The loss is partly due to my decision to not include user data from AviWorlds and Virtual World City due to some irregularities.

A total of 184 grids reported some statistics this month, out of a total of 211 active grids. There were a total of 46,925 regions on those 184 grids.

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 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:

Zandramas has made the ten most popular grid list for the first time, and AviWorlds is back on the list again.

News from around the grids

This section is going to be slim this month, since I’m filing this article while on the road. If I’m missing your announcement here, please email me at [email protected] and I’ll run it as a separate article when I’m back at my office on Sunday.

InWorldz first grid to reach 100,000 registered users

InWorldz, a closed, commercial grid and the most popular grid running on the OpenSim software — or, more accurately, a derivative of OpenSim software — became the first grid to cross the 100,000 registered user mark this month.

It was a close race with OSgrid, which — until this month –was the largest OpenSim grid by land area. OSgrid only has 98,613 registered users, to InWorldz’ 100,037.

Its closest commercial competitor is Avination, with 69,084 registered users.

Registered users numbers are not necessarily indicative of the health of the grid since they are cumulative, and and a grid that’s been around a long time might have a large number of registered users but few users that are currently active. This is not the case with InWorldz, however, which is not only a grid that’s been around for a while, but a grid which continues to dominate the popularity charts every month.

Kitely to join the hypergrid next week

Kitely, the largest commercial OpenSim grid by land area, is getting ready to turn on hypergrid connectivity.

Ilan Tochner
Ilan Tochner

“We spent the last few months improving various aspects of how the hypergrid works and developing access controls to protect export-restricted content from leaving Kitely via the hypergrid,” Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business. “We’re now doing final tests in preparation for the rollout of full hypergrid support on Kitely sometime next week.”

Meanwhile, the Kitely Market continued to gain new listings, with more than 100 new products added since this time last month.

Kitely’s marketplace is unique in that it allows merchants to sell their content, if they wish, to any hypergrid-enabled grid or closed grid that decides to allow Kitely Market deliveries, as Zandramas did last month.

“The Kitely Marketplace integration turned out to be a big success and a hit,” Zandramas manager and co-founder Suzan De Koning told Hypergrid Business. “Our residents love it, we all have been able to purchase things that we normally would not be able to purchase.”

Kitely Market stats May 2014

Zandramas celebrates first anniversary

The closed, commercial, invite-only Zandramas grid celebrates its first anniversary this month with a series of live music events on May 24.

(Image courtesy Zandramas.)
(Image courtesy Zandramas.)

The grid has also begun allowing residents to buy advertising on the grid’s main website, splash page and in-world billboards on the grid’s public areas. The goal is to promote merchants and organizations on the grid, manager and co-founder Suzan De Koning told Hypergrid Business.

In-world billboard. (Image courtesy Zandramas.)
In-world billboard. (Image courtesy Zandramas.)

The grid has also rolled out new self-service tools for region owners, including the ability to restart a region right from the website.

Region control panel with the new restart button. (Image courtesy Zandramas.)
Region control panel with the new restart button. (Image courtesy Zandramas.)

Zandramas has also been updated to the latest preview release of OpenSim, and Bullet physics is now in place on all regions.

The grid hosts its own regions, but uses Zetamex for technical help when needed.

“We continue our relationship with Zetamex, we pay them to help us in emergencies and help us maintain our backend as a management service and also on designing these custom features for our grid,” said De Koning. “We believe that Zetamex services are very top notch, they have helped us when no other hosting provider would even touch us and they helped us get our grid on par with the other big grids.”

Zandramas has recently taken a fresh look at its by-invitation-only membership policy, by surveying residents about whether they wanted to open up the grid to the public.

“The majority voted that they want to keep Zandramas the way it is because it has really made residents feel safe, and they feel they have a better quality of life in our grid instead of it being open 100 percent, where anyone can just join without validation,” she said.

As a side benefit, the invitation-only policy has also protected the grid against griefers and helped create a stable community on the grid.

“But Zandramas is working on a plan to open the door a bit more to people who have not been referred,” she added. “There will be more information about that soon!”

Virtual Highway upgrades servers, opens cafe, offers free islands

The closed commercial Virtual Highway grid has upgraded its servers to ones that have four times as much memory as previously, and a higher level of support. The grid has also opened a coffee shop at the landing area.

Coffee and chat at Virtual Highway's welcome area. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)
Coffee and chat at Virtual Highway’s welcome area. (Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

“Any hardware problems will be handled in a much more timely manner,” grid founder Gene Call told Hypergrid Business.

“Andrew Hellershanks, our technical manager, has done a fantastic job on the upgrade,” he added. “Next, we are testing the upgrade to the new 0.8 RC 1 [OpenSim preview release] grid software with plans to use it once it is stable enough for production.”

Virtual Highway has begun working on preparations for the Fourth of July celebrations, with a planned country theme with barn dancing and a treasure hunt in a hay maze, free shops for merchants, and fireworks.

(Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)
(Image courtesy Virtual Highway.)

There will be a building competition leading to the celebration. People can take part by joining the “Festival Park” group, claiming a building spot on the Festival Park region and buying a hollowed-out rectangle prim, then building inside the prim. There is no cost to participate. The build must have a Fourth of July theme, and can be any size and any number of prims, but must be concluded by June 30 to allow for time for judging.

Virtual Highway free island

The grid is also offering free islands, 4,096-square meter plots with a 312-prim building allowance.

“It’s great starter land to come and claim as home while you learn your way around Virtual Highway,” said Call. “You can get either grass or sand just pick the one you want. There are free houses at the Free Island Welcome Center, also.”

There are twelve regions in the free land program, with eight island on each.

“If you need any help with the free islands, you can contact Geo Falcone or Gemini Solano,” Call added.

Transitions

We’re listing 44 grids as suspended this month because we haven’t been able to get to their grid info pages or websites this month, including: 3rd Life Grid, A Virtual World, AnSky, B-ATM, Brasil Tropical, Confederatio, CrimsonSpider, Cuddles’ World, D3D, Digilands, ExoSpace, Flatlandia, Four Ages, HomeTown, Jilmer Estates, Kadobikrew, LDL World, MajWorld, Nilsen, Ocean Grid, Olimar, OpenMOOC, OpenSim Creations, OpenSim Fuchs, OpenSim Shop, Pink, Pleasure Island, Sammers World, Siberspace, SimB2B, Speculoos, Superborea, The Hidden Continent of Chaxez, The Jungle Isles, The Loom, The Microverse Grid, The Verse, Titusville, Tundra, University of the Aegean, VIBE: Tooth Fairy, Virtual Clubbing Life, Virtualife, and Zombieland

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 1,952 new downloads this month, for a total of more than 31,000 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 124,000.

The stats page for the Diva Distro, a user-friendly distribution of OpenSim, reported 473 downloads this month, for a grand total of over 30,000 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 1,693 times this month, a record high for this distribution. That adds up to over 31,800 downloads 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 25,385 regions on 2,656 different active mini-grids running on this distribution of OpenSim. That’s an increase of 1,422 new regions, and 113 new mini-grids.

Adding in these three other major distributions of OpenSim, we estimate that the OpenSim server software has been downloaded more than 189,000 times since the start of 2010.

Data from The Hypergates was not available this month as the site was down.

Meanwhile, Second Life has resumed its steady progression of region losses this past month, according to data from GridSurvey, with 57 fewer  regions today than this time last month. The Second Life grid now has 26,119 regions total, down 1,229  regions from this time last year, and 5,766 fewer regions than its peak in June of 2010.

May 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 over 800 different publicly-accessible grids, 211 of which were active this month, and 184 of which published their statistics.

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

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

  • Virtual Worlds Grid: 19,665 regions
  • OSgrid: 7,538 regions
  • Kitely: 5,609 regions
  • Metropolis: 3,775 regions
  • InWorldz: 1,348 regions
  • Avination: 618 regions
  • SimValley: 541 regions
  • Open Virtual Worlds: 519 regions
  • Lost Paradise: 440 regions
  • 3rd Rock Grid: 368 regions
  • FrancoGrid: 305 regions
  • Virtual Highway: 264 regions
  • Littlefield: 246 regions
  • Grid Nirvana: 224 regions
  • SkyLife: 210 regions
  • Logicamp: 204 regions
  • MOSES: 202 regions
  • Island Oasis: 200 regions
  • Zandramas: 174 regions
  • Next Reality: 163 regions
  • Craft World: 155 regions
  • Adreans-World: 147 regions
  • Dorena’s World: 139 regions
  • SimudyneGrid: 139 regions
  • Anettes Welt: 135 regions
  • Virtual Gay Kingdom: 127 regions
  • AviWorlds: 125 regions
  • OpenSim.ru: 122 regions
  • Tangle Grid: 106 regions
  • Infinite Grid: 104 regions
  • PMGrid: 95 regions
  • Neuland: 90 regions
  • DreamNation: 88 regions
  • iSynergy3D: 83 regions
  • Japan Open Grid: 82 regions
  • YourSimSpot: 79 regions
  • EdMondo: 78 regions
  • GerGrid: 74 regions
  • CEHS Game Design: 68 regions
  • German Grid: 68 regions

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.