AviWorlds announces a move — to Kitely

A little more than two weeks ago, AviWorlds came back from its fifth official grid closing — not counting temporary outages due to technical issues — to announce that they will be running the grid by themselves from now on, with no outside help.

Portuguese-language messages on the grid’s Facebook page boasted of progress getting servers online.

“Tomorrow will be a grand new day in the history of AviWorlds,” grid owner Alexandro Pomposelli — also known as Alex Ferraris in-world — announced in late June, according to Google Translate. “We will have our grid back!”

A pirate-themed gaming area on the old AviWorlds grid. (Image courtesy AviWorlds.)
A pirate-themed gaming area on the old AviWorlds grid. (Image courtesy AviWorlds.)

Then, on July 1, bad news again.

“AviWorlds is temporarily closed due to hosting and other reasons,” Pomposelli wrote. “Unfortunately, what we tried did not work out. Thank you all.”

We’re counting this as the sixth closure of the grid since any content or user accounts created during this past month are now gone.

Back up on Kitely

This morning, the grid announced a fresh start — again.

Alexsandro Pomposelli
Alexsandro Pomposelli

“My setup did not work,” Pomposelli told Hypergrid Business this morning. “I am moving the AviWorlds community to Kitely.”

Pomposelli said that he doesn’t have an official date for the grid’s reopening, but will keep us posted.

This makes it AviWorld’s seventh try at running a grid — kind of — and yet another new business model. Previously, the grid tried being the most expensive grid, then tried a free land model, it tried being hosted with Dreamland Metaverse, and being hosted with Zetamex. It has turned hypergrid connectivity off and on several times, changed its name — from AVWorlds to AviWorlds — experimented with Facebook integration and Bullet physics before other grids did. With more than 200 active grids on our list, AviWorlds certainly stands out from the pack by never being boring.

This time, however, the change is more dramatic than previous one, as AviWorlds is giving up its autonomy and its identity as a separate grid.

Kitely is a commercial grid known for its on-demand, cloud-based region hosting. Regions are run on virtual servers in the Amazon cloud, and are shutdown when nobody is on them. They also automatically scale up as usage increases, meaning that a single region on Kitely can hold up to 100,000 prims and 100 simultaneous avatars, making them one of the best-forming — if not the best performing — region of any commercial grid.

In addition, Kitely is the largest commercial grid to be hypergrid-enabled, allowing travel to other grids.

But what really sets Kitely apart is its Kitely Market, the largest multi-grid online marketplace in OpenSim, with delivery to any hypergrid-enabled grid — as well as to any closed grid that decides to allow Kitely Market deliveries.

Pomposelli said that he’s setting up the first few regions of the AviWorlds community today.

According to Pomposelli, the reason he decided to move to Kitely was Kitely’s stable infrastructure, high-capacity regions, and the marketplace.

For example, a 16-region, unlimited use island on Kitely costs $100 a month. That works out to about $6.25 per region per month, the lowest rate anywhere in OpenSim. The only caveat is that not every region on the island can hold 100,000 prims — the entire 16-region island can, but all the regions have to share those prims. So, for example, each region can hold 6,250 prims, or one region can have 100,000 prims and all the rest can be empty landscape, or anything in between.

Kitely also makes it easy to save backups of regions as OARs, upload existing region OAR files, and upgrade or downgrade hosting plans.

Benefits to users

The biggest winners in all this — if AviWorlds sticks with Kitely — will be the residents.

For example, they will be able to sell goods on the Kitely Market for real money, not worry about their inventories disappearing if AviWorlds closes again, and rent their regions directly from Kitely to benefit from Kitely’s low costs, stability, and backups. Plus, if they regions directly from Kitely, and AviWorlds closes again, they’ll still have their regions.

Model for other communities?

So far, it’s mostly been non-profit communities that have made the move to Kitely, not commercial ones.

For-profit communities looking for incubation space typically start out on OSgrid or other large open grids before they build up to the point where they can go off and set up their own grid.

However, Kitely does offer some benefits that other for-profit communities might take a look at:

  • The Kitely economy. Non-profit grids like OSgrid tend to discourage in-world commerce. Kitely makes it easy for people to both buy and sell virtual goods. Plus, when the community leaves for its own grid, they can continue to use their Kitely Market stores, and just deliver the purchases to the new location.
  • Easy exports and backups. When it comes to saving entire regions or islands, Kitely has the easiest interface around. So when a community is ready to move to its own grid, moving the regions is easy.
  • Hypergrid access. If the community’s new grid is hypergrid-enabled, users will continue to be able to use their Kitely avatars — or create new avatars, but be able to go back to visit their favorite Kitely destinations and friends.

But there is also one downside. Kitely’s backups are in the form of filtered OARs. That means that a region owner who saves a backup of their region will have empty spaces where non-exportable content was located. This could create problems when a community build is created by multiple people and not all permissions were set to allow exports. Similarly, Kitely Market content only allows merchants to choose whether or not to allow exports — it doesn’t not allow them to allow exports only to particular grids. So if a community is planning to move to its own grid at some point, and wants its members to be able to take all their content with them, all the content will have to have the export permission enabled– which will also allow it to travel to any other grid, as well.

By comparison, communities incubating on, say, OSgrid, will have an easier time moving content. Using Zetamex, Dreamland Metaverse, or other major hosting provider means that entire regions — with every bit of their content — can be moved to a new grid, plus entire user inventories. Best of all, the hosting provider can take care of all the moving-related details. But then again, open grids like OSgrid — while they do comply with copyright laws and have takedown procedures in place to deal with infringing content — don’t lock down content to the same degree as the commercial grids do. Just as community owners can save full copies of their regions and inventories, with all content in place regardless of permission settings, so can all other individual region owners.

Maria Korolov