We will now be measuring land in square kilometers

Justin Clark-Casey’s monthly OpenSim development update reminded me that OpenSim now has a new command for grid owners — “show grid size.”

The command counts up all the land area on a grid, including the land of variable-sized regions, and gives the answer in terms of square kilometers.

And after a discussion in the comments of this month’s stats article, I’ve decided to begin the transition away from counting land by regions, to counting land in kilometers.

My reasons:

  • Variable-sized regions can be any size, but count as a single region.
  • The phrase “standard region equivalent” is too awkward to keep saying and typing
  • Normal people don’t know what a “region” is
  • And don’t care
  • Standard measurements make it easy to compare virtual land with real world locations
Area in square kilometers.
Area in square kilometers.

Low-cost land is one of the major selling points of OpenSim.

As vendors compete on hosting prices, and developers add new technology such as variable sized regions, the average price of land in OpenSim continues to fall.

This allows users create builds previously impractical in virtual worlds.

For example, role playing groups can now conduct military campaigns across wide swathes of desert, in the open reaches of outer space, or on the high seas.

Ecology simulations and historical recreations can take all the space they need.

What should grid owners do?

You can continue reporting your land stats in terms of regions counts, and I will convert them to square kilometers.

You can also report in standard region equivalents.

Or you can run the new console command show grid size and get the total area of your grid and update your website on a regular basis, or email me directly at [email protected] on the 14th day of each month.

The “show grid size” command is currently only available in the cutting-edge, development version of OpenSim. If your grid is being responsible, and only run tested and debugged official releases — which I recommend — you can continue reporting your regions the same way you always have until the the “get grid size” command becomes part of the official OpenSim.

You can also count up variable regions manually, like Virtual Worlds Grid is already doing.

Another grid that is manually counting up the variable regions is Lost Paradise.

Grid owner John Cloneu told Hypergrid Business that there’s PHP code on his website that goes to the database and fetches the current region counts.

“Then to that number, I add the varregions equivalent regions,” he said.

This is the code that is on the website now:

<?php echo $this->db->count_all('regions')+1096;?><br>

Say, for example, your grid updates 10 standard regions to be variable size regions 16 times bigger than your standard region. That’s a total land area of 160 standard region equivalents, only ten of which would be counted by the database automatically. So you would need to add 150 to your grid’s region totals on the website.

This technique requires that you update your website’s code each time you add variable size regions to your grid but, right now, that seems to be the most effective means of getting the information out.

If you don’t feel comfortable counting a single varregion as 16 regions, you can also add a new line showing square kilometers, like this:

Total regions: <?php echo $this->db->count_all('regions');?><br>
Land area in sq km: <?php echo $this->db->(count_all('regions')+1096)/15.259;?><br>

There are 15.259 regions in a square kilometer of land area.

Why it’s important

I know it sounds like a pain and a grid with more regions isn’t necessarily better than a grid with fewer regions.

The reason you should do this is to demonstrate that OpenSim is growing in land area. People are attracted to growing projects, growing communities, hot technologies.

We want people to be attracted to OpenSim, to come in and try it out, to become part of the community, and to bring in more people with them.

OpenSim is currently the world’s only free, open source, hyperlinked, no-programming-skills-required, Oculus Rift-compatible virtual world platform.

Right now, we are the metaverse.

But nobody knows it.

Please, update your stats. Help me get the word out.

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.