Grids close year with record active numbers

The public OpenSim grids reached a new high of active users, 35,692, an increase of more than 2,000 since this time last month. The 2016 OpenSim Community Conference was responsible for about a quarter of the increase, but many other grids also saw gains.

The total number of registered users went up by 12,190, the biggest single-month increase since early 2013, to 511,559, crossing the half-million mark again. The total number of registered users had hit that high point earlier this year, but then fell dramatically when Avination, one of OpenSim’s oldest grids, shut down for maintenance in mid-summer. Avination is still down, and there are still no estimates of when the grid will be coming back.

The land area of OpenSim dropped by around 1,300 regions, but that was due to ZetaWorlds, which dropped from 1,527 standard region equivalents to just 171 — the grid is currently in beta and is undergoing some dramatic changes while they’re testing load balancing and other things to get ready for an official public launch.

AviWorlds has also not recovered yet from its latest collapse, despite some indications of progress earlier this month. Kea Nation, one of the grids caught up in that disaster, is also down temporarily while it is migrating to new hosting.

Land area of OpenSim’s public grids, in standard region equivalents.

For those who are new readers, OpenSim is a free, open source virtual world platform that’s compatible with the Oculus Rift. It allows people with no technical skills to quickly and cheaply create virtual worlds, and then teleport to other virtual worlds. Those with technical skills can run OpenSim worlds on their own servers for free, while commercial hosting starts at less than $5 a region — compared to $300 a region for the same land in Second Life.

A list of hosting providers is here. Download the recommended Firestorm viewer here. And find out where to get content for your OpenSim world or region here.

Popularity

When it comes to general-purpose social grids, especially closed grids, the rule of thumb is: the 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.

As mentioned above, the total number of active users on the public OpenSim grids reached a record high of 35,692.

The big gainer this month, was, of course, the OpenSim Community Conference grid, which gained over 500 active users due to last weekend’s conference. OSgrid gained 201 users.

On the other end of the spectrum, Great Canadian Grid, while still retaining a very solid 1,050 actives, lost 162 since this time last month. And InWorldz, while still retaining the top slot, lost 135.

Top ten most popular grids:

Meanwhile, the hypergrid as a whole is beginning to function more and more like one large grid, with an increasing number of multi-grid events, communities, and groups.

Active users this month on hypergrid-enabled grids, on InWorldz, and on other closed grids. (Hypergrid Business data.)

Hypergrid-enabled grids, where users can teleport freely to other grids, are now home to 78 percent of OpenSim’s active users, a near-record high proportion.

Looking at land area, the numbers are even more dramatic, since the hypergrid offers more renting options for users, as well as the ability to connect their own regions for free. Hypergrid-enabled grids currently account for 94 percent of all OpenSim land area.

OutWorldz’ Dreamworld installer gains more fans

The easy-to-use Dreamworld OpenSim installer has been downloaded 685 times since it was released late this summer — that’s more than 300 new downloads this past month, according to developer Fred Beckhusen.

The installer creates a free, local mini-grid on the user’s computer, with the choice of either keeping the grid private, or making it accessible via the hypergrid. About a quarter of these mini-grids are hypergrid-enabled, Beckhusen told Hypergrid Business.

My Virtual Community cuts prices by 83%

The Lithuanian My Virtual Community grid has cut land prices dramatically. Previously, regions were 30 Euros (US $31.35) for 15,000 prims. Now, residents can rent 25,000-prim regions for just 5 Euros per month, or  US $5.23, with discounts available for people who pay ahead for several months.

See full pricing details here.

The grid is also becoming more involved with the community.

“My partner Natasha Thiebaud now is in OpenSim core developers list,” grid founder Arturas Baltrukaitis told Hypergrid Business.

Creanovale traffic doubles with new ski tours

Creanovale is a small grid, with the equivalent of 41 standard regions, and just eight registered users. But it’s become a magnet lately for hypergrid visitors, with people coming from 35 different grids.

“It is amazing,” said grid owner Nicole Charest, also known as Dabici Straulino in-world. “For us, it is our best-ever number of visitors.”

Active users grew from 51 a month ago to 105 this month.

Watch a video about their new cross-country ski tours below:

 

Kalasiddhi grid seeks better stats

Like many smaller grids, Kalasiddhi uses the Diva Distro Wifi screen for its stats report. However, this screen only shows the number of named regions, not the total land area of the grid.

So Kalasiddhi, for example, shows as having 26 regions. But many of them are variable-sized regions, larger than standard. If all land was converted to regular regions, or to mega-regions, this display screen would then show a total of 73 regions.

Here at Hypergrid Business, I think that land is land. It doesn’t matter what kind of region it is, or where the border crossings are, as far as I’m concerned, if you can walk on it and build on it, it’s as good as any other land out there, and when I collect land stats, I ask for the total in square meters, square kilometers, or in standard region equivalents.

For smaller grids, this means opening up their OpenSimulator console and issuing the “show grid size” server command, or hirding developers to add the functionality to their websites.

Kalasiddhi Grid owner Drang Po is hoping that someone in the OpenSim community can come up with a way to publish the land area statistic to a web page or to the Wifi page.

“I’m betting a lot of us little folk that can’t afford to hire programmers would appreciate it,” he said.

PMGrid makes free land available for interesting projects

PMGrid has added server capacity and increased bandwidth, and can now offer more free regions for OpenSim users and better performance.

“We would now like to attract more people to come build here,” grid owner Bob Wellman told Hypergrid Business. “Land is free to serious builders as we are not a commercial grid at all — but conversely we are not interested in time wasters who ask for land and don’t use it. So establishing a dialog is our first step.”

The grid has also added a service from ThinkBroadBand that checks the grid’s performance.

“When users log into our website, they can now see how our Internet connection is running (ping times and line stability,” said Wellman. “I  think this would useful for all OpenSim grids to do too.”

The service is free, he said, and the load is minimal. The service also records historical data, and it can be used to figured out whether latency problems are due to the user’s connection, or is on the grid’s end.

“As well as being useful to users, I have also found the live graph good for getting my ISP to listen,” he added. “When you can tell them the line dropped at exactly these times and dates or that ping time has suddenly worsened by this much at 3 p.m. on Monday and is still at that level for the last three days, they tend to not try to fob you off with a ‘you must be imagining it’ and get cracking sorting it.”

Transitions

We added three new grids to our database this month: The Public World, One More Grid and JadeyLand.

The following 23 grids were marked as suspended this month: 2Worlds2Go, 3DHappiness, Admeja, AvatarHaven, Avi Brasil, Avination, AviWorlds, CINECA GRID, Cuon, Dreamworldz, GEA, Homeland, HyperWild, Ingen-Lab, Ipsofacto, JamGrid, Kea Nation, Mystery, Pseudospace, Revo Grid, SimGrid, Traduverse, and Unreal.

Grids that have been suspended for more than two months will be marked as closed. If your grid isn’t on the active grids list, and not on the suspended list, it may have been marked closed when it shouldn’t be. Please let us know.

And 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.

By “public,” we mean grids that allow hypergrid visitors, or have a website where people can register for or request accounts.

December 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 1,191 different publicly-accessible grids, 277 of which were active this month, and 205 of which published their statistics.

All region counts on this list are, whenever available, in terms of standard region equivalents. Active user counts include hypergrid visitors whenever possible.

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. And here is a list of all the hypergrid-enabled grids and their hypergrid addresses, sorted by popularity. This is very useful if you are creating a hyperport.

You can see all the historical OpenSim statistics here — dating all the way back to 2009. Including polls and surveys.

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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