Littlefield celebrates eight years as its own grid

Memorial region on Littlefield Grid. (Image courtesy Littlefield.)

Littlefield will celebrate its eight year anniversary since it started as a standalone grid on Saturday, April 10 with music and an exhibition of in-world creations.

The event starts at 3 p.m. Pacific time on the Anniversary region with a live performance by Terry Wildman, followed by a dance party with DJ Essensual McMahon until 7 p.m. Pacific time. The official opening ceremony will then be held at 7 p.m., followed by a dance party at 8 p.m. with DJ Walter Balazic.

The hypergrid address is Anniversary. 

Littlefield started out as a community in Second Life before moving to OpenSim.

The celebration will continue through the following week, with exhibits and free gifts for both local residents and hypergrid visitors, Littlefield Grid co-owner Walter Balazic told Hypergrid Business. 

Littlefield residents all did amazing jobs on the exhibits, but several stand out and should not be missed, he added.

“Camyn Darkstone’s ‘Who are the Worldmakers’ exhibit  is a very large walk through design that honors people who create content and regions in Virtual Worlds,” he said. “Xi Shi’s ‘Ruritania Big Wheel’ looks very much like an enclosed Ferris wheel but actually allows you to walk along the inside and lets the environment pass you as if you were walking down the streets of Ruritania. Chelsea Louloudi and Mudpuddle Cleanslate have a very large exhibit called ‘Pepperland II’ that creates a world based on The Beatles Yellow Submarine animation.”

The anniversary celebration will conclude with two dance parties and another live artist performance on Saturday, April 17.

Bondage Ranch will launch in Littlefield during the April 10 anniversary. (Image courtesy Littlefield.)

Littlefield started in 2007 in Second Life where the current grid co-owners Dirk Mathers and Walter Balazic run several sims and BDSM regions like Stone Haven, Balazic Isle, Psi’s Realm and another one called LittleHaven where the current grid derived its name.


Stonehaven. (Image courtesy Littlefield.)

But Second Life had some significant drawbacks for the Littlefield community.


Wardenclyffe. (Image courtesy Littlefield.)

For example, Second Life’s online marketplace hurt in-world shopping. Region owners that made money by having stores in their grid could no longer make their monthly region rental payments.

And those region rents — called “tiers” in Second Life — were high.

“Dirk’s tier was around $300 per month for Stonehaven, and I was paying $300 a month for Balazic Isle,” he said. “We also had several homestead regions which ran around $600 between Dirk and myself.”

With all the other expenses, total costs were between $2,000 and $2,500 a month, he said.

Mill-Run. (Image courtesy Littlefield.)

They moved to OpenSim in 2012 by first migrating their regions, as well as two others run by Hiro Pratagonist, to OSgrid in 2012.

“We wanted a grid that was safe, stable, on servers hosted professionally in a data center, had no money or financial system as we didn’t want users to have to have a job in order to enjoy the regions on the grid, and also have the control of the environment,” he said.

They moved from Second Life with several designers such as Ada Wong, Camryn Darkstone, and Toy McBride who were creating clothing, furniture and other content that simply didn’t exist in OpenSim at the time, while Dirk and Balazic focused on RLV based content and toys for the Stonehaven region.

The Littlehaven regions all fit on a single server, which cost around $100 a month.

Plus, being in OpenSim mean that Littlefield now had more control over their regions, and could get OAR region backups, which weren’t possible in Second Life.

But OSgrid had its disadvantages.

Littlefield’s regions were too big for OSgrid, Balazic said. Plus, Littlefield needed to be able to have adult-only regions, with no child avatars allowed, and OSgrid could not support that.

“One day while standing in our home region of Littlefield Mall in OSgrid, we met up with Ashton Nobilis, an incredibly talented and knowledgeable engineer who had a long background in OpenSimulator and Second Life,” he said. “We hit it off with him instantly.  It was if we had known him our whole lives.  Ashton discussed with us our plans to create our own grid and started immediately to create Littlefield Grid.”

In April 2014, Littlefield became its own grid, said Balazic. “It’s thanks to Ashton’s genius that Littlefield is incredibly stable, has incredible performance, and has in eight years only been down four weeks in total.”

Today, it costs around $1,800 a month to keep up the entire grid, he said, including server rentals and DNS services. That’s for a grid which currently has 207 total regions and hundreds of active monthly users.

“It costs us less now to have an entire grid than it did for nine sims in Second Life, two-thirds of them being homesteads,” he said.