Like many folks, I started out in OpenSim using Hippo, then graduated to Imprudence when Hippo was no longer supported. Today, Imprudence is still the recommended viewer on many grids, including OSgrid. Then, because I wanted mesh and media-on-a-prim, I started using the official Second Life viewer. It took aRead More →

Ohio-based virtual learning company Designing Digitally, Inc. has released a free white paper about the benefits and challenges of using 3D in training. “It is imperative that creating and sustaining a competitive advantage be a high priority and training is one area where organizations can do so,” said Designing Digitally presidentRead More →

The top 40 largest OpenSim grids gained 1,250 regions since mid-September, for a new record high of 25,202 regions. OSGrid was responsible for most of the growth, with 839 new regions, for a new total of 11,162 regions on that grid alone. OSGrid is a non-profit grid that allows peopleRead More →

The Intergrid Metaverse Art Biennial, a six-month long art festival, opened on six grids last month, including Second Life, InWorldz, OSGrid, Metropolis, FrancoGrid, and Craft World. This is the first time this festival is being held. InWorldz, a commercial grid, is the most popular OpenSim grid by active users. OSGrid,Read More →

A new online publication, Grid Press, is looking for writers to cover OpenSim grids. Contributor Linda Henson — better known as Linda Kellie of LindaKellie.com — urged writers to submit reviews of grids and of individual regions, to write about their virtual lives, and to contribute news and opinion articles.Read More →

JokaydiaGrid, the biggest education-focused OpenSim grid, has switched hosting providers, from ReactionGrid to SimHost. Residents will see higher prim limits, better stability, increased concurrency, and Vivox voice, grid owner Jo Kay told Hypergrid Business. ReactionGrid was one of the first enterprise-focused OpenSim hosting providers, and the go-to destination for educators.Read More →

Kitely announced a flat-rate hosting option today, at $40 per region per month. Kitely is an on-demand, cloud-based OpenSim grid that is best known for charging users for the time they spent in-world. Customers will still be able to use the previous, metered, billing option for their regions. But thoseRead More →

Kitely, an on-demand OpenSim grid, cut off support for the official Second Life viewer today, as did the Brazilian social grid Meet3D. “We had to take this step because Linden Lab, the creators of the Second Life Viewer, have released a new version that no longer works with OpenSim,” Oren Hurvitz,Read More →

Last month, Linden Lab decided to cut OpenSim off  from its viewer, and, last spring, to force third-party developers to choose between OpenSim and getting the new proprietary Havok pathfinding code. Viewer developers had three choices — turn down the new proprietary code, stop supporting OpenSim, or fork their viewers.Read More →

The new version of the Hypergrid protocol is coming soon, hypergrid inventor Crista Lopes announced today. Lopes is also a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine. It will include controls that grid owners can use to restrict hypergrid travel in and out of their grids, and also to control movementRead More →

The top 40 largest OpenSim grids gained a record-breaking 2,177 regions since mid-August, the single biggest monthly gain in history. The new regions pushed the grids to 23,952 total regions, also a new high. OSGrid was responsible for almost a quarter of the growth, with 498 new regions, for aRead More →

The Belgium-based Logicamp grid is offering OpenSim region hosting in the Amazon cloud at just 21 cents per hour — or 1 Euro (US $1.29) for six hours. Cloud-based event hosting is a good fit for companies and organizations that need a large number of regions for a short amountRead More →

As more and more people explore OpenSim, the content licensing issue comes up over and over again. It may be quite a puzzle for folks used to Second Life, where licensing is taken care of by the permissions system. In OpenSim, licensing and permissions are two different things. Permissions —Read More →

Over my twenty-year-plus career as a journalist, I’ve helped dozens of other writers get started — as an editor, and, prior to that, as an active member of the National Writers Union and the Society of Professional Journalists and other professional organizations. For example, at the SPJ, I headed upRead More →

The great thing about OpenSim? As much low-cost — or even free — land as you want. The bad thing? You have to have terrains for all that land. Sure, you can go in-world and use the terrain editing tools, but those take forever. And, if you’re anything like me,Read More →

Japan’s3Di, Inc., best known for their browser-based OpenSim viewers, has set the starting price for their Unity-based, in-a-Web-browser virtual world at around $10 a month. According to an announcement released yesterday, the “personal” 3Di Cloud starts at 9,800 yen a year, or about US $125, and can handle up to 500 simultaneousRead More →

Want people to come to your grid or region more frequently? Consider this advice from psychologist Susan Weinschenk — Want To Change a Habit? Use Fun, Surprise, and a Crowd. Let’s say that you are the owner of a grid, and you want your users to make visiting your grid a regularRead More →

Last week, I’ve been following a media storm of coverage surrounding ON24, a virtual events company. A couple of years ago, I covered the company, as well as its competitors InXpo and Unisfair (now InterCall), because — like many — I was confused by the term “virtual events.” So I stillRead More →

My long-time readers probably know that I pretty much only use virtual worlds for work. I don’t play role playing games. I don’t go to social events. Meanwhile, I keep saying that if you want to see where enterprise technology will be in five years, just take a look atRead More →

Note: Vivox now has an online form that OpenSim grid owners and hosting providers can use to request access credentials. Vivox is expanding its support for the OpenSim-based metaverse, with a larger team of employees supporting a growing number of grids. Previously, the only way for OpenSim grid owners to get Vivox voiceRead More →

Press release: 3Di, Inc. announces “Virtual World Kit for 3Di Cloud”, enabling blog-based creation of avatar social spaces using copy-paste TOKYO — 3Di, Inc., which develops and offers 3D Internet solutions, has begun distribution of its “Virtual World Kit for 3Di Cloud,” which allows immediate creation of an avatar socialRead More →

Kitely, the only OpenSim hosting company to offer on-demand, low-cost regions, announced megaregion support today. This means that customers can have islands that are one, four, nine or sixteen regions in size. The option is available to all users, including those on an a-la-carte payment plan, and it only takesRead More →

Today, we counted exactly 200 public grids running on some version of the OpenSim software that were active this month, totaling 23,190 regions, 269,783 registered users, and 18,217 active monthly users.  This does not include regions and users on about a quarter of these grids that didn’t publish any statistics, nor on the unknownRead More →

Virtual Highway — one of the top 20 OpenSim grids by land area and popularity — announced a major new upgrade today that includes new search functionality, an events calendar, Lightshare support, and a redesigned website. “Now creators can post picks and classifieds that can be found in search,” theRead More →

Congratulations, you have a new grid or hosting company. And you have 200 competitors — and the numbers are only going to keep rising. You need to find a way to get your name out there to your potential customers. There are plenty of channels you should be exploring —Read More →

Is Second Life a game or a platform? In its early years, the question was answered — loudly and repeatedly — Second Life is not a game, it’s a platform. Lately, however, the company seems to be moving in a decidedly game-ish direction. Here are some reasons why it’s aRead More →

So you like to build stuff in 3D, maybe do a little scripting, a little animating, and you’d like to get paid for it? And I’m not talking about selling stuff on the Second Life Marketplace. That’s a highly competitive field, with extremely low margins, high stress levels and highRead More →

Everyone knows I’m a big fan of OpenSim. I want it to grow big, with lots of different things to do, lots of different places to go, lots of people to meet. This requires that it get easier for people to set up their own grids and regions. For theRead More →

This week, ReactionGrid has all but abandoned OpenSim in favor of its proprietary, Unity-based Jibe virtual world platform. And Linden Lab has also distanced itself from OpenSim, removing support for the “-loginURI” feature which allowed people to access OpenSim grids with the official Second Life viewer. Both of these decisionsRead More →

This past spring, Linden Lab warned third party viewer developers to drop support for OpenSim if they wanted to get access to new features. Back then, a back door was left open, in that users could modify the command path used to launch the viewer so that it accessed OpenSimRead More →

Florida-based ReactionGrid, a pioneer in OpenSim hosting for corporations and educators, is scaling back on its OpenSim business in favor of its Unity-based Jibe platform, and considering closing down its namesake grid. “We will focus on very high level OpenSim work only,” ReactionGrid co-founder and CEO Kyle Gomboy told HypergridRead More →

At first, it seemed to be another publicity disaster in the making. SpotON3D, a grid known for shooting itself in the foot when it comes to public relations, was spotted distributing content by Linda Kellie without crediting her for her work. SpotON3D is a closed, commercial grid that stands outRead More →

As of today, there are 100 grids in our Hyperica directory, all accessible – at least some of the time — by hypergrid teleport. That’s over 15,000 regions. My researchers and I have visited just a couple of hundred. We try to hit the welcome region of each grid, andRead More →

Sometime soon, Kitely — the low cost, on-demand, cloud-based grid – will turn on hypergrid connectivity. This may seriously affect the hosting market, as some users will turn to Kitely for low-use residential or educational sims — even while they continue to patronize shops, events, and other facilities elsewhere onRead More →

I know what I would like to see in a WebGL browser-based viewer for OpenSim — everything that current viewers have but super-easy to use and fast to load and quick to write. Well, I know we’re not going to get that, especially if we’re doing it with a crowdfundedRead More →

Press release: FedCTE Program Using Avaya Virtual Environment for Cybersecurity Training • Federal Cybersecurity Training Events (FedCTE) uses secure, online access to AvayaLive™ Engage. • Collaborative, 3D classroom reduce costs while enhancing cybersecurity learning. FAIRFAX, Va. – Today Avaya Government Solutions announced that the Federal Cybersecurity Training Events Program (FedCTE)Read More →

PODEX, the Wilmington, Delware-based virtual currency exchange, announced today that it now has a presence in Avination and is offering their services for business and residents of that grid. PODEX, an established Linden dollars brokers began offering their services in Avination on July 12., the company said. Avination is the third-busiestRead More →

I love Cloud Party. I love the responsive, 3D graphics. The cute tutorial. The in-world building tools. The free house.  I even love the Facebook integration. Most of all, though, I love the fact that it’s WebGL. It runs natively in modern browsers like Chrome and Firefox and Safari —Read More →

Kitely, the OpenSim grid that charges people for the time they use rather than how much land they have, announced a dramatic price cut today, reducing the cost of its unlimited use plan from $100 to just $35 a month. The company also added a new feature where region ownersRead More →

Note: See comments below for some warnings. It’s been in the works for a couple of years now, and finally launched quietly last month — now the Free Open Grid project from Free Open University hopes to get 200,000 schools into OpenSim. As part of its initial push, the groupRead More →

I just checked out the beta test of the 3Di Cloud, a browser-based social world platform. And though the two share some surface similarities, 3Di Cloud is no Cloud Party. In fact, as of right now, 3Di Cloud barely looks like a product. Japan’s 3Di, Inc., best known for their browser-based OpenSimRead More →

The hypergrid continued to grow this month, with the Hyperica directory now covering 100 grids and dozens more waiting to be indexed. But even as the number of grids continued to grow, the core top 40 grids that we’ve been tracking since 2009 grew as well. There are now 20,637 regionsRead More →

Japen’s 3Di, Inc., best known for their browser-based OpenSim viewers, will be testing a new, free, public, Unity-based virtual world this weekend, called 3Di Cloud. According to 3Di senior manager Norman Lin, individuals and groups will be able to embed a window into their private virtual world right onto their websites, likeRead More →

SpotON3D has been having server issues this week — and that has set off another round of rumors that the company is closing, as in this post by Vanish Seriath: SpotON3D at an end? But the company, known for its clever browser-based viewer launcher plugin, and its controversial stance onRead More →

If you’re a tech-savvy grid owner, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Bitcoin, a new virtual currency that’s completely private, untraceable, and isn’t backed by any company or government. For some, Bitcoin is the future of online payments, an alternative to our current, outmoded, failing financial system. But before youRead More →

If you are a grid owner, you’ve probably already considered creating a virtual currency for your residents. Virtual currencies make it easier to have an in-game economy, have lower transaction costs than PayPal or credit card payments for small payments, and can bring in additional revenues for the grid operators.Read More →

In December 2009, Germany’s Talentraspel virtual worlds Ltd. set a world record by squeezing 500,000 prims into one OpenSim region. That record stood for two and a half years until Ener Hax decided to see if she could beat it — and was quickly followed by OSGrid president Michael Emory Cerquoni — alsoRead More →

For most people, NPCs — non-player characters — are the princesses you need to save in video games, dragons you need to defeat, and shopkeepers who give advice about how to proceed in your quests. But for David Prior, CTO at Simudyne , NPCs are a way to model emergency evacuation plans forRead More →

SoftPaw Estates announced a free land give-away on OSGrid today, where residents can get free parcels for personal use. The parcels are located on regions were landscaped by well-known OpenSim designer Linda Kellie and OSGrid resident Raz Welles, to provide a interactive community atmosphere. According to SouthPaw Estates founder Timothy RogersRead More →

The big spinning V is the OMC in-world payment terminal. (Image courtesy Speculoos.)

The Belgian Speculoos grid is adopting the OMC virtual currency from Virwox. “It is crucial that users can use their money outside of our single small world,” said grid owner Gudule Lapointe in an announcement today. “It is also important for us that money is backed by a specialized company, thatRead More →

Content creators may worry about preserving their content in an era of ubiquitous hypergrid connectivity, but most users have a different worry — preserving their stuff. Hypergrid 1.5 rolled out security measures that protect rogue grid owners from dipping into the inventories of hypergrid visitors and causing trouble. But thereRead More →

The top 40 OpenSim grids reported a total of 19,926 regions this month, up slightly from last month’s 19,668 regions — despite another round of housekeeping on OSGrid. OSGrid, the largest grid on the OpenSim platform, dropped from more than 9,000 regions earlier this week to under 7,000. According toRead More →

Firestorm will have support for OpenSim grids, the developers announced today. Firestorm is a third-party viewer that can be used to access Linden Lab’s Second Life grid, and which also has some existing support for OpenSim grids, as well. However, licensing issues have forced Linden Lab to restrict third-party usersRead More →

OSGrid president Michael Emory Cerquoni — also known as Nebadon Izumi in-world — set a new world record today by putting a million cubes on a single OpenSim region. The previous record, of 576,000 cubes was set earlier today by Ener Hax., using her Sim-on-a-Stick distribution of OpenSim. She hadRead More →

Kitely continues to move ahead with its infrastructure improvements. Just a few days after telling me the details of how they planned to roll out in-world payments, they announced today that they’ve done it. Kitely users can now buy and sell things with the Kitely Credits virtual currency, and trackRead More →

Metaversum, the developers of the 3D mirror world Twinity, today announced their acquisition by 3D Internet company ExitReality. Twinity has been having some problems recently. It hasn’t had any news announcements since May 2011, and only two blog posts this year — in one of which, the CEO attempted to dispelRead More →

Update: In-world payments have been enabled. Kitely, the on-demand OpenSim hosting company, will be enabling in-world payments this month, both for resident-to-resident sales and for hosting fees. “There are already thousands of dollars sitting around in people’s accounts in unused Kitely credits, burning a hole in their pocket,” Kitely CEORead More →

I was recently a guest on Designing Worlds, discussing virtual projects that got real money from Kickstarter — or are trying to. Fellow guests included  Zayn Till and Wynx Whiplash, Tinies from Raglan Shire, who just successfully raised $11,112 on Kickstarter for their JazzPaws project, handily exceeding their original goal ofRead More →

One of the worries for customers of Kitely‘s pay-by-the-minute OpenSim platform has been that an avatar accidentally logged into the grid could drain a user’s account. This is a particular issue for owners who opt to pay for their visitors’ usage time. Kitely addressed this problem today with a newRead More →

I frequently want to know if some far-away region is up or not.  Say, for example,  I have a blamgate up to my favorite shopping mall. I want the gate to be nice and bright when the destination region is up, and go dark if the destination region is down.Read More →

There was a lot of turmoil on the hypergrid this past month, as many smaller grids disappeared, and OSGrid did another round of cleaning. As a result, the total number of regions on the top 40 grids fell to 19,668, a drop of 491 regions. In addition, the total numberRead More →

If you work in Second Life, you don’t have to worry about provenance. The Lindens take care of it with their permissions system. Or, at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. And you already know that you can’t bring anything from Second Life to OpenSim unless you’ve checked withRead More →

There’s an old saying that 90 percent of new businesses fail within a year, and they fail because of a lack of capital. Fortunately, that’s a myth. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 70 percent of new businesses survive at least two years, and more than half were stillRead More →

An English teacher based in southern China has launched an OpenSim grid for English students. Currently, over 100 of his college-age students are using the grid, as well as students from Italy, Russia, and Japan. They practice English, and interact with English speakers who teleport in from other grids —Read More →

Kitely, the OpenSim grid offering on-demand and easy region setup, has added support for groups and profiles, the company announced today. With groups, Kitely users can specify who can enter individual regions, and who can build on them. Groups can also be used to send out instant messages to allRead More →

Some grids reported an increase in logins or registrations yesterday during Second Life’s protracted network outage. According to InWorldz co-founder David Daeschler, also known as Tranquillity Dexler in-world, the grid saw a peak of 352 simultaneous users on Thursday afternoon, at a time when the grid normally averages between 200 andRead More →

Tor Books, the largest science fiction publisher in the world, just announced that it will be removing digital rights management — DRM — from its ebooks. “Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time,” said president and publisher Tom Doherty in the announcement. “They’re aRead More →

With the recent explosion in new OpenSim grids, it will get harder and harder to get noticed. I’ve been talking about this to new gridmasters, and thought I’d share the advice a bit more widely. While I’m specifically writing for hypergrid-enabled grids, some of the same advice will apply toRead More →

There are two approaches to hypergrid content security currently being discussed by OpenSim developers and grid owners — the first, using the existing permissions system, is embraced by grids like Kitely looking to roll out something quickly. But the other approach — to create a brand-new permission that allows contentRead More →

The cloud-based, on-demand Kitely grid has added support for non-player characters (NPCs) and instant teleport gates as part of its upgrade to the latest version of OpenSim, the company announced today. NPCs — also known as bots — are useful for creating automated tour guides, robot receptionists, and, in roleRead More →

In light of several griefing incidents on OpenSim grids over the past few days, grid owners are starting to consider taking proactive steps to protect themselves against future attacks. Multi-grid nuisance On FleepGrid, a griefer dropped colored spheres all over the grid, which brought down the entire world. “It’s takenRead More →

Georgia’s Forsyth County Schools plans to triple the number of its OpenSim regions next year, the district’s coordinator of online education, Steve Mashburn, announced at Friday’s Non-Profit Commons meeting in Second Life. The school district deployed a 16-region grid, hosted by Dreamland Metaverse, earlier this year. The same vendor will be usedRead More →

The number of small OpenSim grids continued to climb this month, as companies, schools and individuals continued to strike out on their own. We’re tracking 285 grids, of which 169 are currently active — an increase of 26 grids from last month’s 143 active grids. Meanwhile, the top 40 public OpenSimRead More →

Linden Lab has issued new guidelines for third-party viewers who wish to include advanced new features that use the proprietary Havoc physics engine. Of most interest to OpenSim users, the guidelines require that the viewer be “primarily focused on Second Life as a target market, and have a significant baseRead More →

Companies interested in the cost-savings and productivity benefits of immersive virtual environments but put off by the cartoony avatars may soon have another option, according to LA-based Integrated Virtual Networks. IVN’s patented “Silhouette” technology uses standard cameras to capture the user’s image, isolates it from the background, and converts it intoRead More →

The premise: As the number of grids proliferates, so does the number of destinations not safe for children. Schools and parents can install software that protects children from inappropriate websites — similar software designed for the hypergrid could protect children from grids dedicated to gambling and adult activities. The business TheRead More →

[CORRECTION: I removed a line about bottlenecks that specifically mentioned the InWorldz asset server. See discussion in the comments for the full details.] InWorldz is celebrating it’s third anniversary in Las Vegas this weekend (livestream here, schedule here). I’m listening to the keynote presentation right now by grid founder BethRead More →

InWorldz co-founder David Daeschler, also known as Tranquillity Dexler in-world, announced plans for marketing and expansion at the InWorldz Convention in Las Vegas today. The grid, now celebrating its third birthday, will begin doing advertising for the first time, Daeschler said. He did not specify a time frame. And new mentorsRead More →

I am going to build my dream woman. Or maybe a man. Someone who will greet me warmly when she sees me. She’ll take messages for me, tell me if there’s someone waiting for me in my office,  send me a teleport request, greet visitors by name, give landmarks toRead More →

Kitely, the cloud-based, on-demand OpenSim grid, announced today that in-world teleports and choice of viewers are now supported. Previously, the only way to move from one Kitely region to another was to shut down your viewer, and load the new region from the website. And the only viewer you couldRead More →

Hypergrid inventor and UC Irvine professor Crista Lopes — also known as  “Diva Canto” — has added a feature to OpenSim where you can invite someone to be your friend even if they’re not on your grid. In fact, they don’t even have to be logged on — they’ll get the inviteRead More →

We surveyed the biggest OpenSim hosting providers last week to find out how many private grids they were running for clients. Only three vendors responded — and some big, well-known vendors declined to provide data. However, between those three vendors, there were a total of 58 private grids, 13 forRead More →

For the longest time, I avoided the official Second Life viewers like the plague. There was always some update they wanted me to do when I had the least time to do it. There was no grid selection at startup, and, compared to Hippo, everything was in the wrong placeRead More →

New World Studio, which is currently the easiest way — by far — to install OpenSim on a home computer, will get an upgrade and some new features next month, said Olivier Battini, president of the Virtus Association, the non-profit behind both New World Studio and New World Grid. New World StudioRead More →

SpotON3D — the most controversial grid in the OpenSim metaverse, and the only commercial grid that doesn’t release any key statistics — has announced plans to change the company name to Worldworks. The announcement was detailed in full in a members-only newsletter on Thursday. The Worldworks brand will become theRead More →

The premise: There’s something addicting about putting together a virtual train set, getting the scenery just right, assembling the train itself. Even better is when you get to share it with people, or see how your set stacks up against others. This creates a business opportunity for a company —Read More →

When asked about the difference between Second Life and OpenSim I frequently explain that, for enterprise users, having a region in Second Life is a lot like having a page on Facebook — and using OpenSim is like having your own website. This was recently underscored for me by myRead More →

A major spring cleaning on OSGrid — followed by an outage a couple of weeks later — played havok with the grid’s total region counts over the past four weeks. About three weeks ago, the grid dropped from more than 11,000 regions to just around 6,000 regions as a resultRead More →

Say you and your friends want to set up a self-serve system to post announcements on each other’s grids or sims? Here’s how to do it without having to create any databases, by using Google Spreadsheets. First, you go to Google Docs and choose Create – Form. Here’s a sampleRead More →

I’ve been listening to Vanish Seriath’s interview with OpenSim core developer Justin Clark-Casey today and I was struck by Clark-Casey’s pessimism about the growth of the hypergrid. He was worried about scalability, security, and whether or not it even serves any purpose. He expressed surprise that people would want to useRead More →

Each time I go out traveling the hypergrid, I meet someone who tells me that this is the new frontier — that this is what Second Life used to be, back at the beginning. The wide open spaces. The sense of boundless posibility. The feeling that simply by being there,Read More →

US$20 (18 Euro) for a 17,200-prim region on Metropolis or OSgrid. No setup fee. First two weeks free.Read More →

Running OpenSim on your home computer in, in theory, a great way to have as much virtual land as you want — for free. In practice, it can take quite a bit of time and effort to set it up. I normally have my teenage daughter do it, but withRead More →

Island Oasis started out as a unique grid — a commercial world that allowed both region exports in the form of OAR files, and hypergrid access to the rest of the metaverse. (See related story: Why the fuss about Island Oasis?) Both of these features were pretty darn resident-friendly, and ourRead More →

I regularly hear that virtual worlds — and OpenSim and Second Life in particular — are too hard to use, or that the bandwidth and computer processing power isn’t there yet, or that the graphics aren’t good enough. But, as I pointed out before, all these things were true ofRead More →