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.

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 →

Kitely, the cloud-based, on-demand OpenSim grid, announced much-awaited alternate logins today. Instead of having to sign in with a Facebook account, customers can now choose to use their Twitter accounts instead, or just an email address. However, signing in with Twitter or Facebook offers more functionality, said Oren Hurvitz, Kitely’s co-founderRead More →

The U.S. military will be testing OpenSim’s scaling capabilities tomorrow, on the MOSES test grid. MOSES — Military Open Simulator Enterprise Strategy — is an OpenSim-based world run by the U.S. Army Simulation and Training Technology Center. The world is used by researchers both in and out of the defense industry. Tomorrow, aRead More →

Avination, one of the top commercial grids using the OpenSim software, announced today that it has enabled border crossings for vehicles with the latest release of its server software. The standard OpenSim physics engine lags behind that of Second Life when it comes to vehicles, and there are problems havingRead More →

A few weeks ago, I posted a script about how to add data to a Google spreadsheet from inside an OpenSim world (or from a Second Life region). But what if you want to go the other way, and bring data from a spreadsheet in-world? It’s not too hard. First,Read More →

It’s been years in the making. Literally. I’ve been slowly collecting scripts and destinations — with the help of a lot of other folks — and Hyperica is finally open for business. The hyperport, not the website. Here’s how it works. There are three regions. Hyperica Lower is at 4025,Read More →

OpenSim’s top 40 public grids gained 580 new regions over the past month, hitting a new record high of 23,231 regions. Meanwhile, the total number of active public grids is now 118, with 20 new grids added to our list this month — not counting private grids, Sim-on-a-Sticks, and gridsRead More →

Credit card thieves have figured out a way to steal money from OpenSim grid owners. They take the credit cards, and use them to purchase virtual currency from the grids. Then they turn around and redeem the currency for cash before the card holder notices the theft and complains. TheRead More →

Imprudence — the recommended viewer for OSGrid, Kitely, and many other OpenSim grids — will be phased out in favor of the next-generation Kokua viewer. But folks who’ve exported content using Imprudence don’t have to worry. Kokua will, eventually, support object and exports and imports in the same format asRead More →

Rivers Run Red was a pioneering 3D content development company in Second Life. No, make that THE pioneering content development company. The company brought major brands to Second Life — and was featured in a Businessweek cover story. Just last year, Rivers Run Red had about 30 regions in  SecondRead More →

If you like building — or need to build for your work or school — and you find Second Life cramped and expensive, OpenSim is a great option. But where do you start? There are over a hundred active public grids, dozens of hosting providers… for someone new to OpenSim,Read More →

After months of delays — months in which its users enjoyed free premium OpenSim hosting — Kitely begins charging today. The pricing plan is a bit different than what the company initially outlined, with tiered plans added as another option to the previously discussed by-the-minute billing. The new plans areRead More →

With some help from scripters, designers, and other hypergrid travelers, we’ve been bringing the Hyperica directory up-to-date. As part of the process, I travel to a lot of grid welcome regions — there are about forty grids that are on the hypergrid that are already in the directory, and we’reRead More →

Today, Hamlet Au wrote a column suggesting that the OpenSim user base is shrinking — and used Hypergrid Business numbers to support his position. The short answer to his question is: No, OpenSim usage is not falling, and the numbers do not support this. In fact, it is growing quiteRead More →

There’s been a lot written lately about how SOPA and PIPA would affect virtual worlds including Second Life. The legislation would allow copyright holders to shut down access to Internet domains where pirated content is published — or even where there are links to other sites that have pirated content.Read More →

New research released today dispels the myth that OpenSim is the sole product of work by people who expected no personal financial gain — academics, employees of large corporations, and volunteers working out of the goodness of their hearts. In fact, entrepreneurs played a very important part in the earlyRead More →

OpenSim’s top 40 public grids gained 1,056 new regions over the past month, hitting a new record high of 22,651 regions. Meanwhile, the total number of active public grids is now over 90, with 16 new grids added to our list this month. There are also an unknown number ofRead More →

Update 3: There an simpler version of this script here: Easier Google Spreadsheet Visitor Logger Update 2: Reader Zuza Ritt has found a solution to working with the new format. Read the full instructions here. Update: Google has updated their form system so that this method doesn’t work anymore. However, you canRead More →

My son wants to design space stations for a living. But he also wants to raise cows — he will inherit the family farm. My son wants to follow in the footsteps of both his grandfathers — the aerospace engineer and the dairy farmer. But the kinds of hands-on engineeringRead More →

Note: Updated with new contact email address. Ever since Vivox made its hosted voice service available for free to small and non-profit grids on December 23, OpenSim grids and individual region owners have quickly adopted the technology. Large commercial grids like Avination (which had Vivox first, several months ago) and KitelyRead More →

The number of people using the hypergrid-friendly OMC currently rose by a factor of five over the course of 2011, from just over 500 people at the start of the year, to 2,859 at the end. Meanwhile, the number of grids where the currency is available grew from 18 toRead More →

Last week, our readers told Hypergrid Business that what they most wanted to see in OpenSim was vehicle physics. Of course, vehicle physics. Everyone — or at least 52 percent of everyone — wants vehicle physics. All I hear about everywhere I go is vehicle physics. Vehicle physics. Vehicle physics.Read More →

A few days ago I saw a Tweet, that said something like, “I looked at OpenSim, but some guy said he would steal all my stuff. So, no thanks!” In fact, that attitude comes up a lot on discussion boards and in other forums. There’s a perception that OpenSim isRead More →

Update: Island Oasis grid co-founder Karl Dreyer tells me that he’s keeping an eye on new developments in OpenSim that allow grid owners to filter content before it’s saved into an OAR file — and customers may soon be able to export their Island Oasis regions.  “I surely will beRead More →

Last night, hanging out on OSGrid waiting for the ball to drop on New Year’s Eve, I resolved — among other things — to exercise more. But I’m the kind of person who thinks of herself less as a fitness freak and more as a … bookworm. Couch potato. DeskRead More →

New Voice — the company that brought us $5.95 regions on OSGrid and its own Nova grid — just dropped the starting price for regions even lower. To zero. That’s right. These are full regions. On the Nova grid, which runs the Aurora-Sim version of OpenSim, they can hold 80,000Read More →

I’m tired of naysayers complaining that Second Life — and, by extension, OpenSim — has no mass appeal. That it’s too hard to use. That regions take too long to load. That there’s never anybody there. Or if they’re there, they’re rude and annoying. That it’s all sex and gambling.Read More →

We’re running a survey today about OpenSim hosting providers, and I’m getting the sense that there’s a lot of confusion about OpenSim hosting when it comes to renting land on a grid, versus buying hosting from a third-party vendor. Part of it is understandable — there are a lot ofRead More →

There are a lot of stargates floating around OpenSim. Most are copies of one of the gates that show up in the StarGate movies or television shows. Others are unrecognizable as gates — they’re disguised as teleport boards, spinning globes, and weird shapes. After all, a hypergate is just a script — it canRead More →

Vehicle physics topped the list of missing features in our survey of OpenSim hosting providers this week. Because of the holiday — and the short notice — only 70 people responded to the survey, compared to last year’s 114. Of those, 52 percent said that vehicle physics was among theRead More →

Open Wonderland — an open source, Java-based alternative to OpenSim — is now available on a tablet. According to WonderSchool, a subsidiary of Germany’s THINSIA, clients can now access the platform on an iPad by having their user session streamed to the device. The streaming is not cheap, however. WonderTablet,Read More →

Now that Vivox voice is available for free to small grids and to non-profit grids, there’s going to be less pressure on the OpenSim developers to finish integrating Whisper voice. And that’s a shame, since only two major issues need work. One is that Whisper isn’t currently integrated into existingRead More →

Note: Vivox now has an online form that OpenSim grid owners and hosting providers can use to request access credentials. Merry Christmas, grid owners — Vivox is now available, for free, to any grid owner. You get the same voice as in Second Life — with lip synching and directionality and speech indications.Read More →

First of all, an apology. In May, we wrote that Redwood City, California-based virtual worlds company Teleplace, Inc. open sourced its platform in order to grow its market — and that the company would continue to offer paid hosting and support, and continue working on new features. At least, thatRead More →

Kitely became the second commercial OpenSim grid to roll out Vivox voice today. Boston-based Vivox Inc. is currently the gold standard of in-world voice, used in Second Life, EVE Online, EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, DC Universe Online and in many other massively online multiplayer games. The company reported 60 millionRead More →

Second Life had the potential to be the 3D AOL, to usher in a new age of immersive 3D environments. It failed not because it was too complicated or difficult to use or tried to do too much at once. After all, AOL also was a one-stop-shop: shopping, forums, email,Read More →

The top 40 OpenSim grids gained 915 new regions since this time last month, bringing the total number of regions on these grids to 21,595, a new record high. OSGrid was the single biggest gainer. The non-profit grid, which allows users to connect regions running on home computers at noRead More →

Two new social worlds announced launches today — SmallWorlds, which is live, and Interactive City, which still seems to be the process of getting off the ground. SmallWorlds is a cartoonish, Flash-based, 2.5D, Lively-style virtual world more closely akin to Farmville than of Second Life. Built by New Zealand’s Outsmart,Read More →

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering productsRead More →

I belong to a business group in my area that recently expressed interest in setting up a virtual space for its members. The idea is that they could have meetings there, and individual members could get office space to use for their own projects and collaboration. I was pleasantly surprisedRead More →

The results of the 2011 Hypergrid Business grid survey are in, with mid-sized grids serving language communities dominating the rankings. A record 459 people submitted responses this year, with a total of 63 different grids visited — up from 194 respondents and 35 grids last year. The most surprising resultRead More →

Cloud-based OpenSim vendor Kitely Ltd. rolled out two features today aimed at improving the social aspects of the grid — a list of publicly-accessible regions, and a maturity ranking system. “While many people use their virtual worlds for private activities, almost a third of all the Kitely worlds people haveRead More →

ReactionGrid was the early favorite in the race to provide a stable and safe OpenSim environment for educators and corporations. Over the last couple of years, however, the company has been falling behind the rest of the OpenSim universe, sticking with an old version of OpenSim as newer versions cameRead More →

Three years ago today, on Oct. 26, 2008, Crista Lopes fired off the email that marked the birth of the hypergrid. Lopes, an OpenSim core developer, is also a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, and came up with a peer-to-peer system that allowed people to teleport fromRead More →

The Island Oasis social grid has rolled out a custom fishing game, a vampire role playing game, an urban combat system and a speedway, and turned on hypergrid connectivity last week as part of a grid-wide revamp. That’s a lot of activity for a small grid — Island Oasis isRead More →

Today’s OpenSim grids all have a static idea of a world map. So does Second Life. There’s nothing wrong with that — I love having a virtual environment that I can navigate, that makes geometric sense. Room-based environments, where any room can connect to any other room, and all theRead More →

OpenSim developers are discussing ways to combat damaging patent litigation, including changing the OpenSim license to deter potential patent trolls. The Overte Foundation, which holds the OpenSim licenses, recently released a contributors’ license agreement for its developers. One possible anti-troll protection measure would be to change the agreement so thatRead More →

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering productsRead More →

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering productsRead More →

Back when I incorporated my first company a few years ago, I tried to learn as much as I could about the entrepreneurial process and mind set. I joined entrepreneurial organizations and attended events and seminars. One tool that stuck with me after all this time — and which IRead More →

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering productsRead More →

Freebies are plentiful throughout OpenSim grids, where uploads are free and land is cheap — anyone can put up a freebie store. But most freebie stores can’t guarantee the provenance of their content. Grid owners and content creators fight to remove infringing content, but that’s no comfort to a businessRead More →

On-demand hosting provider Kitely Ltd. has eliminated a major OpenSim scalability obstacle by moving its asset database to the Amazon storage cloud. “This is the most significant change we’ve made to our system since our beta started,” Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business. Because of the upgrade, Kitely wasRead More →

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering productsRead More →

Several major OpenSim features, including mesh, which were previously available only in experimental releases of OpenSim are now part of the standard OpenSim release, numbered 0.7.2. “Despite having a minor point release number, it actually contains a very large number of features and fixes,” said OpenSim core developer Justin Clark-Casey inRead More →

According to statistics released Friday by InWorldz co-founder Beth Reischl, in-world residents have been cashing out, on average, more than $15,000 a month over the past year. “Overall, I’m really pleased with the numbers, and while this is supposed to be fun, and hence our lower prices, it’s nice to seeRead More →

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering productsRead More →

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering productsRead More →

Second Life has recently rolled out support for mesh objects. One key benefit is realistic clothing and accessories. However, Second Life’s implementation of mesh does not automatically adjust to the size of avatar bodies — and OpenSim, which is still heavily dependent on Second Life-compatible viewers — is limited inRead More →

There’s a new immersive platform in town. HostaVirtualEvent.com is focused on business users — like Venuegen and Web.alive. But it’s based on Unity, like ReactionGrid’s Jibe and Second Places’ Unifier. The advantage of Unity is that millions of people already have the Unity plugin, there’s no need to open portsRead More →

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering products andRead More →

We are going to have a metaverse of interconnected virtual worlds. Whether it evolves out from the current OpenSim and the hypergrid, or from the new crop of Web-based virtual platforms, or some combination, but we’re going to get there. Folks who got their hopes up with the VRML standards,Read More →

Back before I became a business journalist, I was a war correspondent. And I accumulated a few psychological scars as a result. In the past, I deal with some of my ghosts by lighting candles in church — I’m baptized Russian Orthodox — but multiple relocations and other changes inRead More →