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 →

Viewer developers are no longer restricted from working on OpenSim server code, OpenSim core developer and Overte Foundation president Justin Clark-Casey announced Friday. Previously, viewer developers had to wait six months after working on viewer code before they could work on OpenSim. The Overte Foundation — which oversees OpenSim developmentRead More →

As the number of Unity-based virtual platforms proliferates, and a decent viewer for OpenSim and Second Life still remains a pipe dream, we’re getting close to the point where the center of gravity will shift over. And the future of the metaverse — or, at least, the first few yearsRead More →

The OpenSim hosting industry is still young, and, though it is developing quickly, still lacking in experience and maturity. But it doesn’t mean that customers have to settle for substandard service. I’ve tried out several vendors in the past, and will continue to do so for both public and privateRead More →

I am a big fan of the hypergrid. I love logging into my personal grid. Then teleporting to my company grid, or visit friends on OSGrid, or go shopping on GermanGrid. But I don’t have any illusion that the hypergrid will replace the Internet. Instead, I believe that the hypergridRead More →

All existing OpenSim viewers are based on the GPL-licensed open source version of the Second Life viewer. All derivative viewers also have to be open source — which makes it hard to build a business here. So it makes sense that we don’t have companies coming in and investing aRead More →

A traditional lecture hall in the vAcademia environment.

Russia’s Virtual Spaces LLC has released a new education-focused virtual world platform, vAcademia, that allows for both traditional 2D and 3D recordings. The platform, which is now in beta, is being used by Mari State Technical University in Yoshkar-Ola, a city in western Russia.  Although primarily used by Russian institutionsRead More →

The top 40 OpenSim grids now have a total of 19,381 regions, a new high — up by 883 regions from a month ago. Meanwhile, total registered users grew to a new record high of 212,452. These numbers do not include smaller public grids, or the unknown numbers of privateRead More →

Will free land destroy grids? There will probably a winnowing out of grids that continue to charge for residential land without offering enough additional perceived value. But the end result will, I believe, a net benefit for OpenSim. More money for content creators Retail consumers have only so much moneyRead More →

A few days ago, I heard a brief talk by marketing expert Steve Harrison in which he talked about how to get attention for your message. It turns out he was speaking about how to get the attention of journalists and news producers, so, being a journalist, I was curiousRead More →

As John Rogate pointed out today, the 4096 bug — which limits hypergrid teleports to no more than 4,096 regions in any direction — is a significant impediment to hypergrid travel and to the growth of the metaverse as a whole. But, as several people commented, there is another impedimentRead More →

New Voice’s Nova OpenSim hosting company has dropped region prices to a new low today — just $5.95 for a region with up to 80,000 prims. The catch? The region is designed for low-traffic residential builds, and can support only five to ten avatars at once. And the 80,000 primsRead More →

OpenSim development — like that of any open source project — is very much focused on what developers want to do. They are, after all, volunteers, they don’t take orders. That leaves business users in a quandary — especially those without the technical skills or budgets to do their ownRead More →

Unity 3D is currently the hot platform for virtual world development and it’s going to get hotter, experts say, now that Unity has announced that their environments will soon be exportable to Flash. The announcement will “100 percent accelerate” the move to Unity, Tipodean CEO Chris Collins told Hypergrid Business. Collins wasRead More →

AVWorlds is a brand new grid — at just 26 regions, it doesn’t even make our monthly Top 40 list — but it has big ambitions. The grid launched with the highest priced land in OpenSim, but then abandoned that strategy and is now actually offering more free residential plotsRead More →

3DLES offers project management, educational support, building and scripting for educational projects in OpenSim.Read More →

I’m regularly asked why I give more coverage to one company or another, or why I’m biased against particular grids or platforms. And, it’s true. I do have a bias. You see, in my day job — I’m not actually running Hypergrid Business for the money — in my dayRead More →

Use this script to put a Google graphic on any prim. Clicking on the drawing in-world will automatically refresh it. You can use it to create a white board for an in-world presentation. You can allow several people to edit at once by sharing the Google Doc with them. OfRead More →

Linda Kellie, whose free content has made her website a go-to destination for folks making their move to OpenSim and needing content, has released her first OAR file (free download here). This complete region includes a small freebie store with starting avatars, animations, and a large collection of textures. ThereRead More →

Any grid owner that makes a living by renting out premium residential regions should start planning ahead — for a future in which the effective of residential regions drops down to zero. Free is already here Of course, there is nothing new about free regions. OSGrid and other open gridsRead More →

Kitely users will no longer be able to copy and export content that they don’t have copy or transfer permissions for, the company announced today. Previously, users could make full duplicates of entire regions, or save full regions as OAR files, with a simple click of a button. Now, KitelyRead More →

Second Life builders and designers coming over to OpenSim might think that it’s the same thing, except for the lack of support for some high-end vehicle physics scripting commands — and bigger prims. In fact, OpenSim actually offers some unique benefits that designers should be ready to take advantage of.Read More →

Two OpenSim grids have been attacked — OpenNeuland and Wilder Westen — and the attackers may be going after others, said Kai Ludwig, director of Germany’s TalentRaspel virtual worlds Ltd. and owner of the two grids. The attack hit Open Neuland yesterday and Wilder Westen today, he told Hypergrid Business. “It’s probably bot-based,Read More →

Role Play Worlds, a 43-region grid dedicated to fantasy-themed role playing, will close next month, the grid announced today. Residents will have until September 23 to make backups, export builds, and cancel orders and subscriptions. “We dont have the time and energy to keep working on RPW as before, that’sRead More →

Press Release: Finalists Named in International Serious Play Award Competition SEATTLE – A panel of experts have selected 20 games as finalists in the 2011 International Serious Play Awards, a recognition program honoring outstanding examples of corporate, military, health care and school/at home learning titles. The games will be featuredRead More →

Offers furniture, plants, sculpted stairs, wristwatches and a selection of other miscellaneous objects, including scripted vehicles.Read More →

KatiJack Studio is a virtual design firm specializing in landscaping and building which offers region terrains on its website.Read More →

A nice starting collection of free skins, hair and textures for OpenSim and Second Life users, all original creations.Read More →

Free, large, Creative Commons-licensed content collection, which includes avatars, clothing, furniture, buildings, scripts, plants, terrains, textures, and hair and other attachments.Read More →

Jeff Lowe is the maker of the BrainBoard, a collaborative note-taking tool for brainstorming and planning.Read More →

Jon Brouchoud designs virtual environments, 3D experiences and serious game applications in Unity3D, Second Life and OpenSim.Read More →