A new U.K.-based grid, Tescos, is marketing itself as a gambling destination, with an added bonus of low-cost regions. It’s not the first grid to have gambling in-world — Avination has a number of sims dedicated to gambling — but it is the first to promote itself in this way.Read More →

The developers behind the realXtend branch of the OpenSimulator virtual world platform announced the formation of the realXtend Association today. “The purpose of the association is to be a place for realXtend users and developers to give feedback and steer together the platform development,” said association chairman Jani Pirkola. “TheRead More →

With the recent growth of OpenSim grids, both public and private, and growing demand for both low-end starter items and high-end content, content creators have recently launched several Websites to distribute both free and commercial products for OpenSim. Total Avatar Shop Total Avatar Shop is a commercial destination for OpenSimRead More →

The top 40 public OpenSim grids gained more than a 1,000 new regions since this time last month, propelled partly by low-cost cloud-based regions from a new hosting provider, Kitely. There are now a total of 14,566 regions on these grids alone, an increase of 8 percent since this timeRead More →

Press Release: Digitell Releases New Hybrid Meeting Tool Kit Jamestown, NY — Virtual conference vendor Digitell has just released a free hybrid meeting tool kit to assist those organizations in deciding whether to turn their live event into a hybrid event or not and capitalize on the growing success of thisRead More →

Update: There are now two marketplaces, Cariama and HGExchange, that deliver items to multiple OpenSim grids. Read more here: Where to get content for OpenSim. As a business owner — and someone who is very concerned about inadvertently violating copyright, having recently done so to my great chagrin — I’ve beenRead More →

Today, we are seeing an explosion in virtual world platforms. We’ve got various — and incompatible — open source projects, including OpenSim, Open Wonderland, Open Cobalt, Sirikata, and Vastpark. We’ve got stand-alone proprietary software that runs behind corporate firewalls, and requires dedicated viewer software, including ProtoSphere, Teleplace, and SAIC’s Olive.Read More →

Kitely may be turning the OpenSim hosting model upside down with its metered pricing, but other OpenSim hosting providers have already embraced the cloud. “We already utilise cloud based resources to allow for dynamic commission and decommission of region servers, both in our private cloud and [Amazon] EC2,” PioneerX ownerRead More →

Update: AvWorlds abandons high-price strategy At a time when most OpenSim hosting providers are attempting to attract users with low prices, or, at least, moderate prices, one  OpenSim grid — AvWorlds — plans to buck the trend by pricing its regions at $145 per month. “I am looking to give ourRead More →

With Kitely‘s bill-per-minute, cloud-based OpenSim hosting service now available, non-technically inclined folks now have a real choice in what kind of hosting they’d like to have. Here is a breakdown of common use cases of virtual environments, and whether Kitely makes sense, or whether you should go with Second LifeRead More →

San Francisco-based Tipodean Technologies launched a public beta today of its BuiltBuy.me Web-based viewer for OpenSim and Second Life. The viewer, formerly known as Canvas, is free, and can be embedded inside a Website, YouTube-style. The latest update includes several improvements over the private beta release in December, including speedRead More →

A lot of debate about open source code versus proprietary code these days centers on the personalities of the folks involved, or on the politics behind the idea of open source. But, from a business perspective, the availability of open source alternatives is a net positive for enterprise — andRead More →

Back when I was fresh out of college, in my first reporting gig, I learned that context matters a lot in getting folks to talk to you. At the start, a typical conversation would go like this: “Hi, this is Maria Korolov from the Chicago Tribune…” “No, thank you, weRead More →

CliniSpace took first place yesterday in the AI-assisted training category of the Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge with its virtual medical training simulation. Los Altos Hills, CA-based Innovation in Learning, Inc. launched CliniSpace in September of 2010, based on the Unity 3D platform. (We’ve written about the company before, see full story here.)Read More →

Avination grid owner Melanie Thiekler rolled out Vivox voice to her grid today — at no extra cost to residents or land renters. Residents immediately began trying it out, and it sounded great. Those who had good microphones came through crystal-clear, without any of the cutting in and out andRead More →

InWorldz has taken a further step way from mainline OpenSim Tuesday with the announcement of a proprietary scripting engine, called Phlox, which is expected to enter beta testing this week. The new scripting engine promises to support 99 percent of existing Second Life scripts, with increased speed and stability. ScriptsRead More →

Yesterday, I posted a story (yes, a little on the long side) about a new services from PioneerX Estates where they manage your whole grid for you. Everything — estates, land rentals, voice — all the tech stuff for a ridiculously low price of $41 a month. (No, they areRead More →

Back when 3rd Rock Grid first launched in the spring of 2008, it was one of the earliest OpenSim grids and the owners had to figure out everything on their own. The grid’s managers had to learn how to install the software and maintain it, manage upgrades, backups, modules, land,Read More →

Resellers of open source software survive by making life easier for their customers. For example, Website hosting providers handle the setup, backups, updates, load balancing and server management for you. Yes, you could run Apache for free on your own servers — but would you really want to? Those thatRead More →

The world’s top 40 public OpenSim grids gained 424 regions and 12,746 registered users since the middle of February, a slightly slower than usual growth rate. However, we’re continuing to see growth in private and mini-grids. For example, 466 new copies of the Diva Distro were downloaded last month.This doesRead More →

OpenSim’s largest commercial grid, Avination, announced a major new milestone today — it will be offering in-world Vivox voice at no charge to its residents and region renters, as well as to customers who host private grids with the company. Vivox is currently the gold standard of in-world voice, usedRead More →

Employees willing to interact with a variety of avatars — except for those that are “creepy” Employees prefer to use more formal avatars to represent themselves According to a new study from Microsoft and the University of Washington, employees are generally open to using avatars for email and instant messaging,Read More →

When aspiring freelance writers ask me for advice about how to get started, here’s what I always start out with: Don’t do anything that other people are willing to do for free. So if you love writing about politics, or the foibles of your pet cat, or how lousy SaturdayRead More →

Leading virtual architect Jon Brouchoud has created Virtual Architecture 101, a 3D exhibit on Architecture Island in Second Life — and there are some nice lessons there for anyone looking to build a virtual environment for their school or company. While the exhibit is plagued by the text-on-board syndrome commonRead More →

After ReactionGrid announced plans to patent a process for deploying and managing OpenSim earlier this month, the open source community responded with dismay. In comments on the initial announcement, and in ReactionGrid’s follow-up clarification, and in the OpenSim discussion list, open source advocates worried that patenting processes might hurt the developmentRead More →

The non-profit NewWorldGrid will stop allowing self-hosted regions to connect as soon as the grid completes its upgrade to the latest version of OpenSim. “We are currently starting tests on the current OpenSim development releases,” grid manager Olivier Battini told Hypergrid Business. There is no firm date yet for theRead More →

Austria-based VirWoX began trading Avination’s C$ virtual currency today. VirWoX is best known as a leading exchange for Lindens in Europe, and for its hypergrid-enabled OMC currency. “Given the strong growth of Avination and its clear focus on becoming a commercial grid, this looks like an interesting market to beRead More →

The non-profit, research-focused ScienceSim grid is now accessible via hypergrid teleports again, after more than a year of no hypergrid connectivity. ScienceSim turned off the hypergrid last January, due to security concerns. But new upgrades in the hypergrid technology — in particular, the ability to keep content from being takenRead More →

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been surveying the owners of all the public OpenSim grids about what their grids are all about. We asked about hypergrid, currencies, maturity levels — and intellectual property policies. What we found suprised us. A number of OpenSim grids now have very detailedRead More →

The number of regions of the 40 largest OpenSim grids went down this month for the first time since July, from 15,623 to 13,069, a loss of over 2,300 regions, a result of a long-overdue housekeeping on OSGrid. But the big story was from Avination, which rocked to second place thisRead More →

Changchun is a city in northeast China known for its auto plants. “We’re the Detroit of China,” said David Deeds, IT manager and teacher at the Changchun American International School. “Except that they’re still making cars here.” The school, which was founded four years ago, is affiliated with an autoRead More →

There are hundreds of OpenSim grids, most of them running quietly on private servers, behind corporate, school and university firewalls. The following two tables cover just the publicly accessible grids. Some of the grids are run by individuals or school groups and may not be up and running at allRead More →

OpenSim grid developers Powersynch, LLC — the folks behind the SpotOn3D group of grids — launched a certified developer program today. The program is “somewhat comparable” to the Second Life solution providers program, Philippe Pascal, the company’s developer program manager, told Hypergrid Business. “We plan to offer a certification processRead More →

Many grids today have hypergrid turned off, for fear that content will be taken from their grid to a less secure grid, copied, and distributed illegally. OpenSim developers are working to create a hypergrid-wide permission system for content that will help abate this fear, and open more of the OpenSimRead More →

This year’s Virtual Edge Summit, held January 12 and 13 in Las Vegas and simulcast on eight different virtual conference platforms failed to take advantage of the social networking, immersive, and showroom capabilities of these vendors. Virtual attendance was up this year, with around 900 people attending virtually, up fromRead More →

The top 40 OpenSim grids gained 529 regions since mid-December, to reach a new high of 15,623 regions on January 15 of this month. The monthly growth rate, 3.5 percent, was the second-lowest since we started gathering the statistics in the summer of 2009, a possible indication of a seasonalRead More →

Companies looking to hold virtual conferences first have to decide whether to hold a Web-based conference – normally some combination of streaming video, live chats, slide shows, and social media – or one in an immersive environment. The immersive conference allows avatars to walk around inside a three-dimensional virtual environment,Read More →

The script below works by pulling in data from the following page: http://www.hyperica.com/lookup/ Simply replace the URL at the top of the script with the codes for which region you want to go to. For example, you can use it to automatically look up the newest Retail destination, or theRead More →

The following is a script you can place on any object to turn it into a hypergrid teleportation portal. If you put it on something that looks like a giant blue swirly circle, everyone will know that it’s a hypergate. But you can also use it to create teleport buttonsRead More →

This year was a big one for OpenSim. Lots of growth, lots of technological breakthroughs. But some Hypergrid Business articles got more attention than others — and, thanks to the miracle of Google Analytics, we know exactly which ones. Here are the top 10 most-read articles of 2010. 10. OpenSimRead More →

In January of 2010, I made a few predictions about what I thought was going to happen with OpenSim this year. I was way off on most of them. The OpenSim developers will continue to call it “alpha software” This one, I got right. They’re still calling it “alpha software.Read More →

Grid owners with proprietary viewers can now add high-quality voice to their worlds Not yet included in Hippo, Imprudence — users must download add-on This week, vComm Solutions of Switzerland released the source code for Whisper, a high-quality voice option for OpenSim. Whisper supports directional voice and lip synching, andRead More →

OpenSim grids hit yet another new peak this month, with 15,094 regions on the top 40 grids, an 11  percent increase from last month’s 13,564 regions — a gain of 1,530 new regions. Meanwhile, total registered users on these grids grew 5 percent from 140,053 in mid November to 147,565Read More →

SpotOn3D will hold a benchmark test on Wednesday, December 15 to determine the difference in performance of OpenSim version 0.7.1 and OpenSim 0.6.9 when they run in the cloud. According to SpotOn3D co-founder and COO Tessa Kinney-Johnson, the test will be conducted from 2 to 3 p.m. SLT (Pacific time)Read More →

Here at Hypergrid Business we spend a lot of time touring virtual environments, and we often find them difficult to navigate, inconsistent, and hard to use. But one of the world’s biggest corporate users of virtual worlds — IBM — is hoping to change that. With a new set ofRead More →

San Francisco-based Tipodean Technologies will open its Canvas Web-based viewer next week to a select group of beta testers, but Hypergrid Business got a sneak peek this week. A test version of the viewer will go live on Monday. “We will see how big of a load it is,” saidRead More →

ReactionGrid released a groups module for OpenSim this week and announced plans to upgrade to the next version of OpenSim “early next year.” According to its announcement, ReactionGrid’s group module will be rolled out to all region on ReactionGrid over the next two weeks. ReactionGrid doesn’t just run its oneRead More →

California-based Katalabs has just released a free iPad and iPhone-friendly Web-based virtual world viewer, KataSpace, which works in conjunction with the open source Sirikata virtual world server software. KataSpace is built on the WebGL and HTML 5 Web standards, which means it will run in browsers without a plugin, andRead More →

It’s easy to get frustrated with the pace of technological change. My wish list of OpenSim features gets longer with every day that I use the platform — but I’ll save it for my Christamas wish list post. Today, I want to express how thankful I am for what hasRead More →

The OpenSim economy continued to grow this month, with both the OMC currency and the I’z currency from InWorldz growing in users and transactions. The OMC, a convertible currency from Austrian virtual currency exchange operator Virwox, is now accepted on 18 different grids — AnSky Grid, Avatar Hangout, FrancoGrid, GermanGrid,Read More →

OpenSim grid hit a new peak this month, with 13,564 regions on the top 40 grids, a 9 percent increase from last month’s 12,425 regions — a gain of 1,139 regions. Meanwhile, total registered users on these grids grew 8 percent from 129,797 in mid October to 140,053 today. OSGridRead More →

The Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable, a group of educators working in Second Life, is expanding to a new grid on the OpenSim platform. The group — originally called the Second Life Education Roundtable — began looking for expansion locations earlier this fall after Second Life announced the shut down ofRead More →

Ever since Crista Lopes, professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine invented the hypergrid in 2009, people have been debating whether grids should be on or off the hypergrid. On the one hand, the hypergrid is very cool. You can teleport from one grid to another, hopping aroundRead More →

The majority of OpenSim grid residents said that their grids were “excellent” overall, with community and support getting the highest marks across the grids. Technology and content of the grids scored slightly lower, however, with the majority of users rating these two factors “pretty good” or “just okay.” In addition,Read More →

OpenSim users overwhelmingly said that they would “absolutely” recommend the platform to others. Out of 114 people who responded to our survey this week and answered this question, 84 percent said they would “absolutely recommend” it, with only 1 percent saying they would “absolutely not recommend” the platform. Of theRead More →

Here at Hypergrid Business, we’re in the process of launching a virtual events directory (now that the vendor directory is up and working). And the question comes up — what times do we list events under? The Second Life events directory shows everything as SLT time — which is theRead More →

A new book by Coventry University professor Maggi Savin-Baden offers practical advice to educators interested in virtual worlds. According to Coventry University, professor Savin-Baden is one of the UK’s leading academics on the subject and has used virtual technology extensively as a teaching resource. Some recent developments in Second Life,Read More →

Now that we’ve got our new vendor directory ready to launch (see the test page here and give us your opinions!) we’re taking a second look at what exactly customers are looking for when they’re deciding on an OpenSim hosting platform or design vendor. With the recent changes at LindenRead More →

One of the joys of social games like FarmVille is getting to visit your friends. In a virtual world like Second Life, this is also a major attraction — your friends’ regions on the map, you can walk or teleport over. Second Life, however, can’t scale. If millions people suddenlyRead More →

OpenSim’s ScienceSim grid is expanding its land grant program, with an offer of super-powered regions of up to a million primitive objects and 1,000 simultaneous avatars per region. ScienSim and Intel have long been pushing the boundaries of what is possible with OpenSim, with experimental regions holding more than 200,000Read More →

I occasionally hear frustration from OpenSim vendors and their early-adopter customers that mainstream users aren’t getting OpenSim, that they aren’t aware of the benefits OpenSim offers compared, to, say, Second Life or other virtual world platforms — or compared to Web-based conferencing or face-to-face meetings. Many formed their opinion ofRead More →

Like the World Wide Web that preceded it, the new 3D Web has its own vocabulary. We try to make it easier to keep up. [anchor id=”avatar”]avatar A representation of a user, usually as a three dimensional cartoon character. Avatars can be realistic, based on actual photos of the user,Read More →

The  OnLand business park opened today in the Blue Mars virtual world as a place for traditional companies to market their goods in high-fidelity three dimensional form to their clients. The OnLand park is targeting business-to-business sales in which 3D models are important, such as manufacturing. This is a departureRead More →

Blue Mars is currently testing a cloud-based streaming service, which will soon allow users to log into the high-end, graphics-rich immersive world via a simple browser interface. “We’re running it now, with cloud servers in LA,” said Jim Sink, CEO of Avatar Reality, the parent company of Blue Mars. TheRead More →

Both the G$ and OMC multi-grid currencies reported strong growth over the last two months. Since we last took a look at their numbers in mid-August, the OMC currency — backed by Austrian Linden exchange operator Virwox — has grown from 14 to 20 grids, and now reports 382,537 OMCRead More →

Teesside University is piloting a quarter million pound (US $400,000) citizenship education project in OpenSim this year. The project, which will eventually involve as many as 900 high students in the UK, will be officially launched in January. The entire project is scheduled to run for 18 months and isRead More →

The Immersive Education Initiative, a Boston-based non-profit coalition, announced today that it will offer free land, and free migration services, for educators working in Second Life’s Teen Grid. The Initiative currently provides thousands of OpenSim regions to members around the world through its Education Grid project,  Aaron Walsh, founding directorRead More →

According to our first reader survey, the majority of the readers of Hypergrid Business are interested in open source virtual platforms like OpenSim and social virtual worlds like Second Life. Less than a quarter were interested in Web-based virtual worls like Venuegen, enterprise virtual worlds like ProtoSphere, and 2D virtualRead More →

Just a day after Second Life launched its mesh beta, OpenSim already has experimental mesh in the latest test release, and people have begun trying the technology out on OSGrid’s experimental Danger Grid. According to OpenSim core developer Justin Clark-Casey, the OpenSim implementation of mesh leverages the work done byRead More →

Press Release: Real-time Machinima animation pioneers announce launch of Pixel Valley Studio Frank Dellario and Tom Donnelly, previously from The ILL Clan, found new full services animation company Acclaimed Real-time animation producers Frank Dellario and Tom Donnelly formally announced the launch of Pixel Valley Studio, a new company offering anRead More →

There are a lot of different kinds of OpenSim grids out there — it can get a little confusing. Well, a lot confusing. Here’s a quick primer. Social grids Social grids attempt to replicate the experience of Second Life. They don’t make up the majority of grids running on theRead More →

Since Linden Lab announced that educators and non-profits would see a doubling of their land prices in January, there has been a surge of interest in OpenSim — and a flood of special offers from service providers. Some vendors have offered migration services to help non-profits get their content fromRead More →

NASA’s OpenSim-based Moon World — a quarter-million-dollar project —  will go live on December 1, allowing students to experience what it’s like to live and work on a NASA moon base. “It helps students understand the geography of the moon,” said Charles Wood, executive director for the Center for EducationalRead More →

I was a guest on Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe on Sunday, October 10 and had a great time talking about hypergrid and OpenSim. Other guests that night included singer-songwriter Senjata Witt, who performed live,  and Dusan Writer, CEO of Remedy Communications and prolific blogger about Second Life.