Imagine a place full of literate adults, 100 percent broadband penetration – and people willing to work for pennies an hour. There’s no minimum wage, no unemployment insurance, and no labor laws. Sounds better than China, doesn’t it? The place is Second Life — and other social virtual worlds alsoRead More →

Press Release: Virtual Reality Collides with Real-world Law in Forthcoming Book by Rutgers–Camden Law Professor CAMDEN —  In the new James Cameron movie “Avatar,” characters “inhabit” other bodies to fight oppression.  Sounds like science fiction, but thousands engage in similar activity every day through online communities and gaming.  And theRead More →

I love Google Analytics and use it to track visitors to my Websites — and where they come from and how they leave. It would be great to have this same information for my grid. This could be a gadget that I place on each region I need crawled, possiblyRead More →

The largest social OpenSim-based grids have gained over 1,000 regions since our last count in early September, bringing the total regions on these grids to over 6,500. These are grids that allow anyone to register for free. In addition, social interaction is a significant aspect of the grid’s activity.  InRead More →

This article is now out of date. Lots of new material is now available! Read more here: Where to get content in OpenSim. One of the great advantages of using OpenSim as a virtual world platform is the availability of free or low-cost ready-made worlds. OpenSim allows world owners toRead More →

Jeff Lowe, consultant and immersive tool architect with Immersive Life, demonstrated the second version of his BrainBoard three dimensional collaboration tool today on ReactionGrid. The tool allows users to create visual representations of flowcharts, diagrams, and brainstorming sessions and integrate it with a Web-based hosted database or a private server-basedRead More →

The U.S. virtual goods market doubled in size from 2008, to  reach $1 billion this year, according to a new report from Inside Network. “While virtual goods have been driving revenues in Asia and Europe for years, 2009 will be remembered as the year virtual goods-based businesses began to scaleRead More →

Press Release: Duke Center to Participate in White House Science-Education Effort DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University is playing a major role in the new White House campaign to encourage students — especially in middle and high school — to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The third-annual Digital MediaRead More →

[Update: You can browse all hypergrid-enabled public OpenSim grids with Hyperica, the directory of hypergrid destinations. Directory indexes more than 100 shopping and freebie store locations. Updated hypergrid travel directions here.] Folks looking to enjoy the interoperability of OpenSim-based virtual worlds by hypergrid teleporting between different grids have been repeatedlyRead More →

Press Release: President Obama Launches “Educate to Innovate” Campaign for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (Stem) Education Nationwide effort includes over $260 million in public-private investments to move American students to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade President Obama todayRead More →

One of the joys of exploring virtual worlds grids is finding new fantastic new regions and builds. Then comes the pain of virtual worlds — you bring your friends back to visit, and the builds are no longer there. Maybe it cost too much to keep the region up andRead More →

Over 300 grids run on the OpenSim open source virtual world platform today, a dramatic increase over the last few weeks, mostly due to the release of Crista Lopes’ Diva Distribution of OpenSim, and to the efforts of a growing number of OpenSim vendors. However, this number does not includeRead More →

OpenSim worlds will soon be able to have 1,000 avatar visitors to a single location, according to ReactionGrid CEO Kyle Gomboy. Gomboy, who was speaking Thursday in front of a live Second Life audience on the Train for Success program hosted by the Gronsted Group , said that Intel hasRead More →

Getting free OpenSim land is a great way to test out the OpenSim platform, or to have a home base for exploring the social aspects of OpenSim-based virtual worlds. Free land can also be used as a location on which to design objects for distribution or sale elsewhere. Freeland typicallyRead More →

Intel CTO Justin Rattner introduced OpenSim superstars Shenlei Winkler and Crista Lopes to the world yesterday at the at the SC09 supercomputing conference in Portland, Ore. According to Rattner, super computers can make three dimensional worlds richer and more immersive, creating a potential new driver for supercomputing sales in theRead More →

As the number of virtual worlds proliferates, Second Life is beset on all sides — niche worlds, big social worlds, high-end worlds, inexpensive worlds, browser-based worlds, kid worlds, business worlds and many more. Today, Second Life has the clear first-mover advantage when it comes to mixed-use social worlds, but consumerRead More →

Amsterdam-based architecture firm Dedato has moved into its new headquarters — a building originally prototyped in Second Life. Rakeem Buaku, who coordinated the virtual construction, called the project a success, and told The Arch Network that he would definitely consider using virtual worlds again for future projects. The architecture firmRead More →

As my staff and I begin building out our third — third! — company grid it’s becoming apparent how much manual labor is required in creating office space and landscapes. The first time we set up offices, it was fun. Playing with landscaping, designing buildings, arranging furniture in offices —Read More →

Normally, creating an OpenSim grid requires not just downloading and running the grid software but also setting up a MySQL database, configuring firewall ports, editing an initialization file, and editing region files. And upgrading the OpenSim software is a hassle almost as major as installing it in the first place.Read More →

Press Release: Study of 2,000 women regarding social media gaming and “app’ing”: loyal, thirsty for virtual currency and engaged with brands Social Media Behavior Points to Brands As Welcomed, Appreciated Partner A new study from Q Interactive and Social Media World Forum of more than 2,000 women finds them activelyRead More →

Press Release: NEOVIA Financial Selected by VirWoX for Second Life Currency Exchange NEOVIA Financial, the independent global online payments business, has been selected to securely process online payments for VirWoX, the Austrian based Virtual World Exchange. VirWoX is using NEOVIA’s NETELLER e-wallet to enable users of the Second Life virtualRead More →

Australia’s DeepThink Pty Ltd. has launched an OpenSim hosting company, founder Adam Frisby announced today. Adam Frisby is DeepThink’s co-director and the company’s head of research and technology, and he is also a core developer of the open source OpenSim virtual world server software The new hosting company — SimHostRead More →

Japan’s 3Di, Inc. announced a cloud-based offering for enterprises looking to deploy OpenSim virtual worlds. 3Di currently offers a server-based software solution, as well as a Web-based browser for its enterprise customers. “Cloud computing services would allow enterprises to deploy 3D virtual worlds without needing to invest In their ownRead More →

Immersive collaborative environments may be the perfect solution to a company’s training or collaboration needs — but may be a hard sell if the senior management still thinks of 3D environments as video games. According to a new report from analyst firm ThinkBalm, proponents of virtual worlds technology need toRead More →

SecondLife currently has around 23,000 user-owned regions, with another 5,000 regions owned by Linden Lab. However, OpenSim-based grids seem to be catching up in total land area, with over 5,600 regions on the public social grids alone, up from around 5,000 from our last count earlier this summer. This numberRead More →

Manchester-based virtual world development firm Second Places helped two U.K. universities with an immersive art installation which ran through this past weekend. The installation, produced by the University and Salford and Liverpool’s John Moore University, was part of the ISEA2009, and international electronic art symposium in the U.K. and Ireland.Read More →

According to a new report by analyst firm ThinkBalm, immersiveness is not an all-or-nothing proposition but a continuum. On the low-immersion extreme are virtual worlds with cartoony graphics, static camera angles, no spacial voice, and limited gestures. High-immersive worlds, by comparison, have realistic graphics, customizable avatars, spacial audio and aRead More →

[Update: You can browse all hypergrid-enabled public OpenSim grids with Hyperica, the directory of hypergrid destinations. Directory indexes more than 100 shopping and freebie store locations. Updated hypergrid travel directions here.] According to a recent Piper Jaffray report, US virtual good sales will total $621 million in 2009 — upRead More →

Press Release: UC Irvine establishes Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds Will join forces with Institute for Software Research and Game Culture & Technology Laboratory UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences has established the Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds, led by ICS AssociateRead More →

Have you seen the episode of The Office where Dwight Shrute gets a Second Life? It’s exactly the same as his first life – except that he can fly! And did you catch that episode of CSI: New York where Mac Taylor has to go inside Second Life to catchRead More →

Japan’s Sanwa Supply Co., launched a site today where visitors can shop for computer supplies and peripherals using the immersive 3Di OpenViewer from 3Di that came in the form of a browser plug-in, instead of a standalone application like the Second Life, Hippo, or Meerkat browsers. The breakthrough is thatRead More →

A Web-based viewer for OpenSim and Second Life is a Holy Grail for business users: it would make it easier for employees, customers and business partners to access virtual platforms. That would make for easier meetings, easier conferences, easier product demonstrations, easier training seminars, virtual tours, showrooms — all theRead More →

Ever more frequently, companies looking to save money are moving meetings and training into virtual environments such as Second Life, OpenSim, Forterra, and Qwac. In some cases, the company fully controls the environment, creating avatars and user names for their employees. In other environments, it’s all up to the employees. Read More →

In recent years, companies have begun using virtual worlds such as Second Life, OpenSim, Forterra and Qwaq to hold virtual meetings — and employees have begun using avatars, or cartoonish animated online characters, to represent themselves in these meetings. Some companies and employees pick avatars that reflect their real identitiesRead More →

Corporate Planners Unlimited, Inc. is not only a meeting and events company – it is also a travel agency. So it might be strange that president Dan Parks is promoting a way to hold meetings and conferences that requires no travel at all. It wasn’t always this way. When ParksRead More →

Though virtual events enable organizers to avoid travel and facilities expenses, in many respects they are no different from real world events in their marketing, according to the Event Marketing Institute. While many people think that virtual events are easy and don’t cost any money — and that only tech-savvyRead More →

Whenever I interview a Wall Street executive, or a technology expert, I have to ask for a photograph.  I often joke that we already have a lot of headshots of guys in suits — what I really want to see is some variety. Maybe a photograph of them on aRead More →

Boston students may be able to attend a virtual high school in September 2010, if Roxbury Institute of Technology‘s plans for a charter high school are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Education. The school will combine a virtual environment, based on the Sun Wonderland virtual platform, and a real-worldRead More →

ReactionGrid has joined a very short list of OpenSim grids offering online shopping, with an e-commerce site open to all OpenSim users, not just ReactionGrid members. Two other grids have online commerce platforms, but their products are only available to grid members (though grid membership is free). The largest isRead More →

[Update: You can browse all hypergrid-enabled public OpenSim grids with Hyperica, the directory of hypergrid destinations. Directory indexes more than 100 shopping and freebie store locations. Updated hypergrid travel directions here.] New OpenSim grids pop up all the time — and old ones change their hypergrid coordinates. It doesn’t helpRead More →

(Photo by Elsie esq. via Flickr.)

I occasionally get announcements or news from new grids running on the OpenSim platform, but they require the creation of a new avatar to visit. I don’t personally have anything against these kinds of grids, but there isn’t usually an interesting business story there. Semi-public grids — grids which don’tRead More →

Analyst firm ThinkBalm has created a virtual reception room for Web site visitors, using the 3DXplorer virtual worlds platform. ThinkBalm is  an independent industry analyst firm focused on work-related use of the immersive Internet — so the new three-dimensional, immersive environment was a good fit for the company’s mission. TheRead More →

Companies looking to have a virtual world running behind a firewall now have another option – today, Altadyn Corp. released its  3DXplorer enterprise platform. A web-based version of the product, hosted on Altadyn’s servers, has been available for about a year. The company claims SAP, Orange, Bayer, and Glaxo-Smith-Kline asRead More →

InWorld Solutions has premiered the world’s first virtual behavioral therapy product, based on Forterra’s Olive virtual worlds platform, Forterra announced today. Olive — or On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment — is a proprietary platform that competes with Linden Lab’s yet-to-be-released Nebraska server and the OpenSim open source virtual world platform. TheRead More →

A California chapter of the American Society for Training & Development won the society’s national “Sharing Our Success” award for its use of Second Life for a virtual training simulcast, the society announced Aug. 5. The Mount Diablo chapter of the ASTD — located in northern California –was able toRead More →

Now that you have your own virtual world (go back and read Virtuation 101 if you don’t), you might be finding yourself standing in a barren landscape — or on a little pimple of an island in the middle of an empty ocean. What’s next? DO IT YOURSELF The basicRead More →

Here is what you will need to know if you decide to have a virtual world. First, you need to decide where your virtual world will be. Do you want a private world accessible only by you? Or a public one, accessible by millions? For a one-person world, go withRead More →

In conjunction with its two year anniversary, the folks behind OSGrid — the largest grid running the OpenSim open source virtual world platform — have added new functionality to the grid, including a social network, a general store, and an automatic region creator. SOCIAL SIGNALS The OSGrid administrators have integratedRead More →

Linden Lab has debuted a new portal for enterprise users, which features case studies of business uses of Second Life and offers a free tour of the Second Life environment. “For those of us working with enterprise clients, the new page is a welcome relief from what came before —Read More →

Crescendo Design, an architecture firm based in Madison, Wisconsin, is doing some innovative work in virtual worlds, using the OpenSim offspring RealXtend. “The virtual experience isn’t right for every client, but for those who are more tech-savvy and have newer computers, the virtual experience can provide an invaluable means ofRead More →

As the virtual worlds grow and develop — and evolve into the next 3D Web — the issue of copyright is being debated again. In some ways, virtual worlds copyrights may require changes in the way we think of and use copyrights. But, in most respects, virtual worlds copyrights areRead More →

Virtual worlds consultancy ThinkBalm announced the first ThinkBalm Innovation Community professional networking event, scheduled for August 4, to be held at the Amazon Developers Island in Second Life. Scheduled speakers include experts on virtual world use and design, including  IBM’s Christopher Bishop, Amazon’s Jeff Barr, ThnkBalm’s own Sam Driver,  AndrewRead More →

Just as colleges and universities were among the first to embrace the World Wide Web, educational institutions are now in the forefront of those embracing innovative uses of OpenSim and other virtual worlds platforms. For example, the CSI project from the Kansas-based Greenbush Education Service Center is an interactive crime-solvingRead More →

I’ve been talking to a few virtual world operators lately that are trumpeting their particular virtual world as the next “Web 3D standard.” They’re the biggest, or the best, or the prettiest, or the fastest, or the cheapest, or whatever — and everyone is going to leave the other worldsRead More →

I do love OpenSim. But, as a business journalist — I try to be open minded. And, as a business owner, I’m always looking for a faster, cheaper, easier way to do things. This week, I heard from a couple of experts about another way of doing virtual worlds —Read More →

It will take at least six months to get the Xenki OpenSim viewer ready for public use, according to the new lead developer on the open source project. Kevin Tweedy, founder and head of Philadelphia-based Extreme Reality, a virtual reality technology company, said he took the project over in March.Read More →

Japan’s 3Di Inc. has been working hard lately on making OpenSim more appealing to business customers — at least, to business customers in Japan. This spring, they came out with a Web viewer for OpenSim worlds designed to intergrate with the firm’s back-end OpenSim-based server software, and a demo websiteRead More →

The battle for the future of the 3D Web is about to get hot… and steamy. Utherverse CEO tells us that he’s planning to launch an all-out attack against the other virtual world platforms out there, with free hosting and a set of free building tools designed to attract businessRead More →

The $50,000 price tag might scare off smaller customers, but IBM’s Lotus Sametime 3D product is designed to help large enterprises start holding virtual meetings. The product – released at the end of June — includes integration with corporate directories, with the Lotus Sametime chat service, and includes conferencing toolsRead More →

IBM officially released its Lotus Sametime 3D collaboration product this week. The product is based on the OpenSim opensource virtual world server software, an IBM spokeswoman confirmed to Hypergrid Business today. This is the first serious use of the OpenSim platform as part of an established and popular enterprise productRead More →

Having a held a few business meetings in OpenSim over the past few weeks, several staff trainings, I’m getting a better idea of the features I would like to see added to OpenSim. I’m not complaining about what we have so far: it is already making a big difference toRead More →

[Update: You can browse all hypergrid-enabled public OpenSim grids with Hyperica, the directory of hypergrid destinations. Directory indexes more than 100 shopping and freebie store locations. Updated hypergrid travel directions here.  Full, up-to-date list of OpenSim hosting providers is here.] There are a lot of different OpenSim versions flying around,Read More →

[Update: You can browse all hypergrid-enabled public OpenSim grids with Hyperica, the directory of hypergrid destinations. Directory indexes more than 100 shopping and freebie store locations. Updated hypergrid travel directions here.  Full, up-to-date list of OpenSim hosting providers is here.] There are plenty of virtual worlds out there, floating, isolatedRead More →

An unknown hacker took down more than a hundred OpenSim regions this weekend, as well as over a hundred thousand websites. This is bad news for some OpenSim hosting companies who relied on low-cost virtual shared servers to host their regions. Chris Greenwell, for example, lost 41 regions total, includingRead More →

The easiest way to predict the future of user interface design is to look at the purest market for applications: the gaming sector. Nobody is forced to play games. People choose the games that they enjoy the most. At first, there was the menu interface. Remember those? Probably not. TheyRead More →

Update: Full, up-to-date list of OpenSim hosting providers is here. The choice of OpenSim hosts is still very limited, due to the fact that the OpenSim platform has only become stable — and grids hyperlinked — in the last couple of months. In theory, anyone can host their own OpenSimRead More →

When I show people around OpenSim, the first question they ask is: “So this is like Second Life? Only worse?” Which is a valid question. Any particular OpenSim world — like, say, OSGrid, or OpenLife, or ReactionGrid or WorldSimTerra — is small and puny in comparison to SecondLife’s grid. ImagineRead More →

These last couple of weeks have been problematic for many of us using OpenSim. The OSGrid, in particular, has had more than its share of downtime as a result of ongoing software upgrades, and links between regions break frequently because of incompatible software versions. So in planning the location ofRead More →

ReactionGrid, headquartered in Fort Pierce, Florida has been working in virtual worlds for years. The founders – Robin and Kyle Gomboy – produced three-dimensional models of aircraft and chip parts for Florida manufacturers as part of their work on automating production facilities. “We thought that if we put it intoRead More →

This week, ReactionGrid has released its $8,950 Banbury virtual world server, for those who want to physically own their own virtual universe. But for customers willing to let their virtual worlds be managed by someone else, there are also inexpensive hosted options. Today, ReactionGrid runs one public grid, and aRead More →

More than a dozen entrepreneurs got together Thursday night — or Friday morning, depending on their time zone — in OSGrid’s Business Center to discuss entrepreneurship on the emerging 3D Internet, or the hypergrid. Those attending included “Richardus Raymaker,” Jim Siler (“Omar Abdelrahim”), “Vette Chrome”, “RetroDan Dezno”, “Zauber Paracelsus”, “SimRead More →

One of the biggest obstacles to enterprise adoption of the OpenSim virtual worlds platform has been the lack of a decent behind-the-firewall solution. There are some hosting companies running OpenSim projects, but if you wanted to install it and run it yourself, you would need to invest serious time andRead More →

I missed the first Internet investment boom. I was covering wars in Central Asia, but that’s no excuse. I could have invented Yahoo! — it started with a guy in his dorm room with a list of favorite links. I could have done that. Or eBay — a guy whoRead More →

So you have decided that your company needs a virtual world platform. (Maybe you read our earlier article, “Do you need a virtual world?“) Here is how to select the rigtht platform. Do you expect to have more than 50 visitors at any one time? Most immersive virtual words haveRead More →

Grid A horizontal map composed of one or more regions, similar to the way that a chessboard is made up of individual squares. A grid is normally identified by a URL and a port number, for example, the OSGrid is located at osgrid.org:8002. Hypergrid All grids that are linked toRead More →

When business users first log into a virtual world like Second Life or OpenSim they usually have two questions: can they use their real names for their avatars? And can their avatars look like them? The answer to the first question is simple. In OpenSim, users can choose any namesRead More →

The company is in Singapore. The owners are in Thailand, Moscow, and Shanghai. What’s the most convenient location for the annual corporate meeting? Hint: it’s got dragons, a spaceport, and a red light district. You might think – China. But the company actually picked a place much cheaper to travelRead More →

Unlike Second Life, the open source virtual world platform OpenSim does not have a built-in currency system. To users, this is a significant lack of functionality – but developers see it as a feature. The reason? OpenSim is not a clone of the Second Life game – that multi-user virtualRead More →

[Update: You can browse all hypergrid-enabled public OpenSim grids with Hyperica, the directory of hypergrid destinations. Directory indexes more than 100 shopping and freebie store locations. Updated hypergrid travel directions here.] What is the hypergrid? And why should business care? Because it’s starting to look as if this is theRead More →

Mike Joyce – that’s Michael R. Joyce on imdb.com – is a Hollywood producer. You may have heard of him from such projects as “Battlestar Galactica” and “Jewel of the Nile.” “The kind of work I did was line producing,” he said. “I did whole shows right from scratch. IRead More →

Virtual worlds can be difficult to access, with most of the popular ones — such as Second Life and games like World of Warcraft — requiring the installation of special software. The new OpenSim-based virtual worlds are no exception, requiring that users install software and then struggle to  figure outRead More →

Few companies today actually need a virtual world — but yours could be one of them. Here’s how to tell. Are you in the education business? Take for example, Tom Hood, president of the Maryland Association of CPAs. His group has conducted about a dozen events in Second Life overRead More →

When it comes to virtual world real estate and design, DeepThink has been a big player, operating one of the largest continents in Second Life. But in recent months, the Shanghai-based company has been refocusing on OpenSim, the open-source platform that’s rapidly becoming the standard for enterprise virtual worlds. OpenSimRead More →

According to OpenSim core developer Charles Krinke, there are 330 key functions in Second Life – and 300 of them have been fully implemented in OpenSim. Of the remaining 30, half have to do with vehicle physics, he said. These are the functions that allow virtual passengers to ride inRead More →

Many virtual worlds, including  Second Life, OpenLife Grid, ReactionGrid and many others, keep the entire grid behind a corporate firewall, and restrict access. OSGrid, however, is wide open. Anybody can install OpenSim on a server – or, like I did, on a home PC – and fire up a regionRead More →

Charles Krinke joined the OpenSim core development team a year and eight months ago. In that time, he saw the project go from being a collection of 600 messages – packets – used by Second Life browsers to communicate with their servers – to a fully-fledged platform for building hyperlinkedRead More →

The OpenSim project – while backed by big companies like IBM and Intel – is not beholden to them. In fact, it works more like a pick-up game of basketball. People show up at the same court, break into teams, play a few games, then go home when they’re tiredRead More →

Many people think that the OpenSim platform was reversed engineered from Second Life’s browser — but this is not actually true. It was actually built based on eavesdropping. No, not on company phone calls — on the communications between the Second Life browser and the Second Life servers. Servers areRead More →

The folks behind the OSGrid — a non-profit open grid focused on OpenSim development — answer questions about the grid, and about OpenSim, every Saturday at 10 a.m. PST, or 3 p.m. eastern time. The PST refers to the internal clock set in the Hippo browser, the recommended browser forRead More →

Gwyneth Llewelyn actually posted this article “OpenSimulator: The Choice for 2010 back in January, but it still remains one of the best overviews of what’s happening in the OpenSim worlds that I have read so far. She talks about how OpenSim was developed, and how its modular approach makes itRead More →

Everybody knows about the big three of virtual business: sex, gambling, and role-playing. But with the new OpenSim platform and hyperlinks between different virtual worlds, the three-dimension Internet is about to explode as a serious platform. Here are a few ways to take advantage of it.Read More →

Today I attempt to create my own virtual world. Second Life, World of Warcraft — prepare to meet your new competition. I’m not speaking facetiously. With the new OpenSim platform for creating and hosting virtual worlds — and linking them to other virtual worlds — any person, and any company,Read More →

According to Ralf Haifisch, a virtual worlds developer, what we’re seeing now is the emergence of a new Internet. And he knows what’s he’s talking about – he was the first one in his part of Germany to run an Internet host there – and sent me a document dating back to 1991 attesting this fact.Read More →