Over the past few years, education—from the elementary to the post-secondary level—has started to put much greater emphasis on the STEM fields, that is, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The reason for this is the growing recognition of the importance of STEM in modern digital society, and the predicted increaseRead More →

I’ve been taking a lot of snapshots of regions for Hyperica listings and have been experimenting with the Phototools feature in the Firestorm viewer. The Phototools feature allows you to pep up your snapshots and make them look gorgeous. To access some of the Phototools features quickly, at the bottom rightRead More →

As anyone with experience in OpenSim knows perhaps the biggest barrier to having the general public view your work is the requirement to download a viewer and the complexity of using it once you have it downloaded. Google Cardboard is a device that turns smartphones into stereoscopic, 3D viewers. UsingRead More →

My name is Tyler Brabo, and, ten days ago, I was hired to research hypergrid destinations for Hyperica. This required that I create an account in OpenSim, get an avatar, and figure out how to surf the hypergrid. My boss, Maria Korolov, asked me to keep track of what problemsRead More →

The latest releases virtual world viewers, such as Firestorm, Singularity, and Kokua can provide access to a “Destination Guide” for your OpenSim grid for both local and hypergrid visitors. And this guide can feature both local and hypergrid destinations. But the grid owner first has to enable this feature in their configurationRead More →

An open grid is one that allows outside people to connect their own regions. Those regions could be hosted for free on home computers, or be provided by third-party hosting companies, such as Dreamland Metaverse, Zetamex, CloudServe, Oliveira, or any other grid-agnostic vendor on our hosting list. Here is theRead More →

Inventory exports, or IARs, became a heated topic of discussion in Google Plus communities yesterday, with one grid even disabling its IAR exports temporarily as a result. Much of the debate is due to a misunderstanding of how IAR backups work — and of how thieves steal content. What isRead More →

Ready Player One is a best-selling novel by Ernest Cline set in the year 2044, a time when nearly the entire human population is tapped into a metaverse called The Oasis. There’s also a movie currently in development. The book is a love letter to 1980’s culture, but it stillRead More →

When it comes to virtual reality, there are two fronts, two main technical directions that the technology is evolving in that everyone is talking about. But there’s also a third front, that hasn’t been getting as much attention, but which has the potential of being truly revolutionizing. Videos and video games OneRead More →

Rethink Communications, a Vancouver-based advertising agency, recently approached my company, AC+A with an interesting project to raise awareness for the #NoTankers campaign. The campaign is run by Rethink’s clients, the non-profit Dogwood Initiative, to stop the increase of oil tanker traffic in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet. Rethink wanted to create aRead More →

Zetamex, the second highest-rated OpenSim hosting company, has been repeatedly criticized for changing things up too much — price plans, offerings, management panels, even CEOs — all have changed repeatedly in the past few months, leaving users struggling to keep up. Some of the changes have been for the better,Read More →

Over the years, OpenSimulator has grown to be a widely used platform, serving as the virtual world server for many communities ranging in size, specialization and languages. due to the platforms open source nature, community contribution to its code base over the years has made OpenSimulator a formidable choice forRead More →

On November 1, for the first time, avatars and the people behind them are going to run the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, for real, virtually. What in the world does that mean? Using the InWorldz InShape system, beta testers from the virtual world will get together on aRead More →

The 3dcolab.com crew has built a simulation of the historic Michigan Central Station, a railway depot which is one of the best known iconic ruins of Detroit. We showed our magnificant as it used-to-be re-creation last month at the Detroit Design Festival dElectricity event. The location was a friendly art gallery and coffeeRead More →

Piquant. Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, at the epicenter of tech, opined last week about women in tech, suggesting they not ask for raises but instead trust “the system” to recognize performance with pay increases when appropriate, earning “good karma” along the way. At the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. FiveRead More →

The Museo del Metaverso — Metaverse Museum — is starting back up again on the Craft grid after two years of inactivity. The Museum was originally created in Second Life in 2007 and in 2010 it moved permanently to Craft. The museum offers a new way of presenting and promoting art through workshops,Read More →

PolyWorld Woodland Toolkit. (Image courtesy Xin Xin.)

When I demoed my Oculus Rift game, “Black Hat,” recently, one man told me that he felt sick the previous time he tried a Rift. I convinced him to give it another go and he was surprised by how pleasant the experience was. Quite a few people become nauseous while in the Rift. PartRead More →

Samsung and Oculus VR are expected to release their collaborative project, the Gear VR, sometime before the end of the year. The headset uses the Galaxy Note 4 to power a completely untethered virtual reality experience and will be Oculus VR’s first actual step into the consumer market, since their own headset isn’t expected outRead More →

Until very recently, if you ever found yourself talking about virtual reality, it was probably because you were cornered by a wild-eyed science fiction enthusiast breathlessly describing the holodeck on the USS Enterprise, the light cycles in the Tron mainframe, or dodging bullets in the Matrix. You almost certainly weren’tRead More →

  As we’ve noted previously, the FCC opened a comment period, which ended on July 18, 2014. More than a million comments were received over a five-month period. In fact, comments that were sent by postal mail are still being added. Please note, however, that a second comment period is nowRead More →

Last year, Oculus VR kickstarted a whole new era of virtual reality. It’s easy to take for granted, now that the movement is well underway, but it’s important to remember that none of this would be possible without the ingenuity, persistence and forward thinking vision put forth by Palmer LuckeyRead More →

It was quite an honor to witness my uncle, David Brouchoud, exploring a virtual recreation of the USS Helena CA-75, a Navy heavy cruiser he served on more than 60 years ago. Using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, he was able to walk the decks of the ship again,Read More →

Virtual reality is making a big comeback, and virtual worlds are being rebranded as virtual reality right and left. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that — immersive virtual worlds are a natural fit for virtual reality. But virtual reality is more than just virtual worlds with extra immersion. “Immersion squared” orRead More →

When face-to-face meetings for mentoring and coaching sessions aren’t an option, most people would turn to telephone calls, Skype, or Google Hangouts. But a mentoring session in a virtual world offers some additional functionality and some benefits not found in other platforms. For example, in addition to removing the barriersRead More →

As one of five partners in a very small  virtual world software startup, I went in search of patents that may concern my company’s next software product. I had no idea that I would be mired in a sea of legalese. Much of our company’s work involves the OpenSim platform.Read More →

Arch Virtual is putting the finishing touches on a super fun project for the Sacramento Kings to help project stakeholders, fans and members of the community explore the arena long before construction starts. The new $477 million downtown Sacramento Entertainment and Sports Center was approved by the city of Sacramento lastRead More →

This is it. This is the kind of moment every democratic citizen argues for: An opportunity to give voice to your demands as a citizen. Don’t waste it. Act now. On May 15, the Federal Communications Commission began seeking public comments on how best to protect an open Internet. The publicRead More →

The arcade industry was decimated back in the mid-90’s by the advancements in consumer console games as well as a failure to adapt to changing player demographics. Virtual reality could bring it back. As a side benefit, virtual reality arcades could help drive the development of the technology, whet public appetite forRead More →

Now that I am a world renowned published author – thanks to Hypergrid Business publishing my last article — I began vigorously stroking my…er…um…er… long beard – tuts to all of you with filthy minds – and began thinking of ways to help promote and extend the reach of the hypergrid communityRead More →

No this isn’t the start of a bad joke, although as you read on, you may find that it could be, only the joke is on you…or in this case, it was on me. Like many grid owners, and even just regular OpenSim users, I was excited when I firstRead More →

A couple months ago, the old Aurora-Sim branch of OpenSimulator was forked due to the slow development and a few other small reasons. Then WhiteCore-Sim was born, it has been gaining a bit of attraction from Aurora-Sim enthusiasts, however recently some larger individuals are seeing this as a cause toRead More →

The Oculus Rift virtual reality technology is one of the most exciting developments in gaming since original Nintendo. But can it be useful beyond gaming? You bet. Non-game virtual reality applications are poised to transform an enormous array of industries, including health care, oil & gas, architecture, education and just about everything inRead More →

Do you have a grid running on the Diva Distro and using its Wifi Web Application Account Management module? If your grid’s website looks like this, then you do: OpenSim versions that use this web front end include the Diva Distro, Sim-on-a-Stick and New World Studio mini grids, as well asRead More →

When the announcement came out on March 12 that Linden Labs was inviting beta testers for their Oculus Rift based VR viewer, I dusted off my Oculus Rift Developers kit and signed up. About six months ago, I tried out the first version of the Oculus Rift developer’s kit inRead More →

Last week Linden Lab and the OnLive cloud gaming service debuted a new service aimed at delivering Second Life to almost any device capable of connecting to the internet. While still in beta and available for PCs, OSX and Android — iOS support is coming — I had an opportunity toRead More →

In 1911, Arthur Brisbane’s quote “a picture is worth thousand words” appeared in a newspaper article. Today more than 100 years later, everyone has the means to show pictures at rates of 60 per second and magnify the value of their communication. The readily accessible means to communicate our ideasRead More →

These scripts are for people who are thinking to themselves — now that Maria is hiring a researcher and putting them to work on updating the Hyperica directory, wouldn’t it be nice if I could just grab content from there for my own gates. Well it would be nice, andRead More →

What happens when a virtual world designer sues for unauthorized use of a virtual island? The case involved the question of whether terraforming is protected by copyright law, and whether a terrain purchased for use in Second Life can be exported to OpenSim. The results: Yes, terraforming is protected by copyright lawRead More →

I began working in virtual worlds in 2009 in Second Life, migrated to OpenSim soon thereafter, and along the way discovered Hypergrid Business. Some of you may know me from my sim, Serenity Island. My career has been as a computer consultant, artist and educator. As a reader of HypergridRead More →

The Nova grid and New Voice OpenSim hosting company went out of business in early 2012. This is the story of what went wrong, from the founder himself, Enrico Ranucci. When New Voice was about to go out of business in early 2012, many people tried to help — andRead More →

We’re back from Autodesk University in Vegas, where we had the opportunity to show some of our latest Oculus Rift projects to the architecture, engineering and construction crowd there. Wow, was that ever fun! Exhibiting can be a boring, exhausting experience, but not with the Rift! From beginning to end,Read More →

So it has been long 2013, and a lot of stuff has come into opensim with 0.7.6, the latest release of OpenSimulator we got tons of new features.

Hypergrid Business has posted its Fourth Annual OpenSim Grid Survey. 654 people responded to questions about their primary grid and about the other grids they have visited. The big winner this year was Kitely. The report says: “Kitely came out on top for ‘How do you rate this grid overall?’ withRead More →

Much has been said about using virtual environments for teaching and training. While it is an inescapable fact that no environment, real or virtual, can make up for a dedicated, well-prepared teacher with a passion for their subject matter, there is merit in the concept that a virtual environment canRead More →

As the hypergrid grows, we should be wary of vanity metrics. I’m a pretty big fan of the Lean Business model pioneered by Eric Reis of IMVU fame.  The main concept behind Lean is that you start small, release a barebones version of your product, measure carefully, and then modifyRead More →

A lot of people lately have been telling me to move into the cloud and I have been talking about this with many developers — both OpenSimulator and web server development as well. Most of them, in both groups, agree with me that the cloud is just not great forRead More →

As many of you know, early last September we held the first OpenSimulator Community Conference, a purely online event hosted in OpenSimulator itself. It was produced collaboratively by the Overte Foundation and Avacon, with the planning process beginning in February 2013 and increasing in intensity right up until the conferenceRead More →

I went, and I had a great time. I was completely blown away by the excellent presentations and level of professionalism at OSCC13. Everything worked like clockwork, and I saw many friends from Second Life. I went with the idea that, if I could use virtual worlds technology in anyRead More →

10 ‘Star Trek’ Technologies That Actually Exist Out There (via AnyStatements) Whether it’s deep space or the deepest depths of the ocean, truly brilliant machines can operate in all sorts of extreme conditions. While the U.S.S. Enterprise doesn’t exist (yet!), there are other technologies out there that seem to beRead More →

How would you define a classroom? Some may think of it as a gathering place, others as a laboratory. Another may shudder with the memory of being confined in a crowded artificially lit room, all students facing in the same direction like workers in a garment factory. To each memberRead More →

If you have decided to transfer all your content from Second Life to another OpenSim grid, like Kitely, you have several possibilities how to do that. One good solution is make backup from Second Life and restore it on your home local OpenSim standalone region, you can use vanilla OpenSim, Diva Distro or Sim-on-a-stick, allRead More →

For those of you who haven’t been watching the latest Google+ feeds, Fernando Francisco de Oliveira, a long and involved OpenSim enthusiast and programmer and founder of OpenSim hosting company Oliveira Virtual Lands, has released to the world a module that lets OpenSim use PostgreSQL. For those who do not know,Read More →

[Editor: Virtual therapy has been in the news lately for everything from schizophrenia to addiction recovery to pain management for burn victims to weight loss. Studies and research reports are accumulating, showing that virtual therapy and counseling can be as effective, or even more effective, than traditional approaches. To offer a personalRead More →

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference began today, and will continue for the next three days. The conference will take place across three different virtual worlds and will host presentations in Second Life, OpenSim’s Jokadia grid, and in Cloud Party. The majority of presentations and social eventsRead More →

In late June, I was among 94 people who participated in a scalability and training scenario test on the military’s MOSES grid. The goal of the test was to help work out the kinks in creating immersive training environments with large numbers of simultaneous users, using a new technology donated toRead More →

Virtual reality therapies are increasingly proving successful in a number of settings. As the virtual reality platforms and interfaces improve, we will start to see more of the following: 1. Reducing pain Pain is partly psychological in nature, which means that distractions can help relieve pain. Listening to music, forRead More →

Virtual worlds are a great way to run classes. In fact, according to the latest Hypergrid Business survey, educators are the second largest professional user segment for OpenSim, and about a third of users overall used OpenSim for training and simulations. You can have students from all over the worldRead More →

During the Spring Semester of 2007, this fool rushed into Second Life, something he felt would not only change education but the world beyond. Virtual worlds looked like a utopian technology with lots of zealous folks ready to evangelize the masses. Six years later, grading what may be my last-everRead More →

Revit and Oculus Rift via Unity3D: Experiencing BIM in Virtual Reality While the vast majority of my work is designing virtual world environments, our studio Crescendo Design, still takes on a new architectural project from time to time. The best part is, our clients get to become test subjects forRead More →

Second Life is a killer app for Oculus Rift. Here are ten reasons why — and why OpenSim will get there first. 1. Quality, content and creativity Now, before you skip ahead to post a comment about how Second Life has been overrun by furries and 14-year-olds, take a moment toRead More →

First impressions of Oculus Rift: Architectural Visualization, Second Life, and beyond I wish I had more time to write out a more extensive review of the Rift, but here are my first impressions: You absolutely feel as if you are transported to another place, to the point where it’s almostRead More →

Linden Dollar: Another Virtual Currency Affected by FinCEN. Bitcoin has been in the news recently. But bitcoin is not the only virtual currency. Virtual currencies, in one form or another are here to stay. When U.S. Treasury Department’s enforcement arm, FinCEN, issued its interpretive statement, it recognized this much. TheRead More →

Starting a new company doesn’t have to take a lot of money, and you don’t have to make the big splash on your first day of operations. Instead, you can apply these tips from the world of lean business to start small and grow fast. 1: Identify a market needRead More →

As Linden Lab gradually loses landmass in its virtual world, as shown so graphically in Tyche Shepherd’s Grid Survey data, the Lab turns again to a dog it kicked repeatedly in 2010: educators. Hamlet Au broke the story that the Lab is “quietly” reaching out to selected schools and nonprofitsRead More →

Learning in “simulated worlds” is not a new idea – but the HP Catalyst team at City Academy in Norwich (UK) has a new approach… and some fascinating insights about its impact on at-risk students. Jerome Thompson, a teacher at City Academy Norwich, is one of the lead developers ofRead More →

[Editor’s Note: Aurora-Sim branched off from OpenSim in early 2011.] I am very sad to see so many people tell me that I should give up on Aurora-Sim, and that it is a waste. I think it is mostly been placed there because people remember its biggest tank — theRead More →

Because we’re so passionate and committed to the arena of E-Learning in its many forms – virtual worlds development, 3D training scenarios, serious games, learning management systems and more – we wanted to revisit a subject we blogged about back in June of this year – The Gamification of LearningRead More →

“WOW!”  Seems to be an almost universal reaction to a first experience trying on the new Oculus Rift VR headset.  Watching a player’s first experience with Rift is always interesting to see, as the player gradually becomes immersed, suspending their disbelief, and eventually becomes part of the virtual environment.  With enthusiasticRead More →

There has been some discussion about the practicality of accepting Bitcoin, but many fewer voices have been explaining the reasons Bitcoin may be a useful tool for your grid. There are at least five reasons that Bitcoin may be right for your grid. 1. Fraud mitigation BitPay, the number oneRead More →

On-line education is using a flawed Creative Commons license Prominent universities are using a nonfree license for their digital educational works. That is bad already, but even worse, the license they are using has a serious inherent problem. When a work is made for doing a practical job, the usersRead More →

Event manager = 1/3 mad scientist, 1/3 psychologist, 1/3 logistics expert Since virtual events share many of the attributes of physical events, it makes sense to start by discussing some of the attributes of event managers in general. In many ways, events are like chemistry experiments – place a fewRead More →

OpenSim is still in the early stages of development, so it’s rare to see advertising billboards cluttering up the virtual landscape – or ads for OpenSim hosting providers during the Super Bowl broadcast. Maybe “rare” is the wrong term. Make that, “unheard of.” And a lot of people would seeRead More →

Achievements, like badges and leaderboards, are one of the cornerstones of gamification, ways to increase user engagement and loyalty. The are also known as goals or quests. The achievement can be a reward in and of itself, can be used to give recognition to players, or can be combined withRead More →

A few friends, colleagues, and fellow creators have a need to band together. Our intention is to gather creators and artists from all “virtual reality” platforms in order to collect, and organize factual information about rights and responsibilities of content creators. By working together, we believe that many of us will be ableRead More →

A new version of OpenSim was recently released, OpenSim 0.7.4. There’s an upgrade function built into the Diva Distro version of OpenSim and its derivatives, including Sim-on-a-Stick and New World Studio. The updated version of the Diva Distro came out this past Wednesday, and the new Sim-on-a-Stick was released yesterday.Read More →

“Gamification” is the process of adding game-like elements to something without actually turning the whole thing into a game. Social grids can be gamified, for example, but even grids dedicated to education, non-profits, or business meetings can add gamification elements. The goal of gamification is to increase engagement. For commercialRead More →

At thr Immersive Education conference in Boston last month, eight Open Wonderland community members from six different countries joined me remotely to show off their work. Here’s a brief summary of the worlds and features presented during the showcase. In all cases, the presenters have agreed to leave their spacesRead More →

I had fun recently playing with using the Xbox Kinect sensor paired with OpenSim. The project I work on is called PLANE, Pathways for Learning Anywhere, anytime — a Network for Educators. One of our core missions is connecting educators from all sectors such as state run, independent and CatholicRead More →

Experiential learning — learning by doing — is a hot topic these days and getting hotter. I’ve been evangelizing the benefits of experiential learning for over a decade. But, as much as I believe in the power of experiential learning, it’s important to recognize its limitations. There are two waysRead More →

A great number of pixels have been used to praise or critique Cloud Party over at Hamlet Au’s New World Notes. True, one needs a Facebook account, and sacrifices anonymity, to use the service fully. Anonymous logins are possible at the link I gave above, but they only permit limited interactions and theRead More →

As Forsyth County Schools’ NOBLE Virtual World begins to generate more teacher interest, one question that repeatedly comes up is “How can math best be taught in a virtual world?” One suggestion is to use the virtual world to provide practical application of the math concepts in an authentic wayRead More →

For the past two and half years at my real job as the head of learning and collaboration, we’ve been early adopters of a virtual world product called AvayaLive Engage, developed by a company named Avaya. It was formerly known as Web.Alive, and although I’m not a fan of theRead More →

Last week, I attended the Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds annual conference. I realize the theme for the conference was “Inspire the Future,” but an underlying theme I sensed was “Keeping up with the Future.” Our society and the technological changes are hitting us at an exponential rate. Like oneRead More →

“Inspire the Future” was the 2012 theme of The Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds conference that convened this past week in Washington, D.C. at the National Defense University’s iCollege, and it drew about about 300 physical world and an estimated 3,000 virtual world attendees. Several virtual worlds were demonstrated at the conference,Read More →

I have been involved with education in virtual worlds for several years now, and at discussions and conferences I often hear the question asked, “Why recreate a classroom with desks and PPT presentations in a world where anything is possible? Why create buildings with roofs and walls in a placeRead More →

Some newcomers to OpenSim have major concerns with hypergrid technology and these concerns should not be taken lightly. Many of these risks, however, are exaggerated, while others are present in all virtual worlds. These concerns may cause some to fear moving to OpenSim worlds. Creators and merchants, in particular, may fearRead More →

In 2008 and 2009 I spoke at conferences and webinars about the use of Second Life for corporate eLearning as an easy-to-use 3D animation application. “Easy” is a relative term to true 3D animation applications such as Blender and 3ds Max (formerly 3D Studio Max). The typical corporate eLearning department often does not have the budget for trueRead More →

At Designing Digitally, Inc., we’ve seen every type of virtual campus tour imaginable and have identified some common problems that can hinder their success. Here are the top four problems we see and how you can avoid them: 1. Navigation Many virtual campus tours today simply lead people through the tour and dictateRead More →