While many companies still haven’t even heard of virtual reality, real estate developer Panoptic Group has already been putting virtual reality to work, using it to help sell new properties. The Chicago-based firm is known for its innovative projects and teamed up with Arch Virtual, a company that builds custom virtual reality simulations for realRead More →

Virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus haven’t hit the consumer market yet, but virtual reality is already making a difference in many industries. The medical profession, for one, has been one of the earliest adopters of virtual reality, virtual worlds and simulations. Here are fiveRead More →

Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder often experience a cluster of symptoms, including flashbacks and nightmares, emotional numbness and hyperarousal, which results in sleeping difficulties, angry outbursts and feeling constantly jumpy. “A veteran might be mowing his lawn on a peaceful summer’s day and suddenly the smell of gasoline fromRead More →

A couple of days ago, I rounded up all the places where you can order a Google Cardboard kit. But you don’t have to settled for cardboard, if you have access to a 3D printer. Check out this guide for 3D printing your own Google Cardboard headset here. Several differentRead More →

Tangle Grid is rapidly becoming known as the Expo Grid for their high-profile, hypergrid-enabled events. Tangle Grid’s Fashion Expo, which ended on August 3, brought in 85 visitors — up 55 percent from June’s Steam Expo on the same grid. About half of the Fashion Expo visitors came via hypergrid,Read More →

Updated Jan. 2, 2016: This page is so out of date! Please go see our Virtual Headsets Buying Guide, which lists over 70 Google Cardboard-compatible headsets categorized by price, and our handy Mobile virtual reality headset comparison chart, which has all the key specs, prices, and buying links for all the headsetsRead More →

Sept. 18 update: All prices will be going up on Nov. 1 but existing customers — and all those who order before Nov. 1 — will be grandfathered in. Read more here. Aug. 9 update: The prices were slightly raised, and more features added, with more starting regions, and choice of namesRead More →

OpenSim users chose “better vehicles and physics” as a top priority more than any other feature in a Hypergrid Business survey this past week. You can see the raw results of the survey here. Overall, 43 respondents out of 143, or 31 percent, said that better vehicles and physics wereRead More →

Update: The survey is now closed, but you can see all the raw results here.   The explosion of new virtual reality developments, the announcement that Linden Lab is working on a new version of Second Life, and a steady stream of updates from High Fidelity have combined to createRead More →

Riftmax Theater 4D, a virtual environment with a theater and meeting space, has been released for the Oculus Rift and is now available for free as a download from Oculus Share or from the project website. It was also the location of last week’s Road to VR Roundtable Discussion and is where the talkRead More →

A new branch of OpenSim, ArribaSim, promises better performance than mainline OpenSim while maintaining full compatibility. And now there’s a packaged version of it, called Arriba Mini-Grid, that sets itself up with a single click. The package is provided by Dorena’s World, a mid-sized German-language commercial grid. In face, Dorena’s WorldRead More →

The biggest choice every new grid makes is whether to enable hypergrid or not. Every single grid up until now has opted for either yes, no, or sometimes. Newly-launched Exo-Life, however, has picked a different path. It is on the hypergrid, but connects only to eight other grids. Currently, of theRead More →

The top OpenSim grids saw a record increase in active users this month, and a near-record increase in region counts, despite the summer season and a lack of stats from a major grid. The top 40 public OpenSim grids gained 2,109 regions this month, for a new record high of 46,907 regions.Read More →

William Warren’s research group is advancing virtual reality technology in the service of studying the science of the swarm: how patterns of crowd movement emerge from individual behaviors. He described his work June 29 in a keynote address to a conference in Vancouver. PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —The cognitive scientistsRead More →

Oliveira Virtual Lands, an OpenSim hosting company known for its OSgrid regions, now allows its customers to save backups of their regions directly to Dropbox. “Oliveira Lands customers may make their backups at our server, they may choose to download to their own computers or save it to their DropboxRead More →

OpenSim grids are gearing up for the 4th of July and other summer events this coming month. OSgrid holds giant birthday bash OSgrid, the world’s most popular non-profit OpenSim grid, is having its seventh birthday celebration this month. The event will be held on July 26 and 27, and twoRead More →

Most virtual reality headsets these days follow one of two paths — they’re either peripherals that plug into a PC or a gaming console, or they’re hollow frames that users drop their smartphones into. GameFace — for now, at least — is unique. The company behind it, San Francisco-based GameFaceRead More →

Second Life is a “viable and flexible” platform for physics simulations testing alternatives and predecessors to Newtonian physics, according to a paper published last month by a professor at the Lutheran University of Brazil The choice to use Second Life for the experiment was a simple one. “As I researched a fewRead More →

Update 2: The 200-plus-user drop on Zandramas, is due to a similar problem as at Metropolis, a glitch in the database during the recent upgrades. Update: The 700-user drop on Metropolis is a result of a glitch caused by some regions updating from OpenSim 0.7.6 to 0.8.0. The grid is working on fixingRead More →

Update: Simvalley, one of the grids mentioned in the below article, is no longer active. Folks who rent regions from Swondo, Dreamland Metaverse, Zetamex and Sasso can now upgrade them to super-sized varregions at no additional costs. Swondo, a Dutch hosting company offering regions on OSgrid and Metropolis, has beenRead More →

This month we’re featuring poetry and other literary-related events on the hypergrid. Poetry on Kitely The on-demand Kitely grid is rapidly becoming a poetry hub for the hypergrid. Every Sunday except June 1, at 3 p.m. Pacific, there’s the “Freda in Progress” reading at the Babel Tower Auditorium on theRead More →

The virtual reality hardware landscape is changing so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. But one trend is already clear, with devices falling into one of three categories — PC and console peripherals, self-contained systems, and smartphone-powered headsets. Here’s an overview of what’s going on with the all the majorRead More →

In February, I ran an overview piece about the Best metaverse communities, which has since become one of the most-read articles on this site. Yesterday, I updated that article with some new communities, and just got word of a few more communities that I’m missing, which might be of particular interest toRead More →

The on-demand, cloud-based Kitely grid has had hypergrid connectivity on its to-do list ever since it first launched in the spring of 2011. Actually enabling hypergrid, however, took quite a bit longer than expected — but the wait is finally over. Last night, the first group of users tested Kitely’sRead More →

The OpenSim metaverse nearly doubled in land area this month, as Virtual Worlds Grid added the equivalent of more than 18,000 regions to its grid, taking advantage of new variable size region functionality. Virtual Worlds Grid is a hypergrid-enabled community grid which provides free land to educators. The top 40Read More →

The release candidate of the next version of OpenSim — version 0.8 — is now out, and it’s got a bunch of cool new features, including a new default physics engine and the ability to rotate entire regions. A “release candidate” is not the final official release, but it isRead More →

Getting a student or employee into a virtual world is difficult enough without having to take them through the process of adding a private school or company grid to the viewer’s grid selection menu. There is currently no easy, automated process to create a custom viewer that has your gridRead More →

Update: Kitely made some changes on June 11. The story below has been updated to reflect those changes. Many grids offer free land to residents (get your free land report here), but nobody goes as far as to give away a full-sized, 100,000-prim region to everyone who comes along to useRead More →

Plenty of events happening around the OpenSim metaverse this month. The big social grids have packed events calendars. Check out the InWorldz Events Calendar and the InWorldz Event Announcements Forum Page. 3rd Rock Grid and Virtual Highway also have the month of May packed full of music and other community events,Read More →

If you accidentally stumbled on this story on Google thinking it was going to be about how to arrange cereal boxes on a supermarket shelf, you’re in the wrong place. This article is about how to create products that are designed to withstand commodification or virtualization. On second thought, someRead More →

Despite the dystopian predictions in Enerst Cline’s Ready Player One, the future virtual reality metaverse will not be owned and governed by one single corporate entity, said former Linden Lab CEO and founder Philip Rosedale in a keynote address today to the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference. Rosedale,Read More →

Kitely Market is out of private beta and is now delivering goods to any hypergrid-enabled grid. By default, the Market offers a choice of deliveries to avatars on Kitely itself, as well as to  Craft, DigiWorldz, FrancoGrid, Great Canadian Grid, Metropolis, OSgrid, and ZanGrid. Just make sure the items you’reRead More →

Storytelling is changing and the authors at Greyville Writer’s Colony have banded together to tell tales in the metaverse. The writers have created interactive stories, allowing readers to explore their worlds as their story unfolds on the screen. Offerings in this first set of tales range from 500 to 1,300Read More →

Celebrate Mardi Gras on Virtual Highway As usual, the Virtual Highway calendar is packed with DJ parties and live music every single day this month, with at least two events every day. This includes a Mardi Gras celebration on Monday, March 3 at 1 p.m. and a grand ball on Tuesday, MarchRead More →

We write a lot about business models in Hypergrid Business. You’ve got the big commercial grids, offering a lower-cost and more personal alternative to Second Life. The non-profits, which allow anyone to connect regions and live on donations from users, founders, and hosting companies. The school and company grids thatRead More →

Last updated Feb. 19, 2015: Please click here for latest list of Metaverse Communities. Staying on top of metaverse news and developments is hard. And getting help when you need it can be even harder. Fortunately, there are several online communities where OpenSim users share information and advice. Join in,Read More →

It’s the time of the year again, the time when lonely people all over the world feel even worse about themselves than normal. If you’re one of those people, then you’ll have a lot of places to avoid in February, since OpenSim grids are gearing up for Valentine’s Day. VirtualRead More →

The multi-grid, hypergrid-enabled OMC — Open Metaverse Currency — from Austrian currency exchange Virwox had its best year ever in 2013. The total value of transactions conducted in the virtual currency reached OMC 6.5 million in 2013, up three and a half times from OMC 1.8 million in 2012. That is equivalent to anRead More →

MADISON, Wisconsin – Almost three decades before Building Information Modeling (BIM) would go mainstream, the term “Virtual Building” was used in the earliest implementation of BIM through Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD debut in 1987. Since then, the concept hasn’t changed, but visualization technology has advanced to the point where designers, engineers, contractors,Read More →

The new year begins with both good news, and bad news. The bad news, first. Haven, a small commercial grid, closed as of December 27.  According to a letter by the founder, health issues have cut into both the time and the financial resources she is able to dedicate toRead More →

2013 was a busy year for virtual worlds in general and Hypergrid Business in particular. According to Google Analytics, over 125,000 different people visited the site this year. About 44 percent were new visitors, stopping by just for one story that caught their attention. The rest, 56 percent, visited moreRead More →

The recent surprise announcement that the InWorldz/Second Life Connection Centers would be closed was followed by the creation of a new group to fill the void and word from the owner of the original group that he is not closing after all. Amore Crux, owner of the Connection Centers, issuedRead More →

Today, OpenSim development moves along at an uneven pace, with an estimated 1,200 bugs that need to be fixed before OpenSim can get to a stable, reliable version 1.0 release and get out of “alpha.” Development is mainly driven by three groups — large organizations like Intel who have paidRead More →

The results of the 2013 OpenSim hosting  are in, and the biggest surprise was the lack of votes for SimHost, once one of the leading vendors in this space. Another surprise? Vehicle physics tops the list of wanted OpenSim features, just as it did in 2011. Overall, 53 percent ofRead More →

The OpenSim grids are getting ready for the winter holidays this month, with calendars full of Christmas and winter-themed events. Holiday freebies, contests and music on Virtual Highway Virtual Highway, a closed commercial grid known for its music scene, is going all-out for the holidays this year. “Two stunning winterRead More →

Capitalizing on the excitement generated by the Oculus Rift, several other companies, both big and small, are jumping into the virtual reality headset market. There’s a product that projects 3D images onto a special screen in front of you, one that projects 3D virtual reality right into your eyeballs, andRead More →

InWorldz announced the beta version of a  new mobile fitness app this week, called InWorldz InShape. Participants will download a smartphone application which will allow their real-world movements and activities to be mirrored by their avatars in-world. The Android app will be available for download within the next two weeksRead More →

Amiryu Hosoi has earned over $200 since starting to list items on Kitely Market last Tuesday. This is the story of how this well-known designer decided to try out this platform. Hosoi started out in Second Life, with six regions on Japan Kanto, supported by her Hosoi Ichiba Second LifeRead More →

Regions on Second Life are going black, creators pulling out, Renderosity and CG Textures forbidding the upload of their content to Second Life, and a new survey of content creators indicates they expect things to get worse, while OpenSim grids stand ready to welcome another crop of fleeing content creators.Read More →

A public version of the browser-based PixieViewer will be available by Christmas, German-based PixieTec announced earlier this month, as will the source code for the project. Currently, the preview version of the viewer only works on the company’s own grid (read more about the preview release here). PixieTec is also working onRead More →

The Kitely Market is significantly different from Second Life’s Marketplace. Not only because it will soon allow delivery of items to foreign grids – that’s just the biggest and most obvious difference. But there are a number of other areas where, according to Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner, the new platformRead More →

The Kitely Marketplace is now open for business to residents of the Kitely grid with over 700 items listed. The web-based platform allows users to buy items for either Kitely Credits or real money, using PayPal. Payments made via Kitely Credits help preserve the anonymity of the buyers, while PayPal paymentsRead More →

If you’re an educator considering taking advantage of Second Life’s newly-restored educator discount, but wondering about what else is out there, check out some of these OpenSim-based alternatives. You typically get much lower prices, more control and privacy and — best of all — ability to back up entire regionsRead More →

InWorldz, OpenSim’s most popular grid, has made it possible for OpenSim users to have well-fitting mesh clothing. The grid hired former Second Life developer Karl Stiefvater — known as Qarl Fizz in-world — to finish work on his mesh deformer project, which began with a $5,555 crowdfunded project on Indiegogo. TheRead More →

Vivox may be the gold standard of voice in video games, and be the best integrated with Second Life and OpenSim viewers, but it isn’t the only game in town.  TeamSpeak, for example, is another commercial voice product used on some grids. However, like Skype, it requires users to haveRead More →

San Francisco-based virtual worlds developer David Rowe has released a 3D viewer for OpenSim and Second Life, based on the Firestorm Viewer. The CtrlAltStudio Viewer works in conjunction with active shutter glasses and high-end graphics cards to create a 3D effect. “With the CtrlAltStudio Viewer, the display effect is that the virtualRead More →

While many OpenSim grids are trying to attract users from Second Life, or other grids, 3rd Rock Grid has decided to reach out to the real world for its latest marketing and outreach campaign, centered around its 3RG Music Village virtual performance space. The campaign will include targeted advertising through music-relatedRead More →

After Tuesday’s surprising announcement by Linden Lab prohibiting third-party trading in the Linden Dollar, some virtual currency exchanges are now fighting for their lives. “It is not only problem for Linden Lab or third party exchanges but also for but a big number of residents, especially from European countries, who will beRead More →

AviWorlds, a commercial social grid, will be going down on Wednesday as it switches from managed hosting by Dreamland Metaverse to running its own servers. AviWorlds has outgrown the management tools available from Dreamland Metaverse,  grid owner Alexsandro Pomposelli told Hypergrid Business.  The Dreamland Metaverse management panel offers some options,Read More →

I’ve written about New World Studio before, and just reviewed their Community and Licensed editions. The following are instructions for how to run the Community Edition the first time, and how to configure it without paying for the Licensed Edition. (Though the Licensed Edition makes the configuration a lot easier,Read More →

The commercial version of New World Studio is due out soon, and prices start at $20 per year for individual users, $38 for non-profits, and $64 for businesses. The Community Edition is still available for free, but has less functionality. (My review of its preview release is here.) Both editionsRead More →

I beta-tested the latest version of the New World Studio today. It took me exactly five clicks to have a new OpenSim-based world up and running on my computer. And the whole process took five minutes. Though probably half of it was spent taking pictures of my computer screen, resizingRead More →

Looking for an immersive platform for your company, non-profit, educational institution, or government agency? Start with the following list of vendors, all of which have a successful history of serving enterprise customers. Browser-based platforms Running a virtual world in a browser does impose some limitations on the environment. But, onRead More →

On Saturday, in the story  OpenSim grids still adapting to mesh, a couple of folks mentioned that OpenSim offers some advantages over Second Life when it comes mesh. According to OpenSim core developer Melanie Thielker, it’s about more than just not having to pay upload fees. “In Second Life, meshRead More →

Even though OpenSim had mesh support the very next day after Second Life did — and, in fact, one branch of OpenSim, realXtend, had mesh since 2008 — OpenSim users have been slower to adopt mesh than residents of Second Life. One reason is that most grids do not dictateRead More →

Low costs and ease of use are inspiring educators to use the OpenSim virtual world platform to build historical recreations, several of which were presented last fall in Paris at the European Immersive Education Summit. OpenSim is free, open source server software that allows the creation of Second Life-style virtual environments.Read More →

Update: James Stalling has provided more information about the recent administration changes to the I Live on Science Land blog. And member albertlr Landar has provided a nice overview of the non-profit situation on his forum post, Non-Profit Tax Deductible status of OSgrid & other matters. As we mentioned last month, OSgrid has hadRead More →

Sex has helped drive many recent technological innovations, from printing to VHS tapes to the Internet itself. Second Life has been a big beneficiary of the interest in virtual sex, as has Utherverse. But  there hasn’t yet been a commercial OpenSim grid dedicated solely to virtual sex. That changes withRead More →

The number of public OpenSim grids has more than doubled in 2012, from 98 at the start of the year, to 232 grids active this month. Here are some reasons why this is happening. Easier setup from established hosting providers Companies like Dreamhost Metaverse, SimHost, Virtual Reality, and many othersRead More →

Interested in celebrating the holidays by playing with some free land on an OpenSim grid? There are plenty of options this holiday season, with many commercial grids rolling out promos, in addition to special events and celebrations. Interested in checking out InWorldz, the most popular OpenSim grid? West Wind Estates offers freeRead More →

Press release:  North Georgia Interns Develop 3D Virtual World Lessons to Engage Students CUMMING, GA – Cell phones, iPods, online gaming and social networking have revolutionized American culture. To take advantage of this digital surge, the University of North Georgia and Forsyth County Schools have expanded their partnership to encourageRead More →

When most users first make the move from Second Life to OpenSim, they have two main concerns: will they be able to find a community, and will they be able to find the stuff they want? When an organization — a school, a company, a government agency — makes theRead More →

If there’s anyone still out there who doubts that sex helps drive technological development, they should have attended the Adult Entertainment Virtual Convention earlier this year in Utherverse. Utherverse is a 3D immersive virtual world, similar to Second Life, based in Vancouver, Canada. The company received a patent in September forRead More →

On this day in 2008, Crista Lopes, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, sent an email to the OpenSim developers mailing list. “I started working on an extension to OpenSim that makes it work in peer-to-peer mode… I’m really excited to say that this is working!” sheRead More →

The Intergrid Metaverse Art Biennial, a six-month long art festival, opened on six grids last month, including Second Life, InWorldz, OSGrid, Metropolis, FrancoGrid, and Craft World. This is the first time this festival is being held. InWorldz, a commercial grid, is the most popular OpenSim grid by active users. OSGrid,Read More →

JokaydiaGrid, the biggest education-focused OpenSim grid, has switched hosting providers, from ReactionGrid to SimHost. Residents will see higher prim limits, better stability, increased concurrency, and Vivox voice, grid owner Jo Kay told Hypergrid Business. ReactionGrid was one of the first enterprise-focused OpenSim hosting providers, and the go-to destination for educators.Read More →

The new version of the Hypergrid protocol is coming soon, hypergrid inventor Crista Lopes announced today. Lopes is also a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine. It will include controls that grid owners can use to restrict hypergrid travel in and out of their grids, and also to control movementRead More →

Sometime soon, Kitely — the low cost, on-demand, cloud-based grid – will turn on hypergrid connectivity. This may seriously affect the hosting market, as some users will turn to Kitely for low-use residential or educational sims — even while they continue to patronize shops, events, and other facilities elsewhere onRead More →

The Phoenix Firestorm team has released its latest update for OpenSim, part of its plans to have two separate builds, one for OpenSim and another for Second Life, according to a press release on the team’s blog. The build for Second Life was postponed because pathfinding isn’t ready and HavokRead More →

I just checked out the beta test of the 3Di Cloud, a browser-based social world platform. And though the two share some surface similarities, 3Di Cloud is no Cloud Party. In fact, as of right now, 3Di Cloud barely looks like a product. Japan’s 3Di, Inc., best known for their browser-based OpenSimRead More →

Japen’s 3Di, Inc., best known for their browser-based OpenSim viewers, will be testing a new, free, public, Unity-based virtual world this weekend, called 3Di Cloud. According to 3Di senior manager Norman Lin, individuals and groups will be able to embed a window into their private virtual world right onto their websites, likeRead More →

If you are a grid owner, you’ve probably already considered creating a virtual currency for your residents. Virtual currencies make it easier to have an in-game economy, have lower transaction costs than PayPal or credit card payments for small payments, and can bring in additional revenues for the grid operators.Read More →

Content creators may worry about preserving their content in an era of ubiquitous hypergrid connectivity, but most users have a different worry — preserving their stuff. Hypergrid 1.5 rolled out security measures that protect rogue grid owners from dipping into the inventories of hypergrid visitors and causing trouble. But thereRead More →

Update: In-world payments have been enabled. Kitely, the on-demand OpenSim hosting company, will be enabling in-world payments this month, both for resident-to-resident sales and for hosting fees. “There are already thousands of dollars sitting around in people’s accounts in unused Kitely credits, burning a hole in their pocket,” Kitely CEORead More →

I was recently a guest on Designing Worlds, discussing virtual projects that got real money from Kickstarter — or are trying to. Fellow guests included  Zayn Till and Wynx Whiplash, Tinies from Raglan Shire, who just successfully raised $11,112 on Kickstarter for their JazzPaws project, handily exceeding their original goal ofRead More →

Students learning to drive in Vermont are getting an edge on their written exams thanks to an online tutorial with animation filmed inside Second Life. Vermont’s Department of Motor Vehicles reported this month that would-be drivers passed their written tests significantly more often after it deployed a virtual tutorial createdRead More →

An English teacher based in southern China has launched an OpenSim grid for English students. Currently, over 100 of his college-age students are using the grid, as well as students from Italy, Russia, and Japan. They practice English, and interact with English speakers who teleport in from other grids —Read More →

In light of several griefing incidents on OpenSim grids over the past few days, grid owners are starting to consider taking proactive steps to protect themselves against future attacks. Multi-grid nuisance On FleepGrid, a griefer dropped colored spheres all over the grid, which brought down the entire world. “It’s takenRead More →

Kitely, the cloud-based, on-demand OpenSim grid, announced today that in-world teleports and choice of viewers are now supported. Previously, the only way to move from one Kitely region to another was to shut down your viewer, and load the new region from the website. And the only viewer you couldRead More →

We surveyed the biggest OpenSim hosting providers last week to find out how many private grids they were running for clients. Only three vendors responded — and some big, well-known vendors declined to provide data. However, between those three vendors, there were a total of 58 private grids, 13 forRead More →

SpotON3D — the most controversial grid in the OpenSim metaverse, and the only commercial grid that doesn’t release any key statistics — has announced plans to change the company name to Worldworks. The announcement was detailed in full in a members-only newsletter on Thursday. The Worldworks brand will become theRead More →

Each time I go out traveling the hypergrid, I meet someone who tells me that this is the new frontier — that this is what Second Life used to be, back at the beginning. The wide open spaces. The sense of boundless posibility. The feeling that simply by being there,Read More →

Island Oasis started out as a unique grid — a commercial world that allowed both region exports in the form of OAR files, and hypergrid access to the rest of the metaverse. (See related story: Why the fuss about Island Oasis?) Both of these features were pretty darn resident-friendly, and ourRead More →

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

One of the founders of the OpenSim project, Adam Frisby, is now focusing his efforts on the Unity platform — because it can scale better, the viewer runs on multiple devices, and it has better graphics. His former firm, DeepThink, has been acquired by the Sine Wave Company, which is nowRead More →