Features

The hypergrid turns three

Three years ago today, on Oct. 26, 2008, Crista Lopes fired off the email that marked the birth of the hypergrid. Lopes, an OpenSim core developer, is also a professor of informatics at the University...

Island Oasis testing OMC Pocket Money

The Island Oasis social grid has rolled out a custom fishing game, a vampire role playing game, an urban combat system and a speedway, and turned on hypergrid connectivity last week as part of...

OpenSim considering patent protection

OpenSim developers are discussing ways to combat damaging patent litigation, including changing the OpenSim license to deter potential patent trolls. The Overte Foundation, which holds the OpenSim licenses, recently released a contributors’ license agreement...

Q&A with designer Linda Kellie

Freebies are plentiful throughout OpenSim grids, where uploads are free and land is cheap — anyone can put up a freebie store. But most freebie stores can’t guarantee the provenance of their content. Grid...

HostaVirtualEvent a pricey, business-focused platform

There’s a new immersive platform in town. HostaVirtualEvent.com is focused on business users — like Venuegen and Web.alive. But it’s based on Unity, like ReactionGrid’s Jibe and Second Places’ Unifier. The advantage of Unity...

A traditional lecture hall in the vAcademia environment.

vAcademia pioneers 3D recording

Russia’s Virtual Spaces LLC has released a new education-focused virtual world platform, vAcademia, that allows for both traditional 2D and 3D recordings. The platform, which is now in beta, is being used by Mari...

Hyperfair offers 3D conference halls

San Francisco-based Hyperfair is the first to offer a fully immersive 3D exposition hall focusing on large-scale business expos. “We want to become the global reference model,” Max Bonfanti, the company’s  CTO and co-founder,...

NPCs are coming to OpenSim

Thanks to a “small bounty” from Birmingham, U.K.-based Daden Limited, OpenSim has new NPC functionality — otherwise known as non-player characters or bots. “Having this functionality broken was becoming a real pain for us, as...

Glass museum recreated in Blue Mars

History and ‘heat’ of glass factory comes alive with new 3-D virtual living museum Using photos from University Libraries to guide them, designers for Ball State’s IDIA were able to simulate the conditions of...

3D improves interest, learning outcomes in school

Students show more interest in class and have better learning outcomes when 3D technology is used, according to the Boulder Valley School District. Focused and attentive Students focus on the content more and paid...

Controversy erupts over SpotON3D’s patent claims

Competing OpenSim hosting companies are concerned that SpotON3D‘s viewer plugin patent isn’t original, will hinder innovation, and that the company isn’t playing fair with the broader open source community. Other developers, however, say that...

Virtual world usage accelerates

Virtual worlds gained 214 million new users in the second quarter of 2011, according to virtual worlds research firm KZero Worldwide. It was the largest quarterly increase since the company began tracking these numbers...

Cariama vs. HGExchange

If you’re launching a new grid, your number one problem is lack of content. Whether your grid is a corporate office complex for your employees, a campus for your students, or a large social...

Can you be sued by your virtual employees?

If you’re treating your virtual workers like regular staff, but paying them as contractors, you might be setting yourself up for a lawsuit — even if you’re paying your employees in a virtual currency....

Cariama offers no-fee, multi-grid marketplace

Paris-based Cariama, a multi-grid marketplace, wants merchants to know that they can sell their goods to six different OpenSim grids, plus Second Life — without paying any commission. Those six grids are 3rd Rock...

3Di scales back on OpenSim

Japan’s 3Di Inc., the first vendor to release a business-friendly Web-based viewer for OpenSim, has cut back its development work on the platform in favor of Flash-based virtual environments. “Apart from our existing deployments,...

Curiosity, pioneer spirit drive hypergridders

Simple curiosity and the pioneering spirit are driving the growth in hypergridding, despite technical challenges. According to data from The Hypergates, the total number of travelers using their teleport gate system has more than...

Kitely calls for a push to the web

Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business this week that the Second Life and OpenSim viewer can be ported to HTML 5 and Web GL in a matter of months — and he’s looking...

Hypergrid to have friends, instant messaging

What’s the fun of teleporting to other grids and meeting new friends, if you can’t keep in touch with them afterwards? That’s not going to be a problem for long, hypergrid inventor Crista Lopes,...

New owner of virtual exchange promises a clean game

Second Life “financial institutions” such as virtual banks and stock exchanges have historically been magnets for fraud and mismanagement. But the Capital Exchange — formerly the SL Capital Exchange, now under new management —...

Book: Virtual avatars have real impact

The experiences people have in virtual worlds such as Second Life influence their behavior in real life, according to a new book. “There are consequences of spending 20 hours weekly using an avatar in...

Major OpenSim upgrade adds security, meshes

OpenSim’s new 0.7.1 release supports meshes, media-on-a-prim, and adds additional security features for grid owners and content creators. The upgrade also promises increased stability and less lag. However, hypergrid teleports are not backwards compatible...

Startled Cat immersed in stories

Immersive virtual environments are helping to transform storytelling. The new technique – immersive, collaborative storytelling – can be used to expose people to the reality of living life a different way, for education and...

Why Teleplace went open source

Earlier this week, Teleplace announced that it was releasing the current version of proprietary virtual world software to the open source community as OpenQwaq. The next generation of its software won’t be commercially available...

RealXtend Association formed

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...

Designers offer OpenSim goods on Websites

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...

PioneerX offers no-fuss grid management

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...

Avination first with Vivox voice on OpenSim

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...

Study: People open to avatars at work

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...

Brouchoud offers virtual architecture overview

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...

Expert: Copyright bigger threat than patents to OpenSim

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...

OpenSim grids embrace copyright protection

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...

VenueGen hopes to be the WebEx of virtual meetings

There are three main ways today to have a 3D virtual business meeting using your browser – VenueGen, Altadyn’s 3DXplorer, and Avaya’s  Web.alive. Of the three, VenueGen stands out by actively marketing its platform...

VirtualU integrates 2D, 3D conferences

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...

Most read of 2010

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,...

IBM’s principles of virtual design

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...

Katalabs releases HTML 5 virtual worlds browser

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...

OMC, I’z transactions grow on OpenSim

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...

Virtual investors lost 71% on risky SLCapEx

Investors in virtual companies listed on the Second Life Capital Exchange lost most of their money, according to a new research report. The report, which covered the time period between May 2007 and December...

OpenSim payments 101

One of the most confusing parts of moving to OpenSim is figuring out how the commerce system works. Not as confusing, maybe, than than figuring out how to run the server software, learning how...

An OpenSim grid primer

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...

There’s something about InWorldz

Last week, InWorldz became the second-largest grid running on the OpenSim platform, after shooting up the charts over the course of just the past three months. Between April and September 15, the grid grew...

SpotOn3D focuses on content protection

Many virtual designers are wary of coming to OpenSim because of worries about content protections. One virtual worlds company is bending over backwards to alleviate these concerns and to create a safe and supportive...

How can you add joy to your virtual world?

A couple of weeks ago, the ever-insightful Seth Godin pointed out that every new activity has a learning curve — and also a joy curve. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a bit of time before...

Does your grid need its own currency?

Update: I still recommend the OMC currency, which has grown substantially since this article was first written and now used on 30 OpenSim grids. The two other currencies I mentioned — V$ and G$...

Utherverse launches casino for US customers

Utherverse, a proprietary virtual world platform known for its adult content, has launched a virtual casino targeting US customers. While the winnings cannot be converted into cash today, that might change if a new...

Rooms and regions: pros and cons

Business users choosing virtual environments usually focus on particular features — does it support mesh imports? Are there in-world editing tools? How good is the voice? Is the a web viewer? However, most of...

Viewer 2 a net gain for OpenSim

The latest versions of OpenSim support Second Life Viewer 2 and, over the next couple of months, grids and hosting providers will be upgrading their OpenSim server software to make Viewer 2 usable everywhere...

Whisper – New Voice Solution for OpenSim

Today, vComm Solutions of Switzerland released Whisper, a high quality voice solution for OpenSim based on the popular Mumble open source VoIP client. The key feature of this solution is that it enables avatar...

Hypergrid economy hits new high

The hypergrid economy continued its steady growth this past month, with a total of 1,091,000 OMC (US $3,775) spent on the 14 OMC-enabled grids since the multi-grid currency launched in March. This total doesn’t...

How to get ripped off in OpenSim

A couple of weeks ago, two OpenSim content designers came to Hypergrid Business with a complaint: they were offered a chance to produce content for a new grid, in return for space on that...

How to set up a mini-grid

A mini-grid is a small, standalone OpenSim grid that doesn’t require a separate grid administration server. How small? Small enough so that all its regions can be run on a single computer. For a...

ReactionGrid discontinues $25 region hosting

ReactionGrid no longer offers $25 regions, offering only entire servers starting at $150 a month, with a $500 setup fee. Each server can handle four regions, and there is a discount for educators —...

Hypergrid upgrade may cause travel hiccups

The OpenSim community is currently in the process of upgrading to Hypergrid 1.5, a more secure version of the hypergrid protocol that allows teleportation between different grids. However, Hypergrid 1.5 isn’t compatible with the...

3Di OpenSim allows third-party logins

Tokyo-based 3Di Inc., will release the new version of its OpenSim server software on June 25, and the new release will allow the use of separate account registration systems. For example, if a retail...

Virtual events go social

Virtual events platform provider InXpo rolled out a suite of social networking features last week – including built-in support for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – as well as a social gaming platform. InXpo is...

Educators save money switching to OpenSim

Educators in primary schools, colleges, and other institutions looking for lower costs, better controls, and no age restrictions are considering switching from Second Life to its open source alternative, the OpenSim virtual world server...

Where to get content for an OpenSim grid

One of the common complaints enterprises have about OpenSim is that if they set up a private grid, they’ll have to create all the content from scratch. Employees will have to create their own...

Designing for virtual visitors

In the last couple of weeks we’ve been traveling all over the hypergrid, here at Hypergrid Business, as preparation for the launch of our Hypergrid Worlds directory of hypergrid destinations. And we’ve been shocked...

Teleplace focuses on app sharing

When business users get together for a virtual meeting, they’re not interested in showing off the latest dance moves or hairstyles – they want to share PowerPoint presentations, work together on spreadsheets, and collaborate...

OpenSim security 101

Enterprises rolling out new OpenSim grids are often concerned about security issues of running OpenSim, and justifiably so. OpenSim is alpha software and still poses some security challenges. However, the security level of a...

In-world payments come to OpenSim grids

Germany’s Grid4Us and GermanGrid launched in-world money systems yesterday, using the VirWox virtual payment system. The virtual money — Open Metaverse Currency — is fully convertible with US Dollars, Euros and other real world...

Cyberlandia switches to distributed model

In a move which may be followed by other current and future private world operators, the Italian Cyberlandia grid has switched from a centralized to a distributed architecture model. The result? Lower stress on...

Virtual worlds pose compliance risks

The very aspects of virtual world that make them appealing to some enterprise users, such as the collaboration tools, also make them risky from a compliance perspective. These risks include the communication risks of...

Five questions for Caleb Booker

Today, online events producer Caleb Booker debuts a new video series devoted to, and filmed entirely inside, virtual worlds. The program, “Virtual Worlds Keynote,” is filmed in Second Life in front of a live...

Business virtual needs

When most people compare virtual worlds, they do so from a technical perspective — how many concurrent users, what kind of interface is being used, what data standards are supported. Too often, however, general...

OpenSim retail outlets

[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.] The number of Web-based distribution channels for OpenSim...

How to hypergrid

[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.] We’ve covered this...

Hotel magnate launches 3D meeting venue

Training company Immercio Ltd. is launching a full-service corporate training and meeting facility this month for small and medium-sized businesses on January 17. The facility has two locations – in Second Life, and on...

Virtual world alternatives

Here at Hypergrid Business, we write a lot about the Second Life-OpenSim-realXtend ecosystem. We love the low cost, the flexibility, and the massive amounts of content available for this platform. But it isn’t the...

Top OpenSim Hosts of 2009

The choice of OpenSim hosting companies has grown a bit but is still very limited, due to the fact that the OpenSim platform has only become stable — and grids hyperlinked — at the...

Funsourcing in virtual worlds

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...

Four sources for pre-made virtual worlds

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...

3D tool adds directional flow

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,...

Over 300 grids running OpenSim

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...

1000 avatars on a sim

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...