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 →

After months of delays — months in which its users enjoyed free premium OpenSim hosting — Kitely begins charging today. The pricing plan is a bit different than what the company initially outlined, with tiered plans added as another option to the previously discussed by-the-minute billing. The new plans areRead More →

Stanford’s newly renovated Virtual Human Interaction Lab is now open for public tours. If you want to see what your living room is likely to look like four years from now, come and take a tour of Stanford’s new Virtual Human Interaction Lab, says Jeremy Bailenson, an associate professor ofRead More →

New research released today dispels the myth that OpenSim is the sole product of work by people who expected no personal financial gain — academics, employees of large corporations, and volunteers working out of the goodness of their hearts. In fact, entrepreneurs played a very important part in the earlyRead More →

Update 3: There an simpler version of this script here: Easier Google Spreadsheet Visitor Logger Update 2: Reader Zuza Ritt has found a solution to working with the new format. Read the full instructions here. Update: Google has updated their form system so that this method doesn’t work anymore. However, you canRead More →

The number of people using the hypergrid-friendly OMC currently rose by a factor of five over the course of 2011, from just over 500 people at the start of the year, to 2,859 at the end. Meanwhile, the number of grids where the currency is available grew from 18 toRead More →

Last week, our readers told Hypergrid Business that what they most wanted to see in OpenSim was vehicle physics. Of course, vehicle physics. Everyone — or at least 52 percent of everyone — wants vehicle physics. All I hear about everywhere I go is vehicle physics. Vehicle physics. Vehicle physics.Read More →

Open Wonderland — an open source, Java-based alternative to OpenSim — is now available on a tablet. According to WonderSchool, a subsidiary of Germany’s THINSIA, clients can now access the platform on an iPad by having their user session streamed to the device. The streaming is not cheap, however. WonderTablet,Read More →

First of all, an apology. In May, we wrote that Redwood City, California-based virtual worlds company Teleplace, Inc. open sourced its platform in order to grow its market — and that the company would continue to offer paid hosting and support, and continue working on new features. At least, thatRead More →

The results of the 2011 Hypergrid Business grid survey are in, with mid-sized grids serving language communities dominating the rankings. A record 459 people submitted responses this year, with a total of 63 different grids visited — up from 194 respondents and 35 grids last year. The most surprising resultRead More →

ReactionGrid was the early favorite in the race to provide a stable and safe OpenSim environment for educators and corporations. Over the last couple of years, however, the company has been falling behind the rest of the OpenSim universe, sticking with an old version of OpenSim as newer versions cameRead More →

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 of California, Irvine, and came up with a peer-to-peer system that allowed people to teleport fromRead More →

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 a grid-wide revamp. That’s a lot of activity for a small grid — Island Oasis isRead More →

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 for its developers. One possible anti-troll protection measure would be to change the agreement so thatRead More →

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 owners and content creators fight to remove infringing content, but that’s no comfort to a businessRead More →

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 is that millions of people already have the Unity plugin, there’s no need to open portsRead More →

A traditional lecture hall in the vAcademia environment.

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 State Technical University in Yoshkar-Ola, a city in western Russia.  Although primarily used by Russian institutionsRead More →

Unity 3D is currently the hot platform for virtual world development and it’s going to get hotter, experts say, now that Unity has announced that their environments will soon be exportable to Flash. The announcement will “100 percent accelerate” the move to Unity, Tipodean CEO Chris Collins told Hypergrid Business. Collins wasRead More →

Because of its community and stability, Second Life is still the destination of choice for companies looking for a virtual world platform, said experts participating in a Second Life Community Conference panel about choosing the right virtual world. “Communities are amazing in Second Life,” said Chris Collins, CEO of Tipodean Technologies.Read More →

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, told Hypergrid Business. “All our competitors rely on 2D.” The founders spent two years building theRead More →

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 having NPCs and autonomous avatars in virtual worlds is a lot of what we are about,” DavidRead More →

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 factory life at the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Co. in Muncie. Advanced 3-D technology is allowingRead More →

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 more attention in all the classrooms using 3D technology, reported Len Scrogan, director of instructional technologyRead More →

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 SpotON3D’s innovation can help energize OpenSim adoption — and the patent, if it is granted, mayRead More →

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 in 2008. Second Life, with 27 million registered users, continued to hold the top position inRead More →

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 and roleplaying world for your residents, they all need clothes, skins, hair, shoes, furniture, productivity tools,Read More →

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. At least, that’s the opinion of Donald C. Dowling, Jr., partner in the international labor andRead More →

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 Grid, Avination, InWorldz, Open Neuland,  Sim World and UFS Grid. It’s been making that pitch sinceRead More →

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, we’ve scaled back new development on OpenSim,” 3Di technical group manager Norman Lin told Hypergrid Business.Read More →

The recently-released OpenAvatar kit for open source avatars could help enterprise users of virtual worlds reduce vendor lock-in and, eventually, lead to significant improvements in the appearance of avatars, VastPark CEO Bruce Joy told Hypergrid Business. VastPark is an Australian immersive environment vendor that has both commercial and open sourceRead More →

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 tripled from 133 a month in May of 2009 to 471 last month – and theseRead More →

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 for people to help accomplish that. Tocher said that’s he’s received a commitment from Alon ZakaiRead More →

Club One’s two virtual weight-loss programs last year were a clear success — participants lost as much or more weight as in a similar program held in a real gym, and made more positive lifestyle changes. (See How Club One lowers your weight and BP virtually and Study: Virtual health club deliversRead More →

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, professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine in an announcement Friday. The new functionalityRead More →

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 — promises to change that. Carmen Dubaldi, who bought the exchange this January, has actual business experienceRead More →

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 a virtual reality,” said Jeremy Bailenson, co-author of Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, andRead More →

Educators looking for OpenSim alternatives to Second Life are currently limited to ReactionGrid or Jokaydia Grid, which is operated by ReactionGrid — unless they want to set up their own grid or join a multi-purpose grid that’s about more than just education. That changed this week when Houston-based FireSabre Consulting,Read More →

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 to previous versions of OpenSim. Many large public grids have already upgraded to the new version,Read More →

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 for community story telling. One company doing just that is Toronto-based Startled Cat. “Startled Cat isRead More →

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 for three to six months. The Teleplace software normally runs for $50 per user per monthRead More →

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

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 particular OpenSim deployment depends quite a bit on how it is configured. Here are the mostRead More →

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

(Last updated April 26, 2013) There are plenty of reasons to run OpenSim on your own computers. If you’re a content creator, you can have as many regions as you want, for free, and load them up when you need to work on them. There’s no lag due to connectivityRead More →

Latest update: April 8, 2013 This is a primer for folks considering moving into OpenSim who have never used OpenSim before and who don’t have much of a technical background. First look at OpenSim If you want to get into OpenSim in the quickest, easiest way possible, just follow thisRead More →

In a major step forward for usability of OpenSim, Israel-based startup Kitely has created a Website that allows any Facebook user to create, load and enter an OpenSim world in less than two minutes. The world owner can then invite other individual Facebook users to visit, invite an entire group,Read More →

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 with ubiquitous Internet advertising. But the company wants to be known for its ease of useRead More →

Colleges and medical institutions have been trying out immersive virtual environments for training and teaching for years, but one new service, CliniSpace, is trying to take ease-of-use a big step forward — into the browser. Los Altos Hills, CA-based Innovation in Learning, Inc. launched CliniSpace in September of 2010, andRead More →

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

Virtual environments are changing rapidly, and it’s sometimes hard to keep up with everything that’s going on. Here is a quick round up of the best options for the most common uses of virtual worlds for various types of enterprise needs. If you’re looking for a high-end, Fortune 500-caliber virtualRead More →

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

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

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

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

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 2009, showed that investors bought US$145,000 worth of shares in initial public offerings of virtual companies.Read More →

OpenSim hosting company New Voice offers full OpenSim regions for just $9.90 per month. So what do you actually get for this amount of money? A region in Second Life, after all, costs $300 — not to mention a $1,000 setup fee. There are no setup fees with New Voice.Read More →