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 →

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 to hypergrid, picking a home grid, or finding a hosting provider, but up there. There areRead More →

Founders of teleXLR8, a discussion program conducted in the Teleplace virtual environment, are hoping that the project becomes the next TED for virtual worlds. Teleplace, Inc. is one of the leading providers of enterprise-grade, behind-the-firewall, fully immersive virtual collaborative environments. According to teleXLR8 organizer Giulio Prisco, Teleplace’s built-in multi-user videoconferencing,Read More →

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 the experience of Second Life. They don’t make up the majority of grids running on theRead More →

UPDATE: TalentRaspel has lowered its price for exporting Second Life regions. It now starts at US $273 (200 Euros)  per region, and is based on the complexity of the build. Vendors are offering full-region migrations from Second Life to OpenSim at prices starting at as little as $80 a region.Read More →

Updated May 4, 2013 Yes, you can run OpenSim for free on your own computer –  you can even run it on a USB stick. But do you want to? Here’s a question — would you run your own Apache Web server for your website, or would you use aRead More →

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 from 130 regions to 531 regions. In addition, the grid now has over 15,000 registered usersRead More →

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 social environment. But the security comes at a cost, that of heavy restrictions on enterprise users.Read More →

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 we learn enough about how to do an activity to derive any joy from it. ThisRead More →

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$ — have not been getting much traction in OpenSim, and have pretty much faded away. SomeRead More →

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 gambling bill is able to make its way through Congress. Meanwhile, Utherverse hopes that casino operatorsRead More →

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 these features are time-dependent — eventually, every virtual world platform is going to have mesh importsRead More →

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 on the hypergrid. I’ve spent the last five weeks heavily using SL Viewer 2 in SecondRead More →

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 lip sync and speaker indication to work correctly, in addition to providing very stable, high qualityRead More →

The hypergrid economy continued its steady growth this past month, with a total of 1,091,000 OMC (US $3,775) spent on the 14 OMC-enabled grids since the multi-grid currency launched in March. This total doesn’t include local grid currencies, CyberCoinBank’s G$, or Virtual Wallet’s V$, none of which report their transactionRead More →

Despite rumors of its demise, the Australian virtual worlds company VastPark is not dead — in fact, it’s recently seen quite an uptick of interest. In April, the company won a prestigious contract from the USDA under which it and partner Assyst will build a virtual world and social networkRead More →

Wagner Au and Gwyneth Llewelyn have recently posted thought-provoking pieces about how to make virtual worlds more engaging. Au proposed an achievement system to encourage new users to make friends and visit new locations. “Turning social networking more competitive resulted in people getting more engaged with it,” added Llewelyn, explainingRead More →

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 grid. They did the work, then got locked out. What could they do? Unfortunately, not much.Read More →

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 typical home computer, four regions is plenty. For a high-speed computer or server, you can getRead More →

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 — to $75 a region with a $220 setup fee. “The price for a $75 four-sim dedicatedRead More →

Earlier this year, Linden Lab released Second Life Viewer 2 which, though it had a large number of usability problems, also offered one huge advantage for business and education users: the ability to put a live webpage or any other media onto any in-world surface. This means that a groupRead More →

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 previous Hypergrid 1.0 standard, according to hypergrid inventor Crista Lopes, professor of informatics at the UniversityRead More →

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 company, say, allow customers to register on its website, those same registrations can be used toRead More →

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 a “pseudo 3D” virtual meeting platform. InXpo’s Web-based virtual meeting platform combines multimedia – video, presentationsRead More →

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 platform. The OpenSim server software can be used to power an entire public grid, or aRead More →

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 hair, fashionistas will have to make their own shoes, teachers will have to create their ownRead More →

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 — shocked! — to find that many region owners aren’t following basic design principles. We’ve beenRead More →

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 on documents. At least, that’s the experience of virtual world vendor Teleplace, which counts over 100Read 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 →

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 currencies, as well as with Linden Dollars. Unlike previous attempts to set up currencies for in-worldRead More →

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 central servers, and better scalability. With traditional grid architecture, a virtual world is composed of manyRead More →

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 the wrong information getting to the wrong people, inappropriate workplace behavior, and lack of archiving tools.Read More →

ProtonMedia’s ProtoSphere is a high-end virtual world platform for grownups — and has a price tag to match. Typical costs range from $250 to $1,000 per user, depending on the degree of customization and content creation that is required. The company currently counts less than 20 clients, all of themRead More →

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 studio audience. Well, virtually live. The first guest is Jonena Relth, president of TBD Consulting Inc.,Read More →

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 business requirements are overlooked. This is a pity, because from a technical perspective there are fewRead More →