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

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 →

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

Kitely, the OpenSim grid offering on-demand and easy region setup, has added support for groups and profiles, the company announced today. With groups, Kitely users can specify who can enter individual regions, and who can build on them. Groups can also be used to send out instant messages to allRead More →

Press release: Utherverse Reports Substantial Increase in Global White Label Platform Adoption with Average Franchise Monthly User Growth Rates Over 12% Company Boasts 13,500,000 Platform Users Worldwide and Interest from Large Corporations, Online Casinos, Real Estate Firms, and Government Agencies Vancouver, BC – Utherverse, the world’s Virtual World Web platform,Read More →

Some grids reported an increase in logins or registrations yesterday during Second Life’s protracted network outage. According to InWorldz co-founder David Daeschler, also known as Tranquillity Dexler in-world, the grid saw a peak of 352 simultaneous users on Thursday afternoon, at a time when the grid normally averages between 200 andRead More →

Tor Books, the largest science fiction publisher in the world, just announced that it will be removing digital rights management — DRM — from its ebooks. “Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time,” said president and publisher Tom Doherty in the announcement. “They’re aRead More →

With the recent explosion in new OpenSim grids, it will get harder and harder to get noticed. I’ve been talking about this to new gridmasters, and thought I’d share the advice a bit more widely. While I’m specifically writing for hypergrid-enabled grids, some of the same advice will apply toRead More →

Press release: 19.4 million Euro project to advance the workings of virtual worlds Budapest, Hungary — A consortium of 32 organisation from six countries has come together to advance the workings of virtual worlds. By creating a standard interface, the METAVERSE1 project made it possible for information to be shared between differentRead More →

Press release: X-Avatar offers new OpenSim module and real life age verification Augsburg, Germany – X-Avatar has launched a new addon module for OpenSim regions which enables region owners to block access to minors. In addition X-Avatar also added “real life” age verification which meets the strictest international youth protectionRead More →

There are two approaches to hypergrid content security currently being discussed by OpenSim developers and grid owners — the first, using the existing permissions system, is embraced by grids like Kitely looking to roll out something quickly. But the other approach — to create a brand-new permission that allows contentRead More →

The cloud-based, on-demand Kitely grid has added support for non-player characters (NPCs) and instant teleport gates as part of its upgrade to the latest version of OpenSim, the company announced today. NPCs — also known as bots — are useful for creating automated tour guides, robot receptionists, and, in roleRead 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 →

Georgia’s Forsyth County Schools plans to triple the number of its OpenSim regions next year, the district’s coordinator of online education, Steve Mashburn, announced at Friday’s Non-Profit Commons meeting in Second Life. The school district deployed a 16-region grid, hosted by Dreamland Metaverse, earlier this year. The same vendor will be usedRead More →

In the first quarter of the year, the OMC virtual currency has gained both popularity and usefulness, with both the total currency in circulation and the number of grids it’s available for use on growing, which has also been reflected in the growing number of users. The OMC, or Open Metaverse Currency,Read More →

The number of small OpenSim grids continued to climb this month, as companies, schools and individuals continued to strike out on their own. We’re tracking 285 grids, of which 169 are currently active — an increase of 26 grids from last month’s 143 active grids. Meanwhile, the top 40 public OpenSimRead More →

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

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

Linden Lab has issued new guidelines for third-party viewers who wish to include advanced new features that use the proprietary Havoc physics engine. Of most interest to OpenSim users, the guidelines require that the viewer be “primarily focused on Second Life as a target market, and have a significant baseRead More →

Press Release: Unity Reaches One Million Registered Developers SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwire – Apr 9, 2012) – Unity Technologies, provider of the Unity multi-platform engine and development tools, is thrilled to announce that the Unity engine and tools now has over 1 million registered developers and over 6 million total downloads.Read More →

Press Release: Designing Digitally, Inc. Wins the 2012 Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge FRANKLIN, OHIO – Designing Digitally, Inc. took first place honors in the Familiarization category in the 2012 Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge with its 3D virtual campus tour of the United States Air Force Academy. The Ohio-based tech firmRead More →

Companies interested in the cost-savings and productivity benefits of immersive virtual environments but put off by the cartoony avatars may soon have another option, according to LA-based Integrated Virtual Networks. IVN’s patented “Silhouette” technology uses standard cameras to capture the user’s image, isolates it from the background, and converts it intoRead More →

The premise: As the number of grids proliferates, so does the number of destinations not safe for children. Schools and parents can install software that protects children from inappropriate websites — similar software designed for the hypergrid could protect children from grids dedicated to gambling and adult activities. The business TheRead More →

Member Turnover from Period One to Period Two

New research released in March shows that OpenSim development is becoming increasingly led by entrepreneurs, hobbyists, and large corporations. While entrepreneurs remain important in the development of OpenSim, hobbyists are becoming more essential, said report authors Robin Teigland and Zeynep Yetis of the Stockholm School of Economics and Paul M. Di Gangi of Loyola University in Maryland.Read More →

We recently celebrated our third birthday in InWorldz at a user conference in Las Vegas. The conference was fantastic, and was very well received. It also sparked an article “InWorldz at 3: Turning point or more of same?” by Maria Korolov. There were some very valid questions in the article,Read More →

[CORRECTION: I removed a line about bottlenecks that specifically mentioned the InWorldz asset server. See discussion in the comments for the full details.] InWorldz is celebrating it’s third anniversary in Las Vegas this weekend (livestream here, schedule here). I’m listening to the keynote presentation right now by grid founder BethRead More →

InWorldz co-founder David Daeschler, also known as Tranquillity Dexler in-world, announced plans for marketing and expansion at the InWorldz Convention in Las Vegas today. The grid, now celebrating its third birthday, will begin doing advertising for the first time, Daeschler said. He did not specify a time frame. And new mentorsRead More →

I am going to build my dream woman. Or maybe a man. Someone who will greet me warmly when she sees me. She’ll take messages for me, tell me if there’s someone waiting for me in my office,  send me a teleport request, greet visitors by name, give landmarks toRead 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 →

Press Release: Worlds Inc. Receives Sixth “Virtual Worlds” Patent BOSTON, MA —  Worlds Inc.  announced that it has been issued patent no. 8,145,998 from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office  for patent application no. 12/406,970 titled “System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual Space.” This isRead More →

Hypergrid inventor and UC Irvine professor Crista Lopes — also known as  “Diva Canto” — has added a feature to OpenSim where you can invite someone to be your friend even if they’re not on your grid. In fact, they don’t even have to be logged on — they’ll get the inviteRead 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 →

For the longest time, I avoided the official Second Life viewers like the plague. There was always some update they wanted me to do when I had the least time to do it. There was no grid selection at startup, and, compared to Hippo, everything was in the wrong placeRead More →

New World Studio, which is currently the easiest way — by far — to install OpenSim on a home computer, will get an upgrade and some new features next month, said Olivier Battini, president of the Virtus Association, the non-profit behind both New World Studio and New World Grid. New World StudioRead More →

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, “equal access to education, training, and science and technology,” is a powerful affirmation of what I am about and why I am blazing the trail of bringing Open Wonderland to bridge the educational, gender, economic, social, and technological divides in Africa and worldwide. BackgroundRead 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 →

A couple of years ago, I described how we were using the Open Wonderland virtual environment platform to host polls for users to express their opinions about proposed governmental policies, as part of  the +Spaces project. In the next stage of the project, we have taken a look at another way of engaging citizens: debates. TheRead More →

The premise: There’s something addicting about putting together a virtual train set, getting the scenery just right, assembling the train itself. Even better is when you get to share it with people, or see how your set stacks up against others. This creates a business opportunity for a company —Read More →

[Editor: A couple of years ago, Chris Ravensoft was an actual paying customer for Second Life Enteprise, a behind-the-firewall version of Second Life, designed for companies who needed a secure, private space for internal collaboration, training, and rapid prototyping. In the summer of 2010, Linden Lab shut the project down.]Read More →

OpenSim is making headway as a viable alternative to Second Life. About 98 percent of the functionality of Second Life is present in OpenSim. The remaining 2 percent primarily deals with vehicle physics. Although it is still considered “alpha” software, OpenSim hosting is sold, and teachers, students, and businesses are taking advantage.Read More →

When asked about the difference between Second Life and OpenSim I frequently explain that, for enterprise users, having a region in Second Life is a lot like having a page on Facebook — and using OpenSim is like having your own website. This was recently underscored for me by myRead More →

There are many reasons why I believe that virtual worlds are not dead, dying or disappearing. In fact, I believe that they are gaining momentum and are becoming more and more impactful as the technology gets better and more real world business cases are indicating the value of these environments,Read More →

Press release: Broad/MSU launches Virtual Broad Art Museum with original digital artworks on view in multi-user online environment East Lansing, MI – The Virtual Broad Art Museum, a multi-user online environment developed in anticipation of the fall 2012 opening of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan StateRead More →

Press release: Forsyth County Schools has selected Dreamland Metaverse ATLANTA, GA – Forsyth County Schools announced today that it has selected Dreamland Metaverse to host the NOBLE Virtual World on the OpenSim platform. The metro Atlanta district, with 35 schools and 38,000 students, is the first major school system in theRead More →

A major spring cleaning on OSGrid — followed by an outage a couple of weeks later — played havok with the grid’s total region counts over the past four weeks. About three weeks ago, the grid dropped from more than 11,000 regions to just around 6,000 regions as a resultRead More →

Launching, maintaining, and expanding a virtual business — a new grid, design firm, hosting company or consultancy — can be an overwhelming task. While start-up costs are often not too high, it is difficult to run a viable business until consistent revenue streams are achieved. Regardless of financial situation though,Read More →

I’ve been listening to Vanish Seriath’s interview with OpenSim core developer Justin Clark-Casey today and I was struck by Clark-Casey’s pessimism about the growth of the hypergrid. He was worried about scalability, security, and whether or not it even serves any purpose. He expressed surprise that people would want to useRead 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 →

[Note from Editor: SimHost‘s James Stalling responded to this review with the following: “He was a difficult customer who did not give OpenSim a good evaluation before he got involved, and didn’t give it a fair shake after he got involved.  I have to say that I disagree entirely with hisRead More →

Running OpenSim on your home computer in, in theory, a great way to have as much virtual land as you want — for free. In practice, it can take quite a bit of time and effort to set it up. I normally have my teenage daughter do it, but withRead More →

Press release: Ball State granted rights to develop $10 million Blue Mars virtual world technology Muncie, INDIANA — The future of virtual worlds has a new home at Ball State University, thanks to the generosity of Avatar Reality Inc., which granted the university rights to the multimillion-dollar 3-D virtual world platform, BlueRead 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 →

I regularly hear that virtual worlds — and OpenSim and Second Life in particular — are too hard to use, or that the bandwidth and computer processing power isn’t there yet, or that the graphics aren’t good enough. But, as I pointed out before, all these things were true ofRead More →

Zoe, a prototype AI bot, lives in her own house on OpenSim. (Image courtesy David Burden.)

[Editor: Recent OpenSim upgrades have substantially expanded support for NPCs — non-player characters — also known as bots or AIs. NPCs are typically used in games, as enemies for players to defeat, or characters who help the players in their quests. However, they are also increasingly being used for business.]Read More →

Press release: Daden asks industry – what makes a good interactive chatbot? Birmingham UK — A survey to find out what functionality users want to see when they interact with a virtual agent – or chatbot – has been launched by chatbot specialists Daden Limited. Increasing in popularity, chatbots —Read More →

Kitely, the cloud-based, on-demand OpenSim grid, announced much-awaited alternate logins today. Instead of having to sign in with a Facebook account, customers can now choose to use their Twitter accounts instead, or just an email address. However, signing in with Twitter or Facebook offers more functionality, said Oren Hurvitz, Kitely’s co-founderRead More →

The U.S. military will be testing OpenSim’s scaling capabilities tomorrow, on the MOSES test grid. MOSES — Military Open Simulator Enterprise Strategy — is an OpenSim-based world run by the U.S. Army Simulation and Training Technology Center. The world is used by researchers both in and out of the defense industry. Tomorrow, aRead More →

Over the course of two years, we designed and ran a simulation for the University of Richmond based upon Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” in the virtual world of Second Life. I wanted to enable my classes to change the ending of Poe’s tale, ifRead More →

Avination, one of the top commercial grids using the OpenSim software, announced today that it has enabled border crossings for vehicles with the latest release of its server software. The standard OpenSim physics engine lags behind that of Second Life when it comes to vehicles, and there are problems havingRead More →

Press Release: Serious Games Association Forming: Open to Publishers, Developers, Technology Providers, Consultants LOS ANGELES– The Serious Games Association (SGA), designed to support all professionals in the serious games community with educational conferences, special interest groups, tools and training, is open for membership at www.seriousgamesassociation.com. Programs and services for all marketRead More →

Press release: Course teaches journalists in a virtual world how to cover disasters and crises in the real world The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas collaborated with the Virtual Journalism Learning Center (VJLC) to offer a free course in Spanish on “How to Cover Natural Disasters and Crises,”Read More →

A few weeks ago, I posted a script about how to add data to a Google spreadsheet from inside an OpenSim world (or from a Second Life region). But what if you want to go the other way, and bring data from a spreadsheet in-world? It’s not too hard. First,Read More →

It’s been years in the making. Literally. I’ve been slowly collecting scripts and destinations — with the help of a lot of other folks — and Hyperica is finally open for business. The hyperport, not the website. Here’s how it works. There are three regions. Hyperica Lower is at 4025,Read More →

OpenSim’s top 40 public grids gained 580 new regions over the past month, hitting a new record high of 23,231 regions. Meanwhile, the total number of active public grids is now 118, with 20 new grids added to our list this month — not counting private grids, Sim-on-a-Sticks, and gridsRead More →

Credit card thieves have figured out a way to steal money from OpenSim grid owners. They take the credit cards, and use them to purchase virtual currency from the grids. Then they turn around and redeem the currency for cash before the card holder notices the theft and complains. TheRead More →

Imprudence — the recommended viewer for OSGrid, Kitely, and many other OpenSim grids — will be phased out in favor of the next-generation Kokua viewer. But folks who’ve exported content using Imprudence don’t have to worry. Kokua will, eventually, support object and exports and imports in the same format asRead 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 →

If you like building — or need to build for your work or school — and you find Second Life cramped and expensive, OpenSim is a great option. But where do you start? There are over a hundred active public grids, dozens of hosting providers… for someone new to OpenSim,Read More →

Kitely — an OpenSim-based grid that runs its regions in the Amazon cloud — has a unique system that gives educators some interesting capabilities and advantages. To appreciate those features that are most beneficial requires just a bit of imagination and I have drawn on my perspective of having been involvedRead 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 →

With some help from scripters, designers, and other hypergrid travelers, we’ve been bringing the Hyperica directory up-to-date. As part of the process, I travel to a lot of grid welcome regions — there are about forty grids that are on the hypergrid that are already in the directory, and we’reRead More →

Press Release: ProtonMedia Introduces ProtoSphere 2.0: the Immersive, Social, Learning & Collaboration Software for the Enterprise Market-leading collaboration environment for the cloud deeply integrates with Microsoft technologies LANSDALE, Pa.—ProtonMedia has introduced ProtoSphere 2.0, the company’s immersive business collaboration environment for the enterprise. ProtoSphere 2.0 is an innovative approach in immersive,Read More →

Press Release Pleasanton, CA — Companies that want to monetize a hybrid event shouldn’t neglect the importance of marketing the virtual side, says Erica St. Angel, vice president of marketing for Sonic Foundry, who spoke at the 2012 Virtual Edge Summit, Jan 9-11, in San Diego. Companies already face the challengeRead 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 →

Today, Hamlet Au wrote a column suggesting that the OpenSim user base is shrinking — and used Hypergrid Business numbers to support his position. The short answer to his question is: No, OpenSim usage is not falling, and the numbers do not support this. In fact, it is growing quiteRead More →

There’s been a lot written lately about how SOPA and PIPA would affect virtual worlds including Second Life. The legislation would allow copyright holders to shut down access to Internet domains where pirated content is published — or even where there are links to other sites that have pirated content.Read More →

Here is a little vignette describing how 3D collaborative environments can impact large organizations. Just as technology has advanced in almost every field, so has the technology surrounding learning and collaboration. Three-dimensional virtual immersive environments are the next logical evolution and extension of existing technologies—a convergence of 2D virtual classrooms,Read 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 →

OpenSim’s top 40 public grids gained 1,056 new regions over the past month, hitting a new record high of 22,651 regions. Meanwhile, the total number of active public grids is now over 90, with 16 new grids added to our list this month. There are also an unknown number ofRead 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 →

My son wants to design space stations for a living. But he also wants to raise cows — he will inherit the family farm. My son wants to follow in the footsteps of both his grandfathers — the aerospace engineer and the dairy farmer. But the kinds of hands-on engineeringRead More →

Press release: ALTADYN® Introduces Patent Pending Technology For 3D Virtual Events, The First Self Service, Instantly Setup Full 3D Immersive Platform For Virtual Events With No Download Required Irvine, California – Altadyn announced its new platform today: 3D-VirtualEvents.com. Offered in SaaS mode on the cloud, it has been designed forRead More →

Note: Updated with new contact email address. Ever since Vivox made its hosted voice service available for free to small and non-profit grids on December 23, OpenSim grids and individual region owners have quickly adopted the technology. Large commercial grids like Avination (which had Vivox first, several months ago) and KitelyRead 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 →

A few days ago I saw a Tweet, that said something like, “I looked at OpenSim, but some guy said he would steal all my stuff. So, no thanks!” In fact, that attitude comes up a lot on discussion boards and in other forums. There’s a perception that OpenSim isRead More →

Update: Island Oasis grid co-founder Karl Dreyer tells me that he’s keeping an eye on new developments in OpenSim that allow grid owners to filter content before it’s saved into an OAR file — and customers may soon be able to export their Island Oasis regions.  “I surely will beRead More →

In November, I led a well-attended three-hour workshop, Second Life is Dead – Prepare for an OpenSim Future at the 17th International Conference on Online Learning in Orlando, Florida. My basic point was that, right now, Second Life as a product for educators is actually dead unless something dramatically changesRead More →

Last night, hanging out on OSGrid waiting for the ball to drop on New Year’s Eve, I resolved — among other things — to exercise more. But I’m the kind of person who thinks of herself less as a fitness freak and more as a … bookworm. Couch potato. DeskRead More →

New Voice — the company that brought us $5.95 regions on OSGrid and its own Nova grid — just dropped the starting price for regions even lower. To zero. That’s right. These are full regions. On the Nova grid, which runs the Aurora-Sim version of OpenSim, they can hold 80,000Read More →

I’m tired of naysayers complaining that Second Life — and, by extension, OpenSim — has no mass appeal. That it’s too hard to use. That regions take too long to load. That there’s never anybody there. Or if they’re there, they’re rude and annoying. That it’s all sex and gambling.Read More →

One of my teeny tiny pet peeves is when people harp about Second Life being a game. This is often followed by declarations that games should not be taken seriously. Therefore, Second Life should not be taken seriously. But putting the benefits of play — such as learning, teamwork, relaxation,Read More →

We’re running a survey today about OpenSim hosting providers, and I’m getting the sense that there’s a lot of confusion about OpenSim hosting when it comes to renting land on a grid, versus buying hosting from a third-party vendor. Part of it is understandable — there are a lot ofRead More →