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 →

Say you and your friends want to set up a self-serve system to post announcements on each other’s grids or sims? Here’s how to do it without having to create any databases, by using Google Spreadsheets. First, you go to Google Docs and choose Create – Form. Here’s a sampleRead 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 →

US$20 (18 Euro) for a 17,200-prim region on Metropolis or OSgrid. No setup fee. First two weeks free.Read 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 →

There are a lot of stargates floating around OpenSim. Most are copies of one of the gates that show up in the StarGate movies or television shows. Others are unrecognizable as gates — they’re disguised as teleport boards, spinning globes, and weird shapes. After all, a hypergate is just a script — it canRead More →

Vehicle physics topped the list of missing features in our survey of OpenSim hosting providers this week. Because of the holiday — and the short notice — only 70 people responded to the survey, compared to last year’s 114. Of those, 52 percent said that vehicle physics was among theRead 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 →

Now that Vivox voice is available for free to small grids and to non-profit grids, there’s going to be less pressure on the OpenSim developers to finish integrating Whisper voice. And that’s a shame, since only two major issues need work. One is that Whisper isn’t currently integrated into existingRead More →

Note: Vivox now has an online form that OpenSim grid owners and hosting providers can use to request access credentials. Merry Christmas, grid owners — Vivox is now available, for free, to any grid owner. You get the same voice as in Second Life — with lip synching and directionality and speech indications.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 →

Kitely became the second commercial OpenSim grid to roll out Vivox voice today. Boston-based Vivox Inc. is currently the gold standard of in-world voice, used in Second Life, EVE Online, EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, DC Universe Online and in many other massively online multiplayer games. The company reported 60 millionRead More →

Second Life had the potential to be the 3D AOL, to usher in a new age of immersive 3D environments. It failed not because it was too complicated or difficult to use or tried to do too much at once. After all, AOL also was a one-stop-shop: shopping, forums, email,Read More →

The top 40 OpenSim grids gained 915 new regions since this time last month, bringing the total number of regions on these grids to 21,595, a new record high. OSGrid was the single biggest gainer. The non-profit grid, which allows users to connect regions running on home computers at noRead More →

Press release: WonderBuilders and STCC Awarded NSF Grant to Develop Virtual ESL Learning Environment Boston, MA— WonderBuilders, Inc., an Open Wonderland 3D virtual world platform and services provider, is partnering with Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) to create an English as a Second Language (ESL) learning environment. Funded by aRead More →

Press Release: ‘Virtual Learning for Dummies’ Available From Virtual Communications Leader SAN FRANCISCO, CA — ON24, the global leader in webcasting and virtual event solutions, today announced the availability of “Virtual Learning for Dummies,” a free booklet that explains virtual training in a no-nonsense style. Available via ON24’s website, “VirtualRead More →

Two new social worlds announced launches today — SmallWorlds, which is live, and Interactive City, which still seems to be the process of getting off the ground. SmallWorlds is a cartoonish, Flash-based, 2.5D, Lively-style virtual world more closely akin to Farmville than of Second Life. Built by New Zealand’s Outsmart,Read More →

[Editor: Joe Essid teaches a class about Edgar Allen Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher” for the department of English & Rhetoric & Communication Studies at the University of Richmond, using virtual space on the JokaydiaGrid.] With some glitches along the way, six groups of students completed their finalRead More →

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering productsRead More →

Press release: ITE and EON Reality to Set-Up Centre for Virtual 3D Learning in Singapore IRVINE, CA — EON Reality, Inc., the world’s leading interactive 3D software provider, today announced that ITE — Institute of Technical Education, Singapore, has signed a MOU — Memorandum of Understanding — to collaborate inRead More →

I belong to a business group in my area that recently expressed interest in setting up a virtual space for its members. The idea is that they could have meetings there, and individual members could get office space to use for their own projects and collaboration. I was pleasantly surprisedRead More →

Press Release: Training Expert Randy Hinrichs to Present a Free Online Seminar: “Thinking and Learning in 3D—How to Create Successful Virtual Learning Experiences” Author of the new book “Transforming Virtual World Learning” will join 40 attendees in VenueGen for an interactive, small-group discussion of how immersive virtual classrooms can improveRead 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 →

Press release: UBM Partners with the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training to Produce iCampus, the First Digital University in Middle East CHICAGO and LONDON — UBM Built Environment’s Client Solutions and UBM Studios today announced that they are partnering with the Abu Dhabi Centre forRead More →

Cloud-based OpenSim vendor Kitely Ltd. rolled out two features today aimed at improving the social aspects of the grid — a list of publicly-accessible regions, and a maturity ranking system. “While many people use their virtual worlds for private activities, almost a third of all the Kitely worlds people haveRead More →

Press Release: BAE Systems Invest in Daden to Develop Data Visualisation System Birmingham, UK — BAE Systems has signed an agreement with Birmingham based Daden Limited (Daden) to accelerate the development of a versatile 3D immersive visual analytics application which can be used for the collaborative analysis and understanding ofRead 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 →

Press Release: ANCC Expands Virtual Poster Hall in 2011 Using the Digitell, 3D, Immersive Platform, ANCC Doubles the Number of Poster Sessions From Last Year Jamestown, NY– The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has contracted with Digitell for a second year to expand their 3D, Virtual Poster Session Hall. TheRead More →

Press Release: 3rdRockGid.com launches Occupy World Peace Virtual Initiative The owners of 3rdRockGrid.com have thrown their support and solidarity behind the efforts of the Occupy protest movement sweeping the world. “From our collective position, this is not only a noble step, but a necessary one in order to bring theRead More →

Press Release: Discover the Innovation Behind Some of the Industry’s First Virtual Clinical Trials ProtonMedia and Microsoft to host workshop at Microsoft’s Technology Center featuring industry leaders discussing the impact of virtual clinical trials LANSDALE, Pa.–ProtonMedia and Microsoft will be hosting an interactive workshop focused on innovation in clinical trials.Read More →

Press release: Fashion Research Institute Announces ScienceSim Land Grant Program Awardees New York, NY  – Fashion Research Institute has been collaborating with Intel Labs since 2009, helping to push the limits of content development, and overseeing the Science Sim Land Grant Program. The program consists of awards of campuses of fourRead More →

Press release: Virtual Tradeshows Provide Affordable, New Marketing Opportunity for the Building Industry Exhibitors can save up to $100,000 or more with online events compared to physical tradeshows, according to new white paper Seattle, Wash. — In an era of tight marketing budgets, virtual tradeshows provide a cost-effective way forRead More →

Press Release: Unity Powers Army OneSource Virtual World Service Helps Soldiers and Loved Ones Connect From Anywhere Around the World SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Unity Technologies, provider of the Unity development platform for games and interactive 3D on the web, iOS, Android, consoles and beyond, is pleased to announce thatRead More →

Press Release: Ten-Day “Be Fearless!” Online Festival Combines Art and Music with Education and Awareness-Raising for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Wiscasset, Maine — Fearless Nation PTSD Support, the world’s only nonprofit using virtual reality to help people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), will hold its third annual PTSD educationRead More →

Even as OpenSim implementation continues to grow, a constant remains: there is no viewer tailored specifically for OpenSim as it comes direct from OpenSimulator.org. It’s discouraging, and it’s easy to cite the nearly million lines of code that are simply too complex to unravel as the culprit, yet the reasonsRead More →

AMSTERDAM — Chatbots.org, the Industry Catalyst of Intelligent Virtual Characters, reveals a business directory of almost 300 companies in conversational AI, (3D) avatar animation, speech synthesis and speech recognition and visual biometrics, and an additional Vendor Selector tool to select providers, designed for corporations in the middle of their buyingRead 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 →

Press release: RSNA Selects Digitell for First Virtual Event RSNA to Engage Members at Their Annual Meeting with a 3D/2D Virtual Platform Jamestown, NY — The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and Digitell, Inc. have signed an agreement to create the first 3D RSNA Virtual Event. As a focalRead More →

Today’s OpenSim grids all have a static idea of a world map. So does Second Life. There’s nothing wrong with that — I love having a virtual environment that I can navigate, that makes geometric sense. Room-based environments, where any room can connect to any other room, and all theRead 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 →

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering productsRead More →