OpenSim Worlds– VLENZ Update, No 177, January 09, 2011

OpenSim Grid worlds are spreading

But do you want to pay

‘twice’ for your skin?

… and  everything else just because you

want to ‘travel’ the worlds

The Hypergate …one simple way of “jaunting”* around a myriad of Virtual Worlds.

Well it’s the New Year and everything is well in Virtual Worlds? Or is it?

Anyway before I start griping. Happy New Year to everyone, in every world and every universe.

And sorry for the four-month hiatus between blogs. It’s not that I havent been looking at virtual worlds or even living in them - its just that doing things in those worlds and “jaunting*” by any method – hypergridding or hypergating (www.thehypergates.com) - has taken precedence over writing.

There is no doubt that the OpenSource Universe/s is/are rapidly expanding, propelled not only by the Linden Labs’ withdrawal of its discounts  for educational institutions operating within Second Life and its “closed shop” mentality,  but also by the fact, that according to some women I know in Second Life, the male sex idiots seem to have taken over many regions, despite adult activities being limited to specific zones. One only has to look at the Welcome Areas, particularly Ahern, to watch and listen to males behaving like teenage, test0sterone-driven, predatory lunatics, in voice and text.  The Linden’s should take note that for most women and for many men these sort of crass advances outside “adult” zones -and often even in adult zones – are totally unwelcome, and probably result in a large portion of the estimated 80 percent plus female noobie drop-out rate. Once they are lost they wont come back.

Those aspects aside Second Life is still the virtual world of choice – even beyond the great graphics and effects of Blue Mars, the quest and teambuilding addictiveness  of World of Warcraft and the advantages of Playstation Home or Kinect Xbox 360 ( Microsoft has plans to make the system avaiable on PCs) -   along with the Opensource OpenSim lookalike worlds which are burgeoning and  fast catching up to Second Life, especially with the Havoc physics engine reportedly becoming freely available to educational insitutions.

Second Life still has the people!  That’s the fact, however.  It’s people who matter in the long run. And its a wonderful place to relax or  virtually network.

But the OpenSim growth (Especially OpenSim Version 7 and HG 1.5 and V6.9  with HG 1.0),  alongside the development of Hypergating has created new excitement for virtual world tourists akin to the early days of Second life. This  has led me to the conclusion that if Linden Labs don’t allow “jaunting”* – hypergating or hypergridding – from Second Life into other similar, compatible worlds  in the not-too-distant future  the Linden Grid is going to stagnate and then eventually fade if not die.

And then the mainstream users will start to leave as many of the first adopters already have.

Arrival point in Avination - all you need at at a cost ... for the second time.

The Lindens have rightly been concerned about guaranteeing intellectual property creator rights and Second Life’s place in the sun (Let’s lock in the users to a closed world by not letting them take their purchases/creations elsewhere), but it is possible that “legal” Linden Lab-approved  inter-world “jaunting” with the right safeguards is the only way for Linden Labs to prevent an exodus of core-recreational users, through allowing people  to move  freely between virtual worlds with all their legally-purchased assets and inventory, with all the permissions/limitations intact.

This is the only way to keep Second Life as the core – the home world, the New York, the Rome – of the burgeoning Second Life-style OpenSource environment – a  world which one visits, no matter where one lives virtually, to buy products, to exchange ideas, and to meet  avatars from the next suburb or the world.

I’m a roleplayer in all worlds, and I  am not happy when I have to purchase the same skins, clothes, equipment I  have bought and live with in one world, when I visit another world, be it a Linden World or an OpenSim World. I feel the same travelling in the real world. I don’t wish to buy new clothes, hair, spectacles, toothbrush, deodorant, every time  I visit a new real-world city. The same goes for the things I build. Over the years I’ve paid $US10s for the assets in my Second Life inventory. I wish to carry them with me or  at least be able to access them freely when I travel virtually.

This was brought to mind recently on a visit to  www.avination.com at the invitation of  Jayalli Hawthorn, a consumate  Second Life roleplayer, builder and writer, who is now moving her operations to this world.
On arrival one is given a default  avatar, which in some ways harks backs to the bad old days of SL noobs (one cannot change the size of the hair or move it on one’s skull,  if one wants to alter the shape of one’s head) and is immediately confronted by a Redgrave store selling that  group’s excellent skins  for the local currency ($L999) which one can exchange one’s Lindens to obtain. This is not a world where there are any real freebies except for the default avatar which is limited in both appearance and assets.

Klarabella Karamell's notice at Freebie Heaven, in Dorena's World - a must visit for Virtual World travellers.

I’m not criticising the Redgrave attempt to make money from people who have never bought a Redgrave skin before but I was peeved by the fact that  I have three or four Redgrave skins, among the 60,000 items in my inventories in Second Life , which I will never be able to use in this world.  As a result I wont buy Redgave in Avination  or in any other world for that matter. The same goes for any other vendor who tries to rip me off twice for the same item.

In other OpenSim worlds ( currently excluding OsGrid because of a software glitch) one can step through a hypergate between world’s with one’s avatar and inventory intact. In fact, I can step from my own virtual world on my own home computer through a Hypergate to a MUVE virtually anywhere in the world, and possibly on  a distant friend’s home computer, wearing my skin, my hair, my shape, my AO  and with all my assets in my inventory.

Despite  my experience with avination  I have found through “jaunting”  that there are now a number of competent builders operating in OpenSource MUVEs  who are both selling their products courtesy the Virtex  money exchange system and others, particularly Klarabella Karamel, of Freebie Heaven, on Dorena’s World (HG 1.5), and Eppilonia (HG 1.0), who are giving things away which they are constructing themselves  and guaranteeing that they are the orginators.

And there  are already great virtual world avatar skins in the wild – and on lots of  OpenSim grids – based on Eloh Elliot’s splendid OpenSource, Creative Commons, freebie  works of art as well as many other items which have been created by OpenSource builders like the much venerated but late Arcadia Asylum, of Second life, who was renowned for her run-ins with the Lindens over the OpenSource issue.

The popularity of “jaunting” can be gauged from  the growth  in membership of John (Pathfinder) Lester’s (formerly Pathfinder Linden and education guru for Second Life) Hypergrid Adventurers’ Club based on Pathlandia, in the blossoming http://www.jokaydia.com/, which is attached to http://reactiongrid.com/.

He runs twice -weekly tours (http://becunningandfulloftricks.com/) which are drawing more and more  Second Life refugees who crave the bleeding edge excitement of the early days of Second Life. Check him out. It’s well worth taking one of his tours.

* Jaunting – The method of  travel/teleportation discovered by Charles Fort Jaunte, in Alfred Bester’s 1956 sci-fi novel, Tiger!Tiger!, later published as, The Stars my Destination.

Pathfinder Lester's HGAC members are briefed for a hypergrid tour.

9 Responses

  1. Nice work raising awareness of some of the very real challenges for both content creators and customers.

    It will be interesting to watch as the Hypergrid protocols continue to mature and add new features, such as the ability for content creators to have more control over how their work can (or cannot) migrate from grid to grid via the Hypergrid. I know that Diva Canto is also currently adding features to Opensim that will preserve Creator names for content archived in OAR files.

    I think all this work and thought will result in a very bright future for everyone, both content creators and consumers. And there’s no doubt in my mind that this future will be interconnected.

    One slight correction to your article. You said that jokaydiagrid is “attached” to ReactionGrid. That’s not technically correct. Jokaydiagrid is its own fully independent grid, run and owned by Jokay Wollongong. ReactionGrid merely provides the hosting for her servers. :)

  2. Hi, I second the points you make, which are the exact reasons I started my website: To provide OpenSim users with items that they can carry and use anywhere, no matter what their grid of choice is (even if it’s Second Life).

    Contrary to Pathfinder I am very sceptical that hypergrid will ever “mature” to the point of providing fully working DRM, or even persistent creator information. OpenSim uses a mysql (or SQlite) database, and anyone with access to that database can alter pretty much anything about the assets with as much as a single MySql query. And since everybody can run a hypergrid enabled OpenSim installation from home, this sort of control is in the hands of every OpenSim user.

    Greetings
    V

    • Vanish,
      Thanks for the note. Noticed yesterday that I could access your TGIB both from nzvwg grid (HG 1.5) and previously from jokaydiagrid.com (HG 1) Do you have two versions? Johnnie W

  3. Hi John,

    yes, I recently installed two versions of OpenSim that both lead to identical destinations. I explained a bit about that in http://tgib.co.uk/2011/01/10/bridging-the-gap/

    Greetings,
    V

  4. Vanish –

    The OpenSim devs are currently working on a permissioning system that would allow creators to set a “single grid” permission status — so that people won’t be able to take content to grids where they run their own regions and can thus hack into the database.

    But I personally believe that no DRM is perfect. A DRM system that can be negated by hacking into a MySQL database can be good enough — I doubt a lot of people are running OpenSim on their home computers, especially as pricing of professional hosted regions are now less than $10 a month.

    Furthermore, even people who run OpenSim at home — Diva Distros, sims-on-a-USB-stick, etc. — might not be able to hack in. For example, I run OpenSim on several home computers, but haven’t once tried looking at the inside of the MySQL database.

    Eventually, I believe we’ll see something like iTunes arise — DRM-free (or DRM-lite) — but convenient, reasonably priced, secure, and fun to use. More likely, we’ll see lots of places like this — shops offering high-end, fully-supported digital products that are easy to find, fun to shop for, and reasonably priced.

    – Maria Korolov
    Editor, Hypergrid Business

  5. Also, I believe that OSGrid has fixed their hypergrid teleportation problems.

    There are still issues in that their version of OpenSim may be different than the version used by another grid, creating yet another teleportation obstacle — especially to ReactionGrid and their private-label grids still running an older version of OpenSim.

    – Maria

  6. “male sex idiots”!!! =D you mean the 7 foot tall, amply bosomed, lesbian group hoarding, and ready-to-get-nekked peeps? =D

    seriously though, it is painful to move (i had 19 SL sims) and while i build a lot, i never make clothes, hair, or shoes and now will be stuck wearing the same outfit forever

    it was a hard lesson to learn – putting all one’s sion eggs in the virtual basket – but SL was the only option like this a few years ago

    OpenSim is better than it was a year ago (faster in several regards) and the 0.7 version is very smooth (i think Reaction Grid and your tour was on 0.6.9) and OS is improving steadily

    while painful to move and lose real money, being in OpenSim is far better with much more freedom and peace of mind

    good luck in your explorations! =)

    • Not only those *grin*….also the foul-mouthed guys in voice who seem to love welcome areas in SL.
      Yes I “jaunt” heaps on OS Version 6.9 grids but like OS V 7 and HG 1.5 grids better for stability reasons. Still cannot “hyperjaunt” out of Osgrid though although can get there from NZVWG and other V7 HG 1.5 grids but then crash. By the way I’m not resigned to having just one outfit *grin*.

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