Monday, March 22, 2010

The hitchhiker's guide to the metaverse

(Apologies to Douglas Adams, but the title fits what I've been doing)

Lately I've been hopping around various OpenSim-based grids to research which one(s) would be viable replacements given that Second Life may be irreversibly heading in the same direction that There went. So here's the rundown of the grids I've been to as of this writing:
  • OpenLife: OpenLife was the first OpenSim-based grid to have an in-world currency, and that alone set up OpenLife as the first possible competitor to Second Life. Unfortunately, the OpenLife folks had forked OpenSim and chose not to release their changes back to the OpenSim community. While this is technically allowed because of OpenSim's BSD license, this act had basically turned OpenLife into a non-OpenSim grid.
  • InWorldz: A currently small but growing OpenSim-derived grid similar to OpenLife. You're actually pretty likely to catch the founders and devs of this grid right from the first time you login to InWorldz, which is nice.
  • OSGrid: The first non-Linden Lab grid I've ever been to, and without a doubt the biggest OpenSim-based grid. While it currently lacks an in-world currency(intentional because it's a non-profit grid), it's more or less ground zero for OpenSim development.
  • ReactionGrid: And for something completely different, there's ReactionGrid. ReactionGrid is a lot like OSGrid, but with some very distinct differences: ReactionGrid has a solid revenue model by being an OpenSim grid hosting company, their OpenSim grids are hosted on Microsoft's Hyper-V technology, and grid operators are free to modify their grid server functionality if they wish. ReactionGrid is targeted at educators and businesses for collaboration, but there 's nothing stopping grid operators into purposing their grids for other uses.
While I'm not a big fan of Microsoft technology, I have to give it up to the ReactionGrid folks. Their business model is solid and professional, but they don't gouge the customer like how SL does with land(Same can be said of most other OpenSim-based grids that have region purchasing options, of course). OSGrid is where you want to be if you want to keep up with OpenSim development and testing, and freely experiment around. OpenLife and InWorldz basically aim at providing an economy experience similar to SL, minus the land gouging.

This is by no means an exhaustive list or review of virtual worlds, just my opinions of those I've checked out so far. There's several others I'm interested in checking out, so stay tuned for a "Part 2" blog post in the near future.


Peter Stindberg said...

Funny, you are exactly on the same grids as I am, with the exception of OpenLife which I boycott since they denied 3rd party viewers access.

/me grins as he sees the captcha for this post is "prock"

AntoniusMisfit said...

"/me grins as he sees the captcha for this post is "prock""

Peter, I swear that captcha was unintentional! :)

By the way, I haven't been on OpenLife for a long time, and if what you say is true, then I'm not likely to return there at all(Give me Hippo, or give me death!).

On all the grids I listed my avatar name is the same(except on OSGrid, I'm "Tony Stane"). Feel free to look me up on those grids if you like.

Peter Stindberg said...

I explored the alternative grids in early 2009 and was rather disappointed. Back then OpenLife allowed CoolViewer.

I started reexploring them all in early 2010 again and could for the life of me not connect to OpenLife with any of the viewers I had. It actually needed quite some digging to find out that there is a special (closed source) version of the viewer developed by KirstenLee for OpenLife that is the only viewer able to connect.

AntoniusMisfit said...

That's messed up. Even InWorldz allows third-party viewers along with their own viewer(I've chatted with the devs there and they're ok with it).

I tried logging with Hippo just now, no joy(there's an entry for openlife in the grid manager). You seem to be right. Such a shame.

Zauber Paracelsus said...

Blocking viewers isn't the only thing going on at openlife. Also got fraud and abusive censorship. IE: say anything about opensim, and your account is deleted on the spot without warning.