Hello my dearest dears! Here we all are are again ready to embark on another metaverse adventure! Ever since I stumbled onto OpenSim a few weeks ago, I have been doing a lot of research and reading, trying to get a handle on what all these new terms, like hypergrid, and OpenSim itself, meant. I have often complained in this blog that Linden Lab´s information is scatty, unclear and badly organized. Okay, they are; but next to OpenSim, Linden Lab is the most brilliantly clear source of information the world has seen since the Roman army torched the Great Library at Alexandria. OpenSim is ridiculously difficult for the lay person to pin down . After clawing through page after page and site after site of technonerd gobbledygook, this is what I think is actually happening! If it´s not, feel free to comment! Let´s start with a little Q&A, shall we?
Q. I am a Second life resident, and I would like to explore OpenSim. So can you tell me about any major differences between SL an OpenSim, and how to log on?
A. Loaded question. Second Life is basically one virtual world, run on one main grid (and several experimental grids,one of which, named Beta, is open to the public) on servers owned by one company named Linden Lab, for profit. OpenSim means Open Simulator, and actually refers to the software that enables lots and lots of different servers, such as privately owned professional servers and public institutions like universities , as well as your laptop or PC to provide the platform for people to build their own grids, to host their own worlds. So if you can´t get onto a given world, it could be that the grid is actually in some guy´s laptop, which is switched off. OpenSimulator is non profit.
Q. Using allthose different computers sounds very complicated. How well does OpenSim really work?
A. Amazingly well, when you consider how many varying factors there are- grid owners use all kinds of different software, and the OpenSim project itself is “open source” a legal term meaning the code is all public. So anybody can mess with it, and does. Grids on the OpenSim platform have more lag, and are generally a bit quirky. I find it all more interesting than annoying.
Q. So who runs OpenSim?
A. Um, no one really. The OpenSimulator project is non profit and so there are trustees and elected” core” engineers , programmers, developers etc. Core developer Michael Wright started the project, but I haven´t seen any term like CEO. The grids are all self governing separate entities.
Q. What does all mean to me as a metaverse traveller? You still aren’t telling me how to log onto OpenSim!
A. You can´t. There is no big single Second Life type entity to log onto. The term “OpenSim” is like” Africa” or” Asia”. It is a term of reference. You can travel to Asia, but you have to buy a ticket to Beijing or Tokyo. To get into OpenSim, have to register with an individual world! From there you can use the hypergrid system to travel to all the different hypergrid enabled worlds using the OpenSimulator platform. Here is an official list of OpenSimulator Grids that are open to the public and free to use: OPENSIM GRID LIST . ( Nowhere near all of them are listed.) I registered at Craft, which offers a very supportive and interesting environment for the Newcomer. You will need a new browser- Phoenix , Hippo, Imprudence – look, here´s a link for free ones : OPENSIM BROWSER LINKS , just ignore all the techno babble and download one! A virtualchristine Techno Tip: I recommend Phoenix- it is just like the SL browser! Hardly any learning curve!
Q. What is the difference between a world and a grid?
A. As far as I can tell, the terms world and grid seem to be interchangeable. Worlds have regions and regions have parcels and estates. Second Life has one world and 30,000 something regions. OpenSimulator has hundreds of worlds and 16,000 something regions. Second Life is bigger, but OpenSim is growing faster. Alot faster.
Q. Can I use Linden Dollars on OpenSim worlds?
A. No. Most OpenSim worlds don´t have inworld economies. A very few have their own currencies, and some are starting to use Open Metaverse Currency( OMC ), which you need to keep in a third party account like Virwox since there does not seem to be a centralized , Linden style exchange. VIRWOX OMC PAGE will give you the details. The OpenSim Grid List (see above) includes economic information!
Q.Okay, what exactly does using the hypergrid system mean?
A. It is just a different type of teleporting. On Second Life, you use an ordinary teleport from region to region on one grid, one world. You can´t teleport from the Second Life Main Grid to the Second Life Beta Test Grid. You have to log out of one grid and then log into another. Second Life is not hypergrid enabled. If theychoose to install the Hypergrid software, OpenSim Grids can connect directly to each other.
Q. How exactly?
A. With Hypergates.
Q. Crap; I knew everything was going too well! What is the hell is the 4096 bug?
A. Calm down. The 4096 bug prevents you from teleporting more than 4096 regions. There can be more than 9,000 regions between the upper regions, where most public grids are located, and the lower regions. There is a distance factor in OpenSim teleportation! Sometimes a gate jump will drop you in a region and give you a prompt to open your world map. Sometimes the next or final destination is already plugged in and you can just teleport there. Sometimes you have to look around for your final destination and teleport yourself! Stargate fans are loving this, I know!
This is a link to HYPERICA.COM. This website an excellent Hypergrid directory, and also has some very good articles for the lay person about OpenSim.