Second Life private sims will drop below 20k next week


private estates in Second Life are a primary revenue stream for Linden Lab. currently that’s over $4 million per month (mainland is an additional $900 K)

the other day on Wagner Au’s blog, there was a post framing Maria’s Hypergrid Business OpenSim monthly stats as being out of whack in comparing OpenSim to Second Life. the biggest argument being made was the number of active users and that more is better

Second Life has a concurrency of over 50,000 people per day and OpenSim doesn’t get half of that in a month!

but how do you count people like Kate Booth and all of her students who use Sim-on-a-Stick? and Erik in New York that has his students network into SoaS as a multi-tenancy installation? how about the universities that use OpenSim? i know the Air Force Academy still uses Sim-on-a-Stick, but how many instances?

personally, i think 500 daily users of OpenSim might not be a bad guess, that’s only one percent the number of Second Life users! but that doesn’t matter when you’re arguing which is better

saying OpenSim is better than Second Life is like saying an ggplant is better than a potato (i hate eggplants) *yuck*

i can unequivocally say that OpenSim is better than Second Life . . .

in certain cases, like having level 3 maths being done by seven year olds – you can’t do that with Second Life. but that does not mean OpenSim is better – just in this particular case

arguing concurrency is a valid topic but as far as which is better, that depends on your needs

BUT, Second Life’s success is directly tied to private estates and that number has been steadily declining for over two years (this is no longer stagnant, plateau, or flat as some insist)

maybe LL’s acquisition of Desura can right this ship or maybe that’ll be another Avatars United (me cynical?) =p


data from Tyche Shepherd’s amazing Grid Survey where you can view this data since LL’s start

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written by Ener Hax

July 12th, 2013 at 7:46 am

be an OpenSim evangelist


Flickr used to be $24.95 USD per year, if you wanted to post more than 200 pictures. it’s easy to have more than 200 pics if you are doing in-world snapshots

i started using flickr right after starting in Second Life – it was a great way to help the SEO of the blog and well worth the $24.95 since i was originally trying to raise awareness for my SL land business (what a sucker i was! but i learned a lot and met neat people) =)

but . . . spending $25 a year to host pics just for the heck of it seems wasteful (to a sometimes frugal person like me anyway) and not everyone does it

i’ve often touted how sharing your pics, and even videos, of your uses of Second Life or OpenSim helps others see value in virtual worlds and possibly give them a try

in OpenSim, we have a small user base (compared to things like WoW and facebook) and no formal marketing. even Second Life doesn’t have any real marketing efforts . . .

for OpenSim, the blogosphere, twitter, YouTube, and Flickr are the main ways in which new users are reached

how many of you decided to try out the virtual world based off of something you saw online?

the power of just the right image has made the difference between some people trying it out or not. i’m a prime example! i decided to try Second Life because of the virtual aloft blog and their YouTube videos. the rest is living history! =D

well Flickr is no longer $24.95! now you can upload for free! =)

and free isn’t 200 pics anymore, it’s a terabyte! how big is that for pics?

well if you are on a 1920 x 1080 monitor that would be over one and a half million photos! (1,500,000 pics!) i have 14,885 pics online and Torley has 30,886!!! o_O

you can be that person that turns on a new user regardless of what you use OpenSim for. if you like doing such and such in the virtual world, chances are that others do too. they simply might not know it yet

if i had never seen the virtual aloft, i probably would never have found this joy i now have. i love doing what i do in OpenSim and can’t imagine my real world without it

if you don’t have one – get a Flickr account and start uploading snapshots of what you like about OpenSim. you can be the one that helps others discover something rewarding =)


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written by Ener Hax

June 27th, 2013 at 7:42 am

posted in OpenSim

tagged with , ,

another multi-texture per prim example


here is an old trick that many people use and it helps reduce load for visitors

depending on how nice a quality you need your textures, placing several on one image can be a handy trick. it helps you keep your inventory under control (i am really bad at keeping textures organised both in-world and in the real world!) and can reduce the load for your users

texturework_001in Second Life, placing multiple textures on one image is also a way to save a little money with uploads. here’s some trivia about how much those $10 Linden uploads actually affects Linden Lab’s bottom line. back when i was big into SL (well, my avatar is like 5′ 2″ with boots on), Linden Lab published all kings of user data – from user hours to revenues they earned. in early 2008, Linden Lab was bringing in $90,000 USD per month on all the $10 L upload fees! what was chump change to you and me was several people’s salaries at the Lab! o_O

anyway . . . this example is a 512 pixel square image saved as a PNG-8 with transparency and the filesize is 89 kb – that’s not too bad considering i am using it for 6 different graffiti tags in Hax Nuit

i made these tags as gray scale so that i could colour them differently for some variety and thus use each several times. it is hard to see but “is this real” and “i am rezzed therefore i am” have a linear gradient applied. the OpenSim people/hippo logo also has radial gradients. the ideal was to give them a bit more texture. i should have been more extreme in the gray scale gradients but what do expect from an Ener?

after importing the texture, i set it up on a phantom prim, set all the other sides to 100 transparent and then adjust the repeats and offset to show one of the textures. then i shift duplicate it and only need to adjust the offsets for similar sized parts of the texture (the top four were all the same repeats, the bottom two were different)

once i am happy with the repeats, i then duplicated them and coloured the front faces. then i name each and take a copy into inventory for archiving. i then shift duplicate the ones in-world and spend a few minutes randomly placing them and that’s all there is to it =)




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written by Ener Hax

June 14th, 2013 at 5:41 am

posted in OpenSim

tagged with

OpenSim on an Android tablet vs. a desktop


sometimes people ask me what i think about OpenSim and tablets. most in the OpenSim community know about Lumiya but those that ask me are typically outsiders (them!) and include people in the corporate eLearning that have seen how we have used it as a free 3D video studio (old post by subQuark)

Lumiya works very well (there was an update last night – after i had taken these pics!) but it is not the desktop experience. i still use Imprudence 1.3.2 which is what is shown below. newer browsers render more nicely than version 1 viewers but the screen shots below are simply to show the difference

i don’t know why my avatar doesn’t render out, i have seen other people’s screen shots where theirs do – must be an enersyncrasy or maybe i’m so bright you have to wear shades =p

would i use Lumiya for more than simply checking it out?

no, there isn’t a case where i would suggest Lumiya over a desktop to interact with anything i make. that said, if it was the only access someone had to something like our Enclave Harbour project, then i would be okay with it. i think our “3D illustrations” for science field trips will work in Lumiya

the second image shows the tower crane and nuclear power plant components and would be usable in conjunction with the workbook. the experience would still be immersive in that a student could walk around the builds but it wouldn’t be as rich as a desktop

i believe that as tablets become more powerful (or are inevitably morphed in favour of tablet-sized ultra PCs with detachable keyboards) then we will have rich OpenSim experiences – it’s just a matter of time =)



Haxor Lunar Lounge in Kitely – one of two kid-friendly clubs in Enclave Harbour



old school nuclear power plant in Enclave Harbour


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written by Ener Hax

June 12th, 2013 at 7:28 am

posted in OpenSim,virtual worlds

tagged with

twitter access for Kitely


here’s how to setup a Twitter list and how to access a Kitely world via that list (i hope i have all the steps here!)

lol, this seems like a lot of steps but it took me only a two minutes to set up the Twitter access =)



log in to both your Kitely and your Twitter accounts. then select the Kitely world you want this for and click Manage and then the Access tab. select Create Twitter List and follow the Kitely directions



select List in the left sidebar on Twitter and create a list. it must be Public. that only means others can view it, but they can’t add themselves to it – only you can add people to that list (or remove them)



your list will then show up and you can start adding people to it



find whoever you want to add and use the drop-down next to their name to add them to your list



all of your lists will show up and simply select the access one you just set up



you can edit this list anytime in Twitter, as your needs dictate



once done in Twitter, return to your Kitely page and you should see the access list you just created. you can set your billing for that list – Normal charges the visitor, Free charges you, and you can Select Price (you can charge people and make some KC or you can actually pay visitors – Kitely will take 1 KC or 10%, whichever is greater )



now you can give your Kitely world URL to list members and they will come to that world’s page and click the Login button



they will be prompted to login and you would tell them to do so with Twitter, in this example



if the visitor is not logged in to twitter, they will be prompted to do so. their account name and password are NOT sent to Kitely – this is highly protected by Twitter and there is absolutely no way for Kitely to obtain those credentials (unless you email them to Ilan or Oren! no need to do that!)



once your visitor is logged in (my green arrow), the Login button becomes the Enter World button. they click this and away they go! if they don’t have a viewer, the Kitely site is wicked smart and will prompt them to download it and it will start automatically (very smooth and sophisticated)



the page indicates the viewer is starting and will place your visitor in a transfer station if your world isn’t currently active (probably nice to tell them in case they are like me and don’t bother reading the transfer station signs and simply freak out and run in circles) =p



the Kitely website indicates that the visitor is connected



the viewer starts up like normal except that the visitor does not need to enter credentials – so far the user has only needed to be logged in to their Twitter and then click buttons on the Kitely site – that’s easy to take for granted but it is some serious design and development by Kitely (yah, i’m a fangrrrl) =p



ooh, pretty! =D



voila! success and the visit is recorded in your Kitely history


setting up Twitter access is faster than reading all of this and then all you do is tell your visitors:

check out my world at blah/blah and login with your Twitter account and prepare to be amazed!

well, maybe do it in your own way, i might be too subtle, modest, and humble! =p

but do have fun! =)

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written by Ener Hax

June 7th, 2013 at 10:22 am

posted in OpenSim,virtual worlds

tagged with ,

my SoaS perspective for the classroom


David (subQuark) Cc’d me on an email to a LinkedIn inquiry and i thought it was a great response (and maybe not as long winded as mine would be) for an educator thinking of using Sim-on-a-Stick -

On 06/04/13 2:11 PM, GH wrote:
And yes, cannot have students using SL/Opensim browsers, I’m wondering if the “stick” is the way around this.

David’s response:

Sim-on-a-Stick has been popular with K-12 teachers and some University professors. Even the US Air Force Academy has used it!

Apart from the 20,000 downloads it has had over the last two years, a truly exemplary use of it in the classroom continues to be Kate Booth.

I have used it for corporate eLearning, mainly filming branched scenarios, and have spoken about this in the past at the eLearning Guild’s DevLearn. [Ener note: this was the Guild's first ever video podcast, how cool that David did it inSL!]

The key is to have a set package to deploy to your students which typically means that you would develop a master teaching version that you then copy. Many teachers add children’s avatars to the inventory and lay out some objects in-world that are starting points for activities.

katesWorldsYou can go so far as to then have boy and girl versions of your sticks, including account names different from Simona Stick. Ms Booth has a basket for all of her students’ sticks as can be seen in this photo: [original link replaced with image inserted by Ener]

At some point, probably before customizing SoaS, a check needs to be done on the target machines to ensure that all is in order. I had one teacher that needed to have IT install all of the Windows Updates including .NET frameworks as these are vital to SoaS.

Good luck!

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written by Ener Hax

June 5th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

adding “decals” to your builds


a nice thing about OpenSim is the freedom from the 15,000 prim limit set in Second Life. that doesn’t mean that you can go nuts with prims, they still have overhead, but the 10 year old SL 15k limit is outdated with the advances in both hardware and the application itself. OpenSim has become very efficient in the resources required to run it. even Sim-on-a-Stick can easily run over 15,000 prims – it all depends on your hardware (and the server if not SoaS)

last year i did 576k prims on SoaS on a machine with 8 gig of RAM and Nebudon did over a million on his tricked out box

you no longer are as tied to that 15k limit and that means you can “splurge” a little. i guess i still am tied down a bit by my time inSL and for those reading this that never were inSL, then it’s not a big deal =)


don’t place it too close to the wall

i went back into Hax Nuit after being out of OpenSim for the last two or three months and decided to add some transparent cracks and splats to it. i still keep my number of textures down but thought that the addition of five different masked images would be nice. i grabbed some from CG Textures and selected masked images of plaster cracks and two drip marks. these have the backgrounds removed so that they are transparent. you can size them down to 512 and save them as alpha transparent PNG-8s and most are under 50 KB

then i loaded them onto one face of a prim where the other faces were set to 100% transparent and the prim set to phantom. the five textures can be flipped to make them look a little different. when placing them you don’t want them too close to the wall or you will have that flickering z-index fighting when viewing them from a distance

this “decal” approach isn’t right for everybody but for the prim-simplicity of Hax Nuit, this was an easy way to add ambiance without adding much overhead to the entire build

it also worth noting that Kitely, home of Hax Nuit, has done their own optimisation of OpenSim to allow even more prims than a “standard” deployment. Hax Nuit has over 35,000 prims on one 256 metre region and never skips a beat! =)









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written by Ener Hax

May 26th, 2013 at 12:22 pm

posted in OpenSim

tagged with

2000 private sims lost in 2013?


on Valentine’s this year i projected that Second Life could end 2013 with fewer than 18,000 private sims and that projection still holds true (based on Tyche Shepherd’s numbers)

that’s still a lot of sims by most measures except when measured against Second Life itself - at its peak, there were 26,605 private sims in 2008

that’s about a 30% loss since the media frenzied days of SL . . .


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written by Ener Hax

May 24th, 2013 at 8:21 am

posted in second life,virtual worlds

tagged with

add your voice – take this survey

leave a comment

Maria has a very short survey of two questions that can be useful for the OpenSim community if you participate

Survey: How do you use OpenSim?


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written by Ener Hax

May 21st, 2013 at 7:18 am

posted in OpenSim

tagged with

self-contained HTML pages for Sim-on-a-Stick


how awesome is the VW community? pretty friggin’ awesome! (yes, friggin’)  =D

Dana P. asked a scripting question to which i had no clue how to answer (if it isn’t an omega rotation or simple sit, then i am clueless!) =p

his question was how to open an HTML page in a browser from clicking an object in a Sim-on-a-Stick build. specifically, how to open a page on your machine, not one from the internet

he found out how to do it and posted how he did it and that’s another reason the VW community is awesome – people sharing what they learn =)

his solution started my little cogs to turning - this could be handy for projects where you may not want a user to get online but do want to present more detailed information, questions, activities, or whatever that may best be done in a browser

for example, our science project of Enclave Harbour could be deployed as a pre-loaded SoaS package that a student installs on their PC. then we could use Dana’s approach to launch additional info pages that were included with the Enclave-Harbour-on-a-Stick build

a specific example would be the reverse osmosis tubes in our desalination plant – there could be a “more info” icon on them that would allow a student to click and be sent to a custom HTML page or even a PDF that we create and distribute only with the stick (and thus keep fully self-contained for students)

here’s what i did:

touch_start(integer total_number)
llLoadURL(llDetectedKey(0), "Learn More", "");

the wifi folder is already defined in SoaS so i simply added a content folder for my test page. now a user could click an in-world object and launch a browser to access stick-specific files without needing an internet connection

thanks Dana! this is something to think about and certainly can add value =)


click for full size


could be anything that a browser can open

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written by Ener Hax

May 16th, 2013 at 11:04 am

posted in OpenSim,virtual worlds

tagged with

those InWorldz peeps are nuts!


by nuts, i mean in a great way! a handful of my old SL friends call InWorldz home and always speak well of it and i have a great relationship with Tranq (no, not that kind of relationship) =p

two summers back Tranq helped me get my PC squared away so that it would properly run Imprudence 1.4 – he went way above and beyond and spent hours walking me through configurations. it’s the kind of knowledge that i can always use going forward and a sign of how good a teacher Tranq is (apart from his crazy mad tech skillz) =)

well, Tranq does it again – he amazes me with his utter passion for all things virtual world. he placed some of my builds in a new fangled HTML5/canvas dealio that lets you look at those objects online. my day job has firewalls that prevent me from hitting virtual worlds (thus my use of SoaS) but these i can hit

what a cool way to show your work via an everyday browser!

you can spin and zoom in on objects and even the textures are visible. one thing i need to check is if the skid steer model i sent him included its tire treads, which aren’t a texture but a viewer bumpiness thing

i’m not sure if these links will be perpetual so i also did a YouTube of how they work

this is a cool tool and certainly an awesome way to show off your work (i’d love to put this on my portfolio as resume items and how cool would that be for merchants and websites!)

thanks Tranq! you are def the man! learn more at InWorldz =)

direct YouTube link

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written by Ener Hax

May 9th, 2013 at 10:37 am

posted in virtual worlds

tagged with ,

Hax Nuit – should the items be on the map?


since Hax Nuit – Hackers Sleepless City went public on december 16th last year, it has seen a total of 29 hours and 14 minutes of traffic (not counting my own time)

that’s not a lot by Second Life standards but it is still an average of 13 minutes per day that someone is spending in a Kitely world. considering that there is nothing scripted, i think that’s a decent amount of time. my great hope of awesome scripted NPRs were dashed with the abrupt loss of the talented Ohn Lang – no one knows where she went and that’s a downside to virtual worlds, you often never learn why someone isn’t around anymore – but that could be an entire separate post and it is something most of us have personal experience with

Hax Nuit has been one of the most satisfying things i have ever built – it was done quickly over a relatively short period of time. the “modular” concept started november 19th and the final build went up on december 13th. so that’s about 24 days and probably about 60 active building hours (includes making textures)

since that time, there have been a handful of people who have spent more than 20 minutes at one time in it, meaning they either explored it extensively or logged in and went and ate lunch in the real world! =p

a few have spent over an hour in it! but . . . no one has ever let me know if they found all of the hidden treasure items and i’m wondering if those items should actually be shown on maps?

in today’s world of a zillion free games and apps, an old-fashioned concept of solving mazes and searching for hidden loot is pretty antiquated and boring. heck, i play goofy tablet games at night while watching TV that don’t involve much thinking or patience on my part, so i understand that few people would take the time to look for “hidden” items. i think i have answered my own question of mapping the actual items out – people inclined to use a map can and those not wanting too won’t

i’ll set aside some time to create a definitive set of maps and put them in one place (the building mazes can be seen here and the underground labyrinth is here)

meanwhile, the images below provide the clues to find the Golden Cat Statue – “the” big treasure” item  )


street level clue


building floor clue


ah ha! but how to walk there?

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written by Ener Hax

April 28th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

posted in OpenSim,virtual worlds

tagged with

the tablet train has an Android locomotive


the OpenSim community really wants a tablet viewer and Alina is doing a great job developing Lumiya

the tablet market is something we recognize as an important one and it is also the market that mainstream is driving towards

i read two articles and was blown away by the numbers and how quickly the computer market is shifting

By the end of this year, Android will be in more devices than the next four competitors combined (Windows, iOS, Mac OS, and BlackBerry). Before the end of this decade, Android will be in nearly as many devices as all other operating systems combined. David Nagel (link to his article)

that quote is a bit speculative when it mentions where we will be at the end of this decade but the forecast for the end of this year, a mere 8 months away, is probably spot on

adding to Android becoming the most prolific operating system is the decline in the PC market. the graph below shows that better than i could explain and another article by David Nagel talks about it in detail

so what can you and I do about helping OpenSim become a reality on tablets?

well, if you have an Android tablet now, spend $2.95 at the Google Play store and buy Lumiya (updates are free and it does mesh!). the more it succeeds, the higher the chance it continues to improve and maybe even spark competitors. Lumiya is being worked on continually by Alina Lyvette and the latest update has added the ability to create objects and take them into your inventory


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written by Ener Hax

April 17th, 2013 at 8:01 am

posted in OpenSim

tagged with ,

Second Life’s private sim loss slowing?


last year, Linden Lab saw Second Life lose an average of 8 private sims per day. with a full sim meaning $295 of monthly revenue, that loss is substantial

any loss, or negative growth, is a bad thing for most companies, especially in the US where even Apple gets tons of gloom and doom media coverage if their earnings fall short!

last year i looked at those private sim numbers as a measure of Second Life’s health and an indicator of the mainstream’s view of virtual worlds. there will always be a market for high-end stuff even as cheaper stuff becomes available (there is always someone who will buy a Bentley, despite their being zillions of far cheaper cars available)

certainly we have seen a shift making some of the SL private sim loss a wash with some people migrating over to OpenSim options such as InWorldz, KitelyNew World Studio, and even Sim-on-a-Stick (18k downloads in two years)

with every post last year about the SL loss, there were people stating that some of that was from expiring non-profit/ed discounts and that the rate of loss should level out a bit

it looks as if that leveling out is happening in 2013

there is still a net loss but it looks to be under six sims per day as an average for this year. a loss is still bad, but the difference between eight a day and six is 25% in the right direction

personally, i don’t think SL will ever see positive growth again and LL doesn’t seem to care much about that (not in any discernible external ways), but maybe SL will get to an equilibrium at some point where the grid stays a certain size


data from Tyche Shepherd’s

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written by Ener Hax

April 12th, 2013 at 8:57 am

posted in second life,virtual worlds

tagged with



more of a silly post than anything else but i received this nifty little Ninja USB drive for my bday =)

i placed him on top of my work PC so that my back is covered (next to a Lego Ninjago samurai) and figured he (or she) would serve as an emergency USB drive. i thought it was probably a novelty item with a tiny capacity but i plugged it in today and it’s 16 gig!

dang, that means it’s perfect for many instances of Sim-on-a-Stick (like i really need another stick with several SoaSs!) =p

it’s not a USB3.0 or any “serious” brand name (or maybe it is since being a ninja means keeping a low profile) but what a perfect one to test SoaS on to see how a run-of-the-mill USB drive might work

ideally, improvements in OpenSim mean that it should require less overhead to run and be more efficient overall – so i loaded the latest SoaS (0.7.5 – 9 region version) and gave it a whirl – and it ran as well as my schmancy 32 gig 3.0 Corsair 32 gig Survivor! =)

go, ninja, go!


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written by Ener Hax

April 3rd, 2013 at 9:15 am

posted in OpenSim,sim-on-a-stick

tagged with ,