retirement living might be an OpenSim model


what’s the future of OpenSim-based virtual worlds?

there are so many options coming out but also the start of trends as OpenSim goes from “pioneer” and novel to more mainstream. by mainstream, i mean within the fairly small second Life/OpenSim community. OpenSim is not close to the SL concurrency and i have no idea what the real SL number is. counting someone active that logs in once in 30 days does not equate to an active user of virtual worlds in my book. this blog has seen about 50,000 unique visitors in the last year (that means no one is counted twice in the year – well, no same machine) and i would guess that is about the number of truly active virtual world users (i’m not sure there is any logic behind my interpretation!) =D

OpenSim has shaped up to be a viable alternative to Second Life for many purposes and we see a growth in schools, universities, municipal, military, and corporate use. many of those don’t need (and some don’t want) the huge user base that Second Life offers. for art and music, Second Life still reigns supreme but that may see a shift if Kitely ever gets their act together with a paid service. i point that out because having a “free” service that says it will eventually go commercial does not inspire confidence for “real” use. it’s too much of an unknown and, as i have stated before, Kitely needs to charge so that people can make plans to use it (why would i develop something for large scale use when that vital part – money – is yet to be determined). if a cloud-based system can be relied upon, large venues like concerts and clubs could be run more economically than inSL

for those large venues, a private server can also work well (this all assumes hypergridding, and i will get to that eventually) with something like a SimHost set up where for $389 a month (mention me for $370) would get you 8 cores and 24 gigs of RAM. before you spit out your Mountain Dew all over the place, many SL venues have four sims for big events and that’s almost $1,200 a month! taking a massive server like this could mean setting up as few as one region to make a kick butt venue that should perform like four to six SL sims!

a good example of savings by shifting from SL to a private server would be like Dan Park’s Virtualis Center. Dan is a professional meeting planner and has been in that business for 20 years. he has real certified MPI meeting planners set up corporate in-world event. the last i checked, he had 4 sims inSL, so $1,200 a month. but his clientele is from the corporate world, not SL, so moving to OpenSim would seem to make a ton of sense

other “large venue” offerings are starting to come out as well (no pun intended). Gay SanFrancisco (125 OS regions and has a fab beginners guide) is an example of a specialty grid that can host large events and there are others as well. places like the SL City of Edmonton would do very well to become OpenSim-based and host special events as a way to keep interest in what they are doing (they seem kind of dead inSL)

places that can do large events – Kitely, a private group with their own server, and specialty grids – could change the way we view and use virtual worlds

we have a paradigm that is heavily shaped by Second Life that is shifting from being an in-world citizen with a parcel of land on a sim to being an owner of your own region

Maria pointed out a shift in the percentage of regions on the OSGrid which shows more and more independent standalone regions are emerging. most people could easily host their own grid on their own machine for no monthly cost and have a place to call home. a home grid can support two or three dialed in friends depending on your broadband. if you don’t want to do that, you can get regions for as low as $10 USD a month!

will this model, what i call retirement living, be the emerging one?

people will have their homes where they can build and create all they want and have a few close friends drop by, and for large events they’ll use a community centre

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written by Ener Hax

June 19th, 2011 at 9:45 am

posted in OpenSim

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17 comments to 'retirement living might be an OpenSim model'

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  1. It’s same model as on the Web — the majority of Websites get very few visitors. (Though those few are probably very important to the Website owner!) Then there are millions of mid-range sites with moderate traffic. And some giant ones that everybody visits.

    I think we’re somewhere around the year 1993 (two years after the first website went up) when, I believe, there were around 130 sites total. (Mostly educators, technologists.)

    But that number grew quickly when the first decent Web browser came out.

    Maria Korolov

    19 Jun 11 at 10:00 am

  2. Actually, when I first saw the blog post title, I thought you were thinking of Ray Kurzweil-style uploading where we can all live forever in OpenSim!

    Personally, I expect the anti-aging gene therapies to kick in first, but if VW get realistic enough — sure, why not, I’ll live in OpenSim. :-)

    Maria Korolov

    19 Jun 11 at 10:03 am

  3. you know Maria, i think i could be quite happy living in the virtual world =)

    Ener Hax

    19 Jun 11 at 10:47 am

  4. Hi Ener,

    I understand (and share) your frustration with us not having rolled out billing yet. I’m also frustrated about FB still being the only login option and about too many other things that people have asked for and Kitely still doesn’t provide. The problem is that all those features that can be described in very little words can take a long time to implement correctly.

    We may be nice guys but we prefer earning money for our service and not just giving it away for free (especially as it costs us out of our own personal savings). The delays in rolling out billing are not the result of us not getting our act together. They were created by us having to prioritize certain things over fast user growth, revenue, etc. We spend just 20% of our development efforts on creating user-facing features, the rest is spent on automation and increasing the robustness of our system. Our delaying working on billing enabled us to eliminate many bugs that existed when we just rolled out our service and to upgrade our backend system’s capabilities significantly. Those non-user-facing tasks must be done if we are to provide a service that people will want to pay for.

    Having said all that, as Maria had mentioned in her recent Kitely coverage, if there are no additional urgent matters we are forced to deal with, we should be ready to roll out billing sometime in early August.

    Ilan Tochner

    19 Jun 11 at 7:54 pm

  5. “getting your act together” is more a figure of speech than a criticism. i would not base any business decision or effort to build anything on Kitely until i understood billing

    it would be pretty foolhardy to plan, develop, and execute a function for clients without having all the parts in place – for experimentation, i think it is fine

    we have spent $1500, or so, so far for our virtual world even though no clients use it because it is as reliable as anything can be. i know the data centre and have actually been there (way before i ever started virtual worlds and just as coincidence), i also know James and where he lives (i coincidentally lived for a few years just a few miles from him)

    could the data centre blow up? yes. could James decide the heck with it? yes

    but we also know that this month will cost X dollars and that we are supposed to be up 24/7. i have a high level of confidence that we are still up next month and have no worries about what the billing will be and what the service will be

    i am 100% for you guys earning money and think you should charge. giving a free trail is great and a wonderful way to get people started, but after 4 hours, for example, i would understand how you work and that you will work

    look at Linden Lab – they make no promises as to uptime and they don’t give away anything for free. i paid around $15,000 in setup fees just and then $3,000 a month for a service that has known and unplanned outtages

    you have a more solid offering and should indeed charge. adding additional billing in the future is a great thing, but there is no reason you can’t charge now the way you have it setup

    and are you ever going to give me any great posts? sheesh, i spent an hour crafting up those questions months back and Maria credits me with breaking your story (which is nice of her but i don’t think i did). hell hath no furry like an Ener scorned! =p

    *Ener gets out a tiny violin and whines quietly about being in the top 2% of the web and having 27k twitter followers*

    lol, i certainly can be a brat! =D

    Ener Hax

    20 Jun 11 at 9:50 am

  6. Was that you’re way of Enerly asking me to give you an exclusive story? :-D

    You’ve certainly earned one and I’ve never been interviewed by a pink haired, violin wielding, top 2% of the web, twitter star… so I’ll bite. If you’re up to it, you can interview me via Skype and ask me anything you want (you can use a throwaway Skype account and voice morphing software to hide your RL identity). As long as you refrain from questions that leave our private ass(ets) exposed… ahm… you’ll be able to get my unedited responses about life, the universe and everything.

    Ilan Tochner

    20 Jun 11 at 12:24 pm

  7. Damn my spelling… My English teacher would have flunked me for this crime against (the literate) humanity :-D

    Ilan Tochner

    20 Jun 11 at 12:31 pm

  8. wow, i guess you don’t need the likes of me! you have forgotten our exchanges via LinkedIn and then later via email? dang, you must beinundated with people asking for stories!

    I had sent you a list of inbterview questions some 6 to 8 weeks ago . . .

    it’s not me that needs the stories, it’s me offering exposure to 1000 OpenSim-specific readers a day! =p

    with that, i think you should contuinue fine-tuning your offering, i am just a fake person anyway *boohoo*

    Ener Hax

    20 Jun 11 at 12:41 pm

  9. Hi Ener,

    I haven’t forgotten at all. I’ve taken every piece of your advise VERY seriously. It was your advise that drove me to give a presentation titled “Virtual Worlds on Demand – the vision and how we get there” + Q&A session to the Nordic Virtual Worlds Network last week (see transcription here: I self-funded a trip to give a similar talk at MetaMeets a few days ago (I’m told the video should be available online soon). Have you seen my MetaMeets presentation? Or read the Q&A session transcription? I tried discussing exactly the things you recommended I talk about.

    I’m attempting to give you a story. We can do an online meeting inSL (so you don’t have to create a Kitely account). You’ll type questions and I’ll answer them by voice.

    I try to be very approachable and open even with my (sometimes personal) critiques and people praising the competition. Despite all that I’m still human and get frustrated when my gestures get misunderstood (which happens more often than I’d like when I write, which strengthens my desire to have synchronous conversations via voice/video where at least my intent can be read beyond my words).

    I appreciate your help (even though you aren’t feeling the love) and I’m taking your advice to heart much more frequently than you
    unfortunately believe. I’m trying to pay you back with an exclusive heartfelt interview, we’ll laugh, we’ll cry, and you’ll be a pink-haired Opera-style diva.

    I’m trying here, help a man out… *smiling shyly, offering a pink flower*

    Ilan Tochner

    20 Jun 11 at 1:50 pm

  10. If you prefer, and have a lot of patience, we can also do it completely text based inSL. You’ll get my slightly edited, and therefore much less natural, responses but I’m open to doing it that way as well. I just want it to be a synchronous back and forth and not a slow exchange where non-verbal (or textual in that case) signals get lost.

    Ilan Tochner

    20 Jun 11 at 2:02 pm

  11. Just to clarify, when I said I was never interviewed by you I meant it literally, i.e. that I’ve never actually had an interview with you. Having re-read your last comment I think you reacted as if I’ve forgotten that I had agreed to be email interviewed by you when you discovered us or received the questions you sent me via email.

    As I’m sure you recall, I had delayed responding to them following your email OK that I do so, then when I finally wanted to reply to the questions you told me that they were no longer relevant and that I should focus on telling our vision instead. Which I attempted to do in writing without success until I was invited to do so live which finally enabled me to express our vision in a way I was comfortable with.

    No small part because of your help, many people do wish so interview me these days and, as I have very little I can give you in return for the help you’ve given me, I was trying to give you an exclusive as a token of my thanks. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your amazing readership or the value of being mentioned on your site.

    I don’t know whether we are having a cultural misunderstanding or whether I’ve made some universal faux pas so please accept my apologies for I have surely offended and let me just restate my gratitude. :-)

    Ilan Tochner

    20 Jun 11 at 3:13 pm

  12. thanks Ilan! part of my “charm” is that i am an overly sensitive french canadian jew (in other words, take me with a huge grain of salt – so much salt that doctor’s have tatooed a warning label on my avatar’s forehead about consuming me in moderation!) =D

    we should do a green screen interview with you when you are ready for a gala grand opening event! you video cam yourself talking about a few philosophical things (real big picture things) and i’ll place you on a studio set in-world!(think Conan or Jon Stewart)

    see i get back on the right track with minimal attention (but i fall off track easily too!) =)

    Ener Hax

    20 Jun 11 at 3:57 pm

  13. Sounds like a great plan! :-)

    How about we do this when we roll out Twitter integration (which will be sometime after billing is already rolled out). That is when we will finally become truly accessible to avatars.

    It seems appropriate that people will hear about it first on your blog, no? ;-)

    How much time will you need in advance to create the video?

    Ilan Tochner

    20 Jun 11 at 6:22 pm

  14. twitter soon eh? that is fantastic!

    lol on the video – actually, as much as i’d like to be part fo it – that should be 100% you. now a campy way to do it would be to have me take a look at those questions i prepped forever ago because they included questions from the community

    i could pull together a new list of them because some things will be out dated now and new things will have come up

    and, ideally, it should include both of you (i forget your partner’s name) and it does not have to be real video of you guys if you don’t want to be in it (lol, i do eLearning that is used by over 100,000 people a year in 150 countries)

    here are some sample styles that work very well and are very approachable

    our ripoff of the above:

    a more contemporary interpretation would be drawing out an infographic as you and your partner narrate (hmm, i may make one this week about cloud computing and Kitely)

    Ener Hax

    21 Jun 11 at 7:35 am

  15. Yes, assuming no big surprises that require our immediate attention: billing ETA around early August, Twitter ETA about a month later. Those are the two biggest user-facing items on our near term roadmap, each requiring significant system upgrades (otherwise we would have targeted to roll them out sooner).

    An updated question list sounds like a very good plan. Probably worth delaying working on it until sometime after we roll out billing as people may be interested in other questions by then.

    An infographic is a great idea… and is another thing I’ve never done before ;-)

    Ilan Tochner

    21 Jun 11 at 9:59 am

  16. i’ll make a storyboard version of an infographic and send it to you to edit. then i’ll make a nice version of it

    it will be very “big picture” and if it is something you like, you can use it as you see fit

    as most things here, i make these things to help the community and particularly to help people evaluating OpenSim for the first time

    for obvious reasons, an info graphic depicting social network logins will clearly point to Kitely since you are “it” =)

    Ener Hax

    21 Jun 11 at 10:12 am

  17. Thank you Ener!

    I’m all smiles right now :-) :-) :-)

    Ilan Tochner

    21 Jun 11 at 11:37 am

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