Thursday, May 9, 2013

News and Commentary: Behind Inworldz Officially hitting 75,000 Users

By Bixyl Shuftan

In a recent article by Daniel Voyager, he stated the Opensim grid of Inworldz had reached 75,000 users. That certainly sounds impressive. But a look at the screenshot showed one small problem, only a little more than a hundred people were on the whole virtual world. That's about the size of a few packed sims in Second Life. Daniel would state in the comments that he logged in late at night. Still, even if night activity is a small fraction of peak daytime activity, this suggests Inworldz's milestone isn't telling the whole picture.

Opensim worlds have a tiny but sometimes vocal user base, whom on occasion promote their worlds as the real future of virtual reality, eventually replacing Second Life. There's no doubt they have accomplished much. The same screenshot shows a very impressive startship build. But does their performance live up to these claims? While these worlds allow people not to deal with Linden Lab, their populations remain small, the choice in avatars remains limited, and people I've talked to have told me lag, as bad as it is in Second Life, is worse on the Opensim worlds.

Minethere Always pointed out an article on Hypergrid Business last month, written by Maria Korolov, in which "the top 40 Grids reported a total of 17,591 active users, a drop of 470 compared to the last month." Most of the decline was in one grid, but it's still a big hole in the wilder claims of the Opensim advocates.

So how many use Inworldz? Maria stated it's number of active users was 6,325 users. Impressive for an Opensim world, Avination having 1,838, only three others having active users over a thousand, and even half the top ten had just hundred at best. But no comparison to Second Life.

Bigger isn't necessarily better. Another commenter on Daniel's post responded she'd rather deal with "118 users that know why they are inworld" than the Facebook crowd. But a peek behind the milestone of Opensim's top grid suggests Second Life's position as the undisputed top virtual world, with numbers exceeding some top MMO games such as Eve Online, is pretty secure.

Bixyl Shuftan


  1. Inworldz is one of the better opensim worlds, but after giving it a good try I eventually found myself migrating back to SL, partly because of the lack of physics, and partly because although friendly, it was too quiet.

    1. Inworldz has had physics now for months. And now it has Dreamshare, which SL does NOT have.

  2. You know i sometimes really have to laugh about these comments about active members or who has most online.

    Lets compair:

    SecondLife has a total userbase of 33,746,743 of which (at the moment i did this) 52,887 where online. That is just 0.16%

    InWorldz has a total userbase of 75419 of which 238 where online. That is 0.32% So twice as much based on percentage then SecondLife and not based on userbase as you can compair those 2 userbases.

    I rather stick to facts.....

  3. I just heard my name was mentioned, so I figured I would comment. Hi Bixyl and Hi Constanza-))

    Wizzy says that inwz has physics, but in fact it is only their phase 1 brand of physics. Unless someone can point to it being a full blown physics that I missed somehow in not being to much interested, this is a bit disingenuous.

    Opensim, on the other hand, has been testing Bullet physics, developed in part by Intel, since, as I recall, it was made an option with the 7.4 version. Some people and grids are now running 7.6

    inwz touts itself as being on the cutting edge with physics, but, this, again, is a bit disingenuous.

    I would posit that Intel would have more on the go than a small team of coders who are trying to do something different. Which, may, or may not, even be all that good. Since many people have come and gone from that grid on the promises of physics being just around the corner. I would not hold my breath.

    In any case, everyone BUT inwz has full physics, and if one wishes to code for the majority and not for one single grid, then they should consider those, such as Kitely, and run their own soas with Bullet enabled.

    Yes, there is a learning curve, but a lot of people have learned it, so it obviously is not all that complicated.

    And yes, obviously, all opensim grids have less people than sl, but many who have the pioneering spirit have ventured out, some to commercial grids and some to the free metaverse where the only commerce is the amount of memory on their computers and people give freely of some awesome content.

    I, myself, create some wonderful OAR files [these are full regions] full of some of the best content around, even than sl, that I distribute for free, as the content creators wish them to be.

    You cannot get these in most closed commercial grids but we share these things in opensim all the time...and it is quite fun-))

    Some may comment after this and try to say all sorts of things, but keep in mind these words and see how thoroughly they answer...this will be telling to informed people.

    be well-)))))

    1. would you mind supplying a link to their forums where this is announced? i would not mind reading that and maybe some others would like this also-))

      The last i saw was like 3 months ago talking about physics phase 1 and that full vehicle physics would be coming in some time i cant recall seeing.

  4. SL remains by far the largest and most popular grid that is capable of running one of the viewers derived from it's viewer code. It's not nearly as popular as some other virtual worlds, but among the ones we tend to follow as a group, it is by far the leader. However, it is on the downswing, declining at a nearly constant (and alarming) rate.

    The second most popular grid -- by far -- is InWorldz. I often refer to this as the most popular alternative grid, meaning alternative to SL. It is about as popular and active as the next three grids combined. Yes, that is still a tiny fraction compared to SL. That doesn't really matter much if you are looking for an alternative.

    Also, many people see that as a good thing. With about 75,000 users and about 7000 unique active users each month, in absolute terms, that's a good-sized active community. One where if you go to an event, you will still have a good chance of knowing several of the other users there. I went to a university with 3500 students in a town with 3000 non-university townspeople. I liked that size. It was far more social than when I moved back to the larger cities with hundreds of thousands (or millions) of residents. And for those wanting more, InWorldz is growing at a nice manageable steady rate. I expect that rate to increase significantly by the end of the year however, as new users and users of other grids see what InWorldz has accomplished in 2013.

    In terms of physics, I think you are all posting relatively accurate comments. InWorldz completed it's phase one physics work, which was what I would certainly call full-blown physics, back in early January. It offers all the physical characteristics of prims, all of the forces, special tunings for both prims and avatars, and massive improvements in performance, behavior, and reliability over OpenSim's ODE physics. It supports most if not all of the LSL physics functions for things like impulses, forces, collisions, etc. This allows scripted physical vehicles, and there are several vendors of these in InWorldz. You can read more about the specific functionality available since January, here:

    Phase 2 is making good progress and approaching beta test, and that includes a specific implementation of the llSetVehicleType function and the related LSL vehicle-specific functions. These are being modeled to exacting standards compared to the SL implementations, and SL vehicle scripts should be portable directly and behave similarly or better in InWorldz when this work is complete, which as I said is making good progress and nearing the beta testing.

    1. In regards to Mine's implication that OpenSim has Bullet-based physics and that somehow is a positive thing at the moment. It will be very fortunate for OpenSim when Bullet has reached production quality so that it can replace the very fragile ODE physics. Bullet support for OpenSim trails the functionality of InWorldz physics by at least 6 months, probably closer to a year. I see Robert working on many of the issues InWorldz struggled with last summer and into the fall of 2012. There is still a very big job ahead and I wish him well with that effort.

      I think all virtual worlds will benefit when InWorldz completes the vehicle-specific LSL functions and all of the virtual worlds can share the same scripts. The more active InWorldz economy may also help to drive the availability of good reliable vehicles on OpenSim as well, especially once Bullet is ready for production-use and ODE is completely retired.

      I think all of the virtual worlds (including SL) benefit when new users are attracted to any of the worlds. A big part of our challenge is to educate the masses to just what is available, after a user registers for a virtual world and they log in for the first time.

      InWorldz new innovative DreamShare capability will help there, allowing users (of any grid) to log in to InWorldz, build or import their creations, and showcase them to the world with a simple browser link. For example, here is a link to a prim gazebo I built for the top of my mountain in SL. This is being rendered to the world, via the web, from an item in my InWorldz user inventory:

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. ah...ok coming from one of the paid people on the inwz staff, you saying they are still in physics phase 1 concurs with what I had thought also, ty for a correct answer in that-))

      [I do try to keep up, but free metaverse and kitely things keep me a bit busy]

      I know several people who say that Bullet, as it is now, is much better than inwz, one whom you know, Jim [but it is not for me to name drop, they can speak for themselves if they wish].

      There are many people building and racing awesome cars in opensim all the time, I know of one in the Metropolis Grid who is having a blast, as are the people using them. All free and non-commercial plain old-fashioned fun.

      One can, if they wish, find out more on all this by reading and/or joining and participating in this google+ community, which is a wonderful group [wizzy is even a member last i checked-))]

      As to the numbers thing, the point of this blog by Bixyl, some with inwz tout the 75k as some kind of good thing, but even Constanza recognizes some numbers are really not all that important [see above].

      And, really, I think we can all agree communities are the most important-))

      Many like the big community of sl, more and more like opensim, some like the commercial grids, more and more like the free metaverse, there are many options, very many, which is a cool thing.

      Since the sl model of commercialism is the one most known, it is the pioneer types who venture out into the free metaverse, and once they give it a good look-see, they stay...some doing those things and sl at the same time.

      However, my own personal interests are primarily in the free metaverse, because, I like being free, and I have personally seen and continue to read of the strife and issues that come out of commercial grids, as I a sure others can agree.

      I also like Kitely because they are doing things differently than other opensim based grids. Daniel knows well of this-))


    4. Yup, the user numbers are not very important in absolute terms. They mostly just show a steady and constant interest in InWorldz which is good to see.

      But really they are mostly just milestones that we like to celebrate. Very much like birthdays. They don't really mean much, but are good to acknowledge and raise a drink/toast to. ;)

  5. sorry, but I meant to add a comment that using mega-regions as people can do in opensim is very cool. It removes the borders between standard regions and thus the related physics issues.

    Kitely offers mega-regions for those who like commercial grids and many use them in the free metaverse since it is built into the opensim code.

    more starting reading material can be found here:

    inwz does not have this as they diverged from current opensim developement.

    And, likewise, Melanie of Avination has just contributed multi-attach points to opensim code which will be in the next release, as I understand.

    inwz does not have that either and many people have missed this in opensim, especially furries and those who want to wear more

    1. InWorldz prefers to make region crossings work reliably and efficiently rather than introduce the kludge of megaregions that isn't supported everywhere. And I'm not surprised to hear of "related physics issues" with crossings that are based on the ODE engine used in OpenSim. Making crossings work well is much more difficult for grids based on OpenSim since they don't have the Phlox scripting engine, the high-performance and very scalable asset storage system and Cassandra-based NoSQL inventory implementation. These were all added since InWorldz went it's own way and focused on stabilizing the foundation, instead of adding band-aids like megaregions to avoid having to fix the real problems. I've been working on crossings lately as there are still some problems and we won't rest until they are very fast and reliable.

      InWorldz announced some time ago that it was also adding multi-attach, and the version supporting that is currently available on the beta grid and planned for main grid release this week, pending the remaining beta testing.

      There are many things that InWorldz has that no other grids have. There are also still some things missing from InWorldz, but these should all be resolved in the next few months. Multi-attach this week, and the industry's best mesh implementation in the next. InWorldz Dreamshare is already here and being used by many as an innovative new way to bridge the divide between virtual world creators and others out there in the real world.

  6. sorry, again, but I took a minute to read the blog again and wanted to note some things said there.

    "But does their performance live up to these claims? While these worlds allow people not to deal with Linden Lab, their populations remain small, the choice in avatars remains limited, and people I've talked to have told me lag, as bad as it is in Second Life, is worse on the Opensim worlds.

    Yes, relative to sl, all virtual worlds have much less people in them. And yes, some [but not all] of them, especially the commercial for-profit ones are much more vocal than their numbers should lend them to be.

    But a point should be made on the rest of that comment.

    A lot [and by a lot, still, of course, not like sl] of people who started in sl and made some awesome content, are now out in the free metaverse and have left commercial interests behind.

    One can read past and current articles on Maria's hypergridbusiness site for much info on this.

    For example, my avatar in Metropolis is the best one I have had in ANY grid, and with skins, animations for my AO and clothing freely given.

    On my personal google+ page I often take pictures of her to show

    Granted, I could likely spend a bunch of money in sl and do better, but who knows, and I don't want to anyways.

    The problem with the commercial grids other than sl is getting good content, often doing whatever they can to proselyte sl creators with offers of free regions, shops, and whatnot...and still, most simply cannot entice them to come, and if they come, they leave soon due to the promises not being fulfilled in several ways by some of them.

    It is an ongoing struggle for commercial grids to get content, and leads to much strife and issues.

    As to lag, one must consider the various forces at work here.

    Commercial grids run their regions on the same server clusters, but even in that, each one runs a different amount of regions per simulator, which makes a huge difference in how their regions perform.

    Each simulator is capable of running several regions and different servers can run multiple simulators...all of this based upon the quality of the server, and the memory they allocate to them.

    In addition, in the free metaverse, such as with the Metropolis Grid, people can connect their own simulator instances and how well they run is directly contingent upon how much memory their computer has, and they can buy more memory and make their instances run even better [or get a better computer-))].

    So, with Metropolis you have their core servers for asset and group databases and you have hundreds [around 2500 now] of individuals running their simulators under many different conditions, both their own computers or using server hosting companies such as

    Kitely, however, does this completely different. They use the cloud to run their simulators and their on-demand concept brings up the regions only as needed, thus reducing server loads, allowing balancing of capacity, and resulting in pretty much no lag, depending upon what the individuals put on their regions and how their own computers are and how they have optimized their viewers, of course.

    anywho...I need to go to the store and get some food now-))

  7. I'd like to know what the big deal is about this DreamShare is... isn't that the same as Cloud Party grid's Preview on their marketplace??? just curious....

    what i always say in these debates about numbers is "There will never ever be another Second Life" the mother of all virtual worlds. Smiles and Waves.

  8. I just wanted to add this link which will give whomever is reading some more ideas on simulators and the regions inside them. Tim is a good guy and I rent my regions from him.

    And to further add information. I rent 10 regions in one simulator from him.

    One is a grandfathered in free region and 9 are in a cluster.

    The single one was set in grid raster coordinates so as to be away from other regions which helps with lag issues as viewers see neighboring regions textures and having to render them. This can, of course, be reduced by low draw distances but in any case, it is nice to have regions away from others.

    The 9 region cluster is also set apart from other regions, has a center main region and all 9 points surrounding it with regions.

    I have around 20k total prims in all these regions in the one simulator instance. I have around 1500 or so scripts running in them also.

    My center of the nine cluster is the most laggy as it holds most of my prims and scripts, but only in some parts of it as there are a tons of different textures. [it is very pretty, btw]

    But it is insignificant, really...

    The rest of the 9 region cluster runs very smoothly.