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I have read comments on other Grids here. I wonder if anyone has visited the Great Canadian Grid and what you think of it?

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Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on January 8, 2017 at 8:42pm

Good post Balpien.   All virtual worlds have their pros and cons.  Second Life is highly entertaining, but very limited (15k prims... these days?), very expensive, and even after more than a decade in operation contains more bugs than a roach motel.

Sansar being run by Linden Lab, is not a platform in which I'd put any trust at all, I don't care what technology they offer.  Linden Lab proved what kind of company it is with Second Life.  After their dismal record of customer betrayal I wouldn't buy regions from them if they offered them for $20.  I'd be looking for the hidden knife they intend to stick in everyone's back.

OSgrid and other Opensim based grids have the advantage in that they are low cost or even free, allow total backup of region layouts and give total control of user creations to the users.   The downside:  they're buggy, slow, disorganized and as Balpien points out, severely underfunded.  A grid is likely to be online one day and gone the next-- as was proved by the primary OSgrid some time ago.  Fortunately they managed to bounce back after some months... and to be truthful that situation wasn't much worse than Linden Lab's OpenSpace sim fiasco years ago that forced the shutdown of thousands of regions and destruction of countless hours of customer work, creations and monetary expense.  At least OSgrid's problems weren't intentional and fueled by greed. 

Of all the grids, in my opinion Inworldz is the most stable, powerful and reasonably priced.  While $75 a month is still considerably above the pocketbook of the average person, some sims (with limited function) are available at a lower cost.  

There are bugs yes, and one has to wonder why it seems no virtual world seems to be able to debug properly... but bugs are something we have learned to deal with over the years.  ALL grids have bugs; they are the great grid equalizer. But sims and viewers crashing regularly tend to cause professionals to look at them with a disdainful eye.   If banking software worked like virtual worlds, all economy would collapse.

The major downside of Inworldz is customers have very little say (if any) over how it's operated.  We fund the grid, but it's privately owned and decisions are made primarily by two people.  If those decisions are good ones, the grid prospers.  If not, the sim stagnates and people leave for other pastures.  In this-- Inworldz is not alone.  But at this time only OpenSim allows the user freedom that must be inherent in virtual reality for it to prosper-- which is its primary draw.

Consider as an example the Internet.  How successful and widespread would the Internet be if it was under the total control of a tiny group of people.  Every website had to follow their specific, arbitrary rules.  To own a website would cost $75 to $295 a month... otherwise you can only visit other people's websites.  No blogs.  No social media.  Continual bugs and crashes-- and you needed a modern computer to access the Internet.  Imagine an Internet in which websites slow down to a snail crawl when 40 people visit at the same time. 

Can you imagine Amazon or Ebay operating under such conditions?  How well would that work?

Yet that is the condition of Virtual Reality today.  That is why Second Life missed the goal of being a "Second Web".  Greed, shoddy programming, failure to listen to customer needs, failure to foresee scaling issues.  Thinking they know what is best and crippling their users with arbitrary rules and limitations.   That is why VR gained a bad reputation, has failed to grow, and is now stagnating.

I would say the biggest problem with all virtual worlds today is lack of far-sight, continuing to employ methods that have already failed to provide improved results, resistance to much-needed change.  Too much power in the hands of too few people.  Too little flexibility to meet the needs of untapped masses of customers.  Too complex to meet the needs of the average computer user, and a total failure to simplify the Viewer to a sensible usability level. 

I guess that's my "State of VR for 2017" post.  I haven't posted one of those in quite some time.  See what you started Balpien?   ;D

Comment by Balpien Hammerer on January 8, 2017 at 11:07pm

:) Big hugs to you too, Wayfinder.

Gosh, though it is true InWorldz is the better of the OpenSim-ish grids presently, InWorldz is getting progressively worse technically. It is why I finally left it as a merchant/creator and pretty much deprioritized being there. I got seriously tired of spending all my time reworking the products that sloppy grid updates would break. I rather have the nice memories of InWorldz and not experience the bad ones there.

That disappointment did spur me to look into new virtual worlds like High Fidelity and Sinewave's Space. I believe in about 6 months to a year there will exciting new places to migrate to should the need arise. Space is turning out to be quite interesting and does not require ultra high end computers. It is a non-VR virtual world too, works well for people not into the VR face huggers. High Fidelity is stretch goal. They really want to explore the possibilities of transferring your emotive, your body movements onto an avatar. It has a wonderful render engine, but all that fanciness requires core i7 computers with Nvidia 1070 or 1080 graphics cards. A rig like that will set you back $2000 *and* you still have to but the VR gear, another $600-800. Things are still in flux with VR, so if you are budget minded, don't dip your toes into the crystal river just yet.

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on January 9, 2017 at 7:09am

Yeah, I agree.  And I don't mean to grouse or single out Inworldz... because all grids have their major problems.  At least Inworldz doesn't rip people $300 a month for a plot of pixellized grass.  (LOL Reader's Digest once labeled SL users as "some of the world's dumbest people" for paying $300 a month for virtual land.  I had to chuckle.)

One of the things that drove me nuts on Inworldz (and every other grid, unfortunately) is the regularly broken sound system.  One would think that sound would be relatively easy to get down (kinda like loading and caching 2-D textures properly, which doesn't work either, on any grid). 

I got very tired of having to fix my AMP system and gramophone over and over and over again because of some new bug that showed up.   You and I both experienced the frustration of pulling every scripter bug-bypass trick in the book, only to finally run out of tricks.  

A simple question:  after all these years, why is it VR can't play a simple music file, one line of code, automatic pause and play built into it?  Event:  play_music(integer play_pause, string title, float volume).  Would that really be so difficult to code?  Well, yeah, it's not easy... but is kind of like event:  door()  or window() or light().  One would think after all this time, such regularly-needed functions would be built right into the system.  Make scripting more newbie friendly.

But, I'm rambling. That's different than bugs, but somewhat related.  Playing music by clipping it into 10 second segments was a terrible concept from the start of SL, and a real scripting time-waster.  Pre-dinosaur coding.  Might as well code music in Assembler.

Like you I got tired of dealing with bugs.  So I stopped scripting.  And I got tired of stagnant population and dropping sales and nothing being done about IDI and having no say whatsoever in any of Inworldz despite the fact that folks like you and I and Zauber and YadNi and Julia and Peter helped put the grid on the map (no ego:  true history).  I just got tired of spinning my wheels and bashing my head against a brick wall and being viewed as someone who has no history in generating enthusiasm in a large group of people or in designing attention-getting interactive builds... and I got tired of Inworldz being crippled and stagnating by constant cries of "favoritism!", bringing progresss to a screeching halt... and I finally just threw up my hands and decided to pursue something more fulfilling and over which I had at least some say in how it turns out.  (Turns out I have total control over my music business and people seem to love my work.  Creativity and personal growth goals satisfied.)  I miss the social interaction, but there is something to be said for peace and quiet.  ;D

What's sad (and good at the same time) is that Inworldz is (imo) currently the best out there.  I will say this:  at least the newer Intel graphics systems available on desktops and laptops-- and even Windows tablets-- are able to handle the Inworldz engine to the point that one doesn't have to own a pricey gamer computer to use it.  I have a $200 Windows tablet that works just fine with Inworldz.  That was very surprising.  So tech is improving, and that helps the grids.  But it can only help so far in the face of a dinosaur coding that is far more buggy than it has any right to be after 15 years on the market.

Just to get it out of my system--  two things that would help put Inworldz back on the map (and I've harped on these before, broken record):

* Rebuild IDI and turn it into a real welcome center.  Put the current IDI off to the side as a nice park area, and make IDI itself a first-impression wonder, informative material, interactive displays, fast-loading, a sense of awesome.  Seems sensible to me, but what do I know.  ; )

* Simplify the viewer.  Simplify, simplify, simplify.  And then simplify.

Just seems like plain-ol' common sense to me.

One thing I will say positive about Inworldz:  much-improved website.   Good advertising and layout there.  (At least, last time I looked.)

Comment by Balpien Hammerer on January 9, 2017 at 12:53pm

I forgot to add some good developments on OpenSim, that the version 0.9x series are much better than the v08.x variants primarily used by almost all OpenSim grids. I was playing in discovery grid (http://login.discoverygrid.net:8002/), one of the few grids using the new, experimental, codebase, and I have to say it was excellent with respect to script compatibility. Many of my more complex scripts I wrote in InWorldz or SL worked well with no changes in OpenSim 0.91. Others needed minor changes. That was quite amazing since none of my vehicle or complex scripts worked at all in the current v0.8x OpenSim codebase. So yes, progress.

The only issue presently, and it will get fixed, is that the hypergrid code does not work well if at all in the v0.91 codebase.

With higher script compatibility, much better physics, and 8x8 VAR regions, the crossing problems are pretty much resolved in the new OpenSim codebase. So, for people running into problems not enjoying a good multi-region sail or car race in current grids, things are looking up in OpenSim.

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on January 9, 2017 at 1:10pm

Agreed.  0.9x works much better... and gotta love VAR.  I set up a 3x3 VAR just to see... and it worked reasonably well.  Not as fast and smooth as Inworldz, but still fairly impressive considering it was running the equivalent of 9 regions on a single server. 

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