From time-to-time I’ve paddled around other Grid environments: OpenLifeGrid, New World Grid, InWorldz, etc. I’ve commented on OpenLifeGrid in the past (although I’ve not been back there in about 6 months), and I’ve also poked my nose into Blue Mars. As there has been a lot of commentary on InWorldz of late, and seeing as I’ve been bouncing around the InWorldz grid for some three months now, I’d thought I inflict, er, offer my observations on it.
First off, like any OpenSim Grid, Inworldz (IW) is small. Sims can be measured in the dozens rather than the thousands. The server-side software is also quite a way behind SL in terms of functionality. So don’t expect lots of windlight enhancements and be prepared for frequent server restarts. On the positive side, InWorldz has a working currency and working permissions.
Accessing InWorldz is much like SL…go to the website and register (no charge). The form itself is straightforward, and on completing the registration process, a validation e-mail is sent to you. Follow the instructions in the e-mail, and once validated, you’re ready to log-in.
Viewer-wise, there is a reasonable choice across operating systems, including InWorldz own tailored Viewer, Imprudence and Hippo. My personal preference is to use Imprudence, as I sometimes use this with SL and it has been tuned for OS Grid use; although I’ve played with the InWorldz Viewer and found it acceptable, and I’ve used Hippo with other OS grids. Results with other Viewers tend to be mixed. The infamous Emerald can be used, although I’ve tended to find it exceptionally slow on rezzing, and subject to frequent disconnects / crashes. Meerkat, from which elements of Emerald are drawn, on the other hand runs pretty smoothly on IW, and tends to be my 2nd choice of Viewer, if only because I used it to export the majority of my bits from SL prior to the TPV “lock down” at the end of April, and it is always wise to use the same Viewer to import items as was used to export them.
Whichever Viewer you use (outside of InWorldz’ own) will need to be configured to access the grid – but the instructions on the website for configuring Hippo can be used with other Viewers readily enough.
Logging-in to IW is obviously identical to SL, and will initially drop you at the main public meeting point. This generally has people coming and going and frequently has IW Mentors around. There is also a large freebie store where hair, clothes, shapes, skins, shoes, etc., can be picked up to get you started. The store also has a series of landmark sets, kindly ordered and sorted by category (“Skins and tattoos”, “clothing”, “rentals”, etc), by Pat Nartobi, one of the IW Mentors and good friend. These sets are a must have, as they are a boon to getting around IW and appreciating – despite negativity voiced within the SL official forum and places like SLU – just how IW is growing.
I’m not going to go on about getting around in IW or places to see; the former is easy enough for anyone who has been in SL and the latter is a matter of discovery. Rather, here’s a few bullet points of items of interest:
- As one would expect from an OS Grid, IW isn’t subject to many of the limitations one finds in SL:
- Full sims support up to 45,000 prims
- Prim sizing through the Build tools isn’t constrained to the 10x10x10 limit or torturing mega prims, with the largest permissable prim size being 128x128x128
- Land costs are (currently) considerably cheaper than SL: with mainland sims costing $60 a month, with no set-up fee and private islands costing $75 and no set-up fee
- Purchasing (renting) land is currently handled through the website. Sims that are available are supposed to show up in the website World Map with a “For Sale” sign in the po-up information display. TBH, this is something I’ve not managed to do with either Firefox or Google Chrome…so I’m likely doing something wrong…
- Frame rates within IW are potentially as good as anything in SL, although there is no real windlight processing to be done
- There permissions system works as here as for SL (unsurprisingly), although can be a little temperamental at times – if you set the permissions on and object and continue to work on it or modify it, it may get switched to full permissions as a whole if a full perm object is added to it
- There are currently no charges associated with uploads / imports, and XML imports are generally very smooth
- Like other OS Grids, IW does not support the most use-to-date LSL commands and functions, so some scripts may need to be re-worked to operate on the grid. Some additional capabilities (prim lighting options, for example) are also more restricted than SL
- The in-world currency, (I’z or O$, depending on whether you are on the website or in-world) are currently half the value of L$ (500Iz to the US dollar). Currently, the only method of purchasing Iz is via the IW website and Paypal. Goods appear to be priced roughly at their SL equivalents, however (so, for example, an L$800 AO in SL is likely to be O$800 in IW). I should point out you get 50 Iz when you sign-up
- Much work has been done to improve the IW Asset database, although in places like public sandboxes, things can be a little unstable – it is not uncommon to get disconnected from the server when saving complex builds
- If you are using a Viewer such as Imprudence, many of the “advanced” features may or may not work; the Avatar List, for example, does not work in Imprudence, but has worked (for me) when running Meerkat.
Beyond this, there are the expected bugs and issues – this is OpenSim, so don’t expect everything to run like clockwork, but on the whole, InWorldz offers one of the better (and increasingly more popular) OS Grid implementations. The permissions system, relatively stable currency and sheer friendliness of the team (and mentors) behind it make it one of the more delightful places to visit – and one of the more occupied of OS Grids.
Of course, there are risks associated with any OS Grid involvement. For all its faults, SL is supported by a company that is hardly likely to go *poof* in the night. And with the best will in the world, OS Grids run by enthusiasts, however well-intentioned, don’t have this safeguard. IW suffers to no greater or lesser extent in this than any other OS Grid. However, what it would benefit from is a clearer indication of its foundations (are those behind it purely enthusiasts? is there a registered entity behind it? These questions are not easily answered from a perusal of the website, which is largely anonymous in this regard. While this shouldn’t be a major hindrance to IW’s initial growth, it may well become so if the grid expands and becomes mainstream (although in fairness those behind it probably have this in hand). For the time being, it remains something those with a passion for disliking OS Grids to take pot-shots at IW….
For my part, I enjoy my time there; I’m not sure if I’m going to take the plunge and set-up shop or anything, but it is interesting being back on the ground floor of sorts and re-learning things like very basic scripting (not that I’m an expert). Given the open attitude towards adult matters within IW, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not elements such as RLV support can be made to work on the Grid. Certainly, there is enough there to keep me hopping back and forth.
Certainly, if you are thinking of mooching around other grids, IW is a very good place to start.