Kitely goes mega

I’m a little late getting to this, as I’ve been swimming through a lot of SL-related stuff and other bits, so apologies to Oren and Ilan. 

On the 17th August, Kitely announced the addition of high performance big worlds and world pictures to their on-demand service.

Public World Page Images

Taking the second of the new additions first, Kitely users can now add an image of their world(s) to the Public Worlds listing. Previously, the Public Worlds list was just that – a text list of all worlds in Kitely available for public access. The use of images makes the list more visually appealing and gives those browsing the list a glimpse of the world prior to clicking on the image to access the region’s World Page.

Adding a Public Worlds image via the Manage World Advanced tab

Pictures can be set in one of two places – the World Page, and in the Advanced tab of the Manage World dialogue box. Submitted pictures are automatically resized to fit the available space on upload.

The Public Worlds page has been redesigned to support the new images,  with world images being displayed 12 to a page, with the world name below the image with the world owner’s name. Those worlds that have not yet had an image uploaded for the page will show the Kitely logo, and will generally be listed after all those that have an uploaded image available.

The updated Public Worlds page layout, with my own region in the list 🙂

Big Worlds

Following-on from the promise in the last update, Kitely have implemented their “big world” feature. This allows large, high-performance worlds to be created which can be up to 16 regions in size (i.e. 4 regions x 4 regions). In addition to the 16-region world, big worlds are also offered in four region (2×2) and nine region (3×3) sizes.

The free worlds offered within the Silver and Gold subscription plans can be used to create  various mixes of big worlds and standard regions, according to the user’s requirements. For example: a Silver plan might be used to create 10 individual regions, or two 2×2 big worlds and two “standard” individual regions or a 3×3 big world and single individual region, etc.

However, the size of a world can only be set when it is created, and cannot be changed afterwards. Therefore, single region worlds already created in Kitely cannot be converted to big worlds, regardless of the remaining quota of free regions in a silver or gold plan (e.g. if a user has 3 regions left in their free quota, they cannot combine them with an existing single-region world to create a 2×2 big world).

Additional worlds beyond a plan’s quota can be purchased using Kitely Credits (KC) at the rate of 10KC per region per day. So a 4-region (2×2) big world would cost 1200KC a month (4 regions x 10KC x 30 days), or as little at $4 a month when purchasing Kitely Credits at the maximum discounted rate. The costs of copying, exporting, and replacing big worlds are also dependent on the number of regions in the world. For example, copying a 4-region world will cost 40 KC (10KC per region).

Additional points of note about big worlds:

  • Big worlds have a “root region”, which is always the region in the South-west corner of the world
  • Big worlds have a “default region”, which is initially the root region (SW corner region) of the world, where incoming visitors arrive
    • This can be altered through the use of a tele hub, which can be placed in any region in the world, making it the default for incoming visitors
    • Deleting the telehub will not alter the updated default region
    • Moving the default region does not change the location of the root region
  • There is a limit of 100,000 prims for a world, regardless of the number of regions it contains.  How the total allocation is distributed among the regions within a big world is up to the world owner, but the total of 100,000 prims cannot be exceeded
  • When running in megaregion mode (see below), region crossings are completely eliminated
  • Vivox works seamlessly across all regions in a big world.

By default, Kitely’s big worlds use the OpenSim megaregion mode, wherein multiple regions have been merged into one contiguous region. This eliminates region crossings within a big world and all the dependent issues around them for building, vehicle movement, etc., and provides a much smoother overall performance.

However, Megaregions are an experimental feature so some OpenSim features don’t work properly (e.g. parcel audio only works in the root region). Kitely therefore allows big worlds to be run as either megaregions or non-megaregions; a check-box is provided in the Advanced Tab of the Manage World dialogue box to switch any inactive world (i.e. a world not currently running on a Kitely server) between the two modes.

Kitely have also added a new world template to help in the creation of big worlds. This is the Universal Campus, a 2×2 region build created by Michael Emory Cerquoni (a.k.a. Nebadon Izumi), and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence.

To support the safe archiving of big world builds, Kitely have extended to the OpenSim Archive (OAR) file format to support the saving of a multi-region world as a single OAR file. Currently, the file format cannot be used to export builds elsewhere, but the code has been submitted for inclusion in standard OpenSim, and once adopted by OpenSim, will allow the exchange of multi-region OAR files between Kitely and other grids (with limitations to protect 3rd party content), although pre-existing multi-region OAR files may require replacing should the file format change as a result of adoption by OpenSim.

In the meantime, Ilan Tochner, Kitely’s CEO has offered a workaround for people to import their own multi-region builds to Kitely ahead of the new file format being adopted.

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