Monday, November 10, 2014

Why OpenSim? Why Not Second Life?

I seem to be hearing this question more from my friends who are still in Second Life.  Why did you leave Second Life and how did you move all your stuff to your OpenSim Grids.
I'm not sure why I am hearing this question more these days, but I'll try to answer as best I can.  Of course, the reasons why and the how will be different for everyone.
Is OpenSim better than Second Life?  That depends on what you like to do "In World".  For me, the choice was obviously OpenSim.  But what is right for me, may not be right for you.  Second Life must be doing something right, because they were here in the beginning and they are still here.  But for those of you who are interested in making the move, here is a lot of stuff to further confuse you!

Ok.... for question 1:
So, why did I leave....... Here are some answers in no particular order.

#1  I hate counting prims!!!
In Second Life, I was limited to the number of prims I could build with based on the amount of square meters I "owned".  512 square meters of land supports 117 prims.  A full regions which is 65,536 square meters is limited to 15,000 prims.  For those of you who don't build or create content, I can see where 15,000 prims sounds like a lot, but trust me..... You never have enough prims!!!
In OpenSim, depending on how you host your region(s) and on which Grid, you can theoretically put as many prims on your region as you want.  I say theoretically, because more prims, textures, and scripts slows down the performance and contributes to lag.  I tend to keep my prims between 25,000 and 45,000 per Simulator and a Simulator could contain multiple regions or just one.  When I feel it starting to lag, I'll start cutting back.

#2 I can't afford to spend a lot of money on my virtual addiction!!!
In Second Life a Mainland Region Costs $195 per month, on top of the $9.95 per month for your "premium" membership.  Plus, "good" freebies are few and far between.  You can spend hundred of real dollars just outfitting your avatar with good skin, clothes, accessories, and AO (animation override).
In OpenSim, unfortunately it is not a simple process to figure out the cost.  If you are technically capable of hosting your region or regions on your own home computer there are numerous grids that will allow you place your regions for free and just ask for a small donation to help with support of the Grid.  For people like me, who have not been able to figure out the OpenSim software, there are hosting companies that will host your regions and place them on the grid of your choice or on their own private or Hypergrid enabled grid.  I pay $50 per month for 4 regions on Zetaworlds which is linked to other grids via the Hypergrid and 1 region on the Metropolis grid which is also linked via the Hypergrid.  In fact, I have a Hypergate on Ptarmigan Park in Metropolis that allows you to walk right through to Ptarmigan Park in Zetaworlds!

#3 I want to share what I've built with as many people as possible!!!
You would think that with the thousands of people logged in to Second Life at any given moment I would have more traffic on my Second Life region that I would in OpenSim.  Unfortunately, for me anyway, that was not the case.  I did not spend a lot of time at the Second Life clubs or hangout places and quite honestly found it to be a little lonely at times.  There is so much to see in Second Life that unless you want to spend some serious money advertising your region, very few people will ever see it.  I could see weeks with only a couple of visitors to my region in Second Life and then they would just pop in and then pop out.
On OpenSim, my regions are connected to multiple grids via the Hypergrid and as more of my creations get spread across multiple grids, people have started to search me out and I get a fair amount of traffic.

#4 I'm not a social butterfly, but I do want to belong to a community!!!
I have met more people on the OpenSim regions and have developed better relationships than I ever did on Second Life.  I think the reason is that there are more builders and content creators on OpenSim so we have more in common.  But, whatever the reason.... I feel at home on OpenSim!

And now question 2:
How did I move all my stuff from Second Life to OpenSim?
But... that's not the real question.  The real question is "How can I move all my stuff to OpenSim?"
Here's the short answer:  You can't!
I'll explain what I was able to figure out and perhaps that will help you as well.

#1 You can only export items that you actually created!
But, even then Second Life does not make it easy.  I was able to export items to my computer, one at a time as an .xml file using a viewer called Imprudence.  However, I could not export it with the textures or scripts as part of the build.  You might be able to now, but back when I was exporting my creations, I had to import them to OpenSim and re-apply the textures and re-install the scripts for each of my builds.  And it was a pain!!!
Once you are in OpenSim with all your "stuff"  there are multiple ways to save your creations to your computer and move from grid to grid.  You can use .xml files to export your builds to your computer.  You can use .iar files to back up your grid inventory to your computer.  And, you can use .oar files to back up entire regions.  And of course, backing these things up also allows you to move them to other grids!  Cool!!!

#2 You can't take your avatar with you to OpenSim!  What?!!
Going back to #1, if you didn't create it, you can't export it.  Here's what I ended up doing.
There are several things that go in to creating an avatar and you can find all sorts of free resources on most of the OpenSim grids, but I went a different route.  I made the move before the Hypergrid was very stable which would mean that I would have a different looking avatar on each grid.  So, I made my own avatar that I could back up to my computer and import to any grid that allowed me to import items.
There are several parts to building an avatar and here is what I did for each part:
#1  Your avatar name
Most grids will allow you to select whatever name you want unless it's been claimed by another user. I went to most of the larger grids and signed up using my Second Life name hylee bekkers.
#2  Your avatar shape
Your avatar shape, unless it's a mesh which I still can't figure out, is just a series of numbers that you can pull out of the appearance menu.  I copied down the numbers one at a time and applied them one at a time in my new avatar on my new grid.  Then I saved it as an xml file which I can move from grid to grid if I want.
#3  Your avatar skin.
This was a little harder, but I had fun doing it!
I found a blog called Enlades that has a number of tutorials and resources available.  And there were links to skin textures made by Eloh Eliot. The blog is no longer active but the posts can still be found at http://enlades.wordpress.com/
The skins can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/another/Home
And there is a detailed tutorial at https://sites.google.com/site/another/support/starlight
#4  Your Clothing an accessories which includes hair.
I made my own!
I found textures of pants and shirts that I could edit in Gimp.
I found a simple pair of sculpted tennis shoes that I took apart and recreated the sculpt maps in blender and then used my own textures.
The hair..... Making prim hair is not for the faint of heart.  I found some sculpted hair and textures, recreated the sculpt maps and edited the textures.  I will never do it again!!!  It took forever!!!
The accessories I made just like other things I make.... with prims!
#5  Your AO (Animation Override) because the default animations are horrible!
My AO is just a script that I loaded in to a prim and wear as a HUD (heads up display).  I didn't write the script which is why it works... lol.  You can find AO devices everywhere and then you can load them with the animations that you like which are also available everywhere.  There are also multiple viewers that allow you to load the animations in the viewer.
There are a lot more resources online today to allow you to make your own avatar portable across grids.  This is just what I did.

So, do you think it's an accident that Second Life makes it so difficult to move to another grid.  I believe that it is a business decision to trap their customers and make it so difficult to move on that they don't.  I can tell you that once you get moved to OpenSim, it's very easy to move from one grid to another and with the Hypergrid, we actually have something that is bigger and more diverse than Second Life!  Just make sure, if you use a hosting provider, that you are able to download your .oar and .iar files to your computer!

4 comments:

  1. Yesm hylee, yur ryt. Takem numbasdown ina list. Da's wot I did when I moved my avi fro SL to OSG. O but yu gotta make sure yu gets olada numbas ryt els yu gets a mess, uhuh. Da's wot happnd to me da frist tym I twied it - tee hee.

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  2. Oh how I understand I was once a prim slut :). So bad I still have 4 regions on my own computer. It is nice to have some one else do the back up's and upgrades. I can really understand why open sim thrives in this way.

    next part of my comment is in no way to put any grid down but it is a tried and true experiment.
    The reason why SL maintained such a high cost their structure was to have a social atmosphere that created a market. The pace of the market was to fast so the product cost went up. But it pushed people together. Why because it now took 3 to come together to handle the cost. This forms a social structure. The reason for the low prim was it encouraged people to get more land as a team. Again social experiment.

    I am total open source have no use for any mac or windows products.
    OpenSim is just great and is another model that has barely touched the surface. When in 1976 Star wars used Linux servers to render and handle the visuals for the movie it was done because it just works and the licence problems. 90 percent of Hollywood use a opensim type of model for rendering and doing effect and it is done in open source..

    Draw backs of the wide frontier as in any explorer you look to settle some where and do your thing. but for the social person that only goes to a grid for social reason it may be a let down. It is just part of the frontier.
    There is no reason to get together to afford sim.
    This has caused a certain popular grid with 113,000 users and only 260 online. They market the social of it but the structure is for a frontier. and trust me open sim is a much better model to handle things as a frontier.
    Instead of a grid owner making up rules as they go and taking your money.
    I would say everyone should try open sim on there own computer then hyper gate it. what do you have to loose your already a prim slut like me. :)

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  3. Hi Hylee! :) Just wanted to say I've always loved your creations in Opensim. It's great fun to explore Ptarmigan Park, too. Beautiful attention to detail and encouraging discovery (I laughed out loud when I followed the dog's gaze and found the gorilla in the tree...)

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