I was speaking to a virtual friend of mine (who runs a sim in Linden Labs’ Second Life called “The Village” which I blogged about recently) and over the course of time, the conversation (as with most conversations I have over IM) usually includes talking about SL, building stuff, having fun, shopping, meeting people, listening to music, watching video, gaming, roleplay, all that.. and having common interests or chores like owning a sim, we end up talking a bit about that.
Inevitably, the conversation moves to talking about alternative metaverses or grids besides Second Life, and she mentioned looking at Openlife. This is one I hadn’t heard of yet, so thought I’d give it a go, at least to check out their website.
Openlife’s website is located at http://openlifegrid.com/ and though I haven’t been there it looks to be a closed grid, meaning they manage everything (yes I have a earlier blog about that stuff too, hehe) .. anyway, they also have their own viewer of sorts, which is available for Windows (XP/Vista/7), Mac (legacy & Intel based OSX) and “major Linux flavours” which I will guess means Ubuntu, SuSe, CentOS, Debian, and the like.
It looks like their world is somewhat based on an OpenSimulator installation that they have tweaked for themselves. This is a growing trend, and I see a few grids that are doing this to fulfill the need of gamers who want something like Second Life to play, but with better weapons and faster framerates than what the Linden grid and LSL scripting provide.
Down to brass tax, Openlife offers your old-style 256sqm x 256sqm size regions which are on public (aka mainland) or private (aka island) sims, at a set tier price. You can use Openlife credits (like the concept of Linden dollars) or cash to pay for your sim(s). A mainland sim runs you around 19000-30000 credits a month, while a private island is $69 a month. There are no setup or hidden fees on top of that. You can also get a “lite” private island, I think this is comparible to a homestead sim, for $30 a month.
Speaking of money, you can get credits directly purchasing them from the viewer, or from the Openlife website, or by playing a game called POG inworld, which will earn you credits. There are easy and hard variations of the POG game. Oh, of course, other people can give you credits or buy stuff from you, like in Second Life. I am not sure what the real world dollars to credits exchange rate is, but judging by the land prices, I will make a wild arse guess and suppose 30,000 credits is somewhere between 30 and 60 US dollars.
Openlife has an interesting feature called “scene flip” where you basically can store 5 sims of data (5 OAR files basically) for one sim, then, at the push of a button, have it reload one of those 5 scenes and viola, new sim with unique terrain and objects. That’s a pretty cool idea, I don’t see anyone else doing this, as easy as it is to implement, so kudos to Openlife for thinking that up!
There are no megaregions (512 x 512 sqm) nor can you connect your own hosted sims to the Openlife grid, by what I gather, nor can you hypergrid jump to other grids from Openlife .. hence, it’s a closed system.
As far as building constraints, you do get some of the benefits of OpenSimulator: A single prim on Openlife can have dimensions up to 100 meters in each direction or as low as 0.001 meters, there is no 30 meter link limit in OpenLife, and Openlife provides 45,000 prims for a region. On most OpenSimulator grids, you can build up to 256m in each direction and you get more prims per full sim (yes, I covered that in an earlier post, isn’t search grand?)
It sounds like they are off to a good start, the official wiki states (and I quote): “A little bit of information from Openlife’s Australian founder Sakai Openlife (Steve S). Openlife was first started in Oct 2007. The concept was to create a user content created virtual world oriented towards users, affordable ownership and community. Since our earliest days of logging into a single square of land with a barely functional avatar, we’ve developed a stable efficient platform with over 70,000 unique registered users from all continents across the world. Today Hundreds of user owned regions make up the Virtual World, with expressions of creativity found everywhere. tbc…”
Having not explored it myself, I don’t know how it compares to SL or other OpenSimulator based grids, but for those that want to check it out, please let me know what you find by IM me inworld Second Life to “StarLord Scribe” or if you can find me in OSgrid or New World Grid (neither of which I frequent much) you can IM me “Star Lord” of course, my website is best heh.. hitting my contact page here and typing a message will get you the fastest reply.
I do hope whatever web trolls Openlife has to scan for blog posts about them reads this and sends me something more official or corrects any mistakes or sends me info that I haven’t included here, I would be happy to update this article with said information hehe…