This series of news snippets is starting to get a bit long! I hope you're enjoying this look at what's involved with emigrating to a new (and experimental) virtual world. I promise to get back to reporting Second Life material Real Soon Now!
The problems I reported last time have been resolved! It turns out that the Resident Geek was a little too clever for our own good. He had installed drivers for a "Microsoft loopback adapter" on the advice of another OpenSim user who thought our problems were "loopback" issues. It turned out that the loopback adapter was causing the strange problems, and they went away when the Geek uninstalled it.
Now I have four regions running on OSGrid, and I spent last night applying terrain files and tweaking them with the terraforming tools (See Digging in the Digital Dirt). I had my first visitor, too, a girl who flew up to me while I was moving ground around. We had a nice chat, and she gave me some of her clothing creations.
But what about the world itself, Lin? Well, all the people I've met so far, both in world and on the OSGrid forums, are very nice and extremely helpful! There aren't all that many of them, and it's apparently a pretty close community. At any one time, concurrency on OSGrid is around 100-150 people! There's shopping -- most of the stores are freebie stores, because OSGrid does not have an internal economy. I'm told that some people do sell things there, using PayPal for payment, but I haven't found those places yet. There is Search, but no Marketplace on the website.
The builds are mostly good quality, but I haven't run across any of the really polished, breathtaking places you sometimes see in SL. I think a lot of this is a lack of really high quality textures, and possibly because the focus of a lot of people is just getting the world running smoothly rather than creating top-quality content. And also, I have only been to a very few places yet!
The stability and smoothness isn't as good as SL, on one of SL's good days. However, it's not all that much worse than SL on one of SL's bad days, of which there have been far too many lately. Also, the performance varies a LOT from region to region. "Official" places, running on high speed servers with big fat data connections run really, really well...better than SL. Lots of other places are like my regions; they are hosted on users' own machines at home, and may have no more than a standard DSL connection to the internet. Performance in these places is noticeably poorer, as you might expect.
The biggest difference is content. SL has had hundreds of thousands of people creating all manner of things for over eight years. A place that's only been around for a couple of years and has a couple of thousand folks just seems...well, it's the difference between Clyde's Corners and New York City, you know?
But if you fancy a break from the hustle and bustle of SL, and want to spend a few hours vacationing in a quiet rural area, make an OSGrid account, install the Imprudence viewer, and come visit St Alda, St Bridget, St Clare, and St Dymphna.