InWorldz: A Brief Introduction


InWorldz was founded in 2009 by three people: Beth Reischl, John Arnolde, and David Daeschler. From a 2010 interview with the founders:

Q. Tell me something about the history of InWorldz.
A. It started out at the end of 2008 / beginning of 2009 with a few of us in a chat room discussing  if we could even DO a full virtual world, it was a testing phase for us. Then we had people who were actually interested in seeing if we could really pull it together, and lo and behold, we had a live world. I had the time and dedication to devote to it, so we started looking at what could be used, worked on, where it really was in grand scheme of things, and by February 2009 we started our testing, and by April 2009 we actually allowed residents to come in and take a look for themselves. We got our first paying customer that same month, talk about our celebration, we were amazed!

Q. What are your goals and aims for InWorldz?
A. First and foremost, to become a viable platform that is comparable to Second Life. Then move on to advancing that platform. This will include things that we’ve spoken about as far as physics, meshes, and so on. These are all things we’d like to tackle later on to improve the platform.

I usually lump InWorldz in with the OpenSim-based virtual worlds, although Talla Adam, in a comment to this blog,  notes that the InWorldz software has branched off from the OpenSim project:

Inworldz, by the way, is not regarded as Opensim anyway, although its roots are in OpenSim. InWorldz runs on the in-house developed Halcyon platform while OSGrid runs on current OpeSim.

InWorldz has been one of the more popular and commercially successful OpenSim-based virtual worlds, not as popular as Second Life, but an attractive, cheaper alternative for many people who were tired of high virtual land prices in SL. Many Second Life vendors set up branches of their businesses in InWordz, and other people built new businesses from scratch. The virtual world uses its own currency, called the I’z.

Unfortunately, InWorldz appears to be going through a period of some growing pains. There are reports of users leaving the platform, and some people are expressing concern. In January 2018, Hypergrid Business reported that a group of InWorldz’s content creators were concerned about the grid’s future:

“I am in InWorldz where I have a shop and we have seen a drastic decline in sales and residents,” one merchant told Hypergrid Business.

The merchant requested anonymity.  “If Elenia [grid owner Beth Reischl] doesn’t like what any of us report, then she could ban us from the grid because she has done that in the past,” the merchant said.

Residents have also complained on social media that the founders haven’t been paying attention to their concerns. Of the top managers, owner Reischl moved to Panama and founder and CTO David Daeschler has mostly moved on to other projects.

In an apparent effort to stem the flow of bad news, the grid shut down the public discussion forums a couple of years ago and stopped publishing monthly user statistics last spring.

According to the owners, there was too much drama in the forums and moderation would have been too expensive.

“Our forums have literally cost us thousands of dollars in customers,” Reischl said in a forum post in 2015.

Staff developer Jim Tarber followed up with a very confusing statement about why InWorldz doesn’t need to have a public discussion forum.

“It’s not InWorldz’ core business, we are not a social network like Facebook, we’re a software development organization providing an online service,” he wrote.

There has been some worried discussion among users about InWorldz’s future in their Residents Corner (thread one, thread two). But InWorldz, unlike many other OpenSim-based grids that have foundered along the way like Avination, keeps moving forward.

To learn more about InWorldz, visit their website or their wiki. InWorldz founder Beth Reischl also has a YouTube channel, with episodes of her show, called iNewz.


OpenSim: A Brief Introduction


OpenSim (short for OpenSimulator) does not refer to one virtual world, but to dozens of virtual worlds! The main webpage of the OpenSim project states:

OpenSimulator is an open source multi-platform, multi-user 3D application server. It can be used to create a virtual environment (or world) which can be accessed through a variety of clients, on multiple protocols. It also has an optional facility (the Hypergrid) to allow users to visit other OpenSimulator installations across the web from their ‘home’ OpenSimulator installation. In this way, it is the basis of a nascent distributed Metaverse.

OpenSimulator allows virtual world developers to customize their worlds using the technologies they feel work best – we’ve designed the framework to be easily extensible. OpenSimulator is written in C#, running both on Windows over the .NET Framework and on Unix-like machines over the Mono framework. The source code is released under a BSD License, a commercially friendly license to embed OpenSimulator in products. If you want to know about our development history, see History.

Out of the box, OpenSimulator can be used to simulate virtual environments similar to Second Life™, given that it supports the core of SL’s messaging protocol. As such, these virtual worlds can be accessed with the regular SL viewers. However, OpenSimulator does not aim to become a clone of the Second Life server platform. Rather, the project aims to enable innovative feature development for virtual environments and the Metaverse at large.

None of the OpenSim grids is anywhere near as popular as Second Life. I sometimes still pop in to visit OSGrid, the most popular of the OpenSim-based virtual worlds, with about 65,000 user accounts created. I also visit InWorldz, which is not really considered a true OpenSim grid, because although it has its roots in OpenSim, Inworldz runs on the in-house developed Halcyon platform, while OSgrid runs on current OpenSim software.

There is a very active Google+ community called Opensim Virtual, where people post news and events happening in various OpenSim-based virtual worlds. The great thing about OpenSim is that there is nothing stopping you from setting up your own virtual world, which other users can visit! Many people have already done exactly that.

Thanks to Talla Adam for her comments urging me to include OpenSim on the list of virtual world platforms I have written about on the blog!

UPDATE July 5th: Talla tells me that this is a more up-to-date list of OpenSim virtual worlds: Active OpenSim Grids (maintained by Hypergrid Business).