Some years ago I joined a nifty virtual world called Kaneva. I spent a fair amount of time there, learned how to make some basic things, went to some parties, met some friends and had a pretty nice time. I had been in the Second Life grid for about a year or so at that point and I quite liked the simple and intuitive design Kaneva offered, and especially the price – free apartment loft and land for every avatar. (or at least it was when I got it) I recall getting a theme for my land and a few items but there was no monthly fee or membership or anything. It was a nice change from ‘the other grid’.
Kaneva had a great social networking site that tied in with its virtual world very well and it was really easy to connect with people and have a great time.
However about a year or so later, I found InWorldz. I admit that the lack of customization for my Kaneva avatar, especially after spending a year in ‘the other grid’ was a bit frustrating, and the inability to easily interact with items made immersiveness rather difficult. So when I found InWorldz, an alternative to the other grid with really good prices, free uploads of my cretions a great community and the same concept I was really happy. I started using Kaneva a lot less.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of fun but very cartoonish and basically focused on parties and clubs, and felt more two dimensional than the realism that could be acheived through InWorldz, OpenSim etc. (and the image below is greatly enhanced – the avis did not really look quite that great at all – nor did the world, but it was still cool 🙂
Anyhow, so why all this blabbing about Kaneva? Well, it shut down on November 14th. From what I could tell there was little to no warning. I had no email notice, most of my K friends had no idea either. I tried to log in and it was simply gone. There were some final parties right before it shut down so I guess there was some notice from staff but I’d say 90% of Kanevians had no idea it was going.
In the past few weeks I have met many Kaneva Refugees who have found their way to InWorldz and there was discussion in the IW Kaneva group as to why not OSgrid or other free options. So I thought I’d address some of those things.
InWorldz is free to join. You create an account at http://inworldz.com for free. After you do that you can download their viewer from here, or you can use a Third Party viewer. One third party viewer that many of us use is called Firestorm. It is not the official IW viewer, but lots of us like it and its worth trying out. (download the one that is for SL/OpenSim)
Then you log in for the first time, you find yourself at a welcome area where there are people around to answer any questions. They will likely offer you a Hud to wear that makes it easy to find places to explore (including freebies) You can also use the Search function within the viewer itself, search Classifieds for Clothes, Hair, HomeRentals etc and off you go. You can even choose a Premium Plus Account and for 5.95/month you get a home, on a 2048 sqm plot that you own, a monthly allowance of 500 Izzies and a nice prim count.
Now, back to the discussion regarding the choice of InWorldz for a new home as opposed to a place on the hypergrid with the option for free rent.
OSgrid is a test grid. Although many people enjoy their time there , and it’s what most people associate with OpenSim , there is no guarantee that it will remain open. A grid that is run by volunteers isn’t technically a business and for a group of people who just had their Virtual World home shut down, re-establishing a community on a well established stable grid is a really great idea. Kitely is a great option for an OpenSim grid, as it’s been around for a long while also and is very stable. However there might be a bit more of a learning curve for those not familiar with OpenSim due to the lack of a search function in the browser itself requiring the need to rely on the website to find things.
The argument can be made that InWorldz is a ‘closed grid’ , and that would be correct. But so was Kaneva. And if we look at the numbers found at http://126.96.36.199/gridstats/now.html we can see that at peak, InWorldz has double the users that OSgrid has and the same number of users online as the next few runner ups below OSgrid combined. It has more active users than any other OpenSim grid, (6087.08 for InWorldz), Kitely included and this is an important thing when wanting to recreate a community feel because in Kaneva you could always easily find places with people in it very easily. (like I said, it was REALLY intuitive for social needs) . There isn’t really a need to hypergrid all over to find people, like with other OpenSim grids because InWorldz already has a higher population than many others.
InWorldz has a stable platform, has been around for 7 years (since 2009 I believe), has fantastic physics, merchants, community and events and all in all is a really great place for Kanevians to call home .
I also think it is great to have choice, and after getting used to how things work in OpenSim, then a person might feel the need to venture into hypergridding, however InWorldz makes the best starting point for those who are used to finding busy events all over the place, and after all Kaneva had a party going on all the time, great tunes and events, games etc. InWorldz offers the stability desired by those who suddenly, without warning, lost a community they had been a part of for so many years. (Kaneva began in 2004 but became open to everyone in 2006). True, if you want a huge chunk of land, you have to pay some rent. This can vary depending on the landowner, or depending if a person wants to get a whole region, but whether a person decides to buy land, rent land or just come hang out, there is truly a variety of options.
So, for those Kaneva Refugees who want a stable world, bustling commerce, great variety of merchants and active involved community , for people who want to create their own perfect haven or express themselves artistically or socially – this could be your new home. Whether you want to start a virtual family, or roleplay as a fairy or science fiction character , or perhaps maybe run a virtual school or classroom, InWorldz can help you make the transition from the life of a Kanevian Refugee to a bonafide OpenSim traveller, and from that point, the whole of the Metaverse awaits you.