Monday, June 1, 2015

2016 HG: HELP: Pick-a-grid checklist for the HG: What to consider in choosing a grid for your project

Pick-a-grid checklist for the HG: 
What to consider in choosing a grid for your project
Updated 7/31/2015
The best HG grid for you depends on your objectives.  Here I list some things that are important to some people.  Below the fold, I give some information  and useful links for each item.  To use the checklist, copy-paste the list into a notepad, delete the items that don't matter to you, and evaluate any grids you are considering with the remaining checklist.

Do any of these things matter to you?

  • Lots of space, low cost? 
  • Control your own grid, set the rules, maybe low cost
  • 24/7 uptime? Commercial grids
  • Price
  • Reliable backup?  
  • Traffic to your place?    
  • Market services
  • Promotion of your place on the web
  • Export to OAR backup file
  • Help/service, problem resolution (fast)
  • Infrastructure quality
  • Infrastructure performance 
  • Inworld currency
  • Voice
  • Languages other than English
  • Life style (eg.LGBT) friendly
  • Active community promoting community interests
  • Caution

Lots of space, low cost?  


Control your own grid, set the rules, maybe low cost

24/7 uptime? Commercial grids

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  • List by Maria Korolov: What are the best grids?
  • No grid can guarantee 24/7 uptime.  
  • Commercial grids need to come close. 
  • Ask around about outages.  Some grids are not very reliable.
  • If you schedule an event, you want to be sure the grid will be up then.  

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  • Kitely's operating model seems most promising on this dimension.
  • Kitely runs on Amazon servers (AWS). 
  • Hardware failure just switches you to other hardware. 
  • Hardware changes only affect idle servers.  There are plenty of others.  
  • Software updates are done at midnight California time.
  • Most customers in US time zones can consider Kitely uptime to be 24/7

Price

Reliable backup

Long-term stability

  • Is the grid a business, a non-profit or a hobby?
  • Does it depend on volunteer efforts?  Volunteers can change their interests.
  • Is the grid making money?  How long will it be able continue with losses?
  • What happens if the person in charge dies suddenly ?

Traffic to your place

Market service
  • Can you buy things from a well stocked market?
  • Most HG grids let you buy on the Kitely Market.
  • But not all.  Maybe you want to check the selection available to you.  

Promotion of your place on the web

Export to OAR backup file

  • Check the grid features
  • Can you create an OAR file on your own?
  • Do you have to request an OAR file?
  • Is there a guaranteed maximum delay on OAR file request?
  • Can you upload an OAR file you own?  What does that cost?
  • The OARshop and selling sims on the web

Help/service, problem resolution (fast)

  • Do requests for help on the forums get response in a few hours?
  • Is there a community of techs responding to the forums?
  • Are grid operators promptly available to fix problems when needed? 
  • Ask people who have been on the grid for a while.
  • I can recommend Kitely as good for this service. 

Infrastructure quality

  • Infrastructure is everything that creates and runs the virtual world.
  • Opensim grids all have their own infrastructure.  It varies.
  • Server and data storage -- speed, architecture, physical security.
  • At least one grid had outages because in lightning damage.
  • Database efficiency.
  • Bandwidth-- capacity and reliability.
  • Voice--reliability and quality
  • Commercial grids could post information about these things.

Infrastructure performance

  • How long does it take to finish building the sim on your viewer when you TP in?
  • What FPS do you usually get on your viewer?
  • When 5 people tp in at about the same time, how long is the disruption?
  • How many avatars can you have without lag?
  • How reliable are the IMs and inworld sharing of things
  • You need to spend time in a grid to get a good feel for these things
  • Maybe talk to residents, maybe build in sandboxes.  
  • Maybe start with a project that you can easily export.  
  • Maybe rent for a while to see if performance is good enough for you.

Secure connection

Encrypted communications with SSL

Inworld currency

  • Inworld currency provides a basis for selling, buying, and tipping.
  • It is of limited value unless it is convertible to "real" money.
  • PayPal tip jars offer an alternative for tipping. 
  • And PayPal can take "real" money in a web market like Kitely Market
  • Convertible currency exposes grid operators to losses.
  • One grid operator lost over $100k to a hack attack.
  • Convertible currency can trigger legal investigations about money laundering.
  • Grids may not offer convertible currency unless they have insurance.  
  • And, given the risks, that insurance may be expensive.   
  • So convertible currency may be going out of style in Opensim

Voice

  • Many, but not all, grids offer Vivox.  Check if you need voice.

Languages other than English

Life style (eg.LGBT) friendly

  • Search Hypergrid Business for the lifestyle
  • If you don't see the term immediately, remember search on page.
  • In Chrome, Ctrl f, put search term in search bar, upper right.

Active community promoting community interests. 

  • Talk to current residents.
  • Check the calendar for upcoming events, talk to current residents.
  • No Grid event calendar probably means no active community.

Caution


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