Since I have been getting a lot of hits on this blog I though perhaps it would be a good idea to add some page links at the top with useful content for my visitors. There is actually a lot of grids in the free Metaverse and, as I wrote before here, it seems a shame to me that the viewer developers don't do more with the grid list function to help promote them. After all said finding grids to visit can be difficult for noobs and I am sure many simply chose from the grid menu and don't add grid address' themselves. It's not hard to add an address and most, if not all, web sites run by grid operators generally do explain how but how much better would it be if when you open a viewer you find a search box as well as a menu of suggested worlds?
I spoke to Rev (Revolution Smythe, lead developer of Aurora Sim) about this and he said he favoured the GRID HOP list and, as he is working with viewer developers one hopes something will happen soon. I have, in fact, been asking for this for over a year from the Imprudence developers and, while they have been accepting grid details ready to launch something, it has not happened yet and given the team seems to be bogged down with finishing Imprudence 1.4 and getting onto Kokua I am not exactly holding my breath. Anyway, for the benefit of my readers I am adding my own list to the METAVERSE link which will include some useful information about most of them and a picture and discription for the larger grids.
The next link I am adding - VENDORS - will keep a listing of web sites offering both commercial and free content that can be used in Open Sim and Aurora based grids. Of all the web sites I looked at I think Sunny Whitfield's Total Avatar Shop stands out as one of the best for low cost high quality creations. Sunny supplies to many grids including InWorldz, Second Life, OSgrid, Alpha Towne, Virtual Worlds Grid, My Open Grid, New World Grid, and Kitely. I am sure there are more too but she will deliver to almost any grid if requested and even go to the grid personally to make a delivery. This is what makes Total Avatar Shop one of the best in my view so the site features right at the top of my list.
Another site I like is Opensim Creations run by Vanish Seraph of tgib.co.uk. The store front is run as a none-profit outlet catering to Open Sim residents and anyone may list content on the site if it is being offered free or with a small licence fee attached. The virtual goods come mostly in the form of XML files that can be uploaded to your grid using the Import feature of many viewers including Imprudence and Hippo. The site also offers OAR files of complete regions including terrains, landscaping, objects and textures. Even scripts are included.
Many of the grids now offer content direct from listings on their own sites which may be delivered in-world or come as XML or OAR downloads. I don't want to leave anyone out so all these will be listed too. There are some grids that don't offer direct sales from their web sites in order to encourage residents to shop in-world so they only advertise stores that have outlets in their grids. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not, especially for Opensim-based grids. I think it is damaging in Second Life as more people buy from Market Place and have goods delivered in-world rather than shop in the stores and malls that are run at great cost. Certainly, from what I have seen many of these SL merchants are closing their stores for lack of buyers while transferring the main thrust of their business to the web. AvWorlds, a newish Opensim-based grid, has taken the brave decision to protect their merchants so their site only carries adverts direction customers in-world.
Next one along is TEXTURES. I am always on the hunt for good textures and make many myself as and when I need something I can't find. I make templates too for clothes but if I find a site offering them at low cost it will get a mention for sure. Anyway, I am listing some great freebie sites and I shall add some I know offer a licence or permission to use them in Open Sim and Aurora.
Finally, I have the RESOURCES link which will list anything including but not limited to scripts and other useful stuff I have to offer myself or find on the web. For example, I am very much into sailing a boat in Second Life and on my private closed grid. In fact I have two grids running on fairly powerful virtual servers. One runs an Opensim grid and the other, Aurora. For a while now I have been evaluating and comparing both platforms with a view to eventually opening one of the grids to the public. Aurora is hot favourite presently. It runs smoother and faster than Open sim and is feature rich while Opensim is actually quite lumpy so to speak. Anyway, Revolution Smythe has told me he plans a big upgrade to vehicle physics soon so I am expecting some improvement in sailing my boat.I want to offer my boats to users so the RESOURCES link wiIl be a good spot to offer this kind of thing.
The HOME link just brings you back to the blog of course which is always moving on as I write more about the free Metaverse. The other links are static pages making them easy to get to without having to search through the blog if I posted stuff there. I hope the links will be useful and I will try to keep them up to date and add new links and content as I find it. If you know of a site or run one and would like it included in the links then please do leave me a mention on the comments together with the site address. I will visit and take a snapshot of the home page and do a little write up for the link.