Please Help Kitely by Participating in the Hypergrid Business Annual Grid Survey

The website Hypergrid Business is now holding its twelfth annual OpenSim grid survey, and we need your help to be able to attract additional people to use our grid and marketplace. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes to help spread the word about Kitely then please answer this short multiple choice survey.

Last year many of you participated in the survey and your endorsement helped convince more people to join our community and attract additional content creators to list their items in Kitely Market. Your continued support this year is crucial for our continued growth.

Please take the time to complete this survey. Thank you!

Always-On Dedicated Servers

We started Kitely with the idea of providing a new type of OpenSim service: virtual worlds that are started on demand. This innovation has allowed us to provide tremendous value to our customers, with very high-performing worlds at a reasonable price. Instead of cramming dozens of worlds into a single server, we placed a maximum of four worlds on each server.

However, some of our customers have told us that the on-demand system doesn’t work well for their worlds, because very complex worlds can take a long time to start, and they (and their visitors) don’t want to wait that long. So they’ve asked us for an option to run complex worlds that never shut down.

We are therefore very happy to announce a new type of world: a Dedicated Server world. These worlds are always-on, can be up to 64 regions in size, and support up to 180,000 objects. Each Dedicated Server world can be as big as four of our Advanced Worlds combined, and gets an entire server for itself, so it doesn’t have to share server resources with any other world. Dedicated Servers are Kitely’s biggest and fastest worlds, and they never shut down (except for maintenance).

Dedicated Servers vs. Advanced Worlds

If you want to build a complex or large world then you’ll probably want to choose between Kitely’s Advanced Worlds and our Dedicated Server worlds. To help you make this choice, here are the differences between these world types:

Advanced Worlds are started on-demand. This means that worlds that aren’t in use are turned off, and when someone enters them they turn back on. An Advanced World may share the server with up to two other worlds. This is a very low number, which is significant because many OpenSim providers cram a lot of different worlds (VarRegions) into each server, which makes them run slowly because they don’t have sufficient resources. Also, when multiple regions are hosted on the same server it becomes possible for a region to be slowed down by what happens in the other regions that are hosted on the same server, so keeping the number of worlds per server low is very important for maintaining consistently high performance.

Dedicated Server worlds are kept always on – they are only shut down during maintenance. A Dedicated Server world is guaranteed to always get a full server of its own, so it can fully use all of the server’s resources without being impacted by other people’s worlds.

The following table compares Advanced Worlds and Dedicated Server worlds.

 Advanced WorldDedicated Server
Maximum world size16 Regions64 Regions
Maximum prims120,000180,000
Dedicated memory (RAM)4 GB7 GB
Guaranteed a Dedicated Server?NoYes
Always on?NoYes
Maximum avatar capacity?8080
User idle timeout1 hour3 hours
Price$39.95 / month$149.95 / month

Here’s how these world types stack up:

  • Dedicated Server worlds can be up to 4 times bigger than Advanced Worlds.
  • Dedicated Server worlds can include 50% more prims than Advanced Worlds.
  • Dedicated Server worlds get 75% more RAM than Advanced Worlds.
  • An Advanced World might share a server with other worlds, but a Dedicated Server worlds always runs alone on its server, so it gets all the server’s CPU, RAM and network resources.
  • An Advanced World is shut down when it’s empty and started when someone enters it, but this can take some time. A Dedicated Server world is kept on even when there is no one inside it: it’s only shut down during maintenance.
  • Both world types allow up to 80 avatars to visit them at the same time. But Dedicated Server worlds will perform better, because they can use more server resources to support many avatars.
  • The Kitely system automatically disconnects users that are inactive for a long period of time. The user idle timeout in Advanced Worlds is 1 hour for visitors and 2 hours for the world owner. The user idle timeout in Dedicated Server worlds is 3 hours for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is this a limited time offer?

A: We haven’t set an expiration date for this deal, but like all of our deals it might be discontinued in the future.

Q: What happens if the offer ends?

A: You get to keep your existing Dedicated Servers for as long as you continue paying for them; you just won’t be able to create new ones.

Q: Does ordering a Dedicated Server world require a setup fee or a long term commitment?

A: No, there are no setup fees. We bill for worlds on a monthly basis, and you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Q: Can I order multiple Dedicated Server worlds?

A: Yes, you can get as many as you want while this offer lasts.

Q: Can I upgrade an existing world to be a Dedicated Server world?

A: Yes, you can upgrade any Kitely world to be a Dedicated Server world. The price you pay for the first month will be the difference between the price of your current world type and the price of a Dedicated Server world, adjusted for the number of days remaining in the month.

Q: Can a Dedicated Server world be smaller than 64 regions in size?

A: Yes, all our world types are VarRegions and you can resize any Kitely World.

Q: Is there a benefit to making a world that is smaller than 64 regions be a Dedicated Server world?

A: Yes, there are three main benefits:

  • Dedicated Server worlds have a lot more server resources at their disposal than the other world types that we currently offer. You can use these extra resources to build more complex worlds and support more visitors without lag.
  • Dedicated Server worlds are kept always on. This is useful if you want to avoid having to wait for your world to start up, or if you run scripts that need to be constantly active.
  • Dedicated Server worlds have a much longer idle user timeout, and that can help people that may be logged into the world but are using other applications for extended periods of time.

Q: Is there a benefit to upgrading a Mega World to be a Dedicated Server world?

Last year we had a limited time offer for Mega Worlds (this offer has already ended). You’ll gain the following benefits if you upgrade your Mega World to be a Dedicated Server world:

  • Your world will be kept always on, so you won’t have to wait for it to start up.
  • Your prim quota will increase from 150,000 prims to 180,000 prims.
  • The user idle timeout in your world will increase from 1 hour for your visitors (and 2 hours for yourself) to 3 hours for everyone.

High Performance Worlds

Dedicated Server worlds are our most powerful world type. In addition to getting a dedicated server, this new world type takes advantage of the fast performance that every Kitely world enjoys:

Our service runs on the world’s leading cloud computing platform: the Amazon Web Services data center in California. We run OpenSim on powerful servers with gigabit network connections, and we place no more than 4 worlds on each server to ensure that each world gets plenty of RAM, CPU, and network resources. (Of course, Dedicated Server worlds each get their own server.)

We use CloudFront, Amazon’s renowned Content Delivery Network, to quickly deliver content to people’s viewers. CloudFront has practically unlimited bandwidth, and it has servers in many cities around the world (see this map). This ensures that your world’s visitors can quickly download content from Kitely no matter where they’re located or how many other people are currently using our system.

In addition to running excellent hardware in one of the world’s top datacenters, we use a proprietary and highly optimized version of OpenSim which further improves performance. This includes using our own cloud-based Asset and Inventory services, which run on top of high-availability Amazon systems. This enables our services to be much faster than the services that come with regular OpenSim. As a result, Kitely worlds are rendered quickly, and Kitely users don’t have to wait for their inventory to load.

The following video demonstrates how well our worlds perform:

Act Now!

We encourage you to take advantage of this offer to create a new Dedicated Server world, or upgrade your existing Kitely world. We can’t promise we’ll always offer this option, so if you want these benefits then you should order now.

Please Help Kitely by Participating in the Hypergrid Business Annual Grid Survey

The website Hypergrid Business is now holding its eleventh annual OpenSim grid survey, and we need your help to be able to attract additional people to use our grid and marketplace. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes to help spread the word about Kitely then please answer this short multiple choice survey.

Last year many of you participated in the survey and your endorsement helped convince more people to join our community and attract additional content creators to list their items in Kitely Market. Your continued support this year is crucial for our continued growth.

Please take the time to complete this survey. Thank you!

Limited Time Offer for Mega Worlds

Ever since we introduced Advanced Worlds with 16 regions, people have been asking us how they could combine these worlds to make an even bigger world. So today we’re happy to announce a new type of world: Mega Worlds, with up to a whopping 64 regions! Each Mega World is as big as four of our Advanced Worlds combined. In order to provide great performance for these monster worlds, when a Mega World is active it gets a dedicated server of its own, so it doesn’t have to share server resources with any other world. Mega Worlds are Kitely’s biggest and fastest worlds.

Mega Worlds vs. Advanced Worlds

If you’re considering getting a large world then you’ll probably want to choose between Kitely’s Advanced Worlds and Mega Worlds. What are the differences?

All Kitely worlds are started on-demand, meaning that worlds that aren’t currently in use are turned off. The worlds are started when someone enters them. We place at most 4 worlds on each server, to ensure that each world gets sufficient resources. This is important because many OpenSim providers cram a lot of different worlds (VarRegions) into each server, which makes them run slowly because they don’t have sufficient resources, and because they are affected by what happens in other people’s regions.

Unlike all other world types, Mega Worlds don’t share their server: a Mega World is guaranteed to always get a full server of its own, so it can fully use all of the server’s resources without being impacted by other people’s worlds. When a Mega World is started on-demand (because someone entered it), we assign a private server just to that world.

The following table compares Kitely’s two most powerful world types: Advanced Worlds and Mega Worlds.

 Advanced WorldMega World
Maximum world size16 Regions64 Regions
Maximum prims120,000150,000
Dedicated memory (RAM)4 GB7 GB
Guaranteed a Dedicated Server?NoYes
Maximum avatar capacity?80 *80
Price$39.95 / month$99.95 / month

Here’s how these world types stack up:

  • Mega Worlds can be up to 4 times bigger than Advanced Worlds.
  • Mega Worlds can include 25% more prims than Advanced Worlds.
  • Mega Worlds get 75% more RAM than Advanced Worlds.
  • An Advanced World might share a server with another world, but a Mega World is guaranteed to get all its server’s CPU, RAM and Network resources.
  • Both world types allow up to 80 avatars to visit them at the same time. But Mega Worlds will perform better, because they can use more server resources to support many avatars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long will this offer last?

A: You’ll be able to order new Mega Worlds until the end of November 30.

Q: Why is this a limited time offer?

A: Mega Worlds are a lot more expensive to run than other world types, so we need to see that the price that we’re charging for them covers their costs. We don’t want to make support for Mega Worlds permanent until we understand the impact that they’ll have on Kitely.

Q: What happens after the offer ends?

A: You get to keep your existing Mega Worlds for as long as you continue paying for them; you just won’t be able to create new ones. To be clear, if you continue paying for your Mega Worlds then you’ll be able to keep them even if we decide that it doesn’t make sense for us to extend this offer after November 30.

Q: Does ordering a Mega World require a setup fee or a long term commitment?

A: No, there are no setup fees. We bill for worlds on a monthly basis, and you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Q: Can I order multiple Mega Worlds?

A: Yes, you can get as many as you want while this offer lasts.

Q: Can I upgrade an existing world to be a Mega World?

A: Yes, you can upgrade any Kitely world to be a Mega World. The price you pay for the first month will be the difference between the price of your current world type and the price of a Mega World, adjusted for the number of days remaining in the month.

Q: Can a Mega World be smaller than 64 regions in size?

A: Yes, all our world types are VarRegions and you can resize any Kitely World.

Q: Is there a benefit to making a small world (smaller than 64 regions) be a Mega World?

A: Yes, because Mega Worlds have a lot more server resources at their disposal than the other world types that we offer. You can use these extra resources to build more complex worlds and support more visitors without lag.

High Performance Worlds

Mega Worlds are the most powerful world type that we’ve ever provided. In addition to getting a dedicated server, Mega Worlds take advantage of the fast performance that every Kitely world enjoys:

Our service runs on the world’s leading cloud computing platform: the Amazon Web Services data center in California. We run OpenSim on powerful servers with gigabit network connections, and we place no more than 4 worlds on each server to ensure that each world gets plenty of RAM, CPU, and network resources. (Of course, in the case of Mega Worlds, we place only one world on each server.)

We use CloudFront, Amazon’s renowned Content Delivery Network, to quickly deliver content to people’s viewers. CloudFront has practically unlimited bandwidth, and it has servers in many cities around the world (see this map). This ensures that your world’s visitors can quickly download content from Kitely no matter where they’re located or how many other people are currently using our system.

In addition to running excellent hardware in one of the world’s top datacenters, we use a proprietary and highly optimized version of OpenSim which further improves performance. This includes using our own cloud-based Asset and Inventory services, which run on top of high-availability Amazon systems. This enables our services to be much faster than the services that come with regular OpenSim. As a result, Kitely worlds are rendered quickly, and Kitely users don’t have to wait for their inventory to load.

The following video demonstrates how well our worlds perform:

Act Now!

We encourage you to take advantage of our limited-time offer to create a new Mega World, or upgrade your existing Kitely world. This offer will not be available after November 30, so if you want these benefits you should order now.

Kitely Market Passes $250,000 in Sales

We are proud to announce that we’ve passed a new milestone: Kitely Market has sold over $250,000 worth of virtual goods to date.

Kitely Market first opened to the public on August 2013. Since then, Kitely Market has become the main marketplace serving the OpenSim metaverse (the Hypergrid).

Here are a few noteworthy stats:

  • When Kitely Market first opened it had less than 1,000 product variations listed. Now it offers close to 34,000 product variations.
  • Kitely Market’s sales revenue over the last year was over 3.6 times higher than its sales revenue in its first year.
  • When Kitely Market opened, Kitely was still a closed grid and only Kitely users could buy from it. In March 2014 Kitely Market started delivering to the Hypergrid, and has since delivered to avatars on more than 420 different OpenSim grids.
  • Buyers have viewed more than 1 million product pages to date, and 8.7% of product page views have resulted in a sale.
  • Our top merchant has sold more than $20,000 worth of virtual goods.
  • Our top 10 merchants have each sold at least $4,000 worth of virtual goods.
  • Our top 100 merchants have each sold at least $300 worth of virtual goods.

If you aren’t familiar with Kitely Market then this video will bring you up to speed:

One of our main goals for Kitely Market was to enable content creators to easily make money selling their creations to users from multiple OpenSim grids, without having to manually deliver their goods to all of those grids. Kitely Market’s growth over the last few years demonstrates that talented content creators can see a nice return from selling to an open metaverse, even when it still includes less than 100,000 active users spread over thousands of different OpenSim grids.

Thank you for using Kitely Market! Your help in spreading the word about our marketplace is what enabled it to grow, and provide you with more content buying options. With your continued support, we can attract even more professional content creators to sell their goods to the OpenSim community.

Case Study: Multi-College Diversity Course in Kitely

Since the Coronavirus pandemic has started we’ve been getting a lot of interest from organizations that are looking for virtual-world alternatives to real-world education, training, meetings and events. Our Organizations offering was designed for just such purposes, and we think that it will be instructive to show how one large project has been using it.

The project is the Introduction to Multiculturalism and Cultural Diversity course. This 14-week course is now in its second year and has already been taken by more than 1200 students from 7 different colleges in 3 different languages (English, Hebrew and Arabic).

Participants in the course are divided into six-person groups. Each group contains students from different religions, genders and cultural backgrounds. Each group gets a private virtual world (inaccessible to the other groups) that contains the content and activities for the course. Each week additional areas of the world are opened to the students, and they are instructed how to complete that week’s assignments. The system tracks attendance and completion of assignments throughout the course, and the colleges can import this information into their analysis tools.

The course’s designers have performed statistical analysis after running this course for three semesters, and they have found that participants gained a significant long-term increase in empathy to people from different religions, cultural groups, sexual identities, and races. Participants also showed a long term decrease in bias and prejudice, which persisted in follow-up testing more than eight months after completing the course.

The Introduction to Multiculturalism and Cultural Diversity course was one of the finalists at the Reimagine Education Oscars (London 2019). This was their presentation:

Seven teaching colleges worked together to produce three online courses, in English, Arabic and Hebrew. The course “Introduction to Multiculturalism and Cultural diversity” was selected for production after competing with all universities and academic colleges in Israel. It is provided as a MOOC (massive open online course) and funded by Digital Israel, representing the Ministry for Social Equality, together with the “malag”- the council for higher education in Israel and the Ministry of Education. 

All the courses selected had to appear on the Campus site for all the open online approved courses in Israel. However, in order to allow the participants to not just learn about multiculturalism, but to experience it through working in multicultural groups on a virtual world and carryout simulations and roleplays, we needed an additional learning environment. This is how we connected with Kitely which provided us with an excellent professional service.

Using virtual worlds and personalized worlds can be a daunting experience for users new to this technology. However, Kitely made this process seamless for both windows and mac users. They developed a small application for us to get the participants directly into their own world. A system was developed to make multiple worlds, duplicated one for each small group and registration was also easy for the participants. Building the worlds was also aided by the massive depository of items available for purchase on the Kitely site.

We have had more than 1200 students taking our courses on Kitely worlds and we are very satisfied with Kitely’s service and professional approach, always willing to add to the infrastructure to make the course an excellent experience for the students. 

In our research we have been able to show that through using the virtual worlds our students have more empathy for the other. Using virtual worlds and experiential learning makes the learning experience so much more powerful. The course reached the finals in London 2019 for the Oscar in Education for the best project in the world to incorporate 21st century skills.

Dr. Elaine Hoter, Talpiot College of Education, Project Leader

Technical Challenges and Requirements

This project was one of the first to use Kitely’s Organizations feature. At the time that this project started we had already had years of experience providing virtual worlds to educators on top of our consumer offering, but addressing this project’s evolving requirements helped us define what our organization-focused offering needed to include.

The first challenge was handling registration. Registration to this course is done at different times by each college, and sometimes the participants or study groups need to change even after the users have already enrolled in the course.

Our system includes an administration website that can be used to manage users and groups, but it quickly became clear that adding users one at a time was not going to be practical. We therefore developed the Batch Create Users feature to enable creating user accounts and dividing them into the desired groups while avoiding various synchronization and double registration issues that can occur in this scenario. We later developed the Kitely API, which the project is now planning to use in order to automate enrollment from it own systems.

Next came user setup issues. The course participants use a wide variety of machines running Windows and MacOS, from high end computers running the latest software to very old machines that use outdated operating systems. Users were going to need to get the correct virtual world viewer for their machine, configure it to access the course’s system, select an initial avatar from culturally appropriate options, and then enter the virtual world that belongs to the group that the user was assigned to. There are potential problems that could be encountered in each of these steps. It was therefore clear that we needed to automate this process as much as possible, in order to reduce the amount of customer support that the course administrators would need to provide to their students.

To address this we developed the Setup Kitely application. It helps users download the appropriate viewer for their operating system, and configures the viewer to login each user to the Organization that user belongs to. This app also enables users to select their initial avatar from the options that the organization had chosen in the administration website.

The next challenge we had to deal with was that the virtual worlds used in the course weren’t static: they had to change from week to week, in order to reveal that week’s assignments. The course uses three variations for its virtual worlds, one in each language, and each of these variations was being used in multiple copies by dozens of study groups. It was going to be a challenge to update all of these worlds every week. Initially this was done by having the developer upload an OAR (OpenSim Archive) file into each of these world copies every week. That process was very time consuming and error prone.

To address this need we developed the Worlds Library, where the developer could store World Archives. These archives enable quick saving of world states, which can then be used to quickly create new worlds or replace the contents of existing ones. This operation can be done either manually, using the administration website, or automatically by using the Kitely API. This system is much faster and simpler than using OAR files.

Finally, managing the permissions of many users with respect to many different virtual worlds was very complicated. We addressed that complexity by designing our system to enable administrators to manage relationships between groups of users and groups of worlds. Administrators add their users to a hierarchical tree of user groups; they add their worlds to a hierarchical tree of world groups; and then they define the relationships between these user groups and world groups. Using this method, it is possible to easily define complex relationships between many types of users and many types of worlds. It’s even possible to define permissions for cross-organization interactions (although this feature wasn’t used for this course).

Using Kitely and its suite of management tools was an excellent choice for our project. We had everything we needed to create virtual worlds and archive, duplicate and replace them at will. Kitely’s support team was always there for us when we had questions or requests and even added the functions and features we requested. The system was robust enough for us to deploy our project to more than a thousand students in multiple languages and various countries. We were also able to manage users, track visits and user engagement with our project. All in all, I highly recommend using Kitely and will definitely be using it for upcoming projects.

Jeremy Finkelstein, Digital Jelly, Virtual World Developer

There were various other issues that our offering helped the project address. Contact us to learn more about them, and about how our Organizations offering can be used to address your own organization’s needs. Or, if you want to try this immediately, then go to our website and order an Organization.

Upgrading Kitely’s Database Infrastructure

We’ve been getting a lot of new interest from organizations recently, who want to use Kitely to replace some of their large in-person gatherings. So we decided to improve our ability to handle events with tens of thousands of concurrent users.

Kitely’s system was designed to scale, as exemplified by our ability to dynamically add servers when additional worlds are used. However, our system also has some centralized components that are harder to scale. One of these component is a MySQL database that we have been running on our own server in the Amazon cloud. The problem with this system is that the performance of the database is limited by the server that it’s running on.

In order to improve our scalability, we are going to migrate to an Amazon database system called Aurora Serverless. This database is capable of scaling up automatically when necessary, and scaling back down when the additional resources are no longer required. This behavior is ideal for supporting very large events.

This major upgrade to our capabilities requires that we take down the entire system for 6 hours on April 17 at 12:01am PDT (midnight).

Enabling Kitely Market Sales Campaigns for Black Friday

Kitely Market supports sales campaigns that help merchants promote their products, and help buyers find great deals in our marketplace.

To ensure that buyers get truly discounted rates, we have a policy that a product can’t be always on sale: once a product has been put on sale, the merchant must wait at least 60 days before placing the same product on sale again.

However, this limitation is currently preventing merchants who had a Halloween sale from placing the same items on sale again for Black Friday. We’ve decided that these are both legitimate occasions for sales, and therefore we’re temporarily reducing the waiting period between sales to 14 days. This limit will be raised back to 60 days after Cyber Monday (December 2, 2019).

Please Help Kitely by Participating in the Hypergrid Business Annual Grid Survey

The website Hypergrid Business is now holding its tenth annual OpenSim grid survey, and we need your help to be able to attract additional people to use our grid and marketplace. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes to help spread the word about Kitely then please answer this short multiple choice survey.

Last year many of you participated in the survey and your endorsement helped convince more people to join our community and attract additional content creators to list their items in Kitely Market. Your continued support this year is crucial for our continued growth.

Please take the time to complete this survey. Thank you!

Please Help Kitely by Participating in the Hypergrid Business Annual Grid Survey

The website Hypergrid Business is now holding its ninth annual OpenSim grid survey, and we need your help to be able to attract additional people to our growing community. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes to help spread the word about Kitely then please answer this short multiple choice survey.

Last year many of you participated in the survey and your endorsement helped convince more content creators to list their items in Kitely Market and more people to join our community. Your continued support this year is crucial for our continued growth.

Please take the time to complete this survey. Thank you!