Wednesday, 28 July 2010

InWorldz, in depth...

So... as I usually just hint at topics and never research anything....I thought I would break with tradition and actually get to grips with the subject for once....

...this time InWorldz, now I have been asked a few 'proper' questions about it and so....I passed these onto the Founders of IW and asked..... " on earth made you decide to start a grid?..., and how did you go about getting it together???..."

Elenia cleared her desk, sat down and replied....

"What made us start a grid?

I can answer for myself, Legion will need to answer for himself. I remember the first time I entered SL (was after some news report I was watching) and being amazed that the platform existed. It was cool, it was neat, I was impressed. Then I dug into how to build, met some good friends along the way, and opened my store. I gave away a chair for free, was one of my Hudson chairs. And I got several IM's from people yelling at me saying "this is too many prims, it's worthless". This was very disheartening to me. I'm not a solid sculptie builder. I see the effect they have on just rezzing in someplace, and I didn't want all my stuff to be just like everyone else's due to SL's "prim economy" demands.

So, my good friend, Bob told me of another VW. Where there were much better limits and megaprims and all that. So I tried it out. I met Legion and quite a few others there. We were there for a long time. We went through so many headaches, so many false promises, that it was staggering. In February, 2009, I did the first testing of the OpenSim grid software, and we were all able to log in. Mind you, these were really icky machines to be testing it on, but it was cheap and just enough to see if we had the technical aptitude to pull it off. By April, 2009, we actually had people who WANTED to support us, friends mostly from the other grid, and we had a very bare bones, very erm, well ugly, website. We were amazed by the fact that we had people who were willing to support us with actual... well money! So we started doing upgrades, moving to better systems, learning new software that runs behind the OpenSim, looking for a real grid dev.

We made the decision back in Aug. 2009 to split completely away from the Opensimulator project as we did not see them going in the direction we desired to go in. Back, then you could literally shoot a cannon through InWorldz (ok, so no physics, but metaphorically speaking hehe), and not have hit another soul on the grid. We were excited if there were 5 people online... so what if they were ourselves lol!

Our biggest hurdle, was actually the holiday season 2009. Between the economic downturn and the general distrust in VW's themselves on the OS platform, we went through a minor loss there. It's also when we picked up Tranq along the line and started getting him familiar with the OS code. By January, he was reworking the group module and familiarizing himself with where things were at and how the foundation was laid.

By April of 2010, some significant code changes had been made, things that people wanted to work, were (may still be buggy, and not completed yet, but were there nevertheless). This started a huge change in our population growth, as our residents were out there telling everyone they could about us. And, we gotta give a shout to Rock, for his wonderful interview in Feb. 2010 too, as that shot more people in by us, who in turn, started supporting us. And well, here we are today, a mere 1 year and 5 months later.

Who are the oldest residents and which were the first regions??

Ahhh, we have a few of those. Bladax originally came over with Erasmus, but when Erasmus left, Blad took over one of the regions, then expanded to another mainland region... These would be Bali and Newark Top today. We then have Jim and Jo Smart, who started off with just simple little old Relaxin, and who now own Cassis and San Diego Mall in conjunction with Relaxin. We have GaiusJulius CaesarAugustus and Rosa Dagostino, both of whom started off completely as separate entities with Rosa owning Cactus Flats, and Gaius owning a couple of regions: Adirahuriye I and II (he likes to challenge my typing skills I swear it!). Scotsgraymouser Janus, with her lovely Equilibrium, who also helped us in our search for a grid dev, and found Tranq for us She now owns Tesseract and Isle of Alchemy (which she just loves to challenge us period with these regions hehehe).

Number two (most common question) is do they have the stamina to carry on for a long time til it gets more stable...(vitamin pills may be the answer..)....

Stamina... is a daily challenged thing for us! I live on a diet of caffeine first thing in the morning and it doesn't much improve after that lol. Actually, we've been amazed at the growth. And I think that drives us more than anything at this point. Our residents have so much hope for us, and occasionally we do get worn down but a day or two away and we usually come back ready to battle the code bugs again. Simple fact is, all three of us, as Founders, have the same ideals and dreams for this grid. Which is hard to find among three people. Sure we may have varying opinions or stray ideas here and there, but at the end of the day, the big picture is what we're all focused and agreed on.

As time goes on, it's become easier for us to jump over varying hurdles, finding people like Jim Tarber, who are willing to throw themselves into the fray and help us means more to us than most people realize I think. We get so many offers from people to help, and picking and choosing between them can be interesting. One thing we do know, is our community is strong, thriving, helpful not just to us in finding bugs and working with us, but between each other. And that really lifts a huge burden off our shoulders and let's us focus on the important things that need our attention.

So do we have the stamina? Well, I would say we have the passion, the dream, the determination, and the wonderful support from our residents, to keep us going."

...all of which I consider to be very useful info, so thanks for taking the time Elenia....

Lifted from a forum discussion about the future.......

Elenia said..."I can safely assure you that there are zero plans for Havok. We're looking at the PhysX engine by NVidia for our physics engine. While we're trying to reach the level of functionality as SL, there is so much more we want to do beyond that once we've reached that level. Also means we are tweaking things now to provide those things later on.

I know I spoke to Tranq the other night and he has some very high priority things on his plate (outside of Mantis issues) such as the assets and backup system, the networking stack and I asked him to somewhere in there slot the finishing up of Voice for our residents. What he plans beyond that, he'll need to lay out. One of the unfortunate side effects of grid development, is no matter how much of a roadmap you lay out, you have to roll with the day to day stuff and that can sometimes severely detour the roadmap. But there is a large picture there of what we're working on.

Some shorter term issues: Finish the search capabilities, some minor fixes to the profile tabs, Estate fixes, group fixes (there is quite a few there that need to be addressed), script engine rewrite, Voice implementation, physics implementation, j2k decoding module fix. Those are the biggies plaguing us at the moment for fixing (this is all just grid side). Tranq has his plans laid out for all of this.

Longer term objectives: Obviously the much debated traffic module and how best to implement that, models/meshes, inworld weather system for sim owners, and RPG modules.

We have seen a huge increase in stability over the last week or so, however, we still have the deadlocks to contend with before moving on to the big stuff that our residents really want."

Lalo asked..."Does OpenSimulator's release of version 0.7 have any relevance to the discussion?"...

Legion ..."Not really, as we stopped taking 'fixes' from OS once Tranq dug in to the code. We want stability, and despite
predictions that we would not have the features if we forked from the OS code, I think we actually have more
features to speak of than elsewhere.

The main concern for the three of us as Founders is that we have a stable world. We have talked about this, and the
main push is to become as 'stable' as Second Life, and move on from there into areas they can't, or won't attempt.

We have the opportunity, and the motivation to do so. This comes from our devs abilities, and our residents support and
trust in us."

and TranquilityDexler confirmed......."No sir. We're forked from the opensim project at this point. The opensim project and inworldz have different goals. As such we are concentrating less on the 'next new feature' and more on the core changes our customers need to be happy here. So the development process is different, it is based on customer request and report, and results in us being able to better predict effects of code that is changed and added."

and of the future he added...."These are very very rough timelines. Obviously when we get into some of these projects we may find other issues that need to be dealt with.

The next 1-3 months. Continued stability work, backend work to enable fast growth (assets, database etc), sim lag and performance issues for large groups of avatars. Continued work on builders bugs, linking unlinking issues will be a focus. Networking improvements to prevent drops on busy sims. Hopefully hunt down and kill the psychedelic swiss cheese bug

Possibly in between as we need it: Better handling of shared world state (presence, friends, making sure IMs get delivered). Depending on resident demand.

The following 3 months. Continued work on script functions and misc "smaller bugs" like estates and groups issues. PhysX implementation with large scale testing and debugging. Work on memory fragmentation and pinned object/other resource leaks (sim uptime).

This will take care of the majority of the most annoying issues our residents have reported.

We will also be bringing people on to revamp website functionality in the near future (< 1 month)."

Now, I would be a fool not to admit that most of this goes so far over my head that I just smile. I do, however, think it would be impossible to get this sort of discussion going with any of the Lindens, as the SLCC will no doubt prove, with lots of vague promises and little substance....and Tranq's answer seems to me to be (in Soronese translation)..."I'm gonna roll my sleeves up and keep crunching code til it works...(better than SL, eventually)..." ..and I like that.....

...and, I'm fascinated by the psychedelic swiss cheese bug.....poor little bug....sounds like his days are numbered.



  1. Good stuff - InWorldz rocks! hehe

    It's true that you won't get these kinds of direct and honest answers from the Lindens, nor would you get them in a public forum on the same day you asked..but that's one of the big differences here. The Founders at InWorldz are very tuned in to their residents, and while some say that's only because we are still small in relative terms, I believe they will maintain that focus in years to come. Will they ever be as big as Second Life? Maybe, but I really don't believe that's their goal. Their goal is to be better - which is a completely different thing.

  2. OH! Thanks so much for this post soro. Reading your posts from a few months ago is why I went to Inz to start with.

    Now from a few of the early stories of Secondlife...very early... I guess there was a time when LL and residents communed together, but not in the 3 plus years I've been there.

    Compare this with Inz...I logged in for the first time couple months ago and was met by a Mentor with a, "Hello brinda, welcome to Inworldz." The following day just after log in I see Elenia welcoming a new resident and actually walking them over to the freebie shop.
    Now we all realize {and I think hope} the day will come when it's likely that the founder of Inz won't have the time to personally greet new people.
    But for me...that image said all I needed to know about a 'brave new world'.

    Slowly I will embrace this new world I'm sure. While I would love to just abandon SL, I have too much tied up there in thousands of dollars invested and countless hours with friends to just bail. The friends are coming... slowly... if nothing else right now just to save their name!
    It's exciting to be a pioneer...psychedelic swiss cheese and all =^..^=