February 21, 2012
Well, with NovaGrid missing in action, I have to change plans for where the future home of the Station will be. There are a few options, though, and they should all be considered.
I could run Excelsior Station from here at home. Either s an independant grid or attached to another one, such as OSG. That would give me the greatest level of control over things, but that would also make me the IT guy.
I could contract with a hosting company. Less control, better tech support. And there's some reputable companies out there. Maria at HyperGrid Business has a listing at http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/opensim-hosting-providers/ In fact, she has a series of articles on Getting Started. What it really comes down to, though, is bang for your buck. Which is one of the reasons for writing here. To show people what it takes to setup your own virtual world with few skills and fewer dollars.
And I seem to have made my choice. Kitely.
Kitely is in the news a lot, so if you haven't heard of them, go read HyperGrid Business and check out the Kitely Site. They meet almost all the requirements I have for the future home of the Station. Good tech support (as evidenced by the lack of complaints) and low cost. If you have been reading the various metaverse blogs, such as Ener Hax's I Live in Science Land, you will see that one of the co-owners of Kitely, Ilan Tochner, is a regular commentor. He's friendly and well spoken, which shows me that he knows how important customer relations are. This has been further evidenced over a series of emails I recently traded with him. Not only was he prompt in his response, his explanations were easy to understand and he also put forth other ideas in keeping with my own.
There are a couple of downsides, though, to locating to Kitely. Its account creation uses only FaceBook. I refuse to sue ( *&%^# typo … think they were looking? ) FaceBook for two reasons. What they do with information about us and their refusal to allow pseudonyms. But that will be changing soon. The registration process at Kitely, that is. Kitely will be adding Twitter and email registrations very soon. I don't know when and I haven't asked, since there are always problems that delay such things. Once the new registration processes have been enabled, I am definitely going to check it out. By the way, just in case you haven't checked out the Kitely site, they have a Free Plan available. One region and 2 hours per month. Kitely does things a bit different. They call their regions worlds because they give you some of the abilities that grid owners have, like uploading OAR files. I've come to think of Kitely as a "pocket metaverse" and their worlds as being region/worlds.
Not only is the cost very nice (I'm likely to go with the $20/month plan) but you get 100,000 prims on each region/world. That's HUGE! You can restrict access to each region/world, too. Completely open to the public of by group. I believe that is similar to what we are all used to with banning, though its not an actual ban. Its more like a private members club. You have to be a member to enter.
A factor to be considered, though, is the lack of megaregions. You cannot even put regions side-by-side. But, megaregions are coming, too. Let's not forget, Kitely is relatively new and they are working things out first, then releasing new features. Another thing that is coming is region to region teleports. I'm not sure if you have to logout and then log in to another region/world to travel about, but its easy enough to get that info. And, as I said, region-region TPs are coming. So, a little patience on that will go a long way.
Now, you might think that the lack of megaregions is a killer to the Station, but not so. There's a very common theme in science fiction, the rift in the space-time continuum. With that as a theme, I can set up each region/world as different variations. Post apocalypse, future tech, magic based and more. In fact, there's a commercial MMO out there called Rift that, I believe, relies on that theme. So, I will use wormholes. I know, I can use the term "rift", but I'm not interested in any legal crap form some Big Biz, despite being able to prove that they have only a copyright to the name of their game, not the concept. And I don't need the griefers and haters yelling "Copycat!" I've got better things to do with my time.
So, doing things that way also works in with my idea of a group of grids that all use the same RP system and a common set of rules. Only do that within the "pocket metaverse" of Kitely. In fact, it was Ilan that pointed out that other Kitely world owners might want to join my group, so we could all travel around. The attraction of that for others is that there would be a core group of region/worlds that will provide some continuity. And, once HyperGrid is enabled, the metaverse sky's the limit.
And so we have the birth of the Excelsior Station Federation.