Why can’t I jump to any region I want?

The hypergrid is very new, and it’s up to individual grids — and even individual regions — to decide who they will let in.

Second Life

Technically, it should be possible — Second Life and OpenSim use the same viewers, and there have been test teleports between the two platforms. In practice, however, this would mean tearing down the garden walls around the Second Life universe and allow residents to get all the benefits of Second Life attractions, while paying lower rents to OpenSim hosting companies. (OpenSim rentals are as little as $20 a month, compared to $300 a month on Second Life.)

So the Lindens stand to lose quite a bit in land revenues. That’s one huge issue right there.

The second issue is content. Second Life is attractive not just because of all the people who are already there, but because of the array of interesting builds to visit, clothes to buy, games to play, and dances to dance. Some of this content is already making its way to other grids, via Second Inventory and Meerkat exports. By taking down the garden walls, this trend will accelerate.

There is a potential beneift, however, to tearing down the walls — if the Lindens do it early enough — in that they can become the virtual currency of the metaverse, the new PayPal. They will need to act quick, however — the Virwox-backed Open Metaverse Currency (OMC) is already used on four grids, and offers all the same functionality of the Linden Dollar plus hypergrid compatibility on top of it. This means that you can teleport to another grid to go shopping and bring your purchases home with you.

ScienceSim, OpenLife Grid and other closed grids

Many grids choose not to allow inbound hypergrid teleports. A school, for example, might not want strangers teleporting into the middle of classes. A business might have proprietary information on its private grid that it doesn’t want outsiders to see. In addition, some grids close hypergrid teleports as an attempt to create a safe haven for a particular group, for content providers, or for its own currency.

An individual region owner can only hypergrid enable a region if it’s on a hypergrid-enabled grid.

Public grids

However, it’s not enough that the grid itself is hypergrid enabled. Individual regions owners have the choice of whether to allow hypergrid teleports or not. Some grids, such as Cyberlandia, hypergrid-enable all connected regions. Most grids, however, leave the decision up to individual region owners.

Once you have made a hypergrid teleport to a mixed grid. You may — or may not — be able to do a local teleport to non-hypergrid-enabled regions on the same grid.

Some grids restrict inbound hypergrid teleports because they want you to agree to a terms of service before traveling further into the grid, or don a grid-appropriate costume — like fantasy garb, for a role-playing grid, or pants, for a business or education-focused grid. Other grids prefer to only expose certain regions to the public, and limit access to other regions only to account holders.

The technology standards are still evolving, and grid and region owners frequently change their connection settings. In addition, every new upgrade of OpenSim is an opportunity for operators to hypergrid-enable — or to accidentally go back to the non-hypergrid defaults.

It’s complicated

A teleport from one world to another isn’t as straightforward as jumping from one Website to another Website. The reason is that the destination region must be able to display the avatars and their clothing correctly — which requires close communication with the grid of origin.  These communications can interrupted by a large number of factors, including incompatible versions of OpenSim, or minor differences in implementations of the software. Over time, these issues will be resolved. Until then, however, don’t rely on hypergrid for mission-critical use cases.