Saturday, July 23, 2011

An Alternative to Second Life?

Somehow I keep getting side tracked. Today I stumbled upon a new virtual world grid based on open sim called Avination and of course checking this out took precedence over cleaning and reorganizing my study.

Avination according to its website was started by an OpenSim developer, Melanie Thielker who has created her own "spin" on Open Sim. See for more information about Avination's Staff.

Now I have invested lots of time and energy in Second Life, including on my college's land. Unfortunately Second Life has doubled educational fees for a ful sim to around $4,000 which has my IT people really nervous. Avination right now is advertising full sims with 15,000 prims at the special price of $60.00 a month. Hmm in SL I am at the $40.00 tier level which means I am paying about 6 times what I could be paying in Avination.

Well even a virtual lady can't resist a bargain so I went on over. Joining is easy and similar to Second Life in that you choose your own first name and then select a second name from a predefined list and select your basic avatar form. One slick thing is that Avination has terminals in Second Life. (Wonder if Linden Lab knows about this.) You can go there and use the terminal to assign your Second Life AV name. Which I did right away. You don't get to share your inventories or your appearance but when you log back in to Avination your SL profile name shows in place of your Avination AV name. The system is like SL's new double naming system so my Avination name still shows on my profile if you click on the Avatar.

You can use SL viewers for Avination but I choose to use the Avination viewer. This viewer is clearly based on the SL viewers but is a lot more like the older 1.2 series of SL viewers wth some things out of SL 2.X viewers. Just about everything should be familiar to veteran SL users. I have not had a chance to try any scripting but Open Sim's version of LSL typically has some things on it that are not found in SL's language so I would be suprised if all my scripts will always work.

Buying land. Unlike SL it looks like the best thing to do is buy a whole sim. In fact the map is set up as a huge grid and you pick your sim and which one of a limited number of configurations you want and buy the sim using one of several methods including Paypal.

The advertisements have a promotional code so you might watch out for that. A sim is $40.00 a month for the first three months and then goes up to $60/month. Mmmm sounds to good to be true even at $60 a month but the lure of the bargain was too strong so I am giving it a whirl. I am sure there are some limitations in terms of flexibility and service...we shall see. Supposedly I can port my SL objects to Avination-assuming I have permissions on the objects so we shall see. Probably can't port my nice Kimono collection though.

I had my sim within 5 minutes of the transaction. Seeing all that sunny empty land is a bit intimidation as I have always lived in the mainland in SL. By the way there is apparently no sort of division between PG, Mature and the "Dark side" but you can control access to your sim just as in SL. So I figure at $40 bucks a month for three months this is worth a try.

One risk is that this is a small company-when I was on there were about 850 users online (SL might have 60K users online at the same time) so that perhaps adds a bit of premium to SL. Avination has it's own currency(C$) I haven't compared it closely, but it looks to be valued roughly the same as the Linden. I bought 2,000 C$ for $8.00 so I can upload textures and files. Uploading costs are 10C$ per upload.

I am not ready to give up my SL account so you still find me in Carmine at

More to come.

1 comment:

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