Question:  When is a grid not a grid?

Answer:  When its a sub-grid.

Lately an issue has been raised on Hypergrid Business about a service offered by a opensim hosting company.  This post was about a service offered by Digiworldz which is being called “Grid within a grid”.   I cannot determine if this is the name that Digiworldz are calling it – or if this is a name that Hypergrid Business has called it.

The resulting discussion around it however has been interesting.   Apart from the few personal attacks on people for their opinions that is common on these forums, there is an important theme in my mind.   “When using services like this, do people really know what they are getting?”

There seems to be some disagreement about the validity of a “grid” that is part of another grid.   Some have postulated that as this “grid within a grid” gets its own login page it IS its own grid.  Others have maintained that as it is still connected to the same grid, can access the same map, connects to the same robust type services, uses the same currency settings as the main grid, and is bound to the same TOS as the host grid, then it is in fact nothing more than an Estate (or Estates) on that grid with a bit extra fancy front end.

I would say the latter is the case.   Going slightly mathematical on you all now, look at the image at the top of this post.   It describes two sets.   One set (B) is a subset of set (A).  Now think of this as grids.   The “host” grid is the set (A).  the numbers inside the circle for (A) are users on that grid.  Set (B) is a “grid within a grid”.  Clearly it is totally enclosed by (A).  While it would be possible to move (B) out of (A), it would mean that users in grid (B) could no longer communicate DIRECTLY with users on grid (A).   They could do so – but that would involve the hypergrid.   If Grid (B) was separate from grid (A) then every communication between A and B would have to go through hypergrid.

In the case of a grid within a grid, there is no need for hypergrid to be involved when comunicating between A and B, why?   Because they are all in the same grid.   Everything that is in B, is ALSO part of A.  It’s a subgrid, and everything that applies to A, also applies to B.

Does this matter?   Possibly not.   I am not criticizing the service, I am sure it is exactly what some people want.  It gives them a coherent estate they have a lot of control over – but that control is limited by the TOS and settings of the host grid.    If people know this, accept this, and want this – then no problem.   It’s a solution that will be useful to some.

However, I feel that services like this should be more clearly advertised.  It should be made clear you are not getting a standalone grid – but an area of another grid.    In some cases this will be preferred.  Personally I would not want to deal with my own asset server – I have no problem with simulators but for an active grid, an asset server is a beast!

I cannot see anything on Digiworldz website advertising any grid within a grid – but I may have missed it so I think it likely this is a term defined by someone else.  I hope however that in any service Digiworldz DO market that is along these lines they do make it clear what the limitations are.  In particular ensure that customers know they are going to be limited by Digiworldz TOS.