The Overte Foundation and AvaCon are pleased to announce the first annual OpenSimulator Community Conference 2013, to take place on the OpenSimulator Conference Center grid on September 7 – 8, 2013.  The OpenSimulator Community Conference will be a celebration of the platform and of the large and varied community using and creating it.  It will feature two days of keynote speakers, presentations and panels on different topics, and an expo area to showcase community activities and projects.

What is OpenSimulator?

OpenSimulator is an open-source platform that supports the creation of collaborative, immersive, distributed and social 3D virtual environments over the Internet. Started in 2007 and developed by individuals and organizations large and small, it has become a versatile system with which anyone can experiment.  OpenSimulator software is now the basis for many hundreds of “grids” and worlds of varying sizes and purposes.

Who should attend the conference?

Anyone who is interested in the OpenSimulator software and the future of the metaverse is welcome to attend.  We especially hope to see OpenSimulator developers, grid administrators, and members of the community who participate on OpenSimulator grids.

How much will it cost to attend the conference?

The conference is free to attendees!  While we encourage community members to become a sponsor to help cover the costs of the conference, registration for the event will be free to attendees on a first-come-first-served basis.

Where will the conference be held?

The conference will be held entirely within the OpenSimulator environment.  The official program will be held in a grid specifically set up for the conference.  We expect 150-200 attendees of the conference to be able to attend virtually on the conference grid, as well as an even broader audience through live streaming of the conference sessions on UStream.  In addition, the conference will offer social hours following each day’s program to accommodate satellite events that will take place in the many grids operated by members of the community.  There will also be an exposition area on the conference grid for sponsors.

Will the conference be HyperGrid enabled?

Yes!  Conference participants will have the option at registration to request a local account on the conference grid, or to attend via a HyperGrid account.  In addition, during the social hours, attendees will be able to move between the different grids using either the Hypergrid or by creating accounts in each of the participating grids.

When will registration open?

Due to the “alpha” nature of the OpenSimulator software, this conference is an experiment in capacity testing for OpenSimulator in addition to being a community event.  Therefore, tickets to the conference will be free but limited in number.  We hope to be able to accommodate over 200 users in total, a figure which includes speakers, sponsors and staff .  Since seats are limited, registration will open on a first-come-first-served basis on June 17, 2013 until the maximum number of virtual conference center tickets is reached.  At that point, community members will still be able to register for the live streamed version of the conference that will be available via UStream.  This will also be free.

The expo area will not be ticketed and so can be accessed by any avatar, subject to constraints on the number of avatars that the exhibition regions can hold at any particular time.

I’m interested in being a speaker, where do I sign up?

The conference will have five “tracks” to cluster break-out sessions into common areas of interest, including:

Each track may have different requirements in their Call for Speakers, so please be sure to view the specific pages for each track you may be interested in.  All speaker proposals are due on July 1, 2013.

I’m interested in being a sponsor, where do I sign up?

Although the OpenSimulator Community Conference is being held in virtual space, and made possible by hardware donations and by dozens of volunteers, the conference incurs some expenses, in particular the professionally-managed operation of the conference center grid (the setup, performance tuning, and constant monitoring are of utmost importance for the success of the conference) and the streaming services and other web services. Compared to real-world conferences, the budget of a virtual event like the OpenSimulator Community Conference is very modest, but, nevertheless, it’s not zero. As such, we ask businesses, entrepreneurs,  and community members alike to help financially support the conference if they are able.

We offer a wide range of  sponsorship opportunities for community members and grids of all levels, and sponsorships are tax deductible for US residents minus the value of any tangible benefits!

Please see the Call for Sponsors page for more information, and we are grateful for your support!

I’m interested in being a volunteer or helping out, where do I sign up?

The conference needs volunteers to help greet attendees, moderate breakout sessions, assist with building and scripting tasks, technical support and assistance with streaming, and other duties to help make the conference a success.  If you are experienced with the OpenSimulator platform and have an interest in helping, we’d love to have you join the team!

Please complete the Volunteer Application form and a conference planning staff member will get back to you soon!

Who is producing the conference?

The OpenSimulator Community Conference 2013 is being organized in a joint effort between the Overte Foundation and AvaCon.

The Overte Foundation is a non-profit organization that manages contribution agreements for the OpenSimulator project.  In the future, it will also act to promote and support both OpenSimulator and the wider open-source 3D virtual environment ecosystem.

AvaCon, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the growth, enhancement, and development of the metaverse, virtual worlds, augmented reality, and 3D immersive and virtual spaces. We hold conventions and meetings to promote educational and scientific inquiry into these spaces, and to support organized fan activities, including performances, lectures, art, music, machinima, and much more. Our primary goal is to connect and support the diverse communities and practitioners involved in co-creating and using virtual worlds, and to educate the public and our constituents about the emerging ecosystem of technologies broadly known as the metaverse.

I still have questions, who do I contact?

Please use the Contact form for additional inquiries, and thanks for your interest in the first annual OpenSimulator Community Conference 2013!

In the months ahead, we’ll have more information and details about the organization of the conference, and we look forward to seeing the wide range of projects, presentations, and other activities of the OpenSimulator community.  Thanks for your interest and support, with more to come soon!

OpenSimulator Community Conference 2013 Planning Team

Conference Co-Chairs
Justin Clark-Casey | Justin Clark-Casey
Chris M. Collins | Fleep Tuque

Conference Planning Committee
Crista Lopes | Diva Canto
Joyce Bettencourt | Rhiannon Chatnoir
Mic Bowman | Mic Bowman
Michael Cerquoni | Nebadon Izumi
Melanie Thielker | Melanie Milland

Conference Track Leaders
Joyce Bettencourt | Rhiannon Chatnoir, Arts & Creativity
Maria Korolov | Maria Korolov, Business & Enterprise
Justin Clark-Casey | Justin Clark-Casey, Developers & Open Source
Mic Bowman | Mic Bowman, Research & Education
Crista Lopes | Diva Canto, Research & Education
Austin Tate | Ai Austin, Research & Education
Jolanda Mastenbroek-Dobber | Joja Dhara, Social & Communities