Recently several SL users were invited to review the beta version of a new Second Life service; SL Go, by OnLive.
It has been a goal of Linden Lab to try and make SL work on mobile devices for a long time but it has always seemed near impossible.
Many claimed it couldn’t be done.
Well they’ve done it, and how!
Imagine being able to use SL on a tablet anywhere you want at ultra settings.
I’ve been doing just that.
OnLive offers ‘cloud gaming’, that means that you’re playing a game on one of their super servers and they stream it live onto your screen via the internet.
This does not just allow you to use SL on a mobile device, it also means that you get to use it at ultra settings.
Yes, shadows, dynamic lighting, far distance rendering, it all works!
See the official video here;
Smooth ad, but Second Life is about so much more than just shopping and dancing…
And here some official instructions;
I am not a very mobile type of person, as some of you may already know, I have a vintage lifestyle and don’t own any modern devices, except my computer that I need for my work.
I do not even have a tv or mobile phone.
Luckily OnLive was kind enough to lend me an android tablet, a whole new experience for me.
I also have a 5 year old macbook pro that barely managed to run SL at the very very lowest settings, so I tried SL Go on these two devices.
OnLive also offers the chance to use SL on your television and also works on other mobile gadgets.
When my SL laptop stopped working I was forced to use the old macbook pro for a while and it was a horrendous experience.
Everything grey, all the time.
But now, thanks to OnLive, I could visit my favourite sims with pretty much no lag whatsoever and with graphics set to ultra!
As I don’t really have a need for mobile SL, I found this the most impressive use of the service.
If my main laptop breaks down again, I can still get to SL.
It opens SL up to people who don’t have top of the line computers, it allows everyone to experience SL at the settings it deserves.
I went outside with the tablet and tried it in a few public places, quite strange to be visiting 1920s Berlin while sitting on a bench at a canal in Amsterdam!
SL worked smoothly and without lag even with graphics settings set to ultra.
And 1920s Berlin can be a rather laggy place!
It does sometimes get a little fuzzy, but I expect that to be due to bad internet connection.
You see the regular SL viewer screen but a special overlay user interface has been added that makes using it with a touch screen a lot easier.
I even tried building with it and although it was a little tricky, it worked.
Of course it can’t be compared to the experience of using SL on a Alienware top of the range computer, like I do at home.
But as a mobile way to experience SL, it is a lot better than I could have imagined.
So in short, SL has managed to offer something that once seemed impossible; high quality SL for mobile devices.
At the moment a few things aren’t quite working yet, such as saving snapshots to your hard drive and voice chat.
Hopefully this will be possible in the near future and of course you can save your ultra settings made screenshots into your inventory, to be downloaded later.
It is no surprise that OnLive managed this so well, one of the people who worked on this is not only a regular and longtime SL resident, he is an ex-Linden!
Nate Barsetti, formerly Scout Linden, has been in SL for 7 years and now works for OnLive.
You can imagine that as someone who still uses SL regularly, Nate was in a very good position to help SL Go work properly.
OnLive is opening the Beta up to everyone as I write this but they expect to lose the beta label very quickly.
So why not give it a try yourself right away?
You can read the official Linden Lab announcement here.
As soon as you’ve signed up, you get a 20 minutes free trial.
If you plan to become a more regular user, you’ll have to purchase SL minutes packs,
- 1 hour will cost 2.50$
- 3 hours will cost 8$
- 10 hours will cost 25$
Will this open up SL to a lot of new people?
Regular OnLive users may be tempted to give this a try and people who’s regular computer can’t handle SL may give it another go, but I am not sure many people will be willing to pay what OnLive are charging for it at the moment.
Would you pay 3 bucks to go into SL for an hour?
I would only consider doing that for emergencies, when I need to be inworld for a few minutes to fix something or kick a griefer in the unmentionables.
Having said that, the OnLive experience is impressive, there is almost no lag, it loads a lot faster than most computers, it is mobile and it allows you to use your TV for SL.
So although I am very impressed with SLGo, I fear that the costs may keep a lot of people from using it more than just occasionally.
I hope Linden Lab realises this and makes a good deal for people with a premium account.
I think that this would be a great idea; Become a Premium SL user and get 100 minutes SLGo online for free each month!
Or maybe offer a free hour free for new accounts.
Signing up for SL? Welcome! Here is an hour of free SLGo.
I would also prefer a subscription fee, pay one amount per week regardless of how many hours you are online, in stead of per second.
Either way it IS a big step forward, something has been done that at first seemed impossible.
And also, not unimportant, this has mostly been a OnLive project, so it has cost Linden Lab very little time and effort.
Draxtor Despres made a video about his experience with SL Go, take a look;
And of course we will be discussing this in the next Drax Files Radio show this friday, make sure to call us at Skype; draxfiles
We want to hear what you think about this and if you have tried SL Go, let us know what it was like and end up in the broadcast!
For more (technical) details and background, make sure to check out Inara Pey’s blog.