On Sunday, December 21st, The Firestorm Team held a short-notice meeting which focused on Firestorm and SL Go. The special guest for the event was Dennis Harper, OnLive’s Product Manager for SL Go, who provided commentary on the background to SL Go and OnLive, and addressed audience questions.
Chakat Northspring was on-hand to record proceedings. As usual, the video is embedded here, and a transcript of the Q&A session is provided. However, in the interests of brevity, the first part of the meeting is provided a summary format, rather than a full transcript. Time stamps are provided for key topic areas, and for the Q&A session, for those who would like to listen to any point of interest within the video. Note that dates mentioned in the initial conversation reference 2012 and 2013, in actual fact, these should be 2013 and 2014, as reflected in the text.
A Summary of the initial Conversation
This initial conversation on SL Go, OnLive and the relationship with Firestorm lasted some 35 minutes, and is summarised here. Some questions were asked during the discussion on topics such as privacy and payment options. For ease of reference these have been moved to the Q&A section and placed with other questions on the same topic. Time stamps are provided to the relevant part of the video (below).
How Firestorm Got Involved with OnLive SL Go
[0: 03:57] The OnLive / Linden Lab partnership came about as a result of OnLive’s Lead Investor (and at the time, Chairman), Gary Lauder, indicating he believed SL would be a good match for OnLive and then initiating contact with Rod Humble at the Lab in May 2013 (see my article on the launch of SL Go)
- [0:0515] Initial closed beta testing commenced in October 2013, while Dennis Harper joined in November 2013, charged with getting the product published and launched. The occurred in March 2014, using the SL viewer, offering to Mac and PC systems and Android tablets
- [0:05:25] The initial metered pricing plan wasn’t popular with users. However, OnLive launched with it as they really didn’t know what to expect. Their service costs money to provide (servers, data centres, network, support), and SL users are a very different type of user compared to games users, spending up to 10 times longer active on the platform compared to someone playing a game. Metered payments were seen as a means of balancing use against cost
- [0:06:48] As the reaction to metered payments was bad, OnLive revisited things and in April changed the pricing model to one of unlimited use of the service for US $9.95 (UK £6.95) a month – and the service started gaining traction, Then in October, the service launched on the iPad
- [0:07:25] OnLive had always been aware of Firestorm and its large market share of the SL user base, and it was felt that offering Firestorm through SL Go would be a good way to bring the OnLive experience to a wider audience
- [0: 08:24] Jessica Lyon was initially unsure of the, but was convinced when Dennis pointed-out that a large take-up of SL Go was among users on low-end computer systems, who were finding the service gave them renewed access to the platform, complete with a rich graphical experience. As many Firestorm users on such low-end systems complain that each new update of the viewer is pushing them further and further out of SL, she felt that having Firestorm on SL Go could include them once more
SL Go is a Service
[0:12:59] The launch of Firestorm on SL Go drew some negative feedback from Firestorm users (and from elsewhere). However, it is important for people to remember:
- SL Go isn’t intended to be another viewer offering like a TPV. It is a service intended to meet very specific goals:
- To provide people who are on older, lower-specification systems with a rich, immersive Second Life experience comparable to that enjoyed by someone using a much more capable computer
- To provide those who wish to have the same rich, graphic SL experience as supplied by the viewer when accessing SL from their Android Tablet or iPad
- [0: 12:25] Dennis Harper is the first to admit that the service isn’t for everyone, but for those who might have a need for it, it is available on a 7-day free trial basis, so people have nothing to lose in giving it a go.
SL Go and the Firestorm Take-up
[0:13:40] Dennis describes the take-up of SL Go following the addition of Firestorm as “scary” and being like “the hockey stick term” in the way that there was gradual take-up up until the Firestorm launch, which saw a large substantial increase in initial adoption, as Firestorm users gave SL Go a try under the 7-day free trial offer. He also notes that there is an affiliate programme available for those wishing to refer people to the service via blogs, websites, etc., and earn money via referrals to the service.
[0: 15:32] There was an initial issue with the system as a result of the way the texture cache was being handled.
- The SL viewer uses a default 512 Mb cache, which users rarely adjust. Originally, on exiting the SL Go service, an entire user’s cache, together with their settings would be copied to a secure, encrypted store. Then, the next time the user logged-in to SL Go, the cache and their settings would be copied to the server they were assigned for their SL session, a process that didn’t take long
- Firestorm, by default uses a 2Gb cache, and users often set it larger. This made the copy process a lot more protracted, with the result that if a Firestorm user opted to restart the viewer by logging out (which ends their SL Go session), on immediately relogging, they’d get an error
- To avoid this, users now get a 2 Gb cache, which is automatically flushed at the end of each session, leaving only their inventory files and settings to be copied back to and from the secure store.
Note that some of the questions below occurred during the initial conversation, these have been included here, rogether with other question on the same topic, for ease of reference.
Security and Privacy
0:19:43 You were talking a little bit about encryption. how secure are SL users’ passwords and chat logs, because their chat logs are being stored on your side. What is the process involved in securing these things?
0:20:15 Dennis Harper (DH): SL Go or OnLive in no way ever associates any Second Life data or log-in or session with any SL Go user. We don’t know who your avatar is, we don’t know how you log-in. You can log-in with anything you want in Second Life. We don’t know who that is. Any of the data that is changed or saved is encrypted and put in a store so it is restored the next time you have it. No-one is trying to crawl through data and de-crypt it.
The passwords that you type into SL Go are completely private to you; we don’t track anything like that. As a keyboard input, we have no idea if you’re typing a password or chatting, we have no idea; it’s just a keyboard stream that we see. So there is nothing we would be able to save, and your privacy is absolutely guaranteed when you use SL Go … We absolutely value your privacy.
0:50:11: People on OnLive can watch other people gaming. Is this going to be implemented for SL Go as well? If so, how does this effect privacy and will that privacy be configurable?
0:50:36 DH: We do have a feature that we call “spectating” and it basically allows you to look-in on anybody else’s game that you want to. We have this feature disabled for all of the SL Go products … Having a setting? That’s actually a nice idea … We could actually enable the spectating feature for the product and you could just automatically turn it off.
We were obviously a little bit concerned with all the adult content in Second life that many of our OnLive customers are 13+, and we didn’t want to expose them to some of that stuff.
0:51:47: Just to confirm, if I register to use SL Go, I need to register and give my real life payment details, of course, but that does not give anyone in SL Go to find out my SL avatar name, is that correct?
0:51:59 DH: That’s absolutely correct. There’s no way that we actually know that you’re logging-in to Second Life. I’ve asked our engineers a number of times, “I’d really like to know when these people log-in so that if I know that they’re inside the experience, and there’s a notification that we need to give them…” and they say “we have no idea.” Once they’re connected to the apphost, which is the cloud server, it’s basically on autopilot, and whatever you do is in the privacy of your cloud computer. So we have no idea who you are, who your avatar is.
0:25:25: We’re seeing a awful lot of questions in our support group about problems people are having about not being able to get their credit card accepted, different things … What are the chances of some sort of in-world presence even Office Hours where people can go to a region and talk to a representative from your company one-on-one?
0:25:55 DH: We have a very, very engaged customer service team. In fact one of the customer service representatives is an avid Second Life user. So we’re trying to understand exactly who these people are. Our own customer service people have their own method of tracking bugs, tracking issues; it’s probably the same way that you guys do it. and so the best way to get support is to e-mail support, and these guys will answer your questions immediately and they’re very, very, very good.
You can also go to support.onlive.com and there’s a knowledge base there that you can use to look for issues and stuff like that.
0:31:40 Ed Merryman (EM): One of the suggestions that was brought up by one of the team members was the possibility of creating and OnLive SL group, where you could have a couple of your staff pop-in a couple of times a day and do some moderating, and people could get peer-to-peer help with the problems they’re having as well.
0:31:58 DH: That’s a really good idea … It turns out that one of my programmers … happens to be a really big Second Life fan, and we’ve talked a lot about how to do this and he actually suggested having an OnLive group and having people come in and moderate that group. so that’s a really good suggestion. In fact, we should probably do that right after the new year.
0:33:01 DH: I can guarantee that if you do open a ticket with support at onlive.com, they will get back to you the next day or sometimes within hours. They’re a really, really good group. If you can, do that. It would be a good way to go. But I like your idea, Ed of the OnLive group. We do have a person who is in-world, and i think I would be able to get him to moderate that group.
The last major SL Go product release from OnLive prior to Firestorm was to make the SL viewer offering available to iPad users, as Draxtor Despres demonstrates in the video above. Firestorm will be available for tablet in 2015
[0:27:09] As you said yourself, a lot of Second Life people are generally very private, and a lot of people have an issue with either they don’t have a credit card or they don’t have a PayPal or they don’t want to reveal their credit card and PayPal . Are there any alternate ways of signing-up for SL Go? Are there any ideas like Linden payments?
[0:27:38} Yeah, we’re actually trying to figure out really hard a way to do in-world payments. On the PayPal front, people should realise that signing-in to PayPal is done completely on the PayPal site. We have no insight into your PayPal log-in or other information. That’s just the way that PayPal works. And I think that we put PayPal in because of that, because we realised Second Life customers really wanted PayPal.
I’ve heard a lot of Second Life account are linked to their PayPal accounts directly; in fact that’s how mine is. And so you can exchange Lindens back and forth in your PayPal account, so it makes it a little bit easier in terms of paying in-world payments.
We do really want to put together ways to pay with Lindens. We’re looking at ways on some partner sites to put up SL Go subscriptions on a marketplace where you can pay with Lindens. There’s also a project we’d like to do a kind-of a study to do in-world payments as well. You would go to a special SL Go island and you would go to a secure booth and sign-up there and you would pay with Lindens and we would remind you when your subscription would be due, and you’d come back and you’d renew it if you’d like to.
It’s a little bit different than our normal subscription method because there’s really no way to make a real subscription inside Second Life.
0:29:22 Jessica Lyon (JL): It’s worth pointing out that that technology already exists and there are models that use that technique of having a vendor in-world that sends you a message when it’s due and they work.
0:30:34 DH: We can certainly send you reminders and that sort of thing, rather like paying for a piece of land or that sort of thing. So, definitely looking into alternate methods and what I think you’ll see next year, very, very soon next year is we’re going to do this with kind-of a pilot group. We’re going to turn it on for, say, 500 users, and we’re going to cap it at this and see if people are interested and watch their behaviour to, that’s a really important thing.
A product marketing position is one where you really want to know how people behave in terms of their habits. whether they come back, whether they don’t, or whether they let it lapse and then they wait a week and then they come back again; that sort of thing. It’s important for us to understand that.
0:47:04 Will more payment options be available later? Such as through PaySafeCard or direct banking, as most people in EU countries do not have a credit card and also have no PayPal. Also, why do we need a credit card?
0:47:29 DH: It’s just the way our systems work. We can’t enable your account without some sort of payment instrument associated with your account. And it’s also obviously the only way we can charge you for your subscription before it starts.
[The point is also made by Jessica Lyon that the provision of a credit card helps prevent free trial service from being abused; with it, there would be nothing to stop someone from creating a new account every 7 days and thus using SL Go for free.]
If you don’t have a credit card, PayPal’s your best bet after that, but the European payment methods that you mentioned, those are highly desirable ways for us to go. We need to see a bit more traction, I suppose, in our European customers before we can put the work in to add those extra payment methods.
1:12:51: Just to confirm: you get the free week’s trial on SL Go, if you then choose to continue, it’s $9.95 a month, but you can cancel at any time?
1:12:54 DH: That’s absolutely correct. In fact, when you cancel, we don’t turn you off immediately. your subscription expires on the anniversary of your subscription. [So if your subscription is due to renew at the end of the month, but you cancel mid-moth, you can continue to use the service until the subscription renewal date.]
1:13:38: Will crypto currencies like Bitcoin be supported as payment methods?
1:13:42 DH: No plans for that yet.
0:37:24: When will Firestorm be available on SL Go mobile?
0:37:50 DH: The reason we don’t have mobile for Firestorm is because it takes more work. Integrating the touch pad mechanism into the application is going to take some special code that has to be introduced to this specific Firestorm version. That’s going to take some work. We’ll start doing that the beginning of next year.
0:39:23: When will voice be coming to SL Go?
0:39:28 DH: I think that you could probably target that for Q2 of next year. The reason is … think about SL Go works. It’s running in a server in a cloud somewhere. and right now when I talk on a microphone … this version of Firestorm that I’m running hears the microphone from that PC. So we’re going to have to somehow simulate a stream of audio to essentially look like a microphone that is input on a cloud server. It’s a really difficult technical challenge. but from my viewpoint, voice chat is probably one of the top issues on our roadmap.
0:42:15 If you subscribe to SL Go, can one account allow you to access SL on more than one computer? Can you use multiple machines for the same account?
The answer initially given did not fully address the question, causing it to be re-stated. Therefore, the summary of both answers is:
When you sign-up to SL Go, you can install the OnLive client / SL Go app on any system / device that is supported. You can then log-in to SL Go from any of those systems / devices, and from there you can log-in to SL using any of your SL accounts. However, currently, you cannot simultaneously log-in to SL Go from multiple systems / devices (e.g. you cannot log-in to SL Go from your laptop and simultaneously log-in to SL Go from your tablet). Should you try, you will be logged-out of the session you initially log-in to.
0:43:18: Is it available for iPhone?
0:43:25 DH: We actually did a test on an iPhone and we did a test on a Galaxy S4, and it actually worked, but we cannot actually recommend the experience to anybody. Because think of taking your wonderful 1080×1920 display and shrinking it down to the size of a postage stamp and trying to experience Second Life. It doesn’t work.
And the control mechanisms become so small, it becomes very difficult to do anything. Think about the menu controls or you wanted to switch your outfit or you wanted to go shopping and you want to touch something, and you have this big, huge fat finger, you’re not going to have a great experience.
It does actually work with a game pad. If you plug a controller into your PC, you can actually run around with a game pad.
0:53:01: Some of my friends have tried SL Go and report unusual lag and visual artefacts. Are there upcoming fixes for these?
0:53:10: In summary: as a real-time streamed application with a high tolerance for latency, SL Go uses the UDP protocol, which does not have error checked for lost packets. The service cannot afford the delay created by repeat requests being sent by a protocol such as TCP, which would disrupt the flow of data to the OnLive client and the decryption of that data. The “fuzziness” seen at time in SL Go is generally a result of packet loss do to a connection issue somewhere.
This problem isn’t a bandwidth issues as it is a lossy network issue, which is not something OnLive can help with, as it is something in the Internet between their servers and your client. The company does use adaptive streaming, which automatically adjusts the streaming service as the error count increases if they see network issues, in order to reduce the overall impact the user experiences, and this can also cause a slight fuzziness when it happens.
Dennis concludes: … I’m not trying to make an excuse here. I’m actually telling people that if you’re on a network and SL Go’s not working for you, it’s not for you. Don’t use it, you’re not going to be happy with it. And if there are problems with your network that you want to fix, then you can try … In a nutshell I’d say try SL Go; it’s free. If it doesn’t work for your network or you don’t like the way it’s fuzzing out or it is lossy, they don’t use it. It’s not for everybody, and I’d be the first person to admit that.
0:59:05: Is there anything the user can do at their own end to address issues, other than adjusting their bandwidth? Does using SL as a streaming service use more bandwidth for the user than using SL on their own computer?
0:59:38 DH: I don’t know what the bandwidth requirements for Firestorm or the Linden viewer are, but SL Go will run on a network that has 5mbps, and it will run really, really well on 5mbps. We’ve done studies that show even with people who have a 20 megabit connection, and at the office we have a 200 megabit connection – and SL Go still only uses 5mbps, so it’s not a great drain on your network. But what’s going to kill it, like I said, is the lossiness … people who have a lot of computers or devices running on their network wouldn’t have a good time with SL Go, and so that’s another consideration.
Also, if you’re doing something very demanding on your network, such as uploading terabytes of data, SL Go is probably not going to like that too much, because it’s just too much traffic on the system for SL Go to operate properly. So it needs kind-of a quiet Internet, but it doesn’t need a lot of bandwidth.
If you open-up the OnLive client and don’t log-in to Second Life, there’s an Advanced button you can go to, and there are some settings in their you can adjust in terms of how much bandwidth you want that client to use.
[Another suggestion is to go to Preferences > Graphics > Hardware in the viewer and turn off HTTP texture fetching.]
The other thing you should realise is that we stream in 720p, which is technically HD but it is not 1080p. So what’s going to happen is, if you have a nice big 1080p display, and you blow up our stream at 720, it’s going to look a little blurry. We have the capability of streaming at 1080p, but that is a demand of twelve times more bandwidth than we have now. So most of the users in the world would not be able to handle streaming HD quality video to their desktop.
What about providing it as an option?
1:03:52 DH: I’m going to have to take that back to the engineers, because like I said, it’s a setting we have per server, essentially, and I’m sure we would have to do many experiments and see what the requirement would be.
1:04:33 DH: I also want to remind everybody that even though the stream itself is at 720p, the server is running at full HD 1080p resolution. So if you’re worried about photography, the servers handle all of that stuff and you can use the settings to take very, very high resolution photographs, and I’ve done so, so I know that works.
1:05:06 JL: And I’ll point out … there’s plans in the future to enable saving screen shots through the OnLive client to your computer, and also uploading from your computer into the viewer running on the OnLive client, so you can upload textures into Second Life. That’s stuff that will come.
1:05:32 DH: That’s right.
1:05:45: Just to be sure: will there be an option for changing the display resolution for SL Go?
1:05:51 DH: Think of when you’re using SL Go as watching a movie; that’s really as close as I can get to what’s really going on. You’re watching Netflix stream a movie to you, and this movie is in 720p. So there’s no way you can really change that resolution. But like I said, the server is running at a completely different resolution. so again, photography will work, video will work if you needed to do that .
Will SL graphics crashers crash the SL Go app?
1:06:46 JL: OnLive is running on a higher computer than the average person has, so I would guess video crasher would have less effect, but they can still crash Firestorm on the OnLive service … which’ll cause the OnLive client to close.
1:07:10 DH: Yeah, it’ll close automatically. GTx660s is what we have on our servers … So yeah, we would operate the same way. If Firestorm crashes for any reason at all, the client will just close.
1:07:58: Is there any news for German people who want to use SL Go, but are not allowed to yet?
1:08:00 DH: We completely understand how big Second Life is in Germany. We completely understand how big the online community is in Germany, and it is somewhere that we want to be.
Unfortunately right now there are issues with censorship in Germany. You cannot publish a video game in Germany that has, say, blood in it. If you look at OnLive as a company, essentially 95% of our games have bullets and guys dying and fighting. so not of the publishers of other games are allowed to publish; we actually have legal restrictions that actually say, “you cannot offer our game inside Germany”.
The way our systems are currently architected is that when you sign-up for an SL Go account, you actually have an OnLive account. You actually have access to our other services like PlayPack and CloudLift. You can actually log-into the server and play some other games. So if we open that to Germany, those other games would automatically show up there. And we just can’t allow that right now.
We actually are going to fix this. We need to create a channel, essentially, that only allows German permitted games, and SL Go would be one of them. And at that point we can eliminate the access to other games … But I do believe that it is one of our big untapped markets.
1:10:03 If you access SL via SL Go, does that mean you no longer need to install Firestorm on your computer?
1:10:06 DH: That’s absolutely True. The little 6Mb download for OnLive means that you don’t have to ever install Firestorm again on your computer. Or any other game, by the way. One of the selling points we have of our service is that we’re installing the game on our servers, so you don’t have to install it on your local machine. but I would tend to say that I use both. I have the native Firestorm, because I’m chatting with you right now. So there are some features that we don’t support. But there are other times when it’s nice to have SL Go because I’m somewhere remote or have my low-powered laptop, then I can experience Second Life.
1:11:09: Does SL Go use Firestorm 32 or 64 bit?
1:11:12 DH: It’s the 32-bit version, and I really want to go to the 64-bit version. I believe we tried it … if you notice inside Second Life, if you click on any of the HTTP links that open a browser; think about what’s really happening. You’re clicking on a link that’s actually inside of a cloud computer, and that would launch a browser inside the cloud computer, and we can’t allow that for security reasons, because you could download malware, you could get to our services and so on.
We had to put in a feature that when you click on a link, it actually sent a signal to your local computer that said, “open this on your local computer”, and so that’s how we do the browser launching. Unfortunately, when we launched [Firestorm], that particular feature wasn’t supported in our 64-bit wrapper, so we had to go back to the 32-bit. But they are actually fixing that, so as soon as they get that done, we’ll have a 64-bit version of Firestorm.
1:14:24: There is a list of Firestorm functions not in Firestorm on SL Go. Will they become available, and if so, when?
1:14:27 DH: Think about how it works. We can probably allow you to export a file to your local computer, say save a snapshot. That would be perfectly fine. But what about taking stuff in? What if there is a picker for your local computer and it is just basically sucking data in from your local computer. what’s in that data? Is there malware in there, is there some security risk? There might be something bad in that package that you’ve been uploading to us.
So we need to figure out where we can and where we cannot allow that. It’s a question of security inside our systems. There may be at some point something we just cannot allow, because that’s just the way we do it. If you want to import something into your local computer and kill it, that’s your problem. But we have systems and we can’t allow hackers to get into our systems.
Honestly, if someone was able to hack into one of our apphosts or the cloud computers and got access there, there’s a possibility they could bring the entire system down. So we have to be very careful about who we allow in there and who we don’t.
Can you upload assets from SL Go? such as models, textures and animations?
1:16:00 DH: I think I just answered that. The answer is not right now. What we have to do is we have to look at the code. If you want to upload a texture and there’s just no possibility that any malware could get into the system by you uploading a texture, sure we’d be able to do that. But we’re going to have to look at the code and see if there’s any way that someone, for some nefarious reason, comprise us. so not right now, but we’d love to be able to support that.
Can you use OpenSim on SL Go Firestorm?
1:16:54 DH: I think so.
1:16:56 JL: Yes you can, and it’s been tested and it works quite well.
There have been ways for some SL users to acquire other users’ IP addresses. Is this possible with SL Go?
1:17:19 DH: Of course OnLive has the user’s IP address, be we need to connect to it. But the IP address that shows up to the Linden servers is actually the IP of OnLive.
1:17:39 JL: In other words, anyone trying to get your IP [while you are using SL Go] would actually be getting the IP address of the OnLive server…
1:17:46 DH: … Of the OnLive service. We only have one IP address.
When OnLive updates to newer versions of Firestorm, will they be doing clean installs? If so, will there be a way to do settings backups?
1:18:54 JL: I’ll fill you in on that in the New Year, Dennis!
1:19:3 DH: I think I can answer part of the question. As updates come in to both the Linden viewer and to Firestorm, we need to stay in parity with those. I don’t know if any of you used SL Go about six months ago, but w were on a very, very old branch of the Linden code that did not support the [fitted] mesh objects. then when [fitted] mesh was introduced, the avatars all looked really weird … It was reported to me by a number of people, so we had to quickly go in and update to the [fitted] mesh support. So it’s dangerous for us to not update, because if a feature comes and it could possibly break an older version, we need to do that.
1:20:05 JL: And we’re going to keep OnLive on the latest builds, but as far as the clean install is concerned, I can’t give you an answer on that yet because we need to look into the complexities of all that. as far as settings back-up and restore, ideally yes … We’re hoping to be able to get those to work, but that’s all in the new year. Being able to import you settings into the viewer still creates that same risk factor for the OnLive services, in that you’re uploading something from your computer, potentially, to the OnLive computers. So there has to be some way to verify those files are clean.
1:21:00 DH: The ideal situation is that Firestorm runs on a virtual machine that is recreated every single time that you get on-line. So they you get your own local file system, you have your own everything, and it really can’t get into our systems, as it’s a virtual machine.
Are there any noticeable differences aside from performance when switching between SL Go and standard SL?
1:21:48 DH: In terms of functionality, obviously the “missing” features are a concern, but no, I don’t think there is anything you can’t do. I’ve been called on, especially with the mobile versions, that people can’t right-click on things. You can, there’s definitely a way to do it; it’s just that they don’t understand how to do it, or how the touch interfaces are actuated. You can get to the menus, you can get to anything you want.
We’ve actually removed certain features, and that’s what you’re talking about in this list. But those were removed for security reasons only, not because we wanted to hinder Firestorm.
1:22:51: Is one IP address going to allow IP-banned users back in and grief?
1:22:53 DH: I believe that is only a temporary ban; I think it’s only for an hour and then it times-out. So that shouldn’t be a big issue [bans are generally account-based & MAC address]. But if it does, what we’re actually going to have to do is contact Linden, because that’s something completely out of our control.
1:23:27: Will we get access to Debug Settings?
1:23:30 JL: No, not Debug, and the reason why is that actually provides access to file pickers, and they can’t be disabled individually. And that’s why the Debug settings are hidden … If it is possible for us to make some Debugs available and still hide others, then that’s a possibility.
1:24:12 DH: We’re going to have to so a survey of all the debug settings. anything that requires a file picker right now, we’re going to have to disable, but there might be some other ones there that might be more safe to use.
Any downsides to using the product?
1:24:49 DH: I think we’ve probably covered them all. You don’t get the full 1080p resolution that you do with the native viewer. There’s no voice, at the moment. I think the biggest downside that people complain about, is that it costs money. And unfortunately, I can’t do anything about that, because OnLive is a very, very expensive service to run, and our data centres and servers are quite costly to maintain.
But a downside from a usability standpoint? I think it is very usable.
1:26:00: Does OnLive support other MMOs or just SL? And how do you find it?
1:26:02 DH: OnLive is a bigger service than Second life, it supports hundreds of other games. And the technology behind supporting those other games is exactly the same as we do on SL Go. So if you go to games.onlive.com, you can see what we have to offer if you’re interested in other games. You can sign-up for our PlayPack service which has got 250+ games on it. And we have a thing called CloudLift, which allows you to play your Steam games on your OnLive client. You can buy a game at Steam and you don’t even have to install it on your computer; it becomes instantly playable on OnLive. So there’s other services that we offer as well.
How do I set the OnLive Firestorm viewer to clear my cache every time I log in?
1:27:34 DH: It’s done automatically [texture cache, not inventory cache].
Currently OnLive seems to require Mac users to use Windows style keys, particularly the CTRL vs. the CMD key. Will this ever change?
1:27:55 DH: I have this as a bug in my JIRA database.
1:28:23: Can you access the music stream OK on OnLive?
1:28:26 DH: Yeah. Audio is completely functional on OnLive. In fact the audio is one of the things that is almost a key element of what makes OnLive really special service. They did a lot of work to ensure that the audio was synchronised. Think of playing a game and you’re shooting something, the sound of the gun has got to be exactly in synch with the video, because it turns out people are very, very, sensitive to lags in audio.
As a power user, I’d like to have certain information available that isn’t available at the moment, for example Develop > Show Info > Show Time and Show Memory. will that be coming back?
1:29:29 DH: I’ll definitely take a look at it. Put it in the JIRA, we’ll take a look at it.
1:29:58: Is there any data to help me decide if I need SL Go?
1:30:04 DH: The data is that I use Firestorm and I have it on the computer on the minimum graphic settings and it doesn’t look how I’d like it, and I crash a lot. Those are the data points. And if that’s you, try SL Go … So if you’re use to very narrow draw distances and you boot-up SL Go and you look at the world, and you’re going to go, “oh my god! It’s beautiful!” And that’s really what we’re all about. We’re not about high resolution streaming, it’s more about rich graphical experiences. That’s what SL Go will give you [the viewer presented through SL Go default to the Ultra graphics setting].
1:31:10: Where do I find SL Go on the Apple apps store?
1:31:18 DH: Go to the Apple iTunes store and search for “SL Go”. And you can get it on Google Play. But the way that you play it on your PC or Mac, which is where Firestorm is, is that you go to OnLive and download the client.
At this point, the meeting starts to wind-down, thanks are given, etc.