News is spreading on the efforts, spearheaded by Bill Glover, to bring a new cloud-based means of access to Second Life (and other grids).
Bright Canopy is the name of the project, and Bill was stirred into action following ruminations on this blog relating to Amazon AppStream, and more particularly as a result of Nikola Bozinovic’s invitation that people take a look Frame, the company he has established to provision Windows applications and web applications to a range of clients across the web, something I did couple of days ago when looking at one of the two options for Frame: that of a do-it-yourself option.
As mentioned in that article, while the DIY approach works, it is not ideal in some respects. Far better to have a fully managed service along the lines of SL Go available to users. As noted in my article, and in posts like Ciaran’s, linked-to above and in the SL subreddits, this is exactly what Bill is working towards.
Since word of Bright Canopy initially broke, the response has been overwhelming. So much so that the beta invitation has now been closed, as it was getting to the point where too many people were wanting to try things out. Those signing-up now will instead receive news on developments.
So, in the meantime, what has been going on? Well, in brief.
The project is on a solid footing, with a core group of beta testers; a Github environment has been set-up for issue reporting and tracking, managing code, and running the project’s internal wiki, and channels of communication established. In addition, the LL viewer has now been added to the project alongside Firestorm.
Testing has already raised a range of issues, and these are in the process of being addressed, with the Frame team are working closely with Bill to overcome some of the stickier issues around provisioning the viewer in this way.
One such issue is getting viewer settings to persist across multiple sessions, another is upping the overall performance, and there are more. All are being looked at, but it is going to take time to solve things, so it might be a little while longer before things can be opened-up some more and invite more people to try it.
In terms of performance, various options are being looked at, and one thing that may help is that Nikola informs me that Frame are working on a new set of native terminals covering OS X, Windows and iOS, which should be in their own beta soon.
Because there is a lot to be achieved, a work list is being drawn-up, and some key decisions for the short-term have been taken with regards to focusing efforts.
This means, for example, that the current work is focused on getting a non-mobile solution working.This makes sense because the majority of people using the SL Go service did so from low specification computers rather than mobile devices, so ensuring there is a service which can fill the void for them is key.
A mobile solution also requires much more in the way of specialist work – such as providing an overlay to allow users to control things like avatar and camera movement via a touch screen (just as was the case with SL Go), and a means of interfacing with touch keyboards. While this work will be tackled, it is not on the immediate priority to get sorted. Having a service that works and provides the level of performance users will be happy with is currently key.
Also in the running is a new Bright Canopy blog, which we intend to use to help keep folks up-to-date on progress, offer screenshots of work (and maybe even a video or two), and more as time goes on. This will hopefully be up and running in the near future, and you’ll likely see me writing there 😉 .
There’s obviously a lot else to be sorted as well – including pricing. Right now, however, the effort is in exploring exactly what can be achieved and how. However, this will hopefully give a flavour for what has been achieved in just a few days of effort. There will be more to come as more progress is made, and I’ll have a link to the Bright Canopy blog once it is up and running.