Valhalla: CEF comes to Second Life

secondlifeUpdate, Firday October 9th: It was indicated at the TPV Developer meeting on Friday, October 9th that QuickTime media may still work on this viewer, rather than being disabled. However, this should not be taken to mean either QuickTime or Flash are to be supported by the by the Lab, and media creators should not rely on either Flash or QuickTime working correctly for everyone.

On Wednesday, October 7th, the Lab issued the long-awaited project viewer utilises the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) for media handling – and more – in Second Life.

The Valhalla Project viewer, which sees the viewer version number increment to 4.0, is intended as a replacement for LLQTWebKit, which has traditionally supported web-based media in Second Life.

The latter has been subject to increasing issues over the last few years, such as the libraries used within the viewer being out-of-date, and it being focused on both Flash and QuickTime, which have issues of their own.

As a result, the Lab started looking to replace LLQTWebkit with CEF a little over a year ago, and actually blogged about the change in July 2014 when discussing upcoming improvements to SL. At that time, it had been anticipated that a project viewer would be appearing “soon”.

However, a number of other projects served to stall the work on CEF; most notably the change-over to the new tool chain and build process for building the viewer. Understandably, this caused the Lab to hold off from making large-scale changes to the viewer code until after they were confident of the builds using the new tool set, and this inevitably pushed a number of project back – including the CEF work.

Commenting on the CEF project during the TPV Developer meeting on Friday, September 25th, Oz Linden indicated that the release of the viewer was finally on the horizon, and confirmed that when issued, it would not support QuickTime and would have Flash support disabled by default (see update at the top of this article).

Loki eliot has been poking at the new viewer, including visiting a virtual world from inside a virtual world when he logged on to Sine Wave's Gojiyo, which is now being promoted as a part of the "federation" of virtual worlds (see my article here)
Loki Eliot has been poking at the new viewer, including visiting a virtual world from inside a virtual world when he logged on to Gojiyo, which is now being promoted as a part of the “federation” of virtual worlds (see my article here)

The Valhalla viewer, version, is liable to remain a project viewer for an extended period in order to allow  the CEF capabilities to be thoroughly tested, and to ensure content creators who make web media systems (TVs, etc.) and those using in-world media capabilities, have plenty of opportunity to update their products / systems as and where required. Commenting on the status of the viewer in the release notes, the Lab also states:

This is the first iteration of a Project Viewer – which means that while a lot of the problems facing the old MOAP implementation should now become a distant artifact of the past, we are still cranking through the many new issues with our CEF-based solution. See a bug? If you don’t see it filed already – file a Jira! We look forward to your feedback. Thanks!

There are a number of known issues already with the viewer, which are worth noting here as well:

  • Mac issues:
    • Search window crashes
    • Mac keyboard issues can prevent logging in
  • The in-viewer destination guide doesn’t work under chrome
  • Drop down lists do not work in internal web browser or MOAP
  • Profiles and marketplace are asking for a login each session

WebG and HTML support within the browser potentially offers some interest means of more interactive media elements within Second Life. Draxtor and Loki have been playing around with the new viewer and some of the more interactive elements, and have produced a short demo video. Loki has also been playing with the viewer more extensively, and you can read his thoughts about it as well.




4 thoughts on “Valhalla: CEF comes to Second Life

  1. This project has already died for me. I’d been waiting for this for months, now, hoping it would finally be possible to use full-featured HTML interfaces on HUDs and revolutionize the way we interact with the world. Turned out first click interact (being able to interact with a website without giving the face or hud focus through a click, first) is still broken.
    Without the opportunity to seamlessly switch back and forth between the world and the website. this will be yet another feature for the trash bin, since that extra click each time is annoying enough to render it completely useless.
    Filed a JIRA on that issue today, it got closed immediately, stating “This is a feature request that we unfortunately cannot take on due to the complexity of underlying implementation and the tremendous potential for regressions and performance degradation”, but really, that sounds like a lame excuse… how much more complicated can it be to give focus to the HUD by hovering the mouse over it, rather than clicking it?
    LL has a track record of breaking interesting features by bad implementations, lately, and my hope for SL and its successor keeps dwindling…


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