Bright Canopy, the streaming service which allows users on low-end computers to access both Second Life and OpenSim, has announced it is effectively being absorbed by Frame, the cloud service provider which has been a technology partner with Bright Canopy from almost the beginning.
Bright Canopy came into existence after the demise of the SL Go service provided by the former Onlive games streaming company, after that company opted to offer itself for sale, only to have Sony Computer Entertainment buy out its IP and patents, ending the company as a going concern.
However, the going has been a little rough at times for Bright Canopy, particularly as no-one has attempted to provide access to Second Life and OpenSim in quite this way before (OnLive utilised their own dedicated servers and data centres), so it has been a journey into uncharted territory.
The most important things to note is that under the new arrangement, Bright Canopy will continue uninterrupted as a service for both Second Life and OpenSim, and the company’s founder, Bill Glover, will be joining Frame as Product Manager for Virtual Worlds.
Bright Canopy largely came into existence as a result of a partnership between Bill and Frame. At the time of SL Go’s demise, I ruminated on the potential of a streamed service for accessing Second Life being provided through Amazon Appstream. This time was enough to get Bill seriously thinking on the idea and looking into ways of achieving it. A follow-up article prompted an invitation from Frame’s founder, Nikola Bozinovic, to try his service as a means to deliver a streamed viewer solution, and so the partnership was born.
Already with the technical expertise to manage and deliver high-end applications on a streaming basis through Amazon’s cloud services, and with the potential to leverage Microsoft’s Azure services in the future, Frame were an ideal partner for Bright Canopy. The synergy between the two companies allowed Bill to quickly establish a proof of concept for streaming the Second Life viewer. This rapidly developed into a closed alpha, which in turn rolled into a pre-lunch test beta. Thus, in just four months, Bright Canopy went from nascent idea to a service ready for launch.
Unfortunately, and as I reported at the time, a combination of very positive response to Bright Canopy’s launch and some drastic and unexpected fluctuations in Amazon’s Spot Instance pricing, meant that the original pricing model planned for the service could not be maintained, and Bill and Jerri had to reluctantly had to suspend Bright Canopy operations while alternatives were considered.
Although the service was relaunched in September 2015 with an alternative pricing model, both Bright Canopy and Frame have been seeking ways and means to make the service more appealing to users, particularly in the area of cost.
It is these explorations which have late to this latest situation, as Bill notes in the press release:
After brainstorming about some of the many things we could do together, I have accepted an offer to join Frame as Product Manager for Virtual Worlds. The Bright Canopy service will continue uninterrupted as it already runs on the Frame platform, and we will be looking to expand and improve it with new options and flexibility. Jerri will also continue supporting Bright Canopy as a community volunteer.
The news will not see any immediate change in Bright Canopy pricing – those avenues are still being explored.
However, one immediate benefit is that Bright Canopy’s support activities will be folded into those provided by Frame, streamlining issue management. What’s more, the move should also allow the Bright Canopy service to extend its reach into mobile devices: Frame already has a native iOS client, and can provide services to a number of Android devices through Chrome. Finally, the move might also allow further viewer options to be added to Bright Canopy’s stable alongside the Second Life viewer and Firestorm.
As well as announcing Frame’s direct involvement in Bright Canopy, which will see Jerri Glover continue her involvement in the project as a community volunteer, the press release also confirmed that there will be a special celebratory party at the company’s in-world location in Second Life to both celebrate the re-launch of the service back in September, and this latest news:
To celebrate, we will finally have that big relaunch party we’ve been promising with awesome gifts created just for the event. Come join us to celebrate. Where: Bright Canopy Island. Time: December 12 at noon SLT (That’s 12/12 at 12:00).
For my own part, and having been privileged to have played a small role in Bright Canopy’s initial start-up and development, I’d like to offer my congratulations to Jerri and Bill, and also to Nikola.
You can read more about Bright Canopy, as I’ve covered developments in this blog, by following this link.