Second Life on the go: Lumiya on Windows?!

lumiya-logoLumiya is an Android client for Second Life which is really quite remarkable. I’ve followed its development through these pages at length since it first appeared back in 2012, all the way through to the most recent 2.6 iterations; and while things have been quiet for a while, rest assured, development work is continuing, although developer Alina Lyvette has been very caught-up with physical world matters.

But did you know you can also run Lumiya on Windows*?

I suspect the responses to this question would be a combination of “No,” and “Why would I want it to?” The former is to be expected, and the latter not unreasonable; after all if you have a computer capable of running the Second Life viewer reasonably well why would you want to try anything else?

One possible “why” might be if you have a relatively low-end laptop you use when on the move, and would like to use it on occasion to access SL, but don’t want to meet the costs involved in running Bright Canopy’s (very excellent) service (which I’ve also covered in these pages), and would prefer something bigger than the average android device screen when accessing SL.

While I’ve not played at length with things, I did come across an Android emulator called Bluestacks which runs on the PC, and used to be available for Mac*. It makes running Lumiya on Windows a breeze in four easy steps:

  • Download and run the Bluestacks installer
  • Run the Bluestacks player and sync it to your Google Android account
  • Run Google Play and install Lumiya (note the app does have a one-off purchase fee if you have not previously installed it)
  • Launch Lumiya.
Running Lumiya via Bluestacks on a Windows notebook
Running Lumiya via Bluestacks on a Windows notebook

There are a few things to note when running Lumiya in this way. Obviously, being built for Android, it is intended for touch screen use. While Bluestacks does a credible job of allowing mouse and pointer control and the use of keyboard controls such as the arrow keys and WASD, I tended to find that things did sometimes “stick”, prompting a return to the on-screen movement / camera focus keys (lower right corner of the screen).

Given Lumiya is running on a “standard” computer, it’s also easy to slip into the expectation that it will respond to things like ALT-camming when it obviously won’t – this is still an Android app running through an emulator, after all! Given this, it goes without saying that if you’re new to Lumiya, you have a lot to learn via the UI and options – feel free to use my reviews linked to above 🙂 .

Also keep in mind  that as Lumiya is an Android app, the graphics don’t have the same fidelity as the viewer, and running it through an emulator isn’t going to magically give you that kind of fidelity. If that is what you’re looking for when on the move and don’t have a good laptop, then Bright Canopy is your best option outside of a new computer / GPU.

Lum iya may not have the same graphics fidelity as a full viewer, but if your looking for something that can provide you with an in-world view while on the move with a laptop, running in on Bluestacks might be a viable option
Lumiya may not have the same graphics fidelity as a full viewer, but if you’re looking for something that can provide you with an in-world view while on the move with a low-end laptop and for whatever reason, don’t want to use Bright Canopy, running it in through the Bluestacks emulator might be a viable option

Also, as you are running through a laptop there might be a temptation to push Lumiya’s settings to the max. I’d actually suggest some caution here; your little laptop / notebook may appear to have more umph that an Android device, but you will take a performance hit in driving things too high.

Overall, I found running Lumiya on an Asus PCee 1201N to be pretty acceptable – certainly a lot less tasking than running a full-blown viewer. I wouldn’t want to do it all the time, but as an alternative and occasional means of access, it’s more than acceptable. The UI, intended for touch screens, works well with mouse and pointer, and while there were occasional niggles (sometimes I had to swap back to using the on-screen movement keys via mouse, for example), my biggest issue came down to trying to use conventional SL keyboard shortcuts simply because I was sitting in front of a keyboard!

Whether this kind of approach would appeal or not is down to the individual – but as noted above, if you are looking for the occasional access to SL from a low-end laptop / notebook whilst on the go and either don’t want to fiddle with the small screen of and android device or would prefer not to use Bright Canopy, then this might be an option for you.

Addendum, June 3rd: While Bluestacks was promoted as a “free” emulator, some 36 hours after installing it, I received a notification requiring a subscription payment of either US 2.00 per month or to install sponsoring games in order to keep using it to access Android apps.

 

*Note: Bluestacks used to offer an emulator for Mac systems as well. It’s no longer available through their own website, but can be obtained from this review on the TechApple website. However, as I’m not a Mac user, I have no idea how up-to-date it is compared with the latest Windows version of the emulator or whether it is a viable option.

Lumiya on Bluestacks was tested using an Asus PCee 1201N with 2 Gb RAM, Intel Atom 330 processor and Nvidia Ion 2 GPU  using shared memory. 

Advertisements

Mourningstar: exploring a fallen angel in Second Life

 

Mourningstar
Mourningstar

Mourningstar is described as “An exploration of the ideas of the fallen angel, the vengeful god, and the diverse perceptions of Lucifer in various religious and social traditions. A virtual pilgrimage, proposing an alternate mythology…”

An immersive installation by Anahera (Fox Nacht), Mourningstar is in three parts – theological, Romantic and (for want of a better term) “present day”. Literary, theological and practical references are to be found throughout, making for an interactive piece. On arrival, do take a moment to read the notes on how best to full appreciate the installation.

Mourningstar
Mourningstar

The pilgrimage starts in the theological: a heavenly walk towards the upraised hand of God, culminating with a quote of Isaiah 14:12: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  And thus we, too are cast down to the ground, landing amidst a litter of broken angel wings within a ruined landscape – a reminder that around a third of the heavenly hosts fell with Satan – within a landscape. 

Through this grey engraving of a landscape lie a series of paths marked by arches. One continues the theological theme, taking us to the Tree of Knowledge. But here, as with the celestial hand above, a question mark is thrown over God’s role in things. In the heavens, the hand of God has strings attached to fingers and thumb, suggestive of a puppet master, while at the Tree of Knowledge, we are asked to ponder What sort of father would deny his children knowledge?

Mourningstar
Mourningstar

The remaining paths through the landscape encompass the great 19th Century Romantic era of poetry, encompassing an extract from Alfred de Vigny’s 1824 tripartite poem, Éloa, ou La sĹ“ur des anges (Éloa, or the Sister of the Angels), which offers Satan as capable of love, but unable to deny his own twisted nature, thus drawing the one who loves him – an innocent young angel – Éloa, down into hell.

Also to be found here are images of the great English Language Romantics – Blake, Bryon, Coleridge, and  Mary and Percy Shelley. According to Ruben Van Luijk,  writing in Children of Lucifer:  Origins of Modern Religious Satanism, these Romantics were spurred on by Milton’s Paradise Lost to see Satan as the ultimate rebellious hero, a champion of individual freedoms in an age of increasing political and social constraint.

Mourningstar
Mourningstar

One final path remains, one perhaps not so easily seen. It lies to one side of the reading area where visitors can delve into the writings of Blake, Byron and Milton. It leads to a pair of ram’s horns planted in the ground – their meaning clear enough – together with the definitions of “Belief” and “Faith”. A teleport disk before these provides the way to an examination of modern Satanism, with an introduction by Professor Darren Oldridge, and which sharply contrasts with the view of the Romantics.

I’m not so sure Mourningstar is an “alternate mythology” so much as a visual immersion into the theological, philosophical, Romantic and modern interpretations of Satan’s influence on people’s thinking and actions; one which also takes a short, sharp poke at the Christian view of a benevolent God in the process. Wisely, no attempt is made by the artist to direct or lead our thinking. Instead, we are encouraged to explore, examine, consider, and determine for ourselves.

Mourningstar will remain open through until the end of June.

SLurl Details