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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

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Andy Yang

James,

This is Andy Yang with InstantAction. It was nice speaking to you in-person and again virtually. Yes, this technology could work with Second Life and we'd be happy to speak with them. We've been thinking about reaching out to them and if you know anyone you think we should be talking to specifically then let us know.

Regards,
Andy

Nexii Malthus

That... would be absolutely incredible if you were to create a conversion of the Second Life client viewer via this tech, Andy.

Hamlet, please do try to help get them into contact with LL!

koxinell lane

Does it mean that Second Life could be downloaded as a firefox plugin, and totally transparent for users ??

Hamlet Au

Yes, Koxinell, that's what that seems to mean. Thanks for the info, Andy!

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Just visited their web site. Like the woman at Bob's Country Bunker in _The Blues Brothers_, they are proud of their cross-platform nature: they support both Windows AND Macintosh!

Rez Gray

Seeing an Instant version would be interesting. I'll have to poke at it when I get home. I wonder if this uses the local hardware or server-side.

Tateru Nino

Wait a sec. Don't you mean "embed into a web-browser"? Because "convert into a web-browser" is something rather different.

csven

I'm with Tateru.

Is the "secret sauce" part of the browser plug-in or is it a 50Mb install?

Andy Yang

Let me try to address everyone's comments and questions all at once :) Please feel free to email me if you have any more questions and comments as well at [email protected]

@koxinell lane and hamlet au - Yes that is exactly right. FF, IE, Safari, and soon Chrome.

@Rez Gray - Our architecture is a hybrid. Some of the technology is client side and some is server side. We took a look at a pure server side approach and is certainly feasible for us from an implementation perspective. However we don't think broadband speeds where they are in the U.S. is ready for this. Yes you can render games on the server, but a full multiplayer experience is just not possible to scale right now. So we opted for a hybridized approach and will certainly move more into the cloud as the technology and infrastructure will allow it over time.

@Tateru and cseven - We are talking about rendering in the browser and the secret sauce is in a 150KB plugin. The whole point is to circumvent the need for an onerous installation process.

Thanks all!

Troy McConaghy

Clive Thompson has an article in the latest issue of WIRED magazine (March 2009) where he mentions something similar (on page 70):

"AMD is working on an experimental 3-D graphics server farm that would run high-end video games, squirting a stream out to portable devices [or any computer] so you could play even the most outrageously lush games without a fancy onboard processor... imagine you've got servers running _Crysis_ and streaming it to an iPhone or a netbook..."

(Full article at http://www.wired.com/gadgets/wireless/magazine/17-03/mf_netbooks )

It sounds like AMD is doing all the rendering server-side.

OTOY is supposedly doing something along these lines as well. (See http://search.techcrunch.com/query.php?s=OTOY )

It seems there are two choices:

1) Do the rendering server-side and hope the client has a fast enough internet speed to get what is effectively live video, or

2) do the rendering client-side and hope the client has a good enough graphics card. (This requires a plugin to work in current web browsers.)

I guess InstantAction is going with choice 2. (From the GigaOM article: "This process does require a 3D graphics card...")

Unless... Is it possible to do some initial rendering calculations server-side and finish them off with a crummy computer (think netbook) at the client end?

Tateru Nino

@Andy Ah, so it's essentially a sort of embeddable VNC-style setup. Interesting.

Hmm. This sounds way too expensive for pay-by-the-byte plans or capped plans, mind. Just rendering SL locally eats up a ferocious amount of plan-bandwidth, never mind doing it remotely.

James Ratner

@andy - How many server resources would be required to host, say, 1,000 clients? Can you handle more than one client per server machine?

James

Obvious Schism

This looks similiar to the solution Vollee have come up with for getting Second Life (and other 3D applications) on mobile devices www.vollee.com

Gareth Nelson

For SL, done and done:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gwengareth/2914357868/

Client-side rendering, but it works, here's the code:
http://www.garethnelson.com/code/ffwrap

Gareth Nelson

"@Rez Gray - Our architecture is a hybrid. Some of the technology is client side and some is server side. We took a look at a pure server side approach and is certainly feasible for us from an implementation perspective. However we don't think broadband speeds where they are in the U.S. is ready for this."

I tried the server-side rendering thing with my company (Litesim Ltd). Here's what happened:
Day 1 - Announce it to a few users
Day 2 - Order first render server
Day 5 - Server installed at data center
Days 6 and 7 - Software setup
Day 8 - Basic proof of concept ready
Day 9 - Money runs out and no extra capital, servers get unplugged

Andy Yang

Hey All - Great conversation going on here and I'd be more than happy to provide more details. Please email me at [email protected] if you would like to discuss in more detail.

Dedric Mauriac

This would definitely help out with businesses where the software installation is locked down to administrators. The support for installation also goes down since it's just a plug-in. How many people can use the site concurrently using the plug-in?

Alastair Chamerberlin

I am still confused....can we display active browser pages in SL now as textures, or can we not?

Chuck Baggett

I tried InstantAction and QuakeLive, both were quite impressive. Playce didn't work in the Flock browser I'm using at the moment. I'm not much of a fast action game player, but those who are should take a look at both InstantAction and QuakeLive.

Glad I read your post, Mr. Au.

Regarding "an we display active browser pages in SL now as textures, or can we not?" No, no interactive web pages in SL, other than in the embedded browser.

For a virtual world that does have in-world active browsers, try Twinity. Hipihi has Shockwave interactive on prims.

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