Streaming SL?

Image Source:  community.secondlife.com
Image Source: community.secondlife.com

I try to keep up with some of the technical happenings involving SL.

I stumbled across SL Go because I was frustrated at the limitations of my computer system.

I have since upgraded my system, so I wasn’t using SL Go as much.

However, I was still disappointed to learn that the service was being discontinued as of April 30.

In fact, I was in the middle of an experiment using my computer versus SL Go and comparing FPS and performance.

I went to a couple of dance shows and experienced some quite heavy lag, which was unusual.

So hubs hopped on SL Go and we were off.

Sadly, before I could finish up the experiment and publish the results, SL Go was axed.

With its demise, the experiment was pointless.

*Sigh*

While I didn’t use SL Go as much as I thought I would, my husband enjoyed it very much.

His preference was to use it on his iPad, but much of the appeal of the service was that people who couldn’t afford high-end computer systems could use SL.

Those same people were really disappointed to see it go (no pun intended 😛 ), and the end of the service leaves a definite hole.

There has been speculation whether another company could replicate the service.

It seems that a new service might actually be possible.

There was an article about using Frame to stream SL and a company called Bright Canopy has started a beta to see if/how it works.

The beta is now closed, but you can go here and sign up for their invitation-only pre-launch.

I have no idea how this all works (being a non-technical person), but it looks fascinating.

If you are a technical person, or you just want more details, Inara Pey has a blog post all about it.

I’m optimistic that another service like SL Go may actually happen.

I personally am not a fan of ‘mobile’ use of SL, I love my keyboard, mouse, and my big monitor waaay too much. 😛

However, for people who can’t afford a high-end computer system, a streaming service like SL Go enabled many to experience SL, even on older hardware.

I’m all for that – the more, the merrier when it comes to SL!

How Do You SL?

Image Source:  modemworld.wordpress.com
Image Source: modemworld.wordpress.com

The demise of SL Go has caused quite a stir among users.

After listening to this week’s Drax Files Radio Hour (which featured Dennis Harper of OnLive), I started to wonder.

SL Go allowed users to experience SL in all its graphical glory.

Have an old system that can’t handle Advanced Lighting Mode?

A graphics card that chokes when you turn on shadows?

No access to a PC, but have a tablet?

For those people, SL Go was the answer.

Not everyone can afford a computer that has all the bells and whistles necessary to experience everything SL has to offer.

Not everyone has access to high-speed internet connections.

Everyone (of course) wants to have the ‘full’ experience when using SL.

How can you do that if you’re surrounded by grey boxes, grey avatars, and can’t even move because of the lag?

I, with many others, hope that someone sees what a difference SL Go made, and has the vision to see what a service like it could mean, not only to SL users, but other ‘games’ as well.

Then I started to wonder – how do you SL?

I am lucky enough to have access to high-speed internet and I have a decent computer set up.

My thoughtful husband keeps things updated and upgraded for me.

Because of that, I can run SL on Ultra graphics settings and have all the pretty lights and shadows.

Once I experienced SL on Ultra, I became interested in photography.

I can run on Ultra, set a pretty high resolution, put my anti-aliasing to 16x, and take some pretty decent shots.

I would never be able to do that on a basic machine.

I could run SL, but it just wouldn’t be the same.

I’ve had to bump my settings down a few times at shows in order to try and combat lag, and I hated it.

Once you go Ultra, it’s hard to go back. 😦

What kind of machine do you use for SL?

Is it sufficient for your needs?

Do you wish you could afford to upgrade – pieces or parts or a brand new machine?

Did you use SL Go?

Would you use another service like it if it significantly improved your SL experience?

Would you use SL on a tablet or another mobile device?

SL Go Fail?

Image Source:  modemworld.wordpress.com
Image Source: modemworld.wordpress.com

I’ve blogged before about the SL Go service from OnLive.

I don’t have a super high-end computer and I was curious whether the service would be worth the price of the subscription ($10USD/month).

After using it, I have decided to keep up my subscription.  My original intention was to use it for taking super awesome pics with shadows and everything, which I don’t run on my PC.

However, it doesn’t quite work the way I thought it would.

And apparently others have thought so as well.

Whitney Blackburn tried it out and didn’t have a great experience with it.  See her blog post here.

I had some of the same issues.  I use a PC with a big monitor and I find that when I am using SL Go, it tends to be blurry and out of focus, especially text.  So chatting can become a challenge.

I also found it kind of dark and tried various ways to lighten it up without much success.

For landscape photography and avatar portraits, I will definitely use SL Go.

But for dance shows, I will stick to my PC.  The pics I took with SL Go at the last show I attended came out dark and kind of blurry, and I much preferred how the ones I took with my PC looked.

So, for many, SL Go may not be the way to go.

However, if you have an old PC or want to run SL on your tablet or iPad, it’s a wonderful option.

Have you tried SL Go?  What do you think of it?

One Happy Camper

Last night was a late night for me, because I stayed up to catch the Christmas Extravadanza! show put on by SexyS Quintessa.

And I get to kill two birds with one stone in this post (just an expression, I would never actually kill a bird), because I went back to the sim this morning to capture some pretty pics of the sim using SL Go!

Yesterday SL Go announced they have now added the Firestorm viewer as an option (for PC only right now).  So, of course, I had to try it out.

After I did, boy, am I excited!

Because I now have all the fancy schmancy photo tools and windlight settings that come with Firestorm – something I was missing with the LL viewer.

So I spent a little time traveling around the sim and snapping some pics.

I also snapped some pics at the show last night, and I’ll be including those here as well.

The sim is beautifully decorated and there are lots of little areas to explore and take photos.

XmasSim2
Taken using SL Go

I love this little area, with a grand staircase and the beautiful carriage.

You almost expect Cinderella to appear around the corner!

This area was the setting for one of the acts in the show.

 

MaarAn amazing setting and costume, very ethereal and beautiful.

 

 

I am definitely going to have to get a Flickr account, just to make it easier to upload all the photos I plan to take!

XmasSim3
Picture taken using SL Go

The phototools in Firestorm make it really easy to play around with things and be creative. And when the sim is as fun as this one, it’s easy to get carried away.
Just look at this adorable stage!

 

 

 

DiawaActOne of the acts in the show was set in front of this cute little toy shop.

And when you go to the show, Santa himself drives you around in his sleigh from place to place, in true Christmas fashion!

There were many creative acts throughout the show, and not every act is performed each show, so make sure to go more than once to catch them all!

 

IceSkatersThese lovely ice skaters did an amazing routine, complete with lifts and turns!

The whole sim is just absolutely charming.

Even if you can’t make one of the shows, go for a visit and take some pictures yourself.

 

And, of course, no Christmas would be complete without mention of the Grinch and the Whos down in WhoVille.

WhoVilleI probably had too much fun playing around with the windlights, but there was so much eye candy around!

I have a lot more pictures, so I will hopefully have time in the next few days to get a Flickr account set up so I can share them all more easily.

One of my favorite things on the sim was the Northern Lights.

Be sure to experience the sim at night – it’s beautiful!!

NorthernLightsA gorgeous tree set against the Northern Lights.

Go – explore – have fun!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

 

Picture Experiment, Take Two

Image Source:   www.ms-ds.com
Image Source: http://www.ms-ds.com

I looked at the results of the picture experiment polls today, and I have to say, once again I am surprised.

Personally, I liked photos 1A and 2B the best.  (If you need to refresh your memory about the photos, see here.)

My attempt with photo 1A to recreate the windlights in 2A was not successful, but the photo ended up being better in the end.  Poor choice of windlights for 2A, I suppose.  And 1A was the hands-down favorite in the polls.

For the second set of photos, I thought I did a much better job of getting the windlights close.  I prefer the shadows in photo 2B, although it does sort of look like the rocks in the foreground are floating a bit.  However, the overwhelming majority of you thought that photo 1B was better.

The photos 1A and 1B were taken using SL Go.  Since these were the favorites, I suppose it will be worth keeping up my subscription and using it to take photos.

However, the down side for me is that I have a LOT less options when taking photos with SL Go.  I am limited to about 10 preset windlights, and although I can play around with the windlight settings manually, it is not a quick process.

Also, when using Firestorm, I have the option to take the photos at a much higher resolution.  For example, photos 2A and 2B were taken at 5848X3128 and resized down to 1024X548 for the blog.  I personally thought the details were a bit clearer on those photos, with less rough edges than 1A and 1B.

1A and 1B were taken with SL Go and the highest resolution you can set (the only resolution I could use, as I couldn’t locate a way to change it) is 1280X720, which I resized down to 1024X576.  I thought that 1B had the same issue as 2B with the rocks seeming to float a bit, and I thought the snowman in 1A was a little jagged.

So, I will continue to experiment with my photos.  I saw recently that Builder’s Brewery has added some photography classes, so I am hoping to catch one of those and maybe learn some tips and tricks to help improve my photos.

I haven’t yet tried taking photos at a show with SL Go.  My husband has gone to several shows, but again, some of the controls are difficult to master.  So, it may take some experimenting to see if it’s worth trying to use SL Go at a show for pictures.

If you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share about photography in SL, please let me know!

Picture Experiment

Image Source:   www.ms-ds.com
Image Source: http://www.ms-ds.com

A few months ago, I signed up for a subscription for SL Go by OnLive.  My computer is okay, but not top-of-the-line, so I thought I’d try out SL Go and see how it works.

It’s supposed to turn any tablet or PC into a machine capable of running SL at Ultra settings.  So you can have all the fancy shadows and lighting to take pretty pictures and have less lag, even at Ultra.

I haven’t really used SL Go much, although my husband has played around with it on his iPad.  He had a little trouble getting used to the controls (it took him a good 5 minutes to ‘sit’ on something the other day).

Then I saw a video by Iris over at New World Notes about taking fancy-schmancy pictures using SL Go.  So I thought I’d try it myself.

I’ve been debating for several months whether to get a Flickr account, and hadn’t yet.  Partly because I detest Yahoo and I have to sign up for an account with them in order to use Flickr.  But also partly because I didn’t think I could take pictures that would be able to compete with what I see on Flickr.

I don’t run SL on Ultra on my computer, and I rarely have shadows enabled, because it causes too much lag.

However, to take some pictures, like landscapes or portraits, maybe I could make it work.

If I can take awesome pictures with SL Go, even better!

So I decided to do a little experiment.

I logged in to SL with my computer and went to two different winter sims to take some photos.  I didn’t bump up my graphics to Ultra, but I did turn on shadows.  I found a quiet spot on each sim and spent a few minutes playing around with the windlight presets to get something I thought was pretty.

Then, I logged into SL Go and went to the same two sims to take photos at the same spots.

SL Go does take some getting used to – I use the Firestorm viewer, and SL Go is a scaled-down version of the official LL viewer.  So it took me a little bit to get used to where all the controls were.

(Side note – I use the FS built-in AO, so since I don’t wear an AO attachment, I was doing the newbie dork-walk everywhere I went.  Ugh.)

I also had a bit of trouble, because I couldn’t find all the snapshot options to play with, like I have in FS.

There were only about 10 total different windlight presets to choose from using SL Go, so then I had to figure out how to adjust the settings myself, to try and get as close as possible to the windlights I had used with FS.

(I spent about an hour trying to figure out how to turn on the ‘advanced menu’ in SL Go, only to be told later that I couldn’t, because it uses a scaled down version of the viewer.)

So after finally getting the pictures taken with SL Go, I needed to resize them.  I am going to post them below, and I would love your feedback on which ones you think are better.  Just click on the poll underneath each set of photos to vote on which one you like.

For the first set of photos, my windlight settings are not close.  For both sets, the angles are a bit different.  In retrospect, I probably should have had the first set of photos open to use as reference, but I wasn’t thinking that far ahead.  I was just trying to duck-walk to the site as quickly as possible.  😀

After I get the results, I will post additional information about the original photos.  All I have to done these photos is to resize them down to 1024X576 or 1024X548.  I did not do any other post-processing of them.

Winter Wonderland:

KellanWinter
Photo 1 A

 

Photo 2 A
Photo 2 A

 

 

 

 

Frisland:

Photo 2 A
Photo 1 B
Photo 2 B
Photo 2 B

Please vote and send the link to your friends and ask them to weigh in as well.

I’m curious to see which photos people like better!

(Just FYI – you find some weird shizz when you do a search on Google for ‘photo experiment.’ 😛 )

SLGo Video

I came across this video on one of my feeds.  I chuckled while watching – oh, how I wish I had such sunny and beautiful places to hang out while I played SL!  See for yourself:

Let’s SLGo places!

We’ve been trying out SLGo for a while in our house and so far, it’s pretty awesome.

You can find more information about SLGo here.

SL Go Update

I wrote a post about the new service from OnLive, called SL Go.  I was excited to try it out, because it’s supposed to let you run SL at Ultra settings even on old computers.

However, as of now, I haven’t tried it out.  I had a bit of trouble understanding the steps I needed to go through to get SL Go to work on my PC (because it’s mainly aimed at smartphone and tablet users).  So when my tech-savvy husband got home, I had him try to install it on our tablet so we could use the 20-minute free trial and see whether or not we liked it enough to pay for the service.

I wanted to try it out to see whether I could use SL Go instead of upgrading to a more expensive graphics card.  I thought my husband would like it, because he prefers to do everything on his phone or tablet, even if a laptop or PC is available.

Anyhoo, we got as far as installing the SL Go app and setting up an account with OnLive.  BUT – it would not let us begin using the free 20-minute trial unless we entered our credit card information.  Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I don’t like just handing out my credit card info to anyone, especially when they don’t really need it.  If it’s a free trial, why do they HAVE to have my credit info?  I just wanted to try it out, and then if I liked it, sign up for the paying service.  If I don’t, then I just walk away.

At this point, regardless of how ‘amazing’ the app is, I won’t be using it.  I’m not going to be bullied into providing information that they don’t need.  The SL Go is either a monthly subscription or a ‘buy a chunk of time’ option.  So since you can buy, say, an hour of time for the app, I would assume that they have the capability to shut down/kick you out/log you off the app when the time you’ve paid for is up.  So why exactly do they NEED my credit information for me to use their ‘free trial’?

From a consumer standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to me.