Facebook integration

All right, all right, the other post was obviously an April Fool’s post… nevertheless, two things are half-serious, and worth thinking a bit.

The first one was not really a joke. Tipodean did release its Unity3D, Web-based Second Life viewer as an open beta (previously, it was being tested as closed beta). You can really jump over to the BuiltBuy.me webpage, fill in the details, and run SL-on-Unity3D-on-the-Web — really. It works. It’s not perfect, but it works. It feels kind of strange seeing all those avatars and prims that you’re so used to seeing inside the SL renderer,  now being displayed by a completely different rendering engine 🙂

The implications, as soon as Tipodean fixes the many annoying bugs and details, are staggering. LL’s own Web-based “experiment” is, well, simply the wrong approach — run SL on a remote server and stream a video over. The problem here is just the insane costs of such a solution: each resident will need a remote server that is powerful enough to run SL. Sure, from a purely technological point of view, it works; from an economical one, it simply doesn’t make much sense long-term — no matter if this is the current trend in high-end computer games. The difference is that people are used to pay monthly fees to play on those games, but one expects to be “free”.

No, SL-on-the-Web has to be quite a different experience altogether: prims and avatars have to be rendered locally, inside a plugin. Henrik Bennetsen, of Augmentation vs. Immersion fame, is proposing a SL-inspired clone that runs under WebGL, the upcoming 3D standard to be implemented on all Web browsers (except you-know-which). WebGL is definitely cool and will bring 3D gaming to the Web without crashy plugins or licensing nightmares from Adobe. Still, it’s not universally available.

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