SLGo replacement Bright Canopy supports OpenSim

Bright Canopy, a cloud-based replacement to SLGo, will support OpenSim from day one, according to the founders.

SLGo, operated by OnLive, was discontinued at the end of April when the company was acquired by Sony.

It was the only service that allowed people to log into Second Life or OpenSim with a light client that could run on older computers, and even mobile devices. The way it worked is that OnLive would load up a copy of the viewer — either the official viewer or Firestorm — on their own computers, then stream the video from those computers to the customer. Since each customer logging in required their own copy of the viewer, the computing power required added up quickly — and the service cost money. Specifically, $1 per hour, or $10 for an unlimited monthly subscription.

However, SLGo did not support voice or file uploads.

Bright Canopy solves the computing power problem by using the Amazon or Azure cloud to spin up as-needed virtual machines, and shut them down again when not in use.

The release date hasn’t been announced yet, but the platform is currently in closed beta, with early access “Pre Launch” scheduled for May 19.

The cost will be US $1 per hour or less, the company said, and eventually will take credit cards as well as Bitcoin and Linden Dollars as payment.

OpenSim support

The company has pledged that it will support OpenSim from day one.

In fact, OpenSim support came even earlier. Founder Bill Glover is himself an OpenSim user, in addition to being a Second Life user.

And a number of OpenSim users have been participating in the beta testing of the new platform.

Since Bright Canopy supports the Firestorm viewer, users can log into any account on any grid — just as if they were running Firestorm on their own computers.

In the video below, for example, virtual world development company 3DCoLab uses the Bright Canopy service to log into OSgrid.

Feature set

Although in the very early stages, Bright Canopy already supports a wide range of functionality.

The idea for the company was actually born when Glover read Inara Pey’s post suggesting that the Amazon cloud could be used to run an alternative for SLGo. He posted a link to a sign-up form in the comments at the article, and Bright Canopy was born.

The company uses the Frame streaming platform as its backend, allowing it to easily access fast cloud servers with hefty graphics cards located around the planet. The video — and sound — is sent to the user device, and input from the keyboard, mouse and microphone is sent back up to the cloud.

Since it generates its own graphics, users don’t need to have a graphics card on their computers. It can run in “Ultra” graphics mode on a Chromebook, for example, and the company also plans to have mobile apps for tablets and smartphones.

Since billing is by the house, the service can scale indefinitely.

“We can scale up on the same sort of cloud that runs Netflix if that helps you imagine the scale,” said Glover at an in-world meeting of users and potential users two weeks ago. Glover is also known as Chaos Priestman in-world.

Voice is already supported, “but it breaks up right now,” said Glover.

User settings will persist between sessions, and customers will be able to save images to their Dropbox and Google Drive accounts.

Users will also be able to upload files, making this a usable platform for in-world building.

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • Inara Pey

    Small correction. SL Go didn’t run in a browser. It utilised a dedicated client application downloaded from their website, or a dedicated app for either Android / iOS access.

    • Thanks, I’ll update the story! And thanks for providing the inspiration for this — it sounds like a supremely useful service.

  • Inara Pey

    And (being pedantic, I know). OnLive wasn’t acquired by Sony. That’s a popular misconception.

    OnLive actually put itself up for acquisition as a going concern, but their were no takers. Sony then stepped in to purchase OnLive’s IP and patents, rather than the company.

    It is believed that Sony wanted the IP & patents (thought to number up to 275) for use within their own PlayStation Now streaming service. As an additional piece of trivia, PlayStation Now is built on the Gaikai,streaming games service Sony did acquire in 2012 – and Gaikai was the company Linden Lab partnered with in an early experiment in viewer streaming that never went beyond closed beta in 2010.

    • hack13

      In fact super awesome deals over at OnLive right now. They are selling off servers, office supplies, and even their software and trade secrets!!!

  • Paul E. Emery

    Would be great bright canopy also allowed for ctrlaltviewere so we can use oculus rift

    • I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see that.

      Meanwhile, I’ve been trying — with no success — to get the CtrlAltDel viewer split screen mirrored from my laptop to my iPhone so I can try out Google Cardboard with it. I’ve heard that someone did something similar on the Android — but I don’t have an Android phone.

      • lmpierce

        Earlier this morning I came upon this while searching for ways to see an iPhone display mirrored onto a PC. Looks like it may do what you want to do (it appears that it mirrors your PC to an iPhone):

        http://www.getidisplay.com

        • Thanks, I’ll try it out!

          So far, I’ve tried the following:

          Gagagu — got the iPhone app, but couldn’t figure out how to install the Windows software. Couldn’t even figure out where to download it! http://gagagu.contex-gmbh.de/site/

          Kinoni — super easy to install and use on both Windows and iPhone, mirrors desktop flawlessly — EXCEPT when in Oculus Rift mode! Then goes blank! http://www.kinoni.com/

          • lmpierce

            I’m not surprised. I tried the CtrlAltDel viewer and although I was able to get a taste of the effect, it created some display issues on my system. It may be that it plays games with the display drivers which would certainly lead to problems if one tries to port off the display signal.

          • I couldn’t get the iDisplay working — I downloaded the $0.99 “lite” app for the iPhone (since I don’t have an iPad, the $9.99 didn’t seem worth it)

            All it showed was my wallpaper.

          • lmpierce

            Just installed the iDisplay main program on my Mac Pro. It has scrambled the monitor order from 1-2-3 to 3-2-1! It’s hard to even navigate to System Preferences to fix it!

            As for the app, it has a lot of critical reviews… apparently it’s not up to streaming very quickly, so the lag will probably prevent it from being useful, even if the display is okay.

            Well, we tried!

    • hack13

      You actually can with it, you can install just about any application you want with Fra.me and it works nearly flawlessly. I have been toying with it lately, I installed Firestorm and Singularity and they both work great.

  • Nick Zwart

    It would be great if this also could have the option to record the stream, for educational purpose. I have many teachers and researchers asking for this…

  • Samantha Atkins

    YAY! This could be big.

  • Kat Lemieux

    Since the graphics “card” is in the cloud, it ought to be possible to run this on a Raspberry Pi. Wow!

  • Serene Jewell

    Counting down the minutes to Bright Canopy launch. I miss OnLive.

  • So did Bright Canopy shut down? I signed up, but all I get when I go to the website is that they aren’t accepting signups.

    • No, they’re adding servers, making some other changes… I’ll post a story about it this afternoon.

      • On their own blog, they don’t sound so favorable. They posted that they won’t bring it back up until it’s something people can count on, which sounds to me like they don’t know if they can. Their own confidence has fallen sharply since the weekend.

        • To produce the service there is a one-to-one relationship between a session and a high-end graphics card sitting in a data center server. In addition to holding the GPU resource, there is also a significant load on the server CPU + a hefty network stream.

          In sum this is both very expensive (per session) to produce, but also puts a sizable strain on data center resources. For a small scale operation it will of course work, but to scale it to any concurrency is very costly.