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Help Us Test the SL Web Viewer Beta

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Kim Linden

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As we explore ways to make the Second Life experience faster, easier, and more fun, we are testing a number of approaches to bring new users closer to the richness of our virtual world. Yesterday, we quietly launched a beta test of a new technology that opens up Second Life to new users like never before: Second Life on the Web! The SL Web Viewer allows new users to become Second Life “guests” through the Web and enjoy basic SL functionality while exploring exciting destinations in Second Life -- all without downloading a Viewer.

We need your help to test the SL Web Viewer!

Just click http://interest.secondlife.com/beta to check it out. There is a 45-second video that will run while the system loads and then you’ll either be offered an “Explore Now” button -- which means that you have successfully qualified -- or a “Join Now” button -- which means that you do not qualify for the test at this time*.  If you qualify, you’ll be asked to share your email address to create a temporary guest account to use the SL Web Viewer.

We’ll be running tests like this from time to time, and we may ultimately choose to further pursue some or none of these approaches, depending on what we learn from our testing, but we’re very excited to make SL an easier experience for guests and look forward to hearing what you think.

*Note: We’re in the early stages of testing this technology, and not everyone who navigates to the link will be able to access the SL Web Viewer.

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What determines if you qualify?  Does what browser you have matter? Does what operating system you have matter?  If you keep trying over and over, might you eventually qualify?  Does logging out of secondlife.com, clearing your cookies, and other such things make a difference in who qualifies?

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So, what does it take to qualify to test? I viewed the intro and got the Join Now option, not the Explore Now.

I've been a resident since 2009 and routinely participate inworld as well as in the forums. I've owned land, a club, a mall, shops. Heck, I built SL's tallest free-standing elevator. I've built and scripted. I regularly try the various viewers.

So why don't I qualify to test the web viewer??

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The test won't be available to everyone, based on a number of variables, including bandwidth, system setup details, and other factors. I don't think cookies or repeated logins will make a difference. I don't have more information that that at the moment, though.

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Sounds amazing, I look forward to being able to see it (qualify). Great to see things moving forward!

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Worked for me, but in order to view it, I had to download Chrome, but when I did, I was taken right in world and I have to say it wasn't that bad. Just my 2 cents

Heart

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been trying to use it since it was posted on twitter 1 hour ago, at least say what we need to qualify so we stop reloading our viewers like idiots... geez. , and "sytem setup details" is really not informative, as well as other factors, it can mean ANYTHING, at least give us a list of things we should have or should not have to qualify.

 

Thank you.

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Ah.. thats sad. I don't qualify.. I agree it'd be nice to know what the qualifications are based on. Did any users outside of the US qualify? Maybe its due to region..

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Tried it out on IE 8 under Windows 7, worked like a charm. Even had two other viewers open at the same time.

Looks fine as a simple intro viewer, but of course lacks all the toys of the real one.

I see big potential with this.

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hey!

 

do you wan't us for test something? what qualifies one and what disqualifies one?

am i disqualified for ever or is it decided on each reload randomly?

i suggest to qualify everyone, NOW.

 

for all  users: please add your status here, following this schema:

 

qualified/disqualified,operating system,browser,country

for myself it is:

disqualified,linux,seamonkey,germany

tx Oh

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It doesn't sound like you really need us to test it very badly if it won't load for many of us for no apparent reason.

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First... I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!! I totally didn't expect to see this when i did my daily checking of the blog, but boy am i pleasantly surprised! CONGRATS! This is a really welcome addition and should break SL out into the wider populace pretty well. Good thing you guys have been working on the infrastructure! (Which has looked like some awesome work being put in)

Now that i've had a chance to breathe...

I'm using SeaMonkey 2.0.10 (on Windows XP) and it worked fine for me. I had to wait for some loading times, sure, but I was able to get in and everything did load. Not bad at all. I'm wondering if there would be more extended controls if you're signed into a registered account, although i suspect it's not a "signed in" thing as much as it is a "pared down so it actually runs in a browser" thing. Either way, this is looking really good and i suspect good things to come from it. (I'm also guessing that the Display Name project made this feasible?)

If there's anything i would look in to, it would be the directions on how to get from the first page through to logging in. I found myself waiting a couple times when i just needed to click somewhere.... which didn't signify it was a clickable space really. Other than that, i dig it. Great way for people to get a taste of SL, or for meetings, live events... and so on.

Thanks!

Until after now...

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This system was a fairly high-end system a year ago, but I guess it just isn't good enough to qualify.

Interesting.

I suspect that it has little to do with your system specs and is very likely just random.

Sort of a dumb way to run a test.

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I used Internet Explorer, where I got redirected to start a new account and download the standard viewer. I did set up a new account thinking it was specific to the web browser experience, now I have more than the max limit of alt accounts, and I blame LL for that. A couple more tries on IE and no luck.

I used Chrome and got the same result, constantly being redirected to sign up for an SL account. I can imagine this situation alone would piss off new users expecting a web browser experience. In effect they would feel misled, and tricked into signing up for an account, and then never come back.

I used Firefox, and got the same result, but tried several times and eventually got in.

The first thing I noted was how very simplified the viewer was, obviously not going to be a tool for builders and creators, but rather a tool for socializing (on a limited scale compared to the SL viewer), and exploring. I could not go into mouselook to look up and down from my POV, though camera controls were available as was "camming". The beta only allows you to go to a select few locations, less than 100 I believe, and I understand having it that way for the beta.

Though textures were gray for a while, what struck me was how smooth movement was. As I thought of first time user experience, the dumbed down controls like sound on/off, pick from a palette of locations to visit, and a palette of available avatars, and a very basic help window describing around a dozen available functions, seemed to be very complimentary controls for someone visiting for the first time, or even coming in on business for the first time.  Simple and stupid, and yet showing SL as it mostly is seen on the viewer (minus windlight!). 

screen12.png

This image is from another user's forum post regarding his experience, note the reflections on the water. Looks pretty good for a web browser.

So, mostly, I am favorably impressed, though I would say the map options need to be increased, and many more tweaks need to be implemented into this basic user experience or you will bore first time users to death with this browser based visit.

I agree with a large amount of comments on other forums that state, welcome area 4chan griefers and a large variety offensive individuals are still one of the lead causes of people never returning to SL or opening their minds to take it seriously, with all it's potential. Clean up the welcome areas, or keep browser based visits away from social trouble zones (Or better yet, get rid of welcome areas altogether). Don't let the potentially large influx of browser users get chased out by the A-holes that chase new viewer users out now.

I expected not to like it as much as I do, I think it has potential to be much better, and I believe it could be a major win if developed with greater care than LL has given past developments. So please, proceed with caution LL and use some common sense to make this extremely useful development pay off.

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I tried it out. Not bad. It's a nice way for someone new to give SL a lil test run. Limited in where you can go. Only has preselected destinations. You get a number name though and the last name of Guest! When i first loaded the test page the vid played and then i got the join button. I hit refresh then a diff vid played and then i got the explore button. I was using google chrome.

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To be clear, yes, the test is U.S.-only at the moment.

Sounds like you don't have all the facts. You guys at the lab need to communicate better with each other before you try to communicate with us.

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Got the Explore now button, entered email addy and clicked....reloads to the intro and keeps giving me "Explore Now"

 

Guess it doesnt like IE9 Beta =P

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Finally got in . Didn't work with Chrome but worked with IE .
Pretty good for beta.  Decent speed. Was expecting something like a Unity3d player Turns out it uses Gaikai http://www.gaikai.com/about#general . Cloud based rendering? Does this mean it's being streamed down to client rather than being rendered on the client ?

Anyway - very promising !! Congrats

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The requirements for this are really odd. I am within the U.S. and have a good connection but the test on the Gaikai website tells me: "Your network response times are unusually high. Please try again later. If you continue receiving this message, it may be because you are too far from Gaikai's servers." This is a rather common error.

It would really help us to help you if we had more information on Gaikai's crazy bandwith/distance requirements (or at least sedate some curiosity).

Edit: Didn't mean for this to be a reply to you Insky, sorry.

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Wow! Assuming this is only an early initial effort, I am quite impressed. Although I'll very likely never use Viewer 2, I would not at all mind using this for a quickie inworld visit, or on a PC which doesn't have the dedicated client installed.

 

However, as a black male I once again find LL not recognizing and addressing the diversity of its customers. You've provided approximately 10 "white" male avatars, but only one black male avatar. Ouch! Given that disparity, I could get the feeling I'm not really wanted there.

 

It would be nice not to have the video replay if it's already been viewed and when a second session is started. The application also did not remember the avatar I'd chosen in my initial selection. It seems to assign them at random when starting. And last, it's not very robust to a momentary reduction of bandwidth.

 

All that said, this is very likely one of the best first efforts I've seen emerge from LL in years. My congratulations to the development team. Keep up the good work! Oh, and nice music selections.

 

Question: Are there any specific things for which you wish us to look, or certain things we might attempt doing as testing?

 

(Note: For those who did not qualify, I'm using Firefox 3.6.12, a quad-core desktop, and a higher-end Nvidia graphics card. You'll also need Java, possibly the latest version. Edit: My download speed ranges from 7000 Kb/s to 10,000 Kb/s. Latency is 25-45 ms.)

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Tryed a few times and was finally able to get in using IE. As a first impression i am very pleased, i have used SL since 06 so it was a little hard to think like a new user but overall the entire thing ran smoothy. One thing i would have liked is a mini map. thats one thing that really helps me navigate and im sure it helps others also. a readout of the current sim and location would also be helpful. but as a new user tryout veiwer i think it really works much better then i first expected.

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Well, I guess I didn't qualify but I got me a new alt account and downloaded that darn Viewer 2, again!

Maybe third time lucky with Viewer 2, eh?.... (mumbles, mumbles about a cheap trick to get folks to use Viewer 2... mumbles, mumbles)

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