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Project Skylight, the Web-based viewer for Second Life seems to be in operation now. You can find it here, though there’s a few caveats.

Firstly, remember, that this is targeted at people who’ve never used Second Life before, and that Linden Lab is using it to evaluate marketing effectiveness. Therefore, any existing users messing around with it will skew the figures some.

Second, it assigns a guest account to you – you can’t use your existing Second Life account with the Web viewer.

Thirdly, it uses the Gaikai cloud-rendering service, so watch out and proceed with caution! Remotely rendered systems can use a ferocious amount of bandwidth, and much of the world does not have unlimited Internet usage (or even fat usage caps). If you’re on any kind of capped Internet plan (that would be 80% of the world) you might want to pass this one by.

(Update: Usage of the Skylight viewer is limited to one hour, by IP address, during which time it uses an estimated 1080MB of bandwidth if the back of my envelope is correct)

Load up the page, wait 45 seconds (which is the length of the promotional video) and then system will perform a selection test. Winners get the Web viewer by submitting their email address, while losers will get a link to the usual signup page. You could probably tip the odds in your favour by hacking the javascript a little with your favourite page-bending tool.

Three things come to mind from looking a the promotional parts. One, is that “Giddyup” isn’t traditionally spelled that way. It normally has an “A” in it. A small thing, but kind of jarring. The second is that looking at Second Life avatars performing typing animations (in the promotional videos) without context is … well, actually it looks a bit weird and creepy. To the new user there’s no indication as to why they’re making the strange flailing motion in the air – since there’s no text to see and no typing sounds.

The third, well, the promotional video presents a very polished-looking experience – and I can’t really blame the Lab for wanting to do that – but the dichotomy between that presentation and the actual experience could well lead to an increase in first-hour abandonment.

As for the escapism theme that runs through it all, well, I’m going to leave that alone.

Thanks to sharp-eyed reader, Dimitrio Lewis, for spotting this.

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