Playing Second Life on the iPad

The #1-coolest thing about playing Second Life on my iPad using remote access technology is that the touch interface works inworld. You can move your avatar around and do most actions just by touching and swiping the iPad screen. I’ve spent the past couple weeks playing with SL iPad-style, via the remote access app Splashtop, and I have to say it’s fun.

Here’s a video I made filming Second Life on an iPad 4, accessed from my iMac, using a digital camera to capture the iPad screen. See my avatar walk, run, dance, fly, tp, sit, take snaps, change clothes, use AOs – not to mention hug and kiss! -all on an iPad 4, just by tapping and swiping the screen (and typing IMs on an external keyboard).

How It Works

Let’s be clear upfront: This is not a Second Life app running on the iPad. Second Life currently does not run directly on the iPad. This is Second Life being accessed on the iPad remotely from a computer (in my case, an iMac), using the remote access mobile app Splashtop. This is a productivity app designed to let you access anything on your computer from your mobile device – so you can be, say, out on the patio with your iPad, and access any document, photo, video, or software on your tablet, via your wireless network.

If you want to access your computer further afield, you have to purchase the monthly Anywhere Access package for a monthly fee of $1.99. This allows you to remotely access your computer from networks outside your home, which Splashtop claims works anywhere in the world.

But if you’re a simple homebody like me and you want to see Second Life on your iPad, all you need is the Splashtop2 app from ITunes (currently $9.99) and the free Streamer software from Splashtop (usable on up to 5 computers), and you’re good to go. Splashtop runs on Android as well as Apple devices, and you can connect to Apple, Windows, and Linux computers. If you’re on an Android device, the Splashtop app is currently free from the Google play store.

How Do I Try It?

I’m going to give you simple 1-2-3 instructions here to access Second Life on your iPad. Splashtop has its own tutorial, Forum, blog, and FAQs . But to get you started, here’s all you do, if you’re on a mac. (Android devices accessing Windows or Linux computers are probably easy too, but I’m a Mac girl):

    1. Purchase the Splashtop App from the iTunes app store for $9.99, and install it on your iPad.
    2. Download the Streamer software from the Splashtop site and install it on your computer.
    3. Open up Second Life on your computer, and you will see it on your iPad.

Why Would I Want to Do This?

  • Because it’s fun. Lots of fun.
  • High desktop-performance SL on your iPad. Many of us who are on-the-go are limited to the relatively lesser performance of our laptops for Second Life. But this app lets you access Second Life from your high-performance desktop, and see it on your iPad while you’re  chilling on the couch or the deck away from your desktop.
  • Retina screen. Who doesn’t want to see Second Life in retina-screen resolution on the iPad?

OK, What’s the Downside?

  • The iPad screen is small.
  • This setup is a bandwidth hog and doesn’t run very well on low-end wireless networks like you find at Starbucks.
  • The touch interface is fiddly. Swiping and tapping doesn’t always get you the desired result first time out.
  • Building is possible, but only just.
  • You need a fairly souped-up system to run this smoothly. Minimum recommended RAM is 1 gigabyte.
  • If you want to capture a video of your avatar on your iPad, you have to get your phone or digital camera out. Would you believe there’s still not a decent screencast app to capture video on the iPad? There are a few apps out, but none that I know of that work for this. You can, however, take screenshots pretty easily while this is running.

Go Where No Avatar Has Gone Before?

Splashtop has been around for several years, as have other remote access technologies. But using it with Second Life is still pretty much of a wilderness. I first heard about it when Botgirl did a video of Second Life on an iPhone a year ago, and earlier this summer Wagner Au at New World Notes gave a shout-out about Matheus Soares’ short video of SL on an iPad.


Gamepad for Second Life! Splashtop lets you build your own personalized gaming interface when you purchase the additional productivity pack (another $1.99 a month). So … drum roll here … my next project is to build a gamepad for Second Life on the iPad. Watch this blog and my Second Living Youtube channel. I’m not sure how much use an SL iPad gamepad will be, but it’ll certainly be cool fun to build.


2 Responses to this post.

  1. falejvi's Gravatar

    Posted by falejvi on 17.09.13 at 7:29 pm

    hey I’m running slash top now and word fine but I’m using and iPad 2 resolutions is not the best but i can attend some things in Sl, but did you try voice with it? is possible?. slash top website is confusing to me .

    thanks in advance.

  2. Bay Sweetwater's Gravatar

    Posted by Bay Sweetwater on 17.09.13 at 7:29 pm

    No, I never tried voice on slashtop. Please let us know how it turns out.

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