Meeting Notes - January 27, 2017

During the Jan. 27 community meetings with Sansar creators, various members of the Sansar development and marketing teams updated the community on the latest Sansar news and improvements, including:

  • New Sansar Release R6 - There was discussion and review of features and bug fixes in the latest Sansar release, which was made available on Jan. 30, See Release Notes for a breakdown of all highlights.
    • As part of the new release, a known teleport bug was fixed. However, Product Director Jason Gholston reminded creators in attendance that they will need to re-apply any teleport scripts to their objects as the result of this fix.
  • Sansar Building Contest - Winners in the Sansar Building Contest were announced. Congratulations to Kilik Lekvoda for "the Mages Study", Kayle for "The Island", and Maxwell Graf for "Rustica"!
  • Sansar Slack Channel - Creators were reminded that they can use the Slack #bugreports channel to quickly report issues.

Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg and VP of Product Bjorn Laurin joined Jason for both Q&A sessions. Here are highlights of the discussions:

  • A creator requested that Linden Lab provide documentation of getting Sansar to work properly with Oculus via Steam. Another creator indicated that one important step is to allow “Unknown Sources” by selecting this option in the “General” menu under the Oculus Home settings.
  • A few creators requested that the microphone be set to “off” by default when starting Sansar. It was suggested that this will be looked at by the Sansar team. One option possibility under consideration is to have the mic setting left at whatever on/off state it was in during the last logout or session. In response, Ebbe acknowledged that the longer-term vision of VR interaction may be driven by voice so that users won’t have to rely on their keyboard while using a VR headset.
  • Ebbe was asked about how VR adoption rate predictions are informing development priority strategies for Sansar.
    • In response, he indicated that it may take awhile for PC-based VR to have high market penetration.
    • However, he acknowledged that the development team does think carefully about how Sansar is experienced from both a VR headset and desktop monitor. Both are important when developing the UI and that presents unique challenges, according to Ebbe.
    • The right balance between simple and complex UI menu options is also essential. For example, Ebbe suggested that VR headset users in Sansar would not likely benefit from having too many advanced menu options (such as those found in Second Life).  There was a spirited discussion with creators about the pros and cons of more advanced UI options (including discussion of the option of “modes” that might allow creators to toggle between more basic and advanced controls).
  • The importance of nurturing community in Sansar was discussed by several creators.
    • One participant asked whether Sansar would eventually emulate some shared creator and community experiences found in Second Life, including the use of parcels, real-time collaborative editing, and a universal map. Ebbe acknowledged the appeal of these features but indicated that they aren’t on the immediate roadmap for Sansar, due to differences in how both platforms work on the backend.
    • Different community use cases were discussed, including the concept of “living” in a Sansar space versus those who are interested merely in only visiting a creative space to hang out and chat. This conversation included acknowledgment that Sansar may be judged in comparison to expectations set by “Ready Player One” and “Snow Crash”.
  • New user acquisition and retention strategies were discussed at length.
    • Sansar creators will be able to promote their own experiences on the web and have new users arrive successfully at those spots as their first experience once they download Sansar, according to Ebbe. This is an issue that has been challenging with Second Life, due to the way that SLurl links currently work. For example, new users might not always end up at the inworld location promoted after they register and download SL.
    • Ebbe identified three types of users:
      • Customizers: Those who assemble an experience (rather than creating original content). These types of users buy stuff and lay it out, but don’t necessarily build the items.
      • Consumers: These users want to play and socialize, but not create.
      • Creators: These are the users who actually create new content from scratch (including those who are participating in the early creator preview of Sansar).
  • Some creators requested that Sansar establish a standard for “bones” used in avatars so that creators can have a more reliable baseline for the creation of avatars and clothing. Bjorn cited that there are 100-plus facial bones in the current avatars, but there is more progress needed to advance the quality of Sansar avatars.
  • There was a brief discussion among creators about how to best identify who is talking in Sansar. It was requested that there be better visual cues and/or identifiers to help determine who is speaking.
  • Jason addressed creator comments about what may be causing slow upload speeds of scenes with large terrains and other assets. He acknowledges that the Sansar team is aware of the issue and is working on an eventual fix.
  • A creator asked about whether the Sansar material editor will eventually add a second UV channel for layered textures and better support of avatars and environments. Jason responded that this wasn’t on the current product development roadmap, but that it would be considered as the development team better understands how and why creators would use this feature.
  • In response to some creator inquiries about best practices in building, Jason notified creators that a multi-channel, full PBR-blended shader is in the works for a future release of Sansar.
  • Another creator asked about future plans for the creation of a “comfort zone” that protects one’s personal space in VR. Jason indicated that this is forthcoming in a future release, but that there are some unique challenges to implementing this feature effectively.
  • There was a new feature request for scripted “triggered sounds” by at least one creator. This creator wants audio responses that are triggered by specific user actions in Sansar. Jason indicated that this is in the works.
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