During the Feb. 10 community meetings with Sansar creators, various members of the Sansar development and marketing teams updated the community on the latest Sansar news and improvements. Sansar team members participating in one or more of the meetings included Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg, VP of Product Bjorn Laurin, Lead Community Manager Jennifer, Senior Producer & Audio Artist Torley, and QA Engineer Braden Steel.
- Expect new Sansar releases with more new features around the beginning of each month, according to Bjorn who also emphasized that there is already a product development roadmap that extends to the next two years.
- Among the things to expect soon are:
- Better customization of your avatar face via face sliders (possibly in the next release).
- Support for more realistic clothing options. Bjorn indicated that the Sansar team is working toward a point where there will be an “avatar carousel” where you can put on a T-shirt and it will just fit.
- Hands with gestures (e.g. waving, pointing) for more accurate body language expression is in the works, according to Ebbe.
- New features and improvements in The Sansar Store. For example, you’ll eventually be able to sell full Sansar experiences (not just items). There will also be the addition of categories in the near future.
- Population statistics for the Sansar Atlas. Sansar will soon display how many people are currently in an experience.
- Significantly faster FBX file uploads, which will make it easier to import your content into Sansar. This is expected in the next release.
- Instancing of an experience (where multiple duplicate versions of an experience are simultaneously accessible to support a greater number of participants).
The community had an opportunity to ask questions, report bugs and make feature requests to the Sansar team. Here are some highlights of those discussions:
- Creators requested support for running, flying, scripting, attachment points, environmental reflections, experience creation collaboration and the ability to better define the amount of “comfort zone” space around your avatar.
- A creator asked if the Sansar team might consider publicly revealing the longer-term product roadmap. While acknowledging that transparency is important and anticipated, Bjorn indicated that the full roadmap is very fluid and is subject to change due to many complex development interdependencies. In response to one question, he reiterated that full features will be eventually accessible in both VR and desktop modes.
- It was noted that these community meetings were the most populated yet, with dozens in each. This is helpful in further stress-testing avatar concurrency performance.
- A creator asked for an “Ask Me Anything”-type session (similar to those found on Reddit) for specific topics related to Sansar, so that participants can have more focused and specific conversations than those in the general office hour meetings.
- Torley reminded everyone of how to mute footsteps in Sansar, and started a forum thread for this and other audio tips, since it can be hard to find older info in Slack. Footsteps sounds are generic placeholders until we implement audio materials-specific noises in a forthcoming release. For example, setting an object to "grass" or "concrete" will make avatar feet sound like that when walked upon. He also indicated that custom collision sounds are also on the Sansar development roadmap.
- Braden shared some specifics on how Sansar deals with creator uploads. Specifically, a single material can consist of multiple textures, and the 3d model can have multiple materials applied to it. That 3d model and its applied materials are exported as a single .fbx file, which can be uploaded into Sansar as a single Object asset. Sansar does not currently share, or even show, the objects materials. So if you upload the same .fbx asset five times, Sansar will upload five different materials. Braden has shared the following graphic to help illustrate how this works:
- C# will be used as the scripting language for Sansar. In the beginning, scripts are going to be uploaded. It's on the roadmap to eventually be able to type in a script while you're in the editor UI, and apply it to an object.
- A creator asked if Second Life inventory will be able to be moved over to Sansar. Ebbe responded that the Sansar team is not focused on supporting this, but he acknowledged that someone independently may create an FBX converter.
- Another creator expressed concern that Sansar might not nurture community in the same way as Second Life. For example, there was a desire expressed for Second Life features in Sansar including “group chat”, persistent identity across experiences, collaborative creation, and neighboring communities. Some of these topics were also discussed multiple times in Slack.
- The Sansar voice chat technology is built entirely from scratch, according to Ebbe. It was designed for low-latency and synchronization.
- Ebbe reiterated that there are three types of users anticipated for Sansar, in ascending order of technical proficiency:
- Consumers: These users want to play and socialize, but not create.
- 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.
- Creators: These are the users who actually create new content from scratch (including those who are participating in the early creator preview of Sansar).
All approved Sansar creator preview participants are welcome to attend future meetings! Check out Office Hour Announcements for opportunities to participate.