The most recent Sansar meeting was held at Colossus Rising by Sansar Studios.
Clothing design and avatar customization was a hot topic among creators attending the latest Sansar community meetings, held June 23. Director of UX & Design on Project Sansar Samantha Kim, Senior Engineer Sean Thurston, Software Engineer Nyx and Lead Community Manager Jennifer were among the Sansar staff joining the discussions about the future of avatars in Sansar.
THE FUTURE OF AVATARS IN SANSAR
The community learned more about plans for continued improvements to the character editor, which is the Sansar avatar system that allows for customization of your online persona. For example, in the next release there are plans to offer new avatar customization options including skin tones, hair color and new outfits to choose from.
In the longer term, expect numerous enhancements including full-body inverse kinematics (IK) that will make avatars move/walk more naturally and make their arms move. There will also be improvements to the avatar customization sliders including face sliders that will offer more facial blend shapes and extremities. Work also continues on adding support for attachments and accessories to your avatar.
During the meeting, a creator requested that VR mode include the option to actually see your own avatar (similar to what one experiences in desktop mode). This option is accessible in both desktop and VR mode by using the F3 button on the keyboard. For more information, visit Keyboard shortcuts.
CUSTOM CLOTHING & THE SANSAR STORE
Many creators expressed an eagerness to begin work on designing their own customized clothing, as well as skin, hair and other appearance elements with the goal of eventually offering their designs for sale within The Sansar Store. While the initial Sansar avatar offerings only include clothing that is already “baked in,” it was confirmed that the plan is to ultimately support rigging that allows for independent avatar designs and user-generated clothing. However, Samantha indicated that it may be closer to the end of the year before that is supported.
Creators also expressed strong interest in support for layered clothing that establishes a hierarchy for the various garments. For example, if you buy a shirt from one store and a pair of pants from another store, you would expect that you could choose how these items are worn in layers on your avatar (e.g. “over the shirt,” “over the pants,” etc.). Nyx affirmed that layering clothing is not yet being worked on but it is one of the challenges that the Sansar team is paying close attention to.
“We’re working on getting Sansar-generated clothing first,” added Nyx. “It’s our first priority. It will be awhile after that before we’ll have users upload their basic body shapes. The clothing is something we’ve been doing a lot of thinking and design on for a long time. It’s a complex system/problem that we’re working on.”
The Sansar community also toured Beach Basketball VR by Sansar Studios.
ONE SIZE FITS ALL?
Many attendees asked how Sansar clothing and avatar customization might differ from Second Life, which also has a robust marketplace of user creations. Second Life creators have numerous compatibility options to consider when selling their clothing; for example, in some cases clothing sold by one creator might not look good on aIl avatar types, unless multiple variations of sizes and configurations are made available. It was suggested that Sansar might minimize clothing compatibility complexities via the establishment of general standards for body types, sizes and configurations.
Nyx indicated that the Sansar team hopes to develop a system that is as flexible as possible to minimize the number of sizes that creators need to make. The goal is to strike the right balance so creators don’t have to generate 14 different designs each and every time.
Another creator asked whether anatomically-correct avatars were on the roadmap for future Sansar development. Not in the short term, according to some members of the development team who reiterated that Sansar will not initially allow adult content.
Afternoon meeting attendees explored the Bridge of Illusion from Jasmine.
OTHER SANSAR NEWS
In addition to the conversation about avatars, attendees got a bit of new information about other Sansar features under development. For example, Sansar users will soon have the ability to better identify each other by gaze so that when you point on the avatar you’ll see their persona name. You’ll also be able to mute other people soon, as well. In the longer term, the Sansar team wants to add the ability to fully block other people when desired.
The next update to Sansar is slated for release in early July, while the opening of a public creator beta will come not long afterwards in a matter of weeks, not months.