The Making of One Item for Sansar – Part 1


Today I was working in Blender and wanted to create a hand puppet. Yes, I was inspired by Draxtor who can be seen in Sansar with his hand puppet. So I made one for myself and I thought I should put it out on the Sansar Store for others to enjoy.Green Susanne on White 400x400

For those of you who are 3D artists with years of experience, you might look at this entire post and mutter something like: “That was too easy.” And then you might go on to say to yourselves: “All he did was take someone elses mesh model of Susanne in Blender and give it a material with a solid color, export it, import it, and take a photo of it for the Sansar Store. There  was no creativity there. No, there wasn’t. All of what you are about to read here is about the the nuts and bolts, the mechanics if you will, of what it takes to imports and market an attachment for your avatar in Sansar.


The Long Road After Creation

Yes, for those of you who have made attachments for an avatar to be used in Sansar and also to be sold on the Sansar Store, you all know there are many steps to getting your model ready as an attachment. I am writing this blog page for myself and you. It is a reminder of the long road we must travel again and again.


From the Point That My Model Was Ready

Susanne was finished in terms of modeling when I brought her into Blender. I didn’t really change anything about her other than to give her a specific size. I most often do sizing in Object Mode. From hearing other creators talk about using Blender, I think I do more work in Object Mode than most creators. And you may do your sizing in Edit Mode if you are more comfortable working that way.

Susanne needed to have a simple material that was nothing but a green color. This material does not even have a texture attached to it. Just a colored material. To prepare Susanne to receive the material, the entire mesh object had to be unwrapped. This creates the UV map. Then I had to create and apply the material. I am far enough along now to save the Blender file with a simple name like Susanne. But I am about to make another model from this one, so this Blender file will be named “Susanne for Photos” because in Sansar we need two photos of this attachment. One photo is for the Sansar Store, and the second photo is for the thumbnail that you will see in Lookbook. They can be the same photo, but you might want the thumbnail to be cropped tighter than the photo you use for the store. For Susanne the hand puppet, I used only one photo in both places.


Two Models of the puppet? Why?

To take photos in Sansar of the model, it is most often easier to import the model as the plain ordinary objects that is large enough to photograph. And the object must be imported into our inventory, not into the Lookbook. So, I save the file as it is now and then export it as an FBX that will be imported to my inventory in Sansar. This model is just to take photos.


Preparing the Attachment for Your Hand

While working in Blender, you must make the attachment the correct size to correspond to your avatar. This is because scaling this attachment in Sansar will change its size and that will change the position of the attachment in relation to your avatar’s hand. All control over the attachment’s  location on your avatar is accomplished in Blender, not in Sansar.

I have never made clothing for an avatar so my attachments have no rigging. I have only made simply static objects that I attach to my hand, or place on my head. When I created my architects scale, that was an easy project because I made it exactly 12-3/4″ long. 12″ for the measuring scale and 3/8″ on each end extra, because that is how they are made in real life. But to make a hand puppet, you just make it look about the right size for your avatar and it must cover your entire hand. I don’t have a hand puppet in real life to measure. So, I just used my eye to tell me it looked about right. All this is done in Blender.

Susanne on my hand

Next, I had to place the puppet over the hand of my sample avatar that I imported into Blender. I rotated it to look right and then moved the origin of the puppet to the center of the building grid. This is done so that the puppet’s origin matches the avatars origin when it gets imported into Sansar. I checked that the puppet was large enough to cover all of my avatar’s fingers. I set the rotation to 0,0,0. I set the scale to 1. In Blender those steps are called “Apply Rotation and Scale.”

Now I am ready to export this puppet from Blender as an FBX file. The export goes pretty smoothly now that I have learned what settings are required.

And next I go into Sansar to import these two models. Remember that one model is the object that must be photographed for the store listing and thumbnail. And one model is the attachment that is uploaded into the Lookbook.


Why Photography First?

The first model is created as an import into your inventory for photography. The photo that you use for the thumbnail must be ready before you bring the attachment into the Lookbook because there is no second chance to add the thumbnail or change the thumbnail later.

Stay Tuned for Part 2

In Part 2 of this series, we will take the photos, and store them for future use on your hard drive. Then we will import the attachment to your Lookbook and list it on the Sansar Store.


Looking Forward — The Rear View Mirror

We all know that Linden Lab will choose their own path for Sansar development in 2018, but here is one way of reading the pulse of the current creators who are a part of the Sansar Open Creator Beta.
To summarize the responses from this question: “What missing feature might influence you to consider leaving Sansar if it never gets implemented?”  Here is a look at what will be the deciding factors to make people leave Sansar. These answers may be a way to see into the hearts of those who will come into Sansar in the near future and what may stand as obstacles to visitor and creator retention.

5 — Animations

4 — Avatar Customization

2 — Desktop Mode Improvements

1 — Larger Fonts — (I am not sure if this was desktop Mode or VR mode)

1 — Escape key during Loading or Lookbook

1 — Payments through PayPal

1 — Lack of further improvements to API

1 — Adult Content

2— None or Blank

Below is what was written in the survey response field.

  • Avatar Manager
  • Full avatar customization. By this, I mean actually being able to swap out the human mesh and replace it with a different one of any stature or size (within reason). I should be be able to be a short penguin, or a very tall dragon. Other platforms like High Fidelity or VRChat already make this possible, but not Sansar! This is an essential feature to letting people identify how they wish in their virtual world.
  • Scaleable Avatar size
  • not having total control over your avatar appearance


  • Better desktop mode features
  • …DESKTOP INTERACTIVITY… for traditional roleplaying


  • While loading times you can’t do anything. Feels like I am waiting a lot. And I can’t stop process if I decide I wanna quit. Not in lookbook nor while loading an experience, there should be a function to quit without shut down.


  • Bigger font / readable UI.


  • Animations
  • Animation
  • Animation, and the ability to sit. It is direly needed.
  • Animation
  • Animation


  • Adult content


  • Payment through PayPal


  • none


  • API does not get any more features.

Describe the one feature that you feel must be in place before Sansar leaves Beta and releases to the public.

This is not a scientific way to really determine the vital features that creators feel must be in place for a public opening. But it is a way to give creators a voice that might be heard. With 19 creators responding to the Feature Survey, here is what was written as answers to the question: “Describe the one feature that you feel must be in place before Sansar leaves Beta and releases to the public.”

At this time, all respondents identified themselves as creators.

The responses are grouped in  a way to be able to see similar responses together

  • a set of basic animations (sitting etc)
  • avatar animations such as sit, stand, dancing etc.
  • Improved avatar customization of face and body
  • Custom avatars
  • Skeletal Animation


  • replace Zendesk with a more functional and attractive solution for user forums. bug reports, and blogs.


  • LODs. We need to be able to set our own custom LODs for our meshes. I want to create massive worlds that will blow user’s minds yet I can’t!! Because there’s no way to optimize large distances without LODs. LODs are a basic feature that have existed in game engines for decades, they are not optional. We’re gonna need them in Sansar at some point.


  • Inventory management in Lookbook and for objects (Basic Inventory organization)
  • Organization….Folder Structure, Search Tools, Better inventory management


  • Correct smooth working VR, grabbing. moving , throwing.


  • Atlas that identifies how many people are in an experience.
  • The ability to find people in the world, a central hub perhaps. Right now its hard to find where people are at so it feels extremely empty.
  • Social Features
  • Communication between desktop and vr users


  •  Store
  • Create Complex Objects for Sale in the Store (models with scripts and lights embedded.
  • The way we can pay in and to Sansar. Paypal is very important. I would like to be able to buy S$ that way. Also payment in-world. To be able to buy from an inworld store and pay other residents.


  • A sense of progression or a clear goal. I feel that would bring more players into the game, and make them feel invested enough to stay.


  • improved terrain and water

A Visual Axis for Creators in Sansar

XYZ RGB Axis 2018 in Blender

A custom made axis to be used as an aid to Sansar Creators

There are those creators who stand on a virtual platform in Sansar and just start creating. They are the true artists of the virtual world. This is of course after they have created mesh in any one of a variety of 3D software. Once created and textured with materials, the mesh is then exported as an FBX file to their computer’s hard drive for temporary storage. Switching over to Sansar, they then import the mesh models into their inventory within Sansar and then they place the object onto the platform that I mentioned at the beginning.

Items that are organic in nature such as trees and rocks and water and grass can easily be arranged by pushing and dragging them wherever the artist thinks they look best. Setting an exact location or size of mesh models is not often critical when making a scene that looks like nature.

For those creators who make buildings and furniture and things we sometimes think of as the “built environment”, it often becomes a bit more critical to place things on a grid of sorts. We may never see the grid, but it is hidden in the exact placement as coordinates. It can even include the height above or below the platform we started with. This sort of creating is what I call building. And those who build things wish to know where those objects are in a more precise way than the organic artists that I mentioned earlier. The builders of virtual buildings arrange things is a precise way according to concepts learned from their Real World experiences. And for them I made the 3 axis arrows to help them see where they are going in a graphic way.

Still missing for these builders in Sansar is the ability to snap things to edges or vertices of adjacent objects. It would also be helpful to have a visible ruler that would allow us to snap things to precise coordinates without needing to calculate where we wish things to be placed and then entering those coordinates into the edit window using a numeric keypad.

For anyone who is interested in voting for features like this, please log into the Sansar forum and vote for  this feature request “Snap”. It was first posted on September 10, 2016 and at that time Widely Linden replied: “Yep. It’s on its way. In the mean time try toggling the “Surface Snap” option. It’s pretty handy!” Well, the “Surface Snap” only works when we first introduce a new object from our inventory into the scene. After that it does not function. and there is still no ruler.

Here we are 16 months after “Snap” was first requested and the focus of Linden Lab for 2018 will turn from creator tools toward user engagement and retention. All creators must join the chorus and gently remind the product team of the creator tools that are long overdue such as rulers and “Snap”.  Linden Lab has not said that all development of creator tools will stop, but we need to remind them of our expectations.

First Results on the Feature Survey


Creators in Sansar Have a Wide View

After receiving 18 responses, and comparing this with recent comments from Linden Lab about the 2018 focus that Sansar will be taking, I think I can make one observation.  Creators in Sansar have a wide view of the big picture. They are not narrowly focused on just creating or just selling product in the Sansar Store. This also indicates that the Creators who are part of the Creator’s Open Beta share an understanding with Linden Lab about the many elements that it will take to be ready for a full opening to the public.

I will write more as additional responses comes in. I would also be interested in what questions Linden Lab might take the most interest in. Analyzing this data will be subject to my own bias and lack of training in developing surveys, but I will do my best to make these surveys a value to both those who responded and Linden Lab who is creating the Sansar platform.

For those of you who have not yet taken the survey, it is still open for additional responses.

NOTE: This survey is not affiliated with nor sponsored by Linden Lab. See the survey for more information.

This survey has 6 questions and may take you about 5 or 6 minutes.

Thank you for your participation.

Feature Survey is a link to the first survey of Feature Requests for Sansar creators. In this survey I will begin by gathering information about the various categories that should be separate. This survey on the topic of Sansar Feature Requests is the individual effort of Ethos Erlanger.

NOTE: This survey is not affiliated with nor sponsored by Linden Lab. See the survey for more information.

This survey has 6 questions and may take you about 5 or 6 minutes.

Thank you for your participation.

Ethos Erlanger

Sansar Feature Requests


665 Feature Requests on the Sansar website.

I will admit that I have not read all of the Sansar Feature Requests. The Sansar website is challenging to use and the way the Feature Requests are managed makes me wonder how the staff at Linden Lab make use of that information.

Highest Votes for one request is 14

There is a way to vote for your feature requests and add your voice to the conversation. An upvote adds one and a downvote subtracts one from the vote count. You can also add your comments to the conversation. The highest number of votes received by one request is 14, and it is for one of the oldest requests from Ryan Schultz. In January of 2017, Ryan posted this request: Indicate how many avatars are in a particular experience on the Atlas page It would naturally fall under the category related to the Atlas and visitor experience. It is still valid today, and it should get your vote. And it makes us all wonder when if ever Linden Lab with get around to it. They do not have a road map for us to see, so some of the creators have grown weary waiting.

Here is one of the major issues with the Sansar Webpage where you can view the requests. The Feature Requests are not categorized. You can sort them by date, number of votes, and number of comments. But with 665 Feature Request posts there needs to be a way to see the posts that relate to a particular broad category. Those requests related to Content Creation for Sansar need to be separated from the requests related to visitor experience. There are a few other major categories I can think of such as the Atlas, Social and Community features, and the Sansar Store.

I will be looking at the 665 Feature Requests and trying to make some sense of them. I will be reporting on those requests, but I may also post a few polls here to gather feedback from my readers. Please comment if you have something to say on this subject.

Listen Carefully

pexels-photo-561870.jpegI had the opportunity today to review what was said by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at the CES 2018 keynote speech. At the point in his presentation when Brian begins to talk about Sansar, I found this statement to be both interesting and actually quite revealing: “We worked with Linden Labs to create a visual and sound experience that completely bridges the real and virtual worlds.”

I often find myself reading words into what was not said. The implication is that real and virtual can be bridged by just visual and sound. What was not included in this was anything related to physics or kinetics. I just think that his use of the word “completely” goes too far. I also think that the point in the keynote presentation when they walked back stage was prerecorded. It is an old magician’s trick. The art of illusion. It simply could not have been done live.

The reality of what was presented by Brian Krzanich is that this is entirely a step forward in entertainment for audiences just like motion pictures has done for more than 129 years. It is unlikely to ever achieve what I am hoping for. And that is the accurate modeling of a simulated physical world that includes the interaction between the avatar and virtual representations of the built environment such as the buildings and public spaces we all inhabit.

To test my suspicions, I visited the Intel experience in Sansar that represented the Intel booth at CES. I met one Intel representative who was in VR and we chatted briefly before he had to leave because his shift was over. I asked him about the space on the upper level that was an enclosed room with a glass door. There was no way to open this door and enter the room. The sum total of the presentation was a brief audio statement in a female voice. Currently, we can do this with a website or an online video. Walking around a convention booth and interactive via voice is one step further down the path, but it is simply entertainment that lacks substance. It is smoke and mirrors.

Hills and Valleys

pexels-photo-733871.jpegThe hills in life are the high points and the valleys are the low points. This is also true in a virtual world.

Will We Ever Achieve The Reality of Virtual Reality?

There are day when I feel like Sansar is in a valley. I even think it is a very deep valley with little hope of climbing the slope to get to the crest of a nearby hill. Perhaps the hill is further away than I realize.

Sansar defines which hills they will climb. They recently updated their viewer and called it the Fashion Release. That could be a significant hill to climb as it creates a place where creators and Linden Lab will generate revenue through consumer markets.

Sansar is betting on the larger audience of visual consumers to build their user base. They are not showing favor to the technical creators. They have chosen content creators who are digital artists and they have chosen the visual impact of VR to sustain them. The content creators will now have a significant revenue stream from the Sansar Store. And, by extension, Sansar will begin to earn money. When Linden Lab will reach their break-even point is no ones guess. Right now, I am sure that “break-even” and ultimately profitability is the holy grail of VR.

And, where does that leave the technicians? Am I just a technocrat who has been blunted by what could never be done in Second Life? Am I overly concerned that Linden Lab will never truly achieve the technical expectations that I feel are vital to achieving the “Reality” half of Virtual Reality? Am I overly concerned that Linden Lab has a very limited interest in anything other than the visual?

Physics in VR

Here are just a few of the ingredients missing from Sansar:

  • Avatar Velocity – It is argued to be too slow, and others say it is too fast. The issue right now is that every avatar walks at the same ground speed.
  • Stepping Height – How high a step can an avatar navigate.
  • Slope Navigation – It is very different to walk up a slope in real life than it is in VR, and Sansar has not got it right yet.
  • Walking Animation – Humans walk with different strides and it is not simply dependent on our leg length. Bio-mechanics and emotional motivation are factors that determine what our walking stride looks like to the observer, and what it feels like to us. If there are no observers watching us, we would not need avatars. We could just have a viewer to look in on the scenes created by artists. But what the observers see is everyone walking at the same gate, and as mentioned about at the same speed.
  • Gravity Control – We will never feel the complete experience of walking on the moon or floating in outer space if we are unable to control gravity. We need control over gravity or some might call it buoyancy to properly simulate swimming under water which is currently impossible to simulate with any degree of believability.
  • Avatar Collision Boxes – How our avatars collide with other avatars and objects is very inaccurate. We cannot walk through a physical doorway in Sansar that is quite common in real life because our avatar collision mesh is wider than our avatar. I believe this is to prevent us from becoming disoriented while using a VR headset. And we respect each others personal space in our real lives differently that we avoid near collisions with doors, walls, and other obstacles. perhaps Sansar needs to employ two different collision boxes. One for avatar collisions and one for object that the avatar will collide with. The male avatar can however walk through a door opening that has a header low enough to slice through his head. This could be uncomfortable in RL so we would avoid it. So, if the collision box is wider that our avatar, why is it not also taller than the male avatar? In fact, the male and female avatar collision box is exactly the same size. This is an obvious oversight by the developers of Sansar.

The Sansar Roadmap

The Hard Shell of the Nut

Let’s look at the feature requests on the Sansar Forum. Go ahead. Take a look. You will find about 480 requests or “posts”. A few of these posts are duplicates, or they are so similar that they will result in the same feature when Linden Lab implements them. I have been reading them from the first to the last. A few posts we could call void because the functionality is or was already in Sansar. There are not many of those. And only a couple of posts are marked as Completed. The Sansar Team driving the bus has not been using the forum as much as the creators have.

Have you voted?


When the creators vote either up or down, this give all the readers of the post an idea of the priority that creators place of the subject of the post.  If you want to add your own voice to the conversation, you might write a few words in the comments, but that is your choice. At least vote for the ones that are of interest to you. You can ever sort the posts based on the number of votes.

Sort By

Imagine taking a trip on a tour bus and the driver is being bombarded by a bunch of rowdy people on the bus shouting at him to “turn here, go there, hurry up.” They all got on the bus thinking it would take them for a nice ride to Virtual Reality. And the Feature Requests area of the Sansar Forum is like the Public Address system on the bus. The bus driver should use it constantly to keep the passengers informed of what is coming up on the road ahead.

By my own count, there are about 480 feature requests as of 9/17/17 and they are generally features that are by and for creators. But if you look at the top four vote-getters that have 10 or more votes, three of them are related to the social aspect of Sansar like: How Many Avatars In An Experience, Party Option To Avoid Instantiation, and Search In The People App. And look at the age of those requests. Three of the four are over Seven  months old.

A hard case surrounding the kernel of nutritional help inside.

The hard shell of the nut. In spite of the tools available to Linden Lab in the Zendesk Forum, the posts and all the interest in them by the creators have no value when the tools are not being used.  I filtered by Planned and Not Planned. Nothing is marked either way. Then I filtered for No Status and nearly all of the posts have not been marked with any status. There might not be so much interest in a road map if the Zendesk application was receiving more attention than it is. What is so hard about clicking a couple times to assign a status? Surely someone at linden lab know where we are going. After all, whenever we have meetings in an experience, the often heard request from the Sansar Team is that we should submit a feature request on the Forum.

Now, Get Out and Vote!

The highest vote-getter of the 480 posts has only 13 votes. This indicates lack of participation from the creators. So, using the Zendesk Forum to its fullest is a shared responsibility. We have to start somewhere to crack through the hard outer shell and get to the nutmeat inside. Voting for the posts that are the most important to us is the fasted way to get a Partial Roadmap using the tools we already have.


Written later… a Postscript

There are 135 Feature Requests that have no votes at all. So, the original author has not voted for his own feature request. We all have to get behind our own ideas and promote them by voting for them. Have you voted for your requests?