The Making of One Item for Sansar – Part 1

CONCEPT

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.

 

Advertisements

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

First Results on the Feature Survey

be1072d041d9abf7ef89ebb86c079ba6

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

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/355751318935175169/402899184572825600/be1072d041d9abf7ef89ebb86c079ba6.pngHere 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

clark-young-135435

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.

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.

Broken, Taken, or Lost?

pexels-photo-262488.jpegUpdate 9-8-17

In the latest Sansar update that was pushed out on 9-8-17, Linden Lab succeeded in breaking a number of things. Scripts that had worked in the past no longer work. Some creators reported objects in their experiences had moved while other objects stayed in place. And other creators reported that nothing had moved. Several people had issues getting into their experiences. One person had texture upload issues.

And the heart of this post is less about what got broken or the bugs in the new features as it is about what has changed in the Knowledge Base that is used by creators.

Going Going Gone

There should be no reason for creators to search for documentation and find that it at some unknown time has disappeared . One of the most challenging discoveries is to find that links which have lead you to an asset (in this case two scripts) changed and the things they had previously linked to are now Gone. POOF. Unavailable. We rely on going back to previous articles to retrace our steps and look for things that we have seen there in the past.

This was the case with the article about configuring the teleport scrips. There had been links to two teleport scripts and now the links simply point down the page to a part of the post on that subject. The two teleport sample scripts cannot be found anywhere in the Knowledge Base.

Where is the Library?

In the bug report on this issue, OldVamp writes that the scripts are gone. The title of his bug report is “Library scripts are gone“. I think the key issue here is that there is no library. There is a short list of Sample Scripts in Sansar but the two teleport scripts were never there in the first place. We should all lobby for a more robust Script Library that includes well written examples that we can all learn from.

 

This is where we need your help

Even if you do not plan to do any of your own scripting, you can create requests for features that other creators need. The more feature requests for the same or similar features will hopefully influence Linden Lab to respond to our needs. Write feature requests for a robust Script Library in your own words.

###