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.
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.
The 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.
I have great empathy for Linden Lab as they labor to roll out Sansar to the consuming public. I have been to a few meetups and one question I hear is: “Can we see the roadmap?”
I am sure that there are at least two distinct reasons that LL does not share the roadmap with creators except when they answer specific question like: “is it on the roadmap”. They surely do not want competitors having access to their roadmap, and they do not want to set false expectations for their creators and visitors.
Developing a new product does not always have a well paved road to travel. It can be rough and bumpy and it is often SLOW!
So, let’s look back at the feature requests that are visible to us on the Sansar Forum. The first requests prior to 7/31/2017 were all from the creators who were a part of the closed creator’s beta. Then after 7/31, the Sansar creator’s beta was open to the general public and the presumptions is that most of the people who have signed up are creators. From these assumptions, I think all of the feature requests are from creators of many different skill levels.
I have begun reading every feature request beginning with the first one dated 9/7/2016 from a creator who asked for something that was already in the program. But it got the dialog going.
I saw a few requests in September of 2016 and I think one or two of them have been implemented. And as I read forward to the end of 2016 there are still some important creator’s tools that are very desirable and yet they are not yet implemented. Today the count of posts in the Feature Requests stands at 472. In future blog posts I will distill these requests and perhaps create a little support for the creators tools that we all would appreciate having.
Some of the features that are on my mind include:
- Grouping Objects – This will be vital to the creators who offer products in the Sansar Store. [Requested 9/10/2016 to which Widely Linden commented: ‘Very useful.’]
- Snap to Grid – originally simply just called ‘Snap‘ by the requester on 9/10/2016 to which Widely Linden enthusiastically replied: ‘Yep. It’s on its way. In the mean time try toggling the “Surface Snap” option. It’s pretty handy!’
- Scale by Axis – who wouldn’t want this? We might say that the object or model should be built to scale in the 3D application where it was created, but organic things like rocks and trees can take a little bit of stretching before they appear distorted. [Requested 12/21/2016 and Jason commented: ‘…We’ll be adding it in the future.’]
- Vertex Snapping was part of a multi-item request dated 12/21/2016. [Jason’s comment included the phrase: ‘…on the list.’] – I really want this one combined with the other snapping mentioned previously.
- A User/LL Collaboration Wiki [Requested 12/25/2016 when Boden’s comment included this: ‘…and we will be discussing how to provide our creators with sufficient documentation.’] I thought my request was original until I went back to the beginning and find I am not such an original thinker after all. I am not shy and I have personally requested adds/changes/corrections to the current documentation.
- Inventory Improvements was first brought up on 12/25/16 and it seems that it is about the same now as it was then. This is one that hurts productivity for all creators. There are a number of possible improvements to the inventory, so I will just leave it at that. [Boden’s comment at the time was non-committal]
- Voxel Terrain First requested 12/30/2016. The ability to create/manage/edit/ terrain while working in Sansar is still something all creators are interested in. I do not know enough about Voxel to be the one specifying what I want or need, so I will leave it to other creators to add their input. In Mid-July we were told that Linden Lab is working on a terrain editor. In mid-August 2017, it was announced by Bjorn Laurin, VP of Product that terrain editing would be in the next release which may be imminent as I write this blog post.
- Water and Buoyancy [Requested 1/4/2017 to which Boden replied: ‘We are currently considering including this at some point in the future.’] We need water to bring our scenes to life, and we need buoyancy to bring our interaction with various environments to life. The one environment that I always wanted to see with less gravity and very slow motion is the Moon.
- Link Objects – another name for Grouping [Requested 1-5-2017 with no comment from LL]
I will close this post for now and return to add more of my favorite creator’s feature requests from 2017 in a new post. I also plan to focus some attention on the Sansar Store and related issues of marketing and delivery of product to fellow creators and buyers.
Future posts will allow me to bring attention to the avatar modification and animation, as well as the virtual fashion industry.
At first I would have titled this blog post “Thinking Big” after the title I gave this image. But it seemed a bit pretensions. Then I thought about the things I like most. I enjoy both micro and macro – the small and the large. So, there you have it. A few things in the middle ground get my attention, but for now, lets just say I like to focus in very close on the minutia, and I like to step back from things that are so monumental that they deserve our attention.
This is an image from the first experiences that I published in Sansar. Had I not been able to quickly import these huge monuments, I might not have stayed through to the opening of the Creator Beta in Sansar on July 31, 2017.
But here I am creating mesh for upload to Sansar. I even have a few things that are listed in the Sansar Store.
Come visit, or stay to create and build with me.