Sansar preview 5: the potential of marketing

Sansar from Linden Lab

So, in my last look at Sansar’s preview videos, I made mention of a desire to see something of a focus on creators from outside the Second Life catchment.

On Wednesday, July 26th, I got my wish, as the fifth Sansar preview video hit the airwaves with a look at the work of Unit 9, a London-based studio specialising in content creation in a range of mediums – film, digital, games, VR and “experiential”. They have an impressive list of global clients / partners including Google, Yamaha, 20th Century Fox, Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, Save The Children, Sprint, Delta, the UK’s Channel 4 TV, and so on.

Within Sansar, Unit 9 – under the leadership of Anrick, a director specialising in VR and promotional / marketing films working for clients like Saatchi & Saatchi  and Toyota – has built “Monkey Temple”. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is quite possibly one of the most immersive environments I’ve seen thus far in Sansar – and I’m still sans a headset!

In building Monkey Temple, Anrick and his team have attempted to incorporate many of Sansar’s abilities as they are currently available – and it is fair to say they have succeeded. This is a rich environment, beautifully lit with a creative (if tightly looped) sound scape with a lot to see and a few things to do (providing you have the headset and accompanying controllers!).

Monkey Temple, Sansar preview 5

Whether by accident or design (far more likely the former), this piece is pretty much exemplifies the thrust of my thoughts in writing about the fourth preview video: that while leaning towards a Second Life audience as the first four videos in the series have done, Linden Lab needs to look beyond the shores of SL and the cadre of SL creators working in Sansar if they want to reach the markets they’ve indicated as being of interest to them.

As a director and creator, Anrick offers precise and clear insight into the sheer power of world-building as enabled by Sansar, – and for professionals like him, there is little doubt that Sansar could be a tool / environment of enormous potential. While Monkey Temple itself might initially come across as little more than a visually impressive place with nice sounds and things to do, it actually goes far beyond this, pointing the way to how studio houses such as Unit 9 could leverage a platform for delivering immersive visual and interactive environments which help their own clients entice and engage their desired audience – all  potentially on a fraction of the budget which might otherwise be required.

Unit 9’s Anrick

In this, marketing and promotion is one of the obvious verticals where VR could – and is starting to – play a noticeable role. We’ve already seen very high-tech VR experiences offered to the public alongside new films, etc. With Sansar and roadshows at events, there is potential for companies to offer captive audiences a VR experience focused on a product, service or entertainment. It doesn’t necessarily have to be all rock’n’roll and high-tech thrills; many promotional opportunities at shows and conferences could be much lower-key and simply involve the expertise of studios like Unit 9, a good Internet connection and a booth-like environment with PCs and headsets supplied.

One could argue that more of this needs to perhaps be explained in the video, but I’d disagree; anyone involved in the sectors Unit 9 operates within would more than likely pick-up the message loud and clear. One might also argue that building in Sansar really isn’t as simple as this (and the other videos) portray; the Sansar marketplace notwithstanding, truly original content requires 3D modelling skills which not everyone has. But again, where this video is concerned, that’s perhaps not the point.

Monkey Temple, Sansar preview 5

Should an organisation want an immersive environment designed and built – be it for marketing, training, or whatever – and they don’t have the requisite design skills in-house, this video sends the message that the expertise they might need is already engaged on the platform, and has a track record of content delivery. In this, everyone is potentially a winner: the client gets what they want, the studio is hired for its expertise and Sansar provides the delivery mechanism, with the revenue from doing so passing to Linden Lab.

Obviously, this isn’t going to happen overnight, or even in the short-term as Sansar opens its doors; but over time, the potential is certainly there.

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Kokua viewer: looking to the future

On Tuesday, July 25th, I received an e-mail from Nicky Perian, lead developer for the Kokua viewer. Sent to the Kokua Dev mailing list, the notice was also later posted to the Kokua website.

In short, Nicky will, in October – and for very good reason – be stepping back from a direct, hands-on leadership role in maintaining Kokua, and he is hoping that those in the community who are able to support viewer development will step forward to fill the void and take responsibility for helping to ensure the viewer continues into the future.

The notice – which I’m sure Nicky will have no problems in seeing reproduced here reads in full:

Hello all,

This coming October I will turn 75 years old. I intend to have minimal (consulting only) involvement with Kokua after that. Hopefully, someone will take over the project or it will fade away.

Between now and then I intend to cut some routine building and updating. The first cut will be the RLV build of Kokua OpenSim followed by RLV build of Kokua Second Life then NoRLV build of Kokua OpenSim.

That will leave The NoRLV build of Kokua Second Life version.

I want to thank all who have contributed to Kokua including other third-party viewer project developers and those that work for Linden Lab.

I will try to complete the Alex Ivy integration. Kokua Project Alex Ivy Windows versions can be
built and tested now.

Test down loads can be found at
https://sourceforge.net/projects/kokua.team-purple.p/files/Kokua-Projects/
The source code for Second Life resides at:
https://bitbucket.org/kokua/kokua-sl-64
The source code Open Sim which is at start state with the last commit 5 months ago resides at:
https://bitbucket.org/kokua/kokua-os-64

Nicky has worked tirelessly to develop and maintain Kokua, and other, the viewer has been one of the first v5 style viewers to update with features and code from Linden Lab, as well as maintaining strong support and parity with Marine Kelley’s RLV. While Kokua hasn’t been my primary viewer, I have always found it to be stable, reliable and straightforward to test as updates have been released. As such, I’d like to thank Nicky for all of his work in keeping the viewer and the project going.

Should anyone fancy taking on the work with Kokua, individually or as a team, as well as following the links to the repositories as Nicky has provided, do please contact him and discuss opportunities and intentions with him so that if more than one person does step forward, you can all be put in proper contact with one another.

I’ll of course continue to cover the updates Nicky is planning, and will cover any future updates and releases of the viewer and the project hopefully rolls into the future.

SL project updates 30/1: server, viewer

Welcome to Somewhere, Salmson Isle; Inara Pey, July 2017, on Flickr Welcome to Somewhereblog post

Server Deployments Week #30

Please refer to the deployment notice for the week for latest updates and news.

  • There was no deployment / re-start of the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, July 25th, the Main (SLS), which remains on server maintenance package #17.07.11.327548.
    • This update includes a fix to allow DJ boards to work, however, any scripts which have not been updated to meet the new requirements may not work. for details, please refer to this forum thread.
  • On Wednesday, July 26th all three RC channels should be updated with the same new server maintenance package (#17.07.20.327788) comprising internal fixes.

SL Viewer

The Alex Ivy 64-bit viewer updated on Friday, July 21st to version 5.1.0.507412. Otherwise, all other viewers in the LL pipelines remain as:

  • Current Release version 5.0.6.326593, released on May 26, promoted June 20 – formerly the AssetHTTP RC viewer – overview
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 5.0.7.327250, dated July 19
    • Voice RC viewer, version 5.0.7.327253 dated June 23
  • Project viewers:
  • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847, dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes.

In Brief

  • Snapshots to feed issues are believed to be a server issue, but currently no clear if they are being worked on
  • The Lab feels that overall feedback from the avatar rendering cost updates (“Jelly Dolls”) has been positive from users.
  • There will be no Simulator User Group Meeting on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017.

Following an Oriental Bliss in Second Life

Follow Your Bliss, Sea Foam; Inara Pey, July 2017, on Flickr Follow Your Bliss – click any image for full size

June 2017 marked just over a year since Caitlyn and I last visited Follow Your Bliss, the homestead region designed by ElizabethNantes. Given this, we felt it was high time we made a return. Back then, the region had the distinct feel of a tropical archipelago, and we were keen to see what changes had been wrought in the intervening months.

For the current build, Elizabeth has adopted the Display Name Sushi – and on arrival it is immediately obvious why this should be: the region is now distinctly Japanese in looks. However, while many region designers opt to focus on a period build when turning to Japan – notably settling on the Edo period – Elizabeth offers something different: a mix of the old and the contemporary, gathered around a watery setting.

Follow Your Bliss, Sea Foam; Inara Pey, July 2017, on Flickr Follow Your Bliss

Set beneath an early evening sky, Follow Your Bliss presents a mainly low-lying series of islets surrounding a shallow body of water on which sampans float and waves are rippled by a gentle breeze. To the east, the land rises into a more substantial mass, formed by rocky shoulders and gently rolling slopes. Along this ribbon of land sits a row of little shops, some with traditional slope tile roofs, others box-like structures of concrete and wood, flat-topped and decorated with neon signage and adverts for popular brands.

A cobble footpath separates these shops from the waters of the shallows, running from a point just a short walk from the landing point to where an ancient  – and clearly venerated  – olive tree grows. At the southern end of this path, the route back to the landing point, located in a small summer-house also overlooking the shallow waters, is marked by a series of candle lanterns. Some of these manage to remain lit despite being caught in a gentle fall of rain, sitting close to a marching line of Torii gates which climb a hill, pointing the way to a pagoda and to where Buddha sits on a grassy curve of hill-top.

Follow Your Bliss, Sea Foam; Inara Pey, July 2017, on Flickr Follow Your Bliss

Looking towards the west, Buddha stares out over the waters of the region and the loose-knit chain of little islands which run northwards from the landing point towards a dense grove of bamboo. Connected by wooden bridges, these little islets  offer places to sit and relax and perhaps join Buddha in quiet meditation as he looks down on you.

At the bamboo grove, which screens the main part of the region from was might be private residence, the path passes a temple bell and arcs more eastwards in its direction, passing a strong pavilion built out over the water. Beyond this, another little house straddles the water separating the western aspect of the region from the ancient olive tree and the little township beyond it.

Follow Your Bliss, Sea Foam; Inara Pey, July 2017, on Flickr Follow Your Bliss

With the ground a particular course grain of cinder earth, the chain-like beads of land surrounding the inland water as they run from the southern edge of the rockier ground and out to the west before turning back inwards to come back to the northern end of the land’s long finger, the entire impression is that this the site of an ancient crater – perhaps even the small caldera of a long extinct and flooded volcano, the land all that remains of the crater rim.

Finished with a gentle ambient sound scape of falling rain and birdsong, the splashing of water and the burring of dragonfly wings, Follow Your Bliss offers a relaxing setting, easy to explore and enjoy  – and even the chance to sail a sampan. An altogether delightful little visit.

Follow Your Bliss, Sea Foam; Inara Pey, July 2017, on Flickr Follow Your Bliss

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