Lab confirms Sansar’s title and issues first Creator Preview invites

Sansar Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr Sansar (TM) Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr

On Wednesday, August 31st, Linden Lab issued a press release indicating they have issued the first of the invitations to successful applicants to join the Sansar Creator Preview programme. This has been picked-up by various media and blogs – but what I’ve found particularly interesting (and others seem to have missed) is that the press release confirms the new platform is to simply be called “Sansar”.

Until now, Linden Lab has referred to their new platform as “Project Sansar” (see their press releases from April 2016 and August 2015 as examples). However, in the press release, the Lab refer to it as “Sansar“, suggesting this may now be the platform’s official name, thus:

Linden Lab® today announced that the first invitations to the Sansar™ Creator Preview are being sent this week. Select applicants will be invited to create their own social VR experiences with the new platform, slated for public release in early 2017.

As further indicators that Sansar is now the official title, the press release included a new logo, and the URL for the Sansar website has been updated to “www.sansar.com”.

The new Sansar logo (courtesy of Linden Lab)

The new Sansar logo (courtesy of Linden Lab)

When I contacted Peter Gray, the Lab’s Director of Global Communications to ask if the terminology was deliberate and a reflection of the platform’s official title, he replied with two words:

Good eye😉

So I’m taking that as a “yes”🙂 .

The new name shouldn’t really be a surprise – after a year or so of referring to it as “project Sansar”, to the media and the VR public, changing the platform’s name to “Sansar” is a lot easier and less confusing than trying to effectively rebrand the platform, even if it hasn’t yet been formally launched.

Sansar Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr Sansar (TM)  Screen Shot, Linden Lab, August 2016, on Flickr

In terms of the Creator Preview applications Bjorn Laurin (Bjorn Linden), the company’s Vice President of Product, indicates in the press release that over 6,500 people / groups / organisations applied to join the Creator Preview – which remains open to applications. How many of these are content creators / designers based in Second Life is unknown, nor is the number of people admitted in this first round.

A closer look at the Sansar Avatars (courtesy of Linden Lab)

A closer look at the Sansar Avatars (courtesy of Linden Lab)

Those initially invited into Sansar are people whose skills and projects are the best fit for Sansar’s capabilities as they stand at the moment, and who can best provide feedback on the platform and its capabilities which will help the Lab with its development. As Sansar evolves and the capabilities are extended, the Lab plan to broad the scope of those being invited into the preview programme.

To go alongside the press release, the lab have also opened a Flickr account for Sansar, which, at  the time of writing, was populated with four new images – presumably more will be added as Sansar’s content grows, with the Flickr group presumably being a reference point for media outlets requesting images from the platform.

One of these new images features  Sansar avatars, and has been reproduced and enlarged on the right – again, remember that avatar work in Sansar is still in the preliminary stages, and so images like this should be taken as indicative of the “final” Sansar avatar look. Nevertheless as a yardstick, they offer us something a feel for the new platform.

I’ll have more on Sansar in future articles.

31 thoughts on “Lab confirms Sansar’s title and issues first Creator Preview invites

  1. Pingback: Linden Lab begins inviting creators to Project Sansar this week! | Jo Yardley's Second Life

  2. thesarali

    It’s hard to tell for sure, but that seems like a definite improvement as far as default proportions go compared to the default SL avatars. We’ll be able to tell more as more pictures, and especially movies, come out though.

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      You beat me to it🙂. I was going to use the enlarged shot I’d grabbed (with some cleaning-up) to try to get a better feel for the avatar’s proportions for a speculative piece (although I’m no expert in avatar design). Mind if I borrow you image if I get that far?

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        1. Inara Pey Post author

          Thanks! I’m madly playing catch-up right now on a number of things, so there may be a pause before I get anywhere with anything!

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    2. Starr Auster

      I think Sansar avatars will have more bones compared to current ‘non-bento’ avatars for sure. Look at the fingers of the female avi. Now, it might be animation, but it definitely looks more precise than SL classic avis.

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      1. thesarali

        I strongly suspect you are right. It would seem like an unfortunate step back if it didn’t have at least as many options as bento does too. And I mean, I understand that there will be some apparent steps back at first as far as what one can do in Sansar versus SL, but as far as avatar model creation goes (when that becomes available, since there’s no guarantee it will be available at launch or anything) I imagine it’ll be just full o’ bones to use. Including finger bones like you point out, hopefully. I personally hope for the allowance of completely custom skeletons in fact, but we’ll see. That’s just a wish of mine and would have to be carefully handled.

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  3. Wolf Baginski (@WolfBaginski)

    There’s been some speculation on what software will be needed to create for Sansar, and looking at Mesh content in SL, I can see why they might want to be picky. There are a lot of people who don’t seem to understand that there are different sorts of “smoothing”.

    The http://www.sansar.com website seems unduly reticent about what they want you to sign up for. You can infer some things from the list of programs that is used, you can make guesses based on what Linden Lab does, but they don’t even have an obvious link to any past press releases.

    Apart from the mention of ZBrush, which is a high-end 3D tool involved with such things as normal maps, and texturing 3D objects, there is no indication about whether they want people who can make textures, programs such as Photoshop are glossed over as “other”.

    I don’t think I have the skills they want. So it goes. But if I did, they’re doing a poor job of communicating what Sansar is, and what opportunities there would be. If I were not an SL user, would I even bother with the picky reading of a press release that you just did?

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Modelling-wise, the Lab has indicating that the aim is to support .FBX format across multiple tools. Textures-wise, it’s probably not unreasonable to assume those using such tools will have their preferred choices in the packages they use with their preferred tools, so that’s perhaps why there is not so much emphasis on texturing elements – particularly given that at this point in time and going forward into the immediate future, it would appear that actually modifying models once uploaded to the Sansar editing environment will be limited to object placement and general manipulation, rather than providing a means for object editing and modification.

      As to interest outside of Second Life, there has been a comfortable level of reporting among tech and other on-line media outlets – although again, the information has been shallow. But, it’s not too unreasonable to say Sansar has had a potentially higher visibility than something like Sinewave.space (Or Space, as it is now called), due to open its doors this month to general access (although the Sinewave.space website is now far more informative than Sansar’s).

      We’ve also no idea what kinds of direct marketing LL have been doing among those communities they have identified as having a significant interest in VR applications (education, training, simulation, healthcare, design, etc); we only have general hints. For example, we know that the first public demonstration of Sansar was at an architecture and design focused festival in San Francisco last year; we also know that at least one architect has been using Sansar to visualise physical world projects, and a further project (potentially more for stress-testing) has involved data from the Sorbonne University and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. So there is a case to say that the Lab is revealing far more via direct channels to potential clients than we are seeing.

      That said, for the general user and virtual worlds activists, or those attracted to Sansar via media coverages, the website is currently light on practical information which some might well be a mitigating factor against interest in the case of the latter. Perhaps this is reflected in the number of applicants: 6.5K over a four-month period isn’t too indicative of a high level of response. So, it’ll be interesting to see how things grow once more information is forthcoming, as the Lab have indicated will be the case as they move towards opening the doors.

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Hi, Livio!

      I gave preliminary coverage to Sinewave.space back in 2015 – see here – and had an initial conversation with Adam Frisby, one of the folk behind it (and an ex SLer), but to be honest it has been outside of my thinking over the last few months vis a follow-up and further look (they seemed to be quiet for a good while after my initial article, no doubt for the same reasons LL were quiet about Sansar). So, thanks you for the reminder and the prod for me to have another look and drop Adam a further line🙂 .

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          1. refepercheno

            I have a Skype call next week for tech details and take my Place, after i tell you. For Sansar, i hope they are gone on Amazon Lumberyard. Would be exciting see a war between this titans engines🙂

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            1. Inara Pey Post author

              I believe Sansar is pretty much built from the ground up, although it could incorporate a central off-the-shelf engine – we’ve only had it directly confirmed that the Lab is not using Unity. They do appear to be using Amazon ECS for back-end services delivery and some of the web elements for Sansar.

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              1. refepercheno

                Well, using ECS is not something new or innovative, is just normal and a good idea also. But i think that LL (and all the others) don’t have the energies for develop a proprietary engine that can become the WordPress of virtual worlds. But i am very happy if they do. We see…

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                1. Inara Pey Post author

                  Yup. Not suggesting anything innovative per se about ECS, just that we’ve had a sort-of confirmation that LL appear to be using it🙂 .

                  Liked by 1 person

      1. chicaeon

        Sinewave was still inviting folks to private beta this week. I am not sure that means the September official opening is still in effect (I noted that too on the webpage) or if things will get pushed back a bit. Seems a little late for “beta” previews.

        I think perhaps the dropping of “Project” didn’t register so much with folks because everyone I know has been calling it JUST “Sansar” for a VERY long time *wink*. And who knows, perhaps that had some influence on the name change.

        And so far as the tools go (@Wolf) it was stated long ago and often (sure it is these archives somewhere) that “eventually” most 3D software will be supported. It was also said long ago officially that the first content creators would need to be in Maya (I am guessing so that testing would have a more concise range of issues with fewer support people in the mesh area). I did question whether that info was still relevant when looking at the content creator early access sign up, but see that indeed it was😀.

        ** I do have a question that you might know and that I may have missed —

        Again long ago (maybe a year) Ebbe mentioned that mesh content once uploaded to Sansar would be converted to a proprietary format for protection — making it unusable on other platforms and hence cutting down theft. I am certainly paraphrasing here, but I was of course quite interested in that aspect. If you have heard any more about that, I would love to know.

        Hey, it’s September. Not all that many more months to wait.

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        1. Inara Pey Post author

          I noticed the Space sign-up still in place – I assumed that by “beta” and “public” then may mean a similar status to SL when it first opened to the public in 2003.

          The proprietary format is on my list of questions I want to put forward at the next Lab Chat with Ebbe; I also remember something along those lines being reported, but cannot remember if it something he said directly (and as I went cross-eyed recently in trawling through transcripts of his Sansar statements, I gave up looking!), or something reported as being said.

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          1. chicaeon

            I was trying to remember too and I recall the proprietary comment being from Ebbe . I am thinking that it may have been further back than a year — when he was talking on the forums after the platform announcement. Those were 200 reply type threads and I don’t want to go back through them all to find it. But there were lots of “protecting our content better than in SL” type of comments, so it easily could have been there.

            Since many of the original ideas from announcement time don’t seem to have made it into the evolving Sansar (understandably), that proprietary idea may have been too complex or in conflict with another part of the project that has been adopted. I certainly haven’t noted it being mentioned of late.

            And re Space, I was contacted this week (original email contacts a year ago) and decided it would be less complex and more enjoyable just to wait for the opening to the masses. I may have just fallen through the cracks and been an afterthought; it does say over 2 million users on the entry graphic😀. Hopefully all is on schedule. Since there are many things that appear to be similar in Sinewave.Space and Sansar (and the sadly no more Cloud Party) it will be interesting to see how the platforms compare.

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            1. Inara Pey Post author

              Space (sinewave.space) popped-up on my radar just over a year ago as well. I’m waiting to hear back on a couple of things I’ve put to them so will be interesting🙂 .

              I’ll certainly be following-up on the proprietary question. Like you, I’ve noted several things mentioned early-on which haven’t cropped up since – although given the nature of the questions asked via the likes of Lab Chat and VWBPE, this might be because some of them aren’t really relevant to an SL audience per se (although content protection obviously is!). If there’s not another Lab Chat on the horizon, I’ll find another way of putting them to the Lab & seeing if I get a reply🙂 .

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              1. chicaeon

                OK one more message here and then I am off to work. This is VERY confusing so if I am a little less confused now, that is good.

                There is a sine.space and a sinewave.space. SINE let’s you make an avatar and I did that. SINEWAVE (same “SPACE” logo as at sine.space) isn’t open until mid month (according to today’s website). So while I did accomplish a few things in sine.space, I apparently did NOT get to sinewave.space application😀. They appear to be similar in some ways.

                I am leaving this for now (whew) and going back to calm Blender.

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                1. Inara Pey Post author

                  Interesting.

                  Having had a quick look at sine.space, it looks to be the “old” environment(s) set-up by Sine Wave Entertainment (what was Gojiyo – which still has its own website home page, but otherwise appears dead / unresponsive). Gojiyo was developed for a Indian company, as was / is (IIRC) the pets game / combat thing also referenced on the sine.space page (Sine Wave Entertainment actually did a range of virtual environments, including wet.fm), all of which were going to be re-vamped (again, IIRC) to go within the “Space” environment.

                  sinewave.space is definitely the “new” environment with the new clothing system, etc., I blogged about last year, and is also operated by Sine Wave Entertainment.

                  They appear to still be going through re-branding and sorting things out.

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          2. chicaeon

            I went over to Space this morning and it does appear that it is now open for business with a choose your avatar page. I am really pretty confused over that with the email conversations about testing from them earlier this week. Hmmm.

            Thanks for keeping us all informed!

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  4. Pingback: Project Sansar Gets a Name | Nalates' Things & StuffNalates’ Things & Stuff

  5. Pingback: Lab confirms Sansar’s title and issues first Creator Preview invites | Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World – Kultivate Magazine

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