On March 7th, 2017, Linden Lab issued the most insightful video thus far on Sansar, their next generation virtual environment platform. While it may not plumb quite the depths some might like to see, it offers far more in the way of glimpses and outright looks of what Sansar will look like and gives a teasing look at some of the capabilities currently present within it.
At just four seconds under the 2 minute mark, the video offers a narrative tour of the new platform, showing the runtime and editing environments, detailed shots of Sansar avatars, a look at the Sansar Marketplace – or Store – and more. It also touches on some of the market verticals and environments the Lab is hoping to attract to the platform, albeit with a clear slant towards education.
Starting with the words, “Something is coming. Something revolutionary…”, over a slow, letterbox-style reveal of the platform, the video is polished, smooth and tantalising in what is shown. From scenes within Sansar we’ve witnessed before – the Golden Gate bridge, the fantasy realm with its enigmatic red door it flows to environments entirely new to the wider public eye. As such, it is an excellent piece of teaser advertising, clearly geared towards those the Lab hopes to being to Sansar’s worlds.
There is the inevitable pointer towards VR headsets – which is to be expected, given Sansar is primarily (although not exclusively) a platform for the fully immersed, consumer VR age, but it the video, by its nature, helps to demonstrate that Sansar can be used by those without head mounted displays (HMDs) as well.
For me, some of the points of interest in the video are the snippets of the UI we get to see, particularly when in the edit environment, and the first close-up looks of Sansar avatars offered to the world at large. While the latter may well still be in development, they are already impressive, and potentially a match in looks for Second Life avatars.
Admittedly, the avatars shown in the video are all restricted to humans, so we don’t get to see the fully range of potentials, but again given that Sansar is being pushed towards the idea of “social VR”, where people are interacting with one another as humans, the emphasis shouldn’t be seen as negative. There’s also the fact that it’s unclear at the moment how far down the road the avatar system is when it comes to supporting non-human avatar types.
Voice syncing is also very cleverly indicated in the video, when the female voice used to narrate the piece is smoothly integrated with a Sansar avatar right at the end of the video, suggesting she has been our guide through this inside look.
A further point of interest for me is the video closes by adding a strapline to Sansar: Created Reality.
Back in September 2015, Ciaran Laval and I ruminated on a domain name filing made by the Lab around the time that the company was filing papers for “Project Sansar” and “Sansar” (see “Created Reality”- possible contender for Project Sansar’s name?). At the time we speculated whether “Created Reality” might be a possible alternative name for the Lab’s platform (still at that time known only by the “internal” name of “Project Sansar”). Obviously, that didn’t prove to be the case – but it is still interesting to see the term, if not the domain, finding use in reference to the platform
And for those wondering when they’ll be able to step into Sansar, the video offers “Spring 2017”. But enough of the waffling. Here’s the video.