As Linden Lab gradually continue to ramp towards more open access to Sansar, Peter Grey, the company’s Director of Global Communications has taken to Reddit and the Sansar sub-Reddit to address questions from those interested in Sansar and who may or may not be Second Life users.
While Peter’s responses to questions don’t reveal much about specific technical aspects of Sansar or reveal potential dates for the upcoming “creator beta” (again, the Lab has always indicated it using capability and functionality as the driver for opening the doors more widely, rather than a set-in-stone (or arbitrary) date marked on a calendar), his response to question thus far do make for interesting reading.
The thread starts with a simple enough question – has anyone been accepted into the Creator Preview yet? For those following Sansar, the response is fairly obvious (yes, several thousand now), and a re-iteration that more people will be invited over them coming weeks / months, together with an invitation for people to apply for access. Within the thread there is a series of questions which, although familiar with Sansar, have their answers summaries below for completeness:
- There is no specific date on which the more open “creator beta” will be launched
- Pricing for Sansar has yet to be finalised
- Sansar is a platform for VR experiences that are also accessible via PCs (i.e. an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive recommended and preferred, but not necessarily 100% required)
- What appear to be “delays” in opening the “creator beta” is because the Lab is approaching Sansar carefully as they effectively build it from the ground up.
However, perhaps the most interesting responses follow two questions which have been raised in numerous forums besides this sub-Reddit:
- How does the Lab think SL regulars are going to like Sansar?
- Is there a policy on adult content in Sansar?
In reply to the first question, Peter states:
To be totally honest, I think there will initially be a mixed reaction from SL regulars. Some will love Sansar and what’s possible with this platform from the start, while others will be disappointed that it doesn’t (yet, at least) meet their expectations or hopes of what it should be.
I’ve seen both reactions from SL creators who have joined preview. Some are excited about what they can create and do now, and what they’ll be able to do in the future. Others – particularly if they’re expecting Sansar to be “SL2” – can be disappointed about things not working the way they’re used to in SL, capabilities that are important to them in SL but not (yet, at least) available in Sansar, etc.
We try to be as clear as we can in repeating that Sansar isn’t intended to replace SL nor to be a sequel version of it. I’d encourage SL regulars to check out Sansar from that perspective and to bear in mind that even when we open creator beta, there will still be many features and further functionality yet to come.
All that said, creators in preview have already made some awesome social VR experiences with Sansar, and some of my personal favourites have been made by SL users, so I’m eager to see the swell of creativity when we open creator beta and even more creators join.
That reaction has been mixed among SL users accessing Sansar isn’t surprising – and it is likely to be something that will continue through the “creator beta”, simply because the view that Sansar is supposed to be some kind of “SL 2.0” does persist quite strongly within the SL user base, despite repeated comments from the Lab to the contrary.
There are a number of areas where Sansar, in the first instance, will take getting used to by those more at home with the full spectrum of SL capabilities. Some of these will likely be a case of having to accept – such as the editing environment which will remain distinct and separate to the run-time environment where most users will experience Sansar environments and interact, even if “native” creation tools are added to it at some point. Others – such as the avatar and avatar customisation capabilities – may initially appear limited, but will hopefully improve over time.
In response to the adult content question, Peter stated:
Adult content won’t be allowed at the opening of Sansar’s creator beta this summer. Ultimately, we want Sansar to be an open platform that enables creators to make all kinds of experiences, but early on we also want to be careful that a single genre of content doesn’t come to define the platform and potentially limit its appeal to other creators.
While it may seem like censorship, limiting adult themed activities from Sansar does make some sense given the way that when Second Life did tend to hit the headlines from 2006 onwards, it was often in terms of the sexual content rather than the wider aspects of the platform. So wanting to limit the risk Sansar will be similarly tarred is understandable. Of course, this still raises the question over how people react when “adult” content / activities are eventually permitted within the platform – but at least the Lab won’t be forced into fighting some kind of “rear-guard” action against any salacious reporting / reporting bias towards focused only on adult activities from the minute the platform débuts to a wider public.
Taken as a whole, this Sansar sub-Reddit is worth reading in full, both for Peter’s comments and the broader questions and feedback from other users. Certainly, seeing peter engaging through it is positive, and it’ll be interesting to see if / how feedback like this grows over the coming months, and whether it extends to other forums.