On Monday, July 31st, Linden Lab announced the opening of the Public Creator Beta for Sansar, their new platform for creating and publishing social VR experiences. In announcing the launch, Linden Lab issued a press release which states in part:
SAN FRANCISCO – July 31, 2017 – SansarTM, the world’s leading social VR platform, today opened its creator beta to the public. Sansar empowers individuals, communities, schools, studios, corporations, brands and others to easily create, share, and ultimately sell immersive 3D social experiences for consumers to enjoy on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows PCs. Developed by Linden Lab®, the company behind the groundbreaking virtual world Second Life®, Sansar is a brand new platform built from the ground up to enable everyone to become a creator.
At opening, Sansar’s Atlas directory already features hundreds of engaging virtual experiences, including multiplayer games, recreations of historic sites and landmarks, art installations, movie theaters, museums, narrative experiences, jungle temples, 360º video domes, sci-fi themed hangouts, and much more. Creators invited to the platform during a limited-access preview have published thousands of amazing public and private experiences, and with the opening of beta today, the world is now invited to join them.
The press release goes on to highlight some of the capabilities associated with Sansar, including:
- Simplified Creation & Cross-Device Distribution: Intuitive drag-and-drop editing makes it easy to create a scene with assets imported from common 3D modelling tools or purchased from the Sansar Store.
- Use of tools from the likes of Speech Graphics for accurate avatar lip-syncing and facial animations (via audio with or without a headset) and IKinema for accurate mirroring of user’s hand / arm movements when using HMD controllers
- A relationship with TurboSquid to provide creators with access to hundreds of additional high-quality 3D models in the Store today, with thousands more being added in the coming months. This will be extended with integration with TurboSquid’s StemCell initiative to make it easy for TurboSquid’s community of 3D modellers to immediately upload and sell their creations in the Sansar Store, further augmenting the assets readily available to Sansar creators.
Sansar System Specification
Accompanying the press release were the recommended system specifications for running Sansar:
Basic Sansar access is provided free to users, with subscription options available to those who need them.
Things to Note – Particularly from a Second Life Perspective
I’ll have more to say on using Sansar in separate upcoming articles. However, in the briefest of terms:
- The Sansar Public Beta is not the “fully fledged” Sansar platform; rather it is another step in the platform’s development
- This means that much of what is taken for granted in Second Life cannot at present be done in Sansar – do not expect to jump in and find loads of vehicles to drive / fly / sail or to start flying around yourself. These kinds of capabilities will come in time
- The Sansar avatar is still being developed; therefore what you see on joining Sansar is not “all there is” to the avatar. Expect enhancements and greater customisation to come in time
- Sansar does not offer “in-world” design / building capabilities in the same way as Second Life. It utilises a separate editing environment and a “published” run-time environment.
- Do not expect to see tags over avatars heads – this can make the identification of other difficult, but has been done with a purpose (floating tags don’t work particularly well in VR without breaking immersion)
- Sansar has both voice and text chat, the ability to IM people and to create Friends lists. Chat and IM work in a similar manner to chat and IMs in SL: open text chat and voice are restricted to the the current instance of the experience you are occupying; text IMs will go to friends wherever they are in Sansar relative to you.
- Most moving between different experiences is achieved via the Atlas – Sansar’s equivalent of the Destination Guide. Teleporting is also possible, where provided
- Adult content is currently not permitted in Sansar. This is because the platform currently lacks a maturity rating system of the kind we see in Second Life.