Sansar: getting started – the basics

Sansar from Linden Lab

Note, October 4th: interaction with objects when using Desktop Mode were introduced with the Sansar Discovery release. Read more about the release in this article.

Note: This article covers setting-up an account, downloading the client, selecting and customising your avatar and getting familiar with the user interface. For detailed information on working with Snsar in Desktop Mode, please refer to Sansar basics: Atlas, Desktop mode movement, chat and friends.

On Monday, July 31st, Linden Lab opened the Public Creator Beta for Sansar – which you can read about here. The following is designed to offer those from Second Life joining Sansar with some guidelines on getting started.

These notes are based on my coming to Sansar as a first time user during the Creator preview, and are written purely about the run-time environment. You can find further notes and information on the following official Sansar pages:

These can all be found as a part of Sansar’s comprehensive Help pages.

You can also keep up-to-date with announcements via the Sansar blog.


  • For ease of reference, and given I don’t have continuous access to a VR headset, these notes are biased to using Sansar via the keyboard and mouse, including working in-world with the UI.
  • These note were written at the time the Sansar Public Beta was launched. As Sansar is evolving, they may at some point become inaccurate or superseded.

Creating an Account and Logging-in the First Time

The first thing you need to do with Sansar is sign-up for an account. Accounts require an e-mail address, password, date of birth and, if you indicate you wish to create experiences, whether you use tools such as Maya or Blender.Make sure you click the Terms and Conditions  / Privacy Policy and Terms of Service Links and check them before checking the box confirming you have read them.

When you have submitted the account creation form, you’ll receive an e-mail asking you to verify the address. Clicking on the verification link will both verify you e-mail address and take you to the web log-in page. Log in to the latter using the e-mail and password you have created. The Sansar Atlas is displayed on your screen. This is the point at which you can join any available Sansar experience from the wb, once you have installed the Sansar Updater (client).

  • Experiences will eventually be accessible via their own web pages.
  • You do not have to use the web version of the Atlas with Sansar – you can access the Atlas from within the client.

Downloading and Installing the Client

The first step towards accessing Sansar is to download and install the (currently 64-bit Windows only) client, via the Download link at the top of the Sansar web site. Simply follow the on-screen instructions from the installer (which may also update itself as the first part of the install process), or follow the installation instructions.

Installation is fairly quick and simple (neither my i4 / GTX 970 main system nor the 2012 i3 / Intel graphics laptop I also use had any issues in installing the client). Once the client has installed, launch it. This may trigger an automatic update to the client itself, which can take some time. Once any update has completed, the Sansar log-in screen is displayed.

Log-in using the e-mail and password you used when creating your account.

Avatar Creation

Note: Sansar allows you to have multiple avatars, which are created via the Avatar App. This is launched automatically the first time you log-in to Sansar via the client, and can be launched at any time using the My Looks buttons.

Aavtar Name creation

The first step is to supply an avatar name and avatar ID (a unique and permanent ID which serves as a unique identifier for each user).  The latter can be the same as the avatar itself, or set to something else – letters, numbers and hyphens only. Note that the avatar ID cannot be changed once set, and at this time, the avatar name also cannot be changed, so make sure you’re satisfied with the latter before continuing – it’s how everyone in Sansar will know you with this avatar.

Clicking Next from the Name screen will take you to the avatar picker – and SL users should recognise the origins of this!  Use your mouse to scroll left or right, moving the Sansar logo under the avatars to indicate the currently selected one.

There are two buttons on this screen: Customise and Next.

  • Customise takes you to the current avatar customisation options which allow you to set gender and skin tone, hairstyle, change the facial features though sliders, select an outfit  and accessories.
    • Note that avatar customisation is not as advanced as Second Life at this point in time.
    • You can save multiple looks for the same avatar via the Customise panel in the top left of the customisation screen.
    • Clicking the sliders button will zoom the view into your avatar’s head and you rotate the avatar using a right-click drag with the mouse
    • You can use the buttons at the bottom of the screen to go back to the avatar picker, select an entirely random look for the avatar from the available set of avatars, or undo / redo changes.
Customising your avatar
  • Next from either the avatar picker or the customisation screen will update the avatar selection a your avatar and move you to the Sansar Atlas.

Reminder: You can return to the Avatar App at any time from the My Looks option (top right of the Sansar Atlas display) or from within an experience via the My Looks button (see below).

Using the Atlas

The Atlas is the Destination Guide for Sansar – and the anchor point. It’s currently the major means of accessing experiences, all of which are displayed in a tile like-form in the client or – if you are using a headset – floating in front of you when called.

Sansar’s Atlas, seen in a HMD

To access an experience, scroll through the Atlas, find one you like and click Visit. Depending on the size and complexity of the experience, the number of people accessing it, your net connection and your hardware, the load times for experiences can vary.

Runtime UI Introduction and Being “In-world”

Sansar UI buttons

Sansar has a very clean runtime UI at present, with just seven options to the right of the screen, as shown below.

When in third-person view working with a keyboard and mouse, you can you right-click drag (or right-click roll on the trackball) to pan the camera around your avatar’s position. Note that the camera doesn’t necessarily snap to a default position behind your avatar as with SL, and this can at times be confusing.

You can additionally find information on Sansar shortcut commands (keyboard and headset & also Edit mode) in the Help pages.

The F4 free flight mode for the camera is handy, but note there is currently no support for controllers such as the SpaceNavigator – so if you’re a machinima maker wanting to film in Sansar (check with the Lab first), you may have to use very different camera techniques compared to filming in SL.

Soundscapes are very much a part of Sansar (which has spatial sound), so having sound enabled when visiting experiences is recommended.

Buying Sansar Dollars and Goods

Sansar Dollars can be purchased through the SandeX. The exchange rate is roughly S$100 to the US dollar, and transaction fee information is also available. You must have a registered payment method filed with Linden Lab (via your Account page on the Sansar website) in order to make Sansar Dollar transactions.

Goods can be purchased via the Sansar Store. Again, don’t expect this to be as content rich as the SL Marketplace or to share many of the features found in the SL Marketplace; it is still being developed and enhanced.

I’ll have more on Sansar in further articles this week.


14 thoughts on “Sansar: getting started – the basics

  1. Sorry, but if Sansar is going to be a Humans-only grid, I think I’ll stay with Second Life. I have excellent reasons for this and so far Sansar shows me no reason to change my preferences. I’m also annoyed that the development work done on Sansar means Second Life gets only the leftovers in improvements.
    Why do people insist on re-inventing the wheel when wheels already exist?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the relationship between Second Life and Sansar is one of symbiotic mutualism. And as residents of SL, and pioneers in Sansar – we can only stand to gain.

    L[nden Lab has not re-invented the wheel. It has invented a completely new form of ‘transport’.
    Just because we have a car does not mean we do not sometimes wish to use a train. Both are forms of transport, but each have different possibilities and fulfill different needs.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. OK, I’m a tech idiot, but despite that I’ve managed to function in Second Life for many years thanks to the orientation and instruction available to newbies when I first arrived in world. I just entered Sansar for the first time and I was lost. I could manage a sort of jerky walk, but that was it. How does an avatar sit? How does an avatar do anything? Also, each experience took an intolerably long time to load. This can’t be what I’ve been waiting for all this time. What am I missing?


    1. Right now, the is limited capabilities with avatars unless you’re using Sansar in VR mode (in which case you can interact with objects where permitted – pick things up, throw them, play games, etc).

      Third person walking in Desktop mode is also very jerky in you are only using WASD / the arrow keys to walk / turn – this can be smoothed b holding the right mouse button down and using your mouse to turn your avatar left / right when walking – and after a while this actually becomes quite an intuitive way to handle walking (I now keep trying to do the same in SL!).

      Experience load times do seem to be a matter of your internet connection, overall download speed from wherever the instance of an experience is called from, the overall complexity of the experience being loaded, your look PC’s capabilities and – in my experience at least you local connection to your router (switching to the wifi connection on my PC significantly increases load times on the same experience when compared to using the wired connection to my router, for example).

      Performance (which hopefully includes optimisation / packaging experiences for delivery) is one of the areas the Lab is currently addressing.


  4. Third somebody paseoing in Desktop fashion is also very jerky in you are only using WASD / the pointer keys to paseo / good turn – this can be smoothed b holding the right wing mouse push down and using your mouse to good turn your avatar left / right wing when paseoing – and after a while this actually becomes quite an intuitive fashion to treat paseoing (I now retain trying to do the same(p) in SL!
    Performance (which hopefully includes optimization / promotional material experiences for legal transfer) is one of the areas the research laboratory is currently addressing.


    1. Avatar movement in Desktop mode (including use of the right mouse button is covered here. And you’re right it does actually quickly become natural & I also find myself something doing the same when in Second Life!

      For up-to-date information on Sansar’s development, see my weekly product meeting reports.


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