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:
- Installing the client
- Sansar Apps and the App Launcher
- The Avatar App
- The Atlas App
- Sansar shortcut commands
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 As Sansar is evolving, they may at some point become inaccurate or superseded.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
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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 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.