So, you’ve heard the new about Sansar opening. You’ve signed up for an account and have your new avatar. Now what? The Atlas has many, many places to visit. Some are more interesting than others. I’ve been hopping around for a while now, and so I thought I’d offer a handful of suggestions and one or two tips which may be useful for you.
Once again, as I’m a non-VR headset user, the Sansar experiences selected here have been chosen on the basis they work without having to use a HMD as well as providing a means to gain familiarity with using keyboard controls.
Tip: The URLs in this article lead directly to the experiences described. You can obtain them directly from the Atlas by clicking on the image of an experience. This will open a separate window. This includes a Copy URL button – which does exactly what it says. There are also two page buttons (< and >), allowing you to page through experiences in the Atlas individually. If you want to see all the experiences by a single creator, click on the creator name in the Atlas or Atlas window.
Pasting a URL into a web browser will display its Atlas web page. Clicking on the Visit button on the web page will launch the Sansar client and take you to the experience (if the client is already running, you’ll be asked if you want to visit the selected experience).
Now open to the public, the Apollo Museum is bound to attract me as I love all things space exploration. However, there is another reason for recommending it: it is a good example of some of the interactions that can currently be achieved in Sansar and a demonstration of one method of teleporting.
This is one of the more “high-end” experiences, and can take time to load; however the wait is worth it. This is a rich content experience, mixing 3D models, audio, video and information boards to take people on a journey through the major Apollo lunar missions. Centred on the Apollo 11 mission, the experience includes information on the other lunar mission in the programme, models of the Saturn V, Command and Service Module and Lunar Excursion Module and a scaled model depicting Apollo 11’s trip from the Earth to the Moon.
Interactive elements are provided through proximity / standing. For example, spread along the floor of the museum. step on these to hear audio extracts from the Apollo 11 mission. Similarly, audio on the various Apollo missions from 11 onwards can be heard.
Also on the floor close to the upper end of the Apollo Saturn V rocket is another disk. Step on it and it will teleport you to a recreation of Tranquillity Base and the Apollo 11 Lunar Excursion Module Eagle with floating informational text and a sound scape of recordings from the mission.
Throughout, the experience is very well done, with the lighting on the Surface of the Moon particularly well done – as is the Earth (to scale as seen from the lunar surface) hanging in space at the same position it would have been seen by Armstrong and Aldrin. There are one or two problems with the build – sounds can overlap, and it is clearly intended for HMD use; but it makes for a useful introduction to Sansar (and an informative visit!).
Tip: If you’re not using a HMD and are finding movement difficult in third-person view due to the camera, try using WASD or the arrow keys, together with pressing and holding the right mouse key and sliding your mouse left or right to turn. Combining these allow for a relatively easy means of moving in either 3rd or 1st person view.
As featured in the Sansar preview #5 video, Unit 9’s Monkey Temple is a good example of an experience using ambient sounds and Sansar’s environmentals to produce a jungle-style setting with a unique temple in three distinct areas, and which includes interactive games. These are best played if you have a HMD and controllers, however, it is possible to “kick” a “ball” around by walking into it.
Tip: try free-flying your camera around the temple. Press F4 to release the camera and use WASD or the arrow keys to move forwards / backwards or slide left / right. E will move the camera up and C will move it down. You can also use the right mouse button technique mentioned above to pan the camera. The numeric pad “-” (minus) and “+” (plus) buttons can be used to slow / increase the camera’s movement speed when in free flight. Press F3 to anchor the camera back with your avatar once more (note that pressing F3 twice will drop you into first-person look).
Teager’s experience is a true delight, and offer s practical means of learning more about using Sansar’s current controls. A wizened old rat sits near the landing point, and appears to want to tell you something. Look forward, towards the edge of the island you are on, and you’ll see him again, pointing towards the whale. Several more floating islands lie between you and the whale, one of which appears to be the home of a portal. It is clear the rat wants you to reach the whale in the distance – but how?
Tip: you have a personal teleport capability in experiences allowing it. Press and hold the CTRL key on your keyboard. A wide arc will extend out from your avatar. Scroll around using your mouse until a blue teleport destination point appears. Click the left mouse button to teleport to that point.
Using the personal teleport, you can “island hop” to the portal. When you reach it – walk through it to teleport to the whale. Once there, you can explore the gardens – and keep an eye open for the whale blow-hole / waterfall. It offers the way to a world inside the whale, awaiting exploration. Two teleport portals offer ways to either return you when you’re done – or lead you onwards, depending on which you pick.
WorldWhale is one of my favourite Sansar experiences. It’s beautifully executed and offers a good means of finding your way around using portals and the personal teleport option.
This last one is just a piece silliness in case you want to have some fun with a friend or two. As the name suggests, it allows you to engage in a game of bumper cards which look like odd little UFOs. Instructions are displayed overhead on arrival – just walk up to a “car”, press 1 on your keyboard to “board” it and then move it around with the WASD / arrow keys.
“Driving” is basic – you’re effectively walking – but in first-person view, you can pootle around and bump against one another. It’s admittedly basic, but can provide a little fun.
This is literally just a handful of destinations. I’ve selected them because they should help those new to Sansar to get used to using it in the run-time mode without a VR head mounted device and hand controllers. There are many, many more experiences to visit out where the keyboard techniques can be tried out – I’d also recommend Maxwell Graf’s Rustica, and Rune., Cica Ghost’s Connections, Sansar Studio’s own Voyage Live: Egypt (look for the doors for teleporting between experiences) and if you have a headset, Loz Hyde’s Grand Hall.