The sixth Sansar Creator Profile video arrived on Wednesday, August 9th, featuring creator David Hall. A 3D creator “for the past couple of years”, David describes his work as more of a passion than a vocation – although he admits he’s always wanted to be a builder of worlds. As such, he is perhaps representative of the broader audience that Linden Lab would like to attract: those who are perhaps not so much interested in or invested with the wider aspects of virtual worlds and their multiplicity of opportunities and interactions, but rather those who want to be able to sculpt and create the environments they wish to build, and then share them purely with the people the know or believe will share their passion.
David’s featured experience in the video is very much a reflection of this: a vast Dwarven Fortress; which could feature as an artistic statement, an immersive meeting place, or eventually a role-play environment or similar. However it is not his only Sansar experience; David has also created Sunrise, which as the name suggests, captures that first early morning period when birds have started their songs and the sun has just risen above distance hills to cast a soft yellow glow over the world. It’s perhaps not as involved as the Dwarven Fortress, but it is no less immersive, and the sensation of walking through the trees to the look-out point, surround by birdsong is delicious.
The Dwarven Fortress itself is impressive, but again – from an experience consumer perspective – illustrates the issue in opening Sansar’s doors to the general public: there is actually very little to do other than wander around / take photos. While some interaction within experiences is possible (to a greater degree when using VR systems than when operating in Desktop mode), this lack of interactions – whether intentional on the part of the experience creator or as a result of the platform awaiting capabilities – will continue to be a source of negative feedback towards Sansar.
For those curious about content creation with Sansar, and the tools available within the platform for object placement, lighting, atmospherics, etc., the video offers some insights, along with the use of external tools for the physical creation of models – in David’s case, Maya and Substance Painter. He provides a concise thumbnail description of the steps involved in creating a scene, whilst the video footage allows those who have not tried the editing tools within Sansar with a feel for what is currently available.
What I found interesting in this video is David’s sheer passion for his creativity coupled with his ability to turn that passion into almost lyrical comments. In doing so, through this video he both touches on Sansar’s potential as a platform for personal creativity and sharing and on the potential to really spark the imagination in a manner that could become very compelling for many seeking a new creative outlet. The platform is – more so than Second Life and virtual worlds like it – a truly blank 3D canvas without and fixed context of “land”, “water” or “air”, upon which people are almost entirely free to paint their deepest imaginings.
Freed from these larger “world” context, Sansar spaces are, for their creators, potentially far more liberating than any default feeling of a geographical rooting – unless that is what is desired. There is simply no need to consider the context of a wider pre-defined “world environment”. Sansar spaces are simply that – spaces to be filled and utilised howsoever the creator wishes and in any many which bes serves their ultimate intended use.
Of course, it would be easy to point to the reliance on external tools with which to create; but let’s be honest here. Learning to build well within Second Life, even with prims, is not any easy task – nor is it entirely divorced from requiring tools and skills from outside of the platform (think custom textures here, or materials creation). The skills used in building within SL are acquired and refined over time – which really, other than the broader complexity involved in tools like Maya or Blender, etc., – is no different to sitting down and acquiring the skills to use those tools. So the need to harness something like Blender if you wish to make truly unique content for Sansar isn’t necessarily a huge hurdle for those with the desire and passion to be immersively creative.
At just over two minutes in length, this is one of the slightly longer pieces on Sansar, and it packs a lot into it. We’ve still a long way to go before Sansar is offering the kind of environments, capabilities and activities users are accustomed to in SL and elsewhere. But if David is typical of the creators sinking their teeth into the platform, and providing things are built out at a steady rate going forwards and without devastatingly long lead times, it will be interesting to see where Sansar’s growing capabilities might lead people in the coming months.