The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meetings held on Friday, September 15th. These meetings are held every Friday at 9:30am PDT and 4:00pm PDT, and are open to all. There is no set agenda (currently), and the meetings are a mix of voice and text. Venues change on a weekly basis, and are announced in the Meet-up Announcements. The September 15th meeting took place at City Park, by Lex4Art. The official meeting notes are published in the week following each pair of meetings.
Cara (morning session) and Carolyn (afternoon session) from the product team attended the meetings. However, Cara’s microphone pick-up was not particularly good; couple with background office noises, this made it hard to hear her at the morning session.
It has been a week since the August / September release, and feedback is now coming in, with some issues being highlighted, including:
- Terrain Editor: some users have found that when incorporating terrain plains into their builds, everything works OK in Edit mode, but on publishing assorted problems can occur, including not being able to access the published experience. Suggestions for checking the issue is to try re-publishing the experience without the new terrain element to ensure it is accessible / eliminating the problems, and try publishing a simple experience with edited terrain / recreate the existing scene to see if the issues repro. Experiences exhibiting this issue should not be deleted.
- Undesired object movement / re-positioning:
- Some users have found that objects which appear correctly positioned and aligned when editing a scene can appear misaligned / out-of-place (see here), although one person indicated they were seeing similar prior to the release.
- Others have reported objects in both edit and published mode have relocated themselves following the release.
- Some have found that while a published experience looks correct, if they go to Edit mode to edit the scene, the objects are all incorrectly placed. Apparently, the support response to this issue is to delete all affected items with new versions from inventory – although this is subject to verification.
- Physics Changes: At least one user has noticed what might be physics changes since the update, with the pins in his bowling alley displaying a persistent wobble.
- Script breakage:some users found their scripts were broken following the update, requiring they be replaced.
- The LLCameraForward camera vector behaviour is no longer consistently tracking the movements in third-person view (although it is still working as expected in first-person).
- Trigger Volumes have been reported as not working for one of the headset hand controllers (not clear if this is the Oculus Touch or the Vive hand controllers). Details on the issue weren’t clear at the meeting. This is now being looked at by the Lab.
- Avatar VR Shuffle: when a user in VR mode enters first-person view, their avatar starts performing a strange little shuffling dance, which stops when exiting back into third-person. This might be related to a known issue when VR first-person view can result in the avatar moving around a little when it is supposed to be standing still.
- Scene Objects Window: there is a bug which prevents users from scrolling all the way to the end of a long list of object containers when using the scene objects window in Edit mode, which can leave items and options unreachable. The Lab has noticed the same issue and are working on a fix.
- Edit mode font size: while not specific to this release, there have been complaints that the default font in the Edit mode UI is too small for some people to comfortably read.
- Streaming: only supports a single stream at a time without updating the scene and re-publishing the experience. For Sansar to work with music events featuring multiple artists / DJs, this will need an update to support multiple streams. While not on the roadmap for immediate delivery, the Lab is considering “avatar emitters”, which would allow sounds from specific artists or presenters at a talk, etc., to be heard throughout an experience.
It’s generally requested that all reproducible issues are reported on the issues forum, together with updates as people further test things.
Sansar Roadmap and Work in-Hand / Being Planned
The public roadmap is approaching a point where it can be released. However, this will not be a blow-by-blow of everything that is coming and precise dates. Rather, it will provide a high-level overview of significant releases – avatar customisation, further terrain editing capabilities, clothing and fashion design capabilities, etc., together with indicators of when they may / should be appearing in releases. Some of the current work either in-hand or being planned includes:
- Atlas improvements: the ability to search the client version of the Sansar Atlas (the web version can already be searched), hopefully making it easier to location / discover experiences of interest. This should be in the next Sansar release.
- Height Maps: as noted with the August / September release, a planned update to the terrain system will be the ability for users to upload their own custom height maps (not clear if RAW files will also be possible), and custom textures with terrain.
- Making text chat visible to users in VR mode: this is currently being worked on, a may appear “in a couple of months”.
- Desktop interaction: the foundations are being laid to allow Desktop mode users have greater interaction with in-scene objects.
- Avatar identification in Desktop mode: the ability for users in Desktop mode to more easily identify other avatars. No time line on availability as yet.
- Social capabilities: further social capabilities are being planned, including group-like capabilities. However, details are not clear (again) on what form these will take or when they will be available.
- Collaborative building: this is being actively worked on, however, it is dependent upon a number of other factors (e.g. the permissions system). So again, no time line on when it might appear as yet.
- Better inventory organisation: this is also in the planning phase, is a part of the roadmap, but specifics have yet to be released on what it will be, nor is there a time line. This is already proving to be a major pinch-point for creators, as there is no means to organise via folders or rename inventory items or even search inventory, etc., and is thus impacting people’s ability / drive to create.
The meeting saw a couple of new requests made:
- Texture Atlas support: a texture atlas allows for easy re-use of textures across objects / UV maps. This sort-of sits between texturing and modelling, and allows textures to be-reused across multiple objects / UVs without multiple draw calls to the system. This is one of an ongoing series of questions around textures in Sansar and future plans for textures / materials / reflections, etc. Jenn and Cara are going to look at getting one of the Sansar team directly involved in this side of the work to come to a meeting and answer questions.
- More attachments / support for multiple attachments on a single point: currently, there is only one attachment point on Sansar avatars (the neck). This is because multiple attachment points proved to be buggy when first deployed. While such things need to be constrained (there is already a complexity limit when uploading attachments), having more attachment points / the ability to attach more than one item to an attachment point is seen as needed by some. Further work on the avatar as a whole is planned, and this might include improvements to attachment handling.
There is also the request for LL to provide a means for people to offer updates to their products. This is liable to be a topic for detailed discussion at the Sansar Store focus meeting, due to take place at the end of September 2017.
During the morning meeting, the question was asked if creators will eventually be able to sell their own experiences. This is something Ebbe Altberg has indicated would eventually be the case – particularly citing the idea that the creator of a teaching / school room experience should be able to sell that on to those requiring such a space.
Official Discord Server
The official Discord server for Sansar is under-going some final fixes and updates, and the hope is that it will be released by the end of September. It will not be an in-depth blow-by-blow breakdown of everything being worked upon or planned, but will form a more high-level document, providing broad brush strokes of when key enhancements to Sansar are likely to start appearing – avatar customisation, clothing and fashion support, further terrain editing capabilities, and so on.
Unofficial Discord Channel
Pending the arrival of the official Sansar Discord channel from the Lab, an unofficial channel has been created, and those wishing to join can do so here.
The Spiders of Sansar!
Ryan Schultz featured a couple of videos demonstrating the use of the Character Animation Tools (CAT) available in 3DS Max to create spiders.
The videos and spiders were created by user C3rb3rus, who described the work thus:
It’s just bones for now. In 3DS Max there is a CAT system, it’s like a rig preset for all kind of characters from spiders to dinosaurs to humans. They are easy to animate. So for this spider, I just used a spider rig and animated it along a spline. The program calculates the foot steps automatically.
User Gindipple has been playing with the spiders with scripting and collision volumes to make them dynamic objects and pushing what can be done.
For spider lovers, a second video of multiple spiders under test has also been uploaded.