Sansar Discovery release overview

The Discovery Release. Credit: Linden Lab. Location; Colossus Rising

On Wednesday, October 4th, Linden Lab updated Sansar with the Discovery release, the September / October end of month / start of month major release for the platform. I’ve had a quick opportunity to try things out, and the majority of this article is intended to provide an overview of the key features of the release.

Sansar Store Policy Update

Before getting down to the details of the update, the release notes came with some announcements and reminders, including a pointer to the recently updated Store Listing Guidelines and policy, which came into effect on Monday, October 2nd.

However, there has been some negative feedback on the policy change around the requirement for creators to have payment information on file with the Lab (e.g. a credit / debit card).  As such, the policy announcement was updated on Monday, October 2nd, to read:

Following helpful feedback from Sansar’s creator community, we will not be enforcing the credit card requirement at this time.

Requiring sellers to have payment information on file will help us to combat undesirable behaviour in the Store, but we understand that creators around the world may not have a credit card for a variety of reasons.

We are working to support other payment methods, such as PayPal, and plan to revisit this requirement for sellers once we have more available options.

Atlas Updates

The Atlas in both the client and on the web has been updated.

The Client Atlas now has a new Featured tab, and the ability to search experiences (the latter matching the web Atlas).  Search allows users to search by full or partial experience name, creator name, etc. As with the web Atlas, results are ranked in order of closest matching (so for, example, searching “Maxwell Graf” will return a list of Maxwell Graf’s experiences, followed by experiences /creators with partially matching names).

The Client Atlas with the new Featured tab (arrowed) and Search option (circled)

Te Featured tab lists all those experiences selected by the Sansar editorial team, again in the same way as the web Atlas.

The Web Atlas similarly gains a Featured tab, which sits alongside the All and Sansar Studio tabs in the top left corner of the Atlas, which now has a cleaner look and feel.

Desktop Mode Object Interactions

Desktop users can now interact with objects in an experience. Simply move the mouse pointer in an area where there might be objects available for interaction. Any objects you can “pick up”, will be highlighted in blue. Left click on an object you want to “pick up” and it will move to float in front of you.

Desktop Mode object interaction: hover the mouse pointer over objects. Any object highlighted in blue – like the pith helmet here – can be “picked up” with a left mouse button click. The object will jump to float in front of you (shown with the book in the inset image). Left click again to drop the item, or left-click / hold to throw it – the longer you hold, the further you’ll toss it

As you walk and turn, the object will move with you. To stop “holding” the object, LEFT click it again. A quick click will “drop” it, but if you press and hold the left button, you can throw the object – the longer you hold the button, the further you’ll throw the object. See the Sansar Keyboard Shortcuts documentation for more.

There is still some work to be done on this – avatars will eventually be able to hold objects they pick up, so this is only an initial step in interaction. However, I would request the Lab do something about the direction sharp, pointy things float – as shown below, “health and safety” didn’t exactly spring to mind 😉 .

“Is this a machete that floats before me, the sharp bit towards my throat?” The Desktop mode interaction is only in its first iteration, and will have features added. However, it can raise eyebrows over health and safety! 🙂 (With apologies to W. Shakespeare esq, for the misquote.)

Basic UI Settings Preferences

The Discovery Release offers the ability to set some basic preferences for the client settings – note that they do not apply to individual experiences.

The option is part of the MORE menu (“…”) in the UI icons on the right of the client screen, and called “Settings”.

Clicking on the option will display a pop-up dialogue, allow you to:

  • An on / off toggle for the UI background music played when not visiting and experience or editing a scene (e.g. when using the Atlas).
  • An on / off toggle for the UI sound effects that play when you interact with Sansar’s user interface (e.g. when you click a button).
  • An on / off toggle for the notifications that appear when events occur in the People and Chat applications in the UI.

These are all documented in the Sansar User Settings documentation.

The UI settings preferences – click the “…” option for the menu, then select Settings

Other Items

The Discovery release also includes:

  • Links pasted into chat in the UI are now clickable – no more “go” button.
  • Audio updates:
    • New audio types for upload: Sansar now supports audio files using the following extensions: MP3, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis and more.
    • Audio Occlusion: Previously sounds were only occluded in scenes with baked reverb. Now they will be occluded in all scenes. Additionally, low frequencies will now “bleed” through walls and objects.
    • UI Sounds: Many UI sounds have been improved for quality.
  • Reporting Updates: New defined list of reporting options on the Report Abuse tool.
The drop-down defined list of report abuse options – similar in nature to that found in Second Life
  • Sansar Store:
    • Item sorting: apparently on the Store landing page.
    • Store banner guidelines: creators can now brand their store areas.
  • Building communities
    • Follow us: new social media options for keeping up with Sansar via a new website footer.
    • Discord Integration: the option to join the Sansar community on Discord.

Full details of the release features, new and updated documentation and known issues can be found in the Discovery Release notes.

This perhaps isn’t an extensive an update as the August / September release, but it does mark some important steps for Sansar . The Atlas improvements, which will hopefully sit with further updates due in the October / November Friends release, help remove some of the growing pain in trying to find experiences in the Atlas – particularly when using the client.

Similarly, the Desktop mode ability to interact with objects within an experience is a significant step, and I’m looking forward to seeing further improvements and refinements in that area in the future.

I’ll likely have more feedback on the Discovery release after the Product Meetings on Friday, October 6th.