Sansar Product Meeting 2017 week #40: Discovery and more

Image courtesy of Linden Lab

The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meetings held on Friday, October 6th. 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. The official meeting notes are published in the week following each pair of meetings, while venues change on a weekly basis, and are announced in the Meet-up Announcements.

The October 6th meetings took place at Spinnervale, a creepy experience for Halloween by Debi Baskerville (and which I’ve reviewed here). Attending the meetings were Bjørn Laurin, the Lab’s VP of Product, and Cara and Boden from the Product team.

Discovery Release Update

The Discovery release was deployed on Wednesday, October 4th – see my overview on the release for core details. However, there were some post-deployment issues which required hot fixes and updates to be deployed as well. These have thus far comprised:

  • Update 1 – October 5, 2017 – mainly addressing a major crashing issue that would trigger when an avatar enters an experience while other avatars are walking around.
  • Update 2 – October 6, 2017 – allowing people to add scripts and other components to objects bought from the Sansar Store following issues in the wake of the initial Discovery deployment. However, as a side-effect of the fix, items that were edited between the initial deployment and the update may revert back to their default settings, with items properties that were edited in the time between the Discovery release deployment and the update were lost. This was originally reported as a “known issue” in the October 5th update.

There may be further updates to follow, addressing some remaining issues.

Supply Chain Release Error

The second of the two issues noted above was the result of the premature deployment of code for Sansar’s supply chain economy and permissions system within the Discovery release.

As Bjørn explained at the meeting, the supply chain economy will allow everyone to get properly recompensed for their creations howsoever they are used. However, the first element of the code to support this – designed to protect original content – was deployed with the Discovery release without some key supporting elements, resulting in the issues fixed by the October 6th update.

Deployment of the supply chain capabilities may be around the end of the first quarter / start of the second quarter of 2018.

People gather for the 9:30am PDT Product Meeting at Spinnervale. Jenn is wearing the bat wings in the foreground

Other Noted Issues

  • Adding a metalness map to an object can cause it to dramatically change colour. This appears to be the unintended consequence of a fix for another issue.
  • Some people are seeing old messages and notifications re-received, generally during logging-in; friend requests me be repeated multiple times; accepting a friend request can request in the system add you as your own friend – and you can message yourself (!).
  • Some are seeing massively inflated audio emitters when working in Edit mode.
  • There are reports that items taken in Desktop mode can be “grabbed” away, either by other avatars – or even other things in a scene.
  • Some in Desktop mode have also reported that pressing and holding the mouse button to throw things doesn’t always result in a stronger throw; conversely, some in VR now have “superhuman” strength when throwing items.
  • Camera:
    • There is a report that going to free camera movement (aka flycam) by pressing F4 when in first-person view can allow the camera to pan when it is moved forwards / backwards. Although like a bug, a request was made for the feature to be retained.
    • llcameraforward camera vector behaviour is still no longer consistently tracking camera movements in third-person view (although it is still working as expected in first-person). This has been reported previously, but has not been addressed, and appears worse following the Discovery release. This is also affecting projectile behaviours as well.
  • The issue with objects appearing correctly positioned and aligned when editing a scene, and then appearing misaligned / out-of-place in the run-time experience (see here)may be related to a scaling issue, still to be fully investigated. One suggestion is that scaling using the Gizmo rather than the properties sliders can cause differences between the collision mesh and object mesh, which can cause the latter to be repositioned.
  • There is an issue with the client Atlas search – it only seems to search based on the first 3 or 4 characters in the search string.

There were some intentional changes with the Discovery release which weren’t as well represented in the release notes as they might have been. Future release notes will drill down more deeply into changes and updates to hopefully avoid this happening again.

Boden Linden (centre right and using a VR headset) talking at the 4:00pm PDT Product Meeting

Rough Time Frame for the Next Releases

  • The Friends release, focusing on social capabilities for Sansar will form the release following the Discovery release, and will likely be at the end of October / start of November.
  • According to Bjørn at the morning Product Meeting, the release after that will be the Store release, and Boden indicated that this will likely be in mid-December, as the Lab tends to close for an end-of-year break over Christmas / the New Year period.  Subject to confirmation, this release might be the first release of the clothing / fashion updates.

Sansar Camera

Third-person camera orientation doesn’t necessarily match that of the avatar, causing confusion for some. For example, I arrived in this experience with my avatar facing to the right relative to my camera. Pressing “forward” to walk didn’t turn my avatar in the direction my camera was facing (as might be expected), but rather had my avatar walking off the the right, the camera slewing around to take up position behind me

Feedback on the Sansar camera (when in third-person view) has identified points of annoyance, particularly for those used to dealing with Second Life. A couple of these can be summarised:

  • Lack of orientation relative to the avatar: when a user arrives at a spawn point in an experience, their avatar may be oriented to face a specific direction – but their camera may not be (it can be off to one side, for example. This can cause confusion with the direction the user should be facing, and disorientation when the user walks “forward”, and their avatar move from (say) left-to-right across their screen (the camera eventually swings around behind the avatar), rather than the avatar turning to walk in the direction the camera is facing as some users might expect.
  • When behind the avatar, the default third-person camera position suffers the Second Life error of being set too high above the avatar, which could potentially lead to issues of scale – again as is the case with Second Life.

Jenn and Bjørn have agreed to get someone who is working on the camera system to come along to a focus group meeting to talk through these kinds of concerns with people and determine what might be done to address them.

Continue reading “Sansar Product Meeting 2017 week #40: Discovery and more”

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Tavana Island’s autumnal beauty in Second Life

Tavana Island; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrTavana Island – click any image for full size

I was drawn to suggest Tavana Island as a place Caitlyn and I should explore on the basis it is designed by Brayan Friller (Brayan26 Friller) and Elyjia (Elyjia Baxton). They were the couple behind the gorgeous Au Petit Jour (see here for more) and The Heart of the Sea (see here for more), so I was keen to see what they had cooked up with their latest design. As it turned out, we weren’t the only ones: digging into my inventory I found Shakespeare and Max had also sent me a landmark for the region!

If there is a word to sum-up Tavana Island, it has to be “exquisite”. This is a place we and I arrived in with the intention of having a leisurely exploratory wander – and ended up spending the better part of our evening within. It’s also a place with strong echoes of Heart of the Sea – so much so, that it was easy to imagine we’d just sailed from there aboard the schooner anchored offshore, popping over the horizon to arrive at Tavana Island and then row ourselves to shore via one of the rowing bows moored down by the beach.

Tavana Island; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrTavana Island

Visitors arrive on the largest – by far – of five rugged islands. It sits towards the north-east of the region,   four of the remaining islands sweeping in an arc from west to south around it. The landing point is set close to the southern cliffs of the island, near a set of iron gates. These point the way to a set of wooden steps leading down to the beach, which looks out towards the southern isles in the group, while a gravel path runs from the leading point in the other direction, offering a route around the major sites of interest on the island.

The most obvious of these is the Tuscan villa a short distance from the landing point.  This might be a holiday home or farm-house (there is a barn nearby and both horses and sheep grazing on the island). It looks out over the waters to the north, where two outcrops of rock rise from the sea, like sentinels standing guard.

Tavana Island; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrTavana Island

A short distance way along the path from the house is a little cuddle spot and an old chapel, while those following the path from the landing point to the villa might be tempted to turn aside and take the little junction leading the way up to a grassy plateau on the south side of the island. There is a gazebo here, complete with a dance machine (with another machine out on the grass) – and the audio stream featuring music from films makes for a perfect time dancing.

I’m not certain if either of the two islands to the south which show signs of habitation are open to the public – there is no direct way to reach them. With Au Petit Jour, Elyjia and Brayan did set a small island off to one side for private use, so this might be the case here. I haven’t been able to check with them if this is the case here, so it might be better to view them from afar rather than risk unintended intrusion. There’s certainly opportunities to this, either from the sun loungers on the sand or from the rowing boats moored by the little pier at the beach, or from the grassy plateau mentioned above.

Tavana Island; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrTavana Island

There is a natural beauty to Tavana Island which makes it an absolute delight not just to visit, but to spend time enjoying, be it sitting (on land or in a rowing boat), dancing, or simply wandering and looking. There’s a subtle sound scape perfectly matching the seasonal look for the islands, so keep local sounds enabled.

All told, another superb design by Brayan and Elyjia, one more than worth time to visit. Should you do so, and enjoy your time as much as we did, please consider a donation towards the upkeep of the region for others to enjoy as well.

Tavana Island; Inara Pey, October 2017, on FlickrTavana Island

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Detectives, alien encounters and tales for Halloween

Seanchai Library

It’s time to kick-off another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, October 8th 13:30: Tea Time at Baker Street

The pages of The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, the final set of twelve Sherlock Holmes short stories first published in the Strand Magazine between October 1921 and April 1927, are once again opened for another tale from the diaries of Dr. John Watson…

This week: The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

“You will understand, Mrs. Merrilow, that if I come to Mrs. Ronder I should prefer to have a witness. You will make her understand that before we arrive.”

“Lord bless you, Mr. Holmes,” said our visitor, “she is that anxious to see you that you might bring the whole parish at your heels!”

“Then we shall come early in the afternoon. Let us see that we have our facts correct before we start. If we go over them it will help Dr. Watson to understand the situation. You say that Mrs. Ronder has been your lodger for seven years and that you have only once seen her face.”

“And I wish to God I had not!” said Mrs. Merrilow.

With these words, John Watson once again finds himself plunged into a new mystery at the side of his long-time friend, Sherlock Holmes. The year is 1896, and Holmes has asked Watson to attend 221B Baker Street to listen to the story Mrs. Merrilow has to tell of her lodger, Mrs. Ronder. Horribly disfigured, Mrs. Rounder is the surviving victim of a terrible accident after a circus lion somehow got loose and savaged her and her husband – killing him.

While the case had piqued Holmes’ curiosity on account of a number of inconsistencies, he had not been called upon to investigate matters. Now, every night, Mrs. Ronder is beside herself with fear, shouting and screaming of murder and beasts. Her health has also deteriorated, and she has refused all assistance, asking only that her landlady, Mrs. Merrilow, seek out Holmes and ask for his aid – and to repeat two works to him: Abbas Parva …

To find out more, be sure to turn up on time for a spot of afternoon tea at Baker Street!

Plus: The Case of Lady Sannox by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: No, not a mystery for The Great Detective to solve, but a sinister short story from 1893 of how revenge is sought as a result of a notorious affair between a famed surgeon and the Lady of the story’s title.

Monday, October 9th 19:00: Reckoning Infinity

Gyro Muggins reads John E. Stith’s alien first contact story, once described as “Rendezvous with Rama meets James and the Giant Peach“!

Lieutenant Commander Alis Mary Nussem, her body partially bionic, isn’t to happy about finding herself aboard the same space vessel as the man she deems responsible for the accident which robbed her of a part of her natural body. However, she must put aside her differences with scientist Karl Stanton when a massive object enters the solar system, apparently on course to be swallowed by the Sun – but not before it will collide with a space station in Earth orbit.

Ordered to investigate the object, which is as large as a moon and quickly given the name “Cantaloupe,” Nussem, Stanton and the crew of their ship rendezvous with it, only to find they are not the first: the wreck of another vessel lies on the surface, a hole drilled into the object close by. The only means of entry to the Cantaloupe, Nussem and Stanton lead a team down through it – to make a stunning discovery.

Like Nussem, Cantaloupe is an bio-mechanical entity. It is alive, but it’s interior also have pipes, elevators chambers and more within. But it is also a place of danger – as Nussem and her also companions quickly discover – some to their cost. It’s also a place of unexpected surprises, as the crew’s biggest discovery proves…

Tuesday, October 10th 19:00: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

As All Hallows creeps ever closer, how better than to get in the mood than with some classic tales of horror and spookiness from literature?

Perhaps one of the most well-known (and well-loved) stories of dark hauntings is Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which is also one of the earliest examples of American literature of enduring popularity.

While setting his tale in post-revolutionary America in the year 1790, Irving in fact wrote the sorry tale of school teacher Ichabod Crane and his ill-fated encounter with the Headless Horseman in 1819 while visiting England, where his also penned Rip Van Winkle.

Both The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle first appeared in print in his serial The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, which also marked Irving’s first use of that pen name. As with Rip Van Winkle, Irving claims he first heard about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow from “Diedrich Knickerbocker”, a fictional “Dutch Historian”.

With Caledonia Skytower (also presented in Kitely  hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/108/609/1528).

Wednesday, October 11th, 19:00 The Water Mirror

Faerie Maven-Pralou reads Kei Meyer’s tale of magic.

Merle is apprenticed to a maker of magic mirrors. She even has one of her own, with a surface of water into which she can reach without ever getting wet – magic being a relatively common thing in Venice. Meanwhile, her friend Serafin, once a master thief, now works for a weaver of magic cloth.

Both Merle and Serafin accept the wonders of the city, from the mermaids in the canal to the stone lions on which the city guards ride on their patrols. But all is not well; beyond the walls of the city, the Egyptian Empire is laying siege, an army of mummy warriors and flying sunbarks held at bay by the power of the Flowing Queen, which runs through the city’s canals and hold the enemy forces at bay.

Then Merle and Serafin overhear a plot to capture the Flowing Queen and render the city defenceless. And while no-one actually knows what the Queen looks like, they set out to protect and / or rescue her. In doing so, they must ally themselves with the Ancient Traitor and journey into the realm of Dark Reflections…

Thursday, October 12th 19:00 Zombies!

With  Shandon Loring (also presented in Kitely hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/108/609/1528).

Advanced Notice!

Sunday October 22nd 13:00-15:00: Ghostly Tales

Seanchai Library and friends gather at Kultivate Magazine’s Scare Me Silly fund-raiser on behalf of Team Diabetes SL, for spooky, chilling tales of the season.

Sunday, October 29th 13:00-15:00 The 2nd Annual Holly Kai GREAT BOO!

Scary stories followed by music and dancing. Possibly more!  Stay Tuned!

 


Please check with the Seanchai Library’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule.

The featured charity for August and September is Little Kids Rock, transforming lives by restoring, expanding, and innovating music education in schools.