The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meetings held on Thursday, October 26th, a day early to allow for the 1st Sansar Halloween Blitz Dodge Cannon Ball Tournament, which is being held on Friday, October 27th, 2017 – see here for more.
Product meetings are usually held every Friday at 9:30am PDT and 4:00pm PDT, and are open to all. There is currently no set agenda, 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 26th meetings took place at Darkwood Forest by C3rb3rus. Product team members Cara and Carolyn attended the morning and afternoon sessions respectively, together with Torley and Brett, respectively. Jenn, as usual, led proceedings. I did miss a portion of the morning session, as everyone ran away while I had to go AFK (meanies! 😀 ), so the official write-up may cover topics not mentioned here.
The next release, currently targeted for Tuesday, October 31st, starting at around 11:00am SLT. This means that Sansar will be down for around 90 minutes. An outline of some of the features to be included in the release were previewed at the start of October, and further information is given below.
- Connecting with people: it will be possible to search for people by name via the client’s People App and send them Friend requests to add them to your Friends list. However, because Avatar Names are not unique, and can only be verified via Avatar ID, searches must be via Avatar ID.
- Desktop mode avatar identification: it will be possible to identify people round you in Desktop mode, by clicking on them to display their Avatar Name / Avatar ID. This will also allow you to Friend / audio mute an avatar.
- Sort client Atlas entries: the sort options recently added to the web version of the Atlas (e.g. those under the All, Sansar Studios, and creator tabs) will be available in the client Atlas. sorting as a whole is also improved.
- Trigger collision events on non-dynamic objects: it will be possible to trigger events on non-physical and static objects. This also mean that scripts triggering events can be attached to animated objects.
- New scripting APIs: details, however, still TBC.
- Publish work flow: the experience publish work flow includes additional contextual dialogue designed to make the process more intuitive.
- Documentation: Links within the UI (presumably leaning towards the UI’s Edit Mode) to Knowledge Base articles.
- Website calendar: to advertise events such as the daily meet-ups and the weekly Product Meetings, with links to the host experience. This will eventually be expanded to the client, and to include creator / community events.
A new feature in the works is for promoting events. This was intended to be part of the Friends release, but at the time of the October 26th Product Meetings, it looked as if it will slip to a separate update, following “soon after” the Friends release. This will:
- Initially be a “little section” on the Web Atlas which can be expanded to see more events.
- Be expanded in future iterations – although exactly what form it will take (Events tab in the Atlas? A calendar?) is still under discussion at the Lab.
- Include a means (most likely an e-mail address) through which event organisers can submit their events for inclusion in the listing.
- The initial Fashion release is currently on-track for around mid-December 2017.
- The Lab will be extending invitations to creators to join a beta testing group for the fashion capabilities. This will be a selected group, and subject to NDA due to some proprietary aspects of the fashion capabilities.
Audio Discussions and Torley’s Tips
Sounds approaching white noise (e.g. background “swooshing” style noises) can be broken up through camera issues. This is a known issue, and should improve when the Lab has full audio stream integration in the future, which is currently waiting on some third-party fixes.
While it has not been confirmed as something the Lab will implement, there has been discussion around possibly adding controllable fall-off curves for sounds in Sansar in the future. In addition, Torley has been experimenting with how reverb can be used (e.g. for enhancing echoes, etc). Galen has also put forward a suggestion for handling reverb.
Torley also offered some sound design tips:
- If using a relatively constant background noise (e.g. a engine rumble), rather than using a single large emitter, or several very large overlapping emitters using the same sound, try using multiple emitters using variations of the sound. This prevents it becoming too homogeneous and can introduce subtle variations that add depth.
- Use large audio blocks as a means to initially map the background sounds in a scene, then refine by differentiating the sounds into smaller areas, duplicating and varying as required, then add more focused sounds to build the layering.
- Only use point emitters for sounds in very localised situations (e.g. a sound emanating from a specific point). For fall-off, spherical emitters are better than square emitters.
- See Torley’s Sansar Audio Tips’n’Tricks blog post for more.
Resource Opacity and Colour Coding in Edit Mode
Resources such as audio volumes.etc., have a level of opacity assigned to them, defined by the physics engine. Requests have been made to offer greater variance in the level of opacity / transparent in various resource types, and this is something the Lab is examining, particularly as the layering of resources in a scene is liable to become more complex. Similarly, consideration is being given to changing the colour coding used in the Edit mode, as this can cause issues for people with colour vision issues.
- Listing / product updates: adding the ability to offer product updates remains a “high priority” for the Lab, although it is seen as having a complex series of interactions (e.g. with licensing / permissions and the proposed supply chain economy), such that implementation isn’t as straightforward as it might appear. However, the increasing need to update “standalone” products and present them to customers (e.g. so that products can keep pace with things like scripting improvements) has been recognised and is also being discussed at the Lab.
- Product ratings: one outcome of the recent Store focus groups was a preference to so product ratings removed from listings. Currently, there’s no time frame on if / when this might be done.
- Web search bar: the placement / visibility of the search bar on Sansar web pages was improved with an update on Wednesday, October 25th.
- Collision (?) Crashes: there is a potential client / experience crash which may be related to collisions with physical objects (e.g. get hit by a ball thrown by someone once or a number of times, and the experience may crash). It doesn’t happen with every collision with physical objects, nor is it necessarily related to the volume of collisions occurring within an experience. Galen has identified the crashes may be linked to an experience having a large number of complex surfaces, the speed at which items may be moving – the faster the physical object(s) is/are travelling, the more they might be prone to crashing the experience.
- VR Friend Request Issues: some have noticed issues trying to accept / give Friend requests in VR mode. These appear to be related to the accuracy of the gaze pointer and the HTC Vive controllers perhaps more than Oculus Touch controllers. The Lab is aware of the problem and investigating it.
- More granular control over animated objects: the Lab is planning to provide better control over animated objects via scripts (start, stop, point from which they animate, point at which they stop animating, etc), in time.
- Resource metrics: Galen has requested the addition of a new tab to the Debug dashboard which would allow creators check their resource utilisation (e.g. server CPU and memory use), FPS, etc., in order to better optimise their work (particularly where scripts are concerned) . This has been taken aboard by the Lab as a means to help creators in optimising their experiences.
- Revise dynamic object highlighting in Desktop mode for better control: currently, any dynamic object is highlighted in blue in Desktop mode, whether or not it is intended to be held by an avatar. This can lead to people trying to pick up scripted dynamic objects that are not intended to be held, risking them being repositioned or even crashing the experience. SIN has requested that the blue highlighting is updated so it can be toggled on / off by creators according to whether or not an objects can be held, to remove user confusion (as well as requesting the crash issue itself be looked at).
- Bug Fix Release: each Sansar release includes bug fixes, as do updates. However, the Lab is considering focusing an early 2018 release on the list of bugs / issues which don’t make it into a release or update as they are not necessarily seen as urgent.
- Adult Content in Sansar: allowing adult in Sansar is currently not on the roadmap.