On Tuesday, October 31st, Linden Lab updated Sansar with the Friends release, the October end 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.
The title of the release is intended to convey the idea that the update is intended to make social interactions easier – such as identifying avatars in Desktop mode and searching for other users. However, the release covers a lot more than this, with improvements to scripting, searching, the Store, publishing experiences and getting information.
Identifying Avatars in Desktop Mode
The Friends release adds the capability to identify avatars in Desktop Mode in a similar manner to that used by VR Mode.
With this release, users in Desktop mode can now hover the mouse pointer over an avatar to display the Avatar Name and Avatar ID. A left-click on the avatar will additionally display buttons to audio mute them, or add them as a friend. If the avatar in question is already a friend, the second button will allow them to be removed as a Friends, if desired (as shown in the image below, right).
The People app within the client now includes the ability to search for people, allowing you to make friends with others without necessarily having to be in the same experience to connect with them.
To locate another user / avatar, open Chat in the Sansar client, and then click on the People button to display the People app. Click on the Search tab to open the search bar (circled below left), type in the Avatar ID for the person you wish to find and click Search. Note that this has to be the Avatar ID not the Avatar Name because the latter are not unique to a particular user. Also, do not include the “@” preceding the Avatar ID.
Providing an accurate Avatar ID has been entered, it will be displayed below the search bar. Clicking on it will display the options to Friend or Audio Mute the avatar in question (the Message option will be available once a Friend offer has been accepted.
It is now possible to sort experiences in both the Client Atlas and the Web Atlas. Entries can be sorted in A to Z order, by recently created or recently updated. The search options are available on the All and Sansar Studios tabs on both versions of the Atlas (it is not available of the Client Atlas Featured tab or the Web Atlas Home tab), and can be found in the top right corner of the Atlas.
Also, and with reference to reference to the Web Atlas, the Search bar on Sansar Atlas, Store and Help web pages have been enlarged to make them more obvious.
In-Client Access to Controls Documentation
The Friends release adds a new option to the client allowing users to directly access the Sansar controls top-level page, which in turn provides links to Sansar’s Keyboard shortcuts, Game controller buttons and VR controls.
The new option, called Control Info can be accessed via the Client More Options, available from both with experiences (shown on the right) and from the Atlas display.
The following scripting updates are included with the Friends release:
- Trigger collision events on animated and static objects: it is now possible to trigger collision events against animated objects, and it is no longer necessary to set objects to dynamic to trigger collision events with them.
- New Reflective base class: to allow different scripts to work more efficiently together.
- Script property metadata attributes: scripts now have added support for the following attributes: Default, Range, DisplayName.
- Script event/messaging passing: new APIs SubscribeToScriptEvent and PostScriptEvent make it easier for scripts to communicate using the new Reflective class. See the ScriptBase page.
Other Updates of Note
The Friends update also includes:
- Voice chat adjustment: to make voices more audible in Sansar.
- Revised experience publish flow: refer to the updated publishing guide for more.
- New Featured tab in the Store: listing store items the Sansar editorial team have selected.
In addition, please refer to the release notes for a full list resolved / known issues, new and updated Knowledge Base articles.
A Note on The Events Feature
Originally planned to be a part of the Friends release, the new events feature which will likely form a part of the Web Atlas, is now slated to appear “soon after” this release.
A useful release, particularly for those who prefer using Sansar in Desktop mode, where the ability to identify other avatars has been sorely lacking. The new / updated scripting capabilities are likely to see plenty of use and make for some interesting new options within experiences. I’ll likely have more feedback on this release following the product Meeting on Friday, November 3rd.