The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meetings held at 9:30am and 4:00pm PST on Friday, January 26th, 2018. These Product Meetings are open to anyone to attend, are a mix of voice (primarily) and text chat, and there is currently no set agenda. The official meeting notes are published in the week following each pair of meetings, while venues change each week, and are listed in the Meet-up Announcements and the Sansar Atlas events sections.
Nyx, Cara and Carolyn from the product team joined Jennifer for the meetings.
- Filter / sort / search: the Lab is trying to fine-tune inventory to allow better sorting and filtering. This will hopefully include a search by item name function. This is seen as the first improvement to inventory for 2018, and at the time of writing was still being worked on, so it is not clear if tit will make the January release (Release 17 – see below for a re-cap on this).
- Folders: inventory folders are frequently requested. These are now something the Lab hopes to start working on “soon”.
- Scene Templates: the scene templates (currently available from the Scene Template drop-down list to the System Object menu to allow for easier drag-and-drop of scene templates at any time.
As note on my 2018 week #3 notes, the January release is simply called “Release 17” by the Lab, and focuses on:
- Bug fixes.
- Performance improvements – for example, the amount of data sent to the client for avatar and dynamic object animations has been reduced by some 60%, which will hopefully make things more fluid for users in busy experiences.
- An experience loading progress bar has been coded, although the scene loading page has yet to be revised to show it, and it is hoped this will be in Release 17, or deployed shortly thereafter.
At the time of writing, the Lab is aiming to deploy the release around mid-week in week #5 (commencing Monday, January 29th, 2018).
Valentine’s Day Store “Express Your Love” Event
Jennifer has blogged about a special Valentine’s Day store event called Express Your Love. It has a very short lead-time (official closing date January 31st, 2018, although submissions may still be accepted beyond that), and creators are invited to submit wearables / clothing with a strong Valentine’s Day theme (e.g. chocolates, roses, jewellery in the case of wearables, gowns or suits for a romantic evening out for clothing) for inclusion in a special Sansar Store Valentine’s Day collection, which will be available from February 1st through February 14th.
Attachment Poly Counts / MD Issues
Currently the poly count for individual avatar attachment is restricted to 15K triangles. As the Lab is looking at various optimisations to help improve Sansar’s performance, this is unlikely to change in the immediate future. Some of the requests to increase the poly count is as a result of issues being encountered in using Marvelous Designer (MD). Cara understands that higher poly counts can be avoided when importing MD clothing if the particle distance is not smaller than 20mm – which matches that of the Sansar avatar. It is acknowledged that this may cause problems in some designs, and so is offered as a suggestion, rather than a hard-and-fast recommendation.
Suggestions have been made on how complex clothing might be better handled, such as splitting a rigged gown into two parts, but having them annotated such that they are handled within Sansar as a single item when worn. In response, Nyx reiterated that what was made available in the Fashion Release was only an initial release, and the Lab are looking at further refinements and improvement options, so final limits on things like poly counts and options for handling clothing and attachments are still being examined and considered.
Functionality over Immersion?
While not ideal, Second Life does have the floating dot over people’s heads, and the visible green sound bars flashing when someone is actually speaking. This eases locating someone talking at a meeting a lot easier (as can having the people floater open and checking for the voice indicator there).
A similar approach in Sansar has been seen by the Lab as “immersion breaking”, but its is now being recognised as there needs to be some easier means to locating who is speaking rather than trying to spot moving avatar lips. Suggests put forward for such a capability include:
- A voice indicator in Sansar’s people floater.
- An auto-rezzing “speaker’s stick” indicator that automatically rezzes in front of (or over?) the avatar of someone speaking, and vanishes when they are silent.
- Product updates: the Lab is working on a mechanism to allow creators to offer product updates to purchasers.
- Merchant / customer communications: offering merchants the ability to better communicate with their customers is on the radar and being looked at.
- Gifts / Gifting: the ability to gift items in the Store to people is “on the radar”, but is seen as lower on the priority list, so no work has started on it as yet.
- Building Gizmo: it’s been noted that the gizmo used to move and position models in a scene is not easy to see and manipulate when handling very large models. The Lab is a ware of this and looking at options for improving the tool.
- Level of detail: there are plans to add level of detail (LOD) capabilities / optimisations to Sansar, but these are still a little further down the road.
- Advertising outreach: options for people to be able to better advertise / promote goods, services, activities, etc., are being thought about. These could include user profiles and group options similar to those found in SL; an ability to “follow” others and receive updates and notifications from them, etc.
- Events promotion: the Lab is working on a mechanism for people to submit their own Sansar events directly to the events calendar without having to e-mail a member of the Community team. This will not be in Release 17, but will hopefully be deployed in a future release update.
- Improved Desktop Mode interactivity options: the ability to click on buttons, etc., in Desktop Mode, is being looked into, and additional engineering expertise has been brought in to work on interactivity in Sansar in general.
- Sitting: an initial ability to allow avatars to sit is being investigated. Avatar animations in general are also being considered – please refer to recent Product Meeting notes in these pages for more.
- Chat: improvements to Sansar’s chat capabilities are being planned, including things like group chat sessions independent of people all being in the same experience, etc., and it is hoped these will start being deployed later in 2018.
- The Chat App currently does not support copy from the chat history. However, the Lab is looking into trying to offer a text copy capability within the local chat window once more (the “original” ability to do so having been a bug).
- PayPal support: still on the road map, but no work carried out as yet.
- Subscription plans & experiences: there are currently no plans to change the current number of experiences per Sansar subscription plan.