2018 Sansar Product Meetings week #5: Find and Connect

David Hall’s Dwarven Fortress – setting for the Friday afternoon Product Meeting

The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meetings held at 9:30am and 4:00pm PST on Friday, February 2nd, 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.

Meeting Changes

Up until now, the Product Meetings have been free-form, general Q&A sessions, largely guided by whoever from the Lab’s Sansar team has been able to join each meeting. In the future, there is liable to be more of a roadmap to meetings, with advanced notice being given on specific subject matter experts from the Lab who will be attending each meeting, to allow for more focused discussions on topics, with Q&A on the specific subjects being covered. These changes may start with week #6 (commencing Monday, February 5th, 2018), or shortly thereafter.

Free Creator Subscription Period Ends

On Thursday, February 1st, 2018, the “Free Creator Preview” period closed for Sansar users. The announcement was made via e-mail, and means those not on a subscription plan have been downgraded to the Free account status, and limited to just three experiences.

Those who have created more experiences under the Preview period are able to save the scenes for all there experiences, allowing them to swap between published experiences, but can only have three published for public access at any one time. Specific issues with changes required by the ending of the Preview period should be raised with support. Details on Sansar subscription packages for those wanting to have more than three active experiences can be found here.

Find and Connect Release

The January 2018 Sansar release, previously referred to as”Release 17″, now called Find and Connect, was deployed on Friday, February 2nd, 2018. The release notes are available on the Sansar website – please refer to these for a complete breakdown of the release contents, particularly fixes and known issues. The following is a summary of the major updates and initial feeback.

Atlas

The Client Atlas now includes a popularity search option and a concurrency indicator for experiences.

  • When selected from the sort drop-down menu (see below), the Popularity option orders the listed experiences in a tab by current real-time use, so those with avatars actually visiting them will be listed first.
  • Experiences with avatars in them have a concurrency indicator in the top left corner of their thumbnail image. This is a near real-time indicator that the experience is in use at the time it is seen in the Atlas.
Client Atlas: popularity in sort drop-down (circled, right), and the concurrency indicators (highlighted in the top three thumbnails) available for all experiences with avatars in them on all tabs

Note: while listed in the Find and Connect release notes, these two updates were actually released on January 22nd, 2018.

Event times in the Atlas (client and web) are now displayed in local time, and no longer only in PST. So if you are on the East Coast, the time will be displayed in EST / EDT; in the UK the time will display in BST or GMT, etc.

Experience Loading Progress Indicators

Indirectly linked to the Atlas, and in response to numerous requests, the splash screens for experiences now display a progress bar and status notices on the condition of the loading process (e.g.  “loading scene resources”, “loading avatar”, etc.).

This is a first pass at offering a progress bar, and the hope is it can be further refined to be more informative, particularly as the load process can seem to pause whilst loading an uncached experience. Ideas being considered are a percentage count, a count of assets loaded (e.g. 23 out of 96 or something), but no decisions at this time, as any count – percent, assets, etc., can still be subject to pauses which can give the appearance that the load has stalled.

Experience splash screen with progress bar and status notices

Audio

  • Live Streaming: live video streaming from Twitch and YouTube.
  • Multiple sound streams: multiple sound streams can be attached to a scene with easy changing between channels, and labels can be assigned to each.
  • Multiple audio emitters: sound streams or a media stream’s sound can be played across multiple emitters in your scene.
  • Play media stream sounds in the background: audio output of media streams can be channelled to play globally in an experience.

Avatar And Clothing

  • The avatar rest pose in Desktop Mode has been revised, as the “looking over each shoulder” action recently introduced didn’t find favour. Instead, the avatar moves in a more subtle and natural manner.
  • The underwear skinning for the female avatar has been revised to reduce the areas covered by the bra and (hopefully) make it easier for clothing creators to produce designs such as backless gowns, etc. This should not affect already uploaded clothing.
  • The knowledge base documentation previously stated that hair should not be more than 5,000 triangles. This should have been 8,000 triangles and has now been amended.
  • The Lookbook has received a lot of optimisation and intelligent caching to reduce load times.
  • Marvelous Design updates:
    • Marvelous Designer creator resources updated, and creators are encouraged to update to the latest skeleton to ensure all new clothing will upload to Sansar. This should not affect existing clothing in Sansar / the Sansar Store.
    • Cloth simulation is a lot smoother in the Lookbook.
    • The latest MD update allows users to use UV maps on the UV guide and fixes issues with exporting clothing to .SAMD. See here for more.
  • Known Issue: following the update, all “ear” attachments vanished from Lookbook (avatar app). This is being looked into.
  • Known issue: avatar head movement in VR mode is constrained (e.g. the head will turn more in one direction than the other). There is a fix for this that didn’t make the cut for this release.

Buiding

  • New terrain paint tools:
    • New flood fill and erase tools for easier terrain painting.
    • New Paint tools: these now include new flood fill and erase tools for easier terrain painting.
    • Blending support: it is now possible to overlay and blend colours.
    • Known issue: blending on the desert terrain can produce undesired results, and is being investigated.
  • New terrain sculpts:  four new editable terrain sculpts (e.g. hilly) added to inventory, to avoid having to start with a flat terrain map.
    • Default textures no longer automatically applied to terrain sculpts; instead, textures can be applied from the terrain sculpt’s object properties material type list.
  • Building Gizmo updated: when using one of the gizmo’s sliders the others will be disappear (e.g. using the blue slider will cause the red and green to vanish until control of the blue slider is relinquished).
  • Bloom effect: it is now possible to adjust the glow “bloom” on in-scene object lights. This may have been part of the last major release, but was undocumented at the time. Available from the scene settings.

Inventory

  • New tabs for created, purchased and system objects.
    • Inventory starter items have been moved under the “Purchased” tab in the inventory.
  • Inventory search:
    • Currently by object name only, and searches are limited to the currently selected tab.
    • Partial names are support for the search.
    • Keeping All Categories check is preferable.
    • Boolean searches currently not supported.
  • Improved item filtering.

Scripting

  • New SimpleScript base class to make getting started writing a script just a bit easier.
  • New examples.csproj contains the C# scripting examples in an easy to use format and uses fixed API .dlls that don’t crash VS2017.
  • All Subscribe methods now return an IEventSubscription object that can be used to unsubscribe from the events.
  • New optional Run action on WaitFor to run after the subscription but before waiting. This closes a potential race condition in cross script communication.
  • Bug fixes for memory use, User add/remove events, co-routine performance, and the keyboard command API.
  • New script APIs to play streams (media or audio)
  • See Script API updates for detailed information on these updates.

Sansar Store

The following are not part of the January release, but were referenced during the meetings.

Tags

The ability to tag Store listings was added as a part of the January 22nd, 2018 update. Just as points of clarification:

  • Up to 5 tags can be applied to a listing at present.
  • Tags cannot, at this time, be searched upon.
  • Clicking a tag name will display a list of all items using that tag.

See the Store Listing Guidelines for information on Store tags.

Pagination

Pagination has been added to the store to overcome issues with infinite scrolling in some of the Store display options (e.g. displaying All store items). It also allows for pages to be bookmarked, if needed.

Marvelous Designer Discounts

A reminder that those signing-up to a Sansar subscription package can claim a discount on monthly Marvelous Designer subscriptions (US $50.00 per month), as follows:

  • Sansar Creator: 10% off.
  • Sansar Super Creator: 30% off.
  • Sansar Professional: 50% off.

In Brief

  • It has been requested that the male avatar underwear is cut a little lower to allow for hipster jeans, etc.
  • Chat capabilities are coming the to Atlas and Lookbook (avatar appearance app) to allow IM messaging to be seen and responded to when not in an experience.
  • Merchant dashboard: not currently on the roadmap, but under consideration is a “merchant’s dashboard” for the Sansar Store, which will allow creators to gain more feedback on sales (e.g. quantities of items sold, breakdown of purchasers, etc.).
  • Some of the colour picker panels in the Edit mode and Lookbook can display off-screen on smaller screens. This is a recognised issue and is being looked at.
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