The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meeting held at 16:00 PST on Thursday, February 15th, 2018. are open to anyone to attend, are a mix of voice (primarily) and text chat, and there is currently no set agenda.Dates and times are currently floating, so check the Meet-up Announcements and the Sansar Atlas events sections each week. Official notes, when published can be found here.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Tuesday, February 13th Product Meeting for week #7.
New User / On-Boarding Process
As noted in recent Sansar project updates (see 2018 week #3 for example), this is a priority for the Lab: making the new user sign-up and on-boarding smoother, possibly with fewer steps and hopefully (in the future) providing the means for experience owners to engage directly with their own audience through the events listing, their own web page with a URL to their experience and bring that audience of new users directly into their own experiences. The Lab has been looking at a number of possible options for direct on-boarding, including something akin to Second Life’s Social and Learning islands.
Introducing Sansar to an Audience
Related to on-boarding is the idea of how to introduce Sansar to a new audience. Like Second Life, Sansar isn’t a game; there are no goals to work towards, no achievements to gain, no quests to be completed per se (although individual experiences can obviously include these). Therefore, providing videos, live streams, etc., which might help newcomers understand Sansar is a difficult topic to encompass.
- One suggestion is to focus on the common elements within Sansar – such as the form-form ability to create environments, or the ability to participate in the economy either as a creator or a consumer (or indeed, a consumer-creator), and make “let’s play” style videos.
- This could would well for the consumer-creator especially: showing how someone not versed in Maya, Blender, ZPaint, etc., can enter Sansar, come up with an experience idea, purchase items through the store and then create an experience and using the Edit Mode to lay things out and then set-up an Atlas presence and bring people into that space.
- A problem with a “creation” perspective videos is that they might only appeal to a small percentage of a potential audience – simply because a) creation is complex in Sansar (even for the consumer-creator) in using the Edit Mode; and b) many people are looking for more-or-less for instant gratification. So having a focus on what people might find and do could be more effective.
- Another suggestion is to have videos of the community meet-ups and the Top Five videos better promoted.
Audience Identification and Outreach
Part of the problem with encouraging an audience into Sansar is actually identifying that audience. Again, this is not a “one stop shop” like a conventional game. Those running a social environment for discussions and conversation in Sansar aren’t necessarily seeking the same audience as those making a learning or historical experience, who in turn aren’t necessarily going to be looking to the same audience as a sci-fi role-play experience. Thus, consideration must be given to experience creators finding their own channels to reach their preferred audience – be it YouTube or some other video outlet, forums, etc.
Is Sansar Ready for a Bigger Audience?
This is a chicken-and-egg question: users are need to drive adoption and grow content. Content is needed to attract users and engagement – content here not only being experiences and mesh models etc., but the platform’s capabilities: users being able to interact with one another and with the environment, etc. Right now, and in many respects, Sansar isn’t ready for a broader audience, simply because it isn’t capable of supporting these broader / deeper levels of activity. Focused communities cannot easily be managed, for example, because there is no mechanism (platform content / capability) to be able to do so.
This is already potentially leading to people visiting Sansar and walking away with the impression it is just a pretty place with nothing to do – so how to engage with these people and encourage them back needs to be considered and made a part of thinking, rather than – for the time being at least – simply looking to try to attract people in from elsewhere in greater numbers, by it from the world at large or SL or other platforms.
Social aspect of Sansar are picking up – look at the events listings during the week (not so much at weekends as yet). However, these can be very close-knit (for example, the preference is for voice chat, not text – which can be off-putting for those who do not wish to use – and equally importantly, if often overlooked – people who do not wish to hear chatter. Voice, frankly can be off-putting socially, simply because so many people don’t have the wherewithal to toggle their microphones off when not speaking, often leaving disconcerting background noise, conversations with other in the physical world with them, and so on.
On-Boarding / New Users Focus Group Discussion
On-boarding is liable to be the subject of a focus group meeting in the near future.
- Experience access control: currently, access to an experience can be limited to those on the creator’s Friends list. The next element – possibly to be rolled-out in the March update (ish) will be the ability to govern access via a white list of names. Anyone not listed for access won’t see the experience on their Atlas.
- Sansar roadmap: this will likely be a focus for the Product Meet-ups in week #8 (commencing Monday, February 19th, 2018).
- Improved object interactions: the ability to touch-interact with objects (e,g, touch a book and it opens, click a switch and a lights come on, etc)., are being worked on – but the Lab is sensitive to developing these capabilities so that such capabilities can be scaled and grow to meet a broad a range of needs as possible, rather than pushing the capabilities out quickly “to give people something to do”, and then having to revise them, possibly breaking content.
- Windows Mix Reality Headsets: some people have been trying Windows Mixed Reality headsets with Sansar. While Sansar doesn’t officially support these headsets, people are finding the work, but the avatar arms don’t respond to the user’s hand / arm movements, even those the available VR interaction (picking up objects, etc), does work.