Sansar Product Meetings week #8: communication

Sansar: Treehouse Overlook

The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meetings for 2018 week #8,  held at 14:00 PST on Tuesday, February 20th. Unfortunately, illness kept me from attending the second meeting on socialisation, held on Thursday, February 22nd.

These weekly Product Meetings are open to anyone to attend, are a mix of voice (primarily) and text chat. 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.

Communications – Ideas from the Lab

The following is a list of some of the communications elements the Lab is actively investigating for Sansar. Note none of the following currently has a delivery time frame associated with it.

  • Group chat: somewhat similar in nature of SL conference calls: starting an IM with someone and then inviting others into it, to allow a select number of people to jointly converse together privately in Sansar as a whole (e.g. when in an experience or browsing the Atlas or working in LookBook).
  • Multiple instance communications: currently, users can only converse with one another in open chat if they are all in the same instance of an experience. The Lab would like to broaden this to allow some form of open chat between users in different instances of the same experience.
  • Broadcasting: the ability of nominated people in one instance of an experience to “broadcast” out to all other instances of that experience. This is being developed specifically for events such as presentations, concerts, etc.
  • Chat App improvements: including time stamps, and hopefully copy / paste – the problem being here that at the moment, the Chat App UI can break if trying to copy a large swathe of text. Hence why the option was disabled.

Ideas that are not currently being pursued, but may be considered in time include:

  • The ability to see where friends are in Sansar and teleport to them.
  • The ability to send a teleport invitation to friends to have them join you in an experience.
  • The ability for users to engage in private, one-to-one Voice conversations (Voice IMs, so to speak).

Voice Chat

A number of issues have been identified with Voice chat:

  • Audio occlusion: this does not always work as expected, allowing shows from part of an experience to bleed into a neighbouring part, even if the two are separated by a solid wall.
  • Voice roll-off: it’s been noticed that recent changes mean that where there was a clear break between different voice chat sessions scattered over an experience, there can now be times when multiple conversation overlap, potentially confusing the listener as they move around.
  • There needs to be a quick, effective means to focus in on someone talking in a group, which can be applied to both Desktop and VR modes.
  • there needs to be a more granular approach to being able to adjust the volume at which a users hears those around them talking.

Text Chat in VR

The Lab is looking at ways to surface text chat in VR mode, so that VR users can read what is going on in text and respond to it via Voice. This alone would be a huge improvement, given that in groups are VR dominant, anyone using Desktop text chat is essentially ostracised, as one of the VR users can see what they have typed.

User Profiles

Spanning both communication and socialisation is the user profile. Familiar to everyone in Second Life, it has been lacking any kind of implementation in Sansar. However, this is now changing.  Being prepared for a future release is the first iteration of a Sansar user profile. This will initially include:

  • The user name and an avatar head shot (obtained via the LookBook).
  • A field in which a short biography can be added.
  • And option to friend others through their profiles.

Additional options such as instant messaging, recording an avatar’s rez date and having a field in which notes on an avatar can be recorded.

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