Sansar Product Meetings #11/1: mid-March release news

Pierre (centre, in sunglasses) and Cara (to his left, with wings) discussing the upcoming mid-March Sansar release on Tuesday, March 13th at Skye Naturae Virtualis

The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meeting held on Tuesday, March 13th. 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.

Originally, the subject for the meeting had been listed as being the Sansar avatar. However, this was updated to a discussion about the upcoming “mid month” Sansar release.

Overview

March 2018 will see a “mid-month” release for Sansar – the exact date is still TBA, and it is being made because  a number of features are available earlier than the Lab had anticipated, and which Linden Lab is keen to get in front of users.

The following is a high-level overview of what to expect. Obviously, I’ll have more information on this when the release is deployed, and the release notes are available.

Performance Improvements

The Lab convened a “strike team” to address a number of performance issues, and the upcoming release should be marked by a umber of performance improvements.

Terrain Editor and Performance

One of the findings from the performance investigations is that the terrain editor used to sculpt height maps from within Sansar, and the terrains edited using it, can have a significant performance impact in both Edit and Run-time modes. There is no quick fix for this at present, as the terrain editor requires a significant amount of work, and the resources aren’t available at the moment. Because of this:

  • The terrain editor will be disabled with the next release.
  • There’s no date as to when a replace terrain editing system will be implemented.
  • Between now and the end of April, creators who have extensively used the terrain editor and height maps to produce terrain in their scenes / experiences, will be asked to remove / delete their existing terrain sculpts with tiles made via alternative means (e.g. custom made externally and uploaded for “as-is” use).

Pierre outlines the terrain editor issue

This means that with the mid-March update:

  • It will no longer be possible to upload new height maps.
  • It will no longer be possible to list new height maps on the Store, either uploaded or those already in inventory.
  • Creators who have placed height maps on the Store will be asked if they could unlist them to prevent people for purchasing them and using them in their scenes.
  • It will no longer be possible to paint, sculpt, reposition, rotate, etc., terrain in  scene.
  • It will no longer be possible to pull terrain sculpts from inventory for use in a scene.
  • Terrain elements will still work as expected in published experiences, but again, they will not be editable within the experience’s scene.

Then, between the mid-March update and the end of April:

  • Creators will be encouraged to remove / delete custom terrain sculpts as noted above, and replace them.
  • Terrain maps not removed by the end of April will be replaced by a place-holder item.
  • To help people get to grips with creating and uploading terrain elements, the Lab will be providing a new Sansar knowledge base article.

Feedback from those at the meeting:

  • A request has been made that the Lab allow higher resolution textures to be used with uploaded terrain tiles, particularly where larger experiences are concerned.
  • Another request was made for the Lab to make at least some of the scene template elements (e.g. the rocks and cliffs) available through the Store so that experience creators would have some “pre-built” terrain elements they could use.

Both ideas are being taken back to the Lab for consideration.

Events Creation

As reported in my week #10 update, with this upcoming release it will be possible for Sansar experience owners to create their own event listings.

  • The option to create an event – a meet-up, game, tour, and so on will only be in the client (it will not be possible to create events from the web).
  • Using the client, it will be possible to set the location, date, time and duration of an event (presumably with some form of description, although this wasn’t specified in the meeting).
  • Once created, all events will be displayed in both the client Atlas events section and on the Sansar Events page.

Scripting Improvements

Script Update Capability

With the upcoming release, scripters will be able to offer updates to their scripts listed on the  Sansar Store. The basic process will be:

  • Update the script and upload it to inventory.
  • In the client, locate the revised script, right-click on it and select the “Replace Item on Store” option.
  • This will take the script creator through a workflow to replace an existing script associated with a Store listing with the updated script.
    • If required, the listing can also be updated to include release notes or details of changes made to the script.
  • Those who then wish to update their versions of the script can then go to the store and download the update (which will be added to their inventory without deleting / replacing the original version) or, if they prefer, just keep using the original.

This functionality has been implemented and is being deployed to help with situations where changes to Sansar’s evolving script APIs can result in scripts being broken following updates. other options for updating goods on the Store will come in the future.

C# File Size Increase

With the upcoming release the file size for C# script files is increased to 1 MB.

LookBook Update

When using the LookBook to view your own  avatar accessories for listing purposes, etc, the green corner button will be replaced by a right-click option, which should also display the item name.

Diagnostics Tools Updates

The Diagnostics tools introduced in the Bust A Move release  (Edit mode:  Tools > Diagnostics from the tool bar at the top of the screen; Run-Time mode: More Options > Diagnostics) will be updated in the mid-March release.

The diagnostics tools
  • Triangle Density will be split into two mode: Screen Space and World Space.
    • Screen Space will report triangle density per pixel.
    • World Space calculates triangle density relative to the size of the experience.
    • It is hoped that these changes will help with issues of Triangle Density doesn’t necessarily reflect the actual density of distant objects (which will likely be further addressed when Sansar supports LODs).
  • There will be a new light Gain Complexity option, which will provide information on the number of illuminated lights in the scene.
  • A new wireframe option.  

Improved Spatial Voice

People standing in front of an avatar using Voice will hear the spoken word more clearly than those standing behind the speaker (as with real life).

Other Items

Adding Functionality to the Client

Making event listing creation part of the client is the first part of an initiative by the Lab to move more of Sansar’s functionality (event the Store and the Sandex) away from being web-based and into the client, so that users can more readily access them within having to necessarily move between client and web. This does not mean things like the Store and the Sandex will no longer be available on the web; rather they will be available on the web and in the client.

Pierre discusses the drive to migrate functionality to the client.

LOD System

The Sansar product team is looking at Q3 / Q4 for the introduction of a level of detail (LOD) system into Sansar.  This will likely be an iterative process, starting with the Sansar avatar.

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3 thoughts on “Sansar Product Meetings #11/1: mid-March release news

  1. Hello. Thank you for the informations. They haven’t talked yet of other platforms versions of the viewer (mac os x or Linux)?

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    1. Mac Desktop was being developed at one point – but I’m not sure what the status of that work is. Linux, IIRC is “unlikely”, due to what is seen as the small size of the user base.

      Part of the problem here is that Windows is currently seen as “the” Platform for “high-end VR” – Oculus and Vive are both Windows-based, and the new range of OEM Mixed Reality headsets are based on Windows 10 for their OS. We’ve yet to see Apple produce a VR headset, or any of the manufacturers of headsets try to extend their reach in to the OS X and Linux environments – so this is potentially holding back any deployment of a Sansar client into those environments.

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