Update: the podcast, as uploaded to YouTube, is now appended to the end of this article, with thanks to Wurfi!
It’s no secret that I enjoy and appreciate Star Trek – notably The Original Series, although I’m also partial to The Next Generation (the other incarnations never really resonated with me in the same way). In my late teens and twenties, I helped organise a number of Star Trek conventions in the UK, while in these pages, I’ve written about Loki Eliot’s freebie boxed starship combat game (2013), and in 2016, about Cathy Foil’s stunning, two regions long and avatar-sized USS Enterprise, NCC-1701.
So on May 4th (ironically, given its association with the Star Wars franchise), I was intrigued to see a pair of tweets from @SansarOfficial and Second Life’s own Wurfi:
A little more digging revealed the Tweets relate to an interesting Tidbit discovered by Sansar user and creator Gindipple: a weekly live Mission Log podcast by Roddenberry Entertainment. The podcasts, offered as both pre-recorded and “live” events exploring all aspect of Star Trek, from The Original Series through to the current Paramount film series and CBS’s Star Trek Discovery TV series.
This particular podcast, broadcast on May 1st, 2018, featured none other than Sansar’s Jason Gholston, who heads-up Linden Lab’s Sansar Studios team. Starting the 3 minute mark of the video, which I’ve time-stamped the link above, Jason revealed that Sansar Studios and Roddenberry Entertainment will be introducing a new Star Trek Experience to Sansar on May 22nd, 2018.
The new experience, referred to as a “VR chat room”, is a 3D reproduction of the bridge of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701 (“no bloody A, B, C, or D”, and Montgomery Scott famously stated around Stardate 46125.3, in the Next Generation episode Relics), as seen after the original series had been picked-up following the initial two pilot episodes.
I admit to getting goosebumps when watching the brief video clip of the design, and it is evident that a huge amount of care has been poured into this project: everything it presents from Kirk’s centre seat, through the conn and helm stations, to the stations occupied by Spock and Uhura and – when he was on the bridge – Scotty is perfectly reproduced, right down to the changing data displays and blinking lights. While not present in the video, I’ve little doubt the finished article will be enhanced by spatial loops of all the bridge sounds, deepening the overall immersion of the experience.
The core rendering for the experience has been produced by OTOY, working in collaboration with Sansar Studios and Roddenberry Entertainment. OTOY is the creator of the OctaneRenderer, and their work is currently featured in the opening title sequence of HBO’s stunning TV series Westworld.
The experience won’t be used to host the Mission Logs podcasts, but will give people the opportunity to hop into Sansar and view them via the main view screen and socially hang out afterwards, and Jason indicates that show hosts Ken Ray and / or John Champion may will be jumping into the experience immediately following the weekly Mission Log Live podcast, which go out every Tuesday at 19:00 Pacific Time / 22:00 Eastern time, USA.
The exchange between Jason and Ken and John is worth listening to beyond the Star Trek / Sansar news as between them, they nicely cover the “why” of Sansar ahead of getting into details of the new hangout itself – and yes, Second Life gets a positive mention, albeit it passing.
This initial exchange also hints that the new hangout is but the first aspect of what appears to be an evolving relationship:
So, we’re kind-of dancing around the big question here, which is what are we going to do? And we’re going to reveal part of that tonight; there’s another part coming somewhere down the road, and that has to do, potentially, with Star Trek Las Vegas …
– John Champion, Mission Log Live 024, May 1st 2018
Star Trek Las Vegas appears to be a reference to the Star Trek convention taking place in Las Vegas at the start of August 2018, and organised by Creation Entertainment. So might the convention include a Sansar presence, together with an expanded Star Trek Experience?
That would certainly be intriguing; not just in terms of what might be presented, but also in terms of how it fits with Linden Lab’s stated goal for 2018 to grow Sansar’s audience (and visibility). As such, I’m certainly going to be trying to keep my ear to the ground on this subject, not only in visiting the new Star Trek bridge experience in Sansar on or just after May 22nd, but also in trying to get a clearer picture on what is being planned and how it fits with this broader idea of trying to expand Sansar’s visibility and audience.
Thanks to Wurfi’s work, I can now embed the podcast from YouTube, below – thanks, wurfi! To just directly to the Sansar coverage, click this link.
With thanks to Wurfi and Gindipple.