Sansar: Express Yourself release

Courtesy of Linden Lab

Wednesday, July 18th saw the release of the the Sansar Express Yourself update. As per my preview, this brings a lot of new capabilities to Sansar, including the ability for creators to upload custom (and pre-dressed) avatars, user interface improvements, script updates, and more.

This article highlights some of the more visible new features and updates with the release. As always, full details of the updates in the new release are available in the release notes.

Initial Notes

  • As with the majority of Sansar deployments, this update requires the automatic download and installation of a client update.
  • Updates in this release mean that on logging-in for the first time following the update, users will be placed in the Look Book (Avatar App).

Avatar Updates

Custom Avatars

Sansar now permits the uploading of custom avatars, although there are some caveats / things to note:

  • Custom avatars have a maximum tri limit of 40K (compared to 16K for the default avatars).
  • It will not be possible to clothe custom avatars or add attachments, etc., via the Look Book – they must be outfitted prior to upload, hence the higher tri limit compared to the default avatars.
    • The option to change outfits on custom avatars through Look Book might be added in the future.
    • The base tri count limit is seen by the Lab as being for testing purposes, and a balance between allowed custom avatars to be pre-dressed and potentially allow for future outfitting of avatars through Look Book without have to adjust the tri count downwards in order to do so.
  • Custom avatars must use the .FBX file format and be developed using the male or female skeleton provided by Sansar, available via the Sansar skeleton and skinning details knowledge base article
  • If custom avatars are to be sold, they must adhere to the Sansar Store listing guidelines and must also include a thumbnail asset upon import and which itself adheres to the Sansar Store image guidelines.
  • All new avatars must comply with the Sansar Avatar Guidelines, which include no nude avatars and no use of avatars / characters that infringe on the Intellectual Property rights of others.

Uploading custom avatars is handled through Sansar’s Look Book, as shown below.

Custom avatars are uploaded via Look Book via the Customise button and the Avatar Tab in the appearance editing panel, which has a new Add Avatar button that opens the upload panel (shown on the left). The Browse buttons in this panel can be used to select the avatar .FBX file (1) and  the associated thumbnail image (2). The name field (3) set the inventory name for the avatar – if left blank, this will default to the uploaded file name. The optional Materials settings button (ringed in the upload panel) can be used to choose specific shaders and textures for the avatar model. Upload will upload the model

Once imported to Look Book, custom avatars can be worn from the avatar panel and / or listed in the Sansar Store (right-click the thumbnail for the avatar and select List).

Custom Avatar Competition

To mark the launch of custom avatars, Linden Lab is running a Sansar Custom Avatar contest with a first prize of US $50 (approx. S$5,000). See the competition page for more.

New Avatar Looks

A series of new outfits / looks have been added to Sansar with this release:

  • Female:
    • Lolita outfit: clothing, hair and shoes.
    • Punk outfit: clothing and shoes (shown on the right, with Lolita hair and wearing system sandals rather than outfit footwear).
  • Male:
    • Goth outfit: clothing and shoes.
    • Adventurer outfit: clothing and shoes. (shown on the right).

These are available directly from the avatar panel’s outfit and hair tabs in Look Book.

 

Improved Avatar IK – VR Mode

Ikenema has been improved to improve avatar movement in VR. These updates include improved handling of forearm twist bones, better clavicle motion and less droopiness in clavicles, and better constraint handling in shoulders.

Scripting Updates

The Express Yourself release has two core sets of scripting updates: HTTP support, Simple Scripts and .FBX animation support. All of these options are covered in-depth in the Script API updates notes available in the Sansar knowledge base, and which include links to detailed HTTP documentation in the case of the HTTP API.

HTTP API

The HTTP API allows objects within experiences to communicate with external services. This is a two-way communications capability – meaning data from experiences can be exported a stored externally (as might be the case for game / adventure progress); and data from the physical world can be used to drive what happens within a scene (so an experience can reflect the weather in a physical world location, for example).

The addition of the API means that certain personal data can be exported from Sansar (just as it can from Second Life):

  • Avatar name and the user’s unique avatar identifier.
  • When an avatar enters or leaves an experience.
  • Where within experience avatar exists whilst visiting.
  • Public chat of avatars whilst in the experience.

Simple Scripts

This is a set of 14 basic scripts intended to make it easier for non-scripters to add functionality to their scenes and experiences. They have been automatically added to the Exit Mode inventory.

The new simple scripts library

Some examples of how these scripts might be used include:

  • SimpleInteraction: allows direct interaction with any object in a scene, can be used with buttons, switches, etc., so turn lights on/off, etc.
  • SimpleMover: moving objects from point-to-point, changing their specified position and/or orientation, such as moving platforms, opening / closing doors, etc.
  • SimpleSound: trigger a sound effect heard with other interactions.

The scripts can be “stacked” together for more complex interactions, so SimpleInteraction might be used for a button to call an elevator that is moved by SimpleMover, and SimpleSound pays a sound as the elevator arrives.

.FBX Animation Support

.FBX files containing multiple animation clips can be imported and then manipulated via scripts.

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