2018 Sansar Product Meetings week #32: Edit mode

Channelling my inner Trekkie at the Roddenberry Nexusblog post

The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meeting held on Thursday, August 9th. These 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 Sansar Atlas events sections each week.

The primary topic of the meeting was Sansar’s Edit mode, with Regomatic, who is a part of the Edit Mode development team talking about what has recently been released for Edit Mode, future plans, and taking a Q&A.

Date of Next Release

The planned release date for the next Sansar update is Thursday, August 16th, 2018. However, it is entirely dependent upon Sansar’s schedule of public events for August – see below for more on this – which my cause the update deployment pushed back until later in the month.

Promoting Sansar

Not strictly a technical aspect of Sansar, however, the platform is spending time “on the road” and also raising its visibility among different global audiences.

  • On August 1st through 5th Sansar was at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention, where the Roddenberry Nexus was unveiled – see More Star Trek in Sansar: the Roddenberry Nexus for more.
  • On August 10th through 12th Sansar is at the Los Angeles edition of KCON, with the promise of “more exclusives” with regards to that.
  • A further e-sports “thing” is also in the offing for later in August. An earlier attempt at an e-sports link was pulled shortly after being announced. It’s not clear if this is a further attempt, or something else entirely.
  • A the same time, Sansar and Twitch are hosting “Twitch Streamer” days throughout August, with Twitch users being encouraged to drop into Sansar and explore.

Express Yourself Release Edit Mode Updates

The July Express Yourself update included a number of Edit mode updates:

  • Multiple Object Select / property application: The properties panel now works when multiple objects are selected, allowing the value of a property to be changed and applied across all selected objects.
  • Animated materials update: it is now possible to specify which textures in a material will be subject to the scrolling effect. This affects the following shaders:
    • Standard + Emissive + UV animation.
    • Standard + Alpha Mask – UV animation.
  • Standardise geometry option: by default, all objects uploaded into Sansar will go through an optimisation process that makes objects more efficient, foregoing the upload window optimisation process.
    • This can be disabled via a drop-down panel option.
    • The auto decimation will not apply to clothing or avatar attachments.
  • Object total triangle count: view the total triangle count of objects.
  • Real-time Gizmo updates: Position/rotation values update in real-time as the Gizmo is manipulated.
  • Fixes:
    • Rotation values no longer flip 180 degrees as you enter values
    • Scene settings no longer close the properties panel and vice versa; both can be displayed at the same time.

In addition to the above, the focus mode has been improved. Rather than just centring on an object when pressing F, it will now zoom the camera to the object. If two objects are selected and focus is used, the system will find a balance so that both are visible after zooming.

Upcoming Edit Mode Updates

August Update

  • Per-object settings: this should be a part of the August release, this will allow visibility to be toggled on individual objects within a specified type. So, rather than only being able to toggle visible for all audio materials, it will be possible to toggle it for an individual audio object. The state set for each object will persist between sessions. States will be indicated by “eyeball” icons.
  • Improved selectability of objects: it is currently different to select an object in Edit mode when it is “stacked” with others. The August release should improve this be adding a “selectability” icon / option. When set, it will make objects either selectable or cause them to be ignored when attempting to select others groups with them. Again, the individual states of objects will be indicated by a cursor icon, and will persist between sessions.
  • Container naming and renaming objects: the August release will include friendlier names for container, and the ability to rename anything in the scene objects list, rather than having to go through the Properties panel. Names can be up to 64 characters.
  • Analytics improvements:
    • The diagnostics ribbon in Edit mode is to be enhanced to include number of textures and the estimated download size, as well as the number of triangles.
    • There will be a new report option that will give a breakdown of all object in a scene and the amount of space they take up.
    • In addition, it has been requested that the analytics include the number of draws it takes to render an object, as high draw counts can often be a performance issue.

September Update

  • Folder support for scene objects: allowing objects to be placed together in folder, and allow entire folders to be selected and pulled into a scene, the ability to see the combined properties, etc.
    • Once scene object folders have been deployed, inventory folders will be coming as a future update.
    • Folder names will have a maximum length of 64 characters.

Still to be Prioritised for Future Release

  • Arrays for scripts: ability to use arrays rather than hard-coded parameters (e.g. an array to allow a user to pick a sound, rather than having to hard-code “sound 1”, “sound 2”, “sound 3”, etc.).
  • Locking improvements: currently, locking a container does not necessarily lock all of its children. In a future release  this will be revised such that it does.
  • Inventory folders: these are being worked on, and discussion are being had on the use of folders and the possible use of saving search categories / grouping by category to go with folders.

General Q&A

Scene / Experience Management Requests

  • Disabling capabilities in run-time: there are so types of experience that would benefit from having some run-time capabilities such as free camera movement or teleporting disabled in the Runtime mode (e.g. blocking the ability for someone to avoid traps in a game by teleporting past them, or using the free cam to cheat their way around a maze). These could be done via the scene settings, and Regomatic is going to look into it.
    • It was noted that if abilities to disable user-facing options are added to Sansar. then the ability to inform users as to what has been disabled (voice, teleport, freecamming, etc.), either before or when they enter the experience.
  • Search capabilities for scene objects: name, object type, etc. Possibly inclusion of thumbnail images of objects within the scene list to allow for visual recognition of objects, particular where multiple objects might have similar names (“Rock A”, “Rock B”, etc.).
  • Image size standardisation: currently, multiple image sizes and formats are required for items – one size saved within inventory, a different image size for the store, etc., requiring multiple image uploads. Automatic re-use of a single uploaded image would be preferable, and the Lab is looking into this.

Object Manipulation Requests

  • Drag select and object linking:
    • Drag select: the ability to drag the mouse over a series of objects to collectively select them for easier movement, duplication, etc. This could be a temporary grouping, or with the aim of putting the selected objects into a container, to treat them as a whole.
    • Object linking: the ability to link two or more objects into a single entity, again for easier manipulation, and similarly, the ability to UNlink linked or grouped objects.
    • To be fully effective (particularly when using objects purchased through the store is concerned), the above capabilities are dependent on the licensing / permissions system being in place and supporting such actions.
  • Object alignment and positioning:
    • A means of easier object alignment, such as a snap to grid feature.
    • A means to measure the distance between two points in a scene (e.g. via a tape measure style of tool).
    • Coordinate switching when rotating / orienting multiple objects: currently, selecting multiple objects for rotation / orientation using only global coordinates (e.g. their common centre). Having the ability use either the global or the local coordinates (e.g. rotating a set of objects around the coordinates of the first object selected) would be preferable.
    • Simple Move Script: currently relies on manual input of coordinates. Would be preferable some kind of “set position” option were added to object manipulation which would automatically record coordinates within the script, allowing an object to be placed, its position recorded, then moved and then have that position recorded.
    • Reference objects: ability to place “reference objects” when planning the layout of a scene, and then replace them with actual objects using the reference objects coordinates.
    • Object coordinate export: an option to record the coordinates / bounding boxes or just the collisions of all objects within a scene and export them with a representation model (cube) of each object to .FBX. This could then be imported into a 3D modelling tool and form a simple reference to allow for building and aligning additional elements in a scene, when animating character movement for a scene, etc.

Voice Improvement Requests

  • The ability to disable voice in a scene / experience where it could break the immersiveness.
    • VR users see this as a problem, as it would currently leave them with no means to communicate (although they could still participate from Desktop mode until such time as voice-to-text or some other approach is adopted to allow outward VR text chat).
  • Ability to more easily identify who is actually using voice (a long-standing request. Regomatic apparently has a solution working in debug mode, but it requires a UI element to be developed for it.

In the past ideas have been mooted for limiting voice within a scene or a location within a scene, to allow for things like outward stage-based presentations or performances without the risk of audience voice interruptions / distractions. The paradigm for voice apparently shifted somewhere along the way, but the idea will be re-raised within the Lab as something to be looked at again.

Other Items

  • SpaceNavigator support in Sansar: this actually came up in the Second Life Content Creation User Group meeting – will SpaceNavigator 3D mouse support be added to Sansar? The question was relayed to  the Sansar team, and the response was that there are currently no plans to support it. So a big 😦 from me.
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