The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meeting held on Thursday, August 23rd. 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.
Attending this meeting were Eliot, the Sansar Community Manager, with Bagman Linden (Linden Lab’s Chief Technology Officer, Jeff Petersen), Birdman, SeanT and Nyx Linden.
Edit Mode Move to Server-Side
- Edit mode became server-centric (rather than client-local) on Wednesday, August 22nd.
- The one drawback in this move is that it means that when editing a scene for the first time, there will be a delay in accessing Edit mode while the server is spun-up and loads.
- The move paves the way for the introduction of the new licensing / permissions / supply chain system.
- It will also in time allow for things like creators being able to work collaboratively within the same scene.
- This is indicated as being “pretty far down the line”, and unlikely to appear before 2019.
Licensing / Permissions / Supply Chain System Deployment
It had been intimated in previous meetings that the licensing / permissions / supply chain system could start to be deployed in the September release. However, Nyx Linden was a little more cautious in addressing when the deployment might occur.
- The Lab is still working on some bug fixes and wish to ensure the first stage of deployment is smooth and successful.
- Due to the way in which things are interlinked, the deployment would be pretty much all of the core supply chain / licensing / permissions system, although further extensions to the capability may be added in the future.
- The system will include a “Save to Inventory” option.
- This will initially only allow for objects to be “added to” – so an object can have a script or lighting capabilities added to it and then saved back to inventory. It will not initially allow for disparate objects (e.g. walls and floor and roof) to be combined into a single object.
- It will however allow creators to use licensed components (e.g. scripts, sounds, lights) from other creators in their own items, and then sell those items, with the component creators also receiving payment.
- The ability to combine disparate objects into a single unit will be added over time.
- All items sold through the Sansar Store prior to the permissions system deployment will be set to “no resale” to prevent them being wrongly re-used / re-sold.
- Items uploaded after the system is deployed will always be available for re-use in other peoples’ objects.
- However, the original creator will have the ability to set whether or not their creations can be re-sold. So, if an item flagged as “not for re-sale” is used as a component in another creator’s object, they will not be able to then place that object for sale.
- Clothing and avatar accessories will not be included in the initial permissions system deployment.
- The Lab is continuing to look at experience loading and when to “drop” the loading screen and allow people to start moving around within an experience.
- One option being considered is to have everything within immediate viewing range of a spawn point to be caches by the client prior to dropping the loading screen, then having lower resolution textures on the faces of more distant objects or those that are initially “out of sight”, which are then progressively swapped out for hight resolution textures during the first one or two minutes the user is in the experience.
- This would allow access to experiences to be somewhat quicker for some, although it would mean that spawning followed by immediate rapid teleporting might result in seeing some of the lower-grade textures prior to them being swapped out.
- However, the experience wouldn’t be like SL, where actual objects are still being rendered (resulting in an avatar walking into a wall that has yet to render in their view; all of the physical objects would be visible in Sansar, some might just briefly have lower quality textures.
- Sansar caches sizes: Sansar uses a 10Gb “large” cache and a 10Gb “small” cache for smaller files. Both of these will be user-configurable in the future)
Disabling Capabilities in Run-Time
- Some 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).
- Bagman confirmed the back-end technology, as it stands, doesn’t allow for this, but it is something the Lab is aware of, and something they do want to address and make possible. However, it is not as high on the priority list right now as some other aspects of interactivity and options for creators the Lab wants to add to the platform.
VR Avatar Options
The Lab is working on “switching on” the avatar in VR, including the ability to see your hand / body in first-person VR (one would hope this is also extended to Desktop as well); the ability to use hand gestures (e.g. give a thumbs-up, clench a fist, etc.) through the VR controllers, etc.
- Avatar collisions: The R25 update should include the ability to disable the avatar collision capsule, making in possible for other avatars to come as close to you as possible (and even pass through your own.
- Finding people within an experience: this has been previously discussed, and the Lab is a looking at options (e.g. “teleport to friends” or a teleport request option or an ability to be directly teleported to friends on accessing an experience, etc.
- Voice indicator: another long-standing request – a means to more easily identify who is speaking on Voice – also being looked at.
- Object hand-off: the ability to directly pass an object from one avatar to another is also being looked at by the Lab.
- VR Options:
- VR Look Book: this will be coming “soon” to Sansar, allowing VR users to change outfits, swap avatars without having to come out of VR.
- Tactile feedback: a small vibration is being added to VR hand controllers when picking up or dropping objects.
- Ability to change the client settings from within VR: this isn’t currently being looked at, but is seen as perhaps needing to be moved up the priorities list.
- Text chat in VR: is seen as requiring a more technical solution – a virtual keyboard, etc., – although it is on the UI team’s radar.
- Server crash: There are occasions when an experience server can crash, leaving the local “instance” of the scene running on the client. When this happens, the use has no idea the server has crashed – and nor, initially, does the client. As there can be latency and other network delays between server and client, the Sansar client has a very long-time out while waiting for updates (around 90 seconds). During this time, the only indicator that something has happened as that other avatars in the experience will not more or respond to voice / chat. Bagman has indicated the Lab will see if there is anything that can be done to make such crashes clearer to the user when they occur, rather than just waiting on the time-out.