2018 Sansar Product Meetings week #35: release R25 preview

Horizon Maze – that’s me, bottom centre, for a sense of scale – blog post

The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meeting held on Thursday, August 28th. 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  Nyx, Derrick, Aleks, Torley and Ebbe. Unfortunately, I was AFK for part of the meeting, and while I was gone, my client disconnected from the meeting location, so I missed some 25 minutes of discussion.

Next Release

At the meeting, Cara confirmed that Permissions / Licensing will not be part of the next release (R25), due to some last-minute issues that need to be addressed. However, items slated to appear include (note this is a limited list, due to my being disconnected from the meeting whilst AFK):

Commerce

  • The initial release of the Sansar Store within the client.
    • The Client version of the store will allow items to be browsed. However, for purchasing, the user will be transferred from the client version of the Store to the web version in their browser.
    • The ability to purchase goods from within the client will be added in a future update.
  • A shopping cart capability in the Sansar Store on the web.
  • The gifting of Sansar Dollars to another avatar will be possible with the next release, although it is be subject to the 15% commission payment to LL – so a gift of S$100 from one avatar to another will in fact be S$115 for the avatar making the gift. The 15% commission charge serves a dual purpose:
    • It is in line with the Lab generating revenue through transactions.
    • More importantly, it prevents users avoiding paying any commission to the Lab by paying one another directly for goods and services.
    • Gifting of goods will be possible in a future release.

Events

  • The next release will allow custom images to be added to people’s events, rather than having to use the experience image.

General

  • A teleport sound will be added, allowing those within an experience to hear when someone has teleported.
  • Avatar-to-avatar collisions will be turned off. This should hopefully prevent narrow passages, doorways, etc., from being blocked by an avatar standing in / in front of a confined space.

Permissions / Licensing

Although it will not be part of the next release, Nyx provided more insight into the permissions that will be available when the system is deployed. These will comprise:

  • Permission for content to be resold, including how much money should be earned by the creator, whether the item is directly re-sold or used as a component within another creator’s item.
    • Included in this is the ability to specify what properties within an object can be further modified by a purchaser. This will allow purchasers to set properties within an object without the creator having to give up the right to earn from any re-sale of the object.
  • Full permissions on an item – essentially an open-source licence for the object and its contents to by used howsoever a buyer wishes, including claiming it as their own, so that no further income is earned by the original creator.
  • There is apparently one further permissions category to be added, and may follow the initial deployment of the permissions system when it happens. However, Nyx did not go into specifics on this.

CDN Asset Distribution

It is hoped that asset delivery for experiences will be moving to CDN (Content Delivery Network) distribution / delivery will be happening in the very near future. This means that rather than having all the data for an experience being delivered from the Amazon services, content assets could be delivered from a “local” CDN cache. It is the approach currently used for asset delivery within Second Life. It is hoped that this move will reduce the load times for those experiences that have had their assets previously cached within a “local” CDN node.

General Discussion

Store

  • There have been further requests for additional store categories (e.g. “Trees and plants”), with ideas being requested. The Lab fully intends to keep adding to the categories list as it become clear what is needed.
  • It has been requested that sub-categories are better surfaced. For example, being able to mouse over the Avatar category, and have the category list expand to show all of the avatar sub-categories, rather than have to go to the Avatar category list, then click for a drop-down of sub-categories. The Lab had been working on something similar to this, but the work was sidelined; it may be resumed.
  • Work is proceeding on making notifications visible to VR users, although this will not be in a forthcoming release.

Edit Server Issues

Some issues have arisen with the move to the Edit Server infrastructure. These include scene settings failing to persist, and scenes reporting as being saved when they have not. One issue with settings failing to persist is the sky being set to 0 – so everything is black when entering the scene in Edit mode. The way to fix this is to go to the scene settings and adjust the sky distance. The Lab has been trying to reproduce the issue with scene settings failing to persist, but so far have not been able to do so.

People having specific, repeated issues with scene settings can made a copy of the scene and contact the Lab, who will take the copy and run it on their test environment for further investigation.

In Brief

  • Support for Nvidia RTX: not currently being planned.
  • Improvements are being made to the Chat App, including quality of life improvements for viewing chat, and (hopefully) timestamps again chat items.
  • Support for custom avatar animations, including the ability to sell them, is planned for the R26 release.
  • Work is progressing on customisable controller options for VR handset – no release date as yet.
  • A virtual keyboard for VR users is also being developed, but not details on how it will work as yet.
  • Disabling capabilities in run-time: this has come up on a few occasions. There is concerns that if there is not a simple, direct way to inform users as to what is / is not permitted in an experience (e.g. having teleports allowed in one experience, but disabled in another), they could become confused when hopping between different experiences.
  • Cancelling an experience load: an option will be coming to allow users to abort loading an experience which is taking – for them – too long.
  • Consideration is being given to changing the Atlas in terms of how experiences are listed (is concurrency the best approach?). This may include providing categories under which experiences can be listed (e.e. Games, Educational, etc.), to make searching and listing experiences easier.
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A quirky Peace of Mind in Second Life

Peace of Mind; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrPeace of Mind – click any image for full size

Peace of Mind is a Mainland parcel a little over a quarter region in size, held and landscaped by Talacious (Talacious Tigerpaw).  It’s a quirky design that offers as much vertically as it does horizontally for the willing explorer, so a stout pair of walking boots might be recommended!

The About Land description offers a warm invitation to arrival to explore, relax and have a little fun, with Talacious noting she has a passion for landscaping, design and art, and hopes that people find a little peace and tranquillity when visiting.

Peace of Mind; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrPeace of Mind

Visitors arrive on the beach, a narrow sliver of sand sitting between high craggy shoulders of rock that reach back inland. Water tumbles – a little erratically in places – from one of these high mesas, eventually finding its way down to the beach where it rolls over the sand and into the sea.

Three opportunities for initial exploration are offered from the beach: a short climb up stone steps to a caravan, oddly perched on a shelf of rock and now so much a part of the landscape, nature is taking up residence on the outside as much as someone ins living on the inside. More stone steps run up alongside the caravan and to the conservatory sitting above and behind it, while a wooden bridge spans the water in its rush to the sea, offering the way to one of several routes up into the high cliffs and rocks surrounding the setting.

Peace of Mind; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrPeace of Mind

Those climbing to the conservatory will find it is home to a warm-looking bathing pool, while the path branches left and right – offering a further choice in routes of exploration. While you take is entirely up to you; suffice it to say both – and the path winding upwards from the log bridge down by the beach – offer routes of discovery.

Trails wind between the trunks of tall pines and other trees and slide between tall cliffs and hunched rocky outcrops, leading the traveller past local wildlife, over pond and root and through the occasional shower of rain, before inevitably winding upwards. As they do so, the paths climbing the cliffs may change from bare rock to tiled step (or back again) or from grassy trails to dirt tracks, all of which twist and climb – sometimes very steeply – up to the high plateaus above.

Peace of Mind; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrPeace of Mind

These high tables are home to more curios awaiting discovery – a pair of trees houses here, with the remains of an old van that must have had a bugger of a time climbing up the steep trail; a house cut into a hill there, surrounded by sunflowers that reach down into a little box canyon where yet another cottages sits, roof covered in grass and more sunflowers growing above it bay windows. Just below the house-in-a-hill sits a Tuscan villa, a paved set of steps reaching up from it to a narrow promontory on which sits a further tree house, even as hollow logs offer a bridge to a large house standing on the headland, and the destination of the rocky path winding upwards from the beach. This last appears to be the house of Talacious; however, like the other buildings sitting both high and low, it appears to be open to the public.

With the many different paths and bridges connecting them, finding one’s way around and between the houses is something of an adventure, and reveals some of the more quirky elements of the parcel – such a  set of stone steps supported on nothing more than a wish, leading the way to vine-arched bridge spanning the gap between one plateau and another. Meanwhile, the path winding down from from the garden of the twinned tree housesoffers a way past a cavern, also awaiting exploration.

Peace of Mind; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrPeace of Mind

However, said cavern is not the “secret caves” referred to in the About Land description. This requires a little discovery. Clues are provided, and I don’t want to spoil the fun. Suffice it to say: look for the “arrowed” paths  in the grounds of one of the houses, or the sign board watched over by rabbits (then touch the rock behind it). And when you do find your way into the caves, be sure to follow the paths all the way down and to give the wall below a certain sign concerning life a tap …

Peace of Mind is, as I’ve mentioned, a quirky place. It is rich in detail, albeit with a few rough edges that could do with a little attention (waters falling into grass and vanishing, or floating above the beach as it flows to the sea, for example, while the odd tree floats rootless above the ground). But these are not sufficiently problematic as to spoil the overall effect, and it’s clear that Talacious has poured a lot of her own personality into the parcel’s look and feel, together with her sense of fun.

Peace of Mind; Inara Pey, August 2018, on FlickrPeace of Mind

So if you are looking for something just that little bit different to explore, Peace of Mind might be for you.

SLurl Details

RFL of SL: brainstorming ideas for 2019 and beyond

via slrelayinfo.com

Following on from their blog post concerning the restructuring of volunteer services (see here for more), the RFL of SL team has announced an “open house brainstorm session” on Wednesday, September 5th, 2018.

To be as inclusive as possible on a global basis, the event will comprise 3 core sessions (all times SLT): 07:00-09:00; 12:00-14:00 and 18:00-20:00.

We want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to share their ideas for growth and for how we can make the 2019 Relay season the best it can be.

This will be a ‘revolving door’ concept that allows you the chance to come and go as your schedule permits within [the] three different time-frames.

– from the RFL of SL blog post on the open house sessions

In particular the RFL team are looking for feedback in four core areas of RFL activities within Second Life:

  • Ideas on businesses, groups, and communities not currently engaged in supporting RFL of SL, and how they might be encouraged to do so.
  • For 2019, the Activities Regions will be replaced with a “5 Days of Relay” concept to allow new communities and new partners to host events/activities in the week prior to the main 24-hour event, and the RFL of SL team would like to hear feedback on opportunities to engage with new communities / partners and grow involvement with RFL of SL.
  • Additional ways in which cancer survivors and their caregivers might be more involved in the 24 hour relay weekend activities beyond the opening lap and gift bag.
  • Potentially moving the RFL season to be more effective with fund-raising.
    • The blog post notes this would likely comprise kicking off in January, along with the ACS national registration challenge, then holding the relay weekend in May, which would place it within the time period of ACS “signature” events held worldwide.
    • In particular, the team would like to hear about practical considerations that need to be kept in mind for such a move to be successful.

In addition, the team would to hear ideas on tactical ways that RFL of SL can help present the American Cancer Society as a service-first organisation that is available to cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers in Second Life.

We have met with so many people in the last few weeks and have identified several thoughts that were consistent from one person to the next; but we recognize that there just isn’t enough time to meet individually with everyone. So we’re using this open house concept for the final brainstorming session to give everyone the chance to participate in the creative and strategic direction of Relay For Life of Second Life. I’m excited about this because we get to hear from as many people as possible, and I’m especially looking forward to learning what creative ideas our volunteers and supporters have.

– Stingray Raymaker, Director of the American Cancer Society in Second Life,
on the open house meeting

As noted above, the three sessions will be run on a “drop in” basis, with those wishing to participate free to join or leave any session at any time at their convenience, or to attend more than one session if they wish. The sessions will all be held at the American Cancer Society HQ in-world.