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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