On Monday, September 10th, Linden Lab issued Sansar release 25 (R25), entitled the Shop, Gift, & Spend Release. As the name suggests, the focus is on shopping and gifting Sansar dollars – although there is more to this release than commerce activities.
I provided an overview of some the new features on August 30th, 2018, based on information provided at a Sansar Product Meeting. This article looks at some of these features in more detail, as well as the other elements in the release. Note that as I do not own a VR headset, these reviews primarily focus on using Sansar in Desktop Mode.
The full release notes for R25 are available here.
Look Book / Avatar Updates
The first noticeable change with the release is with Look Book – which users will be delivered to the first time they log-in to Sansar following the update. A new background image has been added to the Look Book, replacing the blue screen (as shown in this article’s banner image). The background places your avatar into a living room style space, offering a cosier setting when adjusting your look.
In addition, VR users will no longer have to revert to Desktop mode in order to adjust their avatar in Look Book, bu can now do so whilst in VR, including making adjustments to clothing made using Marvelous Designer, as shown in the video below, courtesy of the Sansar team at Linden Lab.
Additional Avatar Updates
- Comfort Zone Changes:
- The comfort zone now applies in first person desktop mode as well as to VR.
- The Comfort Zone is now disabled by default to all incoming new users starting from this release. However, all pre-existing comfort zone settings will still persist.
- Comfort zone options for Friends and non-Friends can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the Settings panel (More Options … > Settings).
- Teleport sound: A sound can be heard by everyone when someone teleports nearby.
- New dance animations: type /dance3 or /dance4 for new dances.
The R25 updates sees two enhancements to the Sansar Store:
- The ability to browse the Store from within the client.
- A new shopping cart.
Browsing the Store in the Client
Accessed via the new shopping bag icon in the top right icon set of the client (show below, right), the store functions almost as it does within a web browser.
In desktop mode, once open, it is possible to scroll through item thumbnails, select categories via the drop-down, sort listings via drop-down (both of which are shown open in the image below), while clicking on an item will open the full listing in a pop-up panel (again shown below).
However, as it is not currently possible to make purchases via the client version of the store, clicking on the Buy button will take you to the Sansar Store web listing for the item, where a purchase can be made. The ability to make purchases through the client version of the store will hopefully be part of a future update.
The Sansar Store shopping cart appears in the web version of the Store only at present, and is located in the top right corner of the browser tab. When empty, it is displayed as a plain white cart icon. However a small running total of items is displayed as items are added, as seen below, top right.
Items are added by viewing them and then clicking the Add To Cart button, which will change to Added To Cart when the item has been added (along with the item count icon in the shopping cart incrementing).
When items are in the cart, click it will display a drop-down list (again shown in the image below), allowing individual items to be removed or the entire cart emptied or for all items to be purchased and delivered to your inventory (assuming there are sufficient account funds on hand).
When using the shopping cart, note that at present item quantities in the cart cannot be adjusted.
Gifting Sansar Dollars
Sansar users can now gift Sansar Dollars one to another. This can be achieved in one of two ways:
- Left-clicking on another avatar and then selecting the $ icon from the pop-up displayed over them (a Send Gift pop-up will be displayed when hovering the pointer over the icon).
- Selecting a person from your Friends list.
Both options will take you to the avatar’s Profile, which now includes a Gift option. When using it, note:
- The default value for a gift is S$100. This can be increased / decreased using the + and – value options to the right and left of the amount.
- All single gift amounts are subject to a 15% commission to Linden Lab, which is added to the total you pay. So, a S$100 gift will cost S$115, for example.
Edit Mode Updates, Scripting and Documentation
R25 includes further Edit Mode updates:
- Search: A search field is now present to allow you to search for items by name
- Folders – Objects can now be grouped and organised into folders and sub-folders via the Scene Objects panel.
- Once objects are in a Folder, they can be moved together simply by selecting the folder.
- Existing options for Selectability, Visibility and Locking can also be toggled for all objects in a folder.
- See the new Sansar Scene Objects Panel documentation for further details.
- Additional updates to the Scene Objects Panel: again, refer to the documentation linked to above.
- Settings for avatar collision: experience creators can now enable or disable avatar collision behaviour in their scenes.
- Material editor preview: it is now possible to preview changes as they are made in the material editor.
- New object structure panel: The internal structure containing a scene object’s sub-components is now displayed in a new separate panel called, the Object Structure
- Inventory readability: larger font size, reformatted icons, expanded item labels to now show three lines of text
- Scene settings – post effects and shading posterisation effects.
- Support for rez scripted objects / JSON API.
- JSON serialization for http scripts.
- See Script API updates for more information.
It is now possible to use custom images when creating Sansar events. Refer to the Sansar Event Guidelines documentation for details on event image requirements.
Another update with some interesting quality of life features. Having the store in the client is a positive move, and while purchases cannot currently be completed from within it, having to swap to a browser tab and back isn’t too much of a pain. Certainly, having the store “in” the client helps give a feeling of continuity when using Sansar. The levying if a 15% transaction fee on Sansar Dollar gifting raised some surprise at the Product Meeting where it was first announced, but is in keeping with the Lab’s approach to generating revenue via transactions, and does avoid the future potential of users simply paying one another for items and passing them to one another (once the transfer of items becomes possible) and potentially avoiding transaction fees.
It’s a small thing, but I actually like the background change to Look Book; it gives a more “homely” feel to adjusting your avatar’s appearance than simply being “blue screened”.