2018 Sansar Product Meetings week #41

The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meeting held on Thursday, October 11th. 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 meeting was hosted by Eliot, and well attended by members of the Sansar product team, with Ebbe also dropping in.

Release Process Flow: Overview

The various teams working on Sansar are developing and refining multiple features and aspects of the platform, and periodically, a feature freeze is called.

  • This occurs roughly 2-weeks from the planned deployment date for the next release.
  • At this point the decision is made on which features are developed and stable enough to include in that release, and no additional features tend to be added to the release after the feature freeze.
  • Those features assigned to the release then go through extensive testing and bug squashing.
  • The amount of bug fixing, etc, required determines whether the release ships on the target date or slips.

While dates are not set in stone, this cycle means that for the next release, R27, the feature freeze date in October 17th, 2018, and the planned release date in October 31st, 2018.

Release 26: Thumbs Up

General Points

  • New VR hand gestures: the current Vive controller will support the hand clenching gesture; however, as noted in the release notes and my R26 overview, full Vive support for all of the new hand gestures will likely come with support for the new Vive hand controllers.
  • Galen has developed two scripted elements to support the new broadcast capability:
    • The first is a simple trigger volume that can be used for things like stage settings, etc. An avatar standing in the trigger volume will have their voice automatically broadcast throughout the experience.
    • The second is a broadcast script that can be configured to work as required within a scene.
    • Linden lab will be providing simple scripts to support broadcasting as well.
  • Panel readability in VR: there have been requests that the various client panels now visible in VR (e.g. chat, settings) be given a transparent background so they don’t block the world view so much.  However, these requests are countered by those who felt that having the chat panel fairly transparent (as it was during the initial release) made reading text difficult. For their part, the Lab believe what they have with the panels may be the best solution.
  • There appears to be a bug in the scene object drop-down that can lead to something other than the desired object being selected. This has been noted by the Lab, but at the time of the meeting the status of any fix was unknown.
  • A major under-the-hood change made in R26 is to the way the camera’s focus is handled. While this is now much improved, there are edge-cases that need to be tweaked. Examples of this:
    • If an avatar’s name tag is displayed by hovering over it, and an attempt is made to right-click and drag the camera around when the mouse pointer is over the name tag, the camera may not actually move.
    • When selecting objects in the scene-object drop-down, it can be possible to point to one object, but actually select another on clicking.
    • When renaming an object, clicking the anchor the cursor in the text entry field may result in the rename dialogue vanishing.
    • As there is no mechanism to push updates to customers, items updated in this way must be re-purchased at present.
  • Chat copy / paste has been lost in both VR and Desktop mode, this should be corrected in the next release.

Permissions Licensing

  • Materials editing: the decisions to disable in-scene materials editing on purchased legacy objects and the need to make new objects full perm in order to allow in-scene materials editing have both been criticised. Both decisions may yet be subject to revision.
  • Some creators have already started re-listed their items on the store to enable the save to inventory capability introduced with R26.
    • Only re-listing is required to enable this; items do not have to be completely re-uploaded and listing.
    • The process is put the item into a scene, take in to inventory, set the permissions against it, then upload it to the store.
  • It been requested that the Lab provide a means of flagging or tagging items on the Store (and in inventory – which might be harder) to indicate they are legacy (and therefore outside of the new permissions / licensing system). For example, a tag on Store listings to say “legacy Content” or similar, and / or legacy items in inventory appearing in a different colour – e.g. red.

R27 Release (October)

Not many details as yet, as the freeze features date hasn’t been reached. However, the release will hopefully include:

  • Sprint set via settings button.
  • Custom animations upload.

Other Items

  • A point release is being worked on. This may include a fix for an issue whereby assets added to a legacy scene can inherit legacy permissions (those enforced prior to the R26 release).  This release may also include fixes related to the use of folders in scene editing and  other fixes.
  • Twitch channels: when watching a Twitch channel from within Sansar, all avatars watching the stream count as individuals on the stream count.
  • IK issues in VR: when using VR it is still possible to end up with an avatar looking like it is a professional contortionist (or trying to impersonate a pretzel). The Lab is still working on the IK system to prevent this.
  • Setting avatar height / reach arm length: a recent change was to introduce an “arm stretch” movement that is tied to the scaling of an avatar. The result is intended to have the avatar’s height, reach, arm length more close match the user’s actual height, reach and arm length.
    • This help ensures a naturally sense of proportion between user and avatar, for comfort of movement, etc.
    • It has specifically been done to allow avatar scaling in the future – so movements will continue to feel natural in whatever size of avatar is being used, and arm reach will appear correctly proportioned to body size, etc.
    • It does mean there will be a difference in perspective: when inside an experience with a small avatar, the space will appear to be much larger than when using a big avatar.
    • A side issue with this is that the stretch movement has to be performed whenever a headset is worn.The Lab is looking to improve on this, so the movement only has to be performed once, or in specific situation (e.g. when seated or standing).
  • Private messaging. Currently, to find out who is sending a private message, all private messages must be opened. This has been reported and a fix is in the works.
  • Exporting own models: currently, it is not possible to export models from Sansar. With the introduction of the licensing system with R26, it may in the future be possible for creators to export their own models they’ve uploaded to Sansar to help deal with issues of local loss of creations, etc. This currently isn’t a priority for the Lab to develop.
  • Materials editing on uploaded clothing: this has been requested so as to avoid the need to repeatedly upload an item when making adjustments to it. The request will be looked into.
  • The desktop throw animation has been tweaked, and now makes it difficult to simply drop an object after picking it up, and is proving somewhat unpopular.
  • Combining multiple objects into a single unit for resale: how this will work is still under consideration at the Lab. The idea currently being considered is to utilise a folders based approach: saving multiple items (complete with all the local transforms and scripts and associations they have) and extract that back to inventory, then offer the folder on for sale through the Store. People buying the folder would then be able to place it in their scene and see the objects exactly as they were when “packaged”.