The following notes were taken from the Sansar Product Meeting held on Thursday, February 14th. The full video of the meeting is available here.
Following the February 7th Product Meeting, during which Ebbe Altberg indicated that avatar enhancements would be a focus for Sansar development for at least a part of 2019, this meeting focused on the sansar avatar, and upcoming changes.
Note that audio extracts are included below. However, these are not necessarily representative of the chronological run of the meeting; where appropriate, I have attempted to concatenate comments from Lab personnel by topic, in order to hopefully present a more logical follow to statements while (again hopefully) avoiding placing any of the statements out-of-context.
- The overall style of the avatar is to be revamped as well so that Sansar avatars are generally better looking to start with. This will include numerous updates and the in-house name for the work is “avatar 2.0”.
- Bone deformations are viewed as a preferable means to adjust avatar features by a simply “tugging” on them rather than having to use sliders all the time (a-la Second Life).
- There will likely be maps on the body itself which will be click-to-drag, allowing cheeks to be fattened, the collar bones adjusted, etc.
- Sliders (existing and new) will then be available for more fine-tuning of changes.
- The deformation / slider updates will likely be made to the avatar face first, then expanded to include the avatar body.
- A height slider and / or a means of uniform scaling is to be added to allow for taller / smaller avatars.
- The next release will see the AA/BB bounding box on the avatar adjusted to 90cm all around.
- There will be an immediate push to enhance the capabilities for custom avatars.
- The first element of this will be to allow clothing – specifically clothing created using Marvelous Designer to be used on custom avatars.
- This will include the use of a Gizmo-like tool (as seen in the Edit mode for placing and rotating objects in a scene) to help with the rotation and place placement (+scaling) of MD clothing on custom avatars.
- It is hoped this support will be available in the April release.
- A question was raised about someone creating an avatar that effectively “takes over” from a system avatar, simply because it is so widely used.
- The Lab has no problem with this, as long as custom avatars are correctly rigged to the system avatar skeleton.
- If a custom avatar proves popular enough, the Lab might even consider offering to make is a system avatar.
- The hope is that creators will offer more non-human custom avatars (see also general comments, below).
- The Lab is also looking to give custom avatars greater exposure to users coming into Sansar.
- Many incoming users aren’t even aware that custom avatars are available in Sansar
- This would be restricted to free custom avatars provided by creators, however,
- It would be a means for creators to promote their work, and the Lab would provide creators details for those custom avatars featured in the avatar picker.
- These avatars would be rotated on a regular basis (although the precise time frame as yet to be determined), so as to give participating / selected creators equal exposure over time.
Attachment Points and Accessories
Lab hopes to:
- Provide more variability in attachments.
- Make attachment points adjustable (to avoid issues of sunglasses floating above heads on small avatars, etc.).
- The IU mechanism for doing this has yet to be determined, but might take the form of a Gizmo-like tool (or could be something completely different).
- This would also be designed to allow attachments to be worn more freely. For example, as well as sunglasses being worn in front of the eyes, they can be positioned by the user as if pushed up on top of the head.
- Open the attachment system to support custom avatars.
- Support custom skins as a part of the “avatar 2.0” work, but this will initially be limited to just system avatars.
- Allow tinting for hair / skins / nails / eyes for the current system avatars, potentially in the next couple of releases.
- “multi-tints” (e.g blond hair darkening to red tips) will not be supported.
- This will likely be removed once the “avatar 2.0” work is released, as this will utilise a different skin type utilising sub-surface scattering shaders, and tinting does not work particularly well with this approach.
However, animated attachments are not on the immediate roadmap.
- The talk of enhancing the avatar system and extending capabilities to custom avatars sparked a discussion on the benefits of keeping to a single “format” of avatar utilising not only the same skeleton, but also the same UV maps, and allowing multiple custom avatars, each with a unique set of uv maps.
- The former would allow makers of skins, tattoos, make-up, etc., to participate equally in the market without the name to worry about developing for specific avatar models.
- The latter would potentially offer a wider choice of avatars to users, but makes supporting them with accessories such as skins potentially more complex for both creators and users (vis., the complexity of supporting multiple mesh body types in Second Life).
- A ground offset capability / means for avatars to wear high heels is not currently on the roadmap.
- Custom avatars and avatar accessories have an issue when creating the thumbnail image for the Sansar Store (in short: the model has to be uploaded twice). LL are aware this is not a good work flow, and will be looked into.
- New user process: more outline information was given, including:
- Offering new users improved options for avatar selection.
- Accepting or declining until later the tutorial process and quest approach (as per my previous PM notes).
- Extending the tutorial capability into avatar customisation.
- Providing MD clothing in the individual avatar inventory to expose it to news users sooner.
- Improved animations (e.g. the ability for avatars to properly hold a gun, to go through the actions of reloading it, etc.). These are being discussed at the Lab, but no project or time line for their introduction as yet.
- However, various aspect of game play are to be enhanced over the next couple of releases, including the ability for avatars to jump or crouch, and improvements to Desktop mode (e.g. improved aim / throwing capabilities).
- A little further out (a few months), the Lab plan to start looking into providing a proper mechanism for avatars to ride vehicles.
- Avatar inventory – the ability to have some form of inventory an avatar is “carrying” (so they can draw a sword or gun when it is needed, or consult a map, etc.), is being considered.
- One thing that cannot be supported right now is the ability to swap clothing. This requires the use of the Look Book, and the architecture will not support this.
- What may be supported, possibly by the end of 2019, is the ability to swap avatars without needing to go to the Look Book (so if you have a fully dressed avatar clothed in A.B,C, and another clothed in X,Y,Z, you can swap between them without having to go to the Look Book, but you won’t be able to swap “jacket A” for “jacket “X” on your current avatar without going to the Look Book).
- Respawning in an experience at the same point from which we entered Look Book (rather than back at the experience’s main spawn point): this is being worked on, and will be coming SoonTM.