Sansar 2019 Product Meetings week #8

Tomb of Naktamon (“TT341”)

The following notes were taken from my recording of the Sansar Product Meeting held on Thursday, February 21st. The full official video of the meeting is available here. Note that in the video, not all comments can be heard.

There was no formal theme for this meeting, which took the form of a general Q&A session, and in these notes I’ve focused on questions and statements relating to the Lab’s thinking / planning with Sansar, rather than on specific issues individuals might be encountering in using the platform.

Could Sansar Support Import from Unity? Platforms such as High fidelity, VR Chat and even AltSpace VR have import mechanism that can work with Unity to allow scenes built within that tool to be imported and converted so that their own internal tools set can be used to edit / fine tune the scene. Could this be done with Sansar?

  • Being able to export / import scenes in this manner as viewed as potentially making Sansar more popular with creators. For example: if X builds a scene in Unity knowing they can use some set of SDKs that allows them to export the principal models within the scene (including rotation, placement, perhaps even material surfaces, etc), it might encourage them to share their work across multiple platforms.
  • There have been some simple tests, and a problem has been the volume of discrete asset  (.OBJ) folders created on export, and which then have to be individually imported. It is thought this might be down to a mix of scene complexity / scene construction in Unity.
  • While not audible in the video, Garth from the Sansar support team offered to look at any samples sent to him to test.

More on the Sansar Avatar:

  • Avatar scaling is still being discussed at the Lab, and no decision has been taken on how uniform scaling will be implemented. However the hope is that if an avatar is correctly rigged to the skeleton, it will be possible to scale any avatar proportionally up / down.
    • Any functionality for avatar scaling will most likely appear in the second half of 2019.
    • It might be possible to implement an interim means to allow larger / smaller avatar through the VR height mechanism used to visually scale the world around the avatar, but this needs investigation and testing.
  • It’s been suggested that LL should encourage (provide?) Mixamo support for the Sansar skeleton so that custom avatar creation & weight painting for Sansar could be made more accessible to creators.
    • Garth from the support team is actually working with some creators wishing to use Mixamo with Sansar.
  • Documentation updates:
    • The avatar reference and MD import pages have been updated.
    • The former represents a consolidation of information previously split across a number of pages. However, the .FBX files have also been updated, and should be re-downloaded.
    • The latter reflects minor changes in the MD import process
  • Facial expressions and speech: Sansar uses Speech Graphics to drive a lot of the facial aspects on the Sansar avatar: expressions, mouth, jaw and lip movements and speaking. This means:
    • Care has to be taken to ensure facial deformations preserve animations and speech movements without braking them.
    • Consideration has to be given to what facial bones must be rigged in custom avatars to again preserve that naturalness of movement when speaking, whilst allowing non-human characters.
  • Avatar movement options:
    • Jumping is being actively worked on and should be appearing in Sansar soonTM.
    • Crouching is also been developed, but is somewhat behind jumping in terms of readiness.
    • Avatar flying is not something currently being worked on.
  • Look Book clothing inventory: LL are evaluating how to improve the Look Book clothing inventory. Ideas include:
    • Having items of the same type replace one another, rather than being worn together (so skirt B will replace skirt A, rather than being worn with it).
    • The entire presentation of the inventory is being reconsidered to make locating and selecting items easier. This might include adding things like clothing categories to the inventory display.

Vehicles: there is a “lot of work” in progress to enable vehicle functionality in Sansar.

  • This includes defining object hierarchies, joint to allow avatars to be attached to a moving object and ride on it. Such a capability is unlikely to appear before at least Q3 2019; however.
  • “Pilotable / drivable” vehicles (i.e. vehicles directly under an avatar user’s control, rather than moving along a scripted path) are still much further out.

VR 3rd Person Camera Control:

  • The ability to manually zoom the camera in and out and track with the avatar whilst in VR is being worked on.
    • However, the Desktop mechanism for 3rd person view uses automatic geometry avoidance (so the camera avoids being placed in walls, etc., as the avatar moves around confined spaces). This requires the camera to make sudden adjustments to its position
    • When using this same mechanism in VR 3rd person, these sudden camera adjustments have induced nausea, so LL are looking for the best way to handle camera placement in 3rd person VR.
  • A suggestion has been made to make the geometry avoidance in Desktop mode a toggle on/off capability, and this is seen as a good idea by LL.

Quick Questions:

  • Gravity updates: nothing currently on the roadmap to allow for gravity axial rotation (e.g. to allow walking on walls / ceilings). However, this is something LL would like to add at some point in the future.
  • Mirrors: thought is being given to how to provide some form on mirror capability in the Home Space area to allow people in VR to see themselves and gain familiarity with how their avatar looks and moves. Mirrors that can be built and placed in scenes / experiences is not something on the current roadmap.
  • Model scaling: why is the scaling of model up/down limited to a scale of 0-10? Mainly to prevent really high poly count models being massively scaled up and impacting experience performance, or objects being scaled down to a point where they start causing havoc with collisions (most models only work well within a given size range based on their default size). As such, the scale is intended as a means to have creators be mindful of the models they build and their intended scaling  / triangle budget to prevent others over- or under-sizing their models when used in other scenes.
  • R29 script breakage: the R29 release introduced a particularly bad issue that could result in experience servers crashing. In the haste to fix this with a release update, certain tests may have been bypassed, rsulting in the observed bad script behaviour. Work is in progress to try to resolve the breakage.
  • Importing of MD zippers, buttons, etc:  (e.g. buttoning up or unbuttoning a shirt) not currently on the roadmap, but it is possible these features will be made available in the future, although this does depend on the MD developers providing a means for Sansar to take and use the options
  • Linking objects: this is being worked on, but will not function in the manner of SL linksets.
    • One mechanism will be the ability to select a group of objects in a scene and take them back to inventory as a single item (but once pulled back into a scene, they will all be individual objects once more).
    • Another option will be the ability to define / use “joints” between two objects to join them together.
  • Web Browser: there are currently no plans to add a web browser to the Sansar client (Steam users can always pull up the Steam overlay that includes a browser capability).
  • Customisable Home Spaces: being considered, but probably not going to be on the roadmap much before the end of 2019.
    • What is being considered, but no dates against it, is the ability to invite others into your own Home Space.
  • Sansar Store improvements: not high on the list of priorities, but LL do want to offer improvements at some point, including more information to merchants in their dashboards