Sansar Product Meetings week #17: R32 overview

Scorpion’s lair: Hall of Light

The majority of the following notes were taken from my recording of the Sansar Product Meeting held on Thursday, April 25th, which served to introduce members of the Sansar team, discussing the upcoming April release.

Avatar Controls

  • Extra tracker controls for VR: as per my week #14 notes, R32 will include fully body tracking for the HTC Vive, utilising the hip and ankle trackers.

  • Desktop throw indicators: when attempting to throw something when in Desktop mode, a visual indicator of the arc the object will take when released will be displayed, and the mouse scroll wheel can be used to adjust the strength of the throw.
    • The visual arc is not a perfect representation of where the object will go, and will fade out after a time, but is designed to give overall guidance.
  • Avatar crouching: crouching will be joining jumping as an option with R32.
    • Crouching will be physically enabled in VR, and via keyboard in Desktop mode.
    • The avatar’s motion will be correspondingly slower when crouched.
    • The collider / bounding box for the avatar will also automatically adjust to match the avatar’s height as well, making it possible for tunnels, etc., to be made through which avatars must move when crouched.
    • The collider / bounding box in VR will collapse in accordance to how low the user crouches.
  • Keyboard turn / face forward:
    • Currently, when moving sideways using A and  D, the avatar will strafe to the left or to the right whilst walking, while S will cause the avatar to walk backwards.
    • With this new keyboard option enabled, the avatar will turn to face the direction of travel when walking to the left or right or backwards, and the camera will automatically follow.
    • With the option disabled, the avatar will resume the strafing walk.
    • Users weill be able to set whichever they prefer or toggle according to circumstance.

Avatars

  • Avatar scaling: R32 will see the first implementation of avatar scaling to allow differently sized avatars.
    • The initial release will allow avatars to be uniformly scaled down to 1/2 the size of the current default Sansar avatar and 1.25 times larger.
    • Scaling will be applicable to custom avatars as well, and will include all avatar attachments.
    • Initially walk / run speed, jump and crouch heights will be normalised against the default avatar’s height / stride (e.g. so if your avatar is of a small size, it will seem to move very fast proportionate to its size; when made larger, it will appear to take shorter strides).
    • This may be revised in the future so that walk speed / stride / jump height, etc., will be proportionate to the actual avatar size.
  • Partial animations:
    • A new simplified Sansar skeleton (with around 70 bones) will be available for download to be used specifically for animations.
    • This does not mean a simpler skeleton is being used by the avatar – that remains unchanged and will see animations created using the new simple skeleton will be applied to the full skeleton; any bones not used by the simplified skeleton will remain in the reference pose.
    • The importer will (obviously) work with this simpler skeleton, and with any other skeleton, as long as it is topologically the same in terms of ordering and naming for bones.
    • This will hook-in to third-party tools such as Mixamo’s animator tools.
    • As the full skeleton is still used by the avatar, things like facial animations can still be driven through Speech Graphics, although dedicated facial animations will still require the download and use of the full skeleton.
  • Object movement APIs:
    • There will be a new moveable from script objects flag that when enable will allow use the flagged object (mesh, sound, trigger volume, light, etc.), will be moved.
    • This also allows interactive objects and the root element of animations to be moved without them having to have a rigid body.
    • It will enable frame-perfect animation; movements can be properly queued to be executed at specific times / in a specific order by the engine of the desired frame and allow animations to ease-in and ease-out one to the next.
    • Overall this should allow:
      • The development and movement of simple non-player characters (NPCs), allowing simple patrol / follow behaviours, etc.
      • Dynamic assets to drive animated assets, which in turn should enable things like animated held objects like guns, etc.

  • Rigged assets to support collision meshes: R32 will allow keyframed physics rigid bodies to individual bones (so an animated trunk on an elephant can physically knock / move things around, for example).
    • Should be used with consideration, as adding this to every bone in a body could place considerable additional load on a scene.
    • Not suitable for ragdoll physics, as this requires the set-up of physics joints between the bones.
  • Atlas and events updates: as per the week #16 product meeting, the Atlas and events will once again be more closely integrated.
  • Sansar Store:
    • The Store will be updated so that Marvelous Designer items will be more clearly tagged.
    • It should be easier to wear newly purchased wearables when purchased through the client version of the store.
  • Edit mode: the gizmo tools for moving / rotating objects within a scene should be more selectable / easier to use.
  • Scripting updates: these will include the ability to call the Sansar new user experience tutorial when required, among other changes.
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