Sansar Product Meetings week #28: more on avatar 2.0 + updates

Asteroid Escape – an MSL-class rover

The following notes were taken from my recording of the July 11th (week #28) Product Meeting. Once again, this meeting had a focus on Avatar 2.0 and also on the proposed upgrade path to it for creators.

R34 Release Updates

There have been two further bug fix updates for the R34 A Richer World Release:

(I’m not sure what happened to any Update 4; the numbers jump from 3 to 5).

Official Blog Post on Avatar 2.0

An official blog post outlining the Avatar 2.0 roll-out and its implications was issued on Tuesday, July 9th. This largely repeats what has been indicated in my last few Sansar Product Meeting summaries on Avatar 2.0, and also contains a link to a new Avatar 2.0. FAQ. In particular, this FAQ highlights the following information:

  • What wearable items will not be usable on Avatar 2.0? Any asset (avatars, rigged hair, rigged clothing) created using the avatar 1.0 avatar skeleton will no longer be usable in the new avatar 2.0 system. These items will be removed from inventories, and deprecated on the Store.
  • Why will these items no longer work? Changes to the base avatar’s skeletal structure had to be made in order to support Avatar 2.0 mean they will no longer work as expected.
  • Will it be possible for creators to update broken content? Yes, providing it has been listed on the Store – see below for more. 
  • Which avatar 1.0 assets should still work after the release of Avatar 2.0? All Marvelous Designer clothing, accessories and emotes created against the 1.0 avatar skeleton will have mechanism in place to help ensure they can still be used with Avatar 2.0, and will still be available via inventory and any listed items will still be accessible from the Store for purchase.

Updating Avatar Wearables

Deprecating  Old Content Listings and Updating Them

  • When Avatar 2.0 is deployed. the non-usable wearable defined above that are on the Sansar Store will be deprecated by the Lab, leaving the listings visible, but will not be modifiable.
    • However, items that have been uploaded but never listed will effectively be “hidden”, and will not show up in inventory searches.
  • It will be possible to update deprecated listings by associating them with replacement items in the character editor – but this can only be done once per item. The old item will then be unlisted.
  • Documentation on the update process will be made available around the time of the Avatar 2.0 deployment.

Updating MD Clothing, Accessories, and Emotes

  • Updating these items will follow the same process as deprecated items, except the Store listings are never deprecated.

Single Update Process Explained

  • The reason for the one-time update process on deprecated items is that the licensing system has yet to be properly hooked-up to the avatar system, so this is a temporary solution.
  • The Lab is working in parallel to extend the update system so users can make use of it and not be restricted to the one-time update. It’s not currently clear how long this will take to implement.
  • This  “full” system will also provide the means to update scene content items as well, and items with components from more than one creator, etc. This will likely be rolled out in phases of increasing capability.
  • So the one-time update for Avatar wearables might be considered a stepping stone towards a full update system (although that’s not its primary purpose).

Q&A

The following is a selection of the questions asked in the meeting.

Avatar 2.0 Related

Please also refer to the official blog post (link above), and my previous Sansar Product Meeting summaries for further information on Avatar 2.0, as some of the questions asked during this meeting have been previously covered, and are not repeated here.

  • Will Avatar 2.0 support custom skeletons? Not initially, but longer term, yes.
    • One of the issues in allowing this to happen, is putting in place a mechanism to determine what wearables might be used by different skeletons.
    • Sansar would also like – again, long-term – to support an Animesh-like system where attachments can have their own skeletons that can be used to extend the Avatar 2.0 skeleton (e.g. the hindquarters, body and tail of a centaur that can be added to the Avatar 2.0 skeleton).
  • Will it be possible to create custom avatars using the Avatar 2.0 skeleton? Yes.
  • Will it be possible to create custom heads / faces without having to create complete custom avatars? Yes. face presets should allow this, together with the additional custom texturing capabilities that will follow the initial release of avatar 2.0.
  • When will custom texturing be available? Hopefully, a couple of releases after the initial Avatar 2.0 release. The texturing releases will most likely be:
    • Initial Avatar 2.0 will support skin swapping, using supplied skins.
    • Custom skin texture support (around 2 releases after initial Avatar 2.0 release).
    • At some point thereafter a full texture layering system (make-up, tattoos, etc) for default and custom avatars.
  • Does the phased release of Avatar 2.0 mean there might be further content breakages? No. The breakage caused by the switch from Avatar 1.0 to Avatar 2.0 is a one-time only breakage.
  • Will Avatar 2.0 heavier to render? No, it shouldn’t be: tri count, skinning, etc., should all be about the same, the skeleton has been simplified. If anything, it should be slightly lighter on systems.

General

  • Users working in Sansars Edit Mode are not counted in the currency / user numbers for the platform. Could this be addressed?  Probably something that should be looked at.
  • Can there be a “global” text chat open that allows users in different experiences to chat with one another if they wish, regardless of whether they have friended or not? Being considered, but may not be fully on the roadmap as yet.
  • A.O. Systems: the Lab is looking at providing animators with a means to override the basic Avatar 2.0 animation: walk, run, crouch, idle, etc. This  will not be with the release of Avatar 2.0, but something for the future, as it involves a lot of work.
    • For picking up objects – guns, swords, etc. – the Lab is looking at a means of embedding the required animation in the object rather than having to make them a part of a core AO system.
    • Active feedback from creator on this subject via Discord, etc., is encouraged.
  • When will 3D mouse systems (e.g. SpaceNavigator) be supported? Not on the roadmap. Liable to be more part of any work undertaken to support joysticks and other controllers, rather than focusing purely on 3D mouse systems.
  • When will there be support for vehicles? Still to be developed, but something LL wants with Sansar.
  • Will it be possible to develop simple layouts in Edit Mode with data to allow basic mesh elements to be easily selected and swapped-out for complex (finished) mesh objects as a part of the build process? Recognised use-case, and something the Lab would like to try to address.
  • Could the upload process be de-coupled from the build process, to prevent work being lost on an upload failure? This would require saving builds locally; a better solution would be to make the upload process more robust to overcome losses due to momentary disconnects.
    • LL is already looking at making the client more resilient to prevent crashes should a disconnect occur, so that data on builds isn’t lost should the client disconnect from the server.
  • Would it be possible to preview object materials in Edit mode without having to preview them after each change as the preview option can take time to load and interrupts workflow? Possibly. Request will be relayed to relevant team.
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