Sansar Product Meetings week #29: UGC quests and the XP system

50 years on: recalling Apollo 11 in Sansar – the Apollo Museum in Sansar

Oops! this was drafted on July 19th, then the weekend came, and I forgot to publish it!

The following notes were taken from my recording of the July 18th (week #29) Product Meeting. This meeting focused on the new quest system.

Quest Authoring

  • Week #30 (commencing Monday, July 22nd) should see a point release of the first version of Sansar’s in-client quest editor, together with a new library of scripts designed to enable linking quest elements within the authoring tool with in-scene objects.
  • The editor will be accessible through the Create button on the left-side menu in the Sansar client. It allows quests to be created, objectives named and set within it (and reordered, if required).
  • Ease-of use will allow quests to be associated with scenes, tested with scenes, and iterated without actually having to continually rebuild the scene(s) in which the quest runs.
  • Quests can be experience specific, or – providing all the experiences are owned by the same account setting-up the quest – span multiple experiences.
  • The system supports placing links within objects that can be used to send users to a specific point in the quest.
  • It is acknowledged that the editor’s UI will be a “little rough” in the first release, but the Sansar team have ideas for improving it, and are also open to feedback from creators for improvements.
  • For the initial release, it will not be possible to fully interconnect quests via prerequisites (e.g. quest A must be completed before a user can progress to quest B). However, creators should still be able to create multiple quests which can have a degree of relationship one to the next (e.g. to open door A and access quest B, the user must find key A).
  • The authoring tool is seen by the Lab as a significant step forward from the internal tools that Sansar team have used up until now to create quests such as those seen in the Social Hub. In particular, it was reported that some of the Lab’s quests took around a month to build; the new editor allows that same amount of work to be completed a just a couple of days.

Rewards System

  • Coming at some point after the initial release of the quest system will be a  rewards system.
    • A tab for the rewards system will appear in the quest authoring tool, but will not be available for the first release(s) of the quest system.
  • When available, the rewards system will:
    • Allow creators to specify (initially) up to three objects (not Sansar Dollar amounts) users participating in a quest can win / obtain.
    • The system will allow for user choices within the three (e.g. a reward might offer a user a choice of A or B as one of the rewards).
    • If it is felt the system needs to be expanded to support more rewards per quest, the Sansar team is open to discussing this down the road.
  • Rewards will be collected by users on completion of a given quest, using the Sansar Store mechanism for delivery.
  • The rewards system is not being released with the first pass of the quest system so that creators can have a chance to test the latter, gain familiarity with it and offer feedback and suggestions for improvement before more complex capabilities are layered on to it.
    • However, once the rewards system may not be turned on from day one, the design of the editor means that once it is available, creators can easily go back over their defined quests and add rewards to them.

Experience Points (XP) System

  • The experience points system is still being developed and will be released at some point after the quest authoring tools.
  • The system will follow “traditional” XP system lines – the more a user participates in activities, the more points they can obtain, and thus “level up”.
  • It will be a global system – users can accumulate points right across Sansar, wherever they participate, rather than individual experiences just offering point applicable within that experience.
  • The first iteration of the XP system will be geared towards users gaining points within existing Sansar quests.
    • Those who have already completed the existing Sansar quests will be grandfathered in to the XP system when it is launched.
    • A future expansion will allow creators to award experience points within their own quests / experiences.
    • The system will also support experience creators specifying the level users must be at in order to access their quests.
  • To achieve the broadest range of applications, Sansar experience points will be split into three different  activity groupings:
    • Exploring – people who like visiting and exploring experiences, playing games within experiences and generally interacting in experiences.
    • Socialising – people who like going to events, spending their time making friends and interacting with friends and participating in activities that require more than one person.
    • Creating – anyone who enjoys creating in Sansar, be it experience, accessories, games, etc.
  • These are very broad activity definitions, but LL believe they encompass the major high-level ways in which people use Sansar, and thus have the opportunity to earn experience points. However, there may be more granularity within each.
  • Exactly what the returns will for those achieving a given level is still TBD – ideas mooted range from profile badges / icons / similar, through to ideas like entire avatar looks.
  • The system will initially have a level cap to limit how many experience points a user can earn. This is in part because the system is still being built-out and in part because the Lab would like to evaluate how people respond to and use the XP system. As more activities are supported by the XP system, the cap will be increased.
  • Also to be associated with the XP system is a “milestone” system – as users achieve certain XP levels, so those levels will unlock new rewards. What the levels and the “special” rewards might be will be discussed at a later date, once LL have finalised how they’d like the milestone system to work.

The overall goal in building the questing system, the rewards element, the XP system is to develop a framework for such capabilities that  is consistent across all experiences, making it easier for creators to leverage, and for users to understand, without having to re-learn the basics each time they visit a new experience.

Q&A

  • Who will provide the Avatar 2.0 file for use with Marvelous Designer – Sansar or Marvelous Designer? If Sansar, will it be possible to include the rigged bones? The Sansar team is working with Marvelous Designer on the files, and it is not clear if rigged bones can be included.
  • Would it be possible for LL to give more warning on themed Store events to give creators more time to work on items? Generally speaking, yes.
  • When will the event ticketing system be available for experience creators? Not on the immediate roadmap, as the Lab would like to polish the system a little more before opening it out.
  • Sitting – is there a plan and will sit points work with move objects? Yes to both, but not going to be available in the short-term.
  • How will the disparity in using items in VR and in Desktop Mode be overcome (e.g. allowing Desktop user to swing bats / clubs in the same way as VR users)? The Sansar team are aware of this, and there are currently internal discussions taking place on how best to bring more parity between the two modes of use.
  • Can experience creators have a pop-up warning appear in active versions of an experience they’ve just updated, so visitors can click on it and teleport to the updated version? Will be looked into.
  • Elements of the client UI are intrusive – like the emote system in Desktop Mode (it pops up over the middles of the screen). Are issues like this going to be addressed? Focus at the moment is getting the core capabilities like the quest, rewards and XP systems out and available. However, there are discussions on the subject of improving the UI, and feedback is appreciated.
  • Is it possible to have a feature to change clothes and attachments in the thumbnail pic after the initial upload? Being worked on, and should be out “soon”.
  • Will Sansar have real-time reflections / mirrors? Unlikely, due to the complexity  / performance hit, unless the platform can be shown to perform well at scale.
  • Keybindings / control options: the eventual goal is to allow Sansar users to define their own keyboard key binding / controller options for movement, etc.
  • When will creators be able to limit the number of people able to access an instance of an experience?
    • Not for a while. Before then, it a likely that there will be some form of “instance browser” that will show how many instances of and experience are running and who is in them, and potentially allow users to select which instance they wish to join and also pull their friends into.
    • Low user density per experience instance increases costs. For example: limiting access to a game to 5 people per instance and having 10,000 people playing the game means running 2,000 servers – so who meets the cost of running those servers? Should there be a business model that passes on the cost to the creator and (ultimately) those playing the game?
  • One of the reasons there were a rapid-fire series of updates following the R34 deployment is that one of the updates accidentally caused a memory leak in the client, and the update intended to fix it contained code that actually made it worse.

Note: there is due to be a general internal meeting at the Lab on Sansar and goals / capabilities, so some of the more frequently-asked question things like sitting in Sansar, the opening of the ticketing system, etc., might be clearer in terms of possible time-frames once this meeting has taken place.