Sansar Product Meetings week #30: more on quests

The first release of the new quest system was made on Tuesday, July 23rd

The following notes were taken from my recording of the July 25th (week #30) Product Meeting. Once again, this meeting had a focus on the new quest system, with some additional questions. As with these meetings, a lot of general feedback was given to be “taken back to the Lab” for consideration, and as such, aren’t reflected in the notes below – please refer to the meeting video, which is embedded at the end of this article.

Quests

  • The first pass of the quest system was released on Tuesday, July 23rd – see Sansar: user-generated quests release: an overview for more.
  • The Lab is working on some “best practices for quests” documentation, based on their own experience building quests, and on quest games in general.
  • Some time in around 2-4 weeks, there will be a special in-world questing tutorial event.

Quest Authoring Q&A

  • How does it work? Quest creation comprises two parts a) creating the quest data itself, using the authoring tool. This can be created and revised as often as required; b) using objects in scenes (experiences) that are directly linked to the quest and use / present the quest data.
    • The quest can be tested by the creator in the unpublished scene (by building and saving the scene).
    • The quest becomes public when the scene is published as an experience.
  • Quests are linear at present: start, objective A, objective B, etc. Can branches be offered (e.g. do objective A then choose either objective B or C)?
    • Possibly via custom scripting.
    • However, in the future it will be possible to author quest “storylines”, allowing multiple quests to be linked, and to be dependent one upon the last, thus offering a level of “branching”.
  • Will future updates to the quest system break what has been deployed? No. Features and a capabilities will be added, but will not break the established functionality. So, quests can be enhanced as new capabilities are added.
  • Can experiences with quests be made more readily identifiable in the Atlas? Not exactly, but the Lab is considering tools for monitoring how quests are being used (how many people participate, how many complete, etc.), and providing that information to creators.
    • Short-term this may be a manual system with reports curated by LL and made via Discord.
    • Longer term it should be more automated. This might also be built out to include the Atlas to show available quest experiences.

Badge System vs. Experience Points System

Since the week #29 Product Meeting, when the quest tools, rewards and the upcoming experience (XP) system  were announced, a badge system that could be used by individual experience creators, rather than having a global XP system as proposed, as this is seen by some as being more flexible.

  • The Lab views a global XP / level system as being more immediately understandable by users, as they can earn XP points and level up no matter what they are doing or how they participate in Sansar – there is no dependency on visiting specific experiences or having to complete specific tasks.
  • In time the XP system will be expanded beyond quests, but the first pass will be focused on questing.
  • However: the Lab is looking at a badge system, and see it differently to any kind of XP system, as badges can be used to show what a user has specifically done – i.e. a creator can gain various badges to mark their achievements as a creator, while a gamer who is good with shoot-em-ups, etc., can earn badges to reflect what they’ve achieved through that interest, etc.
    • These types of achievements would likely be made available through user profiles.

General Q&A

  • The usual trio:
    • High heels for avatars: not on the roadmap at present.
    • 3D mouse support: not on the roadmap, will more likely be a general project to support game pads, joysticks, etc., if done.
    • Wiki: the more user-submitted guides that are made to the forum public documentation area, the more weight is given to the case for the Lab creating and offering / managing a wiki.
  • Persistence: the Sansar devs would love documented requirements on where and how persistence might be needed / used, particularly as persistence is under consideration at the moment.
  • There is an issue with scripts failing to execute in experience instance with high numbers of avatars. The Lab has already started tweaking scripts within their own event instances, but are requesting more bug reports on where creators are seeing issues.

Streaming Sansar

Apparently, LL are in discussions with a number of streaming service providers about providing Sansar as a streamed (consumer?) option they could be delivered to a range of devices. No time frames on when this might surface (not in 2019), if it goes ahead.

Advertisements

The scenic glory of Athenaeum in Second Life

Athenauem, July 2019

It’s been almost a year since we first visited Athenaeum, the full region designed by Dema Fairport. At the time I noted the Adult-rated region to be stunningly scenic and offering a lot to see. For details of that first visit, see: Athenaeum: scenic beauty with an adult twist in Second Life.

More recently, Dema passed an invite for us to make a return visit following something of a re-design, I added it to the list of our upcoming destinations, and recently had the opportunity to drop in.

Athenaeum, July 2019

I’ll be honest, given the outstanding look and feel of Athenaeum a year ago, I was a little hesitant in thinking about what might have changed. The build we witnessed back in August 2018 was so visually stunning that there was a concern that any change might come at the cost of something very special being lost.

However, all such fears proved groundless; the “new” Athenaeum offers a well-rounded mix of new locations sitting within a setting that retains all of its scenic beauty and many of its popular locations. These include the the manor house to the south, the gorge that must be spanned to reach it. Thus Athenaeum presents a setting that is both familiar and new.

Athenaeum, July 2019

Chief among the changes is the landing point. This has moved from inland to the west of the region to sit on a waterfront pier. it offers the way to a surfaced road running past the gallery and museum, each of which still offers a celebration of the physical world photography of New York’s Darque, and a history of kink respectively.

From here the road climbs upwards, becoming a familiar (for those who have visited in the past) cinder track that offers the way to (again for visitors making a return to the region) a familiar bridge spanning the gorge to reach the the big manor house. The latter further retains its marvellous member’s club look and feel from August 2018, which I described thus:

Within its rooms are leather arm chairs, great bookcases filled with tomes awaiting reading, fires in the hearths, bottles of port and cigar humidors on some tables, coffee and After Eight mints on others, and just the most subtle of hints as to some of the activities that might follow conversations in these rooms; activities which themselves might be enjoined in the rooms above, going by their décor.

Athenaeum, July 2019

The manor house retains its terrace and pool where events can be held, while to the east, a path leads the way into the deeper shade of tall fir trees, to where the summer house and its pool still reside.

The newer touches to the region are subtle. Take, for example, the barn with horses roaming before it, additional cliff-top hideaways, or the rickety bridge crossing the deep gorge to offer a path to where Buddha still sits, going by way of a shaded snuggle spot.

Athenaeum, July 2019

And While it might be a case of mis-remembering over the course of the year, there also seem to be a lot more – and individually – attractive spots around the coastline for sitting and enjoying company, whether intimate or friendly. These include waterside camps with little fires blazing, covered seats mounted on rocky outcrops or wooden decks built out over the water. Cinder paths lit by lanterns and occasionally marked by vintage cars, point the way to most of them – although some may require a little discovery.

Throughout all of this, Athenaeum remains richly photographic, and the invitation for visitors to submit their images to the region’s Flickr pool remains open. If you’ve not visited before, I cannot recommend doing to enough – and if you have visited in the past but haven’t been recently, then a re-visit is also recommended.

Athenaeum, July 2019

SLurl Details

2019 SL User Groups 30/2: Content Creation summary

56578 Go Wild Blvd, Watery Cove, IS 245785; Inara Pey, June 2019, on Flickr56578 Go Wild Blvd, Watery Cove, IS 245785, June 2019 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, July 25th 2019 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Environment Enhancement Project

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements allowing the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) to be set region or parcel level, with support for up to 7 days per cycle and sky environments set by altitude. It uses a new set of inventory assets (Sky, Water, Day),  and includes the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. The assets can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

Due to performance issues, the initial implementation of EEP will not include certain atmospherics such as crepuscular rays (“God rays”).

Resources

Current Status

  • A further version of the RC viewer is in the pipeline and will be available soon.
  • As the project is seen as a “getting closer” and that now is the time for issues to be reported.
  • EEP and Bakes on Mesh have also swapped their internal QA teams, so that each project has fresh eyes on it as it gets closer to a potential release.

Bakes On Mesh

Project Summary

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos, clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies as well as system avatars. This involves viewer and server-side changes, including updating the baking service to support 1024×1024 textures, but does not include normal or specular map support, as these are not part of the existing Bake Service, nor are they recognised as system wearables. Adding materials support may be considered in the future.

Resources

Current Status

  • As noted above, the BOM and EEP QA teams have swapped responsibilities, so that there are fresh eyes on both projects.
  • With BOM in particular, this means the project is to be subject to extensive internal review by the Lab ahead of possible release dates being considered.

Animesh Follow-On – Project Muscatene

  • DRTSIM-421 on Aditi now has the server-side code to support the new visual parameters LSL code.
  • The simulator build and a build of a project viewer supporting the new LSL code are both undergoing LL QA testing.
  • Once both have passed QA, the viewer will be made available for public testing on the relevant regions on the DRTSIM-421 channel on Aditi.
    • The viewer might be available within the next 2-3 weeks.
  • It’s been suggested that imposters for Animesh and imposters for avatars should be separated.
    • This would be possible, although it would require some code re-working within the imposter system, which hasn’t been planned.
    • There’s also the question of how many people would use a separate Animesh setting, even if it were provided – or perhaps even be aware of it – or if two settings might not confuse people

General Discussion

Tutorial Videos

  • The Lab is looking to again start producing tutorial videos.
  • Some of these will focus on the basics with content (e.g. how to dress an avatar, wear jewellery, etc.), and how to recognise well-made / optimised content. These videos may start to appear later in 2019.
  • The hope is that as well as helping to educated consumers, these videos may start encouraging creators to think more about issues of optimisation.
  • The Lab will be interested in hearing ideas on this from creators.
  • It is likely this work will be linked to things like Project ARCTan, which will look at rendering costs, etc.
    • It was intimated that in the future, landowners might be able to limit access to their land by avatar complexity as well as by the more recognised script load.
    • Any such changes will be introduced gradually, with the educational programme – videos, etc., preceding it to try to help users better understand optimisation and benefits.

In Brief

  • In-World Pose System: this has grown out of a code contribution, but is current on hold pending resources.
  • Pathfinding: something the Lab would like to look at again, but unlikely to be in 2019.
  • Puppeteering: this is an old project that several have suggested re-vitalising. The view from the lab appears to be that it is now too old and SL has moved on too far for it to be practical to try to just resume work.

Meetings

Due to the Lab’s internal SL Feature Summit and the monthly All Hand meeting at the Lab, the next CCUG meeting will likely be on Thursday, August 8th, 2019 – but check the wiki page to confirm,as it might be possible there is a meeting on August 1st, depending on the start of the SL Feature Summit.