Sansar Product Meetings week #31: Avatar 2.0 – preparing for the change

Channelling my inner Trekkie at the Roddenberry Nexus

The following notes were taken from my recording of the August 1st (week #31) Sansar Product Meeting, which focused on the upcoming deployment of Avatar 2.0 and how creators can start working with the Lab in readiness for the change-over. Also referenced in the meeting was the Quest Update release, made on Tuesday, July 30th. 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. The official video of the meeting is embedded at the end of this article for those wishing to watch the meeting in full.

Quest Update

For details on the July 30th Quest update, please refer to the official release notes.

Avatar 2.0

When Will Avatar 2.0 Be Released?

The current plan is for Avatar 2.0 to be released in late August / early September 2019.

Official Documentation

  • New avatars. New possibilities – published July 9th, updated August 1st: introduces the Avatar 2.0 update.
  • FAQ post – published July 7th, 2019. In particular, this FAQ highlighted 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.
  • Get Started: Avatar 2.0 Creator Programme – published August 1st, 2019. Announcing the August creator programme to allow creators to prepare for the transition to Avatar 2.0. This includes links to:

Avatar 2.0 Creator Programme – What Is It?

  • Avatar 2.0 cannot be tested in the client until support for the new avatar skeleton is actually released.
  • The Avatar 2.0 Creator programme is designed to allow creators who create avatars, avatar wearable, accessories, etc to:
    • Develop their avatar-related content (avatars, rigged wearables (including hair), Marvelous Designer clothing, emotes, accessories) based on the Avatar 2.0 skeleton.
    • Send versions of their content to Linden Lab for testing and feedback (notes, images, even video).
    • Update their items based on that feedback, if required.
  • Note that depending on how many creators avail themselves of the Avatar 2.0 Creator Programme,  the Lab may only initially be reviewing around 2-4 items per creator. Additional items submitted will only be reviewed once all creators making submissions have been seen.
  • It is not a new requirement that all content must be reviewed by the Lab, it is purely to help creators who produce avatars and avatar-related items to prepare for the release of Avatar 2.0.
  • Creators are obviously free to test their items in their own 3D editor of choice, if preferred, and wait until the launch of Avatar 2.0 to make any necessary adjustments.
  • The programme will be discontinued once Avatar 2.0 has been released, when creators will be able to test their items directly in the client.

General Q&A

Quest System Feedback

See also the Quest Q&A from my week #30 summary.

  • It’s been reported that the text displayed at the end of a quest is too small to be comfortably read when see in VR. This is to be looked at.
  • There has been a request to add a “Quest Tester” role to allow someone else to be able to test a quest as it is being developed / updated and reset their progress (right now, the ability to reset quest objectives via the UI is only available to the quest creator, and only applies to them).
    • This is seen as a good idea, but a non-trivial enhancement that will be examined.
    • It might be possible to allow something through scripting so testers can re-set quests via an in-world object, and the scripting API does support this.
  • Will quests be made repeatable (right now, when a user completes a quest, that’s it, they cannot go back and try it again)? Yes, this is on the quest roadmap, however:
    • “Repeatable” quests are seen as a special class of quests that creators may wish to set up (e.g. a quest game then people can come back to and play over and over).
    • There are also quests that creators may not want users to be able to re-do (e.g. because of the nature of the reward(s) associated with them, once rewards have been deployed).
    • Therefore, the Lab will be approach the question of “repeatable” quests with both of these requirements in mind.
  • Can “open-ended” quests be supported (right now quests are designed to have a specific end point. It would be nice to have a capability for a creator to build an on-going quest narrative, adding new objectives, which users could return to and achieve)? Will be looked into.
  • Can users have a “quest journal” where they can look back over the quests they’ve completed? The current quest panel in the client UI is intended to provide similar functionality as it is built out.
  • Can clicking on a quest category trigger animations in an experience? The ability to trigger animations automatically (e.g. walk onto a dance floor and you automatically start dancing, pick up a sword and start wielding it, etc.) has been talked about at the Lab, but not time frame on when the might be delivered or extended into quests.
  • Can avatars be added to “classes” within quests (e.g. serfs, warriors, mages, etc)? Not at present. Would require some form of back-end data persistence, and use cases need to be defined. Where any such system to be introduced, it would likely be fairly generic in order for creators to define what they require to suit their own styles of quests.
  • Will the quest panels be customisable (e.g. to look like pages of a book if the quest is a storyline, for example)? There have been internal discussions on making the UI elements in general customisable, however, it is a complex objective, and so is not currently on the roadmap.

In Brief

  • The usual four:
    • 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 has been an uptick in the number crashes users are experiencing since the July 30th update. These are being investigated.
  • Mavelous Designer: there are a range of options in MD that are not supported in Sansar. Will more support for MD capabilities be provided? Discussions with MD are constantly on-going, as is integration. If there are specific features Sansar creators would find useful, these should be raised via feature requests so they can be looked at.
  • Will users be able to rez their own items in an experience? Possibly. However, it is not on the roadmap, and all the possible implications have to be considered before anything is implemented.
  • Will there been single-axis (non-uniform) scaling of objects (e.g. increasing just the height of a door to fit a doorway)? Has been discussed internally, is somewhat more complex than might seem to be the case; not clear to those at the meeting whether or not it is one the roadmap.
  • Try-before-you-buy from the Store (being able to try a demo directly from the Store before any purchase) has been discussed in the past. Still on the roadmap, but no ETA at present.