Sansar Product Meetings week #36: R36 feedback and Q&A

Back in the Nexus: Lt. Pey on shore leave! A shame LL did away with free camming here…

The following notes were taken from my audio recording of the September 5th (week #36) Sansar Product Meeting, which took the form of a Q&A  / feedback session on the recent R36 release. As always, key points are summaries, but please also refer to the official video.

R36 Update 1

Friday, September 6th saw Linden Lab issue the first e36 update, including a number of bug / issue fixes, including:

  • Fixes for several crash issues caused by:
    • Equipping a custom avatar, then heading to an experience.
    • The Zen Garden world, which had issues tied to scripted sounds.
  • Some Nexus quest objectives could not be completed without reloading the Nexus multiple times. This should allow users to complete the quest without having to reload the world.

Please refer to the release notes for the full list of fixes.

Avatar 2.0

General

  • Will the default avatars be changed prior to the arrival of body morphing? There will be no major changes to the avatar skeleton. However:
    • When fully body deformation is introduced, there will be a new range of default avatars offer different shapes, builds, etc.
    • There may be a few minor tweaks to the base avatar.
    • Body morphing will use the same system as in place for the face.
  • The collision capsule doe the avatar has changed with Avatar 2.0, and this has caused some issues with levels in building, doorways, etc., seeming to be too low for the avatar to move under.
  • Avatar 2.0 introduced different movement speeds according to height. This was done as an experiment, and the Lab is looking for feedback on it.
    • This has already caused some issues in games involving running / running – smaller avatars can no longer easily participate as they are unable to jump far enough / high enough.
    • A suggestion has been to keep the feature, but make it optional or controllable at the world level.
  • Will there be a way to give hints on the morph bones auto-rigging system? The system is still being fleshed-out, and discussion like this will be held through Discord.
  • When importing an avatar with skin, will Sansar accept the weights applied by the creator, or will parts of it always be auto-weighted?
    • Animated skin weights will always be used as is specified by the creator.
    • The auto-skinning to the morphs is actually to a completely different skeleton not currently available to creators and comprising 300+ bones with 8 influences per vertex. LL are just trying to have the system take care of all interactions with it, so that creators don’t have to worry about the complexity of trying to skin to it.
    • However, the Lab is looking for a way to allow creators to indicate which elements they wish to pay attention to / ignore – hence why ear control points are currently masked to assist with hair.
  • Will the shadow lighting used in the Look Book be improved? Yes, this is being worked on.

Face and Deformation

  • Some feedback is that the deformation options are not as nuanced as anticipated (e.g. limited scope to change the shape of the head; greater variety of eye shaping options, etc.)
    • Some tools for managing facial deformation didn’t make it into this release, including some pre-made shapes for eyes, nose, etc.  These will be added. Other suggestions, such as changing the shape of the back of the head independently of the forehead, will be noted for consideration.
  • Texture uploads (skins):
    • This is being worked on, but release time is currently not clear. As per previous meeting notes, providing the ability is dependent upon updating the licensing system to incorporate the avatar, so that creators can sell their skins, head presets, etc.
    • More default skins could be provided, but the Lab would prefer to offer the upload ability, mentioned above for users to upload their own skins.
  • Will it be possible to create and sell face morphs for those who are not comfortable in using all of the deformation tools? Yes. That’s why there are the preset slots within the face tools. The same will be true for full bodies created using the Sansar base avatar, once full body deformations have been introduced and everything has been hooked into the licensing system.
  • All of the ear control points in the auto skinning are masked off (except for the root) in order for hair to work. This will be iterated on to improve it, but for now it means that ears on uploaded mesh heads do not respond to ear morphs in the facial deformation tools.
  • Can sliders be provided to adjust how much of a facial area / feature is selected in order to help fine-tune changes when using the deformation tools / to make is easier to select smaller areas? This would require a vertex-based editor rather than a control point based editor. So, no.

Clothing

  • Will rigged items (hair, etc), be resizeable:
    • No plans outside of resizing as part of the avatar uniform scaling, as seen as problematic due to overall impact on other avatar elements – animations, etc.
    • Clothing rigged to the Avatar 2.0 skeleton should morph with the body (when deformations is available) and head.
  • Can the MD adjustment tools be modified to allow non-uniform stretching / scaling? Unfortunately, MD does not support this.
  • Will there be some form on icon in the Store / avatar inventory to denote MD clothing made specifically for Avatar 2.0 (and that should fit without adjustment / transformation?). Yes, this is being considered, together with tags.

Nexus

  • What are the goals LL hope to achieve with socialisation in the Nexus?
    • What’s been deployed is just the start – social spaces, quests etc., more to come.
    • Example: Lab is looking at ways groups of people can meet in the Nexus and then travel together.
    • It’s also recognised that not everyone will wish to be dropped into the Nexus when logging-in, so the Home Space will likely be re-visited in the future for people to get to it more directly.
  • Are behaviours at the Nexus being monitored? Will changes be made based on people’s behaviour? Yes.
    • Use of the Nexus is being monitored from end to end – how people behave, socialise, react to the portals, respond to the quests, etc. These observations will inform development and enhanced of the Nexus.
    • Direct feedback from individuals is welcome, but the observation of behaviours and actions of users actually active within the Nexus.
    • The Nexus, Prime Portal and Codex will remain – but changes will be made on the basis of behaviour and feedback.
  • To make group travel easier, would it be possible to allow a users to drop a personal portal for a destination they’ve selected from the Prime Portal, so they and their friend to jump to a world not in their Codex, without everyone having to select the destination from the Prime Portal individually? – Will be looked into.
  • Logging-in to the Nexus means that if someone has to shut down the client while editing their appearance in Look Book, there is a risk that they will be logged into the Nexus naked. Can this be prevented? For now, don’t shut down the client leaving your avatar naked in the Look Book!
    • Also remember you can avoid the Nexus when logging in, by clicking the cancel button alongside the load progress bar and going directly to your Home Space.
  • Spawn point issues:
    • A number of people have “fallen through” the Nexus when logging-in, prompting a re-spawn. This has been noted by the Lab and is being looked into.
    • Multiple people arriving at the spawn point appear inside one another until they move. There is supposed to be logic at the spawn point to prevent this, and it will be looked at.
  • The current avatar cap per Nexus instance is 20 – this will be raised in accordance with the performance status LL gather from users.

XP System

  • XP system in its infancy right now.
  • As new storyline quests are release, the cap on levels will be increased.
  • And achievement system is also under consideration – as a user achieves various milestones, they be able to gain identity / vanity related items associated with their profile.
  • At some point the global XP system will be opened to creators to use and offer XPs to users. There are no plans to provide a means for creators to build their own XP systems using the Lab’s framework (i.e. create an XP system specific to their own worlds).

General Q&A

  • 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.
    • Valve Index support: something the Lab wants, but no time frame, other than when the Lab get to work on it, it is estimated to be around 2-3 weeks of work.
    • 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: yes, news! The Lab has entered into a design phase for persistence. No delivery date as yet, nor specifics, but it is firmly on the roadmap.
  • Can a means be provided for a creator to ban troublemakers from all of their worlds, rather than having to do so individually? This is a part of the on-going moderation tools / abilities discussions the Lab is having internally.
  • The ability for creators to offer rewards to users completing their quests is being worked on and will be arriving “fairly” soon.

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Jamee Sandalwood at Windlight Gallery in Second Life

SL Through My Eyes – Jamee Sandalwood; Windlight Gallery, September 2019

SL Through My Eyes is an extensive exhibition of Second Life photography by Jamee Sandalwood that is currently open at the Windlight Gallery, curated by John and Eleseren Brianna.  As the title of the exhibition – located on the upper floor of the gallery – implies, this is something of a personal look at Second Life, with Jamee introducing it thus:

This has been three years of inspiration in the making, and I am so proud to share it with you all. I hope you will find something that is special and reminds you of why you are part of this virtual world. SL has so many things to offer with so many talented and amazing people sharing their talents in ways that inspire. Each of these photos was taken as I was inspired by the beauty and creativity of someone who took the time to build something that was beautiful to me.

SL Through My Eyes – Jamee Sandalwood; Windlight Gallery, September 2019

Jamee’s work covers fashion photography, avatar studies, abstracts and – obviously – landscapes. And while the focus of SL Through My Eyes is on the latter, it also touches on her other areas of artistic interest as well. A number of the pieces include self-portraits that also have a slant towards fashion, for example, while a study of a lion’s head is rendered as a painting that, while not abstract in style, has a wonderful sense of abstraction about it which suggests it could have been sculpted and that were one to reach out and touch it, fingers would be able to trace their way over the lines and creases that appear to give form to the fur and mane.

It is this richness of life and presence in Jamee’s work that I find so attractive. Her landscapes in particular always strike me as not just capturing the memory of a location, but its very breath as well.

SL Through My Eyes – Jamee Sandalwood; Windlight Gallery, September 2019

Whereas others tend to post-process to the point that while they have produced a work of art in its own right, they have in doing so perhaps lost the core essence of the place their works features. In her work, Jamee offers a lighter touch, one that still results in expressing her artistic muse and creativity, but which also retains the essence of the place in which the original image was taken.

A further attractiveness with this exhibition is the dressing Jamee has given the gallery space around her work: fantasy settings fronted by night flowers that seem to offer a way into the images; the accoutrements of a beach location accompanying her coastal and water images; ivy hanging from walls to bring together images of ruins and horses to form a vignette of their own. Among these elements are a series of small photos of Jamee and her SL companion, Matt Thomson; these add a further personal dimension to the exhibition that is delightful to see.

SL Through My Eyes – Jamee Sandalwood; Windlight Gallery, September 2019

SL Through My Eyes is an engaging and evocative exhibition of art by an exceptionally talented photographer and artist. I believe it will be open through until the end of September, and a visit is thoroughly recommended.

SLurl Details and Related Links