Sansar Product Meetings week #40: avatar updates + nudity in Sansar

The Nexus

The following notes were taken from my audio recording of the October 3rd (week #40) Sansar Product Meeting, which examined upcoming avatar updates and nakedness in Sansar. The official video is available on YouTube (and Twitch if you prefer) and is also embedded at the end of this summary.

Notes:

  • I was not present within Sansar for the meeting, but watching one of the streams, therefore the image captured from the demo video appear to be at odd angles due the positioning of the in-world camera used to relay the video.
  • Timestamps below will open the video of the meeting at the relevant point of discussion and in a separate tab. However, the topic summaries also include answers to questions raised in the Q&A session at the end of the meeting; therefore these will not be reflected in the video link.

Sansar Avatar

Pre-Morph Skeleton

[Video: 5:22-9:30]

  • The Avatar team is aiming for this to be available in the next major Sansar release, currently being scheduled for early November – but this is not a guarantee.
  • Gives custom avatars the ability to create differently sized and shaped avatars without being constrained to the Sansar base avatar.
    • Allows custom avatar creators to adjust bone translation (positioning) but not the bone rotation.
    • Providing they are correctly rigged, these differently sized and shaped avatars to correctly use Sansar emotes (“gestures” in SL parlance) and speech animations.
Pre-Morphing Skeleton – coming soon
  • Bone movement is being restricted to translations, and this works better with the automated animation re-targeting.
  • Part of this work also involves extending the Axis Aligned Bounding Box (AABB).
    • This is described as “not being a huge extension”, but is intended to offer a little more freedom in creating avatars and clothing.
    • It is likely to be constrained in terms of a (still TBD) minimum AABB and a maximum AABB.
  • Questions on the pre-morph skeleton from the Q&A session:
    • How far can bones be translated? As far as the minimum / maximum AABB limited allow.
    • If there is no bone rotation, will finger bones have to be in the same pose as the default avatar? Yes, although further testing may be carried out to see if this can be relaxed.

Additional Avatar Related Work

[Video: 9:34-20:00]

  • Camera movement in the avatar editor:
    • Work is in progress to involve the camera movement capabilities to address reported issues.
    • This is likely to include a more freecam style of camera movement to allow a better degree of panning and zooming when making very fine adjustments.
  • Avatar Skins:
    • Work is about to start on allowing custom skin uploads for the Sansar default avatar.
    • Creators will not initially be able to sell skins through the Sansar Store, but this will be added as the necessary licensing updates are made.
    • The system skins are being improved.
    • (From the Q&A session): will skin colour tinting be added? No. Tinting will be handled by swapping skin textures.
    • (From the Q&A session) will uploaded skins work with custom avatars? Initially, no; however, the option is being considered for a future update.
  • Full Body deformation:
    • Due to the feedback (particularly) concerning the avatar 2.0 base female shape, the avatar team is working to release full body deformation as soon as possible.
    • The plan is to have this working in a very similar manner to the face deformation.
    • Rigged clothing should adjust with the skeleton, and most of the deformation will be changing the size / shape of the skeleton.
    • Marvelous Designer™ clothing will use the clothing transform tools in the avatar editor.
      • Scaling / translating MD clothing is a challenge as it isn’t specifically rigged to the skeleton nor does it use skeletal bones.
      • LL and MD have been in conversation to see if MD could provide more information within MD files to allow for certain types of non-uniform scaling, and MD has indicated this is not possible on their end.
    • Part of this project may include the Sansar avatar team producing a wider range of base / starter avatars
      • For example: shapes and sizes that might be regarded as “standard” and worked for when creating custom avatars and also to help with producing clothing for different avatar “types”.
      • This feeds into attempts to limit market fragmentation (below).
  • Market fragmentation / Avatar Inventory:
    • There is already a degree of fragmentation in the store (avatar 1.0 clothing re-rigged for avatar 2.0; MD clothing, items for custom avatars, etc).
    • The Sansar team is looking to refine the Store and avatar inventory to make it easier to denote / see the types of avatar that items of clothing and accessories are designed to work with.
    • (From the Q&A session): for avatar inventory, this will likely include the ability to filter inventory contents.
    • (From the Q&A session): it is also hoped that the inventory improvements will include swapping (so if you are wearing a shirt and select another, the two will be swapped on your avatar, rather than both being worn).
  • Avatar editor lighting and background: LL are iterating on the lighting and improving the shadowing.
  • Facial Presets are being adjusted to give better starting points.

Contests

[Video: 20:35-23:00]

  • The idea has been floated that perhaps LL could run a contest for skin designers, with the winning skins being featured in the default inventory so users can view / use them and (via a right-click) see who made it.
  • If creators are interested in participating in this kind of contest, it could perhaps be extended to include avatars, etc.
  • Such competition would also include money or other practical prizes to rewards the creator’s time and effort.

Nudity in Sansar

[Video: 23:06-35:25]

  • New content guidelines will be available “shortly” in an attempt to clarify the rules around nudity.
  • In short:
    • Nudity is not permitted in Sansar.
    • Nudity is defined as something where there are visible genitalia, buttocks or breasts, especially with regards to humanoid avatars.
    • As a general rule, humanoid custom avatars should have underwear covering these body parts
      • This underwear should conform closely to the underwear seen on Sansar base avatars.
      • Changing the colour of the underwear is permitted, so long as the colour isn’t designed to blend with the skin to give the appearance of nakedness.
    • Certain humanoid forms that do not emphasise a sense of nakedness or that are not intentionally sexualised (such as the character show on the right by Sansar user Polygon) may be permitted.
    • Anthropomorphic avatars (animals, fruit, etc.) and nudity:
      • Such avatars do not necessarily have to have underwear, providing they are not being intentionality sexualised / showing genitalia, etc., in an attempt to bypass the guidelines.
      • Fur or feather coats on humanoid type avatars is OK, again providing they are not otherwise being intentionally sexualised.
  • The nudity guidelines will also extend to custom skins, once the capability to upload them is added to the platform.
  • Clothing that is also intentionally designed to show genitalia, etc. will be seen in violation of the nudity guidelines.
  • A point to remember with the nudity guidelines is that that are not something Linden Lab has arbitrarily set – rather, they are:
    • Intended to meet the expectations of content partners (.e.g. Sanrio, Levis®, etc.).
    • Allow Sansar to be offered to the widest audience of potential users without necessarily gating access to worlds, etc, and be a “family friendly” platform.
  • Avatars / content that is deemed to be in violation of the guidelines will be taken down.

General Q&A

[Video: 32-36-end]

Note the following a selection of the questions asked outside of those listed in the sections above. In the interests of brevity, it is not a full list of questions, but lists those where there was an answer beyond simply relaying to the office, etc. Please refer to the video if you wish to hear the entire Q&A session.

  • Will the issue of avatars sized to anything other than 1.0 glitching when plying emotes be addressed? Yes. The issue appears to be with the re-targeting introduced with avatar 2.0, and a fix is currently being tested.
  • Will slots for hats be added? Will be considered as a part of the in-progress discussions on handling accessories and attachment slots going forward.
  • Edit Mode inventory folders – when? Not in the immediate future. However, infrastructure is being built that might eventually lead to inventory folders.
  • Will content ratings for Sansar worlds (e.g. General, Mature, etc.), ever be introduced for Sansar? No. Has been discussed in the past, but again, to meet the expectations of content partners, all worlds are expected to be “General”, and there are no plans to change this.
  • Will creators gain access to the base texture for the system avatar? Being worked on as part of a better set of files that can be provided for creators. Also working on an external package providing just the UV files to make custom texturing easier.
  • Will creators be able to sell their own worlds? Yes, in time, but not on the immediate roadmap. The foundational infrastructure has been built, but work is required on additional tools (+the licensing system).
  • Will avatars be able to run at different speeds, fly or float?
    • Running is being considered as a part of a quest system – when a user completes a task, they can obtain an ability to run faster within that quest / world.
    • Flying has locomotion graph implications and is not currently on the roadmap.
  • Muting loud / troublesome individuals on voice: further options coming, including the ability to just right-click on an avatar and muting them.
  • It is recognised that the VR UI is not as robust as the Desktop UI, and a longer-term project is in hand to make the VR UI more robust and user-friendly.