Sansar Product Meetings week #41: recent updates

Monstercat Call of the Wild

The following notes were taken from my audio recording of the October 10th (week #41) Sansar Product Meeting, which examined upcoming avatar updates and nakedness in Sansar. The official video is available on Twitch.

Recent Updates

The latest is a series of updates to Sansar following the R36 Release (Nexus, Codex and Avatar 2.0) was made on October 4th (Planar Handles) and October 10th. These are summarised below.

World load screens have been updated to include an image of the destination, as requested by users

Planar Handles

  • New planar handles have been added to the translate gizmo in the scene editor. The new planar handles allow for quick movement constrained to a plane as defined by the orientation of the selection, as opposed to the single-axis translation provided by the other handles.
  • This is the first of a series of updates coming to the gizmo (which will include things like snap to grid, snap to rotation, etc.).

New Settings Options

  • Starting World: define where you commence your time in Sansar after logging in: the Nexus, your home space or go directly to your Look Book.
  • Avatar info on select – choose whether or not names and action buttons appear when hovering over a user. This is useful for film-makers.
The new settings drop-down for setting your preferred start location when logging in to Sansar (The Nexus, your home space or Look Book) – arrowed; and the option for disabling / enabling avatar name + options when the pointer is hovering over an avatar (on by default) – circled.

Portal Options

  • Avatars can now walk to portals to bring up the world details panel, from which a destination can be selected.
  • If preferred, you can still click on portals to open the world details page.

User Created Quest Rewards

Creators can now opt to present users with rewards in their quests. For full details, please refer to the Rewards section of the Quest documentation, but in brief:

  • There are two types of reward that can be offered:
    • Mandatory – given to the player upon quest completion.
    • “Choosable” – player is presented with two rewards and they must choose which one to receive.
  • Up to three rewards can be offered per quest.
    • All rewards can be mandatory, or one can be “choosable” (so a quest can have three mandatory or 2 mandatory, 1 “choosable”, or just two rewards, either both mandatory or 1 mandatory and 1 “choosable”, etc.).
  • Rewards can be an accessory, custom avatar, or item of clothing added to the user’s avatar inventory upon quest completion.
    • Scene objects (at the time of writing) cannot be offered as rewards.
  • The creator offering the rewards must own the proper license to distribute them.
    • As a rule of thumb, if the creator originated the item and uploaded it, they own the license to it.
    • Rewards do not have to be listed in the Sansar Store, but must be in the creator’s avatar inventory.
  • Refer to the documentation linked to above for adding rewards to a quest.
The Look Book now includes a 3-page tutorial (facial manipulation (shown), Marvelous Designer clothing manipulation and accessory adjustment), available from the “?” option, lower left of the screen

New Script APIs for Rigid Body Collisions and Avatar Speed

  • New rigid body collision behaviours determine how in-world objects react to avatar collisions. For example: a building might have a force field around it, denying access except for those able to input the correct code.
    • Behaviours will apply to anything associated with the avatar – teleporting, raycasting, camera, etc.
    • Operates at the per avatar level.
  • Speed multipliers can now be applied on a per avatar basis. For example: a power-up on a race track could provide a speed boost to an avatar passing over it.
    • Similar multipliers will be made available in the future for jump height / strength.
  • Details on how to use these are summarised in the release notes and documented in the Sansar scripting API documentation.

In-World Stores and Halloween Themes

  • Some creators are beginning to offer in-world stores.
  • The Sansar team would like to help support them where possible / appropriate.
  • As a part of this, and giving the month, the will be promotion of Halloween themed items through the Sansar Store.
  • Similarly, worlds built around Halloween themes are likely to be promoted via the Nexus, and may have some S$ incentives as well.
Portals to user-created locations are being made available at the Nexus, (based on theme), and these include the walk-in capability described towards the top of this summary

Q&A – In Brief

Please refer to the video for the full Q&A (some of which dealt with specific bugs individuals are experiencing, etc., or which had no clear answer at this point in time); the session begins around 16 minutes into the meet. The following is a short list of the questions that are likely of interest to a wider audience.

  • Custom skin textures for the system avatars:
    • Anticipated for delivery some time in the next month.
    • Access to the skeleton for testing custom skins should come sooner, possibly in the next week or two.
  • Skin layering for custom avatars: if the custom avatar uses the same UV mapping at the system avatar, should be possible. If the UV mapping is unique, then not supported, and unlikely to be supported near-term.
  • Vehicles in Sansar: vehicle have multiple layers of complexity, however, initial capabilities, such as remote control of vehicles, might start appearing around the 2nd quarter of 2020.
  • Vive Cosmos support and Valve Index VR support:
    • No official support for the Cosmos as yet, although some have managed to get these working with Sansar.
    • Valve Index is being working on by the Lab. Those who have it, try pressing F9 after Sansar is running & headset is on to get Sansar to appear in the headset.
  • Individual volume controls for avatars on voice: often requested, and the Sansar team have worked out how they’d like to implement it, but currently not prioritised in terms of when it will be addressed and implemented.
  • The emote system is to be updated so all emotes, including custom emotes will be available in run-time mode, allowing them to all be swapped and played, rather than having to bake custom emotes into the avatar through the character editor in order to have them available in the emote selection menu.
    • When available this would also means that emotes purchased from the store can be immediately available for use while still in run-time as well.
    • No time frame on when this will be deployed.
  • Scene-based animations: a capability to allow creator-defined animations to be triggered within a scene (e.g. when an avatar picks up a rifle, they hold the rife at the ready to use position, or if an avatar starts pushing a shopping cart, the hands “grip” the handle of the cart and the avatar adopts a gait as if pushing it, etc). This is being worked on, and is being aimed at a possible mid-2020 release.

A trip along Fox Road in Second Life

Fox Road, October 2019 – click any image for full size

Writing about Fox Road has proven to be a little difficult, even after several visits to the region. Designed by Vertiline Colter, this Homestead region is both open to the public for exploration, and home to her Little Fox brand in-world store.

I say “difficult” in terms of writing about it for a couple of reasons. The first is that I’m not entirely sure it is finished: several details, large and small, have changed as I’ve hopped back and forth between the region and home; the most notable perhaps being further landscaping of the north-eastern arm of the larger of the two islands. The second is, that while Fox Road has a personality of its own, I cannot entirely escape feeling an echo of NevaCrystall’s design for Borneo, Gac Akina’s handsome region (which you can read about in  A trip to Borneo in Second Life).

Fox Road, October 2019

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the one is intentionally modelled upon the other; as those of us who travel Second Life are only too aware (and as I’ve occasionally noted in these pages), there are certain things – be they houses, bridges, landscaping elements, board walks, animals, cars, décor pieces, furnishings, etc., that tend to suddenly being en vogue for region designs to the point where it can feel you’re constantly tripping over them. Thus, visiting a region can oft put one in mind of another, quite coincidentally.

Here, the sense of familiarity is perhaps down to the way both regions are laid out: both share a very similar orientation and divide between the larger L-shaped island and the smaller; both feature cove-like beaches of grey shingle, and each has a wild, rugged feel. But Fox Road has more than enough about it to offer its own uniqueness of character.

Fox Road, October 2019

Take, for example the small cluster of buildings just to the south-west of the beach landing point. These have the suggestion that perhaps they was once the location from which fishing boats once put out to sea (something very much enhanced by the presence of two large trawlers in the bay), the old rail lines perhaps used to carry iced catches away to market. However, time areas to have moved on: the main quay where boats may have once come alongside looks to be in a state of disrepair, while the water weed blanketing the surface of the water beneath it suggest any boat attempting a mooring would end up with its propellers fouled.

Meanwhile, the bay formed by the two islands seems to have suffered from at least one land slip that has pushed gravel and shingle out into the water to the point of making it impassable to vessels and leaving the two old trawlers trapped in place – their only other route of escape being blocked by the low-hanging, if also ramshackle, bridge linking the islands. Indeed, one of the trawlers appears to have been here so long, her old hull may have been holed by the rocks of the cliff that plunges into the waters behind her, leaving her waterlogged and listing heavily to one side.

Fox Road, October 2019

The flat top of the main island is reached via a wooden steps and platforms that climb upwards from a shoreline cottage. Decking has been laid  out across the scrub grass of the hilltop as if it might have been put there at some point in time to give vehicles better traction. Now ageing under the Sun and in places in need of repair, a part of it acts as a path pointing the way along the top of the island, while the rest of it almost suggests an outdoor space for music – or at least for splashing around in an old paddling pool that looks as if it might benefit for a little more air being pumped into its sides.

A greenhouse to one side of this deck area, along with one of the buildings down below, gives the impression these spaces are still being used, both having furnishings within. But who might be using them is up to visitor to decide; is it a hermit or hermits with a bohemian lean, or are the barn and greenhouse used as club meeting spaces? Whatever might be the case, it is clear their use is not sufficient to prevent nature slowly laying claim to them, just as it is with the other buildings to be found here.

Fox Road, October 2019

No sound scape was evident at the times of my visits, but those wishing to rez props for photography can do so by joining the Fox Road group – note that auto return is active, but do still please pick up your pieces after use should you opt to rez anything. Those who take photos in the region are invited to share them in the Fox Road Flickr group.

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