2020 Sansar Product Meetings week #3: looking at 2020

The Nexus, January 2020

The following notes were taken from the Twitch stream recording of the January 16th (week #3) Sansar Product Meeting.

Upcoming R39 Release and Beyond

The upcoming R39 release will include.

Updated Emote (Gestures/ Animations) System

  • A new emote system that will initially allow users to:
    • Find an emote on the Store and immediately use it without having to go to the character editor to assign it.
    • Allow emotes to be assigned to short cut keys in Desktop mode, so they do not have to be selected as played via the emotes wheel.
  • For VR use, the system will present a new panel for emote selection, but will not allow specific emotes to be tied to controller buttons.
    • When assigning an emote, it will automatically switch to 3rd person view allowing the user to check to see what the emote actually does to their avatar.
    • Thereafter, the emote can be toggled on / off via the panel.
  • Subsequent releases will expose the system to manipulation via script for use by creators to assign animations to users engaged in their worlds / games / quests.
    • As it is driven by the server, it will mean they may be some delay in emoted running which might impact certain types of animation playback (e.g. sword swings and the like).
    • However it should allow for actions such as pulling levers, opening doors, synchronising dancing among a group of avatars, etc.

Instance Picker

  • Where more than one instance of a world / event is running, will:
    • Make it easy for users to see the instances and join them
    • Give the ability to share the instance URL with friends who can use it to access the instance.
  • Will be updated in subsequent releases to allow:
    • Users to see how many are active within each instance of a world / event.
    • Possibly see which instance of a world their friends are in and more easily access that instance (subject to capacity) to join them.

Other Items Planned for R39

  • Updated Starter Avatar Carousel: intended to offer new users better define an avatar and build a look using free (I assume) items from the Store.
  • New Twitch integration specifically aimed at events and streaming events by users.
  • A further round of bugs fixes.

Beyond R39

The following updates are planned for after R39, but potentially within a 2020 Q1 release time frame:

  • Scene-based Backpack improvements: extending the Backpack functionality to provide creators with an API that allows them to add / remove items from the backpack of users visiting their worlds, and which can be used at specific points in a scene. For example:
    • In a quest, a user finds a sword, and the sword is added to their backpack and is available for use when they need it.
    • In a game, a user finds a “power pack” then can use once, after which it is removed.
    • At an event, a DJ hits a button and all attendees receive an object they can wear  / use within the event, or have the items in their backpack change to match whatever music is being played.
  • Moderation Tools:
    • These will initially be enhanced for the Lab, then offered to world creators and will likely include: easier means of muting people, removing them from a world, etc.
    • They will also likely be matched by in-client improvements to managing whitelists, etc., and for raising tickets.
  • In-world social activity improvements:
    • Making it easier to find / add friends and communicate with them.
    • Introducing the notion of group travel and group chat.

UI Re-design

As per the last Product Meeting of 2019, a “comprehensive” client UI redesign is in the works for 2020 to make accessing capabilities in the client easier and provide more intuitive controls over some functions (e.g. adjusting the volume at which you hear other individuals talking), etc.

Some of this work, such as individual voice volume controls for other avatars, may be surfaced in 2020 Q2 (April-June).

Q&A Session Summary

Why is Collaborative World Building Hard to Implement?

Collaborative world building – people working together to build a world together – has been a constant request, and one promised as “coming”. However, it is proving hard to implement.

  • Edit Mode was original client-side, and thus hard to implement on a collaborative basis.
  • It was moved to being server-side with the intent to make offering collaborative editing in a single server space possible.
  • However, the Edit Server system also has to handle aspects of licensing and edit process validation, and managing this when when several people are working on a single scene has proven difficult to achieve.

General Questions

  • Will it be possible to see the total number of people in Sansar, including those in Edit Mode and / or in non-public worlds, at any given time?
    • Has been discussed at LL, but has not seen any move to implement.
    • Will be added back to the list for further internal discussion.
  • Will it be possible for creators to limit the number of people accessing an individual instance of a world (e.g. a team game / quest that is best played by a defined number of users without risk of other wandering around spoiling things, or to simply to maintain a good level of performance within a complex environment)?
    • No plans at present to limit the number of people accessing worlds below that set by LL.
    • There are issues in doing so. For example: instances incurs cost. If a game is limited to 10 players but is very popular among users, resulting in dozens (or more) instances at any given time, who meets the cost of AWS provisioning and running all those instances?
  • When will a) custom skin texture uploads and b) full body avatar deformation be made available?
    • a) Custom skin textures may appear before the end of 2020 Q1, but may not be immediately made available to creators at that time.
    • b) Full body sliders are still considered to be “further out, for sure”, with no defined time frame.
  • What is the official stance on the invisible avatars available in the Store being used to eavesdrop on others, particularly as they are hard to detect?
    • No official policy at present, and currently down to individual world creators to determine how to respond to the use of such avatars.
    • LL have encountered them being used for griefing / trolling in worlds, and have moderated (banned?) on this basis.
    • The Nearby panel can be used to see who is nearby in a scene, and in VR there is is the “person person who” for a list of people in the world with you.
  • Financial / revenue:
    • Will the percentages taken by Linden Lab on cashing-out from Sansar be reduced in 2020? No plans to do so.
    • Will tipping be possible in Sansar? This is being explored, but no firm decisions as to how it might work or when it might be introduced. If / when such a capability is introduced, it will likely include the option for users to cash-out what they have earned, although a fee may apply.
  • Will it be possible for VR users to remain in VR when their avatar is seated? Eventually, yes.
    • However there are issues to be resolved (e.g. what happens to the avatar when you physically turn in your chair?).
    • Hopefully, whatever is implemented will also take into consideration full body tracking as well, and deal with current issues of VR hand placement.
  • Will it ever be possible for creators to develop their own websites where visitors can sign-up / access Sansar directly, without having to go via Sansar.com? This is not something on the roadmap at this time.
  • What is the status of Try Before You Buy?
    • Still being discussed, and unlikely to appear until much later in 2020.
    • Ideally, LL would like to have this available in both Edit Mode and the Look Book:
      • In Edit Mode it would allow a creator to build a scene using items from the store they can place out and test in their scene, then prior to publishing, be presented with a breakdown of the third-party items and their cost, together with an option to buy them, which must them be accepted in order to the scene to be published with all of the items included (which are added to the creator’s inventory).
      • In the Look Book, it would allow a user to outfit their avatar with clothing and accessories from the Store and then being presented with a breakdown of the items and their cost, and an option to buy them when saving the avatar.
  • “Joint” system: mentioned in 2019, this would allow avatars to be linked to objects (e.g. a vehicle), objects to avatars, object to other objects etc. It is not currently being worked on, but is something the Sansar team would like to get back to in 2020, possibly in Q2.
  • Facial expressions: something the Lab would like to implement, possibly akin to the emotes system and using user-generated emotes alongside some basic options, but still discussing best approach (should expressions be selectable from a panel, a-la the current emotes system? Should emotes trigger an expression (e.g. give a thumbs-up and the avatar smiles)? Should they be triggered via a text chat keyword in a similar manner to SL gestures?, etc).
  • What about the ability to just recompile scripts in Edit Mode without having to re-bake an entire scene? Has been requested numerous times and is something the Sansar Studios team would like as well, but no indication on when it might be provided.
    • One idea being considered is to have a “test” option of some description that allows a “limited” bake of a scene for repaid testing / iteration when building a scene.
  • Will clothing layering be added to Sansar?
    • Marvelous Designer® supports this, and a mechanism to make the ability visible / usable in Sansar needs to be added.
      • For now in MD, items overlaying others can be achieved using the clothing simulation option (e.g. wear a shirt and then a jacket, and use the simulation tools to select the jacket and shape it so it properly lays over the shirt).
    • For rigged clothing the issue is harder to solve.

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