Sansar R39 release overview

Sansar: Hollywood Art Museum

On Tuesday, February 4th, Linden Lab deployed the Sansar R39 release, entitled “Sweet Emote-tions”. It’s again something of a comparatively small update. Key updates within it that are covered in this article comprise:

  • New emotes system.
  • Instance picker.
  • New avatars.

As always, please refer to the formal release notes for full details of all the updates in R39, notably fixes with the release.

New Emotes System

The first pass of the emotes system sees the old system completely replaced, with the ability to use short-cut keys to trigger assigned emotes and obtain and assign emotes to short cut keys without having to go to the Look Book.

Emotes are now access via the Emote button in the client or by pressing CTRL-E (as before). This opens a new, compact menu that lists the default emotes and the keys (1-0 of the number row keys) they have been assigned to.

  • To activate an emote, left-click on its name in the menu or press the assigned number key (e.g. 1 for “wave”).
  • To deactivate a playing emote, either left click the emote name on the menu or move your avatar.

To obtain an emote from the store:

  • Open the Emotes menu.
  • Click the shopping cart in the top right of the Emotes menu.
  • The Store panel will open with the Emotes category selected by default.
  • Refine your search as required using the drop-downs (gender and order).
  • Make a purchase of an emote.
  • The emote is added to your menu and flagged as New, and is ready for use.
The emotes menu and shopping cart button for obtaining further emotes from the Sansar Store

To assign an emote to a short cut key (1-0 on the number row):

  • Open the Emotes menu.
  • Highlight the emote you wish to assign to a key.
  • Hover the mouse over the emote to which to assign to a short-cut key.
    • If the emote is not already assigned to a key, the Assign Shortcut button is displayed.
    • If the emote is already assigned to a short-cut key, hover the mouse of the number button, which will toggle to the Assign Shortcut button.
    • In either case, click on Assign Shortcut.
  • The display will switch to display a list of short cut numbers and the emotes currently assigned to them, or will be labelled “Unassigned”.
  • Click on the number to which you want to assign your selected emote.
    • The menu will update so the selected emote is displayed with its selected short-cut, and end emote previously assigned to the short-cut key will appear at the bottom of the menu.
Assigning emotes to short cut keys

Instance Picker

Where there is more than one instance of a world or event running, users can now see available instances and visit the instance of their choice (subject to avatar capacity. In addition, user can:

  • See a list of all available instances of a world.
  • Copy a link or drop a portal to a specific instance.

New Player Avatars

A new line of electronic dance music (EDM) inspired avatars have been added to the new player avatar carousel. These have been developed by by the Sansar studio team and by selected Sansar creators.

The updated Sansar starter avatars

Backpack Updates

The Backpack functionality has been updated:

  • Sound effects volumes have been reduced
  • Physics properties of some props have been improved so they behave more like their physical world counterparts.
  • Grab point locations on the backpack objects have been improved to fit into hands better

Feedback

A modest update, but one again steered towards live events – the new starter avatars are biased to “EDM looks”, while the new emote system (for now) is dance-heavy, with the original sit animations now gone from it.

The Sansar team have already indicated the instance picker will be enhanced in future updates, but the functionality here does exactly what it says on the tin – although it is hard to test as there are not that many Sansar worlds that require more than one instance at any given time.

Other than that, not a lot to report, having only spent limited time using the update and in Sansar.

2020 Sansar Product Meetings week #5: R39 and more

The Bridge of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701, The Original Series)

The following notes were taken from the January 30th (week #5) Sansar Product Meeting, the video of which is embedded at the end of this report.

Upcoming R39: Event Instances and New Avatar Looks

The opening of the meeting included a short video demonstrating the upcoming instance picker. When a world or event is running more than one instance, this allows users to pick the instance they want to access and / or offer to friends to access as well (individual avatar numbers per instance allowing). With it:

  • An instance of a world / even can be selected.
  • The URL for that instance can be shared (e.g. via chat, when in-world with others).
  • A portal can be dropped based on a select instance.

When released, this will be the first iteration of the instance picker, and further refinement will follow (e.g. a count of avatars in each instance. potentially see which instance(s) of a an event friends are already in (and then join that instance). Such enhancement will depend on feedback from users once the initial release has been made.

The same video also revealed one of the new looks that the Sansar Studios team is providing for default avatars.  These should be available in the upcoming R39 both within the avatar carousel for new users joining the platform and within the Look Book for other users.

As noted in the my week #3 notes, the R39 release will likely also include:

  • A new emote system that will include the ability to assign emotes to the number row keys on -the-fly – no need to access the Look Book, including purchasing an emote from the Store and applying on the fly.
  • New Twitch integration specifically aimed at events and streaming events by users.
  • A further round of bugs fixes.
    • One of these (as an R39 point release) will be the ability to copy / paste entire vectors (X, Y, Z , rotation, colour) between objects in Edit Mode

R39 is being targeted for a Tuesday, February 4th release.

Events News

New Music Genres for Events

Sansar partner events have thus far focused on the electronic dance music (EDM) market. However, this should be broadening in 2020 to include other opportunities / genres. In particular, Galileo, the Sansar Community Manager mentioned that company is working with a heavy metal band. This includes both designing a world for them to play in and coding the avatars to “play” instruments, etc.

This heavy metal event is seen as an opportunity for creators to provide items that might be included in collections related to it. In this respect, it is noted that the band in question (no name given) has a strong fantasy lean, with orcs, etc., a feature in their work / look.

Web Events Update

A web update was released on Wednesday, January 29th, specifically for event creators / hosts. This should resolve the issue of the modal popping up claiming an event couldn’t be updated without an image when trying to update the access list. Also, when looking at your own My World list on the web, it should now be possible to more easily differentiate between event worlds and actually worlds where there are multiple versions of an experience.

COMET News

The COMmunity Even Team (COMET) have earned sufficient points for the entire community to gain a reward, and this should be appearing in people’s Backpacks soon.

Q&A Session Summary

Th Q&A session commences at the 15 minute mark in the video. Note that not all questions are reflected below, just those that could be responded to with details.

  • Will music genres other than EDM and heavy meal be supported? Classical, jazz, blues? Yes. And suggestions for possible acts should be passed on the the Sansar team.
  • Can blocking another user include local chat? Being worked on.
  • Will the UI overhaul include Edit Modes and offer things like inventory folders? No. The first cut of the UI overhaul completely ignores Edit Mode. A future (“not soon”) follow-up will look at Edit Mode at some point.
  • Fees for cashing out have do not appear to have remained fixed for long-term creators as promised (through until the end of 2020). Is this being fixed? Yes – the fix should be available very soon.
  • Backpack related:
    • Can the Backpack be adjusted so that items rezzed from it are persistent – such as furniture in your own space? The idea is to expand the Backpack so that each scene can define the contents of the the backpack (so the contents change as a user moves from world-to-world, depending on on the local rules), and to allow scripted control of the backpack, thus given world creators complete control over what can be used from the backpack, when it can be used and how long it might remain within a world (if relevant).
    • Will there be limits on how many items the Backpack can contain? Will it support folders for organising things? There isn’t currently a limit on the number of items the Backpack can contain, but one may be added, depending on how creators make use of it. There are no plans to add folders to the backpack, as the idea is to keep it as simple and easy to use as possible.
    • Will the ability for world creators limit the number of items a user can rez from their Backpack at any one time? Possibly.
  • Marvelous Designer™ is about to issue a fix for zippers and buttons not working at anticipated. When released, will this be integrated in to Sansar’s MD support? Yes, either within a release or a point release.
  • Is it possible to have a means to test and amend scripts without having to build an entire scene? Sort answer: not at present, although this is a pain point for the Sansar Studio team as well. Suggestions are to:
    • a) build a simple scene where scripts can be more easily tested.
    • b) If the above isn’t feasible, disable things like GI and audio reverb to speed the scene building process, test and adjust scripts as required and then re-enable options that have been turned off when done.
  • Can support for custom avatar heads using the deformation system be provided:  requires rigging to around 200 bones, and while some creators could handle it, it is seen as not something the Lab wants to make user-facing at this point. It would also require an extensive overhaul of import system to support it. As such, not currently a priority,
  • What is the status of full body deformation? No-one working on it, and not on the immediate schedule for work.

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.

Sansar Product Meetings week #51

Bryn Oh, Handblog post

The following notes were taken from the Twitch stream recording of the December 19th (week #51) Sansar Product Meeting.

Point Releases for R38

There have been three point releases for the R38 “Rediscover the Party” since December10th, none of which have had release notes posted to the Sansar website.  The core element of these point releases was bug fixes and performance improvements.

Linden Lab and IP

There has apparently been a lot of discussion about (and confusion over) the Lab’s approach to IP protection on Sansar. As a result, Lacie Linden has published A Word About IP on the Sansar blog. This specifically references Linden Lab’s

Both of which can be found on the Lab’s corporate website, and which apply equally to all of the Lab’s platforms.

Plans for 2020

Emotes

  • Updated emote (gestures/ animations) system coming “soon”. This will include the ability to obtain an emote from the Sansar Store and immediately use it and assign a keyboard short-cut to it.
  • Emotes will also be per account in the future, not per avatar – a move intended to remove the need to re-apply emotes to each avatar a user creates.
  • A downside of this is that when first introduced, the new emote system will mean script will no longer be able to access the number keys without triggering an emote.
    • However, a means for users to re-bind keys to whatever they want will be provided, so scripts will not longer be pointing at a specific key, but rather an identifier, which can have any key assigned to it.

Animations

  • Synchronised dancing for music events – probably built into the dance floor, which they set avatars dancing, rather than using emotes.
    • API will allow for both full body and upper body looping and / or single play. This won’t interfere with people wanting to use their own dances.
    • This system will also support other uses with animations.
  • The default idle animation is to be improved.

Backpack

The Backpack is to be extended so that individual scenes (worlds) can define what the Backpack contains. This will include a scripting API to define the state / content of the Backpack at different points in a world (e.g. reach a point in a quest where you have obtained an item, and it is unlocked in the Backpack and available for use).

New User Experience / First 10 Minutes in Sansar

This is to be entirely re-thought, with changes to the initial on-boarding quest experience. This is to align the on-boarding experience more with music and live events – the current focus for Sansar development and audience acquisition.

Moderation Tools

These are to be enhanced, initially for Lab staff but then for world creators – e.g. muting people more easily, removing them from a world, etc. Together with in-client improvements to managing whitelists, etc., and for raising tickets.

Avatar

  • The ability to upload and use custom skins will hopefully be one of the first early avatar updates for 2020.
  • A lot of work has been completed on the full body deformation capability, but it is not clear where the work sits in the work order for 2020.

UI Re-design

There will likely be a “comprehensive” client UI redesign in 2020, aimed at things like reducing the number of clicks required to get to certain capabilities, improving the information available in certain panels (e.g. local chat), with options to use this information to access other panels (e.g. access a user’s Profile from local chat and then adjust the volume at which you hear their voice chat).

This work is forming the “tail end” of a lot of “other, bigger changes”.

Q&A Session Summary

  • There have been reports of issues with the Look Book – items not updating what changing an avatar; saving updates taking a long time. There has been some work going on with the look Book, and this may have caused a few bugs, which are being / have been addressed by the Sansar team.
  • Nexus sounds: the background sounds (referred to as the “old sounds” are interfering with the music, etc.. These are to be removed.
  • The bug by which a blocked individual can continue to harass in local text chat is being investigated.
  • The Sansar team is looking at a lot of the pain points within the content creation process in order to try to smooth the process end-to-end and make it easier for content to be brought into Sansar and used to create scenes and worlds. This work may encompass things like UI improvements and allowing creators to version their worlds.
  • Will there be an AFK indicator when people are absent their computer? Being considered, but not clear if this will be SL-like or something like returning an avatar to their Home Space after a certain amount of time inactive has passed.
  • Tipping: is also being looked at, but may be driven from tipping “official” performers rather than a generic person-to-person exchange of Sansar Dollars.
  • A Sansar mobile client is still on the road map, but no significant updates at the moment other than it is being worked on.
  • Why is is still necessary to run events in a copy of a world, rather than the original? This actually goes back to the way in which the ticketing system works – and this is frustrating for the Lab and world creators, as it is still inward-facing (creators cannot as yet make use of it for generating revenue off of their own events).

Sansar R38 release overview

A Victorian Christmas

On Tuesday, December 10th, Linden Lab deployed the Sansar R38 release, entitled “Rediscover the Party” release. It’s again something of a comparatively small update, but brings with it changes that have been requested by users and creators.

Key updates with this release that are covered in this article comprise:

  • Changes on logging-in.
  • Codex improvements to help world discovery.
  • Events changes.

As always, please refer to the formal release notes for full details of all the updates in R38.

Changes on Logging-In

With this update, existing users are no longer channelled to the Nexus by default (forcing them to cancel the world launch in order to reach their Home Space or Go Home from the Nexus). Instead, existing users are delivered to their Home Space directly on logging-in.

Also, with this release, the Quest Log is closed by default when logging in (as per multiple user requests). It will open automatically on accepting a new quest or can be re-opened manually via Go → Quests.

The Codex and Discovering Worlds

Since the introduction of the Nexus and Prime Portal with the R36 release (see: Sansar: R36 – Avatar 2.0 the Nexus, the Codex and more) there has been concern that forcing users to go to the Nexus and visit the Prime Portal in order to discover new worlds was causing a bottleneck on users willingness to discover new worlds and explore, and simply stick to those within their Codex.

At the time of the R36 release, Linden Lab stated they would monitor the situation and make changes as and when they felt it necessary. With this release, and following the voiced concern and their own tracking of user behaviour, the functionality found in the client version of the Codex has been updated to shift the Prime Portal functionality to the Codex with the Lab noting:

We (and you) found that after the change to make the Prime Portal in the Nexus the hub of all travel we noticed that it was actually much more difficult and confusing, especially for newer players, to find new interesting and populated Worlds to explore.

We’re bringing back the old view which we used to call the Atlas; where all published Worlds were always available from the Explore menu. There’s no longer a requirement to travel to the Nexus and interact with the Prime Portal in order to find new Worlds to explore and people to meet.

The new-look Codex – avoids the need for users to go to the Nexus and the Prime Portal to discover new worlds

As such, the updated Codex now resembles the Prime Portal panel. By default, it will open on the Explore tabs that offers:

  • A list of events ordered by time and date, with the most recent first.
    • Hovering the mouse over a thumbnail will bring up the Interested button (adds the event to your calendar) or transfer you to the event if it is about to start.
    • Alternatively, clicking on an event thumbnail will display more information about it.
  • Worlds ordered in terms of Popular (visitors at the time the Codex was opened); Featured (those selected by the Sansar team for special highlighting); Community Favourites (worlds that have previously enjoyed a high level of activity by users); New (worlds recently published) Recently Updated (self-explanatory).

Further:

  • In all cases of the above, a full list of events or worlds in each category can be accessed by clicking the See All buttons associated with each category.
    • Note that clicking See All from the Popular list will open a page of ALL published worlds.
  • Tabs at the top of the Codex allow for easy movement between the Explore page and those for Events, and worlds the users has: marked as a favourite; visited; or created.
  • The search and sort options from the Codex remain as per R36.

These changes have been welcomed by users and creators on Sansar Discord.

Events Update

Users can now see the level of interest in an event (web Atlas event page shown)

One of the problem with events – in terms of getting together with other users – is actually seeing how popular an event might be with others ahead of time, rather than on arrival.

To help with this, Sansar R38 introduces a count of those who have registered an interest in an event. This is displayed on the event detail page on the web Atlas or within the Codex / Prime Portal.

However, there is a slight issue with this in the initial release: the number of those interested in attending an event is not registering / updating in the Codex or Prime Portal event details pages.

Feedback

Another small updated compared to R36, but one that responds to multiple requests from users and creators, and which hopefully encourage exploration of worlds by users. I admit that since the introduction of the Prime Portal as the means for discovering worlds, I’ve actually been using the web version of the Atlas in preference to going to the Nexus / Prime Portal, so I’ll be interested to see how the new Codex changes my behaviour in future.  Hopefully the events interest indicator on the Codex  / Prime Portal will be fixed in an upcoming point release.

Sansar: of backpacks and vehicles

Playing with the Backpack in Sansar

On Tuesday, November 19th, the second Sansar R37 point release was made (oddly dated “November 11th” in the release notes), containing the first pass of a much-requested capability. Also on the same day, a short video was dropped on Twitter previewing the first cut towards providing another oft-requested feature at some point in the future.

R37 Release Update 2 – The Backpack

Critiques levelled at Sansar by users and creators is the lack of the ability for using items from their inventory in-world, or to have a means of conveniently carrying multiple items they can then call upon when needed without necessarily having them attached to their avatar all the time.

These requests have typically revolved around the idea of a “backpack” that can be used to store such items (perhaps even collected from within a world, during the course of a quest for example), and from which they can be drawn and used when needed.

The R37 Release Update 2 offers the first pass at trying to address at least some of the functionality for such a “backpack”. However, rather than being an item worn directly by the avatar, the Backpack takes the form of a new UI element that is only active in worlds where its use has been allowed. With this initial release, the Backpack comes with 6 items:

  • 3 items that automatically attach to the avatar (right hand): two light wands and a light disc / frisbee
  • 3 dynamic objects that can be dropped in-world, picked up, pushed around, etc: a die, a beach ball, a balloon.

It is used by clicking on the UI button, then clicking on the the required item’s image. Those that can be worn are attached directly to the avatar; those that can be dropped in-world spawn directly in front of the avatar. All six items can be be thrown, pushed, dropped or picked up, and can also (with this release at least) be “shared” between avatars: if avatar A drops a ball in world, Avatar B can push it around or pick it up.

The Sansar Backpack UI element and the initial 6 default items within it

These objects are perhaps not intended to be useful (although the light wands and disc would likely find use when dancing), but appear to be geared more towards simple demonstrations of what the Backpack can initially do.

Further key points with the Backpack are:

  • With this initial release, the Backpack has been enabled throughout all public worlds in Sansar by default. World creators can opt to disable (or re-enable) it via Scene Settings → Backpack → Item Source setting.
  • There is currently no means to “return” an item to the Backpack – items can only be spawned / dropped in a world.
  • Concerns have been raised over the impact (visual / performance) in having Backpack items littering a scene. However, a time-out of approximately 4 minutes is enforced on items spawn (either in-world or held by an avatar) is enforced.
  • As per the week #46 Product Meeting, a future iteration on the Back will allow world creators to define a list of objects that can be spawned within their world(s).

Other Items in the Update

In addition to the Backpack, the R37 Update 2 introduces Valve Index Headset and Controller tracking (finger tracking is not yet supported). There has also been a minor tweak the to Nexus teleport portal seen in the Home Space, and a number of bug fixes – see the release notes for more.

Vehicles in Sansar

Another long-time request for Sansar has been the ability for avatars to correctly operate (“drive”, etc.) vehicles. Again, it is a capability that Linden Lab has indicated it is a capability they would like to introduce to Sansar at some point.

During the week #46 Sansar Product Meeting, it was indicated that the Sansar team were experimenting with the idea of “jointing” or “sticking” avatars to dynamic objects such as vehicles, and on November 19th, a video showing some of this experimentation was tweeted via the @SansarOfficial Twitter feed, and is reproduced below (note that this video is looped).

This doesn’t necessarily mean the drivable vehicles are about to become a “thing” with Sansar – the video seems to indicate the system is still very rough around the edges and in need of further refinement – but it does show that vehicles (at least land vehicles) could be something Sansar may be on the way to getting.

The R37 Update 2 point release and the video might go some small way to countering some of the perception that, as a result of the switch in focus to live events, LL are “pausing” Sansar development in other areas – although admittedly, it will only be through the course of further major releases to the platform that we’ll really have insight into how LL will continue to enhance the platform with significant capabilities and options beyond supporting “live” virtual events.