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.
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.