The following notes were taken from the Sansar Product Meeting held on Thursday, December 13th, the last such Product Meeting for 2018. As usual, Eliot, the Sansar Community Manager hosted the meeting, with Ebbe, Landon, Aleks, Leslie, Kelly and Julia from the Lab.
High-Level Outlook for 2019
Plans are still being finalised for 2019 and Sansar, so there is some reluctance to talk in-depth about what is likely to be coming and when, however, some high-level bullet points for the platform mentioned in the meeting were:
- Avatar improvements (e.g. face sliders, custom skins).
- World (experience) creation easier.
- Making it easier for people to collaborate and group themselves around “things”.
- Improving the ability to make interactive content and games.
- See Sansar be more event-driven.
- Continue to ship updates at a high rate (the average for 2018 being one update per month).
- Accelerate the rate of change that is being made with updates, as per that last three releases of 2018.
- Continue to be responsive to feedback to updates and changes.
A major review of plans is taking place over the final working week of 2018, so early 2019 should see the Lab in a better position to offer some insight into what the year may be bringing to Sansar.
Sansar recently hosted its first ticketed event (sadly at a time far too late for most of us in Europe – hint, hint, Linden Lab) – Comedy Gladiators, hosted by Steven Hofstetter (read more here). The event apparently went well, with the audience spawning multiple instances and able to see the activities on stage. However, one problem did arise in that people wishing to attend the same instance of the event at times found they couldn’t. The Lab is aware of this and looking to make changes that will allow people access the same instance of a popular event like this, and enjoy it together.
One idea is a “party up” system, that allows a party of named individuals access an instance together. This could be extended to things like team-based games / puzzles / activities, where you need to work as a group and / or work best with limited numbers – so each party of players accessing the game / experience would be delivered to a different instance, thus avoiding interfering with others who already have a game in progress.
- Sansar / Steam Desktop mode issue: there is an issue running Sansar via Steam in Desktop Mode that leaves the audio sliders in Settings non-responsive. This is being investigated by the Lab.
- Improved camera(s) for 2019? a frequent request through 2018 has been better camera options for filming in Sansar. Idea put forwards include a true “flycam” mode that allows for free filming and avatar movement of the part of the person filming; the ability to create multiple (scripted) camera objects within a scene for filming (and the ability to cut between them when recording); having “flyable” scripted cameras, etc. Such ideas are being discussed by the Lab with no commitment (at present) on what might be delivered or when.
- Freecamming when using a Sit Point: it is not currently possible to freecam (F4) when seated using the Sit point capability introduced with R28. This will be fixed.
- “Bigger” Experiences: currently, the upper limit on experiences is 4km on a side (the equivalent area to 256 SL regions). There are currently no plans to expand beyond this, as it is the limit at which the physics aspects of the engine start to break down, and the Lab does not want to get into a Second Life scenario with having to work out how to stitch scenes / experiences together and cater for physically crossing being them.
- Even working to the 4km upper limit is questionable at present, as Sansar does not have any means of LOD (level of detail) handling within it.
- Finding Sticky Grab: the new “sticky grab” option introduced with R28 to prevent people picking up guns and then throwing them, rather than firing them (left mouse click), is currently a little obscure when setting it in Edit mode, so it is liable to be better surfaced in an upcoming release.
- Improved Moderation: an upcoming point release (possibly to appear before Christmas) should allow user-to-user blocking (so not only can a troublemaker be muted, they can be blocked and vanish from your view – and you vanish from their view).
- In-client Store Improvements: it is hoped that 2019 will see the in-client Sansar Store achieve parity with the web version of the store (filters and filter options, etc).
- Steam “Fall-off”: A lot has been made about the fall-off in incoming numbers of users from Steam. This was in some way expected, as at the launch on Steam, Sansar was featured on the Early Access home page (actually how I saw it had been launched), and also on the Steam VR section home page. Since the launch, Sansar is no longer front-and-centre on either page.
- Avatar Rig: this will likely see changes in 2019. Work is already in hand to try to simplify it; other improvements will be made over time.