Sansar Product Meetings 2020, week #15

The gang’s (almost) all here (l to r): Colo, Aleks, Torley, Lacie, Galileo, Cynno, Binah at the first Sansar Product Meeting under the Wookey banner

On Thursday, April 9th, Sansar held its first product meeting since being acquired by Wookey Project Corp (see: Sansar: looking at the apparent new owner – Wookey Projects Inc. and Linden Lab confirm the sale of Sansar to Wookey Project Corp – updated). The meeting was really a means for the team to say “hi! We’re here!”, rather than providing a huge depth of hardcore information, although there were some Titbits of news.

The following is a summary of the key points.

On Wookey and Sansar

No-one from the Wookey management team was present at the meeting, in part because they have yet to have avatars made; however, their presence is expected at times in future meetings, when they’ll be able to talk more about Wookey Project Corp and their goals / view of Sansar.

Sheri Bryant, Sansar’s GM at Linden Lab, and now heading the team at Wookey; credited with bringing the deal together for Sansar to move to Wookey. Fun fact: she’s a huge Godzilla fan, and her Sansar avatar – Cowboy Ninja – features a Godzilla shoulder pet.

A shout-out from the Sansar team was given to Sheri Bryant. Sheri (aka Cowboy Ninja in Sansar) was the General Manager for Sansar at Linden Lab, and she is credit with leading the work in bringing about the deal between LL and Wookey Project Corp. She has also moved to Wookey, where she remains in charge of Sansar.

Many of the team are already with Wookey- attending the meeting were: familiar names: Binah (UI Engineer); Aleks (Product Manager); Galileo, Lacie, and Torley, (Production Director, Sansar Studios). While he wasn’t that the meeting, Boden was also mentioned as having joined Wookey as well, retaining his position as a Product Manager.

Also joining the meeting were some new (to me at least) names:  Cynno (Art Production Manager Sansar Studios) and Sansar Studios (Colin – the Creative Director at Sansar Studios), both of whom report to Torley; together with  Colo, the Director of Engineering and the Release Manager, and Steel, one of the QA Engineers.

Many positions are still being recruited into, and it was indicated that there are a number of engineering team positions that need to be filled, and these and the SARS-CoV-2 situation are slowing the full resumption of work on Sansar. In this latter regard, the Sansar team was less distributed than the SL team while at Linden Lab, with most of them office-based; this means equipment, etc., has been / is being sourced and shipped to their home locations to allow them to start remote working.

The meeting was also an opportunity to say farewell to Galileo as the Sansar Community Manager, who is departing the Sansar team as a result of having accepted a new position with Pocket Gems, a games development company. This means Lacie will be taking over as the official Sansar Community Manager, although Galileo will continue to be an active Sansar user and involved in the COMETS programme.


As has been indicated through various sources (see the Lab’s press release and the Sansar blog post both announcing Wookey’s acquisition of Sansar), the emphasis remains on building Sansar as an events platform that will attract “thousands”.

There is no public road map as yet, although it is promised that one will be produced – probably not as granular as the internal road map – and might be available in two weeks time at the next Product Meeting. However, current areas of focus comprise:

  • Continuing on from where things were left off.
  • Moderation tools development and deployment.
  • Narrowing the new users on-boarding experience – making it easier for people to get from sign-up to event; improvement the tutorials, etc.
  • Working on stability improvements for events.
  • Tip jars are seen as being on the “tail end” of the moderation / on-boarding work.

However, it will take a little while longer for work to ramp-up once more due to both the current SARS-CoV-2 situation and the need to recruit additional personnel.

Avatars, Vehicles, Edit Tools Improvements, etc

Due to the current state of play, a lot of the planned / promised engineering / dev work has already been pushed back further in the road map. Specifically mentioned in this regard were:

  • Avatar improvements.
  • Vehicles.
  • Edit Mode improvement such as folders for items, etc.
  • Allowing world creators to nominate “admin staff” to help run their worlds.
  • Creator access to the Backpack.
  • Collaborative building.

Sansar Mobile Service

Back when Sansar had yet to début, there had been talk of the platform being accessible from mobile devices. Ultimately, this got pushed to one side – but is now something of a priority.

Not much can be announced at this point in time other than:

  • It will most likely be a streaming service, initially for iOS and Android.
  • It will not (initially at least) support VR headsets like Oculus Quest.
  • Precise initial capabilities are still TBD.
  • Again, no time frame on when any first cut might appear, nor have potential fees been set.

Event Partners

  • MonsterCat, Roddenberry Entertainment and Fnatic will be returning to Sansar to host events.
  • There have been continuing talks with musicians and “major names” about coming to Sansar to perform. None of the specifics are ready to be announced as yet, but some may be ready by the time of the next Product Meeting.

General Notes from the Meeting

  • Support tickets before March 24th, 2020 need to be resubmitted, if still relevant.
  • The partnership with Marvelous Designer™ should continue as before.
  • Two-factor authentication for Sansar is “on the list” of things the team would like to implement. However, no time frame on when it might start to surface.
  • The entire approach with the Nexus is to be re-examined, specifically with the view to making it more linear for incoming users to get from it to the event they wish to attend / the most popular locations in Sansar.
  • It is still planned to eventually extend the ticketing system so that world creators can use it with events they organise / host.
  • The Sansar team is looking into improved documentation sharing, tutorials, offering tips and tricks through a wiki-style environment, world templates, etc.

Possible Changes to Accounts

  • Wookey / Sansar looking at things like the partnership with Steam, subscription options, and how they are structured, but nothing to announce.
  • The number of worlds a Free account can publish may be revised in the future. Whether this will mean those who have already published multiple worlds will be allowed to keep all of them or not if they have published worlds beyond the new limit, is TBD.
  • There will likely be a tightening of requirements for users organising Sansar events (e.g. events may only be hosted by “authorised / approved / trusted” – details TBD – accounts).

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.


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 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.