Sansar: user-generated quests release: an overview

Scurry Waters in Sansar shows what can already be done with the quest system, using it to present games and unlock activities

On Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019, Linden Lab issued a Sansar point release containing the first cut of the user-generated quest authoring tool.

Also within the release are a couple of performance improvements:

  • Avatar movement and camera rotation are faster in keyboard turn mode.
  • Panels now retain their positions in the avatar editor.

Quests – Key Points

Quests are seen as a means of generating user engagement within experiences. A basic system – available only to the lab – has been used to provide a flavour of quests / hunts in places like the Sansar Social Hub, but which offer Sansar Dollar rewards.

The new quest system provides an new quest authoring tool directly to experience creators, however there are some key points to note about this first release:

  • Quests can only be linked to experiences owned by the quest creator (so creator X cannot develop a quest for use in creator Y’s experience(s).
  • Quests can be set for an individual experience or across multiple experience – again, providing all the experiences at are owned by the creator making the quest.
  • While it includes a tab for establishing rewards within a quest, this is not active with this initial release.
  • Once the rewards capability has been added by the Lab in a future update, quests will initially be limited to offering up to three objects as rewards, which will be presented to users completing a quest through the Sansar Store.

How quests might be used is down to individual creators. Ideas include:

  • Guided tours of experiences.
  • Simple introductions to a game.
  • Games.
  • Hunts. / actual quests.
  • Leaning experiences.
  • etc.

Obviously, some of these will be more likely to be attractive to users once the rewards system has been added – and may well require more that 3 rewards in order to maintain focus / interest  – and this is something the Lab have indicated they would be willing to review in the future. But even without a reward system, the deployment of the quest system offers creators the opportunity to play with the tools and gain familiarity with them.

Quest creation comprises two parts:

  • Creating the quest data itself, using the authoring tool.
  • Using objects in scenes (experiences) that are directly linked to the quest and use / present the quest data.

The quest can be tested by the creator in the unpublished scene (by building and saving the scene), and it becomes public when the scene is published as an experience.

The Tools

The initial quest system comprises:

Quest Building Basics

There is Lab-supplied documentation on making quests and assigning objectives. the following is a simple overview of the basics.

There are three parts to creating a quest:

  • Define the quest – via the quest authoring tool.
  • Define the objectives for the quest – via the quest authoring tool

Defining a new Quest

Create button > Create Quests > Quest Creator > New Quest.

  • Every quest requires a name (up to 100 characters) and a description (up to 250 characters).
  • Quests can optionally have:
    • A thumbnail image, displayed when a user viewer the quest, and captured using the For A Quest drop-down in the snapshot tool to generate any required image.
    • A completion message up to 250 characters in length, displayed when users complete the quest.
Creating a new quest from within the client. Note that the quests definition fields are show on the right for convenience, but will actually appear in the “middle” Quest Creator panel in the image.

Save the quest when done.

Editing a Quest

The Quest Creators records all quests you have created. To edit a specific quest (e.g. to add / change objectives):

  • Create button > Create Quests > Quest Creator.
  • The list of all your quests will be displayed.
  • Click on the name of the quest you want to edit.
  • The Quest Creator will display the quest and all defined objectives.
  • Edit and save as required.

Defining Objectives for a Quest

Note that when you create a new quest, you will automatically be presented with the option to add objectives to the quest – and you can have as many objectives in a quest as you require.

Select the required quest (if not already selected) > make sure Objectives is selected (default) > Click New to display the objective fields.

  • All objectives require a name (up to 200 characters), and should be set to Active or locked:
    • Set to Active if there is no dependency on the objective (i.e. it can only be completed if pre-requisites are met.
    • Set to Locked if it is dependent on completing certain objectives.
    • Prerequisites can be other objectives, scripted activities etc.
  • An optional  description, up to 250 characters.
Setting an objective in a quest. panel images shown side-by-side for clarity

Save the objective when done.

Adding Objects as Givers and Objectives in an Experience

Notes:

  • All quests require a Giver – the item that sets users on the quest, generally through direct interaction.
  • A quest can have as many objectives as required.
  • A quest should have a completion element.

Basic steps: edit the experience scene in which the quest will appear > add and place an object as the quest giver. Then:

  • Right-click the object and rename the object, if required.
  • Right-click the object > Add > Script.
  • In Object Structure right click on the new script (general “Script1”) > Properties. Then:
    • Set Script to Quest Script Library
    • Set the script type to one of the available scripts (QuestGiver, QuestGiverInteraction, etc).
    • Use the Quest drop-down to select the quest with which the object is to be associated.
    • If setting a quest objective, also set the quest objective with which the object is to be associated (below, right).
Setting an object as a quest giver (left), and as a quest objective (right)

Testing a Quest

To test a quest in a scene:

  • Build and save the scene.
  • Visit the scene.
  • Click the quest giver – the quest should launch > test the objectives.
  • To reset the quest at any time (incl. testing): Create button > Create Quests > select quest > Edit > Reset Quest.

Feedback

A simple, easy-to-understand system (easy enough for me to understand!) with some built-in complexity (see the associated scripting documentation) and with a lot of potential for expansion. As always, check the official documentation for full details on the capability.

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Sansar R33 Give More Get More release overview

Courtesy of Linden Lab

On Thursday, May 30th, Linden Lab updated the Sansar Give More, Get More (R33) release. An official summary of the update is available, and please refer to that document for details of bug fixes. Highlights of the release key features reviewed here are:

  • Client Atlas updates.

Initial Notes

As with the majority of Sansar deployments, this update requires the automatic download and installation of a client update.

Client Atlas Face-Lift

R33 bring with it an overhaul of the in-client Atlas. The new format comprises three broad categories: What’s Happing In Sansar; Popular Now and Featured.

The new in-client Atlas Discovery panel

This appears to in preparation for changes to the Atlas outlined by the Lab in recent Sansar Product Meetings that will see the Atlas display three selections of experiences that have been previously defined as:

  • Three featured experiences reserved for the Lab’s content partners.
  • Three featured experiences that align with other internal goals the Lab has which “may or may not be obvious”. These might, for example, focus on live music concerts.
  • Three  featured experiences open to Sansar creators, and will be changed on a weekly basis, and selected through a new criteria mechanism (details TBA).

The Experiences category will switch to the familiar listing of Sansar experiences, complete with the sub-selection options (All, Friends, Favourites), search bar and ordering options drop-down menu.

The new in-client Atlas experiences layout

The final category option is Events, offering the familiar listing of upcoming events with the sub-categories for listing past events, those you are hosting, and your calendar of all events you’ve bookmarked, and which are rounded out by the button for setting-up new events you wish to host.

The updated Atlas Events category

Other Updates with R33

  • Gifting: transaction fees for gifting Sansar dollars are to be removed, so the full amount of Sansar dollars will be passed to the recipient.
  • Event creation  / experience caps: as per my Sansar week #20 Product Meeting notes, with R33, event versions of experiences will no longer count towards the total number of experiences a creator can have published. Creators will for now be able to create / host as many events as they wish without hitting the ceiling on the total number of experiences they are allowed to have published within their subscription banding.
    • This is seen as a “temporary” change, pending further revisions to the events system, including finding a means to link events back to the originating experience.
  • New Item inventory icon: new items purchased  / obtained via the Store will be tagged with a “new” icon in their inventory thumbnail image.
The “new” icon for new i(and previously unworn / used) items in your inventory
  • New progress bar scripting API: this enables creators to add a progress bar or countdown timer when an action is triggered in an Experience. Descriptive text may also be included with the progress bar.
  • Foot IK improvement: an avatar’s feet turn when it changes direction in desktop, just like in VR
  • New right click capability: this enables users to cut, copy and paste text on various text fields.

Improvements List

This list taken directly from the release notes:

  • Avatar related:
    • Upgrading an avatar caused the Marvelous Designer clothing to fit over whatever the avatar had on during the upgrade process.
    • Marvelous Designer clothing can now be adjusted with two hands in VR.
    • The Customise option no longer exists after upgrading an avatar that has been deleted from the user’s inventory.
    • Make an empty fist in VR without worrying about other controller actions from working.
    • The scale values now apply properly on avatars using avatar animations that were uploaded using a partial skeleton.
  • Decimated crashes triggered from the avatar editor and scene editor.
  • New fix for exposure metering on Nvidia RTX GPUs to correct the problem that varied the experience brightness from one video card to another.
  • Making changes to a group of similar script attributes no longer changes the wrong attribute of some of the selected scripts.
  • Assets that contained unlicensed information no longer prevent the gizmos from appearing when selecting object structure components such as containers, static meshes, or volume components.

Sansar: R32 Movement update

Desktop mode throw indicator (shown in 1st person view here). One of the R32 additions to Sansar. Credit: Linden Lab

On Tuesday, April 30th, Linden Lab updated the Sansar Movement release. An official summary of the update is available, and please refer to that document for details of bug fixes. Highlights of the release key features reviewed here are:

  • Avatar customisation, movement and gameplay updates.
  • Client Store updates.
  • Scripting updates.
  • Edit mode improvements.

Initial Notes

As with the majority of Sansar deployments, this update requires the automatic download and installation of a client update, particularly as it involves changes affecting the Sansar avatar system.

Avatar Updates

Uniform Scaling

Until this release, all avatars in Sansar have been of the same male / female height. With R32, users can now individually scale their avatars from 0.5 to 1.25 the scale of the default avatar size.

The scaling option will scale both avatar and current outfit and accessories. As it is part of the overall avatar customisation process, scaling can be applied to both existing looks  – or now looks can be created and scaled for specific purposes, if preferred (so you could have a small and tall avatar in the same outfit for visiting different experiences, just by changing your look, rather than adjusting the scale of the one avatar).

To change an avatar’s scale:

  • Click the Create button and then Style My Avatar to go to Look Book.
  • From the Look Book panel, select the avatar you’d like to re-scale (if you have more than one).
  • Click customise (lower right corner of our Home Space  / Look Book display,
  • Click the avatar icon (arrowed below) in the Avatar style panel to display the avatar customisation options.
  • Click the slider button at the top of the panel (arrowed below, right).
  • Use the Scale slider to uniformly re-scale your current avatar.
  • Save the look.
Sansar avatar uniform scaling, accessed through the Look Book and Avatar customisation panel (right), and the two extremes of height compared with the default female avatar height (note the sofa behind the avatars for reference).

Points of note with avatar scaling:

  • Scaling will work on custom avatars.
  • Scaling does not affect the avatar locomotion graph, so small avatars will appear to move faster than their taller cousins. Similarly, very tall avatars will seem to move more lugubriously than their smaller cousins.
  • In VR mode, the world view is scaled accordingly to avatar height.
  • Scaling can cause some clothing glitches to become more apparent.

Avatar Crouching

Avatars can now crouch and move. In Desktop mode, make sure the mouse isn’t in the Chat panel and tap C to crouch  /  stand up, and move as usual. In VR move, users must physical adopt a crouched pose.

Avatar crouching. Credit: Linden Lab

Points of note with crouching:

  • The avatar’s motion will be correspondingly slower when crouched – just as we tend to move slower when crouched in the physical world.
  • The collider / bounding box for the avatar will also automatically adjust to match the avatar’s height as well, making it possible for tunnels, etc., to be made through which avatars must move when crouched.
  • The collider / bounding box in VR will collapse in accordance to how low the user crouched.

Desktop Movement Updates

Two new options have been adding to the Settings panel (More Options > Settings, then scroll down).

  • Keyboard Turn: if set to On, your avatar turns left and right when pressing A or D ( / Left or Right arrow) respectively. If set to Off, your avatar sidesteps to the left or right (without turning) instead.
  • Face Forward: if set to On, your avatar attempts to face the direction your camera is looking while you are moving. If set to Off, your avatar faces the direction your are moving.

Remember to click the Save button to preserve your preferred settings.

The new Desktop avatar movement Settings options (left – see notes above) and the new Desktop mode throw indicators (right – see below)

Avatar Gameplay Updates

With R32, Desktop mode now also has a new desktop throw indicator. To use it:

  • Pick up an object (left-click on the object).
  • Click and hold the left mouse button. A dotted line arc will appear showing the flight of the object when the mouse button is released.
  • A blue circle at the end of the dotted line arc will show the likely destination of the object when thrown – use the mouse wheel to adjust this back and forth.
  • When ready, release the left mouse button as usual to throw.

Note that depending on your Desktop movement settings, you might be able to adjust the left/right aspect of your throw by moving to the left or right (this can be easier in 1st person (F3) mode).

Additional Avatar Options

  • New simple skeleton: a simplified avatar skeleton reference file (70 bones, and refered to as a “low resolution” skeleton in the reference documents) to make it easier to hook up animations. See Avatar reference files in the Sansar knowledge base.
  • Mixamo animation support: use the simplified skeleton on Mixamo and take advantage of their library of animations. See Using the animation skeleton to create custom animations in the Sansar knowledge base.

Continue reading “Sansar: R32 Movement update”

Sansar: Questing and Jumping update

The quest portal at the Social Hub in Sansar, which features two quest Agents

On Thursday, March 28th, Linden Lab released the Questing release, described “one of our biggest and best releases yet”. The full release notes are available, and highlights of the release key features might be summarised as:

  • Initial introduction of quests.
  • The ability for avatars to jump.
  • Avatar selection, editing, skin and clothing updates.
  • Content creation updates.
  • Teleporting improvements.

Initial Notes

As with the majority of Sansar deployments, this update requires the automatic download and installation of a client update, particularly as it involves changes affecting the Sansar avatar system.

Quests

The new Quest pop-up

Quests are a part of Sansar’s emerging game building / game play capabilities. Quests are seen as being both a means to help on-board new users to Sansar, by giving them things to do, and as a means of providing a capability that can allow greater gaming and questing in Sansar experiences as a whole, using common root functionality, thus helping to give a feeling of continuity between experiences.

For this initial pass of the system, quests can only be created by Linden Lab. However, over time, the capability will be opened up to experience creators.

The quest system is immediately obvious on logging-in to Sansar, with a Quest pop-up displayed as you arrive in your Home Space. Further, two initial quests are provided at the Social Hub.

The two Social Hub quests are fairly basic. Each offers a modest reward of S$10 for exploring the Social Hub area and either walking over, or touching (left-click in Desktop mode) objects located at various points. Each quest is triggered by touching one of two glowing stands (Agent Animus and Agent Forma) in the centre of the arrival area of the Hub.

Doing so triggers a pop-up describing the quest, which includes options to start the quest or defer it (Maybe Later) – shown below left. Starting the quest then switches the pop-up to display the required objectives and how to complete the “mission” (below right).

A Social Hub Quest – the initial description pop-up (l) and objective pop-up (r)

As objectives are achieved, thy are briefly highlighted, and the grey-out tick mark alongside them is illuminated. Neither of the quests is procedural (so you don’t have to complete the objectives in the listed order), and at walking pace they take about 3-5 minutes to complete.

With all objectives completed, returning to the initiating Agent and touching it will update the quest status and deliver your S$10 reward, together with a link to open the Sansar Store, should you want to buy something.

Currently, there is no limit to how many times you can take each quest, and one user I was with while trying things out claimed to have already gone through both a total of 10 times apiece.

Avatar Related Updates

The Quest and Jump release provides a number of avatar related updates and changes.

  • Jumping: Sansar avatars can now jump. I’ve no idea how this is triggered in VR mode because – at the time of writing this overview – the release notes started with the words “Questing. Jumping. Styling for your custom avatars”, then never actually mentioned how to jump. For those in Desktop mode, it’s a matter of pressing the keyboard space bar. The jump animation is basic, but it works.
  • Custom Avatar dressing: it is now possible to dress custom avatars from the Look Book – providing they have been built with this in mind.
  • Custom Avatars as starter avatars: new users can now opt to use one of a number of custom avatars (as well as the Sansar default avatars) when starting out.
  • Marvelous Designer library clothing: the Look Book inventory now includes a rang of Marvelous Designer clothing options – look for the yellow “M” tag.
The clothing library now includes adjustable MD clothing options (indicated by a yellow “M” tag). Use the VR controllers or CTRL-left- click and drag for Desktop mode to adjust when the clothing item is selected.
  • Skin colours / tones: more options to colour the skin’s base tone.
  • New functions to enable you to edit your avatar better:
    • Improved save options without being kicked out of the editor.
    • Better reset options to allow you to re-start adjustments from scratch.
    • Easier way of returning to the world and return to your previous position in world before you edited your character. (Saving user position in runtime).

Event Creation Changes

From this release, every event created will be tied to its own experience, based on a scene template, rather than being tied to an existing experience. This means:

  • Events can no longer be joined by finding an experience, it must be done via the event calendar, with the event itself a special copy (not an instance)  of the experience.
  • Active events are listed on a new Featured tab – Client Atlas only.
  • Event creators can change the scene tied to an event, customise the scene like any experience, and delete the experience if it’s no longer needed.

Teleporting Updates

  • When you choose to teleport to your friend, you will now spawn near them, unless the experience creator has opted to disable direct teleport and force you at the arrival point.
You can now create a portal from the Client Atlas entry for an experience without having to copy the URL; just click the button
  • You can now create Portals more easily with the new “Create Portal” button on the Atlas details page – Client Atlas only.

Creation Updates

  • Object parenting in the scene editor: objects can now have other objects as children. This means:
    • No more folders.  Existing folders are converted into parent objects.
    • Moving/Scaling a parent object will move/scale children along with it.
  • New functions to enable you to create your world better: scaling is no longer restricted to a slider between 0.1x to 10x. You can now use the Properties panel to:
    • Move/rotate/scale a selection of multiple objects at once.
    • Move/rotate a Light component.
  • List<> support in script parameters: allows passing multiple values to a script as a single parameter. This means that creators can now assign multiple values such as a sound, object, a position point to one parameter, eliminating the old behaviour that forces the creator to utilise a parameter per value.
  • Interaction behaviour on a per user basis: creators can now set interactions to update and change behaviour on a per-user basis. This enables creators to disable content once a user interacts with it. For example, a glowing chest in a treasure hunt could stop glowing once the user interacts with it.

Feedback

It will be interesting to see how the quest toolset progresses. They are basic, but functional and were drawing a lot of attention following the release deployment.

The addition of the MD clothing to the library is a welcome update, but while the button for spawning teleport portals is a step forward, Sansar would benefit from a means for users to be able to add experiences to some form of client “favourites” then can quickly access without having to pull up the Atlas, search it, click on an experience description then click on the button to spawn the portal. This is, frankly, as clunky as having to do the same and then click the Copy URL button and paste the URL into chat.

For the list of known issues, please refer to the release notes. For scripting API updates, please refer to the API documentation.

 

Sansar: February release and Product Meeting week #9 w/audio

Schwefelstein Pass

On Thursday, February 28th, Linden Lab released the C’mon Get Happy release. This is rather a small update compared to previous releases. The full release notes are available, and highlights of the release key features might be summarised as:

  • Save and sell a collection: creators can now pull a group of objects from a scene and save it back in their inventories as a single object.
    • All script relationships and relative positioning for the objects will be stored in that single object, making it easy to drag and drop a collection of items in a scene or sell it in the store.
    • Note the objects will not be linked: when placed back into a scene, they will remain a group of individual objects. This will be coming in a future release.
  • Smoother gifting: there is a new notification to let receivers know that they received Sansar Dollars from another user.
  • Draw distance limit: creators can now define an object’s draw distance limit from the properties panel. The draw distance defines the distance at which an object starts to render in the scene.
    • For example, if an object’s draw distance limit is set to 10 metres, the object will no longer be visible when a user in an experience is beyond 10 metres from the object.
    • This is currently set to infinite by default, so creators are asked to implement it when building their scenes.
  • Extended limits on uploaded Avatar items: the proximity limits on clothing, accessories, and hair are expanded, with the Axis Aligned Bounding Box (AABB) area increased by .1m left/right and .3m front/back.
    • This means that the AABB area is now min(-0.9m, -0.9m, -0.05cm) max(0.9m, 0.9m, 2.2m).
    • This change does not affect emotes nor custom avatars.
  • New avatar reference files: the avatar reference files are now noted as being updated and can now be found here.
  • Emojis have been added to chat.
    • The font used is Segoe UI Emoji, which is not supported by Windows 7. Users on that operating system will see an X in a box whenever an emoji is used.
The Emojis panel can be pulled up using the smiley icon to the right of the text entry field. Users on Windows 7 will see this as a panel of “empty” boxes (as shown in the inset, top left)
  • Two key bug fixes for the release are:
    • Servers should spin-up faster when trying to access an experience which has no-one in it.
    • Chat should no longer scroll to the top when opening the chat panel.

Again, for the full list of updates, please refer to the release notes.

Product Meeting

Sansar as a World

This is something that has been mentioned in recent product meetings – the shifting to emphasise Sansar as a “World” rather than as a collection of discrete experiences. Commenting on this at the product meeting, Landon  McDowell, the Lab’s CPO, explained the reasoning behind this thus:

We asked ourselves what was really missing from Sansar and what we wanted to add to it, and one of the things that kept coming up consistently is … one of the magical things in Second Life is it feels like a world. It feels like place … and when we designed Sansar, we didn’t really implement that; it was a design decision. we wanted the individual worlds to stand alone, and be disconnected and independent … [Now] we feel that lack of place … is something that we’re personally missing and something we want to add into Sansar.

– Landon McDowell, Linden Lab CPO

Questing and Gameplay

The focus of the February 28th Product Meeting was on the updating Quest / rewards / achievements system that has been the subject of recent Product Meetings. This is seen as being both a means to help on-board new users to Sansar and – linked to the above – as a means of providing a capability that can allow grater gaming  and questing with common roots across experiences, thus helping to give a feeling of continuity between them.

Part of this is what the Lab is calling Directed Play, which is liable to start appearing over the next couple of releases (March / April), as outlined by Stanley, the Director of Product for Sansar and Aleks Altberg:

  • The first pass at a quest system. This will initially be a basic approach of complete a task / achieve an objective, and receive a reward.
  • This will initially feature quests formulated by the lab, so will be player focused, but over time will be opened out to allow creators to build using the tools.
  • For the initial release, as it will feature game play from the Lab, the rewards will be small Sansar dollar amounts, as these are the easiest thing for the Lab to offer.
    • The system will be broadened such that when Creators are able to use it, they will be able to offer items as rewards  – accessories, clothing, custom avatars, etc.
  • The ability for creators to use the system and offer rewards will hopefully be made available in the spring / late spring of 2019.
  • Longer-term, the Lab is also thinking about progression systems, e.g. experience points / levelling system or achievements.
    • These are again being considered in terms of both how the Lab might use them and how creators can incorporate them into their experiences.
    • This work might start to be surfaced in the summer of 2019.
  • The first quest that will be deployed in the March release is the previously mentioned “tutorial quest”, specifically aimed at new users. This will take them through the basics of walking, talking, running, interacting with objects, etc.
    • Ultimately, it will push new arrivals into the Social Hub, which will include a new area focused on quests, and tentatively referred to as the Quest Giver.
  • The Quest Giver will have a couple of further quest provided by the Lab:
    • A scavenger hunt spread over some of the experiences provided by Sansar Studios, where player have to locate various Easter Eggs and return them to the Quest Giver.
    • A guided tour approach to various Sansar Studio experiences, with landmarks participants must visit.
    • Both formats will include rewards on completion.
  • One thing the Lab does not want to get into, outside of some “premium” content they will produce, is building quest style content over and over. The focus is very much on producing a set of tools that can be leveraged by content creators whilst providing users with a consistency of use across different types of quest.

Q&A Session On The Quest System
  • Will creators be able to assign and store data against players (experience points (XP), etc)?:
    • The plan is to have a global XP system that works across all of Sansar, but this has not been fully defined. However, the idea is to allow content creators to contribute towards it.
    • This does not prevent creators using their own system if they so wished.
    • One issue is that anyone can be a creator and anyone can be a player, therefore the system has to be robust enough to avoid being gamed, and this is one of the reasons the Lab is approaching the XP system carefully.
  • Will creators be able to gift questors with rewards automatically?: Yes, but creators are asked not to think of it as “gifting”, and don’t want users to have the expectation of a reward dropping into their laps on completion of every task.  Rather the idea is to make these games an overall quest that results in a rewards being given (i.e. a product the creator might otherwise sell in their store).
    • More broadly, the gift capability will remain separate to the quest system and the concept of rewards.
  • Will it be possible to build experiences that only user reaching certain XP levels can enter? Possibly, but the Lab has not got to the point of considering this type of specific requirement as yet.
  • Will it be possible to assign animated characters (NPCs) as quest givers? Eventually, yes.
  • Will it be possible to branch quests (e.g. complete task A, then either go on to B or C, rather than having to complete B then C)?
    • Initially, where quests are related, there will be a linear progression: if you want to do quest B, you must complete quest A.
    • Longer term, branching might be possible, as the Lab is still putting ideas together (hence requesting feedback through this PM).
    • Where quests are not related, it is possible to participate in more than one (so if quests X, Y and Z stand independently to one another and have no requirements one to the next), a user can be involved in all three simultaneously.
  • Will creators be able to set-up and run multiple instances of popular quests they create and track usage, etc? Not initially; but if it becomes necessary, the Lab will consider it.
  • Will it be possible to have objects that can only be obtained / used by players reaching a certain level? Once the levelling system is introduced, mostly likely yes, but objects like that would require explicit scripting on the part of the creator.
  • Will players be able to pick up items and add them to a local inventory (“backpack” or similar) to carry around and use as required, rather than being limited to just carrying things by hand? Potentially, by means of scripted support.
  • Will there be a “quest list” or “log” for users to track what quests they participated in, and their current progress within quests? Yes, and this will be part of the initial release.
  • Will quests be limited to individual experiences or run across multiple experiences? Initially, the system will be focused on quests within individual experiences. However, it will be expanded to support quests across multiple experiences.
  • Why should creators build games outside of the quest system if the Lab is going to be building and promoting its own games?
    • The intent for the Lab (as noted in the audio above) is not for the Lab to be in the market of making content and games. Their involvement is more to test the tools (e.g. the native UI elements), ensure they work and can do what is expected of them before passing them over to creators to start using them.
    • The quests built by the Lab can also function as a means to introduce incoming users to the quest system and how it works, so they will be familiar with the basics before they enter quests built by creators.
  • Will the system allow creators to set a limit on the number of players in a quest, e.g. set their quest so only one or two or just a small group can participate at any one time? Not something currently on the roadmap, but as the idea has been a common request, something to allow this might be added in the future.
  • Can creators / users still do their own thing if they don’t want to use this system? Yes. It’s just another set of tools creators can use if they so wish.
    • Similarly, users do not have to participate automatically. All quests will be opt in.
    • Those opting-in to a quest will gain access to the native UI elements the lab is building for quest players (and which will be available to creators to use when the system is opened out).
  • Will the system include a heath system? Not in the initial releases.

Other Items

  • Why isn’t Sansar built on Unity? Because it was a conscious decision to build a dedicated engine the Lab could manage and extend without being dependent upon a third-party supplied engine that is geared towards trying to support multiple markets.
    • That said there is no reason why user-generated content cannot be used on either platform, and the Lab has been considering a Unity import mechanism (see my previous PM summary notes).
  • Will avatar locomotion include climbing as well as jumping and crouching? No plans for climbing, sliding or things like it at present. Jumping and crouching are the current focus for locomotion additions.
  • Can a slider be added for transparencies to allow opaqueness to be adjusted on objects? Not directly, but can be achieved by setting the materials and using an alpha on the object / face.
  • Will experience concurrency be increased? This is being worked upon, and the goal is to raise the ceiling on avatars in an individual instance of an experience to 100, hopefully be mid-2019.
  • Will Sansar have a particle system? A popular request, but currently on being worked on, although it is a goal for the future.
  • Will there be a “Universal” inventory system usable across all experiences? Again, a goal, but not for the immediate future.
  • Will Sansar allow adult content? There are currently no plans to allow adult content.
  • Custom animations for sit points: still at least a couple of releases away.
  • Private grouping (e.g. allowing private voice calls or text chat between 2 or more users): something the Lab wants to provide, but currently a question of resources and priorities.
  • Object parenting: might be out in the next release for the Edit mode, but this will not include run-time parenting of objects in run time.
  • Windows Mixed Reality support: still no plans to officially support WMR headsets.
  • Ticketing system: the ticketing system has been used for a number of LL organised Sansar events. A new, more robust ticketing system is currently being built, and it is hoped to make that available to experience creators so they can use it with their events.
  • Site-to-site teleporting:  the next release should include the ability to set-up teleports that deliver users to a specific point within an experience

Sansar R29, The Places You’ll Go release overview

R29 – Portals! Credit: Linden Lab

On Tuesday, February 5th, Linden Lab issued the latest release for Sansar: The Places You’ll Go  (aka R29). This article is designed to provide an illustrative summary of the release, but do note the lack of an VR headset and controller on my part means that any features described in detail here are looked at from the Desktop Mode. For additional details on the release, please refer to the R29 release notes.

Initial Notes

As with the majority of Sansar deployments, this update requires the automatic download and installation of a client update, particularly as it involves changes affecting the Sansar avatar system.

Client Save Account Credentials

The Remember Me function has changed, and might be inconvenient for people using more than one account to log-in to Sansar (so perhaps disable it?)

With R29, the Remember Me account credentials option has been revised.

  • When checked, your current account credentials are automatically saved so that if you close the client via the top-right X, the next time you launch the client, you will be automatically logged-in to your Home Space or to an experience directly, bypassing the client log-in screen.
  • To display the client log-in screen with Remember Me enabled, you must log out via the More Options > log out function.
  • Uncheck Remember Me if you use more than one account to access Sansar, and wish to avoid having your last-used log-in credentials automatically re-applied to log you in to Sansar.

Custom Animations Re-Assignment

Due to bug introduced in a previous avatar upgrade, a custom animation may have overridden a non-emote animation. So for this release, users must re-assign custom animations to their desired emotes to see the desired results (one time update only).

Group Teleport

You can now generate your own teleport portals to other experiences using the “/portal” command and a valid experience URL. Hovering the mouse over the portal will display the owner’s name. Clicking on it will ask whether or not you wish to teleport to the selected experience.

R29 introduces a new teleport portal capability that can be used when exploring / showing Sansar with / to friends.

Simply type “/portal” (minus the quotes) followed by an experience URL, and a short-lived portal will appear in front of you, and will remain in place until it times-out after about 2 minutes. During that time, anyone touching the portal will be asked if they wish to teleport to the selected experience. If they select Yes, they will be teleported. Simples.

Notes:

  • You can only have one active teleport portal at a time. Calling another will immediately delete the one currently visible.
  • Teleporting between experiences is still via the experience load screen (as with the Atlas and static portals).
  • Remember, you can obtain the URL for an experience via the in-client Atlas (GO > Find Places to Go (Atlas)), by clicking the Copy URL button in the pop-up for the desired experience.
You can obtain the URL for an experience via the in-client Atlas (GO > Find Places to Go (Atlas)), by clicking the Copy URL button in the pop-up for the desired experience

In-Client Atlas Auto-Select

The in-client Atlas search now has an auto-select function that will  attempt to list experiences based on what you’re typing in.

Note that this select experiences on various criteria (e.g. experience and creator name and more), so depending on the combination of characters used, you might get some unexpected results.

The in-client Atlas auto-select will offer experience suggestions based on entered text. However, selections can be based on experience name (l) creator name (c) and … something else entirely (metadata?) – note while “Roman” in purpose, the experience on the right does not feature “rome” in the experience or creator names. Click for full size

VR Updates

The R29 release sees:

  • An updated VR IK system: hand movements should not lag so much against actual hand movements.
  • A new height calibration UI: this includes options to calibrate your height automatically, manually input your height, and remember your height (pull in the last available setting).
  • Shop via VR: VR users can now access the Sansar store and shop.
R29: shop via VR. Credit: Linden Lab

Scripting Updates

  • Script performance in events improved.
  • Simple Scripts have been moved to Scene Script Libraries.
  • New scripts added to the script libraries.
  • New Object Script Library.
  • Added a Store Listing script to users’ inventory.
  • Added three new APIs:
    • Haptic Pulse API – lets a script fire a haptic vibration, so that a controller holding a gun, for example, would vibrate once you pulled the trigger.
    • Sit Event API – notifies other scripts when an avatar sits or stands. Meaning: if you wanted to make a whoopee cushion noise each time a person sits in a specific chair, you absolutely could.
    • Media Action API – Allows media actions to be performed on media surfaces. More specifically, it enables interaction with Twitch’s Mature Stream “Start Watching” button.
  • Please check the scripting API documentation for full information on scripting updates.

Avatar Save Performance Improvement

A new hidden surface algorithm should offer much improved performance when saving an avatar after making appearance changes in the Character Editor.

Feedback

A more modest update in terms of user-visible changes, when compared to recent releases. However, a long list of known issues resolved within it (see the release notes for details). Some nice updates for VR users, but it is the in-world teleport capability for groups that is liable to be particularly welcome.

The new functionality for Remember Me, while handy if you are a sole user of Sansar, feels clunky if you use more than one account with the platform. If you have it enabled, you must remember to perform a “hard” log-out via More Options in order to get back to the client’s log-in screen.

In this respect, it does question why not simply have Remember Me set to record the last-used credentials in the log-in / password fields? Sure, this requires an extra click on the log-in button to access Sansar (and so is perhaps less “seamless”). But conversely, it is both how most clients tend to work and potentially a lot more convenient for those who switch between accounts (although you now have to re-enter your account password).