Sansar: August release and upcoming Edit Server

Scurry Landia

Thursday, July 16th saw the release of the Sansar Script, Snapshot and Share update. After the extensive updates in the July release, this is a more modest update, with a focus on what the Lab refers to a “quality of life” improvements – focusing on user-related capabilities, notably for creators.

This article highlights some of the more visible new features and updates with the release. As always, full details of the updates in the new release are available in the release notes.  In addition, these notes also include comments from the August 16th, 2018 Product Meeting, which preceded the release. Boden was attending the meeting, together with Aleks and Zaius. Their voices, along with that of Community Manager Eliot, can be heard in the audio extracts included below.

To jump directly to information on the upcoming Edit Server changes click here.

Events Improvements

This release follows in the footsteps of the web Events on the Sansar website, allowing you to add your events to your local Sansar calendar, which also has its own tab within the Events panel.

To make use of it:

  • Within the client, either while displaying the Atlas or within an experience, click on the Events calendar icon in the top right set of icons. This will open the Events panel (note: you can also get to the Events panel via the open Atlas and clicking Featured > View All Events).
  • The Events panel, which now comprises just two tabs: All Events and My Calendar (which replaces the My Events tab). To add an event to your Sansar calendar, click on the Add To Calendar button.
  • You Can then view all your recorded events (including those in the recent past) in the My Calendar tab. This actually lists:
    • Events you have created and are hosting, if you have created any.
    • Upcoming events you’ve added to your calendar (if any).
    • Those events you’ve recorded / attended in the past.
  • Listed upcoming / past events include a Remove From Calendar button, allowing your list to be managed.
The new option to add events to your Sansar calendar (ringed). Note that Featured events are no longer listed in a separate Events tab, but are highlighted within the main listing (arrowed). This was, IIRC, made in a prior release, but worth pointing out here in case someone missed  it

Events added to your Sansar calendar will also appear on the web version of the your calendar and vice-versa (a refresh of either will be required if both are open at the same time when adding / removing events from one or the other).

There is currently no ability to add events from the client to external calendars (Google, Apple, Outlook, Yahoo) as you can via the Sansar web site. This will hopefully be in a future update.

Snapshots to Profiles Update

It is now possible to save snapshots taken with the client to your Sansar web profile via a new button – Share. When you’ve positioned the camera and sized the capture area to your requirements, clicking the Share button will:

  • Save the image.
  • Upload it to your profile on the web.
  • Open a tab in your default web browser and display the snapshot.
With the August 2018 Sansar release, it is now possible to upload snapshots to your web profile, where they can be viewed by yourself and others

In the snapshot web page, it is possible to:

  • View all of your snapshots.
  • View all snapshots of the Experience featured in a given picture.
  • View the latest snapshots uploaded by anyone.
  • Delete the snapshot you are displaying (your own snapshots only).
  • Report a snapshot (only available when viewing snapshots uploaded by others).

The options are listed above an image when viewing them in your browser, and are arrowed in the image above. You can also obviously share the image URL if you wish.

You can view other people’s snapshots directly from their web profile. So, if you click on the name of an experience creator, or on the name of a friend in your Friends list, for example, you can view their snapshots alongside of their published experiences and current store listings (if they have any of either of the latter). Clicking on a snapshot will display it in its own page, with the options described above.

Side Notes on Snapshots to Profiles

  • Snapshots to profiles can currently only be viewed on the web, they cannot be seen when viewing profiles from within the client.
  • There is no ability to caption a snapshot with a description. This is intentional on part of the Lab, although it may be reconsidered in the future.
  • In the future, snapshots will be appended to the web pages for experiences as well, whether uploaded by the experience creator or anyone else (however, the experience creator will be able to moderate which snapshots remain displayed on their experience page.
    • This is why the ability to include descriptions in uploaded snapshots has been excluded; it is felt that there is too much risk of people leaving inappropriate descriptions with images, giving experience creators a moderation headache.
    • This option is ready to go, but will be turned on once the necessary moderation tools are in place for experience creators to manage snapshots shared to their experiences.
  • However, a future update to the capability will include the ability to tag snapshots, making them searchable.

Other snapshot items raised at the Product Meeting:

  • This update doesn’t change anything else within the snapshot app. However there have been requests put forward the Lab is considering:
    • Adding date and time to snapshots when captured.
    • Auto-generating sequential file names for snapshots taken in sequence, rather than each one having to be manually named.
    • Possible offering a broader range of saved file formats (e.g. TGA, JPG, etc).
  • One thing that is being considered is the option to take a series of snapshots and have them “held” during a session, allowing the user to then go through them and select which ones they want to actually upload to their profile and discard the rest.

Edit Mode Improvements

Scene Report Generation

It is now possible to export a .CSV breakdown (comma-separated values file that may be opened in a spreadsheet or text editor.) of every object in your scene. These reports comprise:

  • Name.
  • Size estimate for download.
  • Number of textures.
  • Number of triangles.

Reports are generated via Scene Toolbar > About This Scene > Generate Report > Set the destination location on your computer > Save.

Import Lighting from .FBX

This release allows creators to create point lighting (e.g. colour, intensity, animation) in their preferred editing tool and then import them directly into the scenes as .FBX files. Once in Sansar, the properties for these lights can still be edited  when the .FBX file is within a scene.

Additional Edit Mode Enhancements

  • Locking persistence: objects locked within a scene when editing will now remain locked between Edit mode sessions.
  • Scene objects panel enhancements: these comprise:
    • Rename a scene object’s name: the name fields for various scene objects have been removed from the properties panel, with the Rename option moved to the scene objects panel.
    • New object icons: there are new object icons attached to scene objects to help guide you in distinguishing items
  • Toggle visibility per object: it is now possible to toggle an object’s visibility in a scene.
  • Toggle selectability per object: the ability to select an object within a scene can now be disabled or enabled. This allows for easier selection of objects which may be layered behind others, etc (e.g. lighting within an object).
  • Trigger Volume filter: it is now possible to now filter by trigger volumes.

Scripting Updates

New Simple Scripts

Simple scripts were introduced in the August release with the aim of offering non-scripters the ability to achieve basic functions within their scenes (such as opening / closing doors, etc.), in an easy-to-understand and simple manner. The August release builds on this with three further simple scripts:

  • SimpleDispenser to rez objects.
    • Currently this does not include any form of parameter to allow spawned objects to decay, but does include the ability to remove the last or all spawned objects.
    • It includes the ability to cap how many items can be spawned in a given time.
    • Objects are spawned as the are imported into the script. So a dynamic object imported into the script will spawn as a dynamic object, for example.
  • SimpleMedia to change the streaming media
 – the Greenwall VR experience utilises the SimpleMedia script on their media board.
  • SimpleObjectReset to reset an object’s position.

Additionally, the SimpleCollision script has been revamped to better handle Trigger Volumes.

New Base Script Class: ObjectScript.

In anticipation of rezzable scripts (not yet enabled), this base class only has access to ScenePublic and a maximum of 10 parameters. SceneObjectScript scripts will not run on rezzed content; ObjectScript scripts can run on scene content or rezzable content.


Other Scripting Updates

  • Parameters limit for scene objects increased from 10 to 20 parameters.
  • ObjectPrivate.AddInteraction: an Interaction to an object dynamically. Used to add Interactions to rezzed objects or when it isn’t desired that the Interaction prompt be a script parameter.
  • Improved syntax for [DefaultValue] on vectors, quaternions and colours. These no longer need to be specially formatted strings, simply list 2 to 4 values: [DefaultValue(1.2, 3.4, 5.6)]
  • SimpleScript base class deprecated. Not to be confused with the new Simple Scripts. Scripts that use this base class will still compile with a warning. Support for new compiles will be disabled in a future release.

Store Categories

It is now possible to browse the Sansar Store using the two new top-level categories of Avatar Looks and Scene Creation, with the sub-categories defined accordingly.

New Edit Server

Due to appear in a point release between the August (R24) and September (R25) updates is the Edit Server release. This moves scene editing from within the Sansar Client (and local) to being server-based. It means that when editing a scene for the first time, there will be a delay in accessing Edit mode and the scene being edited as the Edit Server instance is spun-up.

The reason for this change is to pave the way for a range of new capabilities in Sansar, most notably in relation to the platform’s upcoming licensing / permissions / supply chain system.

Moving the Edit capabilities server-side allow the Lab to incorporate the ability to check the licenses associated with all of the objects within a scene and verify what can / cannot be done with them (e.g. is an object / script modifiable? Can it be incorporated into objects intended for sale? etc).

The initial benefit of this is that it will allow creators to build complex objects in a scene and then export them as a single object back to inventory (so a car is complete with its wheels, engine, seats, etc.), rather than these all being individual objects), allowing the composite object to be sold.

Additionally, this will enable the licensing / permissions / supply chain system of Sansar’s economy, so that duly licensed objects by other creators can be used within an individual’s own creations, which can then be saved to inventory and sold through the Sansar Store. The first elements of the licensing  / permissions / supply chain system is due to start deployment in upcoming releases following the switch to using the Edit Server. Beyond this, the move may in the future allow for things like creators being able to work collaboratively within the same scene.

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Sansar: Express Yourself release

Courtesy of Linden Lab

Wednesday, July 18th saw the release of the the Sansar Express Yourself update. As per my preview, this brings a lot of new capabilities to Sansar, including the ability for creators to upload custom (and pre-dressed) avatars, user interface improvements, script updates, and more.

This article highlights some of the more visible new features and updates with the release. As always, full details of the updates in the new release are available in the release notes.

Initial Notes

  • As with the majority of Sansar deployments, this update requires the automatic download and installation of a client update.
  • Updates in this release mean that on logging-in for the first time following the update, users will be placed in the Look Book (Avatar App).

Avatar Updates

Custom Avatars

Sansar now permits the uploading of custom avatars, although there are some caveats / things to note:

  • Custom avatars have a maximum tri limit of 40K (compared to 16K for the default avatars).
  • It will not be possible to clothe custom avatars or add attachments, etc., via the Look Book – they must be outfitted prior to upload, hence the higher tri limit compared to the default avatars.
    • The option to change outfits on custom avatars through Look Book might be added in the future.
    • The base tri count limit is seen by the Lab as being for testing purposes, and a balance between allowed custom avatars to be pre-dressed and potentially allow for future outfitting of avatars through Look Book without have to adjust the tri count downwards in order to do so.
  • Custom avatars must use the .FBX file format and be developed using the male or female skeleton provided by Sansar, available via the Sansar skeleton and skinning details knowledge base article
  • If custom avatars are to be sold, they must adhere to the Sansar Store listing guidelines and must also include a thumbnail asset upon import and which itself adheres to the Sansar Store image guidelines.
  • All new avatars must comply with the Sansar Avatar Guidelines, which include no nude avatars and no use of avatars / characters that infringe on the Intellectual Property rights of others.

Uploading custom avatars is handled through Sansar’s Look Book, as shown below.

Custom avatars are uploaded via Look Book via the Customise button and the Avatar Tab in the appearance editing panel, which has a new Add Avatar button that opens the upload panel (shown on the left). The Browse buttons in this panel can be used to select the avatar .FBX file (1) and  the associated thumbnail image (2). The name field (3) set the inventory name for the avatar – if left blank, this will default to the uploaded file name. The optional Materials settings button (ringed in the upload panel) can be used to choose specific shaders and textures for the avatar model. Upload will upload the model

Once imported to Look Book, custom avatars can be worn from the avatar panel and / or listed in the Sansar Store (right-click the thumbnail for the avatar and select List).

Custom Avatar Competition

To mark the launch of custom avatars, Linden Lab is running a Sansar Custom Avatar contest with a first prize of US $50 (approx. S$5,000). See the competition page for more.

New Avatar Looks

A series of new outfits / looks have been added to Sansar with this release:

  • Female:
    • Lolita outfit: clothing, hair and shoes.
    • Punk outfit: clothing and shoes (shown on the right, with Lolita hair and wearing system sandals rather than outfit footwear).
  • Male:
    • Goth outfit: clothing and shoes.
    • Adventurer outfit: clothing and shoes. (shown on the right).

These are available directly from the avatar panel’s outfit and hair tabs in Look Book.

 

Improved Avatar IK – VR Mode

Ikenema has been improved to improve avatar movement in VR. These updates include improved handling of forearm twist bones, better clavicle motion and less droopiness in clavicles, and better constraint handling in shoulders.

Scripting Updates

The Express Yourself release has two core sets of scripting updates: HTTP support, Simple Scripts and .FBX animation support. All of these options are covered in-depth in the Script API updates notes available in the Sansar knowledge base, and which include links to detailed HTTP documentation in the case of the HTTP API.

HTTP API

The HTTP API allows objects within experiences to communicate with external services. This is a two-way communications capability – meaning data from experiences can be exported a stored externally (as might be the case for game / adventure progress); and data from the physical world can be used to drive what happens within a scene (so an experience can reflect the weather in a physical world location, for example).

The addition of the API means that certain personal data can be exported from Sansar (just as it can from Second Life):

  • Avatar name and the user’s unique avatar identifier.
  • When an avatar enters or leaves an experience.
  • Where within experience avatar exists whilst visiting.
  • Public chat of avatars whilst in the experience.

Simple Scripts

This is a set of 14 basic scripts intended to make it easier for non-scripters to add functionality to their scenes and experiences. They have been automatically added to the Exit Mode inventory.

The new simple scripts library

Some examples of how these scripts might be used include:

  • SimpleInteraction: allows direct interaction with any object in a scene, can be used with buttons, switches, etc., so turn lights on/off, etc.
  • SimpleMover: moving objects from point-to-point, changing their specified position and/or orientation, such as moving platforms, opening / closing doors, etc.
  • SimpleSound: trigger a sound effect heard with other interactions.

The scripts can be “stacked” together for more complex interactions, so SimpleInteraction might be used for a button to call an elevator that is moved by SimpleMover, and SimpleSound pays a sound as the elevator arrives.

.FBX Animation Support

.FBX files containing multiple animation clips can be imported and then manipulated via scripts.

Continue reading “Sansar: Express Yourself release”

Sansar: Know Thy Neighbour release

Light switches and other scripted object interactions are now possible in Sansar. Credit: Linden Lab

Friday, June 1st saw the deployment of  the Sansar Know Thy Neighbour release, which brings user profiles to Sansar, adds object interactions through scripts and something the Lab call Access to Controls.

This article highlights some of the new features – and some deployed in May 2018. As always, full details of the updates in the new release are available in the release notes.

Initial Notes

  • As with the majority of Sansar deployments, this update requires the automatic download and installation of a client update.
  • Updates in this release mean that on logging-in for the first time following the update, users will be placed in the LookBook (Avatar App).

User Profiles

Second Life users are more than familiar with the idea of user profiles and their usefulness. They are something that has been raised on numerous occasions as one of the missing elements within Sansar – and with this release, they’ve started to arrive.

A Sansar profile can be used to display basic information about a user: their avatar name / ID, a photograph, and a short  biography. In addition, viewing other people’s profiles allows users to request / remove friendship, see a summary of any store listings they have or experiences they have published, each of which are interactive.

Every Sansar user has a profile by default, which can be edited and updated as required, although they must be updated from within the Sansar client. Profiles can, however, be viewed both within the client and on the web.

Editing Your Profile

To edit your profile, launch the Sansar client and then click on More Options > Edit Profile. This will open the Profile Editor, which has two user-definable fields: the profile image and biography.

Profile images are automatically generated by Sansar, based on the looks you have saved in the LookBook (See Customising your avatar). To select / change your profile image click on the edit icon at the four o’clock position on the photo display (1 in the image below, right). A list of your available images will be displayed. Click on the one you wish to use with your profile.

To update your biography, click on the Bio section (2 in the image below right) and enter your text.

Editing your Profile

When you’ve completed your updates, click Save to apply them.

Viewing a Profile

Profiles can be viewed in a number of ways:

  • From within an experience, through the client’s People App.
  • Via the Atlas, either within the client or on the web.
  • Via a store listing on the web.

Via the People App

Displaying a Profile via the People app (in this case, using Search)

When in an experience, you can display someone’s profile by opening the Chat App then clicking on the People App button.

  • To view the profile of someone on your Friends list, click on their name to display the interaction options and click Profile.
  • To view the profile of some on your Friends list, use the Search option, then click on their name to display the interaction options and click Profile.

Both of these options will open the user’s profile. This comprises a number of sections:

  • The user’s profile picture with a microphone icon at the four o’clock position. This is the mute / unmute option. Green indicates the person is not voice muted, red indicates they have been voice muted.
  • Three central options to direct message them; to friend / unfriend them or abuse report them.
  • The bottom section of a profile may  – or may not – display one or other – or both – of two further options: Store Items and Experiences.
  • Store Items: if the user has a Sansar Store, the total number of items they have listed will be displayed, with a See All option. Clicking the latter will display their store in your web browser. This option will be absent if the user does not have any items in the store.
  • Experiences:
    • if the user has published one or more experiences, the total number of their published experiences is displayed, with thumbnails of each of them.
    • Clicking on a thumbnail should open the experience
    • A button (V or ^) is displayed in this section – if the user has more than one experience, this will switch the thumbnail view between a single experience thumbnail and a tiled display of thumbnails.
    • This option will be absent if the user has not published any experiences.
  • To close a displayed profile, click the Back button at the top left of the profile display.

Note that when viewing a profile, you can also accept Friend requests sent by that person, as well as send your own.

Continue reading “Sansar: Know Thy Neighbour release”

Sansar: VR Chat release

The new “/sit 2” animation- VR Chat release

Monday, May 7th saw the arrival of the May 2018 Sansar release, entitled the VR Chat release. As the name implies, this release includes the long-awaited option for those in VR mode to see text chat from those around them. Alongside of this is Twitch integration, a further avatar sit option, and other nips, tucks and updates.

As always, full details are available in the release notes, this overview just highlights some of the key features / items in the release. In addition, a small update was issued on Tuesday, May 8th, 2018.

Initial Notes

  • As with the majority of Sansar deployments, this update requires the automatic download and installation of a client update.
  • Changes to the avatar inventory support means that on logging-in for the first time following the update, users will be placed in the LookBook (Avatar App).

Terrain Editor Reminder

Starting with the mid-March release, the Lab has been discontinuing the use of the Terrain Editor. This is as a result of recent investigation in Sansar’s performance revealing the height maps created using the tool could adversely affect performance in both the Run-time and Edit modes.For creators who have used the Terrain Editor, this means:

  • All existing terrain created using the Terrain Editor or through uploaded heightmaps should be replaced by the end of April. After this date, all terrain items that are still in scenes will be replaced by a place-holder asset.
  • All terrain items in the Store that have been created using a terrain heightmap should also be removed from the Store as soon as possible.

There is at this time no indication as to if / when the Terrain Editor will be re-introduced.

VR Mode Updates

Read Text Chat in VR Mode

A major limitation with Sansar up until now has been that those in VR mode have been unable to see text chat (either local chat or direct messages) in their headsets – which can lead to those using text as their preferred means of communications being ignored.

Chat in VR allows VR users to see local chat and direct messages whilst in VR Mode

Chat in VR rectifies this by providing the means for headset users to view the chat app in their field of view. I don’t actually have full-time access to a headset, so can’t vouch for how it works. However, from the Sansar documentation:

The Chat app in VR mode allows you to view messages from nearby people in your current experience in the Nearby tab and private messages in the Messages tab.

  • It is not currently possible to send messages while in VR mode.
  • You can move the Chat app by grabbing it with your Oculus Touch or Vive Wand and dragging it to a new location.
  • When you move or turn your head, the Chat app moves with you.

Pointer-based VR interaction

This update replaces the “move your head to select objects” approach with the more intuitive use of hand controllers. Simply point and hover over objects with the controller to select or pick up.
 Note that head movement is still required to use the Avatar tool when hovering over an avatar, however.

Twitch Integration

This release brings with it the ability to create a Sansar account via Twitch, and then log-in to Sansar using your Twitch credentials.

However, note that this is only for those creating a Sansar account via Twitch: it is not, at the time of writing, possible to link an existing Sansar account to a Twitch account and use the Twitch credentials to log-in to Sansar.

Those who create a new Sansar account via Twitch can now log-in to Sansar using their Twitch credentials

See the Twitch Integration article from the Lab for more.

Clothing Updates

The VR Chat update brings with it three updates related to clothing:

  • The Worn Clothing panel in LookBook > Customise option allows you to easily review, remove or adjust clothing on your avatar.
  • The Sansar astronaut and highlands outfits have been added to the default clothing inventory.
  • Adjustments for multiple Marvelous Designer clothing items can be made at the same time by clicking the “Adjust Clothing” button, or adjust each worn clothing individually by pressing on the “Play” button in the Worn clothing panel.
The Worm Items panel (LookBook > Customise) allows you to easily review / change the clothing you are wearing

New Sit Option

A basic ground sit came to Sansar in the April release (see here for more). However, as I remarked at the time, for a female avatar wearing a dress, the sit pose wasn’t the most elegant. This has now been addressed, to a point, with a new “/sit 2” pose, which set an avatar kneeling – see the animation at the top of this article. The hands-through-the-skirt aspect is still a little distracting, but “/sit 2” is a big improvement, as well as adding a bit of variety to a group sitting on the ground together.

Other Updates

The VR Chat offers a number of scripting updates:

  • API for object animation playback – play, pause, stop, rewind, slow down/speed up object animations via script.
  • API to override the media URL in a scene – update the streaming media at runtime via script.
  • Colours are now a supported type for script parameters.
  • Visibility added on container properties for local position and rotation in the property editor.
  • These are all explored in the Script API updates.

The release notes also reference Avatar broadcasting the ability for one avatar to the precedence when speaking over others – useful for presentations, music events, etc. It’s not currently available for end-user use, but the Lab indicate it will be used in some Sansar events.

Feedback

An interesting update, but one that I have to admit, hardly excites. Frankly, I’m still of the opinion that if LL really want to encourage new users into Second Life, they really need to tackle the Sansar website – notably getting rid of ZenDesk (and Discord, which just doesn’t strike me as either scalable when it comes to supporting the hoped-for user base with Sansar, and which doesn’t have any real integration with Sansar) and establishing a properly integrated and informative web platform, with decently provided blog updates, a proper forum, etc., and which can help engage new users and make information a lot easier to see and to surface.

 

Sansar: Slip, Slide and Sit release (April 2018)

Ground sits come to Sansar

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018 saw the arrival of the Sansar Slip, Slide and Sit release. As the name implies, this update includes the first iteration of the ability to sit avatars in experiences. Yes, it’s a simple ground sit, but it’s a start. The release also sees further avatar gestures (aka “emotes”), script API updates and a reminder aimed at creators on the removal of the Terrain Editor.

As always, full details are available in the release notes, this overview just highlights some of the key features / items in the release.

Initial Notes

  • As with the majority of Sansar deployments, this update requires the automatic download and installation of a client update.
  • Changes to the avatar inventory support means that on logging-in for the first time following the update, users will be placed in the LookBook (Avatar App).

Terrain Editor Reminder

Starting with the mid-March release, the Lab has been discontinuing the use of the Terrain Editor. This is as a result of recent investigation in Sansar’s performance revealing the height maps created using the tool could adversely affect performance in both the Run-time and Edit modes.For creators who have used the Terrain Editor, this means:

  • All existing terrain created using the Terrain Editor or through uploaded heightmaps should be replaced by the end of April. After this date, all terrain items that are still in scenes will be replaced by a place-holder asset.
  • All terrain items in the Store that have been created using a terrain heightmap should also be removed from the Store as soon as possible.

There is at this time no indication as to if / when the Terrain Editor will be re-introduced.

Ground Sit and Avatar Gestures (/”Emotes”)

Sitting in Sansar

The ability to sit is Sansar has long been a request along those engaged in the platform. It’s been seen by the Lab as one of the more problematic issues to solve for, particularly for a number of factors.

Firstly, there is the question of where should avatars be able to sit? In the physical world, we can sit almost anywhere that’s sensible (and a few that are not!): on chairs, on stairs, on counter tops, on logs and rocks, up in the branches of trees, on the edge of a cliff, the railings of a bridge, in (and on) vehicles, and so on; and the Lab would like to have the ability in Sansar, and preferably without the need for custom scripting within the more “static” objects – railings, tree branches, rocks, etc., to make it possible.

Then there is the “realism” factor. It’s been expressed that rather than having people point-and-click to have a script and animation effectively “grab” an avatar and seat it, a-la Second Life, it would be preferable to have an avatar be able to “walk up and sit down” as we do in the physical world. But – how should that be handled? By a more subtle form of scripting that “goes through the motions” for the avatar? But how would that work for people in VR? Would it be disorienting to find their avatar under “external” control, however briefly, as an animation takes over movement? What about the physical confusion for VR users… standing and controlling their avatar, then seeing it sit, and perhaps instinctively trying to sit as well – regardless of whether a chair is behind them or not?

While having the ability to sit is nice, the use of a cross-legged pose for female avatars in skirts or dresses isn’t perhaps the best given the amount of potential knickers exposure and perhaps other problems

The one place we all can reasonably safely sit is on the ground – hence the first iteration of sitting in Sansar allows just that, with a simple “/sit” command. This activates a basic animation to sit your avatar cross-legged on the ground with arms resting on legs. To stand, simply hit a movement key, and your avatar will stand (and perhaps turn, depending on the key pressed).

In Desktop mode, the animation works well  – if you are wearing jeans, shorts, leggings, trousers, etc; if you’re in a skirt or dress, then it might not be so good and result in a case of knickers exposure and possibly other odd results if cloth physics aren’t employed in the skirt / dress.  I’ve also no idea how it works in VR mode (I assume a controller command) as the release notes make no mention, and I am sans a headsets to test it myself.

Cross-legged like this isn’t necessarily the most feminine of sits, so hopefully we’ll see some differentiation introduced – how about the more attractive leg tuck position for female avatars, LL?

New Gestures

Thee new gestures are added with this release. They are all self-explanatory:

  • /wave – a reasonable wave, although a little more emotion on the avatar’s face would not go amiss, given it is intended to be a Friendly GreetingTM.
  • /cheer – a two-armed cheer, which again given the lack of facial emotion seems (to me) to leave it devoid of any real feeling.
  • /lol – something of a belly laugh of the kind we’re used to in Second Life, just without the over-the-top doubling over. And it actually has (a bit of) a facial emote to go with it!
/wave, /cheer and /lol gestures / emotes

I confess these gestures / emotes provoke a mixed reaction in me. On the one hand, they add a degree of life to an avatar, on the other, the sheer lack of reflective facial emotion – a smile when giving a thumbs up or a wave, for example – tends to emphasise the mannequin-like artificiality of Sansar avatars, particularly for those coming to the platform from expressive environments like Second Life. Hopefully, this will improve in time, particularly if some means of providing a more comprehensive animation / animation override capability is made available.

It would also be handy if the commands themselves could be “hidden” from display in the local chat window. Seeing lots of “/thumbsup”, “/clap”, “/cheer” gesture commands littering the chat window is a) distracting, b) can result in a lot of frustrating scrolling back up the window when trying to read something someone wrote.

Other Updates

  • VR mode arm IK improvements: a set of updates to improve arm ikenema in VR mode. Again, lacking a VR headset, I’m unable to test these, nor have I seen anyone with a headset since the release in order to see if the improvements are visible.
  • Marvelous Designer clothing updates: it is now possible to pin sleeves and scarves up in cloth simulation mode, and to pull zippers up or down.
  • Lighting updates: all properties on lights can now be changed by scripts.
  • Physics updates: a number of physics updates including new APIs to adjust nearly every physical property of objects at runtime; the ability to define motion types of models on import, and friction and bounce settings on static objects. The Sansar Script API documentation provides more information.

Feedback

Another compact release focusing on building out capabilities rather than adding a lot of new features. Like the March release, it’s unlikely to get those outside of Sansar feeling a “wow!” factor – but that’s not the intention. My own thoughts on things are given above, so I won’t repeat them here.

Sansar mid-March release overview

/point and /raisehand emotes

On Tuesday, March 20th, Linden Lab deployed the mid-March Sansar update. This release builds on some capabilities added in recent Sansar updates, but also sees the removal of some functionality.

The release notes provide full information on the new features, updates, documentation changes and resolved / known issues within the release. The following is a general overview of the update’s key changes.

Initial Notes

  • As with Sansar deployments, this update requires the automatic download and installation of a client update.
  • One launching the client the first time, following update, the log-in splash screen’s Remember Me option will be unchecked, and needed to be re-checked for log-in information to be correctly retained by the client.
  • Changes to the avatar inventory support means that on logging-in for the first time following the update, users will be placed in the LookBook (Avatar App).

New Client Events Option and Events Creation

The new Events icon (on the Atlas display

Recently, the Lab added a new Events page to the Web version of the Sansar Atlas. With the mid-March release, a similar option has been added to the Sansar client, as well as the ability for Sansar experience owners to create and list their own experiences.

Displaying and creating events are both accessed through a new Client UI icon – the Calendar icon. On the Atlas display, this appears directly under the LookBook icon (see right), while within an experience it is located below the Atlas icon.

Clicking the icon will open the Events app.  This can display events in one of three ways:

  • Featured events: the default view – as curated by the Sansar team.
  • All events – all upcoming events.
  • My events – the events you have created.

Both Featured and All events are listed in date / time order.

The client events display with Featured events (default) selected

Creating An Event

Events are created by clicking on the Create An Event option in the Events app. This opens the Create Event panel. This is fairly self-explanatory, and all sections should be completed. Those needing detailed instructions should refer to Adding your events to the calendar in the Sansar documentation. However, there are some points that should be noted:

  • Currently, you can only create events that you are hosting within your own experiences.
  • There is a known issue: if you delete the experience associated with one of your upcoming events, the event listing disappears but the time slot remains in use, preventing you from creating another event at that time. Those encountering this problem should submit a request to Sansar customer support, making sure to include a new URL for a valid Sansar experience.

See also: Sansar Event Guidelines.

The Create Experience panel

Terrain Editor Removal

Starting with the mid-March release, Linden Lab is removing the terrain editor tool from Sansar. This is as a result of recent investigation in Sansar’s performance revealed the height maps created using the tool could adversely affect performance in both the Run-time and Edit modes. This means that as of this release, the terrain editor has been disabled, and:

  • It will no longer be possible to upload new height maps.
  • It will no longer be possible to list new height maps on the Store, either uploaded or those already in inventory.
  • It will no longer be possible to pull terrain sculpts from inventory for use in a scene.
  • It will no longer be possible to paint, sculpt, reposition, rotate, etc., terrain in scene.
  • Terrain elements will still work as expected in published experiences, but again, they will not be editable within the experience’s scene.

Creators who have used the terrain editor  / height maps in their experiences are encouraged to remove / replace them between now and the end of April. From the end of April all such items will be replaced with a place-holder asset.

The Lab is offering to work with creators to ease the transition, and offer  notes on working with terrain using alternatives through third-party tools – Maya, World Machine, Terragen 4 and ZBrush 4R8.

Ability to Update Scripts

The mid-March release adds the ability for scripters to offer script updates through the Sansar Store. Full instructions are provided in the Selling Items in the Sansar Store knowledge base article – but again, take note that at this point in time, updating items only applies to scripts (the article implies any item can be updated).

Avatar Related Updates

The mid-March updates bring a number of avatar related updates.

Further Avatar Gestures / Emotes and Triggers

Two further avatar emotes (aka gestures have been added to Sansar:

  • /raisehand.
  • /point.

Both are fairly self-explanatory. In addition. upper / lower body gestures can now be combined, so avatar can now dance and clap (enter /dance in local chat and then enter /clap). Such combinations can be done when running or walking as well.

Avatar Inventory improvements

  • Visible item names: clothing and accessory names are now being surfaced in the avatar customisation inventory.
  • Right-click menu:  the small green triangle at the corner of clothing and accessories item has been removed. Right-click on accessories and clothing items to discover action items that apply to that item.

Diagnostic Tool updates

The diagnostic tools added in the February release have been updated:

Triangle Density is now split into two modes:

  • Triangle Density mode – Screen space – This Triangle density mode calculates triangle density per pixel.
  • Triangle Density mode – World space – This Triangle density mode calculates triangle density relative to the size of the world.

In addition two new options have been added:

  • Wireframe – Outlines all visible triangles in a scene to help you identify geometry that can be simplified in order to reduce primitive count and triangle density.
  • Lighting Complexity – Provides information regarding the number of lights illuminating the same area in the scene.

Other Items

  • C# script files can now be up to 1MB.
  • Voices will travel much further from the avatar in the direction the avatar faces. On the flip side, voice will travel less from behind an avatar.
  • Performance optimisation,  including texture compression upon scene loading.

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