Sci-Fi Party Tonight at the Hollywood Arts Museum Star Wars Exhibition

lost art of SW

Join us tonight at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time/Sansar Time for a special sci-fi party at the Star Wars production art exhibition, called the Lost Art of Star Wars, at the Hollywood Art Museum experience! You are encouraged to dress in sci-fi theme!

Here’s the text of the invitation in full, from the official Sansar blog:

As fans the world over prepare for their first (or tenth) viewing of the brand new Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie – we’re celebrating in Sansar with a Sci-Fi party hosted at the virtual exhibit Lost Art of Star Wars – in Sansar. Where else can you engage and interact with such a unique collection of Hollywood history like this? Get up close to sketches and early production designs, pick up and throw an X-wing starfighter as though it were a mere paper plane?

See what you can find in the Sansar Store to deck out your avatar in theme – then join us from 6 – 8 pm (PT) for an epic good time.

Hollywood Art Museum curator Greg Aronowitz will be joining us. Greg is a prop and set designer, director, writer, producer, and practical effects professional who has worked on hundreds of film and television projects, and also has a passion for preserving film history to collecting unique production pieces from many of Hollywood’s classics. He shares compelling stories about the history of each piece in his collection.

The Hollywood Art Museum: Lost Art of Star Wars is a virtual tour of many of these never-before-seen pieces that can be enjoyed in both desktop and VR modes.

See you there!

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Scene of the Day: Winter Wonderland

I haven’t done a Scene of the Day for a long time, so here is one! This post doubles as a brief report of the Product Meetup. As usual, I will leave it to Inara Pey to do her usual professional job of reporting in detail on these meetings, and just link to it. (Thank you for the valuable service you are providing to the Sansar community, Inara!)

This morning’s Sansar Product Meetup was held in Beverly Zauberflote’s Winter Wonderland experience. We did have some problems with instancing, where some people ended up in a duplicate version of the experience, wondering where everybody else was. It took a few minutes to sort it all out.

Along with Jenn, Brett, Carolyn and Nyx from Linden Lab were present to answer our questions.

Winter Wonderland 15 Dec 2017

The first version of access controls for experiences will be part of the next release of the Sansar software, where you can restrict access to your experience to people on your friends list. People will also be able to create and sell clothing on the Sansar Store, as has been reported before, but runtime cloth simulation (cloth physics) will not be part of the upcoming fashion release next week. There will also be updates to scripting abilities, which the C# programmers among us will no doubt welcome.

It does sound that Linden Lab is still going ahead with their controversial decision to allow consumers to retexture items taken out of inventory and placed in their experiences. Some creators who disagree strongly with this decision have said that they will not place items up for sale in the Sansar Store until Linden Lab implements a comprehensive permissions system. There was quite a bit of discussion about this today.

Jenn stressed again that consumers who retexture items will not be able to take them back into inventory or resell them, and that people will not be allowed to retexture clothing and attachments. Both Jenn and Carolyn stressed that Linden Lab is taking people’s concerns about this matter very seriously.

Editorial: Can We Sit Down?

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Photo by Sean Pollock on Unsplash

One of my longest-running complaints about Sansar, for all its wonderful features and capabilities, is that you can’t sit down! Standing avatars only. Drives me crazy. We can sit down in just about every other virtual world on the market (Second Life, High Fidelity, Sinespace, etc.), but not Sansar.

Draxtor Despres has told me that he wants to launch a regular talk show in Sansar, but he is holding back because our avatars can’t sit down yet. (I’m not sure if he was kidding or serious.) And if you think about it, having a talk show where everyone is just standing around is kind of silly.

Jason Gholston, head of the creative team at Linden Lab for Sansar, danced around the question when Saffia Widdershins asked about it in her TV show Designing Worlds this week, refusing to be pinned down as to when we can sit, and joking about our tendency to want to put chairs down in our Sansar experiences that we can’t yet use.

I can’t embed the video here, but here’s a link to the broadcast:

https://www.slartist.com/designing-worlds-dw355-sansar-creative-beta-part-ii_3e220ed0d.html

(Skip to the 26:10 mark in this video to hear Jason talking about sitting down.)

We have been told that Linden Lab is still working out technical details to provide us with an elegant solution, where you don’t have to author custom animations to have a chair work. We currently have no idea where avatar sitting “sits” on Linden Lab’s roadmap for future software development, or when we can expect to see it happen.

When he joined us for last weekend’s Atlas Hopping, Ebbe Altberg remarked that, going forward, any features which promote user retention and engagement will be ranked higher on the Sansar development roadmap. I would argue that the ability to sit down would go a long way towards user engagement and satisfaction in Sansar.

Frankly, I would be happy if Linden Lab just implemented a quick-and-dirty sit animation that we could use while they put everything in place for the new-and-improved, more elegant, sit solution they keep promising us. Is that too much to ask?

UPDATE 12:51 p.m.: Galen the scripter responded to my cross-posting of this blogpost on Facebook, so I asked him if I could quote him and he said yes. He said:

Sounds so simple, eh? But here’s my understanding of why this isn’t a thing yet.

First, in SL, sitting is accomplished by two basic tactics: 1.) attachment; 2.) avatar animation. When you sit on an object, your avatar gets treated like yet another prim getting attached to that object. That’s why if a couch gets made “physical”, your av goes flying with it. It’s comical to watch, but illustrates this key concept. For now, Sansar has no attachment mechanism, so it couldn’t implement sitting in the SL way.

Second, sitting requires avatar animations. The main reason we don’t have those, LL has said, is that they are creating a new avatar body model set. Including, presumably, a new skeleton. That skeleton is what gets animated, so it would have been premature to introduce skeletal animations for a short-lived skeleton. This fashion release, if it does include the “final” model for the avatar skeleton, will be one prerequisite down for sitting. Next would be allowing us to upload animations based on it. Sitting would be an obvious example.

This annoying limitation makes sense when you see the temporary hurdles facing LL. I have a feeling that when we go live with this next update, we will get a few minor surprises and announcements related to this.

By the way, I suspect LL may opt for a shortcut, bypassing the attachment concept for now. That is, I think they may make it so we can sit on stationary objects before they make it so we can sit on moving ones.

A Milestone for the Sansar Newsblog

Here are my recent statistics from WordPress, where I host the Sansar Newsblog:

500 Views 14 Dec 2017

I am happy to announce that I hit a milestone today: 500 views in one day! And it was these two posts (ironically, both of which had to be updated today) that took me to this milestone:

My previous record was on November 29th with the spike in views due to my Universal Avatar blogpost.

Yay! Time to celebrate!

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Photo by Ambreen Hasan on Unsplash

 

UPDATED: Controversy Over Use of Linden Lab’s Images, Logos, and Web Pages

Strawberry Singh

Strawberry Singh, a popular Second Life blogger with a large following, has written a blogpost where she describes a request from Linden Lab to take down a useful tutorial YouTube video where she walks the viewer through the Second Life user registration process. As Wagner James Au and Inara Pey and Nalates Urriah and Isabelle Cheren have blogged, this request and its wording (which Strawberry has shared with us) are causing consternation and controversy in the blogosphere.

Specifically, Linden Lab has told Strawberry:

More specifically, we do not allow images of our avatar building page, home pages or Second Life Eye In Hand Logo to be used in any capacity. Please do not use images of any Second Life web pages or logos ( with the exception of our inSL logo noted at http://secondlife.com/corporate/brand/insl/#) in your video or any other work.

What. The. F*ck?!??

I’m sorry but COUNTLESS bloggers and videomakers have displayed those very things, usually in tutorials for new users to Second Life. People Linden Lab wants to attract to SL! Hell, *I’ve* used them too. As Wagner has pointed out in his blog, I recently used an illustration from the SL avatar selection page to illustrate my popular blogpost about sex and gender issues in virtual worlds.

So are we supposed to yank all those pictures from all our blogs? Like Wagner and Inara, I am going to ask Linden Lab about this decision, and I will report back to you.

And if I get any such take-down requests from Linden Lab, you will certainly hear about it!

UPDATE 3:50 p.m. Yay! Sanity has prevailed. I just learned that Linden Lab has apologized to Strawberry Singh and the take-down request has been reversed. Here’s the original video, it’s really very well done and I have in the past used it on my Facebook page to try and entice my friends into Second Life:

As well, Linden Lab has posted this message to their Featured News section of their community pages:

Recently, the Linden Lab IP team sent a takedown request regarding a YouTube video created by the great Strawberry Singh. She and many others have pointed out that this seems like a mistake, and we agree. We have reversed that takedown request and have reached out directly to Strawberry, but would also like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to her.

Strawberry, we feel fortunate to have you as a member of our Second Life community (and Sansar as well!), and we are grateful for the public support that your blogYouTube channel, and other social media activity provides. We’re fans of your work, we are sorry for this misstep, and we hope you will continue sharing your awesome videos.

Below is some more info on what happened and why, and what we’re going to do differently in the future.

Like most businesses, we have policies in place around permissible use of Linden Lab trademarks. These are intended to legally protect our trademarks and brand, and to avoid confusion that can arise about what’s actually from an official source vs. a third party (to help with this, we have the “inSL” program). This policy has prohibited showing portions of the SL join flow, and that’s what triggered the recent takedown request. We’re revisiting that portion of our policy now.

The support of the SL community is incredibly valuable. Resident-created videos, blogs, and other social media not only enrich our existing community, but also help it to grow by showing off incredible SL content to the outside world, helping new users to get started, and more. While we still need policies in place to protect our trademarks, we will apply them as permissively as we can with the goal of encouraging and supporting our community.

Many years ago, the illustrious SL legal team made news by sending an “un-cease and desist” notice to a parody blog – rather than asking for a takedown, it offered encouragement to the creator. In that same spirit, we would like to offer our encouragement to Strawberry Singh and other Residents helping to evangelize the virtual world on YouTube and other social media. We appreciate your enthusiasm for SL, we are grateful for your support, and we ask you to please proceed and persist.

UPDATED: A First Sneak Peek at Fashion in Sansar

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

UPDATE 12:39 p.m.: I am so sorry to have to do this, but I have been informed by Linden Lab that the YouTube video I had originally linked to from this blogpost was released too soon! Linden Lab wants to coordinate the video release with the actual deployment of the Fashion Release of the Sansar software (still on schedule for sometime next week), and so they’ve asked me to take it down for now. 

Once I have the go-ahead, I will repost the video. Thanks! I’m so excited by the sneak peek that we did get at the upcoming fashion market in Sansar!

 

Artist Alex Pardee Talks in Sansar

There was another event in Sansar today! Freelance artist and apparel designer Alex Pardee gave a talk during a visit to the Hollywood Art Museum experience in Sansar. (He’s the one with the green hair and beard and pink sweater in the picture below.)

Alex Pardee 12 Dec 2017

Alex answered some questions about his art, and gave his perspective on the Star Wars production art collection on display at this virtual museum. He was interested in the whole process that Sansar creators use to design items for use in-world, and had lots of questions for us too!

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