Pick of the Day: Accuracy Training Module

Today I visited the Accuracy Training Module experience by Nebulae (it’s the location for today’s product meetups) and I had the chance to try out the game that she has created:

Nebulae has done an outstanding job at creating a truly fun-to-play game, where you throw blue, green and red gems to knock out panels in a wall situated between two players. The goal of the game is to beat your opponent by knocking out the most panels. Once you knock out all the panels, the wall resets and the game continues until the clock runs out. If you hit a panel with a blue gem, you get 1 point. If you knock out a panel with a smaller green gem, you get 2 points. Finally, if you knock out a panel with the smallest red gem, you get 3 points. The user who gets the most points at the end of the game wins.

If you have an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive with hand controllers, you simply must go to the Accuracy Training Module and try this game out for yourself! It’s simple, but the game had me laughing like a maniac! Great fun 🙂

How to Hack into Sansar Using an iPhone

Mike Sutton (a.k.a MojoDallas) has posted a YoutTube video in which he demonstrates how you can use your iPhone and US$30-50 worth of hardware and software to hack into Sansar! Basically, your iPhone is turned into a VR headset. I have an iPhone and I’m really tempted to try this!

Torley Linden Rides the Boogie!

Out on the floor
There ain’t nobody there but us
Girl when you dance
There’s a magic that must be love
Just take it slow
‘Cause we got so far to go
You gotta feel that heat
And we can ride the boogie
Share that beat of love
I want to rock with you (all night)
Dance you into day (sunlight)
I want to rock with you (all night)
Rock the night away
–Michael Jackson, Rock with You
Here is Torley Linden, getting down in his VR headset at Galen’s Clockworks Club Demo experience. (I did get permission from him to share this video on my blog.)

Outfit Outlay: Cowboy

It’s lonely being the first (and so far, only) fashion blogger in Sansar. (Now I know how the Maytag Repairman used to feel.)

As I said before, Sansar Studios is currently the only game in town when it comes to avatar fashion. The Western Outfit for Male Avatar is available for S$400 (about US$4.00 or CDN$5.06) on the Sansar Store.

Cowboy 18 August 2017

Here’s a closeup of the Western Hat for Male Avatar, available for S$100 (about US$1.00 or CDN$1.27):

Cowboy Hat 18 August 2017

The hat comes with a beard attached, which is kind of annoying if you prefer your cowboys to be clean-shaven. As I mentioned before, you can tint the cowboy’s hair any colour you like (but unfortunately, you cannot tint the beard). Also, I noticed that the beard is hovering slightly off of the default avatar’s face on both sides of the face near the ears.

Here’s my avatar all dressed up in his new cowboy outfit, at the Sansar experience Hootenanny, by Lillani.  (It is just me, or does he have a slight paunch?)

Cowboy 2 18 August 2017

The detail on this outfit, like the other outfits that Sansar Studios is selling, is very good. Here’s a closeup of that belt buckle, also showing the stitching detail on the shirt and the blue jeans:

Cowboy 3 18 August 2017

So saddle up, partner! Slap on your Stetson and head on down to Hootenanny and try your hand at horseshoes and other fun games.

Comparing Sansar and High Fidelity: A Few Thoughts

High Fidelity VR Talent Show 3 21 April 2017

Caption: Drax interviews a contestant on the High Fidelity VR Talent Show, April 21st, 2017.

Since January, when I upgraded my personal desktop computer to a high-end gaming model and got an Oculus Rift VR headset, I have been exploring in both Sansar (where I was lucky enough to be part of the closed beta test) and High Fidelity (HiFi for short, which has been in open beta for some time now). High Fidelity is the new company of Linden Lab’s founding CEO, Philip Rosedale. And of course, Linden Lab, under the leadership of current CEO Ebbe Altberg, has launched Sansar. It’s only natural to compare and contrast the two VR-capable virtual world products.

There’s lots to love about High Fidelity. Some of the experiences (or sims, or whatever HiFi calls them), are fun and funky, like Mexico. You can take and share snapshots. You can import your own customized avatar (if you have the technical skill to know how to do it). They have a basic, in-world “prim building” tool which you can use to create simple objects. You can stream audio, so you can have in-world performances.

And I must confess that HiFi has just been killing it lately with respect to promotion, public relations, and live-streamed regular content like The JimJamz Show and LIVE in High Fidelity with Michelle Osorio. They’ve hosted popular events such as the first talent show in VR. Linden Lab staff should be taking copious notes on how High Fidelity assiduously promotes their brand via social media. (I do hope that Atlas Hopping with Drax and Berry will become the first of many live-streamed shows in Sansar. And apparently, Shoutcast audio streaming will be coming in the next release of the Sansar client software.)

One thing I also love about High Fidelity is that you can fly! This is something which always gives me a bit of a thrill when I lift off from the ground in my VR headset. And guess what? You can even sit down! 😉 I’m going to keep ribbing Linden Lab about this until they support object animations…something that is also supposed to be coming soon.

But there’s currently no way for content creators to make money in HiFi. There’s a store, but everything is free. There’s currently no way to pay for something, although Philip Rosedale has mentioned that they are looking at using cryptocurrency to support financial transactions in the future. Also, because HiFi is open source, some content creators are unhappy that it’s just too easy for other people to steal your content. Maxwell Graf mentioned this when I interviewed him. He said:

Generally, I am a proponent of open source, but content has to come from somewhere and sometimes it comes from places it shouldn’t and is used the wrong way. I saw a lot of IP and copyright issues that concerned the hell out of me, basically.

But by far the most irritating thing about HiFi to me is the glitchy software update process. High Fidelity automatically installs its Sandbox software (to enable you to host your own content), plus nine assignment client processes in Windows, and these are all running continuously in the background, even if you are not using High Fidelity. Every time I try to update the HiFi client software, I have to manually go in and kill each of the assignment client processes, and the Sandbox software, using the Windows Task Manager. Ever try to kill all nine assignment client processes as they are continually respawning? It’s like trying to herd cats. This is a big, showstopper bug in my opinion.

Over on the High Fidelity user forums, HiFi user Theanine has posted a good comparative summary of the two platforms:

Sansar is really nice, but still has glaring problems. Just as High Fidelity does.

Ironically the things Sansar is strong in, are things High Fidelity sucks at. And vice versa. High Fidelity could really use better lighting and rendering, Sansar is great in that area. But High Fidelity lets you fly, has better voice, and the freedom to upload a completely custom avatar mesh (Sansar, as far as I know, only lets you customize a preset human avatar.) On the other hand, Sansar has official, built-in text chat, and the ability to sell on the store and make money already. But then, there’s also [the] fact that Sansar is Windows only and closed-source, while High Fidelity is cross-platform and open source. I could go on.

In time these differences will even out as both software [programs] improve. I’m keeping a close eye on both, and will be using both. They each have their strengths and weaknesses that make them interesting to me.

I plan to spend far more time in Sansar than in High Fidelity, but I still expect to pop in for a visit to HiFi every so often. It’s very interesting to watch the social VR marketplace as it evolves!

Product Meetups August 18th at the Accuracy Training Module

Accuracy Training Module 17 August 2017

Every Friday, Jenn, the Lead Community Manager for Sansar, hosts an in-world meetup to discuss software development (bugs, upcoming features, etc.). She quite often gets several staff members from Linden Lab to attend as well. Tomorrow’s product meetups (formerly known as Office Hours) will be held at the Accuracy Training Module experience by Nebulae. There are two product meetups:

  • 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time/Sansar Time
  • 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time/Sansar Time

Everybody is welcome to come to one or both meetings. There will also be another social gathering (happy hour!) at the Strange Lights experience at 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time/Sansar Time (if Strange Lights is misbehaving again, we will move to Astro Port).