Pop Loves Scotch is described by its creator, Steve, as “a VR poem, for Jon’s father and my own”. Jon is the American spoken-word poet Jon Goode, and Steve uses Jon’s moving narrative of living with his alcoholic father to devastating effect in an absolutely outstanding Sansar art experience, easily one of my favourite works so far this week.
Memories are evoked by unsettling dioramas scattered across a twisted landscape of fences and guns. A couple argues, surrounded by a swirl of black women in fluorescent red hair. A boy runs into a living room where a father stares blankly at a television. A young man lies on the floor after being assaulted by his father, who challenges his other son to a silent stare-down. The figures are several times larger than the size of the avatar spectator and painted in a vibrant patchwork of abstract colours. And through it all, Jon Goode recounts, over and over again, the rhythmic tale of how much his father loved scotch.
Go see this one. It’s an amazing example of the immersive power of virtual reality in art.
Ciaran Laval has done such a good job of explaining how to get started in Sansar that I am simply going to point to his excellent tutorial. If you are confused about the differences between an avatar name and an avatar ID, or if you need any help getting your account set up, and taking your first tentative steps in Sansar, this is the first place you should go (aside from the official Sansar help, of course). Job well done, Ciaran!
The Sansar group on Facebook (please note: this is NOT the official Facebook page for Sansar, which is here) is currently quite small (only 143 members), but it has been very active this week with Monday’s launch of the open creator beta of Sansar. Among the participants in the discussions is Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg himself, which is refreshing to see.
One topic that was recently raised for discussion was the issue of sim/experience design. User Phil Clarke posts:
For me, the one major architectural advantage that SL has over Sansar is the ability to accidentally discover places when exploring. One of the best things about SL was being in a store then camming over to a fantastic club or building you didn’t know existed. Sansar’s experience model prevents that currently it seems. I suppose an advantage of Sansar is that your experience never gets ruined by someone else’s prim frenzy, but interested to hear what others think?
You can follow (and join in) the ensuing discussion at the Facebook page. One valid point is raised in the comments by Markus Breuer, with which I agree: “But, if we are honest, most of SL moved onto private sims…and into sky boxes a long time ago. Obviously, the concept of connected areas wasn’t what the majority of customers wanted.”
Do you feel a loss of serendipity in moving from the one contiguous landmass of Second Life to the separate experiences of Sansar? If you have an account on Facebook, please consider joining the Sansar group on Facebook to add your voice to the conversation.
I told you I would be highlighting Sansar freebies, and here is the first batch!
In addition to sightseeing, many of you are building your own environments in Sansar. One of the creators invited to take part in the closed beta of Sansar was Reid Parkin, who specializes in botanical creations: trees, hedges, grass, etc. I have bought many of Reid’s trees for installation in my own outdoor experience, Ryan’s Garden.
Click this link and you will get a list of Reid Parkin’s creations for sale in the Sansar Store, with the freebies listed first! Among the many free items Reid has put out in the Store are pampas grass, duck weed, a wooden bench, even a full grown tree! The rest of the items are moderately priced, with most at S$30 to S$50 and nothing over S$65.
Reid Parkin has two published experiences in the Sansar Atlas, Reid’s Plants and Parkins Fall, where you can wander around and take a close-up look at his creations.
This picture, taken at the Leinster Arms Pub in the Bayswater London experience by Retro Metallic, illustrates perfectly just how much space you have to work with when building a virtual world in Sansar. That’s not just a painted scenic backdrop! You can walk down that street forever into the far distance, until you find yourself in a lovely fenced-off park located at the very end. The 4 km by 4 km possible dimensions of a single Sansar experience sure put the relatively tiny sim sizes of Second Life to shame.
Now, you might be wondering, hey, how is that avatar sitting down? There’s no animations in Sansar yet (except for those built into the avatar such as walking), so you can’t sit down yet! The woman sitting down on the pub table, indeed all the avatars in this picture, are actually statues. Although the one that looks like Sin, wearing the dreads and the necklaces and the brown sweater in the middle, seems to be moving very slightly and breathing as you observe him closely…. very creepy 🙂 come check him out for yourself! I’ve heard a rumour that there are copies of this exact same Sin avatar popping up all over Sansar!