Pick of the Day: Minimalisms

I first heard about Minimalisms from Inara Pey’s blogpost, where she has written a wonderful in-depth post about Zafia Vesta’s experience, and I would encourage you to visit her blog called Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World, and read it in full. I finally went to visit Minimalisms this morning, and it is my Pick of the Day for today.

Zafia has written about her experience:

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Set to a composition by Philip Glass called The Grid, from the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack, Zafia has placed a number of minimalist artworks, many of them animated.

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I was new to the concept of minimalism in art, so I found the whole experience to be educational, engaging, and a good introduction to minimalism. Well done, Zafia!

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Galen Compares High Fidelity and Sansar

The most recent episode of Draxtor Despres’ long-running podcast, The Drax Files Radio Hour, is titled War of the Social Worlds. Drax and his co-host, the irrespressible Second Life 1920’s Berlin landlady Jo Yardley, had a panel of guests discussing the pros and cons of the various virtual world products currently in the marketplace: Facebook Spaces, Sinespace, Second Life, Sansar, and High Fidelity. Among the guests was Sinespace founder Adam Frisby, who said that Sinespace will have its own VR client soon!

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One of the guests, Galen, who is already well-known for his scripting abilities in Sansar, posted a great comment comparing Sansar and High Fidelity. His comment is so good that I am going to quote it almost completely here:

I’ll preface this by saying that my opinion is based on a limited experience with HiFi and my own interests, which won’t be shared by everyone.

Put simply, HiFi has a lead, right now. Users can “do” much more there than in Sansar, especially in VR mode. The interface is richer, including a virtual tablet, the ability to see your own avatar in first person and to sit on things, laser pointers to click on and move things around up close or at a distance, and more. For now, we’re still fumbling stiffs in Sansar. HiFi opened in public beta in mid-2016, while Sansar only opened up for public beta this August. Programmers in HiFi have a rich API to work with and are creating some awfully clever things. And HiFi is introducing new features at a fast pace and inviting outsiders to contribute via their open-source process.

On the basis of these considerations, it would be tempting to declare that HiFi is a guaranteed winner in the VR market. And I’ll admit that I’m assuming that the two platforms cannot ultimately coexist with equal popularity in the long term. One platform will have to win most of the market share.

However, I’ve placed my bets on Sansar by investing nearly all my time there since July. Not surprisingly, I do so because I believe Sansar has a better chance than HiFi does. Why? More than anything, I think HiFi has made a fatal error that it is committed to. I think Philip Rosedale, whom I have enormous respect for and admiration of, is trying to replicate the success that Tim Berners-Lee had in creating the World Wide Web. There were hypertext-like systems before the Web, of course, but they mostly disappeared and nothing compares in terms of ubiquity to the Web’s success. But I honestly believe that HiFi simply cannot follow this same path. This isn’t the same problem or era.

Take some time to get to know the early pioneers using Sansar and HiFi and you will see a marked difference between them. HiFi is full of very creative and super friendly folks who really buy into an everything-is-free model of the world. They seem to be here just for the fun and for the vision. Now spend time talking to people in Sansar and you will quickly get the impression that you are talking to professionals. Most of the prominent content creators in Sansar are already big successes in Second Life. Many of them actually work in the gaming industry. They, too, are creative and super friendly, but there is also a thick air of competitive drive to them that I did not see in HiFi. We’re not making money in Sansar any more than people are at HiFi, yet, but you can almost taste the expectation that many of us in Sansar have that we’re going to very soon.

If my perception about the difference in personalities between Sansar and HiFi is correct, what explains it? In a term: intellectual property (IP). I know enough about the underlying technology to see how HiFi is an IP sieve. People will steal 3D models, scripts, audio, and all other assets that come to their clients just as fast as we steal and repost cat pictures from websites today. Sansar can’t stop all IP theft, but I think most of us in Sansar believe that Linden Lab is trying and is genuinely committed to protecting as much of our IP as is possible. We all know that it’s next to impossible to make money spending weeks building rich content if someone else can come along and nab it in seconds. And that prospect already sends content creators running to game and media companies because at least they pay salaries.

I don’t think a comparison of HiFi and Sansar would be complete if I didn’t mention polish. Let’s face it: HiFi’s best domains are neat, but they feel cartoony, while Sansar’s best experiences have been described as being AAA-game-quality by some outside observers. Sansar has placed almost all its emphasis so far on visual (and audio) richness, forsaking almost everything else up to now. Read Sansar’s forum and you will see an endless barrage of complaints about usability and requests for features we’re used to in Second Life and over at HiFi. But what you won’t see is complaints about how things look, because Sansar really is a visual wonder already.

To this I will add that Second Life’s fashion industry teaches content creators a solid lesson: appearance is everything. People will gladly give up almost every other feature and will suffer the most torturous processes for changing clothing in order to look great. If that lesson has broader application, then it should be apparent that Sansar is in the lead, if for no other reason than that experiences and avatars look slicker already. And as soon as Sansar’s “fashion market” opens up in December(ish), there will be an explosion in avatar creativity that will gradually plow the other competing platforms (including Second Life) under.

I could draw many more comparisons between HiFi and Sansar, but I would leave off by saying that, despite the common connection between the two and an amazing start by both, I believe Sansar has more potential for success over the next 5 years than HiFi does. They have very different business models driving them and appeal to very different creator audiences. When the masses of consumers start trickling in (they haven’t yet), I think they will favor Sansar over HiFi because that’s where the most appealing content will be. HiFi does have a head start and is moving quickly, but I don’t think it has the winning strategy.

Old Sansar Studios Outfits Have Been Removed from the Sansar Store

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Some fashion news in Sansar!

Well, my plea to release the outfits was ignored by Linden Lab.

But a sharp-eyed user has noticed that Linden Lab has removed all the outfits created by Sansar Studios, that were once listed in the Sansar Store! Go ahead, take a look for yourself. They’re gone.

I can only assume that this means that when they do release the new fashion market (apparently still on target to be released before the end of this year, according to Jenn), that the old outfits will no longer work.

That’s a shame for those people (like me) who spent Sansar dollars on fashion that will soon be obsolete. But it’s still exciting to anticipate new outfits with cloth physics enabled, as has been promised by Bjorn and others at Linden Lab!

 

Pick of the Day: All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small is a new Sansar experience created by Zenpoly Baker. You arrive at a campsite with a fire burning, a dog, and a monkey sitting in front of a plaque on the ground, on which is written:

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As you wander around the island, you realize that you are in a magical world of larger-than-life-size animals:

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As a child, I used to play with a Noah’s Ark of plastic toy animals. I would spend hours playing with them! Visiting this experience brought me back to those happy memories.

Eventually, I did find the one flower crown that teleported me to the land of normal-sized animals. Can you find it?

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Pick of the Day: The Bridge Room

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This work-in-progress Sansar experience was created by Whystler, who writes in his description:

Inspired by Architectural Fantasy drawings of the 17th and 18th centuries, this room of architectural monuments provides a challenge. Can you find your way from one end to the other?

It is a cavernous room with multiple “islands” connected by stone bridges.

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The room is a maze, where your goal is to get from one end to the other via the bridges. The task is harder than it appears, because your view is obscured by the large stone pillars which hold up the high vaulted ceiling.

This is a beautiful experience, and well worth a visit!

Experience Location: The Bridge Room

 

Inara Pey Blogs the Sansar Product Meetups of November 10th

Inara Pey is, as usual, just killing it with her Sansar coverage! Here is her report from the in-world Sansar Product Meetups held on Friday, November 10th.

Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

People gather on stage for the Product Meeting, Friday, November 10th, including Brett Linden (far left), Cara Linden (far right), Jenn (centre right, next to Tyler), and Boden Linden (in the sunglasses behind and slightly to the right of Jenn)

The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meetings held on Friday, November 10th. These meetings are usually held every Friday at 9:30am PST and 4:00pm PST, and are open to all. There is currently no set agenda, and the meetings are a mix of voice and text. The official meeting notes are published in the week following each pair of meetings, while venues change each week, and are listed in the Meet-up Announcements. and the Sansar Atlas events section.

Events Section on the Web Atlas

The new events section on the web Atlas has launched  – see here for more. It is currently limited to three events…

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Atlas Hopping with Drax, Episode Twelve!

We started our journey with a revisit to Silas Merlin’s art experience, Felsenmeer, I was happy to see that Silas had added to his experience, here are some photos of the new art:

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Our next stop was the Arena Live Music Stage, created by Alfy. Vinne (a.k.a. Acoustic Rhapsody in SL) was performing for an appreciative crowd of fifteen avatars, including many new people I had never met before (I was sending out friend requests like crazy!).

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After Vinnie wraps up his hour-long performance, musical artist Suzen Juel (who like Vinnie also performs in Second Life) takes the stage at 12 noon Sansar Time/Pacific Time. If you have time, please do come down and enjoy the music!

Drax’s livestream of our Atlas Hopping is here. A group followed Drax, left the still-ongoing concert at the Arena, and went to a new experience called Ivo’s Call, by Ravioli. From there they went on to visit a fourth experience called Anu, by Anu Amun.