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.
Every day so far this week Jenn, Linden Lab’s Lead Community Manager for Sansar, has invited avatars to gather at the Oyo Lounge at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time/Sansar Time. We meet up at Alfy’s experience and chat about various topics: movies, current events, other virtual worlds, etc.
One item of interest that came up during the discussion was the consensus that there are three key pressure/pain points which Sansar needs to pay attention to as it grows in size:
- Organization and searching of Atlas listings. As the number of experiences gets ever-larger, it becomes ever more important to be able to search for and pull up a particular experience quickly. A Facebook poster, Ørjan Sandland, mentioned a helpful tip: it is possible to keyword search the web page version of the Sansar Atlas using CTRL-F (of course, you have to make sure that the web page is fully loaded before that will work properly). And of course, that trick doesn’t work when you’re in a VR headset.
- Organization and searching of Store listings. Again, as the number of items in the Sansar Store increases, the harder it is to find something.
- Organization and searching of your personal inventory. Veteran Sansar builders have huge inventories now, and have no way to create folders, or search for items, other than scrolling through lines and lines of listings.
The sooner these three pressure points are addressed, the happier we all will be.
Looking forward to tomorrow’s meetup with Jenn at the Oyo Lounge at 2:00 p.m. Sansar time! Hope some of you can attend and take part in the discussion.
Another day and another nametag! This one I am wearing in the photo above was created by Sin, thank you so much for making this for me! I now have a nametag for every possible outfit 🙂
Since Linden Lab opened the doors of Sansar to the general public on Monday, July 31st, the number of experiences published in the Atlas has increased dramatically. This morning I did a quick count and I came up with 444 experiences in total! Since each experience can potentially be as large as 4 km by 4 km by 4 km, that’s a LOT of virtual real estate already! It’s wonderful to see so many people hopping right into virtual world building.
Every day in the Sansar Newsblog I plan to highlight one particularly noteworthy experience in my Pick of the Day post. Yesterday was my first pick, the NASA Apollo Museum and Moonscape by LOOT Interactive.
In addition, every day I will post a picture of a different experience that evokes a particular atmosphere in my Scene of the Day. Yesterday, my first scene was a serene shot of Maxwell Graf’s experience, Respite.
Starting from today, I will also be keeping an eye on the Sansar Store, and alerting people to various items that I think are especially interesting, decorative or worthwhile. I’ll be keeping an eagle eye out for any freebies and special deals so you can snap them up for your own experiences!
I’d like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, Mark Gibson (Snow) who created this lovely nametag for my avatar to proudly wear in-world! Avatar attachments were one of the new features that only just became available in the latest release of the Sansar software, and many people have been using it with a high degree of skill already, creating things such as sunglasses, hats, beards…. and nametags! I’ve even seen some clever avatars with their names perched over their heads, just like in Second Life!
Which brings me to my topic of expressing avatar user identity. During the first six months of the closed beta, we beta testers often complained to Linden lab that we needed a way to identify each other. It was seen as especially important at a time when avatar customization options were extremely few (just a few basic types to choose from). Picture a half-dozen identical brown-haired men in blue blazers, all asking each other who they are!! Linden Lab listened to our complaints, and replied that they wanted to avoid a situation where everybody’s name was stuck over their heads, as it would break immersion (a valid point).
LL’s solution to this, so far, has been to include a feature where (when you are in a VR headset with hand controllers), you can press the secondary index trigger on the hand controller and the name of the avatar you are staring at will appear superimposed on that character. It’s a start, a good start but only a start. There still is no solution for non-VR-headset users, other than using the Nearby feature in local chat to see who is around you. You have to pay attention to the visual and audio cues, and watch to see whose lips are moving! Being able to integrate user identity functions in an unobtrusive but unambiguous way is going to be one of the major challenges moving forward for Linden Lab, and for developers of many other social virtual worlds.
Well, the day we have been waiting for has arrived. Linden Lab has opened the gates to the general public to come in and take a look at its virtual-reality-capable social world, Sansar. Here is the official news release. Second Life’s own Draxtor Despres is currently doing a live broadcast from his experience, 114 Harvest. And as you can see, people are (literally) piling in! (Note: Drax’s livestream has ended but here is the video, the fun starts about the 43-minute mark if you want to jump in there! I make an appearance at the 1 hour 10 minute mark in the video, loudly exclaiming: “Jesus Christ, Drax! Did you invite everybody and their dog?!??”)
You can now go to sansar.com and register your avatar name, download the Sansar client software, and set up your default avatar (male or female, with a variety of hairstyle and clothing styles to get you started). The Sansar Store is up and running, and among the multitude of virtual items available for sale today are even more clothing options created by Sansar Studios!
Second Life celebrity Strawberry Singh is already on the ball with a detailed post about Sansar here. Lots of links with information!
Will post more later…. but you are welcome to come visit Ryan’s Garden at the following URL: https://atlas.sansar.com/experiences/ryanschultz/ryan-s-garden (you’ll need to have a Sansar user account and the Sansar client installed). See if you can find the carousel!
Once I have permission from Linden Lab to talk about the Sansar project publicly, then I will be posting news and pictures from this brand-new virtual world.