Sansar Creator Challenge Winners

Garden of Dreams Kayle Matzerath 10 August 2017

The winner for Best Overall Experience, Garden of Dreams

Just prior to the launch of the creator open beta, Linden Lab held a contest for the creators participating in the closed beta. They have just announced the winners of that contest.

The challenge was an opportunity for creators to push the envelope of the features and tools currently available in Sansar, and it resulted in some awesome creations that everyone can enjoy now that beta is open to the public.

We want to thank each and every one of our talented preview participants who submitted something to the challenge. It was great to explore each and every unique perspective, and we are excited to see that creativity grow as we add more features and tools!

Best Overall (winning a US$10,000 prize) & Best Gaming Experience ($5,000) – Garden of Dreams by Kayle Matzerath

Best Media Experience ($5,000) – LagNMoor by Maxwell Graf

Best Sound Design in an Experience ($2,500) – Secrets of the World Whale by Teager

Best Narrative Design in an Experience ($2,500)- Through The Waterfall: Enter Another World by Jasmine

Best Use of Physics ($2,500) – 114 Harvest by Draxtor and Ria

Best Visual Design ($2,500) – An Evening At The Ballet by Bryn Oh

Best Use of Scripting ($2,500) – Do Not Lose by Wade665

Congratulations to all the winners! Go read the entire blogpost over at the Sansar web site to see all the winning Sansar Store items (winning $1,000 each) and all the honourable mentions.

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Book Review: Sansar Creator’s Guide, by Carl Fravel

Pasted image at 2017_08_02 12_51 AMI had blogged earlier about the first published book about Sansar, the Sansar Creator’s Guide, written by Carl Fravel. I agreed to write a review of Carl’s book in exchange for a free copy. Here is that review.

The book is only available in Kindle format from the Amazon store (here’s the link), and it sells for US$9.99. (Your price may vary depending on the currency used in your country’s Amazon store. In Canada it is selling for CDN$7.90.) The book has an extensive index and a helpful glossary of major terms used in virtual world building in general, and Sansar in particular (“experience”, “scene”, etc.).

I enjoyed reading this book. It was easy to read and Carl keeps the jargon to a minimum. There are a few sections that are much more technical, such as the section on how to create a skybox. I would recommend setting the more technical sections in this book aside until you are ready to tackle them. Carl also talks a bit about the social and philosophical aspects of virtual worlds, things which are often forgotten in other, more technically oriented, guides.

The book’s major sections are:

  1. Using Sansar
  2. Creating a Sansar Experience
  3. Creating Your Own Content
  4. Making Great Experiences
  5. Creator’s Alley – A Gallery of the Work of Gifted Artists
  6. Idea Box
  7. Generating Revenue with Sansar
  8. Glossary of Sansar Terminology
  9. Additional Resources

There is a section devoted to Blender. I was able to follow Carl’s excellent step-by-step instructions to create a very simple object in Blender, texture it, export it as an FBX file, and upload it into Sansar. The instruction level assumes that you do already have some familiarity with Blender, but you do not have to be an expert to gain value from it.

There are some omissions and inaccuracies that I discovered. I reported them to Carl and he might be making a revised edition to sell on Amazon. For example, there are detailed step-by-step instructions on how to create an object that teleports you to another location within the same scene when you touch it. Carl forgot to mention that the object must have a collision mesh, and be set to dynamic, for this to work.

In Part 7 of the book, Carl states “In Sansar you can control the access to your Experience in a way that allows you to not only put conditions on participation (age, dress code, etc.), but charge admission, or memberships.” This is incorrect. None of those features exist in Sansar right now, and it is not known when they will be available.

Also in the Appendix of tools, there is a mention of game engines such as Unity and Unreal, neither of which Sansar supports. Sansar has built its own in-house engine and Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg has said that they did that deliberately in order to avoid the problems frequently encountered when external game engines are updated. (For example, the virtual world Sinespace is built on the Unity engine, and creators are often warned not to install the latest update to Unity until all the bugs it created in Sinespace are fixed.)

Aside from these few minor quibbles, this is a very useful and well-written book. It’s the kind of resource that is useful to have open in a tablet (or a separate window) while you are running the Sansar client software, so you can refer to it. I can recommend it to anybody who wants to learn more about becoming a builder and creator in Sansar.

Free Trees from Kriss Lehmann

Kriss Lehmann is the man behind the well-known brand Botanical in Second Life. He has announced that he has put 34 of his ash trees up for sale in the Sansar Store. They come in three versions:

  • High Detail: suitable for close to medium viewing distances.
  • Low Detail: suitable for medium to long range viewing distances.
  • Billboard: suitable for long range viewing.

He has also made eight of his ash trees available as freebies! Here’s a picture of the free trees:

Free Trees from Kriss Lehmann 10 August 2017

So now you have no excuse not to get out there and create an outdoors experience in Sansar! Get planting!

Sansar Store Freebies

Sansar Store Freebies 9 August 2017

Pssst…. looking for some freebies to furnish your Sansar experience?

I discovered a secret link that sorts all the items in the Sansar Store in ascending order by price. Which means that all the freebies are front and centre for you to snap up!

(Don’t thank me, it’s all a public service, etc.)

 

Having Fun With Avatar Attachments

From Monday through Friday this week at 3:00 p.m. (Pacific time/Sansar time) Jenn, the Lead Community Manager for Sansar, is conducting in-world user meetups at Kayle Matzerath’s Garden of Dreams experience. I wanted to share with you a couple of wonderful creations that some of the avatars at today’s meeting were wearing. Note that it is not yet possible for avatar attachments to be sold on the Sansar Store (but hopefully, that’s coming soon).

First up is Tina Fayet, who was sporting a steampunk pair of wings that she created using the Oculus Medium VR sculpting software, and exported directly into Sansar:

Wings Created in Oculus Medium 2 9 August 2017

Wings Created in Oculus Medium 9 August 2017

But the prize for the best avatar attachment today has to go to Debi Baskerville!

Debis bag over her head 9 August 2017

Debis bag over her head 2 9 August 2017

Update August 10th: I just found out from Jenn at Thursday’s meeting that there will also be a meetup at 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time/Sansar Time on Friday, August 11th! I originally had posted that the meetings were only Monday through Thursday. I have therefore updated this post and I do apologize for any confusion I might have caused.

 

Mac Users and Sansar

marcin-nowak-5127

(Photo by Marcin Nowak on Unsplash)

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. Some Mac users are quite upset (and quite vocal on various social media) about the lack of a native Mac client for Sansar.

Let’s get one thing straight.

CURRENTLY THERE IS NO NATIVE VIRTUAL REALITY SUPPORT FOR MACINTOSH. PERIOD.

Right now, the only proper VR headsets commercially available are the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Both are Windows-based VR platforms only. There is no Mac support. (I’m not talking about the PlayStationVR and those cheap VR headsets where you snap in a mobile phone. There’s absolutely no way you can transfer enough data to support Sansar using those.)

Sansar is being designed first and foremost as a virtual world that supports VR headsets. Read Inara Pey’s excellent blogpost to understand why Linden Lab is focusing on virtual reality in designing Sansar, especially the entire section titled “Running Sansar in Desktop Mode”. It perfectly explains, in quotes from Linden Lab staff, why they have to focus on VR and how the benefits to desktop users flow down from that.

Asking Linden Lab to provide native Mac support for hardware that currently only exists in a Windows hardware configuration is absurd.  In my opinion, they are correct to concentrate their focus on the hardware platforms that currently support virtual reality.

In today’s notes from last Friday’s in-world product discussion meetup, there is the following quote:

When is Mac support coming to Sansar?

For the most part, there has been little publicly-available VR hardware on the Mac platform. For this reason, Sansar development has primarily been focused on Windows users that have access to Oculus Rift or Vive hardware.

Sansar user Livio Mondini posts in the Sansar group in Facebook:

About the rant…[I] have a Mac and no Sansar client, is true but is not a fault of Sansar, ask Apple why they don’t take care of VR with the right hardware until now.

Livio posts two links to Macworld articles that every Mac user should read:

Can you use Oculus Rift with Mac? (June 7, 2017)

For a while, it was assumed that the Oculus Rift would work with Mac just as it was intended to work with Windows, but back in May 2015, the company cleared up the confusion in a blog post. Sadly, it wasn’t the news that VR fans with a Mac were waiting for – in fact, the blog post informed users that development for both OS X and Linux had been paused to concentrate efforts on the PC release.

How to use VR on a Mac (July 10, 2017)

So, to summarise, we’ve shown you that while it’s theoretically possible to use VR on a Mac, the reality is that it’s awkward to do and ridiculously expensive and even then, you could still run into compatibility issues.

Blaming Linden Lab for this situation is frankly ridiculous.

Sansar Creator Profile: David Hall

Linden Lab has released another short promotional video in its Sansar Creator Profile series of videos, created by Draxtor Despres (Bernhard Drax). This one is of Sansar creator David Hall, and it shows some of the process involved in the design and building of his Sansar experience called Dwarven City.