Linden Lab Staff Talk About Sansar

What I’m focusing in on now is, I need performance, I need social, I need community, I need commerce. So all these things are high, high up on my roadmap.

— Bjorn Laurin, Linden Lab’s Vice-President of Product

I pulled out the quote above from a must-read blog post by Inara Pey summarizing in-world discussions Linden Lab staff had with Second Life users prior to the launch of the open creator beta of Sansar. I must have missed these sessions (were they part of the recent 14th-anniversary SL celebrations?), so I am really glad that Inara went to all the trouble of writing and organizing this post (she even went to the trouble of transcribing audio clips!). Anybody who still has questions about where Linden Lab is going with Sansar absolutely has to go and read Inara’s post. Go! Read it now! I’ll still be here when you get back 🙂

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Avatar and Camera Controls for Desktop Users of Sansar

One of the common misconceptions about Sansar is that is designed only for users in virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Linden Lab has drawn up a very complete list of keyboard shortcuts for users in desktop (non-VR) mode.  I’m going to mention just a few of them here, and I hope that they will be helpful to those users who may be feeling frustrated in navigating Sansar on the computer desktop.

Moving your avatar around on the desktop (non-VR):

  • Arrow keys: Move your avatar forward, backward, left, and right.
  • WASD: Move your avatar forward, backward, left, and right.
  • F3: Toggle between first person and third person view (Note: you might have to press your F Lock key, usually located next to your F12 key on your keyboard, before you can use F3.  It took me literally weeks to figure this out!)
  • Hold the CTRL button: Select a teleport destination. A blue circle will appear. 
  • Click the left mouse button while holding CTRL: Teleports your avatar to the selected location.
  • Scroll the middle mouse button while holding CTRL (prior to teleporting): Choose the direction your avatar faces upon completing the teleport.

Moving your camera (viewpoint) around on the desktop (non-VR):

  • Hold the right mouse button + drag: Rotate the camera to look around the environment.
  • F4: Enter free camera mode when not using a VR headset (Note: you might have to press your F Lock key, usually located next to your F12 key on your keyboard, before you can use F4.  Like I said, it took me weeks to figure this out!)
    • Arrow keys: Move camera forward, backward, left, and right (free-camera mode).
    • WASD: Move camera forward, backward, left, and right (free-camera mode).
    • E, C: Move camera up and down (very handy!)
    • + (Plus Sign) on the NUMERIC keypad: Increase the camera movement speed.
    • – (Minus Sign) on the NUMERIC keypad: Decrease the camera movement speed.
    • F3: Exit free camera mode.

And an Extra Tip:

  • Hold down the right mouse button to smooth out the camera motion while walking using the arrow keys or WASD (this tip came courtesy of Sansar user Sin). If you are holding down the right mouse button while you use the up arrow key (or the W key) to move forward, you can then use the mouse to turn your avatar much more gently than the default snap 45-degree turns.

Strawberry Singh (who herself is a desktop, non-VR user of Sansar) has made a very useful short video tutorial on the available desktop avatar and camera controls.  The video I included below is just one part of an extremely comprehensive introduction to Sansar which I can heartily recommend to newbies.  This six-minute video is probably the most painless introduction to Sansar desktop commands you can find anywhere:

Atlas Hopping with Drax and Strawberry

Atlas Hopping in Sansar 5 August 2017

I haven’t had so much fun in the metaverse in ages!! For the past hour and a half, Second Life celebrities Draxtor Despres and Strawberry Singh have led a merry band of followers from experience to experience within Sansar. If memory serves me correctly, we started our journey at Drax’s own experience at 114 Harvest, then we went to Felsenmeer to see Silas Merlin’s wonderful artworks and admire the view from the tower on the hill. From there, we went on to Neptune’s Revenge where its creator Maxwell Graf met us, and then finally we all went over to City Park, an urban environment by Lex4art. Whew!

Both Strawberry Singh and Draxtor Despres live-streamed this afternoon’s entire event (here’s Drax’s stream and here’s Strawberry’s stream). Watching the friendly rivalry between these two seasoned veterans of the metaverse was hilarious! Thank you so much for inviting me along, Drax! I had a wonderful time! I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if this becomes a regular live-streamed event. The Drax and Strawberry and Richardus and Ryan Show. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?? I think Drax may even copyright the term “Atlas Hopping” LOL!

(The picture in this post was a screengrab from Strawberry Singh’s live stream on YouTube.  We were at the Felsenmeer experience, admiring one of Silas Merlin’s artistic creations up close.)

Scene of the Day: Seafore – Studio

seafore-experience-in-sansar

Today’s Scene of the Day is a picture I originally took back in January 2017, a still-life assortment of objects from the experience Seafore – Studio, by Sansar user Seafore.  I was especially taken with the beautifully done texturing work on the various items assembled on the table.

Pick of the Day: Neptune’s Revenge and Rune

Rune by Maxwell Graf Sansar 5 August 2017

My Pick of the Day is actually two picks, but they are connected to each other so I am going to talk about them as one.  You can watch the video I made while exploring these two experiences in my Oculus Rift here on YouTube.

The two Sansar experiences in this video are called Neptune’s Revenge and Rune, and both were created by Maxwell Graf (the man behind the well-known brand Rustica in Second Life). Maxwell makes highly effective use of 360-degree video in evoking the sensation of being on a boat at sea during a raging storm. He also uses a teleporter to take you from the stormy sea to a safe harbour, Rune.

On Sunday I plan to interview Maxwell about his experiences being among the very first beta testers during the closed beta period of Sansar.  Stay tuned for that interview!

My Very First Sansar Video!

This morning I taught myself how to install the Oculus Mirror software and the Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) by watching this instructional video by Virtual Reality Oasis, and I was able to successfully create a video of what I see in my Oculus Rift headset!  I can now record Sansar experiences and share them with you.

I uploaded the video to my YouTube channel and you can watch it here; it was filmed in the Voyage Live: Egypt experience, a rather dark and mysterious archaeological office where Linden Lab held its weekly Office Hours meetings yesterday. In the video, you can see a couple of other avatars walking around. The video is very short (only 27 seconds) and there is really no sound. It won’t win any Oscars. But it’s a proof of concept!  I did it!  Yay!

 

 

 

Pick of the Day: IDIA Lab’s 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair

IDIA 1 4 August 2017

IDIA Lab is the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts at Ball State University, a public coeducational research university in Muncie, Indiana.  In 2011, IDIA Lab built a large-scale recreation of the 1915 Panama – Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, within the virtual world called Blue Mars. Unfortunately, Blue Mars never took off as a successful virtual world, and in 2017 IDIA Lab was granted rights to Blue Mars’ virtual world technology from Avatar Reality, the company behind Blue Mars.  IDIA Lab then decided to move its stunning historical recreation of the San Francisco Panama – Pacific Exposition over to Sansar, where you can visit it here.

Expect to do a lot of walking (or teleporting)…. it’s a delightful summer day and the birds are chirping…. and the experience is HUGE!  There are teleporters scattered around the site that promise to take you quickly to various areas, but I discovered that they did not work. I tried several times to use one and failed each time.  Oh well.

IDIA 3 4 August 2017

However, there is still much to see here.  The architecture is on a monumental scale, befitting the world’s fair celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal, but also San Francisco’s recovery from the devastating earthquake of 1906. I understand that some of the architecture you see here was later torn down, so it now only exists in its virtual state.

IDIA 2 4 August 2017

IDIA 4 4 August 2017

IDIA Lab: 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair is an example of how a virtual experience can be repurposed and republished as the technology of virtual worlds evolves.  I originally enjoyed it tremendously when it was in Blue Mars, and I’m so glad it’s here in Sansar.