Linden Lab’s Sansar entered creator beta this week and has been met with a mixed reception, which is to be perfectly honest what I’d expect.
Over at Forbes, Charlie Fink has published an article, Sansar Ignites VR Content Boom :
I got an early peek at Sansar from Bjorn Laurin, VP of Sansar, and Jason Gholston, Product Director, on June 20 and was amazed by what I saw. The photo realism, the avatars and creation tools, the spectacular landscapes, the Sansar store, aren’t totally new to VR, but they are brought together in a simple, intuitive way to create a seamless continuous experience. What’s new is now a writer with limited technology skills can make a world in Sansar and open it to the public, even charge a fee.
I think it’s fair to say Charlie is impressed by what he sees and the potential for the platform going forward.
Second Life and virtual world explorers have been a bit more critical, although it should be pointed out that some well known Second Life content creators are very much embracing Sansar.
Virtual World explorer, writer and retired time traveller, Danko Whitfield sums up very well some of the different perceptions and why they may be happening :
What did I think? I dunno. If this was my very first virtual world experience, I think I’d be jazzed and would probably still be logged in now. But since I’m already experienced in virtual worlds, it’s left me with the same feeling I’ve had after looking inside at a new restaurant and checking the menu: Okay, looks nice. Maybe I’ll come back sometime.
I’ve been in other virtual world environments in their early days, Cloud Party and High Fidelity spring to mind and there’s a definite difference in the early days between creators wanting to get something to work and people who visit but are looking for exploration and socialising.
Sansar is still labelled as being in Creator Beta, but people’s expectations have been raised by the beta going public and there being no restrictions on whether people are creators or not, some people will be disappointed, some people will be delighted. I’m enjoying my exploration, I haven’t even dabbled with creation yet, although I almost certainly will.
Inara Pey has a good article on exploration in Sansar : Sansar: A Handful of Personal Picks to Visit and Some Tips. The tips are important because they include tips on movement and they also point out how you can get to Sansar locations via a URL and it’s this basis around the URL that makes me think Sansar is going to be more of a platform than a virtual world.
I would expect at some point that people may collaborate to create virtual world experiences and that with the right amount of collaboration something damn impressive could be built with Sansar that embraces social VR in a way that will make current Second Life users really take notice, but at the moment it’s more a case of individual experiences that are fun to visit, look impressive and show some of the potential of the platform.
Again, Sansar is in creator beta and the blurb on the website points out :
Sansar is now in creator beta and is still rapidly evolving. We’re currently working on additional features like collaborative creation, more avatar customization options, terrain editing, and much more.
Sansar is on a journey and it’s still in its very early stages, already we’re seeing some traditions, such as the pyramid at Draxtor’s and if you explore a little beyond closed roads you may bump into old characters from Machinima in Second Life.
I appreciate that for many people, Sansar isn’t the droids they are looking for and it may never be, but for others the development is an exciting one. This should mean that virtual worlds like Second Life, OpenSim etc. have plenty of life left in them yet, because people who love those virtual worlds will continue to love them and ultimately, where the people are is an extremely important stage in the longevity of any platform.
Sansar is different, in some ways very different, there’s plenty of room for Sansar and Second Life and long may that continue to be the case.