Sansar Official Discord Community Launched

Sansar Jenn has written a blog post which invites Sansar users to Join Sansar’s Community on Discord :

Today – we’re happy to announce the launch of Sansar’s official Discord community. Discord is a service that lets you chat (text and voice) in real time with other Sansar users, wherever you are – it works on the web, on mobile, and desktop.

Our Discord community is a way to connect with other Sansar users and make friends, plan meet-ups, ask questions, get feedback, share your ideas and creations, and more.

Discord, for those who are not familar, is a text and voice chat application that can be used on the desktop, in a browser, on mobile devices, so it’s a tool for chatting to people whether you’re inworld or not.

Associating your Sansar account with Discord is very straight forward. First you need to login to Sansar and then click the icon in the top right and go to your account :

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This will then take you to your account information screen, from there you click Link Discord :

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Sansar Introduces Terrain Editing, .OBJ Import, Running, Web Audio Streams and More

Linden Lab’s Sansar have announced a whopping new list of features in their latest release notes; Sansar Release Notes for September 8, 2017.

Most eye catching will be features such as :

  • Terrain Editor
  • You can now sculpt your own terrain in Sansar! Make mountains and craters, which you can paint using Sansar’s default presents. Simply drag and drop the terrain plain from the system objects panel. Read more.
  • The ability to add your own terrain textures and height maps is coming soon.

I haven’t been able to look at this yet but this looks like a very interesting development indeed.  The link to read more explains how you can create terrain in Sansar and then raise, lower, flatten, soften, harden etc. These terms will be familiar to those who have experience in virtual worlds such as Second Life.

  • .OBJ import
  • Sansar now supports .obj file import. See here for some .obj import tips.

Sansar had previously supported the .FBX format but this release means it now also supports .OBJ format, which I’m sure will please many creators as .OBJ is a very popular format.

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Sansar Still Doesn’t Look Like It Will Eat Second Life and That’s a Good Thing

Sindaria

Back in December 2015 I wrote; Project Sansar Won’t Eat Second Life. I still hold that view. A major bone of contention, that is still being raised today, was the probably infamous cannibalisation comment from Ebbe Altberg :

Yes, so this is the cannibalisation effect. It’s obviously real; and all I can say to that is, it’s better it’s us than someone else. Because it’s going to be someone, some day. and so we’ve decided it has to be us. It is a complex thing, and we want to make sure that we make it easy for users. Because in the beginning, Sansar might look all shiny and whatnot, but it’s not going to have the level of complexity and sophistication of Second Life, that’s been developed for almost 15 years now. It will take time for a lot of the things that you all love and do in Second Life to be something that you could completely do in Sansar.

Now something that gets somewhat overlooked here is that the cannibalisation comment was prompted by a question, which suggested that the team running Sansar have an interest in cannibalising Second Life.

Jenn

Another point to note is that Linden Lab have launched Sansar and it’s fair to say that it looks shiny but very definitely lacks the complexity of Second Life at this moment in time.

My early observations of Sansar also back up another of my beliefs regarding Sansar, it’s a different product, with some overlap, that will likely attract a different audience to Second Life. This isn’t just because of the technical differences, it’s also because of the format. Second Life is a virtual world, Sansar is a set of virtual experiences and with Sansar, the experience comes first, whereas in Second Life, it’s the virtual world that comes first.

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Creator David Hall Paves The Way For The Rise Of The Dwarves In Sansar

Dwarven Fortress

Elves may have their ears in Sansar but Dwarves have a fortress! Even better than that, and probably of far more interest to you, is the fact that the creator of The Dwarven Fortress, David Hall, has been featured in a Sansar Creator Profile video produced by Draxtor Despres.

Passage

The video is short and I’ll embed it at the end of this post but it gives a nice insight into a Sansar creator as well as some of the tools of the trade.

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Sansar Meetups Are A Valuable Experience

Sansar Meetup Group Pic Pro

Inara Pey has an excellent blog post regarding a couple of meetings between Bjorn Linden (Bjorn Laurin, Linden Lab’s Vice President of Product), Widely Linden (head of Product for Sansar), Pete Linden (aka Peter Gray, aka Gray of the Lab from San Fan Francisco, Linden Lab’s Director of Global Communications),  Xiola Linden (Second Life Community Team Manager) and users of Second Life and Sansar.

The post is really important in terms of where Sansar is at this point in its development, where it’s going, why it’s called creator beta at the moment, why Linden Lab built their own engine and much more, it’s a really good read.

Meanwhile I’ve been attending meetups in Sansar, taking no notes, but making observations and I’ve found these meetups very beneficial in terms of enjoying Sansar and getting an idea about what I might like to do with Sansar.

Sansar Jenn Speaks

The meetups are largely voice based but conversations do take place in text too. This helps people find the text chat module and interact with each other, add friends, look at the features available and share knowledge of the platform.

I’ve recently reported how impressed I was with the mouth movements inside Sansar when avatars talk due to the integration of Speech Graphics technology within Sansar. Inara’s post touches upon this in a couple of important areas, firstly in terms of how detailed the Sansar avatar is :

The Sansar avatars are actually extremely, extremely advanced. I would actually go so far [as to say] they are among the most advanced avatars there is today, on any platform. Just the female avatar in Sansar has over 125 bones in the face, to make it work as we want it, to make it look realistic. That’s more than actually humans have.

I want you to build your own avatars. for now that technology we put in is so new, no-one else is using it, we’ll be able to use it for a long time, to make it look realistic, and that’s part of it. When they talk normally it’s going to look better as well, it’s going to look better, in any language, it doesn’t matter. It may Chinese, could be English, could be Swedish, could be Portuguese, Spanish. It’s going to look good. We’ve spent a lot of time on that, and I’m super excited about these small things that make it immersive, that make us want to spend more time in there.

I certainly agree on the point regarding this being a small point that makes Sansar immersive because I found this small detail to be extremely engaging but there’s an added side of this too when it comes not just to people using avatars, but also in terms of NPC’s, inclusiveness :

So you can imagine scenarios whereby you have an NPC [non-player character] that has a whole dialogue embedded within it that the user’s interacting with, and you’re not only getting a reasonably synthesised voice, but you also have the facial animations that go with it automatically – and they look convincing. So you have facial animation that’s at a quality that a lip reader probably could get information from it. And that’s something that we have right now in Sansar that is not available in other platforms; not just yet, anyhow.

The reason that this came to my attention though was because I was at a meetup in Sansar and noticed this technology at work due to interactions with other avatars.

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