[UPDATED] 5 things that could make me use the VR World of Sansar more

It has become a regular occurrence now that i go to Sansar Atlas hopping on Saturdays. It’s basically a rip off of the Goony adventures we hold every last Friday of the month in Second life where my friends and i venture to new places and explore. 

It is interesting how my new friends in Sansar are beginning to blame all mischief on me, wether that’s due to my name, my avatar or my actions in VR i don’t know for sure. It could well be the sum of all three.

Watch LIVE from [BETA] 114 Harvest: Atlas Hopping Episode 58 [Cuddlies] from sansardrax on www.twitch.tv

Anyways, Sansar is a once a week thing currently. Partly due to me having to bootcamp into windows every time i want to go there, but there are other reasons. So i have made a list of five things i think could entice me to use Sansar more.

 

5. ANIMATIONS

For literally YEARS i’ve wanted an update to Second Life that would allow me to animate mesh objects with an animation. This year we finally get it in the form of Animesh, a feature once considered ‘something more suited for the NEW THING (Sansar)’. It’s interesting then that Animesh appears in Second Life before Sansar, which just goes to show that Sansar doesn’t get all the new features first. If the Lab ads the ability to animate mesh via custom skeletal animations or blend shapes in a way that is as simple as Unity3D then i can see myself choosing sansar over unity3D as a quick place to build and record VR Machinema while also building places that come alive.

[UPDATE] So right after posting this blog i discovered the Lab has quietly added support for rigged animated objects. So everything i said above…. forget about it. 

 

4. Make VR and Desktop more friendly towards each other.

I spend all my Sansar time in VR mode with a headset on after getting past the initial social anxiety and i’ve noticed there are two plains of existence that habit the same space, The VR world and the Desktop world. So i can be talking to friends in Sansar on voice and as you get to know people you start to put voices to avatars. But you notice there are the quiet ones that dont talk and you ignore them not realising they are very vocal in text chat. You can peek into this world by opening the chat window and reading their secret conversations.

’Hey’ 

‘Hi’, 

‘They dont know we are here because they are talking in VR and we are trapped in this box’ 

‘Welcome to the box’. 

The way the chat window works could do with a rethink maybe, since it just floats at a single point and disappears when ever i visit a new place. Perhaps add an ability to post ‘quick messages’  to reply in chat. I basically screaming for some kinda wrist based quick buttons for various actions in VR mode from dancing, sitting to Emoticons and sending quick messages via chat, preferably on a Nintendo Power Glove.

 

3. Custom Avatar Sizes.

In Second Life i’m a kid persona, In Sansar I’m the same kid but on a robot because Sansar does not yet allow Custom Avatar Sizes. Places like VRChat and High Fidelity allow for any avatar of any size and any shape imaginable, but Sansar went a different route with more advanced avatars, with more advanced clothes system and more advanced facial animations which has led possibly to some limitations. Using marvellous designer people can create clothes that you can adjust and even flip over your avatar and there is a synergy to the Sansar avatar. Then there is me who just wants to break all that synergy.

The Lab introduced ‘custom’ avatars to allow creators to import their own creations. With custom Avatars, the more you deviate from the original Sansar Avatar Skeleton the more things break so i’m guessing thats why there is a hight restriction until they can work out how to go forward. Is it a technical problem or a branding problem with regards to the differences between the Super high tech Sansar Avatar and Custom Creator Avatars. In any case, being able to get off that robot would be awesome, because i know a lot of friends who would then visit from Second Life. 

 

2. SpaceNavigator

OMG this stupid 3D mouse has ruined everything by being the best way EVER to navigate 3D Space. The Conncexion3D Space Navigator is even better than actually moving around in VR. I use mine more to navigate Second Life, Blender, Substance Painter. All those fun gifs from my DJ set are taken using the SpaceNav. It is the peak of navigating 3D space on a desktop, so WHY the HELL does Sansar not support it at least for the editing mode? I would be experimenting faster, building faster, with more precision and i would be enjoying it. 

 

1. Mac version

Yeh well…. what ever.

Sansar: The Phantom Menace of Virtual Worlds?

A couple years ago when Palmer Lucky was cool, Linden Lab did an experiment. They attempted to make Second Life accessible through the Oculus Rift DK, and while the addition of every Second Life option as a heads up display was mind numbingly nauseating, there was a glimmer of something amazing.

I kind of wished that they had separated the VR headset side of things as a ‘mode’ in which we could when ever we wanted to briefly immerse ourselves into our Second Life creations without all the options. Because an immersive VR Headset is a different experience to our ‘Desktop’ experiences and finding the balance between the two seems to be very challenging. After 14 years of crafting and socialising through the augmentation of a desktop platform with an avatar thats been refined and brought to life through many techniques (and often hacks), our expectations are understandably very high for ‘Sansar’.

Sansar is the result of realising that Second Life can’t be adapted for the modern immersive VR headset’s of the neoVR crowd. Instead Linden Lab decided it was time to start from scratch and build a new platform from the ground up ready for what the NeoVR industry has in store. I’m interested to see what they have decided to keep from Second Life’s diverse abilities, and what they decide to do differently because of how Immersive VR works with things like controllers and tracking.

I’m a mac user so i’m already one foot down on the ‘Love Sansar’ movement, but i swallowed my pride, installed windows in bootcamp and took Sansar for a spin. From the start Sansar feels modern and welcoming in its simplicity. There seems to be no performance options so if Sansar does not work… it just won’t work, can’t get much simpler than that.

The premise for Sansar is quite simple at this stage. You have three free spaces to build what ever you want in the confines of what is currently possible. Whats currently possible  feels quite limited from the point of view of a Second Life creator. Part of this may be my own limited experience with Sansar and C# but currently most places i’ve visited are very static with no life to them. Even the avatars are lifeless, gormlessly starring into nothing, all standing the same as if everyones AFK.

Creating and Editing can take a while, i find myself spending more time trying to view an object than placing it and if you find something wrong with your objects texture you can’t edit and adjust it. Instead you have to re-upload the whole object again, which if your original object is on a mac partition can really get frustrating.

Thats me in the green shirt… happy

At this stage you probably get the feeling i don’t like Sansar, well.. it’s not that simple. Sansar is still in Beta, some even saying in Alpha. There is also a tonne of high tech stuff under the hood i don’t understand to really appreciate. A lot of people are comparing Sansar to when Second Life first appeared with bare bones features, when it was still just an online social creative experiment before Facebook and twitter came along. Except back then there was no user base eagerly anticipating it.

I find myself comparing Sansar to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, the great anticipation leading to disappointment. The Original Star Wars movie came out of nowhere spawning a lifelong fanbase, much like Second Life did. So while I’m slightly disappointed with Sansar, i’m also keeping in mind that i harbour a boatload of expectation thanks to how amazing Second Life still is and should give Linden Lab more time to suit Sansar up.

My experience of Sansar has so far only been the Desktop mode as I don’t yet have a Vive headset to experience Sansar from the VR headset side of things, and I’m probably not alone. I have the PSVR and used to use the OculusDK when they supported Mac, so I’m fully aware of how spaces can be a completely different experience in a VR headset. Places that feel static and devoid of life in Desktop mode may be a sublime experience in a VR headset. I’ve been wondering if Sansar’s drowsy desktop experience is to do with keeping a balance between VR headset mode and Desktop mode until they better understand how things should go.

If you have a VR Headset i would imagine Sansar is already a pretty amazing and compelling social experience. But if you are a Desktop user coming over from Second Life, then you might find your expectations are too high.

My first Sansar experience has you walking through woods towards strange lights