Sansar is a strange thing. On the one hand it is probably the most advanced of the social VR platforms, on the other hand no ones using it yet if compared to the likes of Second Life.
I don’t like to compare Sansar to Second Life since i use Sansar exclusively with my Vive Headset to experience the platform in immersive VR (which Second Life isn’t equipped for). Yet it’s hard not to start comparing when these new platforms seem to be pivoting from their starting points as immersiveVR first back to supporting the majority Desktop User due to a lack of uptake in the VR hyposphere.
Two years ago i started work on a new avatar mesh for Second Life’s Bento project. I created it knowing that it could be ported across to other VR Platforms such as Sansar. When Linden Lab finally allowed creators to upload custom avatar mesh to Sansar there was just one snag. You could not change the hight of the avatars. So in an attempt to work around the hight limitations i put my kid avatar on top of a robot and that is how it has been for a year.
People loved the robot but it’s time to retire the old mech legs because Linden Lab FINALLY introduced avatar scaling opening the doors to tinies and kid avatars. As soon as Fantasy Faire finished i went straight to work dusting off the original mesh and rigged for Sansar. It took me over 30 upload attempts before i was happy because what you see in the 3D modelling application does not necessarily work or look great in VR. For instance i had to increase my avatars weight and increase his neck width because he looked so skinny in Sansar.
The result was an avatar that looks great, is very expressive but hopefully does not trigger to much of the uncanny valley.
I also took this opportunity to create a new haircut using a rather cool blender plugin. I’ve always found hair very difficult to master and this tool simplifies the creation of hair so i hope to use it to make more hairstyles which i can port to second Life and Sansar in future.
Size Matters Not
All custom avatars come into Sansar at the default size of about 6ft, so my kid avatar is basically an adult with a big head. This means pretty much all the clothes that fit adult avatars also fit my kid avatar, such as shirts, coats, shorts, trousers and some boots. Clothes created with Marvellous Designer (with the MD logo on them) are able to be ‘adjusted’ to shrink or stretch over you avatar with a tug and pull and can look suitably baggy on my avatar. The only drawback here is that hair and hats and head attachments won’t fit over the bigger head so need custom hair and hats.
Once ive selected my custom kid avatar i simply use the scale slider to scale down to kid hight and i tend to compare my hight to that of my adult avatar peers. Unfortunately it seems at the moment everyones enjoying scaling down to be tiny people which has totally thrown me on what hight i should be lol.
I’ve also already been asked if i will make other kid avatars for Sansar. Probably. Eventually. I need to find out more about what the Lab plans to do with their ‘Sansar Avatar 2.0’.
Full Body Tracking
Another feature Sansar introduced was full body tracking. Already in VRchat and high fidelity fullbodytrack uses vive tracker pucks strapped to your body to track those parts. So instead of your arms just waving about, your avatars legs and waist move in sync with your real body. Prior to the Sansar update i tried fullbodytrack in VRchat and was blown away with how well it works there. Unfortunately in Sansar the tracking is bare bones for now being overridden by animation overrides when attempting to lay down, sit or jump. Hopefully this will be improved to be as good or even better than VRchat because seeing your feet move as your own feet do solidifies the connection between your avatar and yourself.
Now that I’m finally ME in Sansar i do plan to finally build some experiences there. How this will effect my work in Second Life i do not yet know. I hope to build things that can be ported to both SL and Sansar, but i’m aware that environments in Second Life are Desktop specific while in Sansar i’m more interested in making things that are enhanced for immersive VR experience. How the same things can be experienced in the parallel worlds will be interesting.