Ebbe Linden spoke at VWBPE (Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education) yesterday, sadly too late for me to be present myself.
I think the audience was a little smaller than last year so I guess it was too late for quite a few other people as well.
Luckily I found an excellent video by the splendid Mal Burns here on youtube;
Here are some of the things that stood out to me;
- Linden Lab has been playing with a lot of the new VR hardware and trying to integrate it with Project Sansar.
- SL performance has improved this year and more improvements are in the pipeline.
- Registration and setting up will become easier.
- Lots of work done on compliance, redeeming Linden Dollars, fraud control, etc.
- Today you need Maya to work in Sansar, this will change in June, when they open up Beta access to a broader set of creators.
They are very focused on creators for the rest of the year, people with lots of experiences in building experiences.
Somewhere in May or June they will start accepting applications from people who want to get involved in beta testing Sansar via an online signup page.
Depending on your skills and project you have in mind, they’ll let you in.
People who just want to snoop around is not what they are looking for.
They want creators who are willing to give feedback and help test Sansar.
FIY Linden Lab, building 1920s Berlin is a pretty advanced demonstration of experience building tools… subtle hint…
- Sansar will be opened to the public at the end of the year.
- Sansar will be no where near as feature rich as SL is now, many of the things you depend on in SL, will not be available at the beginning.
You can create prettier and faster things in Sansar that work better with VR tech, there will be features that you do not have in SL, like lightning, physics, avatar movements etc.
But creating a highly functional educational scenario might not work yet.
It will take time before you can do in Sansar what you can now do in SL.
- There is no plan to migrate everyone to Sansar and for years and years to come Sansar and SL will remain different products.
- The Community Gateway program is progressing well, there is no final ‘Ship date’ for it and they are signing people up for it.
- Ebbe explains that if LL knows your RL identity and have the relevant documentation, your credit processing is more likely to go faster.
The announced changes are planned for early April.
- LL is now working on integrating te HTV Vive VR headset with Sansar, the headset also used for Steam VR and Ebbe expects it to work next week.
Ebbe does not know how and if this will work with Steam VR.
- No skill based gaming in Sansar at first and it has not been determined yet if LL even wants to allo this at all because it is very costly and requires a lot of oversight because of the many laws.
For now LL will concentrate on making Skill Based Gaming work better in SL before they decide if they want to bring it into Sansar.
- Sansar is aiming for an age range of 13+ but there will be content ratings.
- LL may create some SL community gateways themselves, for instance one for Educational sims.
- Ebbe thinks that when Sansar goes public many people will leave Second Life but only to have a look around and when they realise they can not (yet) do the things they do in SL in Sansar, that they’ll return to SL.
I personally can see that happen as well, for instance what are many of SL’s communities to do without something as basic as a rental system?
I can perhaps build 1920s Berlin in Sansar, but what if we can’t have shops yet, something as basic as doors that open or… schnaps?!
Berlin probably won’t move permanently till we can do in Sansar what we do in SL today, or at least most of it.
Nevertheless, as soon as I can build in Sansar, there will be a 1920s Berlin outpost or embassy say there.
- Right now Sansar is being build for PC, Windows specifically, Oculus and Vive HMD.
They are preparing for Android and IOS.
One employee is working fulltime on getting Sansar to work on mobile devices.
- There is a streaming solution for Sansar like we’ve seen in the past being offered by third parties.
Using Cloud GPU’s we can stream all of Sansar to an iPhone, Ebbe sees that demonstrated every day.
This is very exciting.
When SL Go came to an end I felt and wrote that LL should take its place and offer high quality streaming of SL to its users.
This did not happen but I’m happy to see that they are now doing this for Sansar.
This could mean that everyone will be able to experience Sansar at the highest graphics settings, although of course this will come at a price.
Personally I hope that they will have premium accounts in Sansar that will offer you, amongst other things, this streaming service.
- A Mac viewer is described as going to be looked at somewhere further along the line.
Which is bad news.
I’m not sure how many SL users are on a Mac, but I am one of them, even though I do plan to get a new gaming PC later this year.
- Contrary to earlier information, Ebbe announces that the Linden Dollar will probably NOT be used in Sansar.
So there will be an exchange system that allows you to transfer Linden Dollars to whatever the Sansar currency will be.
This is because of the hugely different business model Sansar has.
- There will be lots of different building tools in Sansar but LL will strongly support 3rd party tools and thus a common file format.
So you’ll be able to build in all kinds of programs like Blender, Maya, etc and import it.
But there will also be tools inside Sansar such as terrain and layout tools, but also basic object manipulation tools so you can take assets and arrange a scene.
Over time they will work on creation tools that will allow you to build within Sansar.
This is good news, I personally think that many people do not want to use that 3rd party software as they can be rather complicated or intimidating.
Easy inworld tools are one of the things that made SL great and leaving those out would damage Sansar I feel.
I hope they won’t wait too long with this.
- Ebbe experienced 360° video in Sansar.
- Ebbe used handcontrollers to rearrange objects in Sansar.
- Sansar uses a sort of ‘baking’ progress, so in stead of building something ‘live’ and seeing it work right away, like we do in SL, you have to ‘publish’ what you’ve build.
This allows the system to optimise the scene for lighting, spacial audio, performance, etc.
This is needed to make the world work at the high specs it promises.
It may be the end of watching someone build, which is a shame.
- Ebbe talks about the recent banning of several creators in SL.
He says that it is something that happened because Lindens now and then just ‘dip in’ and see what people are doing and then notice something that calls for a warning or a ban.
But sometimes they make mistakes.
He also explains that outsiders who sometimes support those being banned often don’t know what it exactly is what rule was being broken and what it exactly was these banned people did.
He suggests that when some people say they were not given a reason for being banned, they may not strictly be telling the truth but Linden Lab can’t speak publicly about what it exactly was that got them banned in the first place.
He asks people to trust him, they do not take banning people lightly and have good reasons to do so.
There is no sudden ‘crusade’, just following the ToS they’ve always had but sometimes a certain kind of rule breaking flies under their radar long enough and when they act on it, people think something unusual is happening.
To see his answer, go to 47:50 in the video.
- Ebbe is too busy to make his own avatar or bears.
Which I can appreciate but I still think that making your own avatar is such an essential part of being in SL and understanding its users, that I feel he has to spend some time to do that anyway.
Without any help!
- Ebbe ends his talk with reminding us that Second Life is the best virtual world on the planet and it will take a long time for anything to surpass that, including Sansar.
Geo Meek said:
Reblogged this on Second Life Hobo.
Demonkid (@Demonkid) said:
Looks like i won’t be creating anything in Sansar since I’m a mac user. “somewhere further along the line.” I’ve heard this many times and means there is no current plans. Im not totally surprised, i half expected this after Oculus announced no mac support. I no longer have any interest in ProjectSansar.
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Erik Mondrian said:
I suspect you might be right about their “plans,” Loki; it does seem like an odd and not-very-reassuring turn of phrase. Still, here’s hoping they do decide to support Mac eventually — and Linux too!
In the meantime, I’ll be following Sansar’s development vicariously, once more people are able to talk about it freely. If nothing else, I’m curious to see what other lessons the Lab thinks they’ve learned from SL…
I haven’t been interested in Sansar since it was first announced and a continued stream of vague (at best) and nonsensical PR hype began appearing.
Add to that the fact that they also now want to include forcing Sansar avi’s to use their RL names via FB, and we have a real hoot.
Good luck with that, LL. You go ahead and keep shooting yourselves in the arse and we’ll all sit back and enjoy the show.
I sense that Sansar is going to be LL’s biggest and most publicly humiliating embarrassment.
No one is interested in it except a handful of their special ‘buddies’, favored creators and those who are so high up the LL food chain that they’re not getting enough oxygen to think straight.
Jo Yardley said:
They won’t force you to use your RL names via FB, they are going to offer it as an option so people know they are dealign with the real representation of a RL person. You can still be anonymous in Sansar.
Over 6000 people signed up for early testing Sansar so far.
There generally is a lot of interest in Sansar, even outside of SL.
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Erik Mondrian said:
Thanks for the great write-up, Jo! I couldn’t make it yesterday either, unfortunately. Maybe next time.
I love your idea of building an “embassy” for a virtual community, especially one like 1920s Berlin. 😀 It’s already an embassy of sorts in SL, representing the Weimar Republic on a diplomatic mission through time and (virtual) space; extending its reach into another world, even if only minimally at first, would be perfect. Will be interesting to see if other existing SL communities follow suit, creating satellite states in Sansar once that becomes possible. I’m a geography nerd (in all worlds), so for me any association between SL & Sansar that manages to bypass the irritatingly trendy marketspeak of “experience” and that emphasizes “place” instead is a good thing.
I think “baking” of scenes is something SL itself could really use (though I suppose that’s unlikely to happen), but I definitely agree that watching someone build, live and in the moment, is wonderful as well. What would we do without sandboxes? 🙂 I’d personally like us to have the option of both, so that you could make changes to the world and have them be visible instantaneously to those around you, and then once you felt you had things exactly the way you wanted, just click a button and the software smooths it all over, locking the scene into place and optimizing its performance. Like having a publicly accessible draft on your blog that people could see and comment on before you finally publish it… and you could always shift back into “edit mode” later on to make additional changes when necessary.
Very disappointed and frankly quite surprised to hear that Sansar-for-Mac doesn’t seem to be higher on the Lab’s list of priorities. I use Linux, so I’m even farther down that list. To be honest, this whole issue of platform support (or lack thereof) really irks me; it feels like they’re stepping back in time, and not in a good way! Supporting multiple HMDs is great, of course, but those are basically just peripherals – tied to and dependent on a computer – more than they are platforms. (Albeit fairly high-tech peripherals with their own ecosystems and app stores…) Does this mean virtual reality, as supplied by Linden Lab, is destined to be a Windows-only affair? What will it take for us to have a platform-agnostic metaverse? This, more than anything else, has me seriously questioning Sansar’s ultimate potential… and makes me wish for a successor to SL that was more like the Web: owned by no one, built on open-source software and open standards, and easily accessible the world over.
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Richardus Raymaker said:
How can ebbe say that secondlife is the best virtual platform. when t the same time it’s for many useless or frustrating because the costs.
That the not support apple where to expect, only that news turn things up side dow. many friends i know have apple. So the cannot peek look or follow others if the want. Then high fidelity is possible a better choice. then your not chained at linden lab thinking. But as long we not know how sansar really looks it’s not easy. It’s anyway still unknown if sansar is in the same price range as high fidelity.
It would be a good idea if the get a sansar appliction ip and running before end f this year. forgt the useless hmd support, that is not important. But in this case it looks like people can only blame apple with there bad hardware. Mabye the bring some apple vr system soon on the market. nobody knows.
Richardus Raymaker said:
Secondlife this dysyoucan best compare with IRC = Internet Relay Chat. But then in 3D environment.
He can only say SL is the ‘best virtual platform’ if he’s never been inside any others – which he clearly hasn’t, or he’d never have made such a ridiculous faux pas to begin with.
He should create a free account and take a look inside World of Warcraft, which is recognized as being ‘the best of the best’.
Then he’d know what real coding looks like.
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Cathartes Aura said:
So, the “brain trust” at LL thinks Sansar will be a great success. Limiting who gets in first – beta users(Linden Pets), rigging the land market to benefit the largest landowners, limiting creation within SL2 to only those with access to Maya(no inworld creation tools now or lets all be honest – probably never), And high entry costs for anyone considering running a “business” within SL2.
So, take that old, worn out, tattered SL playbook and double down on it. Rig Sansar economically even more than SL is. Sounds like a absolutely brilliant idea to me. All us “little guys” will just have to go along with this. We have no other choice… lol!!! ; )
Cathartes Aura said:
My apologies for replying to this post but I forgot 2 things…
1. Unless LL makes SL2(Sansar) exactly like SL was prior to Fall 2006 where everyone was on a level playing field. Creation wise and land cost wise. No favorites. Then SL2(Sansar) is DOA… Smelling like a week old bit of roadkill. Perfect for us buzzards. But not too appetizing for the average joe resident. ; )
2. And this one is my personal favorite. The Turkey Buzzard goes hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissssssssssssssssssss! ; )
Demonkid (@Demonkid) said:
i don’t think it’ll be dead on arrival, Blocksworld is nothing like SL was in 2006 and thats doing very well for Linden Lab.
Cathartes Aura said:
Blocks What??? If that is an example of success then you and I have a very different idea of what success looks like.
Now back to the subject at hand – If LL rigs the land market in SL2 like it did with SL and they do not provide mesh creation tools to be able to create content inworld immediately on launch then SL2(Sansar) is dead as a doornail on arrival. The prospective customers for SL2 are current SL residents. And we all have had a bellyfull of LL’s bad decision making. The “brain trust” at LL pooped the shoot. They blew it over and over and over.
What’s that old saying – Fool me once, shame on you… Fool me twice – shame on me… I don’t think there are too many “fools” left in SL that do not know exactly how LL runs whatever they control. Badly and incompetently. ; )
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Wills sculpts work in Sansar? Will meshes work in Sansar? Id love to know what will work and what not, so I can update my creations in a timely base.
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I won’t be joining Sansar (what do those letter stand for, anyway?) but if it drags SL down to the graveyard with it, I’ll feel a bit sad for a few moments and a bit annoyed with myself for ever having invested money in SL, but I won’t be remotely surprised.
Sansar smells like it will be a dictatorship-within-a-game (sniffing out what’s always so carefully and deliberately not said about it).
Most of us who live in a so-called ‘democracy’ already understand only too well what it’s like to live under a dictatorship-posing-as-a-democracy, and for that reason alone, I have no interest whatsoever in Sansar.
Even the name is uninspiring.
Aside from that, LL has demonstrated that it’s gone the way of all corporations – Greed and Sloth.
The more money they’ve raked in, the more their gray matter and sense of obligation has dulled.
It also seems to me that LL have been determined from the start not to use proper, professional, programmers or SL itself could have been (and could be) a much greater success. Heck, even cruddy old Minecraft is smoother and more fluid than SL – and that’s scraping the bottom of the barrel for comparisons.
Are they examining the reasons why SL has become largely a ghost town in 2016? Of course not. Why can’t they look at the coding used by Blizzard Entertainment for their games – particularly World of Warcraft?
As far as virtual worlds go, WoW is the epitome of beautiful programming. So why are LL so stubbornly stuck on old, ugly, limiting and overloaded coding? (I doubt any of the LL team have ever seen the inside of World of Warcraft, just to take a look at how impressive their coding is).
Dictatorship, I tell you. Sansar is designed to be a dictatorship. They’re not called ‘Linden Labs’ for nothing. Lab – Laboratory – social experiments – watch in fascination at the havoc and anguish they cause end users/’residents’ while they become drunk on their own imagined sense of ‘power’ and pat themselves on the back.
Sansar will choke the joy out of residents with so many rules and regulations, with so many missing features and abilities, that they won’t be able to breathe.
Meh. It’s LL’s funeral, not ours.