Not sold on Sansar? 10 Reasons to Keep an Open Heart

This week some very lucky creators from Second Life were given exclusive beta access to the new Sansar Platform. Due to some hefty NDAs, we won’t be able to see yet whats in store.

Its important to understand that Sansar is not out to replace Second Life, it will be entirely different and mainly targeted toward creators and people who want to experience their creations. Second Life will remain alive and active, and its expected that Sansar users may be a demographic that were never a user of Second Life at all, not switching from Second Life. So try not to be too mad at this ‘younger sibling’ of just yet. In fact, while we believe it will serve entirely different purposes than SL – we do hope it will learn quite a bit from what SL has managed to achieve.

If you’re still not excited about the future that is fast upon us, here are some reasons why we think you may want to at least keep an open heart:

*We have not been in Sansar nor do we have definitive indication that these ‘theories’ are true.

1. Better Graphics Capabilities : Simple as that, Sansar will have more powerful graphics with less load on your system. You’ll still want to make sure your computer is up to speed, but we’re expecting a lot less crashing!

2. Higher Sim Capacities : If you’re as frustrated as I am with retrying over and over again to get into new events, then this will be a sigh of relief. Sansar may be able to host significantly more avatars – potentially unlimited? – at any given time. No more waiting in line!

3. Your own website : If you own land with an experience or business that you’d like others to visit, Sansar will have the ability to easily set up a website for you. This is primarily so that people who aren’t already users of Sansar kind find what you’ve created and create an account to experience it. It will be great for advertising to your fans as well!

4. Better Connectivity : Its still ambiguous how this will be achieved, but Linden Labs has acknowledged that its difficult to find communities to become a part of in Second Life. Will we have better chances of making friends and connections in Sansar? Would be interesting!

5. Virtual Reality : While its not yet become mainstream technology, Sansar will be fully equipped to handle virtual reality headsets of all kinds. Have you ever wanted to really BE in the place your avatar is at? Feel closer to the people around you? As the price of headsets lower, this will become a reality. A virtual one.

6. Mobile Compatibility : Mobile Apps for Second Life communication are wonky and can be a bit difficult to use. Sansar will be built with mobile usage in mind, meaning you’ll be able to experience your world with much more immersion than just text while on the go.

7. Lower Land Prices : Linden Labs is well aware that its extremely difficult for the vast majority of users to pay hundreds of dollars for their own private place to rez. Speculation has it that ‘sims’ in Sansar could be as low as $10/month. The capabilities of these parcels is still unknown.

8. Easier Shopping & Inventory Management : While a speculation, many other platforms have paved the way in making this experience easy and slick. Imagine a marketplace like the one we know an love, but in world. Imagine trying on clothing with one click – or already seeing an image of your avatar wearing it before you buy it. Imagine – stay with me – an inventory that is automatically organized for you, and images of your clothing so you know exactly what you’re about to put on. Speculation, but possible with this new platform.

9. Code Compatibility : You may not know that Second Life scripts are made up of their very own coding language – Linden Scripting Language. Its pretty amazing for a platform to work off of its very own syntax! However this does close a lot of doors and makes some of the great coders of the world very uninterested in creating for Second Life. Sansar will be scripted in C#, a well known and loved language that top scripters are well versed in – meaning we’ll see a lot more great stuff with a much higher capability popping up.

10. Physics : Imagine your avatar reaching down and picking up a box. Using their fingers to grab it and lift it into the air. Now imagine dropping that box onto another box. It falls through the air and lands on top of the box with a wiggle. Not falling through, but sitting right where you put it. Now imagine swinging your arm and hitting the boxes, watching them tumble over one another onto the ground. This type of physics engine just may be possible in Sansar.

I’ve loved Second Life for 8+ years and plan on keeping it that way, but I can’t help but being excited about the possibilities of new technology in virtual worlds. Keep an open mind, and don’t be afraid of losing the strong community that we’ve built. Second Life will keep going strong!

Delilah Greyson (Amoralie Triellis)
ZoHa Islands Blogger

Prim Increases In Second Life?? Here’s The Scoop!

This week brought about a huge change that few saw coming: Linden Labs started to increase the prim limits across second life. They acknowledged this has been a wishlist item for many for a long time, and our collective wishes have been granted.

What does this mean? This means that we’ll be able to do more with the same space. And this isn’t just a little increase. This excerpt from the main site goes into a bit more detail:

Land impact (object) capacity on Mainland Regions will go from 15,000 to 22,500 – that’s a lot more building capacity!

In addition to this, we will further carry the prim limit increases to the private estate regions shortly.  Keep your eye on our blogs for more information!

Designing Worlds created this chart to better understand the new (or anticipated) limits we’ll see across SL:

While this huge improvement has already hit the mainlands, do note that this will also be rolled out in the near future to private regions as well (which will be a big deal for our ZoHa Islands customers).

Of course, this set SL afire with a flurry of questions. Here’s a couple common ones that have been asked:

“Won’t more prims just cause more lag?”

If you folks haven’t noticed recently, Linden Labs has invested in upgrading their servers. So the prim increase isn’t something out of vanity; they’ve been planning this for a while so the increases wouldn’t be detrimental to gameplay.

“Won’t that mean they will charge more?”

Nope! Linden Labs is doing this to improve our gameplay and flexibility, and will not be increasing costs. And nor should your landlords! ZoHa Islands is happy to announce that this will NOT result in any fee increase, as it’s not something that is causing anyone any additional expense. In short, this is a really awesome FREE upgrade for all to enjoy! So once it’s rolled out to private estates, the only thing you will need to worry about is how you’re going to use all these extra prims!

“I’m not seeing any prim increases yet. Is it just for mainland?”

It’s currently rolled out on mainlands, but eventually will be rolled out grid-wide. We’ll have to stay tuned for a formal announcement from Linden Labs, but they do acknowledge it is happening soon!

So, let’s all rejoice! Not only is this a huge development for Second Life, but also a big indication that Linden Labs isn’t forgetting about us anytime soon. Server upgrades are not a light expense and they did something spectacular to show us some love.

What are YOU going to do with your extra prims??

You can check out the Designing Worlds episode here to get more detail into this great development:

Bria Oceanside

ZoHa Blogger/Social Media




What happened in Orlando……

I’m not about to sit here and pick apart the political loopholes that people are beating to death about the tragedy at Pulse nightclub a couple of days ago. I’m not here to spurt out some meaningless rant about how this could have been avoided. But, I am going to talk about what happened.

What happened was an act of hate. Considering the circulating speculation that the shooter was actively involved in the LGBTQ scene locally, it also could have been a violent deflection stemming from self-loathing or rejection. We may never fully know, but we do know that it was a painful loss for the victims, their loved ones, and humanity.

We’ve become a society that is becoming increasingly numb to hatred, violence and violation of rights unless it happens on a large scale. It’s becoming harder and harder to see people as individuals because we’re getting more screen time than actual face time (and I don’t mean the iOS version). We’re at a point where acceptance and respect shouldn’t be as optional as people treat it. Social media enables us to be callous and continue the vicious cycle of ignorance and disinterest in fact-checking.

With that said, one thing I have learned to appreciate as someone who is very much part of the LGBTQ community is that Second Life does enable us to have a safe haven of sorts, even if just virtually. One of the biggest blessings that I have personally found is that there’s such a great pool of people in-world that can either relate or are totally respectful even if they can’t. Being able to meet so many people that don’t care what you look like, what you do or whom you love is such a lifesaver in many ways.

We need more of that offline, people. We need more support and learning to respect people for the human beings they are, not their differences. But, in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, we need to rally and show support more than ever. Thankfully, someone is heading up just that in-world.

Casper Warden, owner/creator of CasperVend (which most of us are very familiar with) has not only started an in-world relief fund, but has also created a free donation kiosk that you can also rezz on your land to help the fundraising efforts. It is incredibly important to help rally together for these families, as they’re now struggling with unexpected funeral and medical costs, child costs, even pets that are now ownerless. Every little bit helps reach that goal, and I would love to see a push from the Second Life community to do just that. Links will be placed at the end of the post.

But, going forward, we need to make sure we’re taking steps to preserve the integrity of humanity. Life is too unpredictable to spend it mired in hate. Love a little more, learn to show a little more compassion and help shape our kids into people who think more than buy everything at face value. What happened in Orlando was a tragic explosion of hate, and society has long fueled it.

Let’s put this fire out and help heal the damage that’s been done.

With love,

Bria Oceanside

ZoHa Blogger/Social Media

Click HERE to grab your CasperVend donation kiosk

Click HERE to go to the in-world donation location to help out

Click HERE to donate directly to the GoFundMe account set up for the victims and their families


Bright Canopy — Replacement for Onlive!

BREAKING NEWS! SLers who were sad to see Onlive go, now have another option!!

Remember OnLive? The company that brought you the streaming service which gave you the ability to run SL on older computers? Well there is a new kid on the block named Bright Canopy and they’re aiming to fill the void left behind by OnLive!

Released in the last weekend of August, Bright Canopy is offering SL streaming services for $17 for 20 hours. Additional time costs $0.02/minute, and each session is charged for a minimum of 30 minutes. Their high performance spec servers will stream SL to you through your web browser with ultra high graphics and no visible lag!

According to the Bright Canopy blog, this is how the pricing system works:

“If you sign up for Bright Canopy, you will be charged $17. You will receive 20 hours of server time. Once you have used that time, if you continue to use the service, you will build-up overage time at $0.02 per minute with a minimum purchase of 30 minutes ($0.60). If you use less than 10 more hours, your card will be charged for those additional minutes (plus the $17 for the new month’s subscription) at the beginning of the next month. If you use 10 or more hours of additional minutes before the end of the month, those minutes will be charged immediately.

“So if you use 5 additional hours during the month, you would spend $6 more. This would mean your credit card would be charged $21 at the beginning of the next month. If you use 10 additional hours, you would be charged $12 now and $17 for your monthly subscription at the beginning of the next month.”

This is exciting news and good for those who have older machines, or who wish to stream into SL from a computer that just can’t quite handle the load SL requires. The burning question is: Does Bright Canopy run on mobile devices? The company has stated on their website that mobile is not available yet, but it is coming. Here’s a quote from the website:

“We understand how important mobile support is for many people, and we do have a plan to provide it. We already have clients which will run on mobile devices, but the Second Life Viewer and Firestorm will need modifications to support multitouch. Our plan is to create these features and donate them to the top level open source viewer project, making them available for all viewers.

Right now, we are focusing on the Chrome browser on non-mobile devices (eg. laptops and desktops) so that we can get that right. Then we are working on providing a monthly plan. Once we have those in place we will begin working on mobile.”

I decided to try it out. I’m at work right now in RL, and our computers at work don’t have the graphics capability to run the regular Second Life viewer. So I eagerly signed up for an account using my Second Life user name and email address to create an account. I then ponied up my money ($17 for 20 minutes).

I was so excited to check it out that I really didn’t read the fine print. As I was trying to connect to the Bright Canopy servers (a message pops up as you are waiting to log into the Frame launchpad that Bright Canopy uses, that basically tells you that you cannot “bank” time from one session to the next. Clearly this service isn’t nearly as user-friendly as Onlive, because if I log out prior to my 30 minute time, I lose any remaining time. Hmmmm. Also, after I logged into Bright Canopy and paid, the screen that came up said “waiting to connect to Frame” and said I had 3 minutes remaining. It ended up connecting me after less than 3 minutes but I probably waited about a minute and a half. I’m not sure if they were waiting for space on their Cloud-based server, but it was only slightly annoying to wait.

Then it offers you the choice of using the SL Official Viewer interface or the Firestorm. Since I’m a Firestorm junkie, I chose the Firestorm option. It logs you into SL and looks exactly like it does in your viewer window. However, since I went back to type some more in this blog about my observations, it logged me out since I’d been inactive for 10 minutes. I had to log out of Bright Canopy and log back in. So be careful of long AFKs.

I found when I logged into my home in SL, I was experiencing a great deal of lag. I turned my graphics down a notch (I usually operate on Ultra, so I went down to High) and that seemed to improve things. Our work computers really don’t have much in the way of resources, so that could be part of the problem. I tp’d around to different places and found lag to be better and worse depending on the location. It’s not perfect, but it is an awesome way to be able to access Second Life from a computer with limited resources.

It will be great when they get their mobile app going!

Check them out! Click here for the website: Bright Canopy

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

VR With Eye Tracking!

High Fidelity announces the ability to track eye movement in a modified oculus rift headset!

They released the following statement: “We believe that eye tracking, with it’s potential for both enhancing live communication and controlling/interacting in VR environments, is very likely to be a part of second generation HMD’s. So we’ve gotten a pair of custom Oculus DK2s modified by SensoMotoric Instruments to include hardware capable of fast, accurate tracking of the eye. This video shows the first results. The experience of making eye contact with another person is remarkable and can’t be described in a video – but you get the idea.”

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

Project Sansar: The Big Bad Wolf?

Project Sansar June 2015Change is scary. The more some people hear about Project Sansar, the more panicky they get.

I get it. Some people can handle change better than others. In RL, I work in Human Resources, and change is an integral part of my job, and if I couldn’t deal with change, I would be in the wrong job. I mean seriously, I could tell you stories….

But I digress.

Second Life residents are worried about many things. Will SL still be here? Will Linden Lab still support SL once Project Sansar is open? Will the new platform be for me? What if the new platform requires a high powered computer and I don’t have money for that, let alone an expensive VR headset!! Will SL become a ghost town with only those poor and lame enough to not have powerful computers? What if…what if….

It seems to me that most people see Second Life and Project Sansar as apples and apples, when really they are more like apples and bananas. I mean, think about it. I think there is enough people to allow the fruit section to expand.

It’s like this. There was a produce section at the grocery store, and for many years, the only produce in the section were apples. The apples were very happy being king of the produce section, and they profited greatly, with only a few consumers of the apples going to other, smaller produce stands to purchase their apples. The apples were happily the only produce available in this store. However, the grocery store started to get bored and wanted to know if there might be another kind of fruit that would add some variety to the produce section, so the grocery store announced they were going to introduce bananas. Signs went up at the store… “Coming soon! Bananas! Whee!”

Consumers panicked. They freaked out! They picketed the store. They chanted, They blogged. “Save Our Apples!” they cried. The grocery store reassured consumers that the apples would still be there, but still the consumers worried and fretted. Would the apples still be the same? Would they be able to get the apples they wanted, or would the apple variety be reduced to make room for bananas?? Much hand-wringing and anguish occurred. Some consumers threatened to go to other grocery stores and fruit stands. Some consumers just stopped buying apples.

Others continued to buy apples and enjoy the apples as they had for many years, not worrying about it. Consumers were encouraged to visit other grocery stores, where their produce section had many varieties of fruits and vegetables, all happily living side by side, as consumers pick and choose which fruit and vegetables they wanted, and not one fruit or vegetable suffered from slumping sales when a variety was being offered. Indeed, in other stores where a variety of produce was offered, sales often soared of the apples when bananas were introduced, because it drew a larger number of consumers to the store, and sometimes those people chose apples instead of the bananas they had originally come for.

Clearly there is room for both SL and Project Sansar. They appear to be, at this point, apples and bananas not apples and high tech apples. They are similar, but not the same. Maybe a better example would be that Second Life are Red Delicious and Project Sansar are Fuji apples. There is room enough for both varieties, because not everyone wants the same variety.

As I tell my staff in RL, ask yourself, “Does getting upset about this change anything?” There is nothing we can do. Linden Lab is moving forward with Project Sansar, and we can either embrace the change or we can reject it. We can be part of the problem, or part of the solution. Once we realize that this change is inevitable, let’s embrace Second Life and keep it vital, alive, and growing. The only people responsible for making Second Life a wonderful place to be, are the residents. We, the content creators and consumers, performers, artists and all that makes Second Life rich and vital, are the ones that can continue to make it this way. Will Project Sansar be for you? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe Project Sansar is the Mercedes of the virtual world platforms, and Second Life is the Toyota. Not everyone can afford a Mercedes, but that doesn’t mean that we stop driving or don’t buy a car just because we can’t afford a Mercedes.

There is a rich and varied technological world out there, and there is room for both Second Life and Project Sansar. If Second Life fails, it will not be because Linden Lab didn’t support it; it will be because the residents didn’t believe in it enough to keep it vital.

Don’t throttle back creating, don’t stand still and refuse to move forward out of fear that Project Sansar will eclipse Second Life. Don’t run around saying the sky is falling when in reality, it is just another star in the galaxy.

There are some wonderful blog posts about Second Life and Project Sansar. I’ve included links below:

Canary Beck: Are Second Life Residents Anxious About Project Sansar?

Inara Pey: The Sansar Summary

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media