So, last month the Lab Chat series had started back up, and Ebbe Linden had opened the floodgate of questions that were burning holes in our brains. Of course, there were a lot of questions regarding the future of Second Life and about the development of Project Bento, but there were also some great suggestions and ideas brought up as well.
One of the topics that we couldn’t avoid, honestly, was anything Project Sansar. Here are some key ones that I thought were incredibly helpful towards giving perspective.
“Is Sansar a place to “live” or more of a day trip amusement park?”
Ebbe: “I think the answer is yes. There are parts of SL where people live and others where you go for amusement”
“Can you please clarify how Avatars will function throughout Project Sansar? You stated that Experiences in Sansar would dictate how your character/avatar looked in an experience. Does this mean Users won’t have their own personally crafted avatars from one experience to the next?”
Ebbe: “I think we have two ends of the spectrum. I will have my own avi, places I can go as myself, like a nightclub or park. it makes sense for me to be who I am……but other experiences, such as a space experience, where I’m supposed to be an astronaut….some places you can be yourself, others the creator will dictate what you can look like….there’s an interesting question there – how much of my body can I look like while in their experience avi. Will I still have my same face? it depends on the range….I think it will be two parts – I will look like myself or the creator will decide what I will look like.”
“How will it work when you arrive? Will you get a message to change, or will the change happen automatically?”
Ebbe: “it may depend on the creator – they might let you choose one of 5 types of looks…..it will be up to the creator, everyone can look the same, or there can be choices. the creators will have the control of what you look like in that experience…..there may be some with flexibility, where the creator will let you look like yourself, but want you to wear certain clothing style…yes, that could be an option a creator could decide to use, to let people buy an outfit or wear the one provided.”
My general understanding is that these “experiences, in a sense, would enable more of a roleplay feel. While in spirit it’s much like Second Life where there’s a ton of variety in what you can experience, Project Sansar sounds more and more like it is immersive in a gaming sense. Ebbe also went to point out that the initial avatars would not be as flexible with the ability to customize them, and would start out as “bipedal humanoids”. It also sounds like they’re having a tough time ironing out how these experiences would work as far as each “experience” requiring visitors to maintain appearances to suit the themes.
Another thing to note is that Ebbe pointed out that clothing would be different in the sense that the mesh would be made to fit different shapes, as opposed to having one item that comes in multiple sizes, like our rigged mesh. I’m not sure if this means it would be more like Fitmesh, but doing away with standard sizing may be a blessing from a creating standpoint. He also pointed out that some of your inventory will be attached to an experience (for the sake of understanding, let’s call an experience a themed sim) so you would be able to access it while on that sim. But there will also be an overall/general inventory you’d be able to access as well.
With the approach surrounding the “experiences”, that also means that it would be a more refined, sophisticated approach to the gaming potential Sansar has. Roleplay enthusiast might find this especially appealing, as this seems to cater most to them.
For those who are worried that “all hands are on deck” for Sansar needn’t- Ebbe confirmed that there will be a huge surge in the team size in the coming months to focus on Sansar, which will free up more resources for Second Life as well. There are items in the works such as improving the terrain in Second Life and improving the processing speed for credit processing. The latter would be great news for business owners. However, Ebbe did remind everyone that Paypal’s processing time can’t be helped, as it’s their security measures.
I had posed questions to Ebbe surrounding the potential for businesses in Sansar and whether or not there will be improvements in Second Life that would enable more ease for the business owners there. While he didn’t elaborate much on Second Life, he did point out that business owners would find less issues with opening and running a business in Sansar- I’m assuming this is due to a lot of kinks being avoided that tripped some folks up in Second Life. But Ebbe also stated that they actively seek out the input of established businesses to see what would work best for them in Sansar, so they can ensure ease of use.
It also seems like these “experiences” could lend to a lot of potential from an educational point of view, as there would be the ability to have a completely immersive educational setup as well.
Overall, it was clear that not only is Second Life continuously being improved, Sansar is going to be a very in-depth platform to also work with. While it will be familiar in a lot of ways, Sansar will also be a totally new and different approach to our virtual reality concepts so far. I don’t see people on SL flocking to Sansar and abandoning SL, but I do see how this could be a lot of potential for more intricate things that, tech wise, are not feasible in SL. Also, this is going to bust open an entirely new group of users that seek out such in-depth gaming experiences.
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