Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sansar: Second Life's next generation VR platform



Well finally I hear some tidbits with a reasonable level of certainty about the 'second coming' of Second Life.

Here is what is on the horizon for what us in SL1 (current SL) are calling SL2 (next generation of SL) but whose official working-title name is Sansar.

I will highlight what I found to be the major points revealed in no particular order of importance.

1 - Core Economic Model for Sansar
 "Rather than making most of its money renting land, Linden would make land cheaper, but charge taxes on users’ revenues from in-world businesses once they’ve succeeded. This could open up the site to new kinds of businesses, Altberg says. 
“Some businesses in Second Life may not have the same success in Sansar,” Altberg says."

So I immediately think of how people might try to game the 'that' system. People may purposely keep their level of success low so as to avoid taxation and instead just create multiple small instances of their business or via different alts. But Sansar might attack the total $ going in and out of a persons account as a barometer of their business success. But yes, to be able to run a small business and be subsidized by a temporary tax-exempt status may spur new types of ventures.

Nice that it will be easier to own land. Not nice in that there will be every tom-dick-and-harry opening up a business. More competition. Harder to turn a profit. But good that more people will be able to maybe have a home or an SL presence, say for just being creative as in an artistic sim, and have more control over its management ala similar to Estate Management tools of today.

2 - Expected Performance Increases 
"The next-gen Project Sansar can already run at 75 frames per second—a speed unachievable in Second Life. Linden plans to accelerate Project Sansar to 90 frames per second to sync with specifications expected for the Oculus Rift", Altberg says.
Well this will be great, as long as we don't also step up resource usage to a point where we are back to lagging down our experience. As in, we get faster FPS so lets wear more scripted objects; ets allow 200 avis per sim instead of 100, lets load in more textures, de-throttle TPs, etc....

...as implied in this direct excerpt:
Altberg says the company is looking to scale up on a number of fronts, including the size of events that can be held in Project Sansar, the number of avatars participating, and the amount of money users can make through their projects.

3 - When will Sansar be in Alpha?
"Linden plans to begin alpha testing Project Sansar toward the end of July (2015?), by inviting in handpicked, skilled creators eager to build something in the new virtual reality medium, Altberg says. These guests—who won’t be employees—will use each other’s games and other invented environments, trade feedback, and tweak their own work, he says."
Good idea to tap into people who create 'all the time' and where it is 'what they do' as opposed to employees who create from a viewpoint of 'imagining how creation should be done'.

 I envisioned the best way to kick-start Sansar would be to start out with irresistible entry-level-incentives....FREE stuff, high-quality builds...easy build-tools, affordable entry experiencel, in place social-constructs, an easy way to TP in between SL1 and SL2 (Sansar), and last but not least...irresistible shoes and hairs :)).


4 - When will normal users first taste Sansar?
"Within about a year, Linden will begin inviting ordinary users to explore the ecosystem, with a more public beta testing phase around the first half of next year, Altberg says. A version 1.0 might be ready by the end of 2016."
Well finally I/we have a ballpark timetable to prepare a transition or parallel SLing. 


5 - On the subject of SL1 continuing on:
“It’s still very popular and very successful, so we have no plans to discontinue it,” Altberg says. Second Life now hosts about 900,000 active users a month—a bit lower than its peak of about a million years ago.

6 - Migration between Sl1 and Sansar

"Linden plans to make it easy for Second Life denizens to migrate their virtual activities to Project Sansar. But the alternate virtual world will have new features, and will operate by somewhat different rules."
This is a very important step in the whole process. It is just comforting to know they are giving it consideration.

7 - Reemphasis SL's educational benefits

"For example, Linden wants users to be able to make an unlimited number of “copies” of profitable constructs they’ve created. If an entrepreneur builds a virtual chemistry lab for a college class, that lab could also be sold to other colleges that want to teach chemistry, Altberg says."
 8 - Easy tools for creators
"Competition within the virtual community might heat up in Project Sansar, because Linden wants to lower the barriers to entry for creators and entrepreneurs. The company is working on tools to make it easier to build something for advanced virtual reality hardware without being a professional developer."


To access the full article: ==> http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2015/06/25/second-life-creator-linden-lab-prepares-to-test-parallel-vr-universe/


8 comments:

  1. Below are a few Q & A from a very recent interview for additional insight into whats on the horizon for Sansar:

    Q. Project Sansar may enable users to have a master account with several personas under it, each of which could access a shared inventory and virtual currency balance. Could that be done for Second Life too?

    A.This is the way we’re currently thinking about structuring accounts for Project Sansar. Unfortunately, it’s probably not something that could be retro-fit onto SL.

    Q. Will there be something like Second Life’s Mainland in Project Sansar? Will there be a concept of contiguous land where separate land plots can be joined together to form vast spaces similar to mainland on Second Life? This will be important for vehicle-based environments.

    A. We’d like to give creators the ability to both create very large experiences and interconnect their creations with others’, and it’s likely that large public ‘hubs’ around themes, interests, and communities will arise. Especially early on, there will be some public shared spaces created by Linden Lab where creators can gather, but we’re currently not planning to create something directly parallel to SL’s Mainland.

    Q. Will the Oculus Rift be required for Project Sansar?

    A. No, experiences built on Project Sansar will be accessible across devices. PC and Oculus to start, eventually mobile devices as well.

    Q. Will people be able to sell items in Project Sansar, without having payment info on file? [copybot question]

    A. Payment info will be required to complete many kinds of transactions.

    Q. When you say "Sansar will open to folks in a few months" did you mean your hand-picked creators or public access?

    A. The very first alpha creators will be invited in this month, and we’ll expand from there as it makes sense to. We probably won’t open up to a large-scale beta before the end of the year.

    Q. How will the selection process work for Alpha Testers with Sansar. Will you have an application available or is the Lab going to just hand pick and/or approach specific existing residents/content creators in SL?

    A. The very first creators to be invited to the platform are being hand-picked and are people the team is familiar with, and who we know are skilled with creating in Maya. We will open an application process for future alpha and beta users and will let more people onto the platform as quickly as it makes sense to.

    Q. Does Sansar have a similar scripting architecture as SL? Or will that be quite different? Will Project Sansar use Mono-based LSL or Javascript?

    A. Project Sansar won’t use LSL, but will instead use C# as its scripting language.

    Q. Will our SL inventories be available in Sansar?
    A. No. Project Sansar won’t be 100% backward compatible with SL.

    Q. Will there be boating and flying in sansar?

    A. Sure, and much more!

    Q. Could Sansar eventually act as the platform for running or supporting Second Life in some capacity (he hinted at this at VWBPE in March)?

    A. We didn’t mean to imply that SL would be ‘ported’ to the Project Sansar platform - there are no plans for that. What we’d meant was that if someone wanted to create a virtual experience as large-scale and varied as all of SL today, they should be able to accomplish that with Project Sansar.


    Q. Will Project Sansar have third party Viewers, or just one official Viewer? Will Sansar offer plugins as an alternative to third party viewers?

    A. We’re not planning to allow third party viewers with an open source client at the start at least, but in the future, it may be possible for developers to contribute valuable tools like plugins that meet the specific needs of some users.

    Q. Will you involve existing TPV developers and teams to provide feedback and recommendations for the Project Sansar Viewer?

    A. Yes

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  2. Another interesting article sheds some more light on a few key fundamentals:

    1 - Sansar will be 13+

    2 - Free land to early adopters (if this means without having to have a premium account...this could be good...more people and bad...more opps for griefing)

    3 - Sansar is intended to run as a parallel universe and NOT as a sequel to Second Life

    Here is a link to the entire article: http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/83/feature/9902/Linden-Lab-Looks-to-the-Future-of-Online-Experiences.html

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  3. Variety.com talks about Sansar. There is some high-level philosophy disclosed in the article.

    "Like WordPress for VR

    But the most fundamental difference between Second Life and Project Sansar is a lot more conceptual: Second Life has always been first and foremost about Second Life itself. Sansar will be about individual VR experiences, powered by Linden Lab’s technology."

    http://variety.com/2015/digital/news/second-life-maker-linden-lab-wants-to-build-the-wordpress-of-virtual-reality-1201546110/

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  4. An opportunity for amputees to participate in a new program that appears to involve Second Life.

    TUCSON, Ariz. — Researchers believe delivering evidence-based support and education in a virtual environment could offer a comfortable transition for new amputees into functional society, as well as an accessible outlet for those who want to connect.

    http://www.healio.com/orthotics-prosthetics/news/online/%7B52e85e0a-ad3e-4de4-8dcf-50c22b63c363%7D/virtual-world-offers-support-second-life-to-those-with-disabilities

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  5. As part of Second Life’s 12th birthday celebrations, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg (aka Ebbe Linden in SL) was interviewed by Saffia Widdershins and Jo Yardley. You can watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj6DE5sCqUs and Inara Pey has written up a transcript
    https://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/Ask-the-CEO/td-p/2948995

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    Replies
    1. Inara Pey has written up a transcript at:

      http://modemworld.me/2015/06/27/sl12b-ebbe-altberg-on-second-life-sansar-transcript-and-video/#more-50689

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  6. GeekDad.com reveals a few more insights into Sansar by way of Ebbe.

    http://geekdad.com/2015/10/project-sansar/

    and Inara Pey offers some thoughts:

    http://modemworld.me/2015/10/06/geek-dad-discusses-project-sansar/

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    Replies
    1. an interesting note on the question of whether there will be "sex" in Sansar...this relates to how risque burlesque can be...

      "From the beginning,” says Altberg, “we’ll make sure things can be rated so that people who don’t want to see that content don’t have to. But at the same time, we don’t want to be imposing any sort of strict censorship on what people can and can not do. We want to make sure it’s healthy, that it’s legal, but otherwise not try to impose notions of right or wrong.” To me, that means virtual porn on day one, but you’ll have to seek it out."

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