The obligatory ‘Sansar is here’ post

zen2a

As one of Second Life’s (very minor league) commentators, I feel I should be throwing my four penneth into the ring and saying something about the launch of Sansar on Monday 31st July. I’m not sure what exactly I should be saying, though.

(Actually, the first thing I should probably saying is that this wasn’t a launch, or, at least, it wasn’t a launch of a finished product: rather, this was the opening of the beta to the public.)

minimalisms-a
Visiting the ‘Minimalism’ exhibition.

Hmmm.  It’s quite pretty to look at: that can certainly be said. Light and shadows in particular feel an integral part of the visual experience where they have always felt ever-so-slightly ‘added on’ in SL – more of a clever trick than something that is just there. So that’s good.

I haven’t yet had a look at the building environment, but the ‘experiences’ available (you can create three of these for free from what I can make out; more than that need to be paid for: this is the way in which ‘land’ is free in Sansar) are detailed and well constructed.

The sound is pretty impressive also. I haven’t yet interacted with anyone in voice, but hearing people around me as I move my avatar, I’m struck by how their voices and the various sounds of the environment move from left to right in my headset and fade away as I put distance between myself and them. As with light and shadows, this just seems to be a much more solidly implemented element than its equivalent in SL.

first screenshot
The first minute of my Sansar. Nobody moves. Clearly they are stunned by my arrival.

Movement, however: now that’s another issue…

Before I list any grumbles, however, I should take a step back and remind myself once again that this is a product in beta. Were any of us to go back in time to the public beta of SL we would recognise very little of it and many of the features we take for granted today would not be present. For example, teleporting at will from one place to another was not a feature back then; teleporting could only be done at dedicated hubs dotted around the continents – and my understanding is you had to pay to use them.

I say, “my understanding is” because I wasn’t there. Those days were before even the time when I’d developed a healthy sneer at the very mention of this thing called ‘Second Life’ and would scoff, “What’s wrong with your first life?” thinking myself witty and clever (please note, this would only actually happen during conversations in my head).

Avatar creation 31-07-17a
31.07.2017. Birth of a new Huck.

I do sometimes wish I had been present earlier on in the life of SL. Those sound like heady, pioneering times. By the time I entered the metaverse in 2006 the discourse was all about the entry of business and virtual jobs. Even so, I still look back on those days with slightly misted-over eyes: the terrible casinos, the godawful camping spots, the abysmal flexi-prim outfits: good times, my friends; good times.

Noobs these days? They don’t know that they’re born.

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Taking in the NASA museum, one of the many Sansar ‘experiences’ on offer.

So we should probably take it easy on Sansar’s shortcomings. Yes, the movement is fiddly and jerky. No, you can’t fly. Yes, the camera controls are extremely limited (I almost wept at the absence of lens zoom, I’ll admit it). Interaction with objects boils pretty much down to seeing what happens when you bump into them (although this is another thing done way better than it was ever managed in SL), so you can’t right click a chair, for example, and sit on it. It’s difficult to see what someone’s name is (though there is always that tried and tested method of ‘asking them’ to fall back on). And the clothing available is both limited and rather shockingly expensive (many of the items I looked at in the store were about ten times what their equivalents would be in SL). Once the market establishes itself, however, I suspect both of those issues will be corrected.

I’m not going to bleat on about these things, because I know that Sansar will grow and evolve beyond what it is today, just as SL had grown and evolved even by the time I entered it. Now is not the time to wish for things that aren’t in this new world; now is the time to sit back and relish learning about and being part of something brand new.

So stop reading this and go be part of it*.

*If, that is, you have a PC with the rather high spec required.

Since you’re here…
Why not take a look at my novels? Many of them are set in and around Second Life® or a similar virtual world, and most are free to read if you choose the Issuu option. If you would like to buy an e-copy of one of my novels, however, the Kindle and ePub versions are priced very low. In fact, my first SL novel, AFK, can be downloaded in Kindle, ePub and PDF format for free (see the link at the top-right of this page). Enjoy!

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9 comments

  1. I must say i’m strongly against the idea that Sansar is for SL users. The company is the same, they are trying to target SL creators into it, but it has nothing to do.
    Sure is a beta, sure the installation and learning curve to access it is much better then SL, the creation screen is also straight forward, the content obviously is very limited but.
    It takes forever (if succeeded as my 1st experience was taking more then 10 min to load i had to quit the viewer) to enter an experience, one of LL ones took me like 8 minutes to enter.
    The interface is well done but all points that they did mainly for 3d users and tried to sample and fit it for keyboard users at rush.
    The graphics can be pretty neat for users with 3 or older year’s desktop computers but they are nothing to be breathless about, even in Sl you can get that immersion and level of detail and beauty and my rig is at least 2 years old by now.
    Camera movement is a mess from the desktop point of view, i do hope that will change as they realize that Sansar needs to point first and foremost to desktop users then 3d ones or the stop trying to attract the SL user base altogether.
    Yes i is on its early stages but LL must say it now loud and clear, is not for 2d, is for 3d, is being developed with that goal in mind altogether and to say otherwise, to try to captivate the regular SL user base into it is only going to be deceptive at best and a loss for the company.

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  2. The lack of Linux support makes Sansar inaccesable for me. The lack of a consecutive world makes it undesirable. The whole concept of unconnected experiences renders it as useless.
    Only positive thing about Sansar is that the lab clued up in at least one requirement: Seems like “real” names with first and last names are back. So new resis wlll the treated like real adult human beings. Cool.

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  3. Sounds almost tragic to me, Huck. This lost my interest the moment you mentioned no zoom. If no zoom, I would bet no wind light. No wind light and no zoom, what is the point in photography at all in a virtual environment. In addition, no report that I have read yet seems to indicate any clue as to if Flickr is integrated. With none of this going for it, I think the Romanis are waiting this one out for further development. I do love the way that some of the photos I have seen hint at the ability to make things appear all the more realistic. Down the road this might offer something for me. For now, it’s just a case of if they shut down SL, maybe we will go. Otherwise, several discussions on, I think Ally and I will stay in SL. Thanks for all of your insights, brother!

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