I heard through the grapevine that yesterday’s Sansar Product Meetup was to discuss future developments to Linden Lab’s social VR platform.
But no, I didn’t bother to come into Sansar for this meeting; I watched the hour-long Twitch livestream the next morning, coffee in hand. I am still on an extended, self-imposed break from Sansar, but I don’t think that watching a previously-recorded livestream (and blogging about it) is breaking that rule.
Here are a few of my notes from yesterday’s Sansar Product Meetup, regarding plans for the platform for 2020. Galileo, the Community Manager for Sansar, led the meeting, and Boden, SeanT, Lacie, Cinno, and a few other Linden Lab staff were also present (I didn’t catch everybody’s name). The audio on the Twitch stream at times was very uneven, and the sound cut out completely at one point, so I may have missed a few items in this report.
Any editorial comments in these notes are in italics.
Among the new features planned for the next few releases of the Sansar client:
- New emotes system. You will not have to go into the character editor to select emotes. You can use hotkeys to play emotes instead of selecting them from a menu.
- New starter avatar looks in the carousel, with more variety possible for first-time users.
- Twitch extensions (a new feature for streamers; I have no idea what this means).
- Scene-based animations (e.g. animations that are enacted when you enter a scene or world)
- Having items in your backpack change according to certain events and triggers.
- Improvements to moderation tools (internal use first, then eventually passing them on to end users).
- Group travel and group chat (by the end of next quarter).
- Improvements to the instance picker.
- User Interface improvements (Binah is working on this).
After announcements, Galileo opened the floor for questions from the audience in attendance at the Product Meetup. Items and issues that came up during this question and answer session included:
- Individual avatar volume controls are likely to come in the second quarter of 2020, as part of the roll-out of the UI redesign.
- Skin textures and body sliders: Linden Lab is looking at skin textures in the first quarter of 2020, and they hope to have this feature released sometime over the next couple of client updates. “The body sliders are further out, for sure, but skin textures are closer.” (Editorial note: I’ll believe it when I see it. My understanding from various sources is that most of the Sansar avatar team was laid off in October, which will significantly impact further avatar customization plans.)
- No planned changes to any income splits between creators and Linden Lab. (Editorial note: Again, no big surprises here. Some content creators are obviously still feeling cranky about the percentage LL takes when selling items on the Sansar Store, and cashing out profits.)
- Various people reported problems with the avatar files in Blender, which Linden Lab has not yet had an opportunity to look at.
- There are no plans for extending shader capabilites (and yes, there is still someone left on the shader team, despite rumours to the contrary). Linden Lab may bring him out to a future Product Meetup to answer questions.
Those are pretty much the highlights of the meeting, from what I can see. I’m glad that Linden Lab is still having regular Product Meetups, even though I still don’t expect to see any major new features showing up in any future releases in 2020. (The planned updates to the emote system are certainly very welcome, though.)
UPDATE Jan. 18th, 2020: As usual, Inara Pey has a much more detailed breakdown of what was discussed at this meeting. Thanks, Inara!