Sansar Creator Interview: Agustine

Agustine's Horse Carousel in Ryan's Garden 2 Sansar 26 July 2017

Tucked away in a corner of the Ryan’s Garden experience in Sansar is my favourite Sansar creation to date: a rotating musical horse carousel.  You have to wander a little bit into the forest to find it (hint: listen for the sound of the calliope).  The creator, a Sansar user by the name of Agustine, has been a literal one-man object-making army since he was invited into the Sansar closed beta in December 2016 (the same time I started). He has no less than 250 items he created in the Sansar Store already, anything and everything from a medieval style guillotine to a shiny red disco dance floor!   (Here’s a listing sorted by price, with the many freebies he offers listed first.  Grab a kickable football or beach ball!)

One of the many regular features I plan for the Sansar Newsblog is a creator interview series, where I ask questions of the many creators who have already been attracted to Linden Lab’s new virtual world.  And the first interview in this series is with my friend Agustine.  (A second interview with Maxwell Graf will be published tomorrow sometime.)

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background, and how did you get started making and selling objects for virtual worlds?

Howdy Ryan, I’m currently 47 years of age and can tell you that my first dabbling of art started at age 7, doing simple 2-dimensional real life still art. It was not until college years when I really found a big interest in computers and 3D graphics, but I was majoring humanities so I switched to a major in Microcomputer Graphics Applications. At that same time, I got into game modding with UnrealEngine and I created a basic western-themed game named “LawDogs Mod”. I am impressed today that people still download that old game, and I feel perhaps maybe should make a sequel.

It was not until about 2005 when a German artist friend of mine told me about Second Life. He kept insisting that I try it, but I thought it was kinda absurd living a fantasy life online. After several tries, my friend finally won and he got me hooked into virtual worlds. Now that Sansar is here, I continue that same path of 3D content creation for the community and I can’t believe how far I’ve come along doing this.

I understand that you are building a Western themed experience in Sansar. Can you tell me more about that project, and what challenges have you faced making it?

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Though I have a few experiences in the plans, my main one is a western themed experience that I am slowly developing on my own. At this early beta stage of Sansar it’s been very difficult to fully take advantage of common features to give the experience the life it needs, things such as smoothly animated props, animated water, and interactive props are few of those challenges, but considering the progress the team at Sansar has made, the future is looking bright for this project. (Ryan’s note: Agustine’s Western experience is not yet published in the Sansar Atlas, and therefore not yet accessible to the public.  The pictures you see here were given to me by Agustine.)

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Where do you draw your inspiration for making virtual objects? For example, what was your inspiration and what was the process you followed in creating your wonderful horse carousel?

Old western history and art and spaghetti western movie classics have been the primary motivation and inspiration which drive to most of the 3D artwork I do, but I also have a great interest in gothic and Victorian art for its elegant beauty.

My horse carousel project all started about February when a few people were requesting one. At first, I really didn’t find the motivation to make one until I got a few more requests. By then, I took the liberty to research classic old time horse carousels and started sketching, jotting, and brainstorming how I wanted mine. However, there was one challenge that I could not solve and that was the horse itself. Organic modelling such as humans and animals is not my speciality, so it took some time till I finally found a candidate to fill that void. It still needs a very smooth keyframe animation, but I know that feature soon will be added to Sansar. Also, sometime down the road avatars in Sansar will be able to ride on that carousel, which will make the experience extremely dynamic.

(Ryan’s note: I cannot wait for better keyframe animations to come!  My carousel definitely has a little hiccup in its current rotation script LOL!)

What advice would you give to beginning content creators in Sansar?

To those of you finding great interest in 3D art creation, do your homework and take your time and do basic, easy steps in learning 3D/2D graphics. If you’re on a budget and cannot afford premium software, try taking advantage of the very well-received community-made graphics design software out there. (Ryan’s note: for example, Blender and Gimp.) Don’t be afraid to ask the more experienced users on the Sansar forum for tips, assistance and help. That’s why we are here.. until then friends, Happy Atlas surfing!

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Scene of the Day: Felsenmeer

Felsenmeer by Silas Merlin Screenshot 5 August 2017

This panoramic scene is a screenshot from Draxtor Despres’s video of our Atlas Hopping adventure yesterday afternoon (which I highly recommend you watch if you missed Drax’s live stream of the event). I am standing on a hilltop, looking out over the wide expanse of countryside. This experience is by French artist Silas Merlin, and it is called Felsenmeer (German for “sea of rocks”). Silas has a large number of his artistic works on display in this experience, and it is so wonderful to be able to walk around and look at his art in this beautiful environment. Silas also has a number of his artworks and creations listed for sale in the Sansar Store, that you can purchase and install in your own experiences.

Linden Lab Staff Talk About Sansar

What I’m focusing in on now is, I need performance, I need social, I need community, I need commerce. So all these things are high, high up on my roadmap.

— Bjorn Laurin, Linden Lab’s Vice-President of Product

I pulled out the quote above from a must-read blog post by Inara Pey summarizing in-world discussions Linden Lab staff had with Second Life users prior to the launch of the open creator beta of Sansar. I must have missed these sessions (were they part of the recent 14th-anniversary SL celebrations?), so I am really glad that Inara went to all the trouble of writing and organizing this post (she even went to the trouble of transcribing audio clips!). Anybody who still has questions about where Linden Lab is going with Sansar absolutely has to go and read Inara’s post. Go! Read it now! I’ll still be here when you get back 🙂

Avatar and Camera Controls for Desktop Users of Sansar

One of the common misconceptions about Sansar is that is designed only for users in virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Linden Lab has drawn up a very complete list of keyboard shortcuts for users in desktop (non-VR) mode.  I’m going to mention just a few of them here, and I hope that they will be helpful to those users who may be feeling frustrated in navigating Sansar on the computer desktop.

Moving your avatar around on the desktop (non-VR):

  • Arrow keys: Move your avatar forward, backward, left, and right.
  • WASD: Move your avatar forward, backward, left, and right.
  • F3: Toggle between first person and third person view (Note: you might have to press your F Lock key, usually located next to your F12 key on your keyboard, before you can use F3.  It took me literally weeks to figure this out!)
  • Hold the CTRL button: Select a teleport destination. A blue circle will appear. 
  • Click the left mouse button while holding CTRL: Teleports your avatar to the selected location.
  • Scroll the middle mouse button while holding CTRL (prior to teleporting): Choose the direction your avatar faces upon completing the teleport.

Moving your camera (viewpoint) around on the desktop (non-VR):

  • Hold the right mouse button + drag: Rotate the camera to look around the environment.
  • F4: Enter free camera mode when not using a VR headset (Note: you might have to press your F Lock key, usually located next to your F12 key on your keyboard, before you can use F4.  Like I said, it took me weeks to figure this out!)
    • Arrow keys: Move camera forward, backward, left, and right (free-camera mode).
    • WASD: Move camera forward, backward, left, and right (free-camera mode).
    • E, C: Move camera up and down (very handy!)
    • + (Plus Sign) on the NUMERIC keypad: Increase the camera movement speed.
    • – (Minus Sign) on the NUMERIC keypad: Decrease the camera movement speed.
    • F3: Exit free camera mode.

And an Extra Tip:

  • Hold down the right mouse button to smooth out the camera motion while walking using the arrow keys or WASD (this tip came courtesy of Sansar user Sin). If you are holding down the right mouse button while you use the up arrow key (or the W key) to move forward, you can then use the mouse to turn your avatar much more gently than the default snap 45-degree turns.

Strawberry Singh (who herself is a desktop, non-VR user of Sansar) has made a very useful short video tutorial on the available desktop avatar and camera controls.  The video I included below is just one part of an extremely comprehensive introduction to Sansar which I can heartily recommend to newbies.  This six-minute video is probably the most painless introduction to Sansar desktop commands you can find anywhere: