Sansar at the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas

I’m a little late in reporting this, but Linden Lab is present at the Official Star Trek 2019 Convention in Las Vegas from now through to August 4th in Las Vegas. Lacie Linden posted a cute picture to her Twitter:

In addition to having a booth at the convention, Linden Lab is also bringing in various people associated with the Star Trek franchise into Sansar to meet with fans in VR! Check the Sansar Events page for more details on events today and tomorrow:

Sansar: LIVE from Star Trek Las Vegas, Day 4 is running from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time/Sansar Time tomorrow, August 4th:

Come hang out one-on-one with:
– Suzie Plakson (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, Enterprise)
– John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox from Star Trek: Enterprise)
– Jeff Combs (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and more)
– Casey Biggs (Damar on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
– Tim Russ (Commander Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager, and a prolific writer, producer, and Trekkie)

All coming to you LIVE from Star Trek Las Vegas – only in the Sansar Roddenberry Experiences! Ask questions, meet other fans, and dive even deeper into Star Trek history. Be a part of the live STLV action without even leaving your desk.

See you there! And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Bridge of the USS Enterprise and the Roddenberry Nexus exhibit in Sansar. Here’s a picture from the official convention website inviting fans attending STLV to come and experience the latter:

You will need to install the Sansar client software on your computer and create an account to attend these events. Here’s a guide on how to get started.

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UPDATED! Xaos Princess Checks Out Sansar

You might be surprised to hear that, amid all the doom and gloom over at High Fidelity, people are still pressing ahead with events. Just recently, DrFran hosted a pub trivia quiz in HiFi which I attended (I’m the one in the wizard’s hat):

Pub Quiz Night in High Fidelity

DrFran also hosts a conversational salon every Sunday where people gather to discuss a pre-set topic. The one I attended recently was on sex and gambling in virtual worlds, and it was a fabulous discussion. It’s due to hard-working people like DrFran that there is still a strong sense of community in High Fidelity.

However, there is no hiding the fact that High Fidelity has made a sharp pivot away from consumers towards the business market. Many HiFi users are looking at other social VR platforms such as Sansar. Well-known High Fidelity user Xaos Princess (whom I have profiled before on my blog) has recorded a video of her recent visit to Sansar, where she talks with Draxtor Despres and Theanine at 114 Harvest and then visits four of Theanine’s experiences: Synthwave, A House on the Hill, Stereopixel Arcade, and an in-progress, not-yet-public experience containing his photogrammetric scans of Chinese sculptures and virtual recreations of buildings and bridges he saw while he was living in China.

The video concludes with a point-by-point evaluation of Sansar, done on a interactive whiteboard in High Fidelity:

I noticed that the only thing that Xaos Princess didn’t like was the complete lack of in-world building tools, compared to High Fidelity. Personally, I don’t see this as much of a problem since everybody uses external content creation tools like Blender, Maya and 3ds Max anyway (even in High Fidelity, where she comes from).

Unfortunately, I can’t embed Xaos’ livestream (which was done using Periscope), but you can view it at this link. Please note that Xaos’ audio is very low and you will probably need to use headphones or earphones to hear what she is saying, although it does get better later on in the video. Also, the livestream video is three hours long! Despite this, I’d still encourage all users interested in social VR platforms to set aside the time to watch this; it’s always illuminating to get an “outsider’s” perspective on a platform you already know.

UPDATE Aug. 5th: Xaos Princess has now put a version of her Periscope video up on YouTube:

Note that this is actually episode two of a series titled Xaos Tours the Metaverse. Episode one, of course, was about High Fidelity, and it is available on YouTube:

By the way, Xaos also did a point-by-point evaluation of High Fidelity at the end of her tour, and she does not pull any punches:

It’s interesting to compare the two whiteboards. Xaos (who is obviously an expert at High Fidelity!) feels that HiFi is lacking in three areas: learning curve, gamification, and user concurrency (?!). I’m kind of surprised at the latter, but according to Xaos’ video, she gave it a red frowning face because of High Fidelity’s sudden shift in direction leading to doubt and insecurity among its users, which is understandable. Perhaps “user concurrency” would better be termed “level of usage”.

I look forward to future episodes of Xaos Tours the Metaverse!

How You Can Prepare for the Upcoming Switch to Avatar 2.0 in Sansar

As you probably already know, Sansar is upgrading its default, dressable human avatars to a new version soon. This update, called Avatar 2.0, means that existing human avatars and any items rigged for them will be discontinued. Earlier I wrote:

Linden Lab is working on the next version of the default human avatar in Sansar, dubbed Avatar 2.0, which should arrive sometime in August or September 2019. Unfortunately, first-edition avatars will be discontinued, and any items rigged for them (such as clothing, shoes, and hair) will break and not be useable by the next-generation avatars. However, clothing made using Marvelous Designer should still work with Avatar 2.0 avatars.

Here’s a FAQ by Linden Lab explaining all the upcoming changes in more detail, as well as an official blogpost. Inara Pey has also blogged extensively about Avatar 2.0 hereherehere and here.

Today, Linden Lab sent out more information about this upcoming major change to Sansar:

We’re just a month away from the official launch of Avatar 2.0, and we want to make sure creators like you have ample time to prepare.That’s why we’re releasing our Avatar 2.0 skeleton early – to give you all of August to optimize your content… Starting today, you’ll also be able to submit any avatar items you create against the new skeleton to the Sansar team for an official review. These include: full avatars, rigged clothing, hair, MD clothing, emotes, and accessories. 

You can download the new avatar reference files here. And here are step-by-step instructions on how to submit your created items to Linden Lab for review.

And, as a sneak peek of what we can expect with Avatar 2.0, here is a YouTube video (taken from a weekly Sansar Product Meetup livestream) that shows how you can adjust the facial features on the new human avatars:

This reminds me strongly of how you adjust your face in The Sims 4. I’m really looking forward to seeing this roll out!

More and More People Are Visiting Sansar, and I Couldn’t Be Happier

Ryan in Drax’s basement, telling the story of how he got banned (and then unbanned) from Second Life. I really like this picture that Drax took and posted to Twitter.

True confession time: I still feel like an idiot for throwing such a diva hissy fit when I was served with a 3-day ban from Second Life just before the Tilia Town Hall. It was not my proudest moment and I am deeply ashamed of myself, and I would once again like to apologize to the staff at Linden Lab. (You can read all about it here.)

But it also happens to be a good story, and who can resist telling a good story? I was telling people about it in Drax’s basement before we went Atlas Hopping on Saturday morning when Drax took this picture. You can actually watch the whole conversation here (starting at the 1:20 mark):

I haven’t been to Atlas Hopping in several months. In fact, I have been so busy covering other social VR platforms and virtual worlds, and playing with my new Oculus Quest, that I haven’t spent a lot of time in Sansar like I used to! In fact, I had been away so long that I had even forgotten how to use some of the control buttons in Sansar’s VR mode! That’s what happens when you try to cover too many virtual worlds in your blog.

I can’t believe that we are almost at 100 episodes of Atlas Hopping! (Yesterday’s was episode 98.) I want to congratulate Draxtor Despres (the hardest-working man in the metaverse!) for being the driving force to get this regular event started and to keep this going. I met many new people yesterday and I had so much fun!

And I have noticed something significant: more and more newcomers are checking out Sansar. Later that same day, I encountered a group of newbies sitting in a circle on the ground in Nya Alchemi’s medieval roleplay experience The Faire, having an intense philosophical discussion about avatars versus the people operating them, how avatars present themselves, and sexual harassment in virtual worlds (I’m the one wearing the angel wings in the photo below):

For over an hour I chatted with people from around the world (including Iraq and Syria), and again, I had a wonderful time! They were all people I had never seen in Sansar before.

There’s been a lot of discussion and debate on the official Sansar Discord server about the user concurrency statistics collected by Galen and Gindipple and how accurate they are. And the Sansar community manager, Galileo, told us that while he can’t share the internal figures from Linden Lab with us, he said they are definitely higher than Gindipple’s and Galen’s stats. And my observations in-world would agree with Galileo.

The Monstercat launch event was a massive success for Sansar. I don’t know how many people attended in total (I wasn’t paying much attention at the time, because that was the exact same day I was having my diva hissy fit), but I do not doubt that it was an significant milestone for Sansar, and it brought a lot of new people in.

And I have popped into the Sansar Social Hub regularly over the weekend, and it is always busy, even at 3:00 a.m.! Groups of avatars are chatting about technology, virtual worlds and many other topics.

More and more people are coming into Sansar and discovering it for themselves, and I couldn’t be happier. I think the future looks promising. And I want to congratulate Ebbe Altberg and his team at Linden Lab for making this happen. It’s been a fascinating journey for me to blog about Sansar from its opening day through to today, and I very much look forward to blogging about it in the future.

(And, according to my calculations, I have had one diva hissy fit per year, so I should be good now for another twelve months or so. I’ve been assured by Galileo and Lacie Linden that they have prepared puppy and penguin GIFs for immediate application the next time it happens!)

via GIPHY

Every blogger has his or her biases. My bias is that I have an abiding love of Linden Lab and their products, both Second Life and Sansar. It’s the reason I get so upset sometimes, because I care passionately about the company and its products. I’ll admit it, I am a raving fan. And Sansar was the whole reason I started this blog in the first place!

Things are most definitely looking promising for Sansar.