My Cross-Posting Policy for RyanSchultz.com

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Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

Since I launched the Sansar Newsblog (now RyanSchultz.com) on July 31st, 2017, I’ve received a certain amount of negative feedback from certain quarters for cross-posting blogposts to other places, notably SLUniverse and the official Second Life user forums. Some people have accused me of grandstanding and shameless self-promotion!

This is a new blog with a small readership, and I may have been somewhat overzealous in cross-posting blogposts in an effort to promote the blog. If anyone has been offended by this, I do apologize. I think it’s time to set some policy on what I will (and won’t) do going forward with respect to cross-posting blogposts from RyanSchultz.com.

I will no longer cross-post RyanSchultz.com blogposts to any forum or group which is primarily about Second Life, unless it is about SL. Lesson learned! Put your torches, your tar and feathers, and your pitchforks away!

I will cross-post all RyanSchultz.com blogposts to the Facebook and Google+ groups specifically created for that purpose. (I do get a lot of traffic to the blog from Facebook.) People can choose whether or not to join those groups as they wish. I will also cross-post all Sansar-related items and selected non-Sansar items to the Sansar and 114 Harvest Facebook groups (Drax moderates the latter group and he decides what actually gets posted there).

I will cross-post selected RyanSchultz.com blogposts to the following eight Facebook groups:

I will cross-post selected RyanSchultz.com blogposts to the following four Google+ communities:

I will cross-post selected pictures from RyanSchultz.com to my Flickr feed, with a link back to the blogpost it was used in, and add Sansar-related pictures to the following four Flickr groups:

I will also cross-post all Sansar-related items to the #Sansar channel on the official Sansar Discord server, at least for the next twelve months, in order to promote the blog. I will also cross-post some blogposts about other virtual worlds and social VR apps to the #OffTopic channel, for at least the next twelve months. After a year I will reassess this policy and decide whether or not to continue. I do know that some people don’t like that I post about non-Sansar stuff on the Sansar Discord channels at all, but Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg has said he doesn’t mind, and I think that it fits in the #OffTopic channel. (It’s not unusual to talk about and compare features in the various virtual worlds in most user forums.) And the only person who has ever complained about me cross-posting Sansar-related blogposts on the official Sansar Discord channel is Gindipple, so I assume everybody else doesn’t really mind.

I will cross-post VRChat-related blogposts to various VRChat Discord channels, at least for the next twelve months. I am now on the VRChat Events Discord server, which is a great way to find out when regularly scheduled events take place on the platform! Much less traffic than the regular VRChat Discord server, which is like trying to drink from a firehose! (They have over 12,000 people signed on at any given time!)

I will also cross-post Sinespace-related blogposts to the Sinespace user forums and to the Sinespace Discord server, at least for the next twelve months. (I can’t seem to generate a link to join the Sinespace Discord server; ask on their user forums for the link to join.)

I will cross-post High Fidelity-related blogposts to the High Fidelity user forums, at least for the next twelve months.

I will cross-post Decentraland-related blogposts to the Decentraland chat server.

I will cross-post selected RyanSchultz.com blogposts to the following eight subReddits (I actually do get a surprising amount of traffic from Reddit, it’s usually second in referrals  after Facebook):

Those are all the places I usually cross-post. Hopefully, you’ll find some new places to explore using all these links!

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Easy Sansar Content Creation Using Microsoft Windows Paint 3D and Blender

Several months ago I wrote about using Microsoft Windows 10’s Paint 3D program to create content for Sansar. Using Paint 3D is so easy that a child could use it to create great-looking three-dimensional content! But unfortunately, there were some problems with importing linked objects from Paint 3D into Sansar, as well as with the huge size of the imported objects.

Draxtor Despres and Vassay have worked together to create this YouTube tutorial video which explains how to use the free Blender software to fix the problems in mesh content created using Paint 3D. Drax and Vassay used this workflow to create the fun and funky content you can see in Drax’s experience, called Meet the Draxies. It’s got a wonderful cartoon-like feeling to it, which is actually very easy to recreate!

Basically, there are six steps to using Blender to fix your Paint 3D-created mesh object:

  1. Import the FBX-format file you got from Paint 3D;
  2. Rescale the object (to fix any potential size problems in the object);
  3. Decimate each part of the object (to cut down on the number of polygons in your object);
  4. Set the normals of each part of the object using the Set From Faces feature;
  5. Create UVs for each part of the object using the automatic Smart UV Project feature;
  6. Select all the parts of your object and export as an FBX-format file.

This is an excellent tutorial video, which takes you through the workflow step-by-step. My only quibble with it is that Drax doesn’t give enough information about the all-important roughness and metalness maps, which you need to include so your Paint 3D-created mesh objects look the way you want them to in your experience. (Linden Lab recently released an update to the Sansar client software, so a lot of mesh objects created before the change now have an unnatural shininess to them.)

So here is a bit more information on the metalness and roughness maps. These are just PNG-format image files, which can be as small as 2×2 pixels in size. You can create them in PhotoShop or GIMP or any graphics program. They are essentially one of the 256 shades of grey between pure black and pure white. Here’s a diagram from OldVamp that shows what an object looks like when you change the metalness and the roughness maps:

Sansar Metalness and Roughness Maps Better

Most of the time, you are going to want to use a white roughness map, and a black metalness map (the ball in the bottom right corner of this diagram). If you want something really shiny, you are going to use a black roughness map and a white metalness map (the ball in the upper left corner of the diagram). You should only use a white metalness when you want a metal object. Here’s another example of roughness and metalness maps, using a brass object:

Sansar roughness metalness brass.png

And there you go!

Medhue’s Animated Animals in Sansar

Medhue, who is well-known in Second Life as a talented creator of animals for Zooby, has brought his animated elephant from SL to Sansar! He’s also brought over an animesh horse he is currently working on in SL. You can visit them at his testing experience in Sansar:

Medhue has told us that he is not going to put products up for sale in the Sansar Store, as his personal protest against what he considers to be the too-high commision fees charged by Linden Lab. However, he has said that he is willing to create tutorial videos for Sansar. He’s already posted ten videos for Sansar creators on his YouTube channel. You can also access Sansar kits, resources, and tutorials on his website.

A Weird Promotional Video for Mark Space

Mark Space is lauded in a very strange video by a YouTube user channel called BuzzStyle, promoting the company’s apartment decoration contest. Jaguar and Land Rover are among the many companies name-dropped in this video as having “cooperation agreements” with Mark Space (whatever that means).

In this promotional video, read from what appears to be a press release by a creepy computerized British male voice, Mark Space is referred to as “VR startup”. As I already noted in a previous blogpost, arranging flat images of furniture within 360-degree photographs is NOT virtual reality! Visit my apartment in Mark Space and see for yourself. That’s all there is to see right now, just 360-degree photographs. No actual 3D spaces.

Why people are investing in this virtual world start-up is a mystery to me. Again, as with Decentraland, it seems to come down to people jumping aboard when they hear the magic word “blockchain”. They’ve already raised a fair bit of cryptocurrency, according to this screen capture from their website:

Mark Space 20 Feb 2018.png

According to this page from their website, Mark Space has already raised over 8 million dollars (US):

Total Raised Mark Space 20 Feb 2018.png

And, unlike Decentraland, Mark Space actually has places you can visit now. But what they are currently offering is not terribly appealing. I don’t get it. I really don’t see what the attraction is here, why people are investing millions of dollars. Compared to what virtual worlds like Sansar, High Fidelity and even 14-year-old Second Life has to offer, this is a product of questionable utility. How are the trendy boutiques in the Mark Space demo any better than a fully-featured website using Shopify?

Mark Space is another blockchain-based virtual world to watch, from the sidelines, as it evolves over time. I wish them well, but like Decentraland, I predict a bumpy road ahead.