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Friday, August 4, 2017

Sansar goes into open beta - Lacy Muircastle reporting...



Any opinions stated in this article are mine and not that of the owners and publishers of the SL Enquirer.

Are those of us who enjoy dabbling in virtual worlds, with virtual lives and experiences just suckers for virtually nothing?


Virtual life is an escape from reality is it not?  It’s a way of taking your dreams and making something of them.  It’s about socialisation in an increasingly isolating real world.

More and more of us work from home these days, which means that more and more of us will want to find ways of integrating into society in alternative forms.  Enter Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other social media applications.  They serve the purpose of keeping us connected, but I don’t believe that it’s the same as socialising.  Before the appearance of social media, there was Second Life.


I read an article which said that SL died when social media hit the scene.  Maybe it stalled, but it didn’t die.  Second Life is very much alive and well.  The fluidity of those who are resident is a constant, but it continues to offer the platform to be who you want to be and to be able to do what you want to do.



All the world’s a stage, and that goes for virtual worlds too.  Linden Lab, the company behind the virtual world Second Life, launched its alternative platform Sansar into open beta on the 31 July 2017.  This iteration of a virtual world or should that be worlds is built for the VR era. VR as in affixing a headset to your face…  Supposedly the much vaunted Sansar takes a new approach to virtual worlds.


Whereas Second Life was built as one single world, Sansar’s architecture is more like a platform. On it, “creators” can host virtual worlds and experiences for others to visit.


The creations are not placed in one continuous virtual space; instead, they are individual experiences which can be accessed by browsing the Atlas. Each experience or virtual world in Sansar is also its own entry point into the platform.


Linden Lab’s business model for Sansar is to let people visit worlds on the platform for free, but charge creators who want to host more than three experiences (virtual worlds).  Creators too will have mechanisms available to “sell, rent, or charge for access” to earn from their creations. Though still in Beta, Linden Lab is already offering paid tiers for hosted experiences starting at $10/month for five hosted experiences.
That’s a significant shift from Second Life’s business model where users rent a virtual real estate in the virtual world, allowing them to build in that area of the map.


The main difference between the way Sansar will function versus how Second Life operates will be in how Sansar makes its money. In Second Life, the price of a sim tended to be far too pricey, running users more than $100 per month for a full-sized sim space, while sales on the Marketplace and in-world see very little tax. With Sansar, Linden Lab plans to flip this model – allowing users to acquire space at a more reasonable price and taking more of a cut for user sales.


In previous articles, Linden Lab CEO, Ebbe Altberg described Sansar as a bit like WordPress for virtual reality with the goal to make creation easy and for spaces to gain followings of their own. Platforms like Sansar are trending towards the future of VR – where virtual reality isn’t just for gameplay, but for social interaction and experiences. But… That must still be some way down the line.  Yes, I know it’s still in Beta, which means if you thought you would be getting the endless social VR experiences Linden Lab touted at the outset of the project you'd have to wait a little longer.


I have downloaded Sansar and have been in to see it for myself. It was an excruciating experience in frustration.  I checked that my computer could handle the download and that I had enough bandwidth, but wow, what a total pain in the neck the process was.  But it took many; many goes before it worked.
Eventually, I managed to log in to one of the Sansar Studio experiences (in desktop mode.  I don’t own a headset,) but then what.  I’m not a gamer, so I didn’t instinctively know how to look around, walk around, etc.  Thankfully there was someone there who helped me find my feet.

So for those of you going in to explore Sansar, I’ve included the control instructions (desktop mode) from their help page.  Good luck and have fun.

Controls for visiting an experience:

Avatar controls

Use these controls to move your avatar in desktop mode:
Arrow keys: Move your avatar forward, backwards, left, and right.
WASD: Move your avatar forward, backwards, left, and right.
F3: Toggle between first person and third person view.
Use these controls to move your avatar in desktop mode only:
Hold CTRL: Select a teleport destination. 
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.

Camera controls

Use these controls to control camera movement in desktop mode:

Hold the right mouse button + drag: Rotate camera to look around the environment.
F4: Enter free camera mode when not using a VR headset.
Arrow keys: Move camera forward, backwards, left, and right (free-camera mode).
WASD: Move camera forward, backwards, left, and right (free-camera mode).
E, C: Move the camera up and down.
NUMPAD+: Increase camera movement speed.
NUMPAD-: Decrease camera movement speed.
F3: Exit free camera mode.
Note: An extended keyboard's numeric keypad is needed for the above NUMPAD (numeric keypad) shortcuts to increase/decrease camera movement speed. It won't work on a tenkeyless or other small-form-factor keyboard. An add-on USB numeric keypad should work.

Chat controls

Use these controls with text on the Chat app in desktop mode:

CTRL + X: Cut text.
CTRL + C: Copy text.
CTRL + V: Paste text.
CTRL + A: Select all text.

Controls for edit mode

Camera Controls

Use these controls when editing a scene in desktop mode:

Arrow keys: Move the camera forward, backwards, left, and right.
W, A, S, D: Move the camera forward, backwards, left, and right.
E, C: Move the camera up and down.
NUMPAD+ and NUMPAD-: Increase and decrease camera speed.
Hold left mouse button and drag: Move the camera left and right.
Hold right mouse button and drag: Rotate the camera up, down, left, and right.
F1: Toggle VR mode.

Action buttons

Use these controls when editing objects placed in a scene:

CTRL + Z: Undo
CTRL + Y: Redo
CTRL + D: Duplicate
Delete button: Delete
Controls for avatar customization
Action buttons
Use these controls when editing objects placed in a scene:
CTRL + Z: Undo

CTRL + Y: Redo
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