Saturday 21 November 2015

The Lab Chat First Show ~ Pointers

Photograph by Torley Linden

On 19th November, 2015, The Lab Chat hosted its first show with Jo Yardley and Saffia Widdershins. A total of 46 questions were asked in the forum. Here are a few pointers on:

  1. Land Pricing and Prim count
  2. Attracting new users
  3. Gateways Program
  4. Marketplace Beta
  5. Structure of Sansar
  6. Abandoned Land
  7. Content Creators and the skill set required
  8. Programming Language
  9. Directory tools
  10. Reflection and Mirrors
  11. Hypergrid or not
  12. Infringement
  13. Transition from SL to Sansar
  14. Voice and Text conversion
  15. Persona
  16. Infringement
  17. Social Community
  18. Sansar and Oculus Rift
More is explained here:

Land Pricing and Prims
According to Ebbe, (and as we know it), maintaining server costs are too expensive. If they make land cheaper, they would have to make money in other ways to strike out a balance between the two. Although the land set up fees has just been reduced, SL rates won't be any cheaper. However, in Sansar we can expect lower land prices with the opportunity of doubt if lowering prices would increase the volume. Hence, he is not clear about the ways to recover from the reduction. There might be different configuration of land packages for both platforms, SL and Sansar in future.

Attracting New Users
In the past few months, SL is doing ad campaigns for Target customers using themed landing pages, PR, subscription emails (if a person has a viewer and has not logged in for a while). The conversion rates have increased over time. This has helped to track users behavior on the basic to clicks and virtual footsteps. Learning and welcome island have been modernized to give the new users better learning experience and are better than private welcome islands. For Sansar, the slurls  will help the new prospective users to have an experience straight from their web pages rather than following the route of registration. This project is at the moment still in developing along with avi testing.

Gateways Program
These programs would be introduced in Sansar making it possible for creators to attract their own audience. Improvements in API are being made so that they can work with people who can attract meaningful number of users per week. In the start they are not aiming for 1000's of getaways, However, they are inviting a few content users who can bring in new users. Each Gateway program will be an experience for users. Experience meaning, fantasy worlds, role playing worlds,Jo Yardley' Berlin, community like Brazil, India etc.

Marketplace beta
Improvements in market place are in beta stage (still in trial and error). Soon the relevance in search will be optimized. A new search engine is being used so that there can be an addition of more categories and the relevant search works better. The Feedback Process will be elaborated by Pete Linden on a later date.

Structure of Second Life and Sansar
There are separate teams for product, design, engineering. Sometimes the teams come together for a meeting for some products like the economy and compliance work. The move from Second Life to Sansar might have a cannibalization effect someday; so, Ebbe wants Sansar to the VR which is better in content and experience that people will move to eventually. To replicate Second Life, it will take a lot of time. Hence, the Labs gives the opportunity to choose. For better experience the Lab is working with architectural firms and museums; work with its primary customers who are the content creators (inviting a handful for now) to bring in value. By end of 2016, Sansar would open its doors.

Would it be a Hypergrid?
One may not have the option to jump to different platforms with the same identity. However, there will an interconnected web that would map the experiences where content creators can collaborate with others to create a single and vast experience like representing a country. Sansar would me more than what SL offers in terms of being successful. Although, Ebbe Linden says that, success is a relative word and means different for different person. He says that at the moment success in SL can mostly seen by people selling content or in land arbitrage; with Sansar it will also be with experience.

Abandoned Land
There will be no consolidation, auto-return or any major shifting of people for Abandoned Land.

Encourage Content Creators
Linden Lab will give more power and control to content creators. They will be their primary customers in Sansar; unlike in Second Life where content creators and users are both taken as primary customers. Any content creator who can acquire and retain users with a good data analytic will be encouraged.

Programming Language
Linden Scripting Language or LSL would not be used as is now in SL. Sansar could support more than one language in future. This depends on its use and performance. Programs like C-Sharp, Visual Studio would be commonly used along with mesh.

Any Tools like Steam?
For Sansar there will be a directory to collect the right type of meta data to enable search and related links in future. They are working on external search engine so that each experience has its own landing page which may give the creators the function to edit them in future.

Mirrors and Reflection on Water
The Lab is rewriting the rendering engine because the flexibility may be constrained in future within the first quarter. The new rendering engine will develop a smooth functioning on windows and other platforms. In future other aspects like atmosphere etc will be added to this engine. Reflections may be a possibility however mirrors pose a far greater challenge.

Content and infringement in Trademarks, copy rights etc will be monitored in Sansar the same way as it has been done in Second Life. There will be no significant changes.

Basic Skill set needed
C-sharp and mesh skills will help in quickly to create. Content creators have a choice to stay, leave or live in both platforms.

The move over
There will be a choice offered to Second Life users to move to Sansar or not or may be play in both worlds. The transition  will be slow until new economy gets going. Hence, there might be (yet to come up) an unique package for SL users who are moving to Sansar and not get hit with full costs if they choose to live in both worlds.

Voice and Text Conversion
Ebbe would get a plugin for voice to text  and vice versa conversion from the available tools in the market for Sansar.

Social Community
Sansar would see a social community in future where the comunity head may me able to send texts and emails to the whole community users. The large communities will be encouraged and entertained to have their experiences established.

Each experience in Sansar may have different personas by the same user without having to create an alt avatar. Personas would help the content creators build in a better experience for others. It would also help a person the tiresome process of logging in and logging out every time. However, it will not be possible for all the personas to be logged in at the same time.

Sansar and Oculus Rift
The Labs are working closely with Oculus hardware for smooth and better experience. Content Creators in Sansar will be given a guided tour in understanding which content are rendered in which device. Sansar will be best suited for PC. The count on polygons for each content determines which device can be used to render it. For contents that are within 50,000 polygons count would be rendered by Oculus. Higher number of polygons in a content can be rendered by PC and lower number of polygons can be rendered by Mobile VR. Hence, PC will render all > Oculus will render a subset of PC > Mobile VR  will render a subset of Oculus > Gear VR will render a subset of Mobile VR> cardboard will render a subset of Gear VR. It can also been seen that number of PC users are far less than the number of Mobile VR. According to Ebbe, people would want to access more in Mobile VR in future with the introduction of platforms like Android and iOS. Until the time that Mobile VR can handle higher FPS (Frames per second), content creators will have a constraint on the number of polygons per content rendered.

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