It went live earlier today, let's take a look:
Ten observations, roughly in the order of viewing:
- Very little new is revealed: The vast majority of scenes are drawn from assets depicted in screenshots that were published months ago.
- Graphics are good, if not great: Unless I missed a convincing money shot, Sansar's proprietary 3D engine looks quite decent, roughly on par with the state of the consumer art, but doesn't pop with anything that suggests a major leap forward. Speaking of which:
- "Something is coming... something revolutionary. And it's unlike anything the world has ever seen.": Gross usage of Silicon Valley hyperbole, especially coming from the creators of Second Life, which is very much something like Sansar the world has already seen. In fact, I don't think the trailer shows a single thing not already evidenced in Second Life or another virtual world. Speaking of which:
- Those avatars though. OMG, those avatars: This is the first extended glimpse of Sansar avatars we've seen, and I have to say, they're rubbery, generic, eerie. In fact, they distinctly remind me of Blue Mars avatars from literally seven years ago.
- "SAN-sar". That's the pronunciation we're going with, really, with the emphasis on "san"? Not a more natural-sounding (at least to American ears) uninflected pronunciation? OK then.
- Great physics, though: If objects crash like they do at :23 on a consistent basis, color me impressed.
- Old-school, SL-style object position editor! See below! With prims in the UI, no less. Love the nostalgic nod to SL's user interface in the actual user experience. (One of the few aspects of the SL UX that was relatively intuitive.)
But wait, there's more:
This social VR doesn't actually show much that's social: Avatars stand near together and sometimes speak (without making eye contact), but there's not much we'd typically call "social" -- no dancing, or hugging, playing games together, etc. etc. Which suggests those aspects don't yet exist yet, or Linden Lab is confident with telling but not showing.
"Sansar is going to change the way we live our virtual lives": Again with the unearned hyperbole. Facebook didn't start talking about connecting the entire world until many years after launch, and the social network was well on its way to doing just that.
- Impressive lip sync. Those avatars though. I just can't with it the zombie eyes above a perfectly in-sync mouth.
- Not a single mention of Second Life. So to the uninitiated consumer who's never used Second Life in recent years (roughly 99% of the potential audience), there's a lot of promises of greatness without anything to back them up. Second Life was (is) great for a number of narrow but important use cases, so why not acknowledge that success, rather than pretending it never existed?
I guess that's actually 11 observations, but I'm sure readers can come up with at least 11 more.