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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

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Maxwell Graf

Considering that it is technically an early alpha, with about 80% of the features and functionality (that I want) not implemented yet, making any kind of impression at this point should be limited to evaluation of what is actually there, unless of course you are trying to drum up some scrolling page time, in which case we can wax poetic for days about how sansar is missing the giant _______ (insert missing critical thing here) that will make them succeed, damning them to blue mars hell. That critical thing could be the social aspect (which is a lot stronger than is mentioned here), the lack of terrain tools, the lack of scripting capabilities, the lack of having an in world store, the lack of avatar customization....the list goes on.

I understand Jeremy's first impression; Back in September of 2016 when I began the beta there were 3 people there. Months later, when there were a few hundred, even when you did manage to run into an avatar somewhere they were often afk working on something. Secret NDA beta tests are a lonely business and blue mars, cloud party, space, high fidelity...none of them are/were any different. It was rare to find a talking, active human and when you did you often spent time with them, glad simply to not be alone. Not sure why this is being focused on, it's sortof a given.

Instead, we could focus on the legitimate aspects of what they have put in place so far and evaluate that based on its merits. In doing so, what you will most likely conclude is that the lab have come up with a sincerely robust foundation for a new type of virtual world with a focus on social elements and some pretty stable VR options if desktop is not your thing. It is not meant to be a replacement for SL and never was. It is stable, performs well even on older machines with mediocre bandwidth and aside from initial long load times for some scenes (a reflection on the builders, not the lab) the frame rates for desktop are healthy, if not strong, even with a scene full of avatars. The render shaders are not perfect, but those are less than 2 weeks old. Yes, the movement is pretty bad, no it will not remain so. Yes, there is no adult content allowed, no, it will not remain so. And so on.

Bottom line: It is a pretty strong start for them especially considering where they are and performance on opening day - a far cry better than opening day in several of the other virtual platforms out there. It is not an attempt to get you to sell your mainland parcel and move. It's going to take a while to get a full feature set running, but pretty much anything you can imagine should be there has been mentioned by the NDA user group and has been surreptitiously put on the to-do list for later.

Another aspect to consider when weighing up any of these virtual world startups is that in 2003 very few people really had any idea what SL - or any virtual world - was supposed to be. This is not 2003, and every single person visiting there has some pre-existing expectation of what it is supposed to be, and most of those expectations are unique.

Give it time. They may not take 3-4 years to get up to peak, like SL did, but I think waiting for more than 1 day before we start POO-POOING all over the platform for not being Ready Player 1 is a good position to take.

Roland Legrand

Will it be sticky and social? Well, that depends also on us. Which worlds do we want to invest time and energy in? IMHO we should give Sansar and High Fidelity the benefit of the doubt. Second Life is like the old home world, I'd be sad if it would disappear. In the longer run it could be like a living museum of all the cyber dreams we had.

Dartagan Shepherd

@Maxwell: There's a bit of a flaw in your reasoning, although I get that you're heavily invested in it, having been involved early on.

#1: LL is billing it heavily as a social space. I blame marketing, because "social experiences: don't mean a thing to anyone but a marketing department, as I said elsewhere.

#2: As creators of social spaces, the burden is on the creator of each space to greet and socialize with users visiting their area until such time as enough people are there to socialize with each other.

When I build a game, I make sure I'm available. When I build a web page, I answer emails and comments. When I start a business, I respond to everyone promptly.

Like it or not, as an "experience" creator, the burden is on the creator to socialize with their users and not expect them to look at pretty objects and fall all over themselves drooling for hours over it, whether X and Y features exist or not.

If creators are unwilling to socialize, they probably shouldn't be publishing yet.

That isn't leveled at you, personally. But it is why many spaces in Sansar will never take off.

Ciaran Laval

Maxwell has certainly been socialising, he said Hi to me when I landed yesterday.

I didn't see Blue Mars but I've been in Cloud Party and High Fidelity and these places take time to find their feet, Cloud Party's feet ended up being Yahoo, but that's not going to happen with Sansar.

High Fidelity has changed a lot, from closed beta, to open beta and thereafter, there have been a hell of a lot of changes.

I'd expect fewer changes with Sansar but there's plenty of potential there and right now is a really good time to go sightseeing.

Sansar is very much at the beta stage, it will evolve in its own way, I feel it will be more about experience creators selling their individual experiences than Second Life is and in that regard, I understand where Dartagan is coming from but in these early days, with creators still polishing their wares, patience all round is important.

Clara Seller

Everyone makes good points and Dartagan is spot on.

My first Sansar impressions were not as bad as I thought. I still think that SL 2.0 would have been smarter. This whole "experience" project could have been incorporated into the broader platform with options to put up walls and enter through a private portal. You could keep the headset crowd dream, without starving your dedicated customers. I don't have the details, but I haven't been paid hundreds of thousands or more to have the big vision. When I think that way, I feel more confident than ever that someone screwed up big time.

Sansar could have started the race miles ahead. There was a chance to excite every one of the existing customers and spark a new interest from the ones who drifted and who weren't totally destroyed. There was a chance to right some wrongs and not trade the future for a hand full of magic beans. Right now we have a patch of beans without much magic. This is the big unveiling and all of this is so tepid. All of this time and money has gone into something that doesn't generate half as much enthusiasm for the base customers as Hair Fair or a new round of your favorite SL event. Yea, I know it's not for us, but if I was sitting on LL board I might really be wishing it was right now.

Just Say'n

My thoughts summed up pretty much in a nutshell by what Clara has rightfully stated.

len

ConsumerWank 2.0 Artists need not apply.

Pulsar

The only thing I expected was an open beta. Had LL called it alpha, I wouldn't have expected much. From an open beta I expect something substantially feature complete, at least for a first release, just needing some feedback from a larger audience, some bug fix and polishing.
Sansar appears stable, but feature-wise it looks really like an early alpha or a tech demo. Or a seriously dumbed down version of Second Life, but with better graphics... And terrible loading times. Unless everyone is going to get 100 Mbit/s, I'm not sure if Sansar will be still around within 2 years.
It was supposed to offer 4 Km wide spaces. I can't imagine how long it would take to load a very large experiences, if it is something better than a plain desert.
It was supposed to scale up and hold numerous avatars, while even just fews start to have an impact.
Socially it was the poorest experience I ever had in a virtual word. Even Cloud Party and Blue Mars were better. Perhaps most people didn't realize there was a public chat, as it's hidden by default and there is no visual hint when someone chats.

The first impression is exactly where you are going to lose costumers, forever, because they would hardly ever come back to something they labeled 'poo'. If you are getting a number of those, it means you screwed up something in your product presentation.

Des Beaumont

I would agree with most of the comments. My first impression was a sense of immense possiblitity but expected more from a Beta version and I agree its more like early Alpha. I would even go a step furhter and state that 95% of what i expected is not there mainly in interaction , tools and options for the user, one has not even kept the controls everyone is used to from SL, but then again as it was already stated Sansar is not meant to be a replacement for SL. While I understand that it is not finished I wonder how long it will take to get anywhere near the level of SL if one is even allowed to compare. Not comparing in my opinion is however a flaw as it is a prooven working model and if ignored Sansar could easily go where Blue Mars and others have gone before.

Clara Seller

Ciaran Laval is calling for "patience". I know that's well-meaning, but patience is exactly what you don't want when you roll out your brand new shiny (drum roll, please) Sansar (crash). That "patience" is the last thing you're gonna get from many of the people. It's like any art opening. You get most of your sales then. If the whole point of what you do is to "inspire", then you're dead if you're introduction is forgettable. You've lost your momentum.

Patience? No problem. Take as much as you want. And, oh no no no, let's not mention the names of Blue Mars and Cloud Party ever in our preemptive damage control. It's like the Director of FEMA saying "Don't be alarmed, it's not as bad as Chernobyl or Fukushima (yet)." OMG, it's gonna blow.

Rich Williams (Watcher aka Bill Blight)

I still think LL has failed to do proper demographics on what made SL a success. It is not the people who spend thousands of dollars on computer hardware, it is the millions of people who use it casually, and all those micro transactions.

Sansar is great piece of tech, is it too early, I think so ..

The people who spend multiple hours a day hanging out with friends in SL are not going to do so in an overly complicated VR rig.

Also I'd be curious to see how many of SL users are actually willing, or even can afford a VR rig.

Just my .02 .

Virtual man

In the last 4 or 5 years in SL have appeared fabulous products thanks to the mesh. The sims of adults have increased, the objects (motorcycles, automobiles, boats, spaceships, aircraft, games, sports, decoration and furniture, mesh bodies, genitalia ... etc, etc, etc ...) that help us Interact have increased. There are hundreds of places in SL incredible and fun. For Sansar to equal that ... many years must pass.

Jeremy O. Turner

This blog posting did genuinely represent my very first impressions of Sansar, but as of today, I have changed my tune a bit...Sansar's improvements are starting to show...I am seeing more evidence of social interaction and the presence of more interesting user-created places...I am warming up to Sansar and the potential it holds for user-created experiences...I will visit Sansar more frequently from now on and hopefully, the hype will eventually come to fruition in the coming months (maybe years)...

Connie Arida

See you when its ready for business. All this dripfeeding of bits that do and don't work is getting on my wick.

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