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323starlight

What do we know about Project Sansar?

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First time reading about Project sansar, I expected it to be like Second Life. In that players can create items, avatars, worlds, etc, only being able to make a world (or sim as they're called on SL) would be free and not require a monthly subscription. Sadly that hope seems to have been crushed when I came upon some later information. 

Short message to Linden Labs; Why not make a software program separate (but somewhat connected to) from Project Sansar that gives users a personal virtual sandbox of their own? Allowing them the freedom to build whatever they want. And instead of a monthly payment, the users would have to pay in order to expand the size of their sandbox. And pay to transfer other user created content into the sandbox. About 10% more if they don't already have it, and 10% of the original price if they do already have it. Just a short suggestion to Linden Labs.

 

With all that said, I have a question to everyone on the forums. 

 

What all do we know about Project Sansar?

[I'm intending this thread to be a way for everyone to stay in the know about the information Linden Labs is releasing on Project Sansar]

 

So far, all we know is that it;

- makes the process of creating a game easier and less expensive

- will be on PC but may come to mobile later in life

- Does not require a VR headset (from what I heard)

and

-like SL, allows users to make content other than games.

 

What else is there that we don't already know?

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What you're describing is what Open Sim and similar programs already have with the base of LL's software or similar software. Hi-Fidelity has this, too. The market for virtual worlds in general is small, not everyone wants to avatarize or immerse in versimilitude that is open-ended without structure or organized games. Then it's an even more smaller niche that wants sandboxing and trading.

The other things we know about Sansar:

o no geographical contiguity...because

o no always-on sims; sims on demand

o larger sims with more prims that may connect to others

o content creation will only be for the highly skilled and outside the platform

o content from this world will not port to Sansar without 3rd party programs that most users will find too complicated or cumbersome to use

o no 1:1 deal on currently owned sims

 

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323starlight wrote:

I hope thats true. Its the kind of Sandbox experience that I've been searching for.

If by "Sandbox" you mean a place you can build for free, no, sorry. There will be no inworld builder/content creation tools at all from the start (although Ebbe said they will probably add some eventually). What you will be able to do, is buy and assemble ready-made content.

You probably will be able to upload your own works there too. I'm not sure about that to be honest. I get this feeling LL would rather not have Sansar flooded with content created by happy amateurs so there may well be restrictions who is allowed to upload too.

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ChinRey wrote:

If by "Sandbox" you mean a place you can build for free, no, sorry. There will be no inworld builder/content creation tools at all from the start (although Ebbe said they will probably add some eventually). What you will be able to do, is buy and assemble ready-made content.

You probably will be able to upload your own works there too. I'm not sure about that to be honest. I get this feeling
LL would rather not have Sansar flooded with content created by happy amateurs
so there may well be restrictions who is allowed to upload too.

And THERE is the death knell. The total failure to recognize what made Second Life grow, and what makes it thrive today. User created content.

Look at the gaming community. The games that fail to recognize the power and technical contributions of the Modding Community are failing overall .. rapidly. Those that allow modding, essentially user-created content, are growing in massive leaps.

Look at the history and current situation in Second Life? What is the source of 99% of all things in SL? Lab-built things? Or User Created Content?

So Sansar will do away with "content created by happy amateurs". And replace it with .. what? Content created by underpaid interns with no experience in-world?

They are going to wratchet up the technical requirements so high that only those with thousands of dollars in real-world money, hundreds of hours of experience and skills honed over years of OJT will be able to create content. And for what return? A few micropennies from the 1000 or so inhabitants willing to live in a virtual world devoid of creativity and variety? Yeah, I don't think so.

Sansar has one purpose. To extract more money out of customers. But they plan on doing so by eliminating the content that opens people's wallets now. They will alter the dynamics so that all money passes to them and none to anyone else. And then they will wonder why the world is empty, why no one wants to "come play" .. and why the stupid people out here don't realize just how fantastic is their product.

*FACEPALM*

And they will never own up to the fact that their failure to properly judge the success factors in Second Life caused Sansar's demise. They will never admit that their unwavering focus on increased revenue has blinded them to the truth that you must provide what the customer WANTS, and not just on what makes your pocketbook grow.

Sansar is dead .. on the table .. now. There is no need to wait for its debut to watch the inevitable spiral into the dust. Ebbe has already stated plainly that his intention is to kill it from the start. I for one don't need to wait to see it happen. I have enough experience to see it happening now.

Just as I don't need to see the hammer hit the floor to know that when dropped .. it will fall.

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Darrius Gothly wrote

So Sansar will do away with "content created by happy amateurs". And replace it with .. what? Content created by underpaid interns with no experience in-world?

Cetainly not by Linden Lab people, interns or regular employees, underpaid or overpaid.

So far it looks like it will be replaced it with content created by professional and "professional" actors creating ready-made commercial "experience packages".

That's not necessarily bad, it can simply be one of the factors that define the difference between SL and Sansar.

I think everybody should just stop comparing Sansar to SL. Linden Lab has been very clear that Sansar is not an SL replacement, it's a completely new product with a completely different purpose. Everything they've said and done so far confirm this.

Sansar will of course have both positive and negative effects on SL. It will affect LL's economy which again affects how much they are able to do about anything. Its success or lack of such will affect how interested LL will be in maintaining and developing SL. There is bound to be some "experiences" in SL that would fit the Sansar framework better. And there will be techincal solutions that are applicable to both platform. BUt most of all, it will affect SL because people jsut can't stop comparing apples to oranges.

But even so, if you're interested in SL, look to SL, if you're interested in Sansar, look to Sansar.

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Your advice is good. Keeping the two separate is important to understanding the zen of both. But the education and experience gained from SL, as both a "Virtual World Destination" and as a money making platform seems to be falling victim to the same separation.

Of all the past CEO's that drew a bead on LL's future and aimed the company at it, Rodvik probably was the closest in that he recognized the value of User Created Content. He just didn't understand how to treat it or what to do with it.

Ebbe seems intent on making it one of those things that must be controlled .. and limited .. in order to maintain profitability. But that's akin to trying to direct ants streaming from an ant hill. They will go and they will do as their own internal (and inscrutable) directives dictate. So will users.

Those platforms proving themselves in the market are those that don't seek to control the ants, but benefit from their actions. Ants will carry stuff all around, build piles of stuff, and fight to the death to protect those piles of stuff. Scattering their stuff to the wind and then only allowing them to carry certain stuff .. at a price .. just makes them seek other stuff.

It's not the technical aspects I dispute. It's not the zen or the staff or even the company. It's the seeming steadfast refusal to acknowledge what is right in front of their eyes, and the constant attempt to make us do the same.

"Yup, he's nakie .. no matter what the tailor says..."

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I just read 323starlight's original post and noticed something i missed:


323starlight wrote:

...

In that players can create items, avatars, worlds, etc, only being able to make a world (or sim as they're called on SL) would be free and not require a monthly subscription.

...

Robert Heinlein answered that decades ago with one word: TANSTAAFL(*).

*) For those who missed some of the sci-fi classics, it means "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch".

 


 

(Edit: turns out Heinlein didn't invent that word, it was known long before he first used it.)

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ChinRey wrote:


Darrius Gothly wrote

So Sansar will do away with "content created by happy amateurs". And replace it with .. what? Content created by underpaid interns with no experience in-world?

Cetainly not by Linden Lab people, interns or regular employees, underpaid or overpaid.

So far it looks like it will be replaced it with content created by professional and "professional" actors creating ready-made commercial "experience packages".

I'd like to extend this concept a bit further .. if you don't mind. From what you've said, there is a very clear and solid delineation between the two products.

SL is a Virtual World that allows users to become participants. We engage, create and populate the platform with our random thoughts, garbage and art. SL is a blank canvas upon which we draw.

Sansar, with it's pre-packaged professional content ready-made and set to go, becomes more of a "Movie Viewer" than anything else. It turns users into viewers, detached and "along for the ride".

It better be some DAMN good movie material .. err excuse me .. Experience Package to get anything out of my pocket. What with the internet providing tons of stuff for free that I can watch just like I'd watch a Sansar package play out.

Or did I miss the point of Sansar?

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Darrius Gothly wrote:


ChinRey wrote:


Darrius Gothly wrote

So Sansar will do away with "content created by happy amateurs". And replace it with .. what? Content created by underpaid interns with no experience in-world?

Cetainly not by Linden Lab people, interns or regular employees, underpaid or overpaid.

So far it looks like it will be replaced it with content created by professional and "professional" actors creating ready-made commercial "experience packages".

I'd like to extend this concept a bit further .. if you don't mind. From what you've said, there is a very clear and solid delineation between the two products.

SL is a Virtual World that allows users to become participants. We engage, create and populate the platform with our random thoughts, garbage and art. SL is a blank canvas upon which we draw.

Sansar, with it's pre-packaged professional content ready-made and set to go, becomes more of a "Movie Viewer" than anything else. It turns users into viewers, detached and "along for the ride".

It better be some DAMN good movie material .. err excuse me .. Experience Package to get anything out of my pocket. What with the internet providing tons of stuff for free that I can watch just like I'd watch a Sansar package play out.

Or did I miss the point of Sansar?

This is exactly what I was getting ready to post. You have just explained Marshal McLuhan's explanation of hot and cold media:

 

"Hot versus cool media

 
 

Media scholar Marshall McLuhan created two categories: hot vs. cool media. 

Hot media is that which engages one sense completely. It demands little interaction from the user because it 'spoon-feeds' the content. Typically the content of hot media is restricted to what the source offers at that specific time. 

Cool media generally uses low-definition media that engages several senses less completely in that it demands a great deal of interaction on the part of the audience. Audiences then participate more because they are required to perceive the gaps in the content themselves. The user must be familiar with genre conventions in order to fully understand the medium. "

 

If I was interested in a ready made experience I would play some X Box game, which I have never had an interest in doing. Instead, LL should take a clue from Minecraft, which is much less graphically sophisticated than SL, but is based entirely on creating things and interacting/sharing with other people who create things. In SL, I create the raw materials that my customers use to create their own experiences.  There may be plenty of people who enjoy ready made experiences in SL, but the vast majority love SL explicitly because they love being creative. 

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

Or did I miss the point of Sansar?


I can't answer on behalf of Linden Lab of course, but from my impression so far: no, I think you got it! Spot on! ^_^

 

I really hope they're not thinking games though. MMORPG is huge business, much bigger than Second Life, and it is understandable if Linden Lab wants to get into that market. Sansar does not, however, look like it's going in that direction. There are already two well established and successful make-your-own-game software suites and at least one very promising newcomer. What makes Sansar different from those is that it's a package that not only includes the software but also hosting services, a game money system and a ready-made user database. None of these extra features have any value for an ambitious game maker and the last two are actually serious disadvantages.

There may be some "private home" market potential in Sansar. Hard to say.

But I think the real core markets for Sansar will be business and education. A virtual conference room, a virtual classroom, a virtual display room (provided that LL mends the TOS of course), that's where Sansar's real strength lies. These are markets LL has tried to get into before of course, and so far they have failed miserably. They may think they failed because SL isn't suitable for those kind of activities so they'll need a brand new platform for it. Unfortunately they are wrong, or at least partly wrong.

I'm not sure if I'm qualified to talk about the business market but studying the history of SL, it seems to me that the main problem was that most of the companies never had a clear idea how to use SL. To put it metaphorically, you had conference rooms for secret meetings in the middle of highways and you had display rooms hidden in the backwoods. Most of all, you had unfocused installations that had little of no function at all beyond being ad signs.

I certainly am qualified to talk about education - got exam papers to prove it an all - and the reason why SL failed there is that LL simply had no idea what it was all about. Worse, judging by last year's education initiative, they still don't. I won't go into a detailed explanation here for a number of reasons but there is a very good illustration of the problem inworld. Right next to my virtual home there is a sim named Bowness. A few years ago a group of enthusiasts bought it and turned it into a showroom demonstrating the educational potential of Second Life. It's way outdated by today's standards of course but even so, it's still a splendid display of some of the great possibilities a virtual reality can offer to education. And of course, the whole thing has been completely ignored by LL. By cruel irony, right next to it is Campus, the sim that was supposed to be the center of education in SL the way LL perceived it. It's empty now of course.

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Ahh ... okay. So they're targeting the business and education markets? (Based on your understanding that is...)

The business market .. that's the one that is already overpopulated with free live face-ot-face chat apps, where you can SEE the actual face (and often faces) of the other person (people)? The apps that provide true representations in a manner of use where honesty and trust are all important? They want to replace that with a virtual (read "fake") world where actual big business deals are done? Gotcha.

The education market? Where even one-on-one education via live videochat is faltering because people just do not grasp concepts in the same depth via remote learning as they do when the teacher can chuck an eraser at you? Where every college and educational enterprise worth its salt has already invested tons of money in two-way video conferencing systems?

Those two markets?

/me goes to look up the term "due dilligence" ....

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Perhaps the more important question we can ask .. and hope to have answered is .. What is the "Vision" behind Sansar?

What has filled pages upon pages of forums, blogs and random snippets has been an unending bantering about this feature or that feature .. all with no real firm foundation upon which to stand. Of course, the majority of the words written take pains to disclaim any basis in solid knowledge, but still they land on the page.

And yet we still do not understand what "Vision' is driving the creation of Sansar. What is it intended to do? Why is it something that can make its own space on the "shelves" of users? What does it introduce, perfect or improve that will bring people to its doors and make them open their wallets?

What is it that makes Linden Lab spend money to make? And what the heck are they making?

A game? A presentation viewer? A creative canvas? A social exchange platform? A boondoggle?

Over my years I have gained one very solid piece of knowledge .. specifically about product development and how it fails: Any product that is designed to "fix everything" .. will fix nothing.

Without a clear definition of what needs doing, nothing useful will be done. (Now where have I heard that before?)

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

The education market? Where even one-on-one education via live videochat is faltering because people just do not grasp concepts in the same depth via remote learning as they do when the teacher can chuck an eraser at you? Where every college and educational enterprise worth its salt has already invested tons of money in two-way video conferencing systems?

Yes but the fact there are actually several well functioning educational institutions in Second Life, making very good use of some of the special possibilities only a virtual reality can offer. They're all run by unpaid volunteers (paying volunteers even) and they all only teach SL related skills but the principles they use could well be applied to education in general too.

Then there is the Bowness example. It's a demonstration of demonstrations. You can walk into a volcano and study it from the inside (kids, don't try this in RL!!!), you can ride a space elevator to a space station... It's a three dimensional interactive textbook if you like. It's learning by doing applied to fields where doing simply isn't possible in real life. That's where SL's really educational potential lies, and it's something LL seems to have missed completely.

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

Perhaps the more important question we can ask .. and hope to have answered is .. What is the "Vision" behind Sansar?

What has filled pages upon pages of forums, blogs and random snippets has been an unending bantering about this feature or that feature .. all with no real firm foundation upon which to stand. Of course, the majority of the words written take pains to disclaim any basis in solid knowledge, but still they land on the page.

Awww, I've just posted this in another thread and it fits so well here! Is it ok if I reuse it?

Content may be King but without Queen Context he's nothing at all

And yes that is the key question, what is it for? Cool graphics are cool but in the end what really matters is what do they show?

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You need not sell me on the benefits and value that 3D education can provide. I am a long-time believer in putting as many high-tech tools in the hands of kids (and later learners) as we can. But what no one can sell me on is the profit possible from that market.

When was the last time you heard a school administrator exclaim: "Dangit! I just have too much money! I need more programs to spend this excess on!"

/me wanders back to the sidelines and grabs some popcorn ...

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ChinRey wrote:

Awww, I've just posted this in another thread and it fits so well here! Is it ok if I reuse it?

Content may be King but without Queen Context he's nothing at all

And yes that is the key question, what is it for? Cool graphics are cool but in the end what really matters is what do they show?

Where is that +1 button when I need it? *smiles*

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

But what no one can sell me on is the profit possible from that market.

Profit? Ummm... errr... you may have a point there. What all schools have in common is that they want everything for free.

 

(Edit: )

That's another flaw with the strategies LL have used so far to get into the educational market of course. There is actually money in making educational materials (although I've hardly ever seen any of it myself) but not much per unit so you need large volumes. There aren't enough state universities in the whole of California USA to justify the development of a virtutal education system specifically for them. Even if you include all U.S universities and make credible attempts to cover Canada and Europe too, the market is still hardly enough. You need a much wider field than that to succeed.

 


Darrius Gothly wrote:/me wanders back to the sidelines and grabs some popcorn ...

Hey, that's mine!!!

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Perrie Juran wrote:

Ebbe did post in that thread but really nothing that struck me as really significant.

That is right, but both he and others from Linden Lab have confirmed what you wrote on several other occasions. LL has little or no interest in trying to force or motivate their current customers to leave SL and move over to Sansar. They're perfectly happy if we stay where we are.

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I read up to page 4 .. and saw some of Ebbe's replies. Mostly "Nope! Guess again!" style input.

Maybe all this hoopla is for naught. It seems that whipping up a frenzy is what the whole shtick is about anyway, so all our speculation is doing nothing more than increasing Google hits on the name.

Until such time as LL decides to explain the concept, I'll just continue periodically spitting into the wind with baseless assumptions.

... and wait for LL to transfer the last body from SL to their new product .. who properly turns off the lights on his/her way out the door.

(That ought to get my doomsayer membership card renewed .. for sure!)

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

I read up to page 4 .. and saw some of Ebbe's replies. Mostly "Nope! Guess again!" style input.

Maybe all this hoopla is for naught. It seems that whipping up a frenzy is what the whole shtick is about anyway, so all our speculation is doing nothing more than increasing Google hits on the name.

Until such time as LL decides to explain the concept, I'll just continue periodically spitting into the wind with baseless assumptions.

</snip>

 

He does have a vision....but how concrete it is only he can say.  We can extrapolate some ideas from the little he has said.

One thing that I don't think most people would argue with is that we need a new chalk board to draw on.  Sure there have been improvements to SL but it will only scale so far.  The question is who is going to step up and draw on the new board?  His vision as I see it is a more technically proficient creator /merchant class.  But those people are going to need customers if they are going to succeed. 

The cats meow would be if they could transfer all of SL to the new platform.  Then they could have their cake and eat it too.  But we know that ain't gonna happen.

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