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entity0x

If You Build It They Will Come

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Like anywhere else in the world, virtual or not, content is king. Engaging and replayable content is even better.

Sorry, but the majority of Sansar 'worlds' just don't cut it for engaging content, and/or are un-optimized for the average user to access. This is not Sansar's fault. The responsibility for engagement and return falls squarely on any creator who invests time in it. The sooner people realize this, the sooner they change their attitude about Sansar, and use what they got today to maximize their potential.

Chicken and egg. What comes first? The age old argument is circular and never ending. I say the only way to end that is as a creator to invest your time, unpaid or not, in creating something truly innovative, engaging, and original. Sansar is just a platform, and without creators (corporate or not) cannot and will not go anywhere.

"I won't build anything until the users come"
I can understand this sentiment some, as laying the groundwork for perhaps no return is daunting.. but that's a normal risk anytime one invests in something with a long term return. Much like investing money, don't invest time you can't afford to lose. If you don't feel it is prudent to invest your creative time in it, then don't, but please stay out of the way of others - and don't discourage others who do.


"Users won't come until content is made"
This is a circular argument to the one made above, and is a chicken or egg thing. However, I'd rather start laying eggs regardless, as nothing can happen until someone makes something...


"I made a world, no one comes to it, ( or can find it ) or (I need someone else to advertise me)"
Although I appreciate that Sansar helps with this sort of thing, at the end of the day, it will be up to us as the creators to promote it. Be it inworld, to our subscribers, to gamers and youtubers, our friend networks, through our websites - there's no obligation for Sansar to promote us in any way. Those who are promoted by Sansar are certainly privileged - yet none of us are entitled to it.
Also, if you create engaging content and people are talking about it - that in itself will perpetuate continued success.

Some worlds are featured, promoted, pumped everywhere and they still are empty. No amount of advertising is going to help a world that simply is boring, unengaging, or after the first visit has no reason to be returned to.

"I don't need feedback, I've made many worlds ( for many years (on many platforms) )"
Unless you get people from different backgrounds, age groups and interests testing your worlds (if it is a game), and constantly asking feedback from your visitors - you will not know why you succeed or fail. Feedback and testing and review are great tools to find out what is working and what is not.
You'd be surprised (not really) about how many creators say they want feedback, but then discard or ignore it. Hubris in this department has caused many worlds to never improve or become attractive to anyone, and remain empty. Why are they empty? How come no word of mouth? Why not find out by asking people?

Sansar itself admittedly could ask itself this question. I have given them much feedback as to why IMO Sansar isn't/won't/can't succeed, and generally it comes down to  "If this is what the market wants, but you're not willing to/ can't provide it, then what?"

Note: Surrounding yourself with 'yes'-people, those who simply say "It's fine/amazing" doesn't really help much. Get someone who will give you the straight goods, good and bad. No one said you have to take it as gospel. With a humble and respectful attitude of your users, you can learn much that will improve your work.


"If only Sansar added this feature I could..."
I can understand this frustration, because it seems that one can't proceed unless said feature is available.
Yet I see many creators who haven't even maximized what they can do in the meantime. They could still work on engaging content, within the parameters of what is currently available, or with a less ambitious project - so it becomes an excuse to not finish anything.

"Sansar needs high heels and sex content..."
Bull. What an easy go-to. Steam is full of games that don't have sexual content in them, and other VR worlds also minimize such content, yet they seem to be growing... Go over and explore them.. what are people doing, where are they doing it, and why are they THERE doing it. Check 'em out, it will be eye opening. It certainly is easy to pander to the most base of human needs, that way we can avoid making something truly marvelous...

SUMMARY:
Users will not come until the content is there. Users will not stay unless the content is engaging. Users will not return if there is no replayability, something new to discover or if the previous two points are met..... and... your success or failure is up to you.
 

Edited by entity0x

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The definition of "Sansar" is: muddled, philosophical underpinning, ...sort of in the nature of: let's build a future world on the surface of running water. 

You're like, uhmm.... what?

So, we (and everyone else) all tend to see Sansar differently, (and quizzically).  So here it is; my view.

I see Sansar as a giant sandbox.  Obviously.  A new and improved one, a space-age sandbox, called a cool name.  And I guess people are supposed to go there and build on that sandbox with its new and cool VR techology built in.  Okay, that's cool.  I get that.  But then....  what are the next pieces of this scenario???  And plus, too, this sandbox really wishes to monetize.  Hmmm, so yeah that's a quirk.  You begin see the muddle swirl.

I suppose 5 years ago (or was it 7) when this idea spawned in those eager beginnings of Holy-VR-Hype, that this platform idea might have seemed a useful and attractive place where not only people learn to play with and experience VR, but where VR developers could easily access a handy working platform to experiment with new cutting edge builds of their own, you know, sort of like beta.... or even Open Sim sorta in a rustic wagon wheel kinda way.  But yeah, I get that.  Sure, it makes sense to see this as a valuable usable platform for a new and exciting NEXT-GEN thing, as seen way back then, but really in the iffy way that a dream can make sense.

VR has issues of usefulness, and this tech may only arise to a certain slanted, and ultimate peripheral use, such as say, where you have earthly engineers working in a lab at Los Alamos wearing VR googles and solving unique mechanical problems of 3D space robot construction aloft, you know.., before you spend multi billions for each launch of billion dollar cargo to get above gravity.   So I guess i'm saying that to me what I see in Sansar is sorta like that 90-degree screwdriver you can buy.  Oh, not sure it's over at Home Depot, but it's out there! Somewhere.  Somebody is using one.

 

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VR wasn't even the issue at all there. It was the lack of core implemented features you'd expect to find in any user creation platform.

You didn't need VR at all there.

What you do need is things like the ability to programatically control an animation or modify the UI programatically. Core things that just never got addressed.

Instead they focused on social aspects, resulting in the best thing you could do was stand around and chat...whoopdeedooo

Today's users want gaming, simple as that. The market share for standing around chatting pales in comparison

About the only way social would work is if you coupled it with adult content, otherwise you've sealed your fate on a smaller selective audience

Had they gotten this up and running before VR-Chat and Rec-room beat them out the door to, they might have been able to acquire the small amount of social only users, but not after the fact.

The only other option would have been to close SL when they opened Sansar, but that could have been fatal to the bread and butter stream, far too risky

 

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There is an interesting take on this (in part) by someone called Galen over at the RS blog (won't link as think anyone reading will know who that is). can't say I agree with all of it but it covers a fair amount of ground I find - resonant.

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Aside from the VR hyped aspect that didn't appeal to me, personally, here's what I think.

Next-gen content must come with up to par tools. They failed. The point @entity0x makes is right, retention is achievable only when content is replayable and engaging, but the given tools are laughable to say the least. During the closed beta (actually a pre-alpha by any other company standards) I was there and I gave feedback over the feature that content needed the most at the time, a proper material editor. Not only to switch textures after a model upload, but to actually composite a material. And I wasn't even advocating for a system as complex as UE material editor or Unity shadergraph, something like a precompiled shader with four texture channel driven layers independently tileable. Something that would help avoid endless test uploads and a basic look everything has in there. Guess what? They announced a "material editor", a one time window available on upload to do what? Basic crap.

Scripting. The choice of the language might have been even ok, without the relative quirks given by a made up language, tons of libraries to use, plenty of documentation but the functionality to make things interactive has come too slowly and late. 

Character controllers have been in a castrated state for too long, with inability to run, sit and jump. Animation control also is lacking, a platform where individuality is sooo badly wanted, there must be a way to switch the state machine animations with different ones. 

All of the keypoints from user feedback have been neglected to focus on side aspects nobody really wanted or needed, but LL mentality has shown itself in that as well as it does in SL: least amount of work and effort, procrastinate as much as possible and then put a patch glued over with a spit. 

Edited by OptimoMaximo
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"If you build it they will come" is demonstrably not true.

It's probably the least learn't lesson from all of Second Life. Hundreds and hundreds of beautiful abandoned empty builds that never got any traction at all.

Popular locations are often popular because they are popular. Lots of people hanging out encourages more people to come hang out with them and eventually it just becomes self sustaining. Some of SL most popular locations have literally been featureless fields with no interactive content of any kind, just other people.

 

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