Ebbe Altberg talks about the future of Second Life and Sansar

Check out the latest new interview with Ebbe Altberg CEO of Linden Lab talking about the future of Second Life and Sansar. Wagner James Au interviewed Ebbe Altberg for 45 minutes at Linden Lab HQ in San Francisco in March 2019.

They chatted about efforts to grow new user growth, land discounts, the upcoming mobile companion app, cloud deployment, improving performance and much more relating to Second Life. With Sansar they chatted about the low usage numbers since the beta launch, Sansar’s long download times and efforts to optimize Sansar.

It’s incredible to think Ebbe Altberg has now been with Linden Lab for over five years and he has achieved a great amount over the years from reducing land costs, the roll out of Mesh, Bento, Animesh, improved the communications with the community, improved the experience for premium members and much more.

Some highlights that I found most interesting,,,

  • The new IOS mobile companion app is being worked on. It’s going to be focused on being connected with friends, chat, shopping, customer service and more. The lab are not considering it to be a viewer in the short term.
  • New pricing options/discounts are coming soon (within next few months)
  • Lot’s of new features (EEP) for Second Life (within weeks)
  • Second Life is targeted to move completely to the Amazon cloud within the next 12 months (early – mid 2020)
  • The premium subscriber base is growing
  • The lab are focused on continuing revenue & user growth for Second Life.
  • The lab are now interested in growing the concurrency levels and retention rates
  • There are no plans to force migrate Second Life users to Sansar
  • There are more people working on Second Life (130+) than Sansar (70+)
  • There is work to continue to reduce Sansar long download times
  • Sansar is still in beta and still in pre-launch mode
  • The lab are shipping big updates every month

For more specific highlights from this interview see here.

Sansar Moving Over To Steam And Dropping SandeX

Linden Lab has made a major announcement today that Sansar will be moving over to the popular gaming platform Steam in early 2019. Linden Lab will be discontinuing the SandeX exchange as of 4th December 2018. After that date the lab plans on moving to a fixed conversion rate model.

It’s important to mention that Second Life didn’t work out very well on Steam back in 2012. It’s going to be interesting to see what impact this will have on Sansar’s user usage and revenue during 2019. The lab are gambling on a huge influx of new users with cash to spend to make Sansar more successful in the years ahead.

Here is the full blog announcement on the changes coming up soon for Sansar…

Sansar has come a long way since we started the project. In 2018 we have devoted an enormous amount of effort to improving the end-user experience, and will continue to do so.

Given those improvements, we believe we are quickly approaching the point where we want to start bringing a large number of users onto the platform. This is an important milestone for us and especially our creators. One of the foundational principles of Sansar is that creators must be able to profit from their creations. For us to make that a reality, we need to give our creators a large audience of customers.

The cornerstone of our growth effort will be to put Sansar on Steam. Steam is where more than half of the VR market goes to find software. It also is a huge pool of users who are interested in our space and are likely to have the hardware required to run Sansar. We anticipate being able to get onto Steam by the end of this year. This is a huge step for us and we’re excited to be able introduce Sansar to an even wider audience.

In order to do this, we are obligated to make significant changes to how Sansar works, especially in how the Sansar Dollar and process credit system work. These changes, will also make the credit process for Creators far more consistent and predictable. The first change is that we will be discontinuing the Sandex as of December 4, 2018.

After that date, we will be moving to a fixed conversion rate model. Creators will continue to be able to sell their work for Sansar Dollars on the Store (and soon in experiences!). Eligible creators may convert some or all of their earned Sansar Dollar balance to US dollars at a rate of S$250 to $1, and then request a USD credit to be processed in 30 days. This matches Steam’s payment timeline.

We understand that this may have an impact on the amount of revenue returned to creators compared to the Sandex. However, we believe that in the long run our creators will significantly benefit from having access to the larger Steam user base. In addition, anyone who has created their Sansar account before December 31, 2018 will receive a legacy conversion rate of S$143 to $1 until December 31, 2019, after which the conversion rate for all accounts will be S$250 to $1.

Our automated Sansar Dollar Conversion page will not be available until January 2019. In the interim, we are committed to working with our Creators to manually process credit requests of Sansar Dollars through an email process, the details of which will soon follow.

We are excited about our move onto Steam and the migration to a fixed-rate model. It is a momentous change for our platform and our community. The changes outlined here will make Sansar accessible to a larger audience, while also make processing credits more consistent and predictable. Thank you for your support with these changes. They will help Sansar grow as huge as we all know it can be.

If you have any questions about this change or the manual credit requests, feel free to contact us via TwitterFacebook, or on Discord. You can also attend our next Product Meetup on Friday Nov. 2nd at 11am PDT. If you can’t make it into Sansar for the Product Meetup, you can join us through our live Twitch stream. Further events to discuss these changes will be made available at the community’s request.

Thanks, and Happy Building,

– Landon McDowell

Chief Product Officer, Sansar

Latest Sansar Release

Jason Gholston Leaves Sansar and Linden Lab

Jason Gholston has officially left Sansar and Linden Lab this month after six years. Jason has started his new job as a creative director at Speech Graphics in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jason will be working on providing accurate avatar lip-syncing and facial animations which sounds very interesting indeed.

In Second Life

Jason joined Linden Lab back in April 2012 and led the Second Life maintenance engineering team with a main focus on customer retention and quality of service. Jason worked on managing the Oculus Rift integration with Second Life.

In Sansar

Jason then worked on Sansar developing social VR experiences on the Sansar platform for clients like Intel and Warner Bros. He worked on creating the Unity prototypes used to greenlight the development of Sansar.

Jason was the product manager at Sansar and he was responsible for management of the monthly releases of Sansar. From the engine, rendering, audio, level editor, terrain editor, VR level editor, avatar simulation and content pipeline teams. Jason hosted weekly VR meetups at the beginning in Sansar with the community to gather feedback, help troubleshoot issues and provide tutorials.

Jason Initiated and negotiated unique tech partnerships and content commissions valued over $2 million.

Good luck Jason 🙂 

New Sansar Release: Script, Snapshot and Share

New Sansar Release

On 16th August a new Sansar release became available which includes more SimpleScripts, three new options when taking snapshots and Edit Mode improvements. This is another exciting release with tons of new features to enjoy from the Sansar team.

Sharing Screenshots

Now when you take a Screenshot in Sansar, you will have the option to share to it your Profile on Sansar.com. In the future we hope to bring this feature into the Sansar client.

More SimpleScripts

We have three more SimpleScripts that have being added to all users inventories. In addition to the ones we released previously, we adding the following:

  • SimpleDispenser
  • SimpleMedia
  • SimpleObjectReset

SimpleDispenser allows you create an object that can spawn other objects. For example, you can create an Vending Machine that, when you hit a button (SimpleInteraction) spits out a Soda Can.

The script also comes with options to clear all objects spawned by SimpleDispenser, as well as giving them a directional velocity when spawned. You can visit Dice Dispenser to see an example of this script in use.

SimpleMedia allows for media switching between different videos from YouTube or Twitch. Combined with a SimpleInteraction and you can create a set of channels that you can hop between at the push of a button.

Check out the new Greenwall experience – a joint project with our friends at OpticGaming – to see the script in action. Catch CoD Champs this weekend and the Dota 2 International mainstage event next week!

SimpleObjectReset can be put on an object, so that when our friends – SimpleInteraction or SimpleCollision – are activated, the objects are returned to the position they were initially set at.

You can see this at work with all of the games in the Greenwall experience from Bowling, to Shuffleboard, to Cornhole – many of these games will have a “Reset” button to return all of the game pieces to their starting position.

If you want to learn how to use SimpleScripts in your experiences, or want to find out how to get started creating your own world in Sansar – tune into our weekly stream on Twitch.

That’s what’s new, let’s dive into what is improved!

Add to Calendar

Our recent “Add to Calendar” feature on the Sansar website, is now being brought into the Sansar client! Now you can add it to your calendar to make sure you never miss an event, you can even add an event to your Google Calendar, or other 3rd party calendars.

Edit Mode improvements

These improvements to Edit Mode are one of the biggest parts of today’s release, and expect more improvements in the next release towards the end of August/start of September.

Scene Objects

You can now rename an object in the Scene Objects window, and each object in the Scene Objects window will now have a unique icon to help identify items.

Toggle Visibility and Selectability per Object

Tired of trying to select something, but something else keeps getting the way? Now you can hide specific objects by either making them invisible to you (that will still be visible in the experience). You can also make an object “unselectable” so that you can’t click on it unless you want to, such as the walls of house you have finished placing.

Generate Scene Reports

We’re looking at ways to surface more information about experiences for our advanced creators. So now we’re adding Scene reports! You can now export a .CSV breakdown of every object in your scene, including: Object Name, Estimated Size for Download, Number of Textures, Number of Triangles.

Other improvements include Locking Persistence – a new session will now remember what objects you “Locked” from movement. You can now also import lights in a .FBX file allowing you to set lights to an object before you bring it into Sansar, and those lights will still be editable in Sansar.

Scripting Changes

There are a number of improvements being brought to scripts that you can read about in greater detail here.

The biggest change is that we are doubling the number of parameters in a script from 10, to 20. We are certain our scripting community will be excited to utilise the newfound creativity this can offer them, especially since we have added HTTP capabilities in our last release.

That’s it for today’s release. TONIGHT, join us for a guided tour of the Roddenberry Nexus with the Mission Log Podcast hosts Ken & john. Tomorrow, watch our Learn to Build stream at 11am PDT, and this weekend, come hangout by the Greewall space and watch the CoD champs finals.

For full details on this update, you can read the complete Release Notes here.