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Old 07-14-2018, 03:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Virtual reality landscapes on YouTube

I'm not sure which forum this should be posted in since it's about both Second Life and Sansar - and Openim and Hi-FI too. But it started as a reply to the Sansar DOA thread before I decided to make it a separate thread and I believe it's more important to Sansar than to SL so here we go.



Here's a nice little (virtual) reality check anybody can try:

Go to YouTube and search for:
  • Minecraft Landscape
  • Unity Landscape
  • Unigine Landscape
  • UE4 Landscape
  • WOW Landscape
Don't look at the videos, check the number of views and comments the relevant results of those searches have.


Then try:
  • Sansar Landscape
  • Second Life Landscape
  • High Fidelity Landscape
  • Opensim Landscape
The highest ranked relevant (I think) result for each search:
  • Minecraft: 827,809 views, 1984 comments since January 2018
  • Unity: 1414 views, 0 comments since March 2015
  • Unigine: 14,094 views, 122 comments since September 2013
  • UE4: 1973 views, 21 comments since March 2018
  • WOW: 68,084 views, 203 comments since January 2012
  • Sansar: 61 views, 1 comment since March 2018
  • Second Life: 190 views, 0 comments since March 2011
  • High Fidelity: No relevant search results
  • Opensim: 396 views, 0 comments since April 2015

This list is only an example. We can always discuss what is a relevant search result (I omitted all landscaping tutorials for a start) and of course, high search ranking on YouTube doesn't necessarily mean high popularity. But the number still seem to reflect the general trend fairly well. Unity and UE4 score suprisingly low, probably because I left out the countless (and often popular) tutorial videos. Unigine scores surprisingly high, probably because of their Benchmark series.


Sansar, Second Life, High Fidelity and Opensim consitently score very low compared to any of the others and that is of course the point here. I think it say a lot about how popular and well known our special flavour of virtual reality is among people at large.


What do you think?
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Old 07-14-2018, 04:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Why would I go to YouTube instead of Second Life to see a landscape in Second Life?

Second Life Avatar is a bit more promising, plus the top relevant hit is this which is simply awesome:

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Old 07-14-2018, 06:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Why would I go to YouTube instead of Second Life to see a landscape in Second Life?
I wouldn't but the point here is how it is presented to people not already in Second Life.

This is mainly about Sansar though.

Second Life will never ever attract any significant number of new users. And the ones who are already there, will stay until their computers can't handle the ever increasing performance requirements or until they succumb to boredom or old age. SL is a small, established, closed niche and it hardly matters how the rest of humanity sees it or whether they see it at all.

It is different for Sansar. Sansar doesn't have an established user base so it needs to be visible an draw attention. It fails miserably there (although not quite as badly as High Fidelity) and in the end, for all our talk about how good or bad Sansar is, it doesn't matter if nobody knows about it.

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Second Life Avatar is a bit more promising
Oh yes, I considered mentioning that and I would have if the main subject had been SL and not Sansar.

Second Life is different in one very important aspect: the significance of the avatar. For most of the others the avatar is your gateway into a virtual world/experience. In Second Life, the virtual world is becoming more and more a backdrop to your avatar. (Opensim is a bit special here since even though it's still mainly scenery based, it's slowly but surely evolving into a cheap SL copy.) Today DAZ 3D would probably be a more relevant comparasion to Second Life than any of the other environments I listed.

Whether that is a good or bad thing is something we can discuss 'til the cows come home. But it is what it is.

Last edited by ChinRey; 07-14-2018 at 07:31 AM. Reason: Correcting typos
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sansar doesn't have an established user base so it needs to be visible an draw attention.
Visible won't help if there's nothing there.

I've never seen any sign from LL that they have identified any particular user base(s) they're trying to reach. They just threw open the beta doors and sat back.

They must have known that Sansar compares poorly to SL as a social/community platform, which effectively wiped out SL residents as a potential user base. If they had another market in mind, it's certainly not evident from the presentation of the Sansar portal, which has a cobbled together feel, lacking focus or purpose.

The pricing matrix is... odd. It basically structures Sansar as disparate exhibition spaces: small, static, atmospheric rather than interactive. But there's no explicit recognition that this is what they're offering, or any supporting integration of featues for that purpose.

I'm also puzzled how they intended to monetize Sansar as a gallery space. Talented 3D/virtual modelers come to Sansar and set up a visually stunning "experience" for nominal rent. That's affordable for the artist, but an anemic income stream for LL. Visitors (theoretically) drop by Sansar to ooh and ahh at the visually stunning experiences, then... they leave.

If LL expected to make serious money from the sale of virtual goods in their store, you would expect a better store, but it's "rough" to say the least. And there's not much of a use case for visitors to Sansar turning around to buy stuff. Without a rich social layer to Sansar, users won't want clothing, furniture, landscaping or any of the other products that sell so briskly in SL.

So I see a lot of pieces in Sansar -- a minimalist website/portal, a chaotic list of experiences, a store, an ugly default avatar -- but the pieces don't fit. There's no coherent, integrated vision, no firm concept.

This leap into the void works for brand new technologies and creative venues that are inherently enticing because they're undefined and you can do things on them that nobody has ever done before. But this approach doesn't work later in the technology life cycle, when the novelty is gone and users have already defined -- in excruciating detail -- what features they like, want, and expect as the baseline for advanced tech.

In order to even stand a chance of succeeding, LL needed to build on what already exists. Instead, Sansar started below the bar set by their own product some 10 years ago.

How the fuck do you miss by a mile?
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It's been many months since I last logged into Sansar, and I have a new graphics card now, so I decided to give it another go.

After about an hour of downloading updates, then the experience itself, I selected a featured beach experience. In 2D, the cabana build and landscaping were on par with a good quality SL build, but I couldn't sit on any chairs. Chairs, chairs everywhere, which was kinda annoying since they were purely decorative. Lots of sand, lots of water, but no way to swim or sail in one of the many decorative boats. Same for the decorative hot-air balloon.

The experience land mass, on the other hand, was larger than I remembered. I've always felt claustrophobic in Sansar and the beach island was more open, like a modest homestead. The rocky cliffs were subpar compared to the best of SL mesh, but the sand was more realistic.


My biggest disappointment (other than lack of sit) was the ocean water. It was pretty and reflective, but flat. My sound in Sansar is always badly distorted, so there may have been some lapping sound effects that I missed -- that might have helped -- but there was no realistic visual treatment of water meeting land. I remember a much more dramatic rendering of water and breaking waves on Blue Mars and in SL you can at least add mesh/animated waves to fake the effect.

Overall, underwhelming as an appealing destination. Short of walking around or standing around chatting with someone who may stroll by, there is absolutely nothing you can do in Sansar that creates a sense of immersion or that entertains.
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Stonecutter View Post
Why would I go to YouTube instead of Second Life to see a landscape in Second Life?

Second Life Avatar is a bit more promising, plus the top relevant hit is this which is simply awesome:

SecondLife : Kyuubi Avatar - YouTube
I have that avatar. [Because of course I have that avatar, it's a fox, and I own 100% of all fox-related content on the marketplace]

It's even more impressive than the video. 100% worth.

Animations are absolutely dawwwwww
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I have that avatar. [Because of course I have that avatar, it's a fox, and I own 100% of all fox-related content on the marketplace]

It's even more impressive than the video. 100% worth.

Animations are absolutely dawwwwww
So what you're saying is I can make a lot of money by releasing tons of slightly color varried fox things.
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Old 07-14-2018, 06:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 07-15-2018, 07:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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So what you're saying is I can make a lot of money by releasing tons of slightly color varried fox things.
That's what JOMO does and they seem to be doing quite well.
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Old 07-15-2018, 07:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I've never seen any sign from LL that they have identified any particular user base(s) they're trying to reach.
There was something back in 2014. Ebbe said a lot about Sansar being experience oriented rather than focused on content in the usual SL meaning of the word.

That's not a concept of course but it is actually a very good start for one. It's also very different from SL which is very much "thing" oriented (preferably wearable things but definitely things).

It never happened though and that may be because the developers were so set in the SL way of thinking, they weren't able to break out of the box and see vritual reality in such a radically different way.

Last edited by ChinRey; 07-15-2018 at 07:11 AM. Reason: Correcting a typo
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Old 07-15-2018, 08:51 AM   #11 (permalink)
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There was something back in 2014. Ebbe said a lot about Sansar being experience oriented rather than focused on content in the usual SL meaning of the word.
So why doesn't he shove all the experience shit in Sansar instead of crapping on Second Life with it?
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Old 07-15-2018, 10:29 AM   #12 (permalink)
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So why doesn't he shove all the experience shit in Sansar instead of crapping on Second Life with it?
Don't tell anybody but I have this feeling Ebbe doesn't believe in Sansar anymore.
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:06 AM   #13 (permalink)
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There was something back in 2014. Ebbe said a lot about Sansar being experience oriented rather than focused on content in the usual SL meaning of the word.... It never happened though and that may be because the developers were so set in the SL way of thinking, they weren't able to break out of the box and see vritual reality in such a radically different way.
Well Sansar IS experience-oriented, so I'm not sure why you think that never happened. That concept was exactly what they've started building, but I've never understood how they could successfully monetize an experience-oriented VR. As we've seen from SL, "experiences" were almost always subsidized by merchandise sales. And merchandise sales are all about the accessories for socializing.

LL seems to have been so focused on VR that they just assumed the technology itself would be the draw, not the content. Put up a few pretty buildings, a sandy beach, and VOILA! users will be enthralled... and spend money somewhere for something we're not sure what or why, but we'll work that out later.


VR is a medium, not a destination. A subpar destination in VR is worthless. You'll get some traffic out of the vaguely curious, but there's not enough in Sansar to create sustained, enthusiastic participation. VR Chat, from all reports, was dead-on in terms of creating content that is USER-CENTRIC (just like SL). They're created a vibrant community and are thriving while Sansar is a ghost town. VR is not the problem. LL is the problem. They have never understood the appeal of socializing and community, of avatar customization, of user agency. This isn't even out-of-the-box thinking. It's pull-your-head-out-of-your-ass thinking.
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Old 07-15-2018, 12:35 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well Sansar IS experience-oriented, so I'm not sure why you think that never happened.
If we disagree, it's probably more about semantics than actual meaning.
What you see in Sansar, are static 3D scenes. There's not not much happening and there's hardly any interaction. As you said in an earlier post, you can't even sit on the chairs there.

Technically, watching the scenery is a kind of experience of course but no, I don't think that's what Ebbe had in mind in his early comments about Sansar.
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Old 07-15-2018, 01:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Don't tell anybody but I have this feeling Ebbe doesn't believe in Sansar anymore.
Looking at Ebbe's resume, he has been around a long time and given no indication of being a "vision" kinda guy. He seems most comfortable with kinda handy productivity software.

Why he wanted to be LL's CEO is beyond me.

I guess sometimes we see someone completely different from what other people see when we look in the mirror.
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Old 07-15-2018, 02:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Looking at Ebbe's resume, he has been around a long time and given no indication of being a "vision" kinda guy. He seems most comfortable with kinda handy productivity software.
I think he would agree with you there. He's a very competent administrator but developing brand new ideas is not really his thing.

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Why he wanted to be LL's CEO is beyond me.
Certainly not to develop Sansar, he said that straight out in at least one interview. What happened, according to Ebbe, was that LL was working on a "Second Life 2". When he took over, he took a fresh look at the project and called for a meeting where it was decided it wasn't going to work so they redefined it as a brand new product instead, a supplement to rather than a replacement for Second Life.

Let's be grateful for that at least. Look at Sansar and imagine what would have happened if Linden Lab really had pushed on with the SL 2 plans.
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Old 07-15-2018, 03:17 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I like the direction they are going with SL but I wish I had more confidenxe they were going to continue.

That is, adding new better features. Mesh, pathfinding, animesh, bento, etc.

I feel like at some point though they are going to have to overhaul the core of the grid itself to fix a lot of underlying issues. If anything maybe do some sort of masking and make the basic maingrid regiona larger and more continuous, but invisible to the user or something.
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Old 07-15-2018, 04:09 PM   #18 (permalink)
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If we disagree, it's probably more about semantics than actual meaning.
What you see in Sansar, are static 3D scenes. There's not not much happening and there's hardly any interaction.


Ha! Yes, we're seeing the same thing. I'm just crediting that static scene as what LL meant by "experience" and you're more like "That's a really bad experience, surely LL had something else in mind."

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Old 07-15-2018, 04:14 PM   #19 (permalink)
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What happened, according to Ebbe, was that LL was working on a "Second Life 2". When he took over, he took a fresh look at the project and called for a meeting where it was decided it wasn't going to work so they redefined it as a brand new product instead, a supplement to rather than a replacement for Second Life.
A truly successful SL 2.0 must start with the avatar. Avatars are the core of the product. Refashioning ourselves in pixels, expressing our innermost identity, playing to our ideals of beauty or working out our emotional issues or our sexual fixations or even rebelling against prevailing norms.


Everything else is just backdrop.
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Old 07-15-2018, 04:20 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Ha! Yes, we're seeing the same thing. I'm just crediting that static scene as what LL meant by "experience"
That's it! I know what market segment Sansar is aimed at! It's for all those unfortunate people who have such rich and full real lives they are desperate for a little bit of boredom.
Kind'a obvious when you think of it.
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Old 07-15-2018, 05:06 PM   #21 (permalink)
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A truly successful SL 2.0 must start with the avatar. Avatars are the core of the product.
...

Everything else is just backdrop.
That's probably Second Life 2020 in a nutshell, yes. It already fits the description well and the trend is quite clear.

I'm not happy with this, I have to say. And I'm even less happy to see that for the vast majority "expressing their innermost identity" means to emulate a barbie doll'ed take on a 60 year old's view of "youngsters today". But oh well. Linden Lab is clearly not up to the task of running a complex multi-faceted virtual world, most of the people with other main interests have already left and there's nothing they can do to recruit new users. All things considered, their best strategy seems to be to focus on the largest group of existing SL'ers and try to entice them to stay for as long as possible.
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Old 07-15-2018, 05:44 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I'm not happy with this, I have to say. And I'm even less happy to see that for the vast majority "expressing their innermost identity" means to emulate a barbie doll'ed take on a 60 year old's view of "youngsters today".
I think LL's determination to ignore user focus on avatar customizations has worsened this trend. As SL aged, the graphics of avatar representation gradually fell below our expectations, especially as object representation got better and better.

Hacking the shortfalls of SL avatars has become an obsession but it's so convoluted that only a few creators can fill the void. They work to get the most money for their effort (a perfectly legitimate goal) and that leaves out niche markets.

If LL had done their job properly and upgraded the avatar mesh to keep pace with escalating graphic standards, then SL residents could stop obsessing. We would all more easily make our own customizations, which inevitably includes a wider range of looks, and then get on with doing other things.
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Old 07-15-2018, 06:07 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Don't tell anybody but I have this feeling Ebbe doesn't believe in Sansar anymore.

He should have killed Sansar the moment they informed him of its exsistence after being hired
just like he did the other half dozen failed projects he shut down.


iS it too late for a SL2.0?
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Old 07-15-2018, 07:04 PM   #24 (permalink)
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He should have killed Sansar the moment they informed him of its exsistence after being hired
No, because:



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iS it too late for a SL2.0?

A revolutionary SL2.0 was what LL was working on until Ebbe diverted the plans into Sansar and that would have been the worst possible thing they could have done. Second Life users tend to be extremely conservative and they don't want drastic changes overnight - everything have to be done in small steps. And that's exactly what LL did. They didn't stop developing SL in 2014, if anything, they speeded up the process.
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Old 07-15-2018, 07:50 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Sansar avatars are an afterthought.

From the very beginning they were saying a Sansar is not a replacement for SL, it would have been in our best interest to actually trust them fully with that statement.

They still do need to make a successor to Second Life, the platform is ancient and it’s too hard to add new things to the legacy code. It really does need a fresh start, but one that conserves content. Sansar was never supposed to be that, I don’t think.
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