The eighth of Canary’s anxieties is about dumbing down Sansar. I think it goes hand-in-hand with the ninth anxiety: too complex. Opposite sides of the same coin, sort of. It is true the Lab is trying to make Sansar appeal to the masses and that an easy to use factor. But, is Project Sansar really going to give us a dumber virtual world?
The term ‘dumb down’ will have different meanings as it is somewhat ambiguous. Another term in the gaming world that could apply would be NERF. Will they nerf SL into Sansar?
Whenever I think about whether Project Sansar is going to produce a simpler or more complex world I ask myself what in Sansar will be less than it is in SL? What could be left out? Does nerfing or dumbing down Sansar mean less features than SL? Or does it mean restricting what we can build or do in the new world? What building abilities or activities could they leave out?
If we take Linden Lab CEO, Ebbe Altberg, words at face value Project Sansar will be more than Second Life™. He often says similar but better. If the avatar is better, meaning it has a better mesh layout, better texture mapping, better animation weighting, and a better armature/skeleton does that add complexity? It could. It certainly doesn’t sound like the avatar is to be nerfed.
Since the most requested features for the avatar in SL are the things I listed above, it is likely those things will be implemented in Sansar. I would say the skeleton change is going to add complexity. We may have finger and toe bones. So, that certainly isn’t dumbing the avatar down. But, how much complexity would that add? How much harder is it to learn to move a finger than it is to move an arm? We have to figure out how to work with the SL avatar and skeleton now and we complain because we can’t add bones, move toes, etc. So, it doesn’t seem like something people haven’t heard of or learned to do before.
We know objects in the Sansar world are being modeled with Maya. We use Maya for building in SL. So, the ‘external’ tools aren’t getting nerfed. Presumably more of the modeling features in Maya, 3D Max, and Blender that we cannot use for SL will be added to Sansar. To me it sounds more like removing SL restrictions and limits we have to learn to model for SL now. The complexity is already in the tools. That isn’t increasing. Sansar could be more in line with industry standards, thus making it easy for people from other game worlds to build in Sansar.
If you don’t know how to build for other worlds, it is hard to know how hard or easy it is to build for SL and project what it will be like to build for Sansar. That Sansar is planned to be better than SL doesn’t mean it is moving the 3D modeling world to new levels. So, it is conceivable that Sansar will gain features, abilities, and still be simpler than SL because of better compliance to industry standards. Of course that ‘simpler’ is in the sense of the gaming industry.
Will we have materials? To be better than SL I would say yes and materials will likely be handled in more industry standard ways than how it is in SL. Probably like they are in Unity, Unreal, Cry and other game engines. I can’t say it will be more complex than what we have in SL now, as we have most of what is available for texturing available in SL now. But, how we go about it in SL has some odd twists. Sansar may have an even simpler implementation of materials. We will likely have more of the professional features of other game design environments. Again I don’t see it as dumbing down or necessarily getting more complex.
If the Lab is adding more to Sansar, will the viewer be more complex? Will the build process be more complex? We were asking hose questions in anxiety issue #4. (Kiss your Second Life inventory bye?) There I was pointing out that the Lab is designing to make things easier for everyone.
The SL Viewer has 3,000+ controls. So, will the Sansar viewer be dumbed down? Maybe. I have no doubt the controls will be different. But, more or less complex? We will have to wait and see.
If we have more controls and they are more intuitive and more in line with industry standards, is that more or less complicated? Does that make it easier or harder to learn? I think different people will answer that question in different ways. We’ll have to wait for a consensus to form.