Project Sansar: Hours to Build? Really!?!

Of all places I find Tom’s Hardware has new screen shots of Project Sansar out. See: Linden Lab Reveals First ‘Project Sansar’ Screenshots. But, apparently one image was released Friday 2/4 and another 2/10. Linden Lab CEO Tweeted out the images. May be I should pay more attention to Twitter.

I downloaded the full size image:

Project Sansar: Mars landscape.

Project Sansar: Mars landscape.

Quoting from Tom’s:

Linden Lab said building environments in Project Sansar is quick and easy, noting that, “In just a matter of hours this very realistic, multi-user Mars VR experience came to life.”

Ebbe’s comment that this was done in ‘just a few hours’ has drawn some dubious responses. Hamlet collected some of the blow back in: 3D Builders Seriously Skeptical of Project Sansar Screenshot

Ebbe released another image five days later.

Ebbe again supposedly commented about it only taking a few hours. He may have said that to the people at Tom’s, but I can’t find any corroboration. It could be that the two images were run together in a single comment or someone misunderstood something.

Building these things in hours… I have to wonder exactly what they mean. A Mars or Lunar landscape… that might be as easy as making a Windlight setting with something similar for procedural terrain settings.

The buildings and stuff… I don’t know. I will guess those were made in Maya and that would push up the time. But, they could from a library of prebuilt objects. So, hours… I suppose it is possible.

Hamlet thought there were three possibilities:

  • Pre-fabricated building blocks and templates with which users can “snap together” parts of already optimized 3D content, ala Sims 3.
  • A consumer-friendly, “dumbed down” 3D modeling system that creates optimal content out of the box — a platform to be either created or purchased by Linden Lab.
  • Alternately, require users to create their own content in industry standard 3D modeling platforms — as difficult as they are for 99% of average users to master.

I think Hamlet’s first idea is closer to what we are seeing here. We have information from Ebbe that content is being created with Maya (choice 3 from above). A couple of weeks ago I was writing about a claim the Lab was using Unity 3D as the graphics engine for Project Sansar: Sansar to use Unity3D?

Pete Linden posted a comment:

Pete Linden 2016/01/19 at 10:37 AM Edit

No, Project Sansar will not be using Unity (nor Unreal). As noted in this article (from a journalist who actually interviewed Ebbe):,30054.html – we are developing our own engine.

The main point in the Unity claim was that the Lab is going to have procedural terrain. I expect that to still be true. Ebbe has talked about exploring use of voxels for terrain.

We might assume from that Hamlet’s second idea is in the ‘works’. But, I suspect the Lab’s focus on content builders means they will include the high end stuff in the engine design. The engine can then support most anything built in Maya.  The simplified building system would be in the user interface and likely not have all the tools we see in Maya.

My thinking is the underlying frame work is likely to be comprehensive and give professionals most of what they want.

The user interface for in-world building would support non-professionals and be the simplified tool. That likely would not support all the possibilities the engine supports.

But, we won’t know until we get our hands on Project Sansar.

Do agree with some comments in Hamlet’s blog that what we are seeing in the images could be made in Second Life. But, it may be easier in Project Sansar than some seem to think. Also until we can walk in a Sansar world, we can’t tell much about the quality of the rendering.

4 thoughts on “Project Sansar: Hours to Build? Really!?!

  1. It can take hours to build in Second Life, ask any decent creator, particularly large complicated builds. Think of the time that artist’s spend building immersive experiences or for creators who make their own original mesh.

    • …that it didn’t take days or weeks, as it does is in SL and other worlds, is the surprise.

      From Ebbe’s response in the later Tweet I take it both are more of a plug and play type build.

  2. I only see 3 typical \asset kit\ were used. The rocks, Theater, and Sci-fi props.

    Since he admitted he didn’t create them on his own. What’s more does he need to do? All I see he has placed down those asset and not much else. Maybe he spent way too much time on sky lighting and fog? I don’t know.

    And only to be proud that it took few hours? 2 or 3 hours? It look like a 10-minutes-long type of work to me. (To be fair, I am graphic artist and I do these kind of work normally quick anyway.)

    Overall… from what I see and what I understand. That they have few tools ready. Asset placement and lighting setting and terrain tools.

    That really doesn’t tell me much when comparing to Unreal, CryEngine, Unity.
    I’m still less than skeptical, much less impressed for that matter.

    As a world builder… show us how big we can create and how far we can control via scripting.

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