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Kick-starting a virtual world - problem analysis/ideas/suggestions/your needs

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Lex4art, May 13, 2017.

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  1. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artMay 13, 2017
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    I'm know about Space virtual world for a 3 months now - and all that time it's empty. Like Blue Mars, like Cloud Party, like High Fidelity, like Sansar (after initial month I guess it will be empty too), like *post a name of a post-SecondLife virtual world here*.

    Why Space is not popular? My first guess was about a high prices (and overall outdated concepts of virtual world size with good graphics/average Creators skillset) - it was discussed here (in short words - with current pricing & whole project orientation on 128-512Mb size per location there simply not enough people who can put decent graphics (that interesting for Visitors) in such a small size or will pay monthly 50$+ to fill user-empty virtual world with their creations). Current monetization policy directly encourages "2004-2006" year looking locations that fits in affordable 128/256Mb plans and only 3-4 of those locations (Flooded city, Zone 54B, maybe Gothica & Space station) did miracle (by rare set of skills of their authors) and looks good enough to have a chance to attract attention of potential Visitor with visuals). Miracles can't be backbone of the whole project, though.

    But if I imagine situation "okay, it's free now and there is no size limits" - guess nothing will change, or almost nothing; Space is simply boring now for a Visitors - there is not so much to do to have fun beyond initial tutorial quests/simplest racing (good idea though, but even here poor graphics makes it not so attractive to Visitor's - exploring locations that visually decade behind modern sandbox games... nowadays even kids will be not satisfied with that). And where is no life - there is no Creators. In Blue Mars there was a welcome region with tutorials, there was a hired team that created two good looking locations (New Venice and some more, they are still working!) plus some not-bad user-created maps... and that did not attract people even in 2010. Why?

    Good graphics can attract people to download client and start exploring, but this is only 10-20-30 minutes for average user in Space (did you monitoring that?); if there will be more impressive locations to visit - just walking & looking can take more time, hours maybe. There is some niche for pure graphics-based locations (virtual museums, concept presentations), they are all about graphics/pre-defined animations... but with Space size limits mentioned above even this niche did not working - museums is all about good meshes/textures/lighting/reflections and that stuff will have size of 2-20 gigabytes in hands of normal Unity developer without mad skills and tons of free time to waste on reducing size.

    So, typical Space Visitor spent around 20 minutes, did not spent a dollar and leaves forever (and did not spread a good word about Space within his circle of friends) - exactly like in Blue Mars 7 years ago! Why Space is near empty and how to change that? Preferably without spending millions of dollars and years of work - have a mercy for Sinewave developers & founders XD. What niches is not covered by current Space possibilities and how to add them? How to attract sandbox gamers to Space and is it worth it? Where is hidden fun of meeting & chatting in virtual world? How to kickstart virtual world with only Creators as Visitors? And most valuable - what YOU need from a virtual world? What is decent virtual world for you? If you have thoughts and ideas - feel free to share them here, if it's simple to implement and gives +5minutes to average Visitor time in Space it's valuable and maybe something will be picked up/changed in Space ).

    Some BlueMars images - what was available back in 2009/2010:
    BlueMars_with_Lex4art1.jpg BlueMars_with_Lex4art2.jpg BlueMars_with_Lex4art3.jpg BlueMars_with_Lex4art4.jpg BlueMars_with_Lex4art5.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
  2. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artMay 14, 2017
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    A wish about "give more attention to physics & general object interactivity in Space".
    After tasting level of creativity & freedom available in games with sandbox elements (starting from ancient Garry's MOD that uses spawn objects & physics as main pillar of whole product - to the fresh Fallout4/Rust/ARK: Survival Evolved where you can spawn a lot stuff in game & have some fun:




    In Space this key feature feels like it is not exposed at all (except small article in depths of the wiki for Creators). So, by default an Visitor will be feeling restricted to the core: their avatars did not have weight & influence to rigid bodies in world, he can't move any object in world, can't spawn anything, can't change material or add light to something... if it is possible to give him some fun & friendly GMOD-like tools to spawn items (small lib of meshes & lights) and interact with them (change materials, etc) right on start in Space on any location - all this can add to "time spent in Space" from +10 minutes to days or more.

    Some thoughts on this theme (useful or not? who knows...):
    *In official Space video tutorial there is briefly mentioned (at 0.43 - 0.50) some functional like described above, but limited to "Private rooms"(?) or regions (... dunno why and what does it means):

    *For that stuff there is need for proper, fully featured first person look. Current 3-rd person look is not fits well for building stuff.
    *Creators can sell "construction packs" and earn money, Space can have fee from sales (30%) and be happy too.
    *After "Low-level server SDK"(?) release I guess it will be possible to code & sell new tools to have fun with that spawn & modify ability - another selling point for Creators & income for Space.
    *If you continue develop & improve those features at some point there will be enough content and it will become interesting for machinima creators. Garry's mod / Source Film Maker have poor graphics, Space can be a winner here with modern Unity rendering possibilities + asset store graphics/physics gems support + multi-user building process.
    *An observation: simplest locations, like just one floor plane, are often all that needed for having fun with objects & physics. Houses, trees and cars will be spawned/created there by players ).
    *How to manage spawned content, how to avoid abuse/keep server uptime high with all that physics goes on and so on - all this comes with that new abilities and debatable... but better have thrilling life with problems than perfectly stable but empty & dead world.
    *No idea how hard or easy is to create this multiplayer physics stuff.
    *Cool stuff to spawn will have huge size (in megabytes) - no miracles here, better be ready for that from start:
    CoolThingsToSpawnExample.jpg


    Recreating PhysGun from GMOD in Unity5:


    Spawn objects in Unity5 ("This is built in Unity, it's about 16 days of work so far (from scratch)"):


    In other words: you have Unity with PhysX, just find bearable ways to use it.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  3. Trilo

    By:TriloMay 15, 2017
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    I disagree. Well, I agree that there aren't that many concurrent users most of the time (no published statistics, but from personal experience), though over the last few months there have usually been a few people chatting away when I pop in-world to test something... but I disagree with your basic argument of why.

    It's not because of the pricing/orientation... at all. It's because Space is still in what I'd call alpha phase. Space markets itself as beta, but to me in 2017 beta is a term best used for nearly finished or even feature complete software that's in the final phase of testing. Space isn't there yet. A lot of functionality still isn't there, and creator tools are still in fairly early stages of development.

    From my experience (in other virtual worlds as well as working on numerous operating system and creative tool software projects over the last couple decades), while many content creators think of themselves as living on the edge, they are very wary of alpha stage software. It's understandable, they're slaving away working at creating great content, and understandably have an expectation that their tools are going to work. I totally get that frustration - after my partner and I got a number of pieces done and into the Shop within a few weeks, various bugs, glitches and breakages have kept us from being able to make new things (though fortunately I think we're finally getting through the worst of it).

    As a regular in the Skype developer chat, I routinely see people talk about inviting all their creator friends from some other space... but the people they invite tend to pop their heads in once or twice and either disappear or go into lurk mode. For that matter, some of those who talk about all the invitations have themselves not yet gotten started in creating content. It's a familiar pattern - people arrive and are excited, and then get turned off by a combination of the steep learning curve or some functionality that either isn't there yet or is still a work-in-progress. I can't say that I've seen pricing/orientation come up in chat, and only once or twice in the various office hours sessions that I've attended.

    Personally, I think it's too early to start trying to drive a lot of traffic to Space. I think it's important to get all the core, basic stuff covered. Hooray that floorplan was rolled out, but as of this writing we still don't have body shape sliders, the ability to adjust the position of attachments, a fully functional clothing slots/layers system, or even an easy way for users to add a profile picture (the number one thing that users do on any kind of social space, from virtual worlds to social networking and chat apps and websites). Accessibility is touted as a major priority, but we still don't have working iOS/Android clients (they've been on the site as "coming soon" since I arrived six months ago).

    Once the creator tools firm up and the core stuff falls into place (later this year), I do expect more content creators to start dropping in.. and sticking around. And as the content starts turning up, I anticipate that more end users will start flocking to Space (though it's worth pointing out that there are a fair number of people using the platform for education and corporate purposes).
     
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  4. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artMay 15, 2017
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    Trilo - idea of this whole thread is to pinpoint an "feeling of a problem", it is mostly based on intuition + some past experience with now dead virtual worlds. Successful projects usually attracts people right from start, they have something... In Space that something is missing, imho. Definitely you have a point - finished, polished tools will be good addition to Space, it is part of the puzzle. But this feels like it is not enough to produce a spark and kick-start virtual world; and in Space roadmap I did not see that too (some nice improvements and that is all, they are feels not enough). And that physics sandbox above - nope, this is good but not enough. Good graphics? Will write post about it here tomorrow, but it's still feels not enough - then I imagining this picture with all that features included in Space it is still not feels right, there is still something totally missing.

    But! Recently I've got an idea and wrote it down on paper. It caused me some nice shivering in spine - good sign, but not a guaranty - and if tomorrow these writings will looks not_stupid I will post them here, mehehehe ). Hope this time that something will be pinpointed.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  5. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artMay 15, 2017
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    Some thoughts about "make screenshot" function in Space, it's feels like another part of the puzzle.
    In current state this feature allows to users put their screenshots on Facebook in two clicks - a little fun for Visitor plus some free promotion to Space. How to save screenshots to "My documents" folder is still a mystery for me, though.

    What can be improved here and how to increase Visitor time & fun in Space via this "Snapshot" function? *always remember about time_in_Space* Here is some raw ideas or just simple observations from Second Life/modern games:
    1)If it is possible to add function of posing bones of IK avatar skeleton in Space via simple & friendly interface - this will increase time spent in Space by average Visitor from +10 minutes to hours (than more accessories and clothes/avatars/locations/poses presets will be available - than more time will be spent by average Visitor in Space).
    2)Friendly UI for setting up lighting (Time of Day), controlling sky cloudiness, depth of field controls, etc Post Processing Presets to pick/modify, "Instagram-like *LUT* filters"... all that features will increase Visitor time spent in Space + increase visual quality of screenshots that Visitor shares in his facebook -> better advertisement for Space, more Visitors to come... Examples:


    Even for Blue Mars I did an example video 8 years ago ):

    3)It is hard to directly monetize screenshot function, but something can be done here I guess - small Space watermark-logo on each screenshot with WWW address of space... this may help improve advertisement effectiveness mentioned above.
    4)Combined with ability to spawn & pose items/lights & change materials on them this Screenshot function can receive cumulative effect -> more "time spent in Space".
    5)At some point there will be enough models to spawn, materials to pick and set and locations to use as background - this can attract some designers and other people that making money creating images for fotostocks or freelance stuff... suggest them an monthly subscription for some $ to use Space screenshots & content for commercial purposes ....
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  6. Adam

    By:AdamMay 16, 2017
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    Hey Lex - am reading this thread.

    Re: IK - we did expose these to scripting, and there is a couple of easy components for manipulating IK as well - I forget their exact names off-hand, but search for IK. I will likely add IK targets to the seat component next time that gets a revamp as well.

    Re: screenshots, we're actually ahead of you - we'll be allowing post-zones profiles to be dropped into the screenshots, along with some automatic camera angle selection tools as well. We've got the screenshot UI (including a bunch of stuff you haven't thought of...) revamp due in ... currently August, but it might get shifted forward, since it's one I've been thinking about as well. It's also worth noting, gestures right now include the ability to take a snapshot as one of the gesture 'functions' - so spawning props, camera angles, LUTs, etc can be done by those now; although they have to be built by a developer. :)
     
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  7. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artMay 16, 2017
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    Some thoughts about graphics.

    Virtual worlds are based on user-created content and currently in Space there is 95% of poorly looking locations and only remaining 5% are good. Well, in some point of view it's all about freedom - you do what you want, how you want and only your skill/time/money is the limits; if someone want to create extremely poorly looking map (for trolling or just because it feels right) - freedom of virtual world must allow that, and there is no problem here in Space, there is no pre-moderation or something like that. But I presume that most of those 95% poorly looking maps are not that their creators originally planned. How to change that? Than more awesome or just good locations in Space than more average "user time spent in Space" for a Visitor, more chances that he will start feeling fun & motivation to create something own here, spread the word to friends and so on. Than more simple & powerful creation process - than less frustration for Space developers. What could be done here to reduce amount of those "95%" & ease the artist's pain?

    1)Presets/prefabs is the key. This is first part of this puzzle: Space need some - professionally made "starter models & stuff" in enough variety to choose from for typical locations. They will be commonly used and through that "face of the Space" will be formed; the better starter prefabs - the better is the "Space face". People may think that creating something in Unity is hard & requires extensive usage of notepad + programmer skills but if you have decent pack of prefabs - various foliage, background elements & constructions, materials, sounds, skyboxes - all that user need for start is just learn how to spawn and move those prefabs in scene like a PRO & disable those nasty light probes helpers:

    Here is live example of that Creator can do only spawning & moving models in Unity:

    Currently this is weak point of Space - default map examples has horrible deFAULT lighting and a lot of locations in Space inherent this. Potentially good news here from Space roadmap where is mentioned upcoming "Create free region and content templates that can be used as base for new designs". Hope that it is it :).

    2)Friendly showcase map, were all Space models/shaders/particles/prefabs/materials will be placed on one map and visible in 3D view (not tons of folders in editor/shaders folders with obscured functional & purpose!), something like this:
    FoliageAssetsShowcaseExample.jpg
    If some of those assets requires additional things to do - add text descriptions to them, like Epic does in Unreal Engine 4 content example maps:


    3)Map preset with dynamic time of day lighting change. The point here is that when light condition changing this helps brings variety to the same map content (clear day light vs violet dusk lighting vs moonlight vs warm dawn with long shadows... that stuff is showcased on my "Future park" map to some degree; still "processing" - seems that Space server can't handle some 4K textures :(, not mentioning 8K... ). If properly implemented this will gives +5 minutes for "time spent in Space" by Visitor on many maps that looks good enough (p.1 & 2 gives cumulative effect here; if there is decent weather system implemented that can give variety on each time of day cycle and "time spent in Space" grows even higher). Beginner Creator don't need even know much about lighting, just open good preset map to have all this implemented to his creation. There is something coming from Roadmap - "New auto lighting system for region designers" ). Hidden catches here is that reflections must be changed with time of day too (currently Reflection Probes with "realtime" mode is not working) + if there is time of day implemented there must be connection to the Screenshot UI to control it for virtual photographers + some easy to use scripts*?* for lights, that will be turn ON/OFF in cadence with day-night cycle + network sync of current map time for everyone...

    Some *potentially useful* links about realtime GI:
    Will be good to have SEGI implemented by default in Space client - easy (just put script on camera). For those who use Enlighten for lighting there need for checkbox in Map upload settings "Use SEGI ON/OFF". And maybe even fields to upload own SEGI presets(it supports presets files), maybe even individual slots for user Ultra/High/Meduim/Normal/Low(off) settings). Currently it's seems to work under Unity 5.5/5.6 but building will fail if small fix for "AutoMipGen" was not applied (I did that, even I don't know about coding much - work!). Cool thing that reflections will be calculated too ).


    Code of this GI system is available on Github, maybe licence allow to implement this for Space without problems...

    Also, there is another GI system for Unity (not released):

    ***
    Currently Space lacking some of modern graphics features in general (but list of supported asset store extensions is sloooowly growing) - Unity 5.6 still have way too humble set of default features and heavy relies on asset store extensions. My wishlist is:
    - Standard Unity shaders are limited - will be good to have something like UBER (multi-layers, POM, Tesselation, Subsurface scattering, procedural snow & water...). But UBER requires replacement for shader file and will cause problems for Space shaders...but maybe not (or not serious) - UBER trying to keep things standard as much as possible here.
    - Foliage shaders (Speed Tree or Tree Generator) - trees/grass are pain in ass in Unity, they did not receive wind if they are not generated in SpeedTree app/Tree creator app and placed via terrain spawn tool (that did not fits well for city parks and many other cases, where single trees/bushes/grass patches needed to carefully placed in small flowerbeds). Alternative is Advanced Foliage Shaders v5 - complicated stuff, but at least there is possible to do wind animation via vertex painting on my city foliage. This also requires replacements in Unity shaders, to have compability with UBER this must be done by instruction (see Advanced Foliage Shaders v5 pdf manual).
    - Screen space shadows (simple & fast post effect (faster than SSAO), adds a lot of nice details) or/and those Next-Gen soft shadows to smoothen ugly/jagged point/spot light shadows. They can work both actually, at least under Unity 5.5 (and seems that Screen Space Shadows functionality now included in Next-Gen soft shadows).
    - Some kind of volumetric clouds that did not requires spending 50$+ from each Creator, e.g. integrated on client + checkbox to enable/disable it in Map upload settings.

    All this stuff can work simultaneously - SEGI, shadows, UBER, AFS 5, TrueSky (simul) clouds - here is my set of shaders for that, done by instruction that comes with each of them (tested for 5.6.1 - works!):
    UBER_plus_AFS5_plus_ScreenSpaceShadows_plus_AdvancedShadows.jpg

    Conclusion: graphics is another part of the puzzle - and currently Space is not good enough here (but seems to improving). Just simple analogy - if Space was a car that was available for customers in 2017 on open market it will be like it's right from 80x and has technical characteristics that not ready for competitive market (those player/objects physics from previous post). It will be really hard to sell it for people, they are already grown a custom to modern stuff... The good thing is that most of the cool, modern graphics will be created by Creators, graphics/physics modules can bought from asset store and integrated ... but on start there is a lot of initial efforts on Space itself.

    Here is forum thread about best screenshots from modern games - my favorite, new stuff every day ).
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  8. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artMay 17, 2017
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    Some quick post-thoughts about some things, described above:
    For start I guess it will be rational to browse Asset Store for free stuff, update it to Unity 5.6 were needed and put all this to "Friendly showcase map, were all Space models/shaders/particles/prefabs/materials will be placed in 3D view". Bad thing is that a lot of free assets need to be improved before they will be good addition to Space default assets lib (this is about "They will be commonly used and through that "face of the Space" will be formed"); still huge time saver. And most importantly - all that content stuff can be integrated to client and won't increase size of user project, it's already there and no need to download it again...

    Just a thought: a lot of good modules for Unity is costly - 50$ for UBER, 50$ for Advanced foliage shaders 5, 50$ for Fog Volume, 80$ for SEGI, 15$ for Screen-space shadows and same for NGSS ... all that stuff is good for Space appearance but cost a lot for each Creator. How about a plot twist: some of those things are enough "realtimeish" (SEGI, Fog volume, both shadow modules) and can be bought once by Space, integrated to client, attached to Player Camera/added to Creators map while processing and can be enabled & tweaked in game via an UI by Creator on developer servers => all tweaks saved & processed to live servers to auto-implemented on map start for Visitors. So, Unity editor will be "for placing objects" and "setup lights & GI & shadows" will be done realtime later on dev servers/live servers...

    Nope, contact shadows from NGSS are heavy (they are not screen space). So, both of those plugins needed.
     
  9. Adam

    By:AdamMay 17, 2017
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    Re: Extensions - we tend not to rely heavily on extensions for core/semi-core functionality because in my long-term experience with unity, most extensions tend to become unsupported after 2-3 years; so we don't want swathes of content being invalidated.

    Where we do integrate extensions into the core (i.e. viewer-only, not in editor packs), we do it in ways that are transparent to the developer/user (i.e. we do actually have a screen space shadows implementation in our viewer). The problem with transparently adding on the processing server is a) it risks annoying the original developer (something we don't want to do!), and b) it removes a WYSIWYG function from the editor packs (something we've been trying to get back to - not having it increases the build cycle time a lot as we discovered with the old post chain we just replaced).

    Re: SEGI - right now SEGI isn't compatible with all common types of content yet (i.e. has incompatibilities with transparent surfaces, certain render modes & platforms) - so I haven't looked at it for a possible real-time GI solution, yet. But it does continue to sit on my radar; - that is the sort of asset we would consider putting into the viewer since it's a general on/off solution with a nice improvement that won't be the end of the world if support is dropped (there are alternatives).

    My long term preference may be towards us financing some open source alternatives to a few key assets - e.g. improvements to the Standard shader, etc that could be hosted on github; then the base level is pretty high quality, and if you want to buy specialised assets - you don't have to, but they remain an option.
     
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  10. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artMay 17, 2017
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    Thoughts about that untraceable "something" that can bring life to virtual world. Best verbal description of that "something" that I can squeeze from myself is "level of positive unpredictability".

    How to bring more fun to the Space Visitors? Give them tools to make Space unpredictable.
    How to spark interaction between people? Give them tools/ways to expose themselves -> easy to find good matching pair to communicate/have some fun -> something unpredictable will happens from that (you never *fully* know what talking/building with that person will bring on table 10 minutes later).
    *** your's ideas about increasing level of unpredictability here ***

    Let's try to boost unpredictability of Space (and positive one, not negative!):
    1)"Expose emotions" - how about exposing current mood in visible_to_everyone form? Like floating emoji above each person in Space? We are monkeys and there is context rules installed in our brains - and that feature with emoji above everyone will be tugged by those context rules: we're starting to interact if we see that someone in depression (compassion kicks in), we are become curious and starting interact with a person who have surprised mood (what is happens that makes him pop-eyed? "It's important, let's check this" instinct), gentleman's have tendency to trying to help damsels in distress :) and so on. Btw, in Telegram messenger there is 512x512px "stickers" - more modern variant of emoji, large and bold way to better express yourself:
    Telegram_stickers.jpg
    Monetization - more sets of emoji/stickers to play with if you have Space subscription or something ). This stuff is good for Creators to sell, though.
    2)"Cutie marks" - expose your talents & interests to everyone else via user-uploaded images that will float around you! Or will be painted on flying objects that follow you/will be painted on your avatar butt/somewhere else. Three images for free, more - via Space user subscription or "1$ per additional image slot". Pre-moderation of uploaded images is needed of course, to keep that small unpredictability of person talents positive or at least neutral. This will be fun to see what persons around you is good at, what they interested at => with that it will be easy to see who you want to speak without having awkward moments & other problems of initial knowing person/rejecting person because lack of common themes to chat (so, that unpredictability of human-to-human interaction will have better chances to be positive).
    3)"Pop-up message to everyone in Space" - if someone searching for people to chat about specific topic or just wishing to send a message to everyone in Space just because this is little sassy and fun - will be good to give additional ability to capitalise that via pop-up messages; then something pop-up its... unpredictable! It's like post something in chat but better - on pop-up window there will be your avatar image, link to your current location to teleport and text message with huge font size, and pop-up will be present for a minute or more - while in chat messages spirited away from screen by new messages.... Limit message length with iconic 140 symbols, monetize that pop-up system (3 free messages per month, all above is "1 additional message for a 1$" + "additional features for additional price"and so on). Pre-moderation needed, though - to keep that unpredictability positive or at least non offencive.
    4)"Graffity" - self explanatory, just upload image (pre-moderation...) and drag & drop it to an surface in Space. Monetization - more simultaneous graffiti images + longer (24-48 hours) lifetime of each one if you have Space subscription... Simplest way to add something fresh to look at on old surfaces of Space locations ). Level of unpredictability will be increased...
    5)Concentrate people in one location - while Space is not densely populated it will be logical to motivate Visitors gather on one place more often -> a lot of people spawning items & building fun stuff from them, showcasing new avatars/clothes/items/cars/etc, seeing while one person posing their avatar bone-by-bone via UI to take a good screenshot and join him/her to make a selfie... -> a lot of unpredictable stuff in one place will be happen and there is the intertwine of those technical/social features starting to become something bigger than just sum of individual parts (by "Time_in_Space" scale) and unpredictable for Space developers!

    How to motivate people visit one location more often than others? Well, on my taste there is a "Grand Bazaar" needed - it's the location where every new Visitor will be spawned by default + every re-login there will be set default location "Grand Bazaar" (not "Last visited" or "Home" - they are in the dropdown list, but default is always "Grand Bazaar", at least while Space servers can handle that densely populated location). How this location must be organized to encourage rising of that "level of unpredictability"? Let's start with "Welcome" location and add needed features to it:
    - Visitors need ability to spawn times here, housing included. So, give them additional, even enough, space to build. With that possibilities and space each visit to "Welcome ... to the Grand Bazaar" location will be somewhat unpredictable. New houses appears, or being replaced, or removed, or other things spawned/combined/material-tweaked/lighted.... cool.
    - Visitors need ability to sell their items here freely, e.g. spawn marketplace/trading post whatever they want. This will also increase level of unpredictability here.
    - Everything else that encourages havoc - racing track(s), different biomes in each corner of the map, different weather/time of day change...

    Additional thoughts about "how to increase average Time_in_Space" value -> to increase amount of people simultaneously in Space... In "free to play" games there is always level system were you need decent amount of time to achieve next level with new benefits that increase your personal possibilities to have positive unpredictability (e.g. win somehow a match or whatever). In Space there is already something similar (startup quests with silver rewards). What can be squeezed from Space in that direction? In "free to play" games this level system often generates days or even months of time, spent in game. For Space though it's seems to be way more complicated & less effective but lets see:
    1)If there is GMOD-like system of items spawn/move/tweak - there is possible to open access to additional libs of items with each level. What will be criteria of level up here? Who knows... But each level is about hour to master - so even three levels is 3 hours to "Time_in_Space" valuer, so it's worth considering I guess. Progress bar + progress scores pop-ups on actions are the essentials here...
    2)Each new level in Space ranking system can be rewarded with new abilities (like ability to send global pop-up messages 3 times per month)...
    3)Donate (Space subscribtion) to speed up 2x-3x progress bar... ).
    4)Access to some location what can't be visited by simple mortals with level 1 )

    P.S. those "talent/interest" images floating around - maybe it's better to have one flying plane to display them, just change images via fade in/fade out... that will be less obscure solution...

    P.S.S. And make em with hologram-like shader - this will fit better for virtual world...
    [​IMG]
    P.S.S.S. Holograms are semi-opaque and that makes them less obscure - maybe three or more floating holo-talents-interests images will be still good idea.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  11. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artAug 3, 2017
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    Linden Lab's Sansar now in open beta. Problems are same - there is not so much to do for Visitor: travel through some museum-like locations with snail pace, sometime listen background music, make occasional talk with other Visitors via clumsy chat and try to have some fun with simple & buggy mini-games. After initial release hype will go down and there is high risk to receive "another deserted virtual world platform" :(.

    Good thing is that there is adequate pricing and there is no size limits for location content - maybe for museums/art exhibitions it will be enough to keep some Visitors here... Good look "out of the box" and overall simplicity + store + simple interface => more people playing with buying/selling/spawning/moving/lighting content on their maps. But for me it is still feels like "nope", way too boring & artist-limiting... Well, I hope Linden Lab knows something that I don't or simply had enough money for trial and error way to collect all obvious mistakes, overcome them and finally iron out addictive virtual world ...
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  12. Adam

    By:AdamAug 3, 2017
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    Hey Lex,

    Just to let you know - we have been reading over your suggestions, we do have a few of them in the pipeline (and a couple out already).

    Our big projects at the moment (which we've been discussing in office hours lately) is getting more in the way of social features in place; starting with a new welcome centre region, where we're giving people a bit more to do. (If you take a look in the new 0.7.27 client - we've added a screenshot tool similar to the one you suggested in this thread a two months ago), and we've got a new welcome center coming soon, which we're incorporating some more ideas. A few things still need some more development time before we can support them (allocating parcels within a region to use the inworld build tools is coming soon) - but we have read and will incorporate good ideas.

    The past few months, we've been aiming to 'tick off' a lot of the missing things we've had - like body sliders for example (which are really essential for a virtual world - things like avatar customisation I think are the most important features we can have), inworld building, scripting, etc. We've been testing the new vehicles system in EP10 in the past week a lot more, so expect to see some more there soon as well. Just takes time! :)

    Re: storage sizes - I think we've discussed those before, the big issue is still bandwidth, not storage, - most users aren't happy with long waiting times for things to load (and a single 4/8K texture can take up 60mb alone, more when you add varying maps); so options like SEGI and Substance are more attractive versus increasing download sizes. We could 'uncap' our storage sizes, but it will encourage really ridiculous load times for content (which has been somewhat visible in other worlds that don't cap), and the end-user experience matters as well. That said we are going to start offering some new concentrated plans though that allow for larger sizes on fewer regions, for those who do want to make (filesize) massive regions.

    My preference however would be still in procedural solutions - SEGI is still problematic, so we're not including it (for now), but on the realtime GI front, HXGI looks like a much more interesting solution, and that looks like it will run at an acceptable speed everywhere, so I'm following closely. I have tested UBER a while ago, which you mentioned above as well, and been able to get that working (without us swapping core shader stuff out!) - I have a test region up on creator you can look at if you like. On the texturing front, we're hearing that the new substance run time should be available soonish, which will give you 4/8K substance support and GPU generation (yay!) - ideally that solves the bandwidth issue nicely, as long as you're working in that toolchain, without significant drawbacks. The other project we've got in the backburner is implementing a new compression scheme on textures which will include a form of mip-streaming; once those are solved, we can re-evaluate how it impacts on the end-user experience (which is still my major reservation).
     
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  13. Adam

    By:AdamAug 3, 2017
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    Oh, I also forgot to mention - we've also added a new smart lighting tool, which gives you light presets on demand. We've got to package up a bunch of our presets, but they give you nice one-click solutions to lighting setups. :)
     
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  14. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artAug 3, 2017
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    I'm subscribed to roadmap on Trello and keeping eye on Flickr gallery of SineSpace development - hope you will found solid ground to rise "average time in SineSpace" for weeks to Visitors and worlds will become populated. Glad to see that my raw ideas/observations are useful to some degree ).
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  15. Adam

    By:AdamAug 3, 2017
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    Yep - we're listening to every suggestion that comes in. I won't guarantee we'll implement everything; but we are listening. (Actually our average time stuff is going up a bit too - last month was our new highest on record on a bunch of important metrics!)

    You do make cool looking stuff - so things we can do to support that is firmly in our minds - we've just got to make sure what we're doing is the right thing. :) Out of curiosity, I don't have it off-hand, but how big is your Future Park these days?
     
  16. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artAug 3, 2017
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    It was around 1.5Gb in May (and there is a lot to add further...; didn't update it since then).
     
  17. Adam

    By:AdamAug 3, 2017
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    OK, interesting. I've added some tools to help find what's chewing up upload size, I would like to get those updates live (and get it published on the live grid too if possible.) - 4K textures do still 'hurt', but there might be some ways around this. Hmm.
     
  18. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artAug 3, 2017
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    And all this can be multiplied by 2 or 3, if I manage to finish this location someday. Not everyone will need that heavy stuff, but as I mentioned before - 2Gb is average size for map that looks and sounds good for 2017 year, no magic bullets here (still like that "clay render" idea for super fast map loading, not tested though - MIPs streaming maybe better for perception than "white world"). If Sinespace implement large library of commonly used materials/objects/sounds/sky that will be embedded in client by default (like "Lumion 3D" do) - this will help cut locations size in half for many Creators maps (Substances are way too slow to generate & compress - these 3-5 generated 4K textures to DXT will take 1-2-3 minute per Substance!); having realtime GI with reflections will free people from lightmap nightmare, reduce need for reflection probes and will save some more; but there will be really few professional level designers - most of the Creators will have a lot of mistakes, there is cool but expensive photo-scanned stuff to use and so on - that bloat map size to 1-2-3-4Gb as I see it. Professional developers can do better but they already have a job in game industry or personal indie projects, they are too rare to be bulk of Creators amount in SineSpace...
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  19. Adam

    By:AdamAug 3, 2017
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    Yeah, I do still like that clay idea - I think it's got merit, but potentially it could be just mip(N-1) first which is 2x2px, and just rapidly resolve as we go down - we're working on FLIF compression support to do our mip streaming, which includes a JPEG-like progressive scan option (while preserving PNG-like quality)
     
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  20. Lex4art

    By:Lex4artAug 3, 2017
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    Good idea, at least objects will have solid color that matches their full-res look in a way... Maybe "white world" has better art-style than "cartoon-colored" world, though. Tests needed....

    P.S. There is a Sansar forum now open and there is a lot of users feedback/whining/suggestions from whole year of closed beta stage (myself included; beware of COCA Yven postings XD) - maybe this is useful for SineSpace team too...
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017