‘Second Life’ Successor ‘Sansar’ Launches Open Beta Today, Pricing Revealed

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Linden Lab, the company behind the virtual world Second Life, is today launching successor Sansar into open beta, this time built for the VR era. Though based on much of what the company has learned from running Second Life over the last 14 years, Sansar isn’t exactly a sequel, and instead takes a new approach to virtual worlds.

While Second Life was built as one giant world, Sansar’s architecture is more like a platform. On it, “creators” can host virtual worlds and experiences for others to visit, though those creations are not plopped down in one continuous virtual space; instead they act more like discrete, interconnected virtual environments which can be accessed by browsing the world’s Atlas’.

Each virtual world in Sansar is also its own entry point into the platform. Whereas Second Life asked users to go through one front door, every creation in Sansar will have its own dedicated link which can be shared anywhere and serve to direct someone to a specific experience within Sansar.

Image courtesy Sansar

Sansar has been in closed beta for several months now, and today the platform is opening its doors to all. With support the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows PCs, the so called “Creator Beta” already includes hundreds of places to visit, and offers users the ability to try their hand at making their own. I had a chance to preview Sansar and sit down to chat with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg earlier this year, ahead of the Open Beta:

Read Our Sansar Preview

For novice creators, Sansar allows for drag-and-drop editing, enabling you to craft basic scenes with assets purchased from the Sansar Store. More advanced creators will be able to import assets from “common 3D modelling tools,” thought we’re not sure exactly which are supported at this time.

Each world can host around 35 players simultaneously before automated instancing kicks in to create clones of the world to be able to effectively reach “unlimited audiences,” Linden Lab says.

The company’s business model for Sansar is to let people visit worlds on the platform for free, but charge creators who want to host more than three experiences. Creators too will have mechanisms available to “sell, rent, or charge for access” to earn from their creations. Though still in Beta, Linden Lab is already offering paid tiers for hosted experiences starting at $10/month for five hosted experiences.

That’s a major shift from Second Life’s business model where users rented virtual real estate in the virtual world, allowing them to build in that area of the map.

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  • Raphael

    Nop. Nop nop nop. Nop nop nop nop nop.
    Take it away. I dun wannit.

    • ?????

    • Steve Biegun

      Well you don’t *have* to play it.

      • Raphael

        I don’t have to? OK. Panic over then. Thanks for letting me know.

        • Sky Castle

          The point he’s making is there’s no reason to “take it away” because you don’t like it. Just don’t play. Simple. Other’s may like it.

          • Sam Illingworth

            I don’t think he was serious.

          • Sky Castle

            I know he wasn’t serious, but doesn’t change the fact that he made a joke of something he didn’t comprehend.

    • Get Schwifty!

      I’m sure the developers will be crushed at your lack of interest ;)

      • Raphael

        i think you’re right. Maybe i should soften my stance and buy their 99 dollar monthly subscription? The fact that it’s 99 and not 100 makes it quite appealing.

        • yag

          You may sell yourself as an “experience” :-)

  • David

    WOOOT!!!!!

  • 35 Players max per world instance? I thought one of the strengths would be large scale player numbers. I guess this would only affect live events or lectures where people want to be together rather than split off from their friends. I think the pricing for Indy developers isn’t too bad actually as it seems solely based on how fast support response is. Most Indy devs use forums rather than paid support contracts. As it is now open beta, It would be great to hear early opinions.

  • Ombra Alberto

    The Apollo Mission Museum. It’s awesome.

    There are many things to improve but it’s a good start.

  • Lucidfeuer

    When this tool is fined-tuned and complete enough, people don’t realise how killer and affordable a VR content creation tool this is.

    It falls a bit short in terms of texturing, import capabilities and FXs but as far as world building or assembly goes, this is very practical because it’s simpler than Unreal.

    • beestee

      Epic is keen to this thought, they are making it easier to create Unreal experiences with every release.

      https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/introducing-datasmith-a-workflow-toolkit-for-unreal-engine

      • Lucidfeuer

        Not the same thing at all. It’s just an engineering 3D importing tool.

        • beestee

          From a creator standpoint, I do not agree. Sansar uses .fbx format and therefore would be categorized the same as Unreal for importing, and I am sure Sansar is actually far more narrow scoped.

          The difference Datasmith makes is in a creator’s familiarity with where that .fbx is made. I build worlds in SketchUp, Revit, and 3dsMax all the time and I am comfortable working in these tools and getting the look I want from them using render engines such as Corona.

          Once I have this world made in this “engineering” software I can choose to take it to Sansar which will likely require a lot of prep and also require a lot of work once in the game to get the look dialed back in.

          -or-

          I use Datasmith to take my scene into Unreal and I get the same general look that will require a lot less work once I am in Unreal.

          • Lucidfeuer

            I can understand that from a professional and precise-tuning viewpoint, Sansar is simply limited. But as a creation building tool, it simply is 10x more practical and easier than using SketchUp, Revit and 3dsMax which are really heavy duty 3D creation tools (proof being you need three of them) before importing it into Unreal.

            And for importing different format into Unreal, no doubt Datasmith is a great plugin, but the pipeline workflow remains as heavy.

  • Alex P

    YES!!!

    This is gonna rock!