[Carl Fravel from the closed Sansar creator preview group asked me to write a foreword to his Sansar Creator Guide.
The following is the full text which may appear abridged in the Kindle/Paperback edition of the book]
Once a upon a time, in the year 2003 to be exact, a virtual world was born that enabled ordinary people from all walks of life - and now I can’t quite recall this quote from Linden Lab co-founder Philip Rosedale so I paraphrase - to “exercise that forgotten muscle of creativity”.
14 years later Second Life has survived countless clones and even now - in the age of neo VR - I’d argue SL is as vibrant as ever if not more so.
But of course public perception - regurgitated by countless superficial news reports - is mostly the exact opposite: in casual conversation friends, family and “experts” would usually state that SL occupies only a marginal niche of no consequence in the history of digital culture.
Will the advent of Sansar - a Linden Lab made world building platform now in public beta and compatible with current display tech as well as various emerging tracking devices - propel the user centric virtual world segment to new heights?
To mass adoption even?
Is Linden Lab granted a stab at …. Third Life?
sorry bad German humor….
Well let’s put it this way: the verdict if hundreds of millions adopt this concept right away is out and I am in the privileged position that I can say it is not my primary concern!
“What?” says the reader undoubtedly now: “...has Draxtor lost his VW-enthusiast energizer bunny marbles?”
To be clear: that I don’t care about mass adoption does not mean that I don’t wish huge reach, an immediate explosion of creator/user sign-ups and gigantic concurrency to Linden Lab, us elitist artistes, creative professionals and the people who simply want to build their own little corner in the Metaverse and enjoy it with their community!
It would be wonderful to see everyone [and their mom?] embrace user-created content of varying sophistication and thereby enriching the plethora of cultural offerings in digiland which arguably are currently dominated by polished yet fairly cookie-cutter content and the powerful parties occupying every seat at the table are mostly big entities pushing down streamlined and focus-group tested content so we can be entertained 24/7.
“What?” repeats the reader: “... does Draxtor not realize Linden Lab is partnering with Turbosquid aka the evil Walmart of 3D content and thereby paving the way to Sansar becoming Disney-fied from the get-go and destroying hobbyists’ chance for a place at that very table?”
Well, Turbosquid is at the table and like it or not but so is the entire internet which is - news flash - chock-full of 3D content, good, bad and ugly.
And as individual specialists competing globally we have to deal with this scenario somehow and it is not a simple matter: it has to do with fair compensation and solidarity among us digital workers but I do believe that we have an ally in Linden Lab - an experienced platform provider and thereby regulator with deep expertise in gently leveling the playing field.
Because Linden Lab needs us to grow the platform! They will not kill the goose which lays those golden you know what and that goose’s name is not Turbosquid but …. well let’s reveal it right here: it is Maxwell Graf.
And 4 others - of course….
Sorry there is that bad humor again!
Point is: I am confident that Linden is fully aware what one of the secrets behind SL’s longevity is that engaging residents via empowering creators by giving those creators the ability to freely monetize their ingenuity, be it 3D visual content, audio or virtual services of all kinds.
In any event going back to virtual world domination which I really think is not even necessary for Sansar to succeed.
I personally would be very very happy if Linden Lab generates enough revenue to be able to keep the lights on and the engine churning comfortably.
In Second Life and in Sansar!
Sansar does not need to dominate the Metaverse eco-system but Sansar could simply earn a reputation as the very best and the most diverse world building platform out there.
And that can be accomplished if WE [the people?] build build build and build some more!
My favorite restaurant, my favorite movie, my favorite record, my favorite book, heck: my favorite opera [oh yeah I am an elitist condescending European alright!!!] - none of these offerings went number #1 upon first publication, some went cult over time and a few are cornerstones in cultural history, having paved the way forward for others but are virtually unknown.
I won’t bore you with titles of my faves and before I completely digress into an endless rant against consumer culture because I want you to start reading Carl Fravel’s wonderful guide to creating stuff in Sansar and prove me right: that we can make these worlds that matter, that we can make the diverse culture that transforms us, that we can dream up wondrous inclusive experiences.
So go forth and be assured: I am psyched to see what y’all are going to build!
And to my Linden Labbers, worker-bees as well as execs: congratulations to an amazing launch and thank you for providing us with yet another gigantic sandbox to keep playing until we hit the bucket.
special shout out to jenn, head of community, for enduring some long long hours and contentious debate in the private channels...
I shall remain your eternal wide-eyed goofy obsessed Draxtor and won’t neglect to roam Second Life with my microphone and camera but if I get a story scoop from Sansar I will come over right away.
PS: if you like to discuss my favorite movies/books/classical music pieces = visit me at 114 Harvest and join us for Atlas Hopping?
PPS: if you create in sansar do not forget how important audio is [a message from torley who designed all the sounds in the world and helped with the final flufee episode back in the day...]
torley calling flufee while working on sansar audio...