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Sansar Opens to the Public in Creator Beta

SAN FRANCISCO – July 31, 2017 – SansarTM, the world’s leading social VR platform, today opened its creator beta to the public. Sansar empowers individuals, communities, schools, studios, corporations, brands and others to easily create, share, and ultimately sell immersive 3D social experiences for consumers to enjoy on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows PCs. Developed by Linden Lab®, the company behind the groundbreaking virtual world Second Life®, Sansar is a brand new platform built from the ground up to enable everyone to become a creator.

At opening, Sansar’s Atlas directory already features hundreds of engaging virtual experiences, including multiplayer games, recreations of historic sites and landmarks, art installations, movie theaters, museums, narrative experiences, jungle temples, 360º video domes, sci-fi themed hangouts, and much more. Creators invited to the platform during a limited-access preview have published thousands of amazing public and private experiences, and with the opening of beta today, the world is now invited to join them.

“Sansar democratizes social VR,” said Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab. “Until now, complexity and cost has limited who could create and publish in this medium, and Sansar dramatically changes that. It’s been inspiring to see the thousands of virtual creations that have already published with Sansar during our limited preview, and I’m looking forward to the explosion of creativity we’ll see now that we’ve opened the doors in beta.”

Sansar Capabilities

Simplified Creation & Cross-Device Distribution

Intuitive drag-and-drop editing makes it easy to create a scene with assets imported from common 3D modeling tools or purchased from the Sansar Store.

With the push of a button, creations become hosted multi-user experiences that can be enjoyed by consumers using VR head-mounted displays (HMDs) as well as in desktop mode on PCs. Every Sansar experience has a unique link that can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, email, blogs, and with whomever the creator wishes. Each instance of an experience is currently set to allow 35+ concurrent avatars, and automated instancing will enable creators to reach unlimited audiences.

Convincing Social Interactions

With detailed customizable avatars, Sansar provides rich social interactions, without requiring additional hardware like cameras and trackers. A unique integration with Speech Graphics’ technology provides accurate avatar lip-syncing and facial animations, driven in real time as users simply speak into the microphones on their HMDs or audio headsets. With the use of VR hand controllers, users’ hand and arm movements are accurately and realistically mirrored by their avatars, thanks to an integration of IKinema’s powerful RunTime middleware, the world’s leading full-body inverse kinematics (IK) technology.

Robust Marketplace & Earning Opportunities

With Sansar, creators can earn from their virtual creations by selling them in the Sansar Store. In the future, creators will also be able to sell, rent, or charge for access to their experiences. At the opening of beta, the Sansar Store features thousands of items for sale from creators around the world.

A relationship with TurboSquid provides creators with access to hundreds of additional high-quality 3D models in the Store today, with thousands more being added in the coming months. Planned integration with TurboSquid’s StemCell initiative will make it easy for TurboSquid’s community of 3D modelers to immediately upload and sell their creations in the Sansar Store, further augmenting the assets readily available to Sansar creators.

Breaking Language Barriers

One thing that makes Speech Graphics unique is our ability to animate in any language with the same quality and precision. We have even successfully animated speech in less widely spoken languages such as Mayan! Behind the scenes, we have a great team of researchers and linguists working hard to make sure all animations meet our standards, regardless of language.

Becky, one of our linguists, has some insights on what makes some of the languages we animate interesting, and how we adapt to work with them:

Korean

The Korean writing system is neat. Every character, or Hangul, represents one spoken syllable. Each Hangul consists of up to three smaller parts, called Jamo, which correspond to one phonetic sound each. The words in our dictionary are written in Hangul, but we use the phonetic information contained in the Jamo to generate animation. Fortunately, the Jamo components of a Hangul character can be found by applying a mathematical equation to the character code of the Hangul.

I’ll spare you the math, but here’s an example:

한국 is a word with two syllables, and it means “Korea”. When we apply our equation to each syllable, we find the following Jamo components:

한 = ㅎ + ㅏ + ㄴ = h + a + n

국 = ㄱ + ㅜ + ㄱ = g + u + g

And now we see that it’s pronounced “han-gug”. You can follow the link and click the “listen” button to hear what it sounds like.

Polish

Polish has many consonant clusters that are not possible in English. In English, there are at most three consonants at the beginning of a syllable, such as s + p + l in “split”, and there are many restrictions on which consonants can be combined in this way. Polish can have up to five consonants in one cluster!

Here’s a Polish tongue twister that’s full of consonant clusters that we don’t have in English: “W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie.” It means “In Szczebrzeszyn, a beetle buzzes in the reed.”

Mandarin

Mandarin is a tonal language with five different tones. This means that two words with the same sounds can mean two different things when they are pronounced with different pitches. For example:

妈, “ma” with the 1st tone, means “mom”

马, “ma” with the 3rd tone, means “horse”

Our dictionary includes tone information. When we looked at all the vowels that occurred in our Mandarin dictionary, it seemed like there were over 85 different vowels! But we ultimately broke these down into 17 vowels and vowel combinations, with 5 different tonal pronunciations for each one.

Mandarin also has two character sets, and we support both. We devised a way to convert traditional characters to simplified and vice versa, and made a dictionary for each writing system. Here’s the word for “computer” written both ways:

Simplified: 计算机

Traditional: 計算機

While we are able to animate any language, including custom or obscure languages, we are working on updating our core technology one language at a time to get even better results. Right now, we can handle over ten languages, and are working on more!

If you would like to learn more about Speech Graphics, or discuss how to use our facial animation in your next project, please get in touch!