You'll soon be able to live a second life in virtual reality – Sansar is a life-simulation game currently being tested, which lets you laugh, love, and learn all in VR.
A concept image from Liden Labs’ Sansar. (Liden Labs)
Virtual reality has always captured human imagination, even before technology caught up enough to make it a reality. Now, we’re finding applications for it in education, medicine, and even industrial design. But nothing epitomises VR more than its uses in entertainment.
San Francisco-based Linden Labs knows this and is pioneering the most ambitious application of virtual reality the gaming world has ever known. It’s project, Sansar, will debut shortly as part of a beta testing operation, which will let users live in a virtual world. Sansar will debut shortly as part of a beta testing operation, which will let users live in a virtual world.
Sansar is a new platform for social VR experiences, that allows users to create, monetize, and experience virtual worlds. The proposal is similar to Linden Labs’ successful 2003 title Second Life, an online community where users could adopt an alter ego to suit their preference. No superpowers, guns, or brawling comes into the picture here; users simply live out a “second life” so to speak, enjoying in-game roleplay, games, buying clothing and luxury items and even getting married.
Linden Labs takes all of these points from Second Life and puts them into a VR experience to create Sansar, greatly improving the immersiveness as a whole in the process. In addition to custom player avatars, it also brings one feature that was crucial to the success of Second Life — user-generated content. Just like its predecessor, Sansar provides users the option to create their own in-game items and structures (based on predefined templates) and import them to the game. Then, they’re free to open it out to their friends, or even monetize it.
Buildings, clothing, cars, and even entire cities, can be built using 3D creation tools like Maya, Unity, Zbrush, Blender, Unreal, or even those provided within Second Life. In the game, real money is used to buy Linden dollars, which can then be spent on items, or redeemed for real dollars at a predetermined exchange rate. Linden Labs will also take a small percentage of all transactions as a fee. In this way, the game sets up its own economy, governed by the supply and demand of user-created items.
Sansar will be optimised for VR headset like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on PC, as well as VR capable smartphones at a later date. With 75 people hard at work over the past three years, it’s a labour of love to bring the successful (yet dated) Second Life up to par with modern technology and expectations. And if the game’s popularity is any indication, Sansar is likely to see a huge influx of users when it goes commercial.