Second Life creator Linden Lab is letting a few more people into its mysterious new virtual reality operation. Today, Linden Lab announced that it's taking applications for a preview of Project Sansar, a VR-creation platform that it first announced last year. If you're a 3D artist or modeler, you can put your name down for a "Creator Preview" that will open this summer. We don't know exactly how high the chances are of getting in, but a Linden Lab spokesperson says that "hundreds" of creators should be invited on a rolling basis before the platform is opened up — however long that is.
Though we know practically nothing about it, Sansar is supposed to be a place for people to "create, share, and ultimately monetize their own interactive social experiences" — it's previously been compared to "WordPress for VR." A handful of testers were invited onto the platform last year, and we got a very early look at what they might be making a couple of months ago, in the form of two screenshots showcasing environments like a movie theater and the surface of Mars.
While Second Life attracted many artists, modelers, and other people interested in its creative tools, it's primarily remembered as something akin to a virtual social network. So far, Project Sansar has emphasized the creative side of things more heavily. We know it's a place to build social spaces, but we're not sure what interacting inside those spaces will look like. But the application does hint at what Linden Lab hopes people will do there — namely, absolutely everything, from health products to fashion.
While there's no hard timeline for Project Sansar's release, it's supposed to be generally available by the end of the year. Linden Lab initially suggested we could see a beta around the Oculus Rift release, but that hasn't panned out so far, although the Rift is available in small enough quantities that it's a moot point for most people. The platform is designed for the Rift, the HTC Vive, and traditional PCs, with mobile device support coming later.
When it's released, Project Sansar will be competing with a number of other social spaces and creation tools. AltSpace has already built a solid user base on the Gear VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive, and Second Life founder Philip Rosedale — who ended his tenure as Linden Lab CEO in 2008 — built his own VR platform called High Fidelity. But while VR has been hyped for years now, it's still far from a mainstream technology, so there's still plenty of room for development.