SALSA v2.0 is coming!
Likely you have already seen some of the teaser videos we have published, showing off the quality gains over SALSA 1.x. If not, head over to our YouTube channel to take a peek. The response and excitement for SALSA 2.0 is growing and with that, there are a lot of questions. This post will discuss the most common questions we get and (for now) will serve as a devBlog for the goings on.
When is SALSA v2.0 going to be released?
This is our most frequently asked question. We currently do not have a date we're comfortable sharing. This version is, for the mostpart, a complete re-write of the SALSA core. Development is advancing quickly and nearly all of the advanced feature-set is already prototyped and maturing. Stumbling blocks have pretty much been kicked to the side of the road -- full steam ahead. In other words, we don't know, but check back here for updates.
Is SALSA v2.0 going to be a free upgrade to existing SALSA 1.x owners?
Ahh, the age-old question -- is it free? Nope, it's not. And there are a few reasons behind this decision. First and foremost, SALSA is being re-written. As mentioned earlier, this is a big code change and is not going to be a drop-in replacement for v1.x. Due to Unity's distribution platform, we felt it necessary to ensure projects were not accidentally broken due to an inadvertent upgrade. However, if you already own SALSA, it will be nearly free to upgrade it -- at least initially. After nearly 3 years of support and updates, we've decided the old SALSA needs a face-lift and face-lifts cost money. With the new release will come a price increase and the upgrade cost will be the difference of the increase and the current price of SALSA. SALSA v2.0 is expected to release at $39, meaning the upgrade will cost you $4 ($39 - $35). This upgrade window will likely be pretty narrow and the price will increase again (along with the upgrade cost) shortly after release. We're still working out the details, so some of this may change. Check back here for updates.
What sorts of new features will my hard-earned $4 get me with v2.0?
There are a couple of big changes and you've already seen the biggest one -- better real-time, lip-synciness in the form of vastly superior quality. The Minnow doesn't lie! It looks really good. And the quality doesn't sacrifice the core SALSA values and goals. It's still real-time and the pipeline is still quick and easy. In fact, you can still achieve compelling lip-sync approximation just like the SALSA 1.x with the same 3 shapes you used before. You can even use a single shape if you want -- although you probably wouldn't want to 'cause jaw flapping is just plain ol' ugly. With SALSA 2.0, you can use as many shapes as you want for lip-synchronization (yup! that's new!).
Behind the scenes, there's also a new trigger processing algorythm. This new tech brings a boatload of efficiency and flexibility. With the existing version of SALSA, re-using shapes in different mouth-shapes or even in the custom-shapes can cause unexpected, unattractive results like stuttering of blendshapes. It also meant animations would be pulling over-time on the processor cycles fighting each other. With the new queue-based system, duplicate shapes can be used and much more gracefully transition control and processing. Fewer shapes animating means more processor cycles in your back pocket. Priority-based transitions mean your blendshapes will spend less time duking it out and more time looking deliciously cool.
What about my 1-clicks?
SALSA 2.0 will still have them. In fact, with the new core, 1-clicks will be even more streamlined and efficient. The core engine will handle multiple skinned-mesh-renderers and won't need an additional intermediary to translate and sync things up.
Will upgrading to SALSA 2.0 be difficult?
That's a hard question to answer. It really depends on your existing integration of SALSA. For example, if you're using one of the character systems we support with a respective 1-click setup, you would likely only need to install SALSA 2.0 along with the new 1-click setup scripts. If you implement several group expressions in 1.x, these may need to be setup again in SALSA 2.0. The new 1-click setups will likely add expressions automatically, but it depends on what your needs are and how you've implemented and customized your project.
That's it for now folks! As mentioned, check back for updates!