A Complete List of Every Social VR Space and Virtual World Platform I Have Written About on The RyanSchultz.com Blog

Virtual Universe 28 Apr 2018
A Scene from Virtual Universe

I will be keeping this list of virtual worlds, social VR apps, and metaverse platforms up-to-date as I cover both old and new products, as a sort of comprehensive index to my website.

Platforms marked with an asterisk (*) support users in VR headsets. In some cases, VR support is experimental or still in beta.

Well, I figure this is pretty much the canonical listing of social VR spaces/virtual worlds. Have I missed any? It’s like Pokémon, “gotta catch ’em all”…if you have heard of one that I haven’t covered yet, please let me know in the comments, thanks!

AW 2 11 May 2018
A Scene from Active Worlds

The Telegram Discussion Groups for the Various Blockchain-Based VR Projects Have Been Endlessly Entertaining…

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There seems to be some sort of rule that blockchain-based virtual world projects must have a discussion group on Telegram Messenger. I am a member of the Telegram discussion servers for various blockchain-based VR platforms:

And the endless stream of discussion, argument, and sometimes outright vitriol has been quite entertaining at times. For example, one impatient wag posted this animated GIF to the VIBEHub channel:

There appear to be a lot of disgruntled VIBEHub investors and spectators.

And then you get the endless propositions from people who are peddling cryptocurrency and ICO promotion schemes:

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I’m glad that I don’t have to field all these requests …it’s overwhelming!

Then you get the flat-out spammers:

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If you’re interested in following the ongoing circus, you can find links to the Telegram servers from each of the companies’ official websites (there’s usually a link to all their social media near the top or bottom of the page, just look for the paper airplane symbol):

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Of course, you don’t have to subscribe to all these groups; you can just subscribe to my blog instead! I promise to keep you all up-to-date on the latest shenanigans in this area. I’ve just updated my blog to make it easier to subscribe.

if you’re not already a blog subscriber, just look for the FOLLOW RYANSCHULTZ.COM VIA EMAIL section on the left-hand side panel of my blog (right under the Search box), enter your email address, and press the black FOLLOW button. Then you will receive an email message every time I make a new blogpost to this blog. Easy as pie!

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Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and the Wizard of Oz

I know, I know, this is completely off-topic for this blog, but I could not resist sharing this absolutely GENIUS picture which I saw being shared on Google+:

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Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

And, since we’re already off on a tangent here, let’s appreciate this wonderful protester’s sign from Donald Trump’s recent U.K. visit:

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Chris Madsen Gives Me a Guided Tour of the Engage Social VR Platform

Yesterday, Chris Madsen, who works in business development at Immersive VR Education (the creators of the Engage social VR platform), gave me and Andrew a personal guided tour of Engage. Among other experiences, we visited the surface of Mars, and took a look at an interactive model of the Mars Curiosity rover:

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We also visited a talk show set:

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And we wrapped it up at a virtual recreation of the Neolithic henge monument at Avebury in England:

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The Curiosity experience included a look at how the rover landed on the Mars surface; it was amazing to watch the entire procedure unfold!

Chris has some pretty great stories to tell about the early days of social VR development from five years ago, so I hope to interview him this fall for my Metaverse Newscast show. Thanks to my producer Andrew to taking these pictures using the Snapshot feature in Engage!

Kim Kardashian and Second Life

Yesterday, Kim Kardashian posted a screenshot from Second Life to her Instagram account to promote her new perfume!

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Being Kim Kardashian, the photo has already gotten 1,154,320 likes. (I wonder how many of those people even know what Second Life is.)

And that’s not the first time she’s done it, either. Wagner James Au of the blog New World Notes tells us she did the same thing on Twitter on July 11th of this year.

Oh, by the way, since we’re discussing her, never, ever, search the SL Marketplace for “Kardashian”, mmmkay? (Remember, I warned you! Do not click that link!!)

EF EVE: A Volumetric Video Platform

EF EVE allows you to use two Kinects (Microsoft’s camera and motion controller for Xbox consoles) to create a volumetric video of yourself, which you can then share with others in VR headsets or on the desktop!

How, why EF (which is short for Experimental Foundation) would use a hardware product that has been discontinued by Microsoft is a bit of mystery. But if you have a Windows 10 PC and two Kinects, you can subscribe to EF’s volumetric video camera app for $34.99 a month to create holograms of yourself or other people to share on their VR platform. You can download and install the client software for free from their website or from Steam (it works with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or on your PC desktop) to watch the volumetric videos.

I have to admit this is really cool, although of limited usefulness at the moment. Also, since the Kinect has been discontinued, this product has a limited shelf life. Here’s an example of a hologram in various VR environments:

Here’s a video that shows off EF EVE’s presentation tools:

And finally, we have a new use for VR: dance lessons!

Now, it’s not clear that this is social VR (that is, an experience you can share with other people), so I am leaving it off my list of social VR apps. But it is interesting nevertheless!

Thanks to Jurgita Kačkytė of the Virtual Reality Technology Facebook group for the tip!

EmbodyMe: A Brief Introduction

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EmbodyMe is a free social VR platform available via Steam and the Oculus store. What sets EmbodyMe apart from the competition is that it offers to create a photorealistic avatar of you, based on a single photo! Here’s an example from their website, using a photo of former U.S. president Barack Obama:

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The promotional video makes it looks like a fun place to enjoy with your friends:

So, of course, armed with a recent photo of myself, I decided to give it a try!

When you start the program for the first time, it asks you to place your photos into a special folder on your desktop so it can find them. Then I had to restart the software and wait for the folder to load. And I waited, and waited, and waited… nothing happened. Even worse, I seemed to be stuck at that particular point in the setup of my avatar, and the program wouldn’t let me start the process over again! I even tried uninstalling and reinstalling the software from scratch; no dice. This was a major fail.

EmbodyMe is a really disappointing piece of software. I gave it a one-star review on the Oculus Store. Steer clear!

Neutrans: A Brief Introduction

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Neutrans is a social VR app made by a Japanese company called Synamon, available on the Oculus store:

NEUTRANS is a customizable VR shared-spaces solution with a focus on simple, intuitive controls and multiuser interactions. This app demonstrates the capabilities of the system, allowing up to 4 players to interact with each other in up to 3 rooms.

Features:

  • Grab, Enlarge/Shrink, Throw
  • Inventory System
  • Teleport-based Movement
  • Voice Chat
  • 3D Drawing & Whiteboards
  • Camera (Images saved in UserData\Snapshot)
  • YouTube & Image Viewer
  • Enlarge/Shrink Avatars
  • Customizable Wallpapers
  • Virtual Desktop & more!

Explore the possibilities that VR spaces can enable: Remote conferencing, VR storefronts & showrooms, using it as a base to develop demos on, and everything in-between.

Here’s the promotional video:

I downloaded the software and tried it out, and it has all the basic features, including a video player and a whiteboard. You can pick up and move objects using the laser pointers on each hand. You can teleport from one location to another. There’s only four default avatars to choose from, though, and they are all hideous! But overall, this is a promising start for a social VR platform. 

Their website could use a professional Japanese-to-English translator; there’s some pretty fractured English there. This is yet another social VR product to check back on in 6 to 12 months to see if anything new has developed.