Finding high-quality freebies for male avatars in Second Life can be a bit of a problem. There seems to be a LOT more freebies available for women than men. So today I am going to tell you about all the places I go visit when I am looking to outfit one of my male alts.
Did you know that Altamura has just announced that they are giving away two versions of their Max full Bento mesh avatar body and head package for FREE? (Actually, you’ll need L$1 to pay the vendor, and then the vendor automatically returns your Linden dollar.) This is a fully functional, fully adjustable, fully featured Bento mesh avatar body and head with a full set of alpha selections (but please note that you cannot hide the head using the included HUD, in order to wear another mesh avatar head with this body). Also, while you can turn the hairbase on or off using the HUD, each Max body only comes in the one skin tone. You cannot use Omega appliers with these freebie male bodies.
To pick up the darker skin tone version of Max, go to Ajuda SL Brasil. At the landing point, look for this large blue sign:
When you click it, it will teleport you to the third floor of their large Freebies store, where you can pay the identical blue sign L$1 to buy a copy of your Max mesh avatar body and head package. (You will get your Linden refunded.) There are also many more freebies for men on this floor, of varying quality (some are mesh, some are older system clothing), so go and shop around!
To get the lighter skin tone of Max, you need to go to another freebie spot, called the UniHispana Crea Community Gateway. This place can be a little confusing to navigate, so use the included SLURLs to find what you are looking for. The Max package is available here (again, just pay the blue sign L$1 and it will refund you):
Another great place for men’s freebies is the venerable Free Dove. They have a selection of high-quality men’s clothing and shoes, and a few hairstyles for men as well, located against the back wall from the entrance:
Note that many of the vendors at New Resident Island are restricted to avatars under a certain age in days, but the Giz Seorn freebies are available to anybody regardless of age.
So, there you have it! Only a few stops and you have not only a good-looking mesh avatar head and body, but also hair, shoes, and good-quality clothing galore! Here is a shot of my male alt, wearing the lighter-toned Max head and body, with free Chris hair from the Free Dove, and wearing the suit and shoes I got from the UniHispana freebie store:
I forgot to mention that the Bento male animation override is also FREE, available from Tuty’s. So everything this avatar is wearing from head to toe, including the AO, is FREE!
Oculus Go is the VR headset we’ve all been waiting for: fully self-contained. It’s super clichéd to say a product is the “iPhone of [product category],” but the Oculus Go really is.
It’s the only VR headset that provides a good VR experience without the complexities of configuring a smartphone or PC. It’s not the most cutting-edge VR headset— that’ll always be reserved for PC VR headsets — but it’s the most frictionless way to dive into the virtual world. Oculus Go is the first VR headset you can casually pick up and use without needing to set time aside for setup.
Standalone VR headsets are the future. They’re the “sweet spot” as Zuckerberg also said at Oculus Connect. Oculus Go is an important stepping stone towards more powerful standalone VR headsets, like Facebook’s own Santa Cruz VR headset, that’ll inch us closer towards a Holodeck.
The Oculus Go is the VR headset that’ll help mainstream VR. It may still be another few more years, but this is the one that changes everything.
The Oculus Go features over 1,000 VR games, social apps, and 360° experiences at launch, including the social VR spaces vTime and AltspaceVR. (Surprisingly, Facebook Spaces is not among them.) It makes sense that social VR apps that lock you into one place (like vTime) or which have very basic avatars (like AltspaceVR) would be usable in Oculus Go. If Oculus Go becomes very popular, as it might, these social VR platforms may indeed have an advantage over those which require a full-blown VR headset and a higher-end computer, such as Sansar or High Fidelity.
One social VR platform on the Oculus Go that most impressed Raymond was Oculus Rooms:
My favorite VR experience for the Go is Oculus Rooms 2.0. First launched on Rift and Gear VR, the updated Rooms is like virtual hangout for you and your friends to chill in.
There are three main sections of Rooms: A “Media Area” with a giant screen where you can watch videos and view media content, a “Games Table” where you can play various games like matching cards and Reversi (more games like Boggle, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit are coming from Hasbro later), and “Your Room” where you can decorate your space by customizing things like your furniture textures, the photos on your walls, and the scene out the virtual window.
The Rooms experience isn’t photo-realistic by any means, but it’s the best showcase of social VR. Here, inside of this virtual room, you can invite your friends from anywhere in the world to come and watch a video with you. Or watch a video, while playing mini games. Or just hang out and have a conversation.
I thought it would be stupid at first, but it’s one of the most natural things I’ve ever done in VR. And even though it’s nowhere near as full-featured as Facebook Spaces for the Oculus Rift, it’s still pretty damn fun to chill in even if you’re not doing anything but kicking back and watching a video.
Rooms is the first thing I showed people when I handed them Oculus Go, and it never failed to blow them away. Even friends who were extremely skeptical of VR or had written it off as a fad were impressed. Rooms is to Oculus Go the way Wii Sports was to the Wii — it’ll hook you instantly.
The headset’s Oculus Rooms feature allows me to create my own social space for my family and friends in virtual reality. I can sit and chat with them, via pretty little avatars. We can share home movies and photos by linking our phones to the headset. We can watch movies together. We can play basic parlor games. It feels like a natural and useful implementation of virtual reality, and it’s powered by a $200 stand-alone headset. This is an actual place where I want to spend time.
And the Polygon writer, Colin Campbell, adds this interesting note about why Oculus Rooms is not available for the Oculus Rift headset:
One irritating aspect of Oculus Go’s launch is that core social function Oculus Rooms won’t be available for Rift. We asked a spokesperson why Rift owners are being left out, and received the following statement.
“Rift users can use Facebook Spaces to make their VR experience a more social one. Facebook Spaces is designed to take full advantage of PC VR platforms to power social experiences, while Oculus Rooms is designed to help people connect with friends and family on lower-compute mobile VR devices. It’s great to have different kinds of social experiences on different platforms because it’s still early days for VR, and it helps us learn while giving people a variety of ways to interact.”
As a Rift owner who doesn’t use Facebook, I find this disappointing. But if Go is a commercial success, maybe the company will find a way to allow Rooms and Facebook Spaces to live together across its portfolio of devices.
One of the problems in getting many existing social VR software clients to run on the Oculus Go is that their programs need to be made to run in as little storage as possible. (For example, the Sansar client uses tens of gigabytes of memory storage for caching experiences you visit, so they will load more quickly the next time you come back.) There’s only 32GB (or 64GB if you buy the upgraded version) of total program storage on the Oculus Go:
Oculus was generous enough to give me pre-release access to the Oculus Store, so I went kind of crazy downloading and installing as many different apps as my 32GB headset could hold.
Most VR apps are around 500-700MB, and 3D games usually clocked in at no more than 5GB. Just something to keep in mind if you’re deciding between the 32GB and 64GB Oculus Go. If you’re planning on playing a lot of 3D games, I recommend going with the higher storage model because there’s no adding more later.
The bigger problem is that high-quality social VR requires a very high rate of data transfer (that cord tethering your Oculus Rift to your PC is there for a reason!). It’s highly doubtful that you would be able to achieve that same high data transfer rate on the Oculus Go. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive rely on higher-end gaming machines with powerful integrated graphics cards to be able to deliver the necessary 90 frames per second performance so you don’t get sick in VR.
That being said, and ignorant as I am of the other technical challenges that face those who want to port existing social VR platforms to the Oculus Go, I’d love to hear what others have to say. What do you think are the major obstacles in bringing programs like Sansar, High Fidelity, Sinespace or VRChat to the Oculus Go and similar all-in-one VR headsets?
A couple of people encouraged me to go take a look at another social VR space/virtual world product called Anyland, so I decided to visit it a few times, both in my VR headset and on desktop. (I actually had only one successful visit in my Oculus Rift. Each time after that, I got an error from SteamVR whenever I tried to enter in VR mode. These pictures are screen captures, all taken when I was in desktop mode.)
Anyland bills itself the “virtual reality sandbox universe”, where you can build anything you want using the in-world building tools.
First, here is a selfie of my avatar taken in my spawn point, which appears to be a small rocky planet in space. There’s not much to the default Anyland avatar, only a pair of grey robotic hands with button pads on the thumbs (which you press to call up menus, such as the one you see on the left-hand side of this picture).
In fact, Anyland encourages users to use its in-world building tools to create their own avatar body! I did see some creative examples on my first visit in my VR headset, when I popped in on a group of avatars playing an Uno card-playing game.
The following are two pictures of Anyland experiences, the first is called Blue Castle, and the second is called Build Town. As you can see, it’s basically a blocks/”prims” building environment, which reminds me a little of Google Blocks and the Second Life in-world building tools.
Here’s Anyland’s main tutorial video, explaining how to use the building tools:
It’s clear that some people are really enjoying the creative canvas that Anyland provides:
In summary, the best way I would describe Anyland is that it is a mix between Second Life and Google Blocks. Give it a try if you are interested, it’s available on Steam for free.