NeosVR Has Launched Their Open Beta for Free on Steam

NeosVR 10 May 2018.png

In a recent announcement on Steam, NeosVR has announced that their open beta software is now available and free for everyone to use to build their own VR experiences:

Beta marks a big milestone for us. While we spent three years in the alpha stage, working on the fundamentals and building a solid foundation for a new kind of metaverse from the ground up in relative silence, in the beta you, the community, will be crucial to us.

With your help we’ll push this into a well-rounded solution for many different scenarios and build a lot of cool content. Currently Neos is probably mostly interesting to artists, creators, tinkerers and developers, but as we go on and expand on the content and user-friendly functionality, it’ll be more relevant to everyone.

We hope that you’ll join us on this journey and find Neos to be a useful and fun tool, no matter what you do.

Here are also some useful links:

Patreon [www.patreon.com] – support the development and get builds and content early!

Official website [neosvr.com]

Video Tutorials – Learn how to do all kinds of things in NeosVR!

Wiki [wiki.neosvr.com] – Work in progress, but may answer some questions

GitHub [github.com] – Report bugs and request new features

How can you help?

There are a few ways in which you can help!

  • Feedback – simply start using Neos and tell us what you think! What you like? What you don’t like?
  • Word of mouth – like Neos? Tell your friends! Make YouTube videos or Tweet. help us reach more people. Don’t like Neos? Share that too, maybe we can improve 🙂
  • Financial support – we need to eat! Also run some servers and our computers. We have launched a Patreon page [www.patreon.com] where you can support us and get some nice perks

Here’s one of the tutorial videos, where an interesting way to texture objects using a “material gun” is demonstrated:

It’s a very different approach to VR content creation! I’ll be looking forward to trying NeosVR now that the software is available via the Early Access Program on Steam.

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Twinity: A Brief Introduction

Twinity is another virtual world that I had forgotten about, created by a German company, Metaversum GmbH, and later sold to ExitReality in 2012. I haven’t played it in years. (By the way, it also wins my vote for the stupidest name for a virtual world.) Most people have never heard of it, but they still seem to be a going operation, according to their website:

Twinity 10 May 2018.png

Just for fun, I decided to re-download the software and give it a spin again. The first thing I notice, is that… it’s pretty empty in Twinity. Like, really, REALLY empty:

Twinity 2 10 May 2018.png

I had forgotten all about my starter apartment, which I got for free for being a very early adopter of Twinity way back when (not long after they opened in 2008). It was still decorated as I had left it:

Twinity 3 10 May 2018

In a failed effort to get people to purchase a paid subscription to Twinity, you had “Guest_” permanently attached to your username (like “Guest_Ryan” over my avatar’s head in this picture), unless you decided to pony up for a VIP Pass. I never bothered, and from what I could tell, most other people didn’t bother either. I’m frankly amazed that Twinity is still around after all these years. It never was very popular. They can’t be making much money.

For a long time, Twinity had virtual recreations of the downtown areas of Berlin, London, Miami, New York, and Singapore, with streets laid out like in the real-life cities. (They started with an open beta in September 2008 with Berlin.) The idea was, you could rent or buy an apartment in one of these “cities”, and walk around the streets of “Berlin” or “London”, looking at the sites. It was a cute gimmick which marked them as somewhat different from other virtual worlds.

Then, at some point, Twinity could no longer pay for some sort of license to use the mapping data for their cities, so they suddenly had to yank out all the city recreations they had built, and instead, you just teleported directly from interior to interior, store to store, and apartment to apartment. According to a 2012 article from Hypergrid Business:

In order to make ends meet, the company had to stop showing city exteriors, which the company had previously licensed from map data providers.

Meanwhile, members have been complaining about falling usage.

“Is it just me, or is this game dead?” asked one member in the site’s forum. “I’ve been playing for about two weeks, and the most people I’ve ever seen on at one time is 11.”

I did remember a rather good recreation of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and I decided to revisit it. (I actually had to restart the Twinity client in order to get there!) You used to be able to walk around the exterior of the building, but now all that’s left is the ornate interior. One of the things I had forgotten, that used to drive me absolutely crazy about Twinity, was how dimly lit many of their experiences were! This is a good example. Anybody got a flashlight?

Twinity St Pauls 10 May 2018.png

Another thing I remember is that Twinity was the very first virtual world I encountered to have working mirrors. I was really rather impressed by that at the time.

Like I said, I’m surprised that Twinity is still in operation. It’s a ghost town, like Blue Mars.

SurrealVR: A Brief Introduction (and Write-Off)

And… here’s yet another social VR platform that I forgot about! SurrealVR was a platform I had tried out sometime last year, and I gave up in frustration at the time because I simply could not get it to work in my Oculus Rift headset and Touch hand controllers.

I see from their Steam page that they last posted an update in April, although it does seem rather forlorn:

SurrealVR 10 May 2018

So I decided to try re-installing it tonight (it’s free) to see if it had improved any.

Nope. Still broken as hell. I can’t turn, I can’t move. All I can do is generate supersized laughing emojis with my trigger fingers, like in the video thumbnail (?!!?). Not impressed. I officially give up on this one.

UPDATED: MetaWorld: A Brief Introduction (BUYER BEWARE!)

And, just as soon as I finished that list I just posted, I found another social VR space/MMO hybrid called MetaWorld!

MetaWorld 10 May 2018.png

Actually, re-found it. I had actually signed up for project updates by email and then completely forgotten about it, and the last project update was quite a while ago, way back in August 2017. It looks like their attempt to crowdfund the platform via IndieGoGo has stalled. I’m not sure if this project still exists, although they have slashed prices on their “Pioneer” packages.

According to their website:

MetaWorld invites you to experience a 10,000 square mile, massively scaled open world in virtual reality. Discover endless activities and adventure, inside a persistent, open world simulation, allowing thousands of visitors to participate simultaneously online.

Join us, and pioneer a first of its kind, vast-scale social VR MMO simulation experience.

Aah yes, yet another blockchain-based social VR space:

MetaWorld 2 10 May 2018

If anybody out there has any knowledge about what happened to the MetaWorld project, could they let me know? Thanks.

UPDATE May 12th: Well, I did find some answers in this very informative post to the Oculus subReddit:

Don’t get your hopes up for Metaworld VR. It looks like vaporware.

Updates have been non-existent, emails go unanswered, some have been sent a png and a fake link as “digital downloads”, begging for crowdsource money, and whoever runs their Reddit account just spams review articles, which are likely paid advertising, whenever there is criticism.

Would not send these guys a cent.

It’s worth reading through the whole discussion thread just to find out what happened. The co-founder left the MetaWorld project to found another, smaller social VR space called Community Garden.

And The Road to VR website posted a comprehensive report on the troubled project back in September, and issued a strongly worded Buyer Beware:

MetaWorld is headed into Early Access, which partly excuses it from being an incomplete product, but the inconsistency in messaging around the game’s core mechanics and features ought to leave you worried about the stability of the still unreleased MMO. The game purports to feature a variety of activities including hunting, fishing, camping, snorkeling, sailing, sports, training, RC, drones, and go karts—all well and good—but according to the company, the core gameplay is based around survival. “You’ll have to defend your land against other players as well as opportunistic animals,” the company says.

You won’t find this information conveniently listed on the MetaWorld website though, but rather strewn across various Reddit pages where the creator sporadically posts, oftentimes in cryptic, single-word answers. At the time of this writing, the game’s website only consists of press blurbs gathered from before the IndieGogo campaign was launched and a small marketplace selling the game’s three plot sizes.

…It still isn’t clear how much is truly at stake for landowners or the landless free-to-players at the moment either. Questions like: can animals or other players kill you? If you die, do you lose your items? Can you trade in-game credits back to real cash? Can you craft items, or do you have to buy everything from vendors? The list of unaddressed questions goes on in the game’s largely abandoned discussion board on Steam.

To quell fears around the general lack of communication about the core game mechanics, the studio took to three major VR Reddit pages on Saturday (r/Viver/Oculusr/PSVR), saying that the game won’t only be a wilderness area with cookie-cutter buildings as featured in the promo, but rather a growing framework “we can use […] to create many other worlds. Fantasy, Sci Fi etc.”

“We are building the world as a community, a few square miles at a time,” the company says. “Early pioneers will gather in world and decide on what types of diverse biomes to build. People in the world are discover-able through the UI. We figured out a way to make a huge world that feels alive, rich with things to do. One of our primary goals is to introduce an experience with lots of divergent game play, that you’ll never get bored of.”

For potential customers, HelloVR also had this to say about refunds on the PSVR Reddit page:

“MetaWorld was founded out of passion. Our team doesn’t expect to generate much revenue from the project. Our early access goal is to build a core community that has ownership in the world. Anyone can ask for a refund at anytime by emailing metabot@metaworldvr.com

Anyone can ask, but it remains to be seen if anyone can actually have a refund—something to keep in mind for digital prospectors looking to settle a virtual frontier that might just as likely turn out to be a barren wasteland.

What is clear now, is that MetaWorld is a dead (or nearly-dead) project. Caveat Emptor!

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

IMPORTANT NOTE: Effective July 26th, 2018, I have moved this list over to a separate page on my blog. I will only be updating that page instead of this blogpost, so the information you see on this blogpost will become dated over time.

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

Second Life Steals and Deals: Get a Full Bento Altamura Mesh Avatar Head and Body for Only L$300 at the eBENTO First Anniversary Event

Not too long ago, Altamura had a real deal on the Valentina mesh avatar head and body package for only L$300. Well, that deal is over, but Altamura now has another deal at the same price, this time for a male mesh avatar head and body package called Max.

This is a fully-adjustable, fully-featured Bento mesh avatar with separate HUDs for the body (with four skin tones), head, nails, and hand poses, plus a skin and makeup applier and face animation pack. This is an Omega-compatible avatar body with the relay, which is sold separately for L$99. (Note that this deal is the full package, NOT the same as the freebie versions of Max you can get at two freebie stores in SL, which do not offer the choice of four skin tones or all of these HUDs.) Here’s a picture of the head, nails, makeup, and body HUDs:

Altamura Max HUDs 10 May 2018

Here’s a shot of Max wearing some free clothing from Giz Seorn from the New Resident Island village. I adjusted the sliders for his head a little from the default settings. Quite the handsome fellow, don’t you think? This is the lightest of the four skin tones.

Max 10 May 2018

You do have to join the Altamura group for L$50 to take advantage of this special (just click the sign underneath the vendor panel). The price for Max without joining the group is L$6,000, so you’re only paying 5% of the full cost when you buy with the group discount! Given that you could spend up to L$5,000 on a Bento mesh head alone, this is really a great deal! Here’s what the Max vendor panel looks like at the eBENTO event:

Altamura Max 10 May 2018.png

And here’s a SLURL that takes you directly to Altamura booth at the event.

Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Expanding the Scope of the RyanSchultz.com Blog to Include Coverage of SL Freebies!

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You know, the directions this blog has taken since I started it on July 31st, 2017 as the Sansar Newsblog have actually surprised me. I never expected this blog to take off like it has, take a hold of me like it has. Something about social VR in general (and Sansar in particular) has lit a fire under me! I don’t expect to keep up this blistering pace of regular blogposting forever, but I have discovered I genuinely enjoy blogging.

I’ve already talked about my decision early this year to broaden the focus of this blog to cover all of social VR rather than a narrower focus on just Sansar. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from people who appreciate that broader coverage, who tell me that they can keep track of the ever-expanding universe of social VR platforms through my blog. I’ve really appreciated that feedback, too—thank you all!

One thing that I have noticed recently is the amount of traffic I get from my posts about Second Life (possibly because I cross-post to various Second Life Facebook groups and Google+ communities). As I said before, I never expected to cover Second Life at all; there are so many other bloggers who are just killing it with their SL coverage, so why compete?

But I have a secret talent. I just love putting together a good-looking Second Life avatar for nothing, or next to nothing. Take this avatar, for example, which cost me a grand total of L$1 to assemble:

Freebies from SL 2 10 May 2018Freebies from SL 10 May 2018

Mesh Head and Mesh Eyes: Lara mesh head from Genesis Lab (group gift; limited time free group join)

Hair: dark brown MiH Phayd hair (free from the hair wall at the Free Dove)

Mesh Body: eBody Classic body (L$1 from various freebie stores, including Ajuda SL Brasil and UniHispana Crea Community Gateway)

Gown: white and gold Lady Juliet gown by Blue Moon Enterprises (freebie from an art installation at the Ethnographia Island sim)

Choker: gold Metal Choker by SECRETS (free from the jewelry section at the Free Dove)

Shoes (not seen): Freebie flats in white from Garbaggio (free from the SL Marketplace for Slink feet; the eBody Classic has Slink-compatible feet)


So, where am I going with all this? Well, I have decided that, in addition to covering social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse in general (and Sansar in particular), I am also going to expand my coverage of what I call Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies. In fact, starting today, I am creating a new separate blogpost category on RyanSchultz.com called just that!

Over the 11 years that I have been in SL, I have become quite good at finding freebies, dollarbies, and other outstanding deals. And blogging about them is my way of sharing what I have learned with all of you who, like me, still love Second Life and dressing up our avatars as inexpensively (but as stylishly) as possible!