In covering as many of the products and platforms as I can for my comprehensive listing of social VR spaces and virtual words, I realized on Saturday that there was still one I had not yet visited, called either Red Light Center or Utherverse. (Yes, I know, it’s very confusing! I had thought they were two separate products, and I didn’t realize they were the same platform until someone told me in-world.)
WARNING! Utherverse and the Red Light Center contain adult content, and are not safe for work!
The emphasis in Utherverse/RLC is pretty much squarely on sex, as you might tell from these website screen captures I took (and I had to blur out all the naughty bits, since this is a PG-rated blog):
(Note that afterwards, I discovered there was a PG version of Utherverse/RLC called WebWorlds, which I did not investigate.)
Billing itself as “the first adult massive[ly] multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG)”, Utherverse/RLC feels like a low-rent version of Second Life, with rather dated-looking avatars giving me flashbacks to the Second Life of 2007. (They don’t look anything like the “Live Your Fantasy” picture above would lead you to believe.)
Here are a few (safe for work) screenshots I took of my travels:
As you can see, there is no shortage of avatars online in some places like the Pulse nightclub in the topmost picture. (Or were most of them bots? When I came back the next day, the nightclub was empty, which leads me to believe they were all real users, not bots.) The first time I tried to enter the Pulse nightclub experience in the top photo above, my computer crashed. I was luckier the second time around.
One aspect of Utherverse/RLC which I found rather disconcerting was that the avatars would load in greyscale first, then in colour. (It reminded me a bit of the science fiction novel Snow Crash, where the poorer avatars could only afford to be seen in low-resolution in the metaverse, compared to the richer ones.)
And also, sometimes other avatars, and even your own avatar, would appear see-through, like a ghost. You can see that a little bit in the bottommost picture, where I wandered around a medieval market. You can barely see the cobblestones through my torso!
So, I can now check RLC/Utherverse off my list of virtual worlds to visit. Unless you are really into adult content, I would advise you to steer clear. And if you really were that much into adult content, why you would choose Utherverse/RLC’s unappealing, 2007-era avatars over the much more modern and aesthetic mesh avatars that Second Life offers, is a mystery to me.
But obviously, there’s enough people using Red Light Center/Utherverse to keep it going. They do seem to have regular, well-attended events, like this Sunday morning dance I attended: