But I was extremely surprised to see that both AltspaceVR and vTime were not among the launch titles. Why? Because both social VR spaces already run on just about any VR hardware you can throw at it, including cellphone-based VR solutions. But either those two companies didn’t apply to be considered, or (more likely) they didn’t make Facebook’s much more stringent content curation for the Quest.
Also a surprise was zero mention of any successor to Facebook Spaces and Oculus Rooms. Or is Facebook going all in on Oculus Home? I refuse to believe that they are not doing something to bring together Oculus VR hardware users (Rift, Quest, and Go) in some way. We’ll know more on May 21st.
Today Linden Lab issued an update to the Sansar client software. It is now possible to add full-body tracking to your avatar by using Vive trackers. For example, you can add trackers to your hips and feet to show avatar leg movement that mimics your movements in the real world. (Here’s an example from VRChat.)
It’s just one of several avatar gameplay improvements:
Desktop Avatar Control options – Desktop users can now use two new settings to customize the way their Avatar moves with the Keyboard and Mouse.
Keyboard Turn – With this setting enabled the Avatar will turn left and right when pressing A/D (left/right) instead of strafing (sidestepping).
Face Forward – With this setting enabled the Avatar will always face the direction the camera is facing.
Note – Old default behavior was equivalent to Keyboard Turn = Off and Face Forward = On. New default behavior is the opposite.
Desktop throw indicator – Desktop users can now throw with ease with the new throw trajectory guide that will help to throw with accuracy. You can also use the mouse’s scroll wheel to manually adjust the strength/power of the throw.
Ability to crouch – Experience Sansar like no one ever has before. Use crouching to sneak up on your friends or squeeze below low ceilings.
Also, you can now scale your avatar up or down in size. The scale slider appears in the Lookbook under Settings:
You can grow your avatar up to 1.25 times the default size, or shrink him down to half-size! Avatar scale is saved with the outfits you save in your Lookbook, so if you toggle between avatars and outfits you also toggle between the scales set as a part of each one. So you can switch quickly between a tiny fairy and a large giant!
Well, the waiting is finally over. Pre-orders start today for both the Oculus Rift S headset (the replacement for the original Oculus Rift VR headset) and the standalone Oculus Quest, and they will begin shipping on May 21st, 2019. A lot of eager fanboys on the Oculus and Oculus Quest subReddits are no doubt bitterly disappointed that the Quest did not start shipping today, but three weeks is not too long to wait.
Of course, I placed my pre-order on the Oculus website for the Oculus Quest with 128GB of memory for CDN$699 this afternoon. Gotta have the latest gadget!
My Oculus Rift headset, which I originally bought in December 2016 and had replaced in January 2017 due to a defect in one of the lenses, is still serving me quite well and I see no need to upgrade to the Rift S at this time. After all, it’s not what I would consider a next-generation update, it’s more like a half-step upgrade. I can wait.