While having an online chat with someone on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server about the current state of High Fidelity, they mentioned a new social VR platform in development that I had never heard of before, called Lavender.
According to the #read-me channel on their Discord server, which has well over a thousand users already signed up:
What is Lavender?
Lavender is a social sandbox game running on the Unity engine (2019.1.7f1), for desktop and VR players to enjoy together. We will provide tools that allows you to make custom content (SDK). Things like TTT, Battle Royal, along with social RP like City RP and survival to name only a few. And lastly, you will be able to host your own servers. With these tools and enabling scripts, your imagination will be the only limit in creating content.
Is this a VRChat clone?
We are not trying to compete, but rather offer an alternative experience you cannot find on VRChat.
The people building the Lavender social VR platform are promising some interesting features, among which are:
- Player-to-player physical interaction
- Full body tracked expressive avatars with eye tracking and lip sync
- A powerful but user-friendly SDK experience to aid new content creators
- User supplied custom worlds and avatars with minimal restrictions on expression
- Steam audio integration providing a rich complex experience that immerses you into the soundscape of the game
- A fully-featured world manager, called a Solar System, allowing users to create world instances and manager them in-game and through a modern web interface
- Solar Systems can be community run or privately owned allowing for control over who can join and create worlds on your server
- A rich scripting experience with a fully featured API that allows content creators to make crazy contraptions and surreal worlds
- Full content management system through a modern web interface that allows users to track, upload, and manage their favorite items
- Physical bodies and movement that allows you to experience everything from zero gravity to climbing up a cliff and swimming underwater
The small Seattle-based company building Lavender, called Take Over Games, is planning to launch the social VR platform under the Early Access Program on Steam. The project has a Patreon page as well. They are already almost three-quarters of the way towards their $1,000-a-month fundraising goal, which is very encouraging! There already seems to be a lot of interest in this new platform.
And, of course, I have added Lavender to my ever-expanding comprehensive list of social VR platforms and virtual worlds.