AltspaceVR to Launch on the Oculus Quest on Sept. 12th

It looks as though AltspaceVR will be the next social VR platform available to Oculus Quest users, joining Bigscreen, Dance Central, Rec Room, and VRChat. (You can already install AltspaceVR using SideQuest, but this is the official announcement that the AltspaceVR app will be available via the Oculus Store for the Quest.)

Given that AltspaceVR already runs on a variety of platforms (including an Android mobile app), this news hardly comes as a surprise. AltspaceVR’s cartoony, low-poly avatars in particular make it easy to port the platform to a wide variety of existing hardware, including the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and cellphone-based VR like the Samsung Gear VR and the Google Daydream. It also runs on the Oculus Go, so running on the Quest should not be a problem.

Lab Gab: A New Second Life Show with Xiola and Strawberry Linden!

There has been no shortage of shows about the virtual world of Second Life over the 16 years of its existence! One example is the long-running, popular Designing Worlds show with its co-hosts Saffia Widdershins and Elrik Merlin, where they talk about design and interview designers in Second Life.

Today I bring you details on a brand-new, livestreamed show called Lab Gab, starring none other than Xiola Linden, the Community Manager for Second Life, and the recently-hired Marketing Content Specialist, Strawberry Linden (formerly known as the popular SL blogger Strawberry Singh).

The first episode of Lab Gab will take place at 3:00 p.m Pacific Time/Second Life Time (SLT) today, Wednesday, August 28th, 2019. Here are some more details about the show from the official Linden Lab blogpost:

We’re excited to announce our very first live-streaming show – “Lab Gab” with Xiola and Strawberry Linden. We’ll be coming to you live on YouTube every two weeks or so, starting Wednesday, August 28th at 3 pm SLT/PT. You can join us for these live streams on our Official YouTube Channel here when we go live! (We’re working on bringing Lab Gab to more streaming platforms in the very near future – so stay tuned!)

What’s Lab Gab? Well, it will be a variety show of sorts – we want to explore Second Life, answer your questions, talk to Residents from all over the world, and stream it through the internet and into your homes, phones, and wherever you get your quality entertainment.

In our first show, we’ll be introducing ourselves, talking a little bit about what Lab Gab is, and interacting with you through YouTube live. In the future, we will invite special guests to come visit us on the set and talk about events and issues that impact the communities in Second Life.

As long-time Residents and now Lindens, we can’t wait to get gabbing!

Tune in at 3 pm SLT on Wednesday, August 28 for our launch and stay tuned to our social media and blog for updates about future shows.

Knowing both Xiola and Strawberry well from their time spent in Sansar (Xiola was for a time the community manager for Sansar, and Strawberry was co-host with Draxtor Despres on the long-running series Atlas Hopping in Sansar), I am delighted to see them launching a new show together! I plan on tuning in regularly.

Review: Loveseat Gives Us a Innovative Look at Theatre in Virtual Reality

This morning I got the following email with detailed instructions from the producers of Loveseat, Double Eye Productions:

Dear Lovely Humans (and your respective digital avatars),

We look forward to seeing you today for the live show from the Venice Biennale. Our schedule has been shifted, so most importantly, the show will start at 4:30 p.m. CET. Today will be a live dress rehearsal for press and industry in the room, and VIPs like yourselves online. We will whitelist (give you access) to the event domain in High Fidelity around 30 minutes beforehand so you can get settled. The domain name to connect to (using the GOTO button) is: loveseat.

If you are unfamiliar with High Fidelity, you will receive a follow up email with detailed instructions on how to access the show easily. If you have any questions, please respond to this email, and we will do our best to help you out as fast as possible!

Excited to see you and your avatars soon,

The Loveseat Team

So, armed with all this useful information, I was able to join the Loveseat domain and take my seat while the actors got set up:

A picture of the Loveseat stage as the company sets up (the screen behind the stage shows you the audience watching the event at the Venice International Film Festival)

I noticed that for some reason, I couldn’t switch my microphone away from my Oculus Rift headset to my USB headphones (I decided to attend via desktop rather than in VR), so I just decided to leave myself muted. As it turns out, this was a deliberate decision by the producers to have the audience muted (which makes perfect sense). So I settled for using the emotes in my emote app to wave and clap!

The three actors started off with a dance performance in real life, which we could see on the screen at the back of the stage. Then they put on their VR headsets to start the show! The emcee, named Bartholomew Best, kept a running commentary to engage the audience and introduce them to the game show, called (of course!) Loveseat:

We are then introduced to our two game show contestants, Abby the beekeeper and Bruce the hedge trimmer, where the sets rose up smoothly from the stage floor:

After that, I decided to focus on the play, rather than try to capture pictures or report on the proceedings. I won’t give away any more of the plot, in case you want to see the show yourself! The actors made clever use of the tools available to them in High Fidelity to enhance the performance, things you could never hope to see on a real-life stage!

The show was enjoyable, and I can recommend it, especially if you are the kind of person who is interested in what makes relationships work. The actors had their lines down, and obviously had spent a lot of time learning how best to animate their avatars for this performance. Overall, the production was really well done! If you want a taste of what VR theatre looks and sounds like, Loveseat is the perfect introduction.

If you are interested in catching this show, you must first buy a (free) ticket via EventBrite, giving your High Fidelity user name (so if you haven’t created a HiFi account before, you will have to do that before you try to buy a ticket. Loveseat runs daily until Sept, 7th, 2019.