Did you know that you can promote your product or service on the RyanSchultz.com blog at very reasonable rates? My blog view and visitor statistics are booming, as you can see from my monthly WordPress statistics as of today, May 27th, 2020:
I am happy to report that I am now consistently getting between 1,000 and 2,000 views per day of my blogposts, every single day. Those are people that are interested in virtual reality, social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse, and could be looking at your ad! So what are you waiting for?
(By the way, the most popular part of my blog are the Second Life blogposts, although I get lots of traffic on non-SL topics now, too. If you run a Second Life business, you may want to consider advertising on the RyanSchultz.com blog. Thanks!)
My rates for square sidebar ads are as follows:
For 250×250 pixel square sidebar ads: – 30 days/1 month: US$20.00 – 90 days/3 months: US$50.00 (which works out to only US$16.67 per month) – 180 days/6 months: US$80.00 (which works out to only US$13.33 per month) – 365 days/1 year: US$120.00 (which works out to only US$10 per month!)
Yes, Vanity Fair is also in Sinespace! This is her default, “before” look.She is wearing the Tiredi dress by ELL (10 different colours, only 99 Gold each colour), plus Misty ballet slippers by BlakOpal Designs (5 different colours, also 99 Gold each. The golden Crescent Hoop Earrings are also by BlakOpal Designs, and they are only 39 Gold.
Not bad, but I wanted to see if I could make her look more like a fashion model today—really pull out all the stops!
Luckily, I was able to find a brand new content creator in Sinespace, named Gaby, whose brand is called Anatomy (website), that sells six different kinds of female mesh bodies: Classic and Curvy, both of which comes in three different bust shape options: classic, perky, and push-up:
So, I bought the Curvy body with a Classic bust (499 Gold), the Emma head shape (699 Gold), and the Emma skin in vanilla (649 Gold), all from Anatomy. I also replaced Vanity’s hairstyle with the Dream Glory hair in brown by Newsea (only 99 Gold).
The vendor recommends that before (or after) you wear any of these new bodies, that you reset the body sliders so you get a clean canvas to start with your new body shape. To do this, just go to the avatar editor (click on the Outfit button), then click on the Body section and click on the Reset button up top:
Here is what Vanity Fair looks like after her complete model makeover! All I kept from her Before look were the dress and shoes. I kept all the default face and body slider settings after the above reset, only making her bust slightly larger and her hands smaller (for some reason, the default Sinespace avatars all have huge hands!).
The following poses are part of a single animated gesture you can buy on the Sinespace Shop, called Ladies Fashion Poses Gesture by De Landria Creations (only 75 Gold). It slowly and smoothly moves the avatar through a number of different model poses, allowing you time to take pictures. Here are just three of the poses included:
Looking good! Tools like this pose set are going to prove popular among the growing number of fashion bloggers in Sinespace, and I am very glad to see them make an appearance! Hopefully we will be getting more fashion bloggers in Sinespace to showcase the amazing work that so many talented designers are creating.
Below is short promotional video from the creators, BlakOpal Designs, showing just how naturally this garment moves with the wearer (and it even includes a very useful tip on how to fix the skirt, if it should snag somewhere on your avatar).
At a special event in Taipei, Taiwan, HTC cofounder and former CEO Peter Chou today revealed the first products from the new startup XRSPACE. It’s serving up both its own 5G-enabled standalone VR headset as well as a new social VR platform which appears to compete with Facebook Horizon.
Chou sees XRSpace serving the upcoming era of widespread 5G; much like smartphones first arrived on the back of the 2.5G network in the early 2000s, the former HTC CEO sees the company’s headset, Mova, and its social VR platform, Manova, taking human interaction “to a new level” and offering more connectivity on a person-to-person level. And XRSpace planning to bring it to the mass market.
Mova is a wireless VR headset like the Oculus Quest, which uses optical hand tracking instead of physical hand controllers. Engadget reports:
The Mova will ship with a single controller for gaming purposes, but it’s designed to be used with hand tracking as the primary control method. This, in theory, would lower the learning barrier for most people, and they would probably use the headset more often because of its less fiddly nature. But the company wants hand gestures to be a core interaction in its virtual world, Manova. And this is where things get different from VR headsets that we’ve seen already.
Once you’re inside one of the Manova spaces…you can toggle most common social gestures with natural movements: you can shake hands with other avatars, give high fives, do fist bumps or toast with a glass. You can even grab and throw objects, meaning you can shoot hoops or throw darts with your buddies who are actually miles away in real life. There’s also a gesture for teleportation: tap in the air with your index finger to toggle an arrow, then point at your desired spot and tap again to teleport.
The two-minute promotional video focuses on the social VR platform, called XRSPace Manova.
Employing matured XR technology, computer vision, 5G, 3D real-time interactive, and visualization of full-body avatar, MagicLOHAS achieves a healthy life that is not limited by time and place. We offer a variety of applications from meditation, body training, brain training, and more, to bring new lifestyles of health and sustainability to the mass market through virtual reality.
Here are some first pictures of the Manova social VR platform and avatars (source). I’ll tell you one thing, the Manotva avatars sure look one hell of a lot better than what Facebook Horizon is planning to offer:
Manova is a combination of private and public spaces, and during my demo, I see both. When I put on the headset, I’m in the private sphere, a minimalist home. I can sit on the couch in my living room and watch a movie by myself or invite friends to join me. The next moment, I follow my XRSpace guide to zap myself to a T-Mobile-branded sports arena to watch a basketball game from the center court line. The game is real, with real players, and I have the best seat.
The private spaces include not only your home but also classrooms and meeting rooms for those water cooler conversations or hour-long meetings that used to take place in person in real offices. The public Manova realm has a central city center hub to play games or watch big entertainment events.
For the initial launch, XRSpace has signed on six education companies that do things like teach English; game developers like Futuretown and Rovio’s Angry Birds; live-streaming companies like Insta360’s travel video; GQ and Vogue with fashion content; YC House for virtual Taiwanese real-estate tours; Bank SinoPac for corporate training; and the Taiwanese record label Wind Music.
The wireless Mova headset is expected to ship sometime in the third quarter of 2020, at a price of US$599. Apparently, only Mova headset users will be able to access the Manova social VR platform, which sounds a bit like a jazzed-up version of Oculus Home for Oculus Quest and Rift users. And it’s an intriguing approach: bundling the social VR platform with the VR headset (which, of course, is exactly what Facebook wants to do with its Oculus line of headsets and Facebook Horizon).
Mova and Manova are a package deal: XRSpace’s world is only available through its headset, and the headset won’t support other VR storefronts. XRSpace is also supposed to have its own accessory ecosystem, including optional hand controllers and tracking sensors, which are described as much smaller versions of HTC’s Vive Tracker.
I haven’t seen either product in action, so it’s possible XRSpace will deliver on its promises. That said, this seems like a significant risk for the company and anybody who buys the headset, even making the huge assumption that its hardware is on par with existing devices like the Quest.
Meanwhile, many companies have failed to launch Manova-like virtual worlds, including Second Life operator Linden Lab with Sansar and Linden Lab founder Philip Rosedale with the largely shuttered High Fidelity. Chou believes Manova can succeed where Sansar and High Fidelity failed because of its “fine-tuned” nature.
“I think the difference is they designed those things based on the PC first and then they tried to put it on VR,” he says. “They don’t have a good digital avatar and they don’t have a holistic consideration of the mass-market consumer using it.” But that’s still an iffy bet, especially for a device that costs far more than the highly capable $399 Oculus Quest.
And I have to say that Chou (XRSpace CEO and former HTC head Peter Chou) is wrong; both Sansar and High Fidelity were designed from the beginning to support the first generation of consumer VR headsets (notably the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift). The problem happened when both Linden Lab and High Fidelity bet the farm that there would be massive consumer uptake of virtual reality by now, which so far has failed to happen. This is what led to the essential shuttering of High Fidelity and the sale of Sansar by Linden Lab to Wookey (a company which specializes in buying up distressed companies and trying to turn them around).
I wonder if Peter Chou has ever actually sat down and talked with Ebbe Altberg or Philip Rosedale…judging by his quote above, and his lack of knowledge about Sansar and High Fidelity, probably not. Both Ebbe and Philip would be the first to tell him that “fine tuning” a platform is absolutely no guarantee of its popularity and success, based on their own bitter experience.
Exclusively bundling a full-blown, high-end social VR platform with a particular, as-yet-untested brand of VR headset is a huge gamble, though. If a battle for marketshare erupts between XRSpace and Facebook, Facebook is by far the stronger opponent here. (For example, while XRSpace has the rights to offer the Angry Birds game, Facebook already owns the phenomenally successful and popular juggernaut of Beat Saber! You can bet that Beat Saber will not be appearing in Manova anytime soon.)
I’m not a Alpha Tester, but I managed to find a screenshot of the Horizon alpha somewhere on the web. It’s unique, couldn’t be reverse searched, and not a promotional shot. (names removed)
Tony Vitillo (a.k.a. SkarredGhost), an Italian man whose blog, The Ghost Howls, often has reviews of products and interesting news reports about the VR industry, posted this image to Twitter, asking:
Is this a screenshot from Facebook Horizon? If it is, it looks a bit simpler than I was expecting…Will it be like this in its first release, or [are the] shaders…going to improve?
Somebody responding to Tony’s tweet posted an image from a closed Facebook group, which appears to confirm that the image is indeed legitimate (I have edited it to blur out the avatar usernames over their heads):
I do not know if somebody broke their NDA to use this image for this group, but it is already out there on Twitter, and the Facebook group is listed as Visible, which means anybody can search for, and find, this particular group. In fact, there are not one but two such groups already, this one and a second one, also Visible, with the following image (which might have been part of Facebook’s original press kit):
Given that there is so little information currently out there about Facebook Horizon, people have weighed in (on both Reddit and Twitter) about these images. Robert Scoble said:
I sure hope it is better than this. Sigh.
And Charlie Fink commented:
I should feel better about this image than I do.
Jossi Sivonen said:
What an anticlimax if so! The gfx (graphic effects) looks way better in this early teaser… (which clearly states that this AIN’T actual VR footage);
Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that a tech company’s promotional teaser video did not resemble the final delivered product (hellooooo, Magic Leap?).
And, I must admit, based on the two “leaked” images above, Facebook Horizon does look a tad…underwhelming. (One person on the Twitter thread said that the shaders looked “cheap”.) Robert Scoble’s comment led to the following exchange:
Tony: I mean, I think that I can do this graphic myself in Unity LOL! I’m sure that a billionaire company like Facebook can do better…
David: Can you do graphics like that at [a] constant 72Hz on Quest with 50 people in a fully customized (from inside VR) world?
Tony: VRChat can do that (the world is built in Unity though), Rec Room has better graphics as well. ENGAGE the same. So, if *this* is the final graphics, it is disappointing. But we all know it is going to be better, it’s impossible [that] it is this one when version 1 will be released.
David: Of the apps you mentioned, only Rec Room has true dynamic inside-VR world creation, and its graphics are pretty much on par with this.
So, what do you think? Are you excited about Facebook Horizon? Do you think that, with Facebook’s clout and deep pockets behind it, it will be the first massively popular social VR platform? Or do you think that, like Facebook Spaces, this will also be a failure?
Please feel free to leave a comment below or, as always, you are welcome to join the freewheeling discussions, arguments, and debates about social VR and virtual worlds taking place among the over 400 people who hang out on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server, the first cross-worlds discussion forum! We’d love to see you there.