Take a Look at the Stunning New Localhost Connection Café and Hangout in Sinespace

ArtemisBane and Carsten Stark have just opened one of the most visually stunning places that I have visited in any virtual world, a hangout and café for the cyber crowd that is intended to form part of a much larger project. Artemis tells me via email:

The main goal is to slowly move an active community from Discord to in-world. And also to integrate two groups that used to meet in real life to meeting in Sinespace, many of whom have zero virtual world experience. So, this region is to be a community gathering place and new user tutorial area to get people up to speed quickly. You’ve caught us at the coffeehouse experience only. And prior to all interactivity that Carsten is still coding.

This evening, I paid a visit to Localhost Connection, and I took a few photos.

The Localhost Connection Café

The list of goals for this project (from the project proposal Artemis and Carsten shared with me) are quite ambitious, including hosting a Toastmasters group:

1. Create an atmosphere that is cyberpunk/sci-fi, but also cozy/warm and inviting. Color scheme is neon purple and teal instead of traditional blue and orange.

2. Provide a place for technical minded individuals to hang out. Often in real life I have dual monitors, one where I am working on a project with my head in software, and one where I have a virtual world. So the main idea for Localhost came from my initial wish to be social with other geeks/developers. By being together in a virtual space,great collaborations can happen.

3. Lots of interactivity and immersion: working arcade machine, spatial audio with falloff, voice zones, interactive NPCs/quests.

4. Host events beyond simple DJ sessions, ie: Bookclub, vehicle outings, live podcast (with a studio audience?), informative tutorial/build sessions/tips and tricks.

5. Expand to multiple buildings all serving the community of Localhost.

6. Provide an alternative new user walkthrough. Not to replace the Sinespace welcome center, but to build on servicing the needs of our community, specifically.

7. Provide resources for people interested in developing. Being newcomer and newbie friendly. Feature tutorials, recommendations for software, Sinespace blogger/vlogger websites, etc.

8. Create an object that would allow a person to subscribe to the localhost group announcements by allowing touch to sign up for newsletters. By touch, you enter in your email, with another touch allowing unsubscription. This would have to be hosted on our own server. An alternative is to have announcement group signups on a terminal that goes to our website.

9. Host a Localhost calendar for our own event promotion and with a notification function for members.

10. Extensive utility of the Sinespace questing system.

11. Hidden areas, achievements and collecting of hidden objects.

12. A story behind the region, themed environment, and interactivity strictly within theme for fullest immersion, as the main idea behind the region is creating an experience that helps show the magic that one is capable of within a virtual world,
when you don’t have to mimic the real world.

13. Registration with Toastmasters International for inclusion in their virtual chapters directory, holding meetings monthly in the coffeeshop.

Here are a few pictures I took of the coffeehouse interior. Carsten and Artemis have clearly achieved the first goal on their list! The interior is inviting but stylish.

This is a tastefully and beautifully decorated space, easily a place I could see myself having technical discussions with fellow geeks! There are all kinds of inviting nooks tucked away in various corners of the café, perfect for casual conversation and private tête-à-têtes, such as this quiet spot tucked away under the stairs:

Gently waving drapes separate the space into smaller conversational areas
The lighting in this coffeehouse is superbly done

To pay your own visit to Localhost Connection region, click on the Explore button in your Sinespace viewer, and search for “localhost”. Here is the region page on the Sinespace website, with some more snapshots.

And if you haven’t had a chance to explore Sinespace yet, I would strongly encourage you to drop by the Localhost Connection and experience it for yourself! Here’s a handy step-by-step guide to getting started in Sinespace.

This blogpost is sponsored by Sinespace, and was written in my role as an embedded reporter for this virtual world (more details here). 


UPDATED! Herding Cats, Part II: Taking a Second Step Towards Developing a Taxonomy of Metaverse Platforms by Looking at the Various Purposes of Social VR Platforms

(This blogpost is the second in a series; the first one is here.)

I thought I would set aside some time today, on a somewhat lazy Saturday, brew myself a large pot of black coffee, and attempt to categorize all the social VR platforms I have written about on this blog into some sort of taxonomy. No small feat! But at least I have a full day to tinker with the project. (I might turn this into a journal article and get it published somewhere.)

As my starting points, I used my Comprehensive List of Social VR Platforms, as well as my more detailed Comparison Chart of Sixteen Social VR Platforms (which is now a bit dated, since High Fidelity has essentially shut down, but no matter).

I decided to first try and organize the wide variety of social VR platforms by primary purpose by creating this Venn diagram using Canva.com (the following diagram is available to view and download in various sizes from Flickr, up to 1024 by 768 pixels, just click on it):

Social VR Platforms by Purpose (Version 2.1)

And, this is finally my opportunity to compile a somewhat complete list of what I collectively call the YARTVRA platforms (an acronym I coined, which stands for Yet Another Remote Teams Virtual Reality App). This is currently a hot market for social VR, as corporations struggle to try to provide immersive, remote workteams support to employees working from home during the global public health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yes, I am going to make the YARTVRA acronym a thing (WORK. WITH. ME, PEOPLE!)

UPDATE May 11th, 2020: Based on feedback I have received, and after doing a little more thinking, I have made some adjustments to version 1.0 of this Venn diagram, and I have now updated it version 2.0. Thank you to everybody who took the time to reach out to me! Summary of changes made is here.

UPDATED AGAIN 9:03 p.m. May 11th, 2020: New version! Version 2.1 (summary of changes made is here).

UPDATE May 12th, 2020: I also wanted to add to this blogpost some thoughtful comments by the Voices of VR podcaster and VR expert Kent Bye, who retweeted this blogpost to his followers on Twitter with the following comment:

Conceptually, any sufficiently robust virtual world will be able to handle multiple contexts ranging from going on a date, hanging with friends, playing games, learning, working. I see context is more driven more by the culture and people using it, more than the platform itself.

Infographic by Kent Bye

He added:

I use the lens of qualities of presence:
Active Presence: Rec Room
Mental & Social Presence: AltSpaceVR, Mozilla Hubs, Engage
Embodied Presence: VRChat
Emotional Presence: Wave, Museum of Other Realities
All of these are always happening to different degrees in social VR, but there’s combos and a center of gravity.

Four Qualities of Presence in Social VR (from a presentation slide by Kent Bye)

Thanks, Kent!