Since I have upgraded my Oculus Rift to a Valve Index, I have been spending more and more time in VRChat lately. VRChat in 2021 reminds me of nothing so much as Second Life circa 2007, when I first joined: the wonderful sense of exploration and adventure, never quite knowing where you were going to land up and who you would encounter!
However, there is still one problem that I encounter in VRChat, and that is the topic for today’s blogpost: the need to set up a better in-world directory of worlds to explore. I have written about this topic before, but the need has now become acute. Finding cool worlds in VRChat has become something of a crapshoot, a time-consuming, trial-and-error process.
How many VRChat worlds are there? VRChat is surprisingly tight-lipped about world statistics. The VRChat website still says “Over 25,000 Community Created Worlds and Growing”, but this December 2018 promotional video says “Over 50,000 User-Created Worlds”:
So I asked around within my network of contacts for some updated statistics, and learned that there are now over 55,000 publicly-accessible VRChat worlds (not to mention countless private, invite-only worlds). My source tells me:
55,000 public worlds. 10 times more that are private, probably…
[I] asked someone in the prefab community who [is] very much tied with VRChat developers. A FPS said that very confidently. I can try to ask them where there is an actual figure count.
They told me: “Try to access on vrcw.net, you can see total public world as number. 55,458 public world has been updated so far. (include one already deleted.)” But thats still an unofficial number.
Another quote: “I think the unofficial number is something like 55k but remember how many of them have been abandoned on older SDK updates to the point they might not even be useable anymore. I wonder how far back you can go before it starts not working correctly. Source is https://en.vrcw.net/world at 20 worlds a page, 2779 pages, for a total of 55580. Although that site does list deleted worlds as well, also if they uploaded duplicates”
This is actually a very clever way to estimate the number of public VRChat worlds! However, the fact that we are relying on a third-party directory for this information simply underlines the problem that VRChat users face: it’s still too difficult to look for a particular kind or category of world.
Right now, the only way to find a world is to do a keyword search under Worlds in the pop-up menu, which matches on words in the world’s name, plus any tags which the creator adds to the description. What VRChat needs to do is set up something along the lines of the Second Life Destination Guide, a curated directory of worlds by category and purpose:
Now, VRChat is not the only social VR platform with this problem; it is common to all social VR worlds, and different platforms tackle this problem with varying degrees of success. Right now, everything relies too much on word of mouth, which can be hard if you’re not in the loop!
Now that 2021 is the year where the monthly active users (MAU) stats for Rec Room and VRChat begin to consistently surpass that of venerable Second Life, perhaps it’s time that these and other social VR companies invest in creating curated directories (and no, don’t just rely on volunteers, hire and pay staff to do the work). Think of it as a necessary investment. It could be the start of a virtuous circle, where better directories lead to more traffic to excellent or unique worlds, leading in turn to more and better directories!
Something to think about. Also something to think about: how about some destination guides or curated directories of private VRChat worlds? 😉
Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group yet? I will be posting EVEN MORE news and tips on finding fabulous freebies and bargains in Second Life than I post here on the blog! More information on this brand new SL group here.
Now, I do not usually blog about avatar accessories in Second Life, but I recently came across a couple of nice group gifts which I wanted to share with you. Remember, that I am only blogging about a very small fraction of what I find on my travels around the grid! For everything I find, please join the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals, and Freebies group in Second Life (please see the notice in red above for details). The group costs L$50 to join, but you’ll easily save multiple times that, from all the tips, tricks, tactics, and advice being shared within the group! We’re already at well over 40 members, and I can now call myself a professional freebie fashionista (and you can wear that tag with pride, too!).
Now, I should tell you that I am not a fan of bags without high-quality, Bento animations built in—high priority animations which do not break when I use them with the stands and walks in my animation overrides! Happily, both of the bags I tell you about here meet that stringent requirement.
First up is a free group gift from Vive Nine/Ryvolter. of a very versatile purse which comes in open and closed versions, in two designs, and with a wide variety of Bento hold animations, as you will see! Just teleport to the Vive Nine store, hit the small panel shown below to subscribe to the free group, and then hit the bigger panel to pick up your gift:
The best thing about this bag is the absolutely wonderful variety of hold animations, as you can see! There’s also a HUD to change the texture of the scarf wrapped around the handle of the bag (or remove it completely), and have it closed, or open with wads of cash sticking out 😉 ; please click on each thumbnail to see a larger version of the pictures.
Again, these are are high-prioity animations that should work very well with your standard AO.
If you are in the mood for some luxe shopping bags to finish off your fashionista emsemble, you can pick up a set of three as a free group gift from Sibilla. Just join the group for free (there’s a red group join panel on your right as you enter), and click on the panel located in the centre of the store, as shown below:
The shopping bags come in two holdable versions (wrist and hand), as well as an editable, rezzable version for decor (say, in the corner of your bedroom):
There you go! You’re all set to rampage your next virtual shopping mall in high style!
Skin: Zara Bakes on Mesh skin in the sandy skin tone (a recent free gift from Wow Skins)
Hair: Jamie unisex hair by Firelight! (a recent free gift from the Firestorm arena)
Hat: Hex hat by Moon Elixir (a free hunt prize I picked up years ago; you can pick up a fatpack of six colours for L$100 in-store).
Jacket: from the free Kendal outfit at Juli Fashion; just join the group for free and scoop up nearly sixty free gifts of womenswear!
Skirt: Black pencil skirt from the Roxy outfit (a free gift from a store called Chaotic; just look for the store vendor with the FREE sign above it (exact SLURL) and pay the vendor L$1 for dozens and dozens of gifts of of women’s outfits and Slink footwear; no group is needed, and your Linden dollar will be automatically refunded).
TOTAL COST OF THIS ENTIRE LOOK: FREE! (L$1,895 if you have to buy the Kalhene Anya body and the Hex Hat fatpack from Moon Elixir.)
I am the founder of the virtual civilization Second Life, populated by one million active users, and am now CEO and co-founder of High Fidelity — which has just released a real-time spatial audio API for apps, games, and websites. If you want to check it out, I’d love to hear what you think: highfidelity.com/api
High Fidelity’s Spatial Audio was initially built for our VR platform — we have been obsessive about audio quality from day one, spending our resources lowering latency and nailing spatialization.
Ask me about immersive spatial audio, VR, virtual worlds and spaces, avatars, and … anything.
During the brutal combination of a bitterly cold winter and a code-red, province-wide pandemic lockdown, I have been steadily working with my lawyer (mostly via email), who is drafting my will, power of attorney and healthcare directive documents. Over the past 26 months, I have slowly been in contact with a number of people who have expressed an interest in inheriting one of my Second Life avatars.
A bit of background is probably necessary to provides a little context. In July of 2019, I wrote on this blog about an undertaking that sprang from a recent bladder cancer scare (which thankfully, turned out to be a false alarm):
I am still working on which Second Life avatars I will leave to other people in the event of my untimely death, via my will. You can read the entire saga here, here, here, here, and here on my blog to see how this quest got started! I know it might sound really silly to some of you, but I consider them perfectly valid possessions, and it would please me greatly to know they will still be providing entertainment and enjoyment to others after I am gone. (If you’re interested in inheriting one of my avatars via my will, please contact me and we’ll talk. I still have a selection for you to choose from!)
That blogpost was followed up with an updated list of available avatars in November 2020, which led to a few more people coming forward, asking to inherit one of my avatars. Now, as my lawyer and I draw up the final version of my will, it’s time for one last call. (Speak now, or forever hold your peace…)
At the time of this writing, I have 23 Second Life avatars whom I am planning to leave to 18 different people (some have requested more than one, which I was happy to oblige). So, my next step is to re-contact all those people, to get a legal, real-life name for my will, if I don’t already have one, and a reliable means of contact (a telephone number or email address, preferably both). All the information about who inherits what avatar will form an attachment to my will, and will be kept private. The only people who will see this information will be my lawyer, and the executor of my estate, and perhaps one or two other key people who will take care of the administrative details after my passing, contacting people and giving out the usernames and passwords of the SL accounts.
I should hasten to assure you that I am only 57 years old, and I have every intention of living at least another quarter century! I may even outlive Second Life itself, which would make all this work superfluous! However, given my underlying health conditions, which put me at risk of a severe, possibly even fatal, response to an infection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, I feel that I have to cover all the bases here. I hope you understand! Don’t worry about me! I am taking care of myself.
If you are interested in inheriting one of my small army of alts, attached is the current list of who is available, updated as of today.
Almost all the male avatars have a similar bounty in their inventories, including the free group gift Bento mesh heads from Akeruka (Aron, Keiji, Leon, Clay, and the M02 model), the recent Chase head from LOGO, and the recent free group gift of the handsome Alain head by LeLutka! They also have all six free Altamura mesh avatars (Robert, both versions of Max, Tommy, Aaron and the full-version Romeo body), the dollarbie Classic body by Meshbody, and the Rick and David mesh bodies from ALANTORI. All male avatars also have a complete set of the freebies from Kauna men’s clothing and the free men’s clothing from Fitch for the brands of mesh bodies they own. Again, you’ll be able to hit the ground running!
All the avatars in the following list which are marked “unisex” have both the male and female mesh avatar heads and bodies listed above.
Most of these avatars were created before Linden Lab retired last names for avatar accounts (although there are three that have just the name given, plus Resident as a last name: MissDrag, OrangeCheeto, and PlayboyCenterfold). In some cases, you might want to ask for an avatar because the legacy first name-last name combination appeals to you, or tickles your funny bone (e.g. Coupon Clip).
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are interested in inheriting one of these Second Life avatars, please contact me via email at ryanschultz [at] Gmail [dot] com (or via the Contact page on this blog). You can also approach me and talk to me in-world in Second Life (my main avatar is named Vanity Fair, whom I am leaving to Strawberry Linden via my will). The best way to contact me is to ping me on one of the many community forums or Discord channels for the various virtual worlds, of which I am a member. I am almost always on Discord!
I will need your legal (real life) name for my will, and a reliable means of contact (telephone number preferred; email address is acceptable). I will be in touch with you (via email, Second Life IMs, or Discord chat), just to touch base, and I alone will make the final decision as to whether or not to let you inherit one of my avatars, and which one(s).
UPDATE Feb. 24th, 2021: I have had a number of people already contact me about the possibility of inheriting some of these avatars via my will. As I meet with people and accept their requests, I will be adding a note to their profiles on this list below, that they are no longer available to be bequeathed.
2My Fairlady: a female avatar, originally created just so I could have her sit on Lucky Chairs and slap Lucky Boards when they displayed “0-9” 😉
Alexandra McKenzie (originally created a female Scottish pirate for historical roleplay, and still a pirate to this day)
Artist Scientist (unisex avatar; can be either male or female)
Autumn Winter (originally created as the avatar embodiment of Autumn, now a generic female avatar; owns a Kalhene Anya Maitreya Lara-compatible mesh body)
Beau Coeur (a male avatar)
Betsy Blitz (a female 1950s/1960s historical roleplay avatar)
Chi Mai (a Chinese empress)
Coffee Philter (unisex avatar; either male or female; owns a Kalhene Anya Maitreya Lara-compatible mesh body)
Coupon Clip: one of my absolutely favourite avatars, in whom I have invested a lot of time and energy over the years, and therefore I am going to be very, very picky who gets this one in my will. Coupon is currently a 1950s-styled dancer for tips at various bars (no, she doesn’t escort; after all, a girl has rules 😉 ); Coupon usually is wearing her signature 1950 bouffant hairdo, Akeruka Maia mesh head, and Belleza Freya mesh body as pictured below; this avatar has also has also played Alice in Wonderland, Mother Nature, and over time, she has became my avatar embodiment of Winter/Christmas, with lots of snowy/winter/white/ice blue outfits, both mesh and pre-mesh! UPDATE Feb. 24th: Someone has asked to inherit this avatar via my will, and I have agreed.
Diana Huntress (a female avatar, originally created as a medieval archer)
Easton Weston: Piggu Jonathan fat man avatar with a Fat Boy AO by Voir, who plays Santa Claus every Christmastime; more information here; Easton also has the Piggu Jamie fat boy avatar, who is essentially styled to look like me in childhood (I was always a chubby kid)
Elvis Popstar: an Elvis Presley look-alike classic avatar, complete with white jumpsuit, microphone and wearable spotlights! I am actually rather surprised that nobody seems to want an Elvis avatar…think of the fun you could have, wandering the grid, looking for Priscilla and peanut butter and banana sandwiches!
Eve December (a female avatar, originally created as a Cabaret singer/Liza Minnelli look-alike, but now she’s just a generic female avatar)
Evil GossipGirl: a female devil 😉
Fairy Queen (a female fairy with a large inventory of wings and wands!)
Fidelity Constantine (a young Victorian woman) UPDATE Feb. 24th: Someone has asked to inherit this avatar via my will, and I have agreed.
Fire Bird (a unisex avatar, either female or male, whose avatar originally was a freebie Firestorm phoenix I picked up several years ago!)
Fortune Telling (a fortune-telling female gypsy, complete with crystal ball!)
Happy Delight (a unisex avatar, either male or female, usually female, who currently sports a Kalhene Anya Maitreya Lara-compatible mesh body)
Hearts Delight (a 1960s hippie chick, whom I trot out to the BURN2 festivities in Second Life every year!)
Heilige Nacht (a Seawolf fire-breathing dragon avatar!) UPDATE Feb. 24th: Someone has asked to inherit this avatar via my will, and I have agreed.
Joy Delight (a female avatar)
Layne Carpool: (get it? “carpool lane”?) a generic female avatar
Ledba Loon (get it? “lead balloon”? This was the very first female avatar I ever created, so her inventory goes way, waaay back in time. Today she usually wears the Piggu June fat girl mesh body, which I recently updated to version 2.0, along with a set of full-perms clothing to fit it; Ledba is also my witch avatar at Hallowe’en, who has in her inventory all my assorted witch outfits, brooms, skins, etc.)
Lily Pond (a female avatar, whom I have recently upgraded to a Legacy mesh body) UPDATE Feb. 24th: Someone has asked to inherit this avatar via my will, and I have agreed.
MARlLYN Monroe: Marilyn Monroe look-alike classic avatar, with a lowercase-L instead of an I in the first name; her nametag looks like “MARILYN Monroe” in-world. I’m actually kind of surprised nobody has snapped her up yet!
Mason Carver: a male avatar, Mason—very fittingly—is currently a grey-and-blue stone god with an outfit and skin I won at Fallen Gods, Inc. in a fortune-telling game.
Maya Sass (an Indian/Indo-Canadian female avatar who has my entire collection of saris; more information here)
Moesha Heartsong: my beloved female Black/Afro-Canadian avatar UPDATE Feb. 24th: Someone has asked to inherit this avatar via my will, and I have agreed.
MissDrag (my drag queen avatar, who owns various male and female heads and bodies, plus the Alexa transgender mesh avatar body from Kalhene; you can see her many different looks here, here, and here)
Notecard Writer (my professional librarian avatar, male, currently masquerading as an angel)
Oceana Waters (my female mermaid avatar; has a complete collection of mermaid outfits and AOs; more information here)
Schnitzel Wiener: originally a male avatar wearing German lederhosen and hoisting a beerstein; now another one of my generic male avatars:
Silver Quick (originally created as an male elf or troll; now unisex, either male and female)
Sim Hopper (another unisex avatar, either male or female; usually a male hiker with a random teleport backpack; formerly a female classic superhero avatar)
SisterMary Blister: a stern-looking Catholic nun who comes with an Abranimations HUD to rezz a flock of penguins to follow her around; more information here
Sitcom Writer (a unisex avatar, but almost always presents as a well-toned, butch lesbian, with a DEV mesh head and body; picture the Linda Hamilton character in the Terminator movies, and that’s pretty much her! Sometimes, she even totes an automatic rifle around…)
Sternen Nacht (a male wizard, either from Harry Potter or perhaps Lord of the Rings)
Summer Fall (a female avatar; she usually wears the freebie Giselle mesh head and Jenny mesh body from Altamura which I picked up several years ago)
That Guy (“Yes, I’m that guy.”; a male avatar who usually wears a combination of the Akeruka Aron mesh head and the dollarbie version of the Classic male avatar mesh body, with a complete set of all the clothing hat The Mesh Project used to sell for that body, when it was free to pick up for a short time before they shut that store down)
Treehugger Cliffhanger (unisex; either male or female)
Valentina VonBaum (a redhead female avatar, who was originally created as the avatar embodiment of Valentine’s Day)
War Hawk (a male warrior; Roman gladiator and the avatar embodiment of war; he has an Aesthetic mesh bodybuilder body and a number of shields and weapons)
Woofie Roffo (wolf; TWI Timber Wolf avatar)
Yvonne Leblanc (a female *DOLLCOCO* ball-joined doll by Coco Designs)
So, if you’re at all interested, contact me and we’ll talk! As I have said before, it would give me the greatest of pleasure to know that the avatars I have created and styled over many years as a pleasurable hobby, would have a life after I shuffle off this mortal coil!