PLEASE NOTE: My blog is still on indefinite hiatus; I have made a single exception for this blogpost. After this, I am returning to my self-imposed break from blogging.
Yesterday, VRChat held a two-hour developer-oriented livestream on Twitch, in which they laid out their roadmap for the next twelve months: what’s ahead?
Kent Bye did his usual excellent summarizing of the livestream in a series of tweets on Twitter, but I also wanted to write up a bit about what was said, and what it means. The Twitch livestream (which really gets rolling at about the 9:00-minute mark) covers quite a lot a territory, so please consider this just a summary! At times there was a lot of technical jargon thrown around, particularly with respect to server issues, so be forewarned before watching the livestream!
Ron, VRChat’s chief creative officer, and Tupper, the community manager for VRChat, were the hosts who shared the next year’s roadmap with us, with a plea to keep in mind that things can change, as often happens in software development projects! Other VRChat staff joined to talk about projects they were working on.
They report that VRChat Plus (i.e. premium accounts) has so far been amazing, with lots of support. VRChat Plus on Oculus is coming soon, and VRChat Plus gifting is coming as soon as possible.
There was a discussion of the server growing pains encountered as the number of concurrent users has risen over time. Here’s a picture of the VRChat server team, in VRChat!
Tupper then talked about some of the persistent bugs that the team is attempting to fix: audio bugs, problems in the Social menu, avatar load hitching, etc. (starting around the 27-minute mark in the livestream). He created something called the Bug List Bodyslam (seen in the bottom left hand corner of the following image), a graphical representation which helped determine which bugs were highest priority:
Did you know there was a bug called the “head-pat alignment”? 😉 (VRChat users often greet each other by patting each others’ heads.)
The Art team (Rocktopus and Technobabel) talked about the new user interface (UI). Aspects of the new UI have already been released (i.e. some of the features in VRChat Plus), and will be rolled out gradually over time, instead of one big UI overhaul. There will be a new Quick Menu, which will look like this (video at the 38:00 mark):
The next section was about improvements to avatar dynamics. bones, etc. Kiro, a client-end engineer for VRChat, joined Tupper for this part of the presentation. Among the new features are avatar-to-avatar interaction: avatars actually being able to touch themselves and each other, sparking visual or audio effects! Please watch the video at 55:30 mark in the Twitch livestream to see this feature in action.
There was much, much more which I have not touched upon in this blogpost, so I would recommend you read Kent Bye’s series of tweets for a better summary, or set aside a couple of hours and watch the Twitch livestream itself. I really do wish that other social VR platforms on the marketplace would do something like VRChat’s annual developer livestream. Some do (e.g. Sinespace), and others don’t (several companies which I will not name).
It’s wonderful to see a company like VRChat respond to its community and lay out its future plans in this way!