Tivoli Cloud VR Shuts Down

Yesterday, Caitlyn Meeks posted the following message to the Tivoli VR Discord server, which has now shuttered most of its channels:

Hey Folks!! It’s been a while! Obviously the two of us have been pretty distant from the platform of late, as we have been living our lives and evaluating our priorities. Anyway, no point dilly-dallying around it: we’re taking good old Tivoli Cloud VR offline.

We’ve had a great time, we’ve met terrific people in the community, written some great code. It’s quite an experience operating a multiuser VR platform, complete with backend services, and sustaining it in operable condition over a couple of years, especially for a two person team. We’ve decided we’d rather make new things, fun things, and see where creativity, serendipity and fortune take our little hearts.

We will be publishing the entirety of the Tivoli code base on Github where it will be freely available, including our backend and metaverse services, Blender tools, awesome assimp importer, and much more, to folks who continue to further the Excellent High Fidelity code base.

To those who participated and contributed, thank you so much. You’re all so unique and creative in your own ways, and it’s been delightful to get to know each and every one of you who we’ve met on the platform. A huge thank you to the original High Fidelity team who made Tivoli possible by open sourcing the original.

We’ll be moving the Squirrel Nut Cafe over to VRChat and probably hang around there once in a while for old time’s sake. For fans of the platform, we suggest you check out the new Overte fork. They’ve got some smart people, and the right vision. And perhaps they’ll pick up some of the code we are making available from our codebase.

If you’ve got files on Tivoli Files or content we are hosting on our servers, let us know and we’ll do our best to recover them for you. Just DM me directly. Once that’s done, all personal data will be deleted and destroyed.

Big love from both of us!

Caitlyn, Maki, Eentje and the rest

Tivoli Cloud VR was one of two successor platforms to the old, now-shuttered social VR platform built by Philip Rosedale’s company, High Fidelity (the other was Vircadia, which is still running).

I’m feeling pretty gutted that Tivoli Could VR has ceased operations, but I also understand just how hard it can be to get a social VR platform up and running, even if you are starting with the open-source software code from the old High Fidelity platform. I wish Caitlyn, Maki, and everybody on the Tivoli Cloud VR team every success in their future endeavours!

One of my many fond memories of Tivoli Cloud VR was talking to an AI-powered toaster around this tropical beach campfire, which every so often would shower down a rain of waffles! Good times.

What was the website URL now points directly to their GitHub. I hope that somebody makes good use of that open-source code to build something even more remarkable.

Note: I have been aware of the Overte fork of the Vircadia social VR platform for some time, but I wanted to wait until they had a website set up before blogging about them. There’s actually a bunch of developments with respect to both Vircadia and Overte that I have been wanting to write about, so expect a blogpost soon!

Relm: A Brief Introduction

Describing itself as “a tiny metaverse for life coaches and other transformation facilitators”, Relm (sic; there’s no “a”) is a browser-based virtual world for support groups, team meetings, and life coaches. Here’s a twenty-second teaser:

Here’s a longer, one-minute video, showing you some of the avatar customization options:

Relm’s avatars are disconcertingly blank-faced, but you can use your computer’s webcam to provide a face for other avatars to see:

Duane Johnson, the Canadian CEO and co-founder of Relm, tells me that it is possible to do collaborative editing of the worlds you create in Relm (called “relms”). In relms where you have edit rights, just hit Tab to pull up a menu on the left-hand-side of your screen:

You can also edit objects in Relm in a similar way to the prim-editing tools in Second Life, such as this vase:

As an example use case, an association of non-profit organizations in Lyon, France called UniVers-K uses Relm to assist cancer patients and their families by meeting with coaches, planning events together, and organizing fundraisers.

One thing I found heartwarming about the small team building Relm is that, even at this early stage of development, they have posted an Online Social Universe Manifesto:

Human beings are fundamentally social creatures. But the world wide web was not designed to meet our social needs. When we look around at the networks we’ve created online, we see a travesty of real connection with each other—sometimes an emotional wasteland filled with failed efforts to see and to be seen, to be with and to belong.

Today, we have Facebook “friends”, Instagram influencers, LinkedIn connections, and Twitter mobs. In addition, we see more depression, anxiety, and loneliness in our society than ever before.

But if we can re-imagine the web the way it should be—not as an inter-linked store of hypertext documents, but as a place to work together and build community together—why not fashion for ourselves an online universe that is pro-social and social-first?

We evolved in a spatial world, and we thrive in 3 dimensions. Video games and MMO worlds have led the way in showing us how to build trust and culture online—and we should take their lessons seriously enough to integrate the experience they offer in fields as far away as remote teamwork and business meetings.

Our surroundings tell us about ourselves, and hold us in relationship to one another. As we work, create, and collaborate together, we need a virtual world in which to do it—not necessarily because it’s efficient, but because it’s the most human way we know to be online together.

We believe that the architecture of the web experience needs to be re-designed for online teams and communities. A healthy online universe for human beings prioritizes:

• Belonging over status updates
• Visual and auditory communication over textual communication
• Real-time interactions over asynchronous requests/responses
• Rootedness in community over fast network growth
• Hospitality over bureaucracy (e.g. log-in forms)
• Opportunity for human connection (and serendipity) over efficiency
• Socially meaningful surroundings over missing context or sterile environments
• Representing ourselves as avatars over having little to no representation of “me”
• Fun throughout!

The next version of the web experience should be a social universe—a place where we can see, be seen, and belong—just like our ancestors’ communities, but online.

An online friend shared this image taken from their blog, telling me, “They have a really nice ethos,” and I must agree! In the current metaverse season, which has so many blockchain, crypto, and NFT-based platforms operating on a purely mercantile basis, these people certainly have their hearts in the right place. Relm is intended to be, first and foremost, a human (and humane) place for people to meet.

If you are intrigued and want to learn more about Relm, you can check out their website, read their blog, check out their YouTube channel, or join their Discord server. And, of course, I will add Relm to my ever-expanding, comprehensive list of social VR, virtual worlds, and metaverse platforms.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Short Women’s Hair from Tram!

Tram is a women’s hair store in Second Life, well known for its short-and-medium-length, wispy, windblown, and cute/kawaii hairstyles. Today I learned via the Pure Eggs & Spam blog that Tram has made a large number of their older hairstyles available as free gifts! No group join is required; just buy each fatpack for L$0 and it’s yours.

Here are nine of the non-rigged mesh hairstyles. While the hair says it is No Modify, I discovered that you can adjust the size using the Stretch command if you right-click on it and select Edit. Each style comes in a complete fatpack of colours, and I was able to tint a couple of these hairstyles to a darker shade of black under the Texture tab in the Edit menu.

One disadvantage of this hair is that it adds 30,000-40,000 to your Avatar Rendering Cost (ARC), now called Mesh or Rending Weight, which means that your avatar may appear as a “jelly doll” to other avatars, depending on their Second Life viewer settings. I have mine routinely cranked up to Ultra, but I have an higher-end gaming PC with a good graphics card, but those people running older potato computers may not see you as you wish to be seen! Something to bear in mind.

On the same gift wall, a little further to the right, are a collection of even older non-mesh, sculpted (prim-based) hairstyles, which are also free.

Here’s an example of one of the sculpted hairstyles, model A812, which, as you can see, is absolutely perfect for this high-collared yellow ballgown this avatar is wearing! The sculpted hair is tintable, and each separate prim can be adjusted. Again, like the nonrigged mesh hairstyles mentioned above, the downside is that these sculpted prim hairstyles will add significantly to your Avatar Rendering Cost (about 30,000-40,000).

Here’s your taxi to Tram. Happy freebie shopping!