UPDATED! A Dispute Over Cryptocurrency Leads to Social VR Platform NeosVR Being (Temporarily) Removed from Steam

UPDATE Nov. 5th, 2021: NeosVR is now back up on Steam.

As much as it pains me to write about this story, the tagline of the RyanSchultz.com blog is “News and Views on Social VR, Virtual Worlds, and the Metaverse”, and this definitely is news.

It turns out that, due to a dispute between Valve/Steam and NeosVR over the latter’s cryptocurrencies (Neos Credits or NCR, plus other tokens called KFC and CDFT), the social VR platform has been removed from Steam. The team at NeosVR is currently hard at work to fix the problem, but I have been told that it could take as long as one to two weeks to resolve the situation. In the meantime, Neos is off Steam.

Notice: At the request of the publisher, Neos VR is no longer available for sale on Steam.

You might be forgiven if you were not even aware that NeosVR has an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency called Neos Credits (NCR), for which they have an ongoing Initial Coin Offering (ICO). More details are in their white paper.

Karel Hulec (the co-founder and CEO of Solirax, the Czech company building NeosVR), pinned the following messages to the #neos-credits-ncr channel on the official NeosVR Discord:

We’ll be shortly removing NCR functionality from main Steam Store branch upon request by Valve to make it available again for new downloads on their platform and of course prioritizing our own launcher/updater with builds that support Credits.

We knew from the start NCR is not going to be available on all platforms Neos will be. I hope it will return to Steam builds sometimes down the line when they change the rules again. The ICO has provided a lot of funding for Neos and made it long term sustainable, opened a path for Neos to become a great open source metaverse rivaling some of the most popular ones – it is certainly worth having it in independent builds and on platforms that allow for it.

According to the FAQ list posted to their wiki:

What’s Happening?

We’re disabling NCR/KFC/CDFT functionality on the main Steam build of Neos. This will allow us to continue updating Neos via Steam. You can find the Steam build notes that made this change here.

Does this mean Neos is gone from Steam forever?

No, We’re working with Steam to get Neos re-instated with a build that does not contain NCR/KFC/CDFT. We’ll keep you up to date.

I can’t download Neos from Steam; what can I do?

Download the standalone build.

Can I still use NCR/KFC/CDFT?

Yes, for now we have a standalone build which has NCR/KFC/CDFT enabled (see video below)

In the future, we’ll be looking at other solutions such as our custom launcher, called Neosine.


What this means is: if you are a Patreon supporter of NeosVR (which includes a monthly reward of NCR), and if you use the upcoming Steam version of the NeosVR client, you would still be able to receive your NCR each month, but you won’t be able to access it unless you use the special launcher/client that’s not on Steam. In other words, you will still be getting your NCR, but you won’t be able to send it to users, cash out, or put it into Neos from an outside wallet on Steam builds of the Neos client.

Under this proposed system, NeosVR can stay on Steam (which is good for publicity of the platform, plus many people see being on Steam as a stamp of approval), but a stand-alone version of the NeosVR client with NCR enabled can co-exist.

However, this dispute between Steam and Neos is coming at the WORST possible time for Jason Moore’s MetaMovie production, Alien Rescue, which is on now. Jason basically has to tear up the instructions he sent out to the people who bought tickets. I wrote on the NeosVR Discord:

It’s just really unfortunate timing, as a whole bunch of Neos newbies will be visiting the platform over the next month for Alien Rescue, and Jason Moore is going to have to rewrite his instructions for new users. While the Discord download link is useful some people may not be comfortable navigating a) Discord and b) unzipping the client (it uses, 7zip, right? So they have to find and install an unzipper program, too).

Essentially, it means an extra couple of steps for people to download and install the client software, but it’s a pain in the ass nevertheless! As a rule of thumb, any extra step that inexperienced users have to go through to get onto your platform is a bad thing. NeosVR is going to have to work extra hard after this incident to make it easier for non-computer-geeks to use! (This is admittedly a problem for all social VR platforms, but NeosVR in particular has a rather steep learning curve for its powerful toolset.)

One bright spot amidst the gloom is that cryptocurrency speculators (who perhaps had been previously unaware that NeosVR has crypto) have been busily minting new NCR using Ethereum, since the news broke yesterday! (Please don’t ask me to explain that last sentence; I am still a relative cryptonewbie! All I know is that some people are terribly, terribly excited about this.)


For further information on this issue, I am going to refer you to the wiki page NeosVR set up here with a list of frequently-asked questions (FAQ) about the status of NeosVR on Steam, questions concerning the new launcher, and general information on how this will impact Neos Credits (NCR): Steam Changes.

As well, you can read through the past couple of days of discussion on:

Here’s a quick video of how to download and run the new non-Steam (token-enabled) build:

If you want to learn more about NeosVR, you can visit their website or their wiki, check out their Steam page, join their Discord server, or follow them on social media: FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. And, of course, you can always choose to support the project through their Patreon page (as I do).

Review: Alien Rescue Opens an Exciting New Chapter in Immersive Storytelling in the Metaverse

UPDATE Oct. 25th, 2021: The RyanSchultz.com blog is giving away ten free tickets to go see Alien Rescue! The deadline to enter the contest is 10:00 a.m. CST, Tuesday, October 26th, 2021.

Read all the details (and enter the contest) here.


The MetaMovie is exciting beyond words. It may actually be now doing what history will see as the beginning of a brand new interactive movie entertainment industry.

—Karel Hulec of NeosVR (where Alien Rescue takes place)

This afternoon, I had the privilege of participating in the impressive new MetaMovie production Alien Rescue, created and directed by Jason Moore and starring Marinda Botha, Nicole Rigo, Kenneth Rougeau, Craig Woodward—and you!

Yes, you don’t just watch Alien Rescue; you’re a key part of the show! There are two roles: Hero and Eyebot. The Hero is the one audience member right in the centre of the story, where they role-play with the cast. Heroes can say or do anything they want, and they can even affect the storyline (the woman, who was the Hero of the performance I attended, landed up giving a hilarious nickname to one of the characters, which became a running joke throughout the rest of the performance!).

The rest of the audience are small, mute Eyebots, who only communicate with the actors via red, green, or yellow lights, but who play an integral part in moving the story forward (often by scouting ahead and warning the Hero and the other actors to hidden dangers). Even better, you can maneuver your Eyebot to catch the performance as it unfolds from any possible point of view! You can choose to follow a particular character if you wish, or you can just wander around as you please, and follow your fancy.

The actors in Alien Rescue are all professionals with years of VR acting experience, physically located across the globe, from New York to South Africa, from Kansas to Connecticut. This troupe has been working closely together for nearly three years. All the actors used the HTC Vive Pro Eye headset, which features eye tracking, along with the newly released Vive Facial Tracker, which tracks the movements of the mouth and the lower face. These added expressions—subtle shifts of the eyes, a blink or a wink, a slight grin or a strong grimace—help bring their avatars to life. Here’s a demonstration of just how realistic avatar movements can be with these features enabled.

At times, the action splits into two separate conversations or scenes. One example was when we all entered a laboratory through a series of dark, winding corridors, while the two actors ahead of me (leading the group) were having one conversation, and the two actors behind me (acting as a rear guard) were having a second one! As an Eyebot hovering between these two groups, I heard snippets of both conversations, which felt like a very natural and intuitive way to learn more about the characters, much as if you were drifting from conversation to conversation at a cocktail party (only this one was with random, weird alien creatures popping up!).

Speaking of alien creatures, all the imaginatively designed avatars in Alien Rescue were created by the very talented Chris McBride (NeosVR username: Ultranique), whom I interviewed in season one of the Metaverse Newscast (back when he was still practicing his artistry in avatar creation on the former social VR platform of High Fidelity, before he moved to NeosVR to work on the MetaMovie project):

And here’s another Metaverse Newscast interview I did with director Jason Moore (again, two years ago, in High Fidelity, when Alien Rescue was still in its earliest planning stages):

(Fun fact: I was the original Hero, and was the very first person to experience the MetaMovie Project, many years ago in High Fidelity, on their first project, called A Very Old Mystery in New New York.)

The set for Alien Rescue is just absolutely insane in its overall dimensions (the following quote comes from the press kit I received). The production design was by Zach Harris (NeosVR username: Nexulan), who managed the entire design team.

With seven large and detailed maps (game lingo for levels, or areas of a world), Alien Rescue immerses audiences into a dark and spooky sci-fi environment with barely-lit passageways, creepy labs, and eerie soundscapes. The crown jewel is the incredible Blackhawk Spaceship, at 160 meters long (nearly two football fields) and 55 meters high, with four levels and over twenty rooms. And, our maps are all connected using a custom programmed ‘instant teleport’ system that reduces load time from one map to the next to zero seconds. Audiences traverse the world of Alien Rescue seamlessly and instantaneously, without the typical “loading screen” found in most VR games and experiences.

The Blackhawk starship (designed by Michael Biszko a.k.a Aegis Wolf)

Jason Moore tells me:

Lead Programmer was Raul Anthony “RueShejn” Ybarra. He did all of the programming using LogiX. He invented the ‘instant travel’ system that gave us those seamless transitions from map to map, he’s a freaking genius.

This afternoon’s performance was the last of a series of private, invitation-based shows before the official premiere next week. According to a press release:

This form of live storytelling in the metaverse is truly new, therefore the prestigious Raindance Film Festival has selected the work to have its world premiere there in late October 2021.

Here’s the full description of Alien Rescue from the Raindance film festival website.

You can buy tickets for shows starting Friday, October 29th, 2021, and running until Sunday, November 21st, 2021 (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. EST for the next four weeks in a row). Tickets can be purchased through the MetaMovie website, via EventBrite.

I am telling you right now: you do NOT want to miss this event! It’s the most incredible and imaginative thing I have experienced in virtual reality all year (and trust me, I’ve seen a lot in these past twelve months of pandemic lockdown). The MetaMovie project is a genre-defying mix, combining elements of cinematic storytelling, video games, role playing, improv, and immersive theatre into something completely new, different, and exciting. GO SEE THIS! I loved it!!

Now, a few important points. You can experience Alien Rescue in flatscreen, desktop mode, but obviously for greater immersion, virtual reality is the way to go! Experiencing Alien Rescue in VR requires a PCVR setup. All major VR headsets will work: HTC Vive, Valve Index, HP, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Quest (tethered or Air Link). The minimum graphics card requirements are a Nvidia GTX 1060 or AMD RX 570 with a minimum of 8GB of RAM. A wired connection is strongly recommended!

You should know that you will need a higher-end CPU and GPU on your personal computer to experience the show comfortably in VR; I have an Intel Core i5-6600 chip and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX1080 graphics card on my PC, with 16GB of RAM, and I crashed—twice!— while loading the map for Alien Rescue (however, once the world was fully loaded, I encountered few problems). Every so often, one of the actors’ voices would get all robot-y, but any such audio problems were temporary.

The show is approximately an hour and a half long, from beginning to end, and if you stick around, you might even win an award for your participation in a ceremony held in the credits lounge. (I won two awards!)

If you have not already done so, you will have to create a (free) account on the NeosVR social VR platform, then download and install the client software. Please read the entire technical requirements section of the ticket-buying page on the MetaMovie website.

To learn more about the MetaMovie project, please visit their website, join their Discord server, or follow them on social media: FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

Space Colony Island-4: Explore an 8 Kilometre-by-32 Kilometre O’Neill Cylinder in VRChat, with Curve Gravity!

The O’Neill cylinder (also called an O’Neill colony) is a space settlement concept proposed by American physicist Gerard K. O’Neill in his 1976 book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space… An O’Neill cylinder would consist of two counter-rotating cylinders. The cylinders would rotate in opposite directions in order to cancel out any gyroscopic effects that would otherwise make it difficult to keep them aimed toward the Sun. Each would be 5 miles (8.0 km) in diameter and 20 miles (32 km) long, connected at each end by a rod via a bearing system. Their rotation would provide artificial gravity.

“O’Neill cylinder”, Wikipedia article

There’s a new world in VRChat which is attracting a lot of attention! It’s straight out of a science fiction novel: an O’Neill cylinder that is 8 kilometres in diameter and 32 kilometres long, and it features curve gravity, where you can actually run around in a full circle to land up where you started!

(VRChat is not the first social VR platform to feature such a build; I have visited an similar O’Neill cylinder with curve gravity in NeosVR, writing about it here.)

Here’s the original announcement by its creator on Twitter, with the English translation below it, courtesy of the DeepL translator:

The world “Space Colony “Island-4” has been released! It is an enclosed space colony with a diameter of 8km x length of 32km. Please enjoy the huge scale of this cylindrical world!

Space Colony Island-4 is currently one of the most popular worlds in VRChat, so it’s on the VRChat home screen. Here’s a link to the webpage for the world (this page requires a VRChat account to sign in).

By the way, did you know that VRChat has just updated its Quick Menu user interface? Here’s a two-minute video with the highlights of the new design:


Thank you to Rainwolf for the heads-up!

How You Can Catch the MetaMovie Project’s Upcoming Show, Alien Rescue, for FREE!

The MetaMovie project is a live virtual reality cinematic adventure, which I have been following since the very beginning (you can read all my old MetaMovie blogposts here). The project first began on the now-shuttered High Fidelity social VR platform, and has since moved to their new home, NeosVR*.

According to the official press release for their latest production, called Alien Rescue:

The MetaMovie presents; Alien Rescue, an innovative project conceived by Jason Moore, in which the user embodies the starring role in a LIVE-performed Virtual Reality cinematic adventure. The project [was] selected by the Venice International Film Festival [which took] place online from September 2nd till 12th, 2020.

The MetaMovie project is an ongoing series of experiments exploring immersive, interactive storytelling inside the virtual reality metaverse. It combines cinema, video games, interactive theater, and role playing activities like D&D to create an entirely new way to experience a story: from the inside. In a MetaMovie you don’t just watch the story, you’re part of it.

As ‘the Hero’ you are the lead player. Your co-stars are played by live actors who lead you on an immersive and cinematic adventure and you have the agency to do or say what you want, and even affect the outcome of the story. Curious, but not exactly a hero? Experience the story as an ‘Eyebot’ without needing to interact with the other characters.

The world of live immersive work is upcoming. The Venice International Film Festival selected three of these projects for this year’s VR Expanded edition. Besides the fact that these experiences offer consumers live entertainment from the comfort of their own home, it also creates job opportunities for actors all over the world. Something that’s more relevant than ever since we’re dealing with COVID-19.

Here’s the two-minute teaser trailer for Alien Rescue!

And here’s the best part: you can take advantage of a special free offer to help iron out the last few bugs in performances of Alien Rescue before ticket sales to the general public! Jason Moore left the following message on the RyanSchultz.com Discord:

I’m Jason, the creator and director of the MetaMovie Presents: Alien Rescue. Alien Rescue is a live immersive asymmetric PCVR/Desktop experience that puts you in the middle of an action packed VR movie where you role play with five live actors. We’ve performed at the Venice Biannale VR festival and won a Special Mention award, and we are gearing up for our public launch in a few months.

Currently we are running preview shows to squash the bugs and I’m here offering free tickets for some upcoming shows! Please come check us out, give us your feedback, and help us bug test!

We run on NeosVR, which is available for free on Steam. The days/times of the shows are:

• Saturday August 28th, 2:00pm ET
• Saturday, September 4th, 2:00pm ET
• Saturday, September 18, 2:00pm ET
• Saturday, October 2nd, 2:00pm ET

Click the link below to go to our website, where you can select the day of the show you want. Then you’ll get taken to Eventbrite and you can use the Discount Codes below to get your free ticket.

Please only take a ticket if you are sure you will use it. Please only take 1 ticket, not multiple tickets. And please note we are still working out the bugs…..

Discount Codes:
• Saturday, August 28th, 2:00pm ET Sidekick2808
• Saturday, September 4th, 2:00pm ET Sidekick0409
• Saturday, September 18th, 2:00pm ET Sidekick1809
• Saturday, October 2nd, 2:00pm ET Sidekick0210

Copy your discount code, then go here: https://www.themetamovie.com/tickets/

Thank you for your support and helping us test Alien Rescue!

If you are interested in learning more about the MetaMovie project, please visit their website, join their Discord server, or follow the project on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


*If you’re interested, I interviewed Jason Moore about the MetaMovie project, back when it was still on High Fidelity, in the following episode of season one of my show, the Metaverse Newscast: