UPDATED! Adventures in VR: Oculus Home, Somnium Space, Sinespace

This morning I decided to spend a little time in my Oculus Rift visiting three social VR platforms that I have not spent a lot of time in recently: Oculus Home, Somnium Space, and Sinespace.

Oculus Home

I was genuinely curious about Oculus Home after David Hall posted his video to YouTube, so I made sure to spend some time exploring it and learning about its new features. Basically, you can design your own home (even import your own content now), create multiple homes, and visit other people’s homes. You can set any of your homes to private, friends only, or public.

The software is still a little bit buggy. Multiple times I tried to favourite other people’s homes which I liked and wanted to be able revisit later, but it would not save my choices. Moving around is a bit cumbersome at first, but you can change the default teleport to walk and the default snap turning to smooth turning, so once I was able to fiddle with the settings a bit I felt a little more comfortable. I also encountered a few sticking points in the tutorials, which also could use a bit of tweaking.

Another problem is finding places to explore. There is a Recommended list of homes under Places in the pop-up menu, but it’s rather short (perhaps not many people have set their homes to public yet). Oculus Home is not really set up yet to allow you to easily browse other people’s experiences as you already can in Sansar with the Sansar Atlas, which is sortable in various ways (most popular, recently created, etc.).

And, in what I call “the VRChat/Rec Room problem”, there appear to be a lot of children and immature adults on the platform. Yes, there is asshattery, tomfoolery, and trolling already! It’s hardly surprising, really. After all, anyone who owns an Oculus Rift VR headset has access to Oculus Home.

However, I cannot deny that the experiences I visited were beautifully rendered, especially at the highest graphics settings in the options. I am eager to see where Facebook/Oculus takes this.

Somnium Space

I always have the same problem whenecer I try to start Somnium Space: I can’t remember the automatically-generated password! So I had to go through the whole rigamarole of resetting my password. This time I made sure to check the “remember password” option!

Unlike most other social VR platforms, Somnium Space appears to be one large landmass (mostly empty at this point). There’s a few places to explore, like a seaside town, a working bowling alley, and a shopping mall, but not a lot else yet.

There’s a very handy snapshot feature in Somnium Space which I used to take some in-world photos, but unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you what directory it is saving them to on your hard drive! After hunting around fruitlessly for fifteen minutes, I simply gave up.

There are also teleporters which tell you that can actually use them to teleport from Somnium Space to High Fidelity, JanusVR, and AltspaceVR, but they don’t work. Or at least, I couldn’t figure out how to work them. I gave up on that too.

Somnium Space really could use someone to provide better user documentation of features like the camera and the teleporters. Other than that, they’re off to a promising start, having raised over US$60,000 in their recent IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign.

Also, I decided today to set up a new category on my blog just for Somnium Space.

Sinespace

When I first tried Sinespace in VR last May, it was seriously buggy. I am sorry to report that the situation has not improved any. To enable VR mode in Sinespace, you have to download a special beta OpenVR client, install it, open it, make sure you enable OpenVR in the user settings and then restart the client software. (A bit fussy, in my opinion, compared to the seamless switching between desktop mode and VR mode in competing platforms like Sansar and High Fidelity.)

I found the level of jitteriness to be so severe that I had to take off my VR headset after only a couple of minutes before I got sick. In addition to that, whenever I teleported anywhere, I landed up facing the opposite direction from where I started. The user interface menus are positioned too close to your eyes. At one point, I was looking at the backside of the Explore menu! I could go on, but you get the idea: this is simply not ready for prime time yet. I was actually very disappointed.

UPDATE 9:03 p.m.: Well, I asked on the official Somnium Space Discord server, and someone told me where to find the snaphots I had taken (they were saved to the C:/Users/[username]/Documents/Somnium Space/Tablet Camera folder):

My avatar in Somnium Space
The teleporter I couldn’t get to work 🙁
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Happy New Year! Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Social VR

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I will be celebrating New Year’s Eve offline, with real-life friends here in Winnipeg. It looks like we’re going to have a cold night! 😉

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Meanwhile, in Winnipeg…

If you are looking to spend New Year’s Eve online, here are a few options on the various social VR platforms:

Sansar

Eliot (Linden Lab’s Community Manager for Sansar) will be hosting three New Year’s Eve events in Sansar in different timezones:

High Fidelity

High Fidelity will be hosting a round-the-clock event at The Spot from Monday, Dec. 31st 2:00 a.m. to Tuesday, Jan. 1st 4:00 a.m. (Pacific Time).

Sinespace

As part of its Winter Festival, Sinespace is hosting a New Year’s Eve party. Check the login page of your Sinespace client for more details.

VRChat

The best place to find out what New Year’s Eve parties are happening where in VRChat is, as always, the VRChat Events Discord server. Apparently, there’s a round-the-clock party happening at Void, according to AgentM83:

They’re partying in every time zone all day long (started this morning).


However you choose to ring in the new year—online or offline, alone or with friends, awake or asleep!—may 2019 bring you happiness, peace, and prosperity.

 

An Updated Comparison Chart of the Twelve Most Popular Social VR Platforms

Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Discord yet? More details here


I decided to update my original comparison chart of the 12 most popular social VR platforms, according to my reader survey. Note that in this chart, I excluded platforms that did not have VR support (e.g. Second Life, OpenSim-based virtual worlds, etc.).

I also did not dwell on technical details, such as the underlying game engine, user creation tools, etc. Instead, I focused on the three things of most interest to consumers:

  • How you can access the platform;
  • What options do you have for your avatar;
  • And whether you can go shopping!

This print on this chart is a little small to show up on the constrained width of this blogpost, so I saved it as a picture to FlickrJust click on the chart below (or the link above) to see it in Flickr in a larger size.

Comparison Chart of 12 Social VR Platforms 25 Nov 2018

You can also download this chart from Flickr in any size up to its original size (1488 x 920 pixels).

If you feel I’ve made any mistakes, or left anything important out, please leave me a comment below, thanks! I do hope that people who are trying to figure out which social VR spaces to explore will find this comparison chart to be a useful and handy tool.

UPDATE 2:03 p.m.: I’ve just been informed that there is an Android app for vTime. Thanks for the tip, Stephanie Woessner!

November 17th Events in Sinespace and High Fidelity

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I am deliberately breaking my self-imposed vacation from the blog to announce two daylong events taking place in not one, but two different metaverse platforms this coming Saturday, November 17th! It’s going to be a busy day!

First, Sinespace is celebrating its second anniversary with a full day of events, including a keynote address by Sinespace’s lead developer, Adam Frisby, and a talk by game developer Warren Spector. Here are all the details.

And over at High Fidelity, there is the FUTVRE LANDS Virtual Reality Festival taking place. According to the press release:

FUTVRE LANDS is an entertainment festival without traditional festival headaches like long lines, heat stroke and sudden downpours. Free and open to the public, it offers the VR-curious an opportunity to venture into social virtual experiences. Anyone can access FUTVRE LANDS via a VR headset, desktop or Google Daydream-enabled Android device. The event lineup includes Oculus Rift VR headset giveaways, the fan-favorite “Last Avatar Standing” trivia game show—where participants earn High Fidelity Coin (HFC) cryptocurrency—and live performances headlined by five-time Grammy nominee Thomas Dolby (“She Blinded Me with Science”).

Full details on the festival can be found here.

(Aaand, I’m going back on vacation... )