VRChat Pick of the Day: Treehouse in the Shade

I wanted to share with you a wonderful world I have visited a couple of times on my recent forays into VRChat with people from the RyanSchultz.com Discord server.

Treehouse in the Shade is a world created by 1001 and SCRN, which demonstrates the power of shaders in Unity (which is the game engine on which VRChat is built). Shaders are scripts containing mathematical calculations and algorithms, which are specifically made to run on the GPU (graphics processing unit) of your computer. These programs draw the triangles of your three-dimensional models in-world.

The world is very simple. It consists of a treehouse in the middle of what appears to be a waving sea of grass. Climb the stairs and you will find a roaring fireplace (?!) and a large control panel, which allows you to select from dozens of shaders, which are then displayed all around the treehouse. Here are just five examples:

VRChat_1920x1080_2019-01-07_10-53-54.452VRChat_1920x1080_2019-01-07_10-54-48.903VRChat_1920x1080_2019-01-07_10-55-23.519VRChat_1920x1080_2019-01-07_10-56-29.254VRChat_1920x1080_2019-01-07_10-57-49.245

Still photographs do not do this world justice; you really do need to visit this place and browse through all the shaders! There’s something to please and awe just about everyone. It works best if you come with friends, and have one friend control the shaders from the treehouse, while the others wander around on the ground level outside to get the most immersive view.

A fan has posted a 13-minute YouTube video of an earlier iteration of Treehouse in the Shade, which gives you a much better look at the project and how it works. There’s also a jetpack you can rez and sit on to zoom around this world, which can be great fun!

Here’s a link to Treehouse in the Shade (this jump page will only work if VRChat has been run at least once on your computer). You can also search for “Treehouse” by clicking on the Search button on the VRChat user interface.

Note: This blogpost has been cross-posted to the VRChat Events Discord server, which is the best place to find out what’s going on in VRChat. (You can join using the link posted above.)

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VR Triber: A Brief Introduction

I first encountered VR Triber under the “More Like This” section on the Sansar page on Steam:

VR Triber 3 5 Jan 2018.png

VR Triber is yet another social VR platform with a Rec Room aesthetic, created by a Chinese company called Socotar in Jiaxing, China. The game reminds me of Pararea, which I had just profiled recently on this blog.

Here’s a year-old, 20-minute preview video of the game:

This YouTube video has had a grand total of 29 views in one year! Woo-hoo!

So, still somewhat intrigued by this mysterious social VR platform, I checked out their official website. This is another company which very badly needs a competent translator:

VR Triber 4 5 Jan 2018.png

I mean, some of the Chinese-to-English mistranslations are laugh-out-loud funny!

VR Triber 6 5 Jan 2019.png

If you can’t read the captions in the image above, they say:

Welcome to VR TRIBER virtual reality social platform
You will play with players from all over the world
Looking for happiness (?)

Transfer The Hall (?!)
You can talk with others by VR

Jump Shot
Here is dynamic shooting experience

Kill Game
There have the most real heartbeat (?!??)

Hide And Seek
You need wisdom and courage here

Anyways, I downloaded and installed the client software via Steam, only to find this recurring error message in my VR headset when I tried to play it:

VR Triber 5 Jan 2018.png

It would appear that the software requires a login of some kind. However, there’s no indication (or any instructions) of how to create a user account in the first place! Massive fail. Don’t even bother with this one at all.

If Steam/Valve really thinks this is a game “like” Sansar, maybe they need to look at re-programming their recommendation software. (I assume it just blindly matches based on keywords and categories.)

Yet another product for my social VR/virtual worlds list.

Somnium Space Raises Over US$40,000 in Their Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign (and Announces an Official Partnership with Pimax)

Somnium Space has now raised 400% of their original US$10,000 fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo:

Somnium Space Indiegogo 1 5 Jan 2018.jpg

When I checked this morning, 189 backers have raised US$40,296, which works out to $212 per supporter—impressive! According to their latest update to investors, dated January 4th, 2019:

Hello people of Somnium!

What a ride. The more you – our supporters, buy land, or teleports, or anything we offer we are amazed and grateful! We work really hard to deliver you the BEST VR experience available! Now let’s dive into new things!

First glance at [the] more detailed Map!

Oh yes! You asked for it, you begged for it, you threatened us and our team! Now the time has come to start revealing our new map which is coming in Feb 2019. Have a look and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

One image on their Indiegogo page caught my eye. It would appear that the VR headset maker Pimax is now an official partner of Somnium Space (although I could not find Pimax listed on the Partners section of their official website):

Sominium Space Partners 2 5 Jan 2018

As far as I am aware, this would make Somnium Space the first virtual world to partner up with the Pimax headset, which is supposed to start shipping to consumers in February 2019.

Pimax
The Pimax Virtual Reality Headset

And there’s also a not-so-subtle hint in the company’s latest investor update:

P.S.: We are working hard to deliver one of the coolest perks you can ever imagine. Something exclusive, something, which you will not be able to find anywhere else. We hope we will be able to finalize and announce it soon. One hint: if you are planning to buy a very high resolution VR headset – wait few days 😉 If it works out well – you will not regret it!

Here’s a tip, guys: if you’re gonna talk about something that’s not yet official and “Top Secret”, you better check all the media you post to your own Indiegogo page. Just sayin’ 😉

Somnium Space is planning a major update to their client in early 2019. Here’s a preview:

You can follow Somnium Space as it evolves on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram.

A Decentraland Update: Designs for the Plazas Are Looking Promising

The DCLPlazas blog reports:

In recent months we have learnt that each plaza throughout Decentraland (shown in green on the Decentraland map) will take on a theme of its own. We have already had the pleasure of seeing the impressive Medieval Plaza and the Vegas Plaza designs, and today we get to view the next completed plaza design to add to that list, by unearthing the Decentraland Forest Plaza.

Once again, the design has been intricately crafted by Fabian Orrego (who has created the previous 2 scenes) who seems to have mastered the art of getting the best results from low-poly scenes and models.

Plazas are the green 200m-by-200m squares on this map of Decentraland. Their purpose is to act as central gathering areas and avatar spawning zones, and they are public property which is not for sale, unlike the rest of the rest of Decentraland:

dcl-map-with-unsold-parcels

Here’s a link which allows you to look at a 3D model of the Forest plaza on Sketchfab (or you can just use the embedded image below):


Now. I have to admit that I do rather like the low-poly design aesthetic of this. The creator, Fabio Orrego, is a Colombian engineer and videogame artist with Xunulu Studios.

Here’s a look at an earlier plaza design, the Medieval Plaza, which is in much the same vein:


I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the news coming out of Decentraland lately. I still think that their land is wildly overpriced, but all that investment seems to have lit a fire under the company and its user community. I can’t wait to see what Decentraland will look like when it finally does launch (they have an invitation-only alpha at the moment).

For the lastest in Decentraland news, you can check out the DCLPlazas blog and the project’s Twitter, GitHub, Reddit, and Facebook. You can also join the official Decentraland Discord server and, of course, there is also the Decentraland blog and their official documentation website.