VRChat Pick of the Day: The Basement

Today’s VRChat Pick of the Day is called The Basement, created by atari. (You can find it by searching under the Worlds tab for “basement”.) It is very similar to the recently published Sansar experience Aech’s Basement, in that they are both Eighties-era suburban basements inspired by the novel/movie Ready Player One, so it gives me an opportunity to directly compare and contrast the two experiences. (If you’re interested, here’s my blogpost on Aech’s Basement.)

For example, I can post a link to Aech’s Basement via their Sansar Atlas listing (like I have in the paragraph above), while VRChat doesn’t have a similar feature (at least, as far as I am aware). Point to Sansar.

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The overall lighting in a Sansar experience, especially with the Global Illumination feature turned on,  is much better than in a VRChat instance. The lighting in The Basement is overly harsh, and it makes all the objects look flat and a little unrealistic. Point for Sansar.

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There happen to be mirrors in both experiences. Aech’s Basement in Sansar is a “fake” mirror, made using what I believe to be a stereographic image, but The Basement in VRChat is an actual working mirror. Point for VRChat. This is a very nice feature to have!

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Waving at my avatar in the mirror of The Basement

Also, you can actually sit down in the chairs in The Basement. You still can’t sit down in Sansar! Point for VRChat.

You can pick up and look at certain objects in both experiences, like game cartridges. Tie.

As for interactivity, both experiences feature interactive elements. In Aech’s Basement, you can trigger an audio account by Aech about many of the 1980s items you see in the basement. In The Basement, you can pick up and put the Atari cartridge into the console for a neat effect, and you can then teleport to special room where you can pick up a neat avatar, that looks like a cartoon version of Marty McFly from the Back to the Future movie series! Tie again.

So overall, the two experiences come out about the same. Aesthetically, I do find Aech’s Basement more visually appealing, though.

Note: I am using the built-in snapshot feature in SteamVR to take these in-world shots of VRChat. This apparently works for all SteamVR apps. I have no idea why they are all tilted like this! I thought I held my head up straight when I took the pictures, but I guess I didn’t (or perhaps I need to compensate for the tilt). Sorry!

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Sansar Pick of the Day – Ready Player One: Aech’s Basement, a Brand New Experience by Sansar Studios

According to today’s New York Times, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One is officially the number one movie in the world. (I have yet to go see it, but I did listen to the audiobook version of Ernest Cline’s science fiction novel last year, so I know the story line.) Anecdotal reports are coming in on Reddit of people going out and buying virtual reality hardware after seeing the movie, which is what some people were hoping.

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Linden Lab announced on Friday that they had set up a second Ready Player One experience in Sansar, in addition to Aech’s Garage, which was announced during the Consumer Electronics Show in January. This new experience is called Ready Player One: Aech’s Basement, and it recreates the 1980s-era suburban basement rec room simulation which Aech built in the OASIS, and which served as a meeting room for the main characters in the book.

I was a teenager in the 1980s, and I can tell you that visiting Aech’s Basement was like taking a step into a time machine! The same wood paneling on the walls, the same old-fashioned red telephone with an actual dial sitting on the bar…it’s uncanny! I almost tripped over the Hot Wheels tracks laid out on the floor!

The experience is full of many nods to 1980s pop culture, and there are several spots where you can click a play button to hear Aech talk about some of them. It’s almost like Aech is giving you a personal tour!

The basement is rather dimly lit, so these pictures are not the greatest. You really do owe it to youself to come visit Aech’s Basement and experience it for yourself! It’s so well done!

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Check out the cassette tape collection behind the sofa!
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A view of the bar past the mirror
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Dungeons and Dragons!

Visiting Aech’s Basement was like taking a trip back in time to my own teenage rec room, and I enjoyed this experience tremendously. Job well done, Sansar Studios!

NOTE: You can install the Sansar software client, if you don’t already have it, at https://www.sansar.com/download. And then you can visit Aech’s Basement by selecting it from the Sansar Atlas (it’s one of the four Sansar experiences profiled in rotation along the top of the Atlas page), or just by searching for “Aech” in the Sansar Atlas, or simply by clicking this link: Ready Player One: Aech’s Basement.