Visiting the Wonderful Worlds of ケセドCHESED in VRChat

On Wednesday evening, I joined the XR Social Club in their weekly explorations of VRChat, and our hosts took us on a tour of three of the wonderful worlds created by a Japanese user known as ケセドCHESED. These are, without exception, beautifully crafted worlds, many featuring fireworks, shooting stars, or even aurora borealis!

The first, called simply CHESED’s Cave, is a cozy bar with a hot tub, and several outlooks over a landscape with fireworks! The particle effects are particularly well done, and everybody in our tour group marveled at the work on display. This is somebody who has some serious skills in world-building! It’s got all the hallmarks of a comfortable gathering spot, even though it is in a cave.

A look at the bar in CHESED’s Cave

The second world was the Sakura Ryokan, a wonderfully detailed Japanese inn with a communal bathing area, as well as a lovely spa carved into the rock behind it, where you can relax in the water, under a night sky filled with stunning fireworks.

The communal baths at CHESED’s Sakura Ryokan

We wrapped up our tour at CHESED’s Sea of Clouds, a cozy home built into the side of a cliff, where you can watch the fireworks amid the gently moving clouds:

Watching the fireworks at CHESED’s Sea of Clouds

Afterwards, entranced by the detail and beauty of these worlds, I went on a solo exploration of several other of ケセドCHESED’s worlds, including CHESED’s Tea Party, where you traverse a long pathway of vines, in order to reach an oversize, food-laden table! Flocks of seagulls fly under a rainbow to complete the serene scene.

CHESED’s Tea Party

Carlos Austin, our videographer, shot the following livestream of our adventures yesterday, which you might be interested in:

To see a list of all ケセドCHESED’s worlds, just visit his/her profile, and click on the plus sign next to Worlds to see all the worlds he/she has created. Also, almost all of these worlds are tagged “chesed”, to make them easier to find.

Enjoy! Many thanks to VR_Christine of the XR Social Club in VRChat for introducing me to these fantastic worlds!

UPDATE 12:36 p.m.: Carlos was kind enough to share a group photo he took at Sakura Ryokan (VR_Christine, who discovered all these worlds, is the big hot dog at the centre).

The XR Social Club meets Wednesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. PST/8:00 p.m. CST/9:00 p.m. EST in a private instance of their club. New members are always welcome! The best way to join is to friend a current member of the club (such as me, my username is ryanschultz) and request an invitation near the start time. See you there!

Goofing Around in NeosVR (Plus a Look at the Vive Facial Tracker in Action)

PLEASE NOTE: My blog is still on indefinite hiatus; I have made a single exception for this blogpost. After this, I am returning to my self-imposed break from blogging.


Overall, the fact that I can have an expressive, fully animated avatar inside a metaverse is blowing my mind.

—Ari Tarr

Not too long ago, I was invited by Carlos Austin and Jason Moore to pay a long-overdue visit to NeosVR, where we met up with XRiEL (a.k.a. Ari Tarr), went over to Jason’s workshop, tried on some cool avatars, and rode some fun vehicles!

Here’s the full one-and-a-quarter hour video which Carlos kindly posted to YouTube:

Enjoy! As you can tell we had a lot of fun. Carlos was the cameraman capturing the shenanigans, and we were later joined by iBrews (a.k.a. Alex Coulombe). This video also makes a great introduction to NeosVR if you have never visited before! Of particular interest is Ari showing just how easy it is to rig an avatar within NeosVR:

Jason showing Ari how to rig an avatar in NeosVR
Ari attempting to rig the rest of his body (after the head and hands were done)

Thanks to Jason, Ari, Carlos, and Alex for a wonderful afternoon! I had to bow out a little early (at the 50-minute mark in this video) to avoid becoming VR sick, but the antics continued after I departed!

At the 53-minute mark, XRiEL/Ari demonstrates what he can do with his avatar, wearing a Vive Eye Pro VR headset with eye tracking, the Vive Facial Tracker, plus Valve Index hand and finger trackers, and also three Vive pucks attached to his hip and both his feet. Yes, his eyes and mouth are mirroring his facial motion in real time!

A Long-Overdue Update on the Status of the Metaverse Newscast

The original idea for a pre-taped interview show with the people behind social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse dates back to August 2017, only a month after I started writing this blog (here’s the original blogpost).

I would like to thank two key people, without whom the Metaverse Newscast never would have launched:

  • Tyler Scarborough (Dynamic Evolution in Sansar), who first approached me in August 2017 to discuss the idea of a news show, which I decided to call the Metaverse Newscast.  Tyler also built our first studio, which we did use for several interviews in the early days, before we decided to head out and film our episodes on location!
  • Andrew William of Imagine That Productions, who really did all the heavy lifting: acting as main cameraman for our episodes, then doing all the digital video editing to make the finished product you can watch on the Metaverse Newscast page on YouTube. All I had to do was look presentable, host the show, and ask the interview questions! I think I had by far the easier job, or at least the role of host came easily and naturally to me. It hardly seemed like work at all!

Well, as you probably know, work on the Metaverse Newscast stopped after episode 8. What happened is that Andrew got some paying video editing work in real life, which has unfortunately taken him away from this project.

He is still at work on episode 9, an in-depth interview with Chris Madsen about the educational social VR platform ENGAGE, which has unfortunately been significantly delayed due to Andrew’s current real-life workload. Hopefully, it will come out sometime early this year. I do believe it is our best work to date, and I really do want people to see it! Here’s a sneak preview.

Andrew William and I have had a long talk about where we take the Metaverse Newscast from here. We have four or five shows which we had filmed, but the raw footage needs to be edited into releasable episodes. Andrew had originally found a volunteer willing to help him edit the remaining video (because we have no money to pay anyone to do the work for us, we rely on volunteers), but unfortunately, that arrangement fell through in 2019.

So finally, over the Christmas holidays, Andrew and I agreed that I would sit down and learn Adobe Premiere Pro myself, work my way up the learning curve to become a digital video editor, and finish all the episodes after the ENGAGE one. I had originally hoped to use some of my Christmas holidays to start learning, but of course other things got in the way (including my self-imposed extended break from Sansar, which I talk about here: Part I and Part II).

As time passes, the finished episodes of the Metaverse Newscast are becoming a sort of time capsule, a record of a specific time and place that future VR historians might find of interest.

I do find it rather ironic that, of the two social VR platforms Andrew and I have covered in the first eight episodes of the Metaverse Newscast, half were about High Fidelity (a platform that is effectively shutting down in 2020), and the other half were about Sansar (where I am completely burned out, and I need to take a break).

So, what am I saying? I am saying that I will need to set aside the first half of 2020 to learn Adobe Premiere Pro, using the raw footage Andrew shot of the unfinished Metaverse Newscast episodes to teach myself the basics of digital video editing. So (except for the ENGAGE episode Andrew is still working on), please don’t expect any new Metaverse Newscast episodes for at least another six months, and perhaps longer.

Also, I have approached someone who worked as an additional cameraman on a couple of the very earliest episodes of the Metaverse Newscast, to ask him if he would be willing to become my main cameraman, taking over from Andrew. Somebody needs to be behind the camera as I play the genial host and interview people!

And I am very happy to announce that Carlos Austin has recently agreed to come on board! Carlos is as active, engaged, and interested in the various social VR platforms as I am, and I am grateful to have him as a partner as we move forward on the Metaverse Newscast in 2020, and start filming new episodes. Thank you so much, Carlos! I am looking forward to working with you again.

So, while there will be a bit of a unplanned hiatus, I do expect that the Metaverse Newscast will continue. Please stay tuned for further announcements!