UPDATED! High Fidelity Pick of the Day: Beyond is a Monumental, Epic VR Masterpiece

Nozaj
Noz’aj’s User Icon on YouTube

Ever since I first got my Oculus Rift VR headset in January 2017, I have spent almost two years visiting just about every virtual reality experience imaginable—everything from games such as Obduction, to meditation apps such as Nature Treks VR, to social VR platforms such as Sansar. I have had some truly awe-inspiring (even spine-tingling!) moments in virtual reality, which have absolutely demonstrated the powerful creative potential of the technology. Many of them I have written about in my blog.

At yesterday’s well-attended FUTVRE LANDS Festival in High Fidelity, they had a Favorite Domain Contest. Seven HiFi domains (regions) were entered into the contest, and voters had to use the new Vote app on the user interface tablet to visit all seven domains before casting a vote for their favourite. All seven were interesting and fun to visit, but one stood out for me.

In fact, I will go so far as to make this statment: Beyond, which was the winning entry in the contest, is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in a VR headset. I was completely and utterly blown away by what Beyond’s creator, Noz’aj, had done within High Fidelity.

Yes, this is a rave review. It’s the best thing I have seen in VR all year (and I have seen a lot).

The only thing that even comes close to Noz’aj’s achievement in its epic and mysterious content, its monumental scale, and its use of atmosphere-enhancing soundscapes is Cyan’s puzzle game Obduction, which I absolutely adored playing. If you are a fan of Cyan and its games (Myst, Riven, etc.), you simply must drop what you’re doing, and come and experience Beyond. Seriously, it’s just that good.

I am so impressed, and I so much want you to experience this masterpiece for yourself, that I am not even going to post any pictures of Beyond! All I am going to do is point you to the very brief teaser trailer that Noz’aj has posted to YouTube, which gives a hint of the flavour of the experience:

The domains entered into the Favorite Domain Contest will only be available until November 25th, 2018, so I very strongly urge you to pay a visit to Beyond and fully explore this epic, monumental experience before it’s gone. You will not regret it!

Here’s a link to Beyond.

UPDATE Nov. 19th: I have encountered a few problems trying to get back into Beyond in the past 24 hours (perhaps it’s just taking a very long time for the domain to load), but Noz’aj tells me:

Hi Ryan. Thank you for the kind words on your blog. As far as I can tell, my domain is still up. I host it on Digital Ocean. There is also an instance being hosted by High Fidelity which you can get to through the FUTVRE LANDS domain.

So it would appear that the link I have posted above is to a permanent version of Beyond, while the copy hosted directly by High Fidelity is the one which will be taken down on November 25th.

Noz’aj adds:

My original instance will be staying up and over time it will be expanded.

I have lots of ideas, I’m just not sure if there are enough hours in the day to get it done :wink:

I can’t wait to see what Noz’aj does next!

Also, a hint: if you follow the path all the way through to the very end, you will eventually land up back in the spaceship where you started. Set aside at least an hour to explore every nook and cranny of Beyond.

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Mozilla Hubs and Sketchfab Announce a Design Challenge: Create Your Own Clubhouse!

Mozilla Hubs 30 Oct 2018.png

Sketchfab and Mozilla Hubs are teaming up for a contest: design your own clubhouse! (Apparently, this is a trend in virtual world contests…)

Welcome to our new community contest! Once again we’ve joined up with the Mozilla crew to build virtual worlds. This time we’re exploring their new Hubs platform and populating it with new spaces and props.

The theme is ‘Clubhouse’ – this can be anything from a treehouse to a speakeasy, a space station to a super-secret gathering space at the bottom of the ocean. You’ll be challenged to design both the space as well as props for it so that other people can use them on Mozilla Hubs.

About Mozilla Hubs

Hubs is Mozilla’s new social 3D platform. It lets you meet friends, ‘voice talk’ to them, and decorate the space with any kind of content, including YouTube videos, images and, of course, Sketchfab models – just by visiting a link.

Give it a try now! Visit this room on Hubs, open a second window with downloadable Sketchfab models and just copy and paste the page URL for in any downloadable Sketchfab model to add it to your space.

The prizes are pretty sweet, too:

1st Place

  • $1,000 Amazon Gift Card
  • Oculus Go – If Amazon supports shipping in country ($200 gift card if not)
  • 1 year of Sketchfab PRO

2nd Place

  • $750 Amazon Gift Card
  • Oculus Go – If Amazon supports shipping in country ($200 gift card if not)
  • 6 months of Sketchfab PRO

3rd Place

  • $350 Amazon Gift Card
  • Oculus Go – If Amazon supports shipping in country ($200 gift card if not)
  • 3 months of Sketchfab PRO

10 Honorable Mentions

  • $50 Amazon Gift Card
  • 1 month of Sketchfab PRO

The contest deadline is Tuesday, November 27th, 2018. The complete list of contest details and rules can be found here.

Sansar and the Scary Game Squad Are Having a Scary World Contest for Halloween!

Someone posted the following YouTube video to the Sansar section of the new VirtualVerse.one forums (formerly known as SLUniverse):

The video description states:

This Halloween you get to scare us! We’re teaming up with Project Sansar to showcase awesome user generated content that is in the VR horror world. Built in the spirit of social VR worlds like Second Life (?) and VRChat, here you can construct your very own land of terror. Winners will be on the ground floor of the hotel and we’ll be playing them! Now it says VR, but don’t worry, you don’t need VR in order to do any of this. Download Sansar for free, join the Scary Game Squad hub, and get to creating!

Now, I do not consider Second Life “social VR” (since you can’t experience it in a VR headset), but that’s a minor quibble with the announcement.

The contest runs between now and Oct. 31st. The 10 winners will get 1,000 Sansar dollars and will have their experiences directly linked to this scary hotel experience. You must include the hashtag #SGS in the Sansar experience title, so that the Scary Game Squad knows it’s a contest entry.

The Scary Game Squad (founded by gamer and comedian Jesse Cox, who has almost a million YouTube subscribers to his videos) is a group that exists to play scary games. It makes perfect sense for them to team up with Sansar to promote a scary experience contest! Hopefully, we will get a lot of creative—and scary!—entries.

Sansar Pick of the Day: Greenwall VR, and the Sansar Lounge Contest

I’ll be honest. I’m not a big fan of computer games (except for the mind-bending, puzzle-solving kind like Myst and Obduction). That’s why I am rather mystified by the whole esports craze. I don’t get the appeal of watching other people competitively playing videogames. But I can confirm that esports viewing is a bandwagon that Linden Lab wants to get on, and a growing market of which it wants to be a part.

Linden Lab recently teamed up with OpTic Gaming (a professional esports gaming organization) and Greenwall (OpTic’s fanbase) to create an esports viewing lounge, called Greenwall VR:

Explore the Greenwall VR experience from OpTic Gaming.

Stream matches, hang out with other fans, and play games while you wait – shuffleboard, throw pong, and more!

Greenwall 1 1 Sept 2018Greenwall 2 1 Sept 2018Greenwall 3 1 Sept 2018

And, in order to promote the creation of even more Twitch, YouTube, and Vimeo livestream viewing lounges, Linden Lab has announced a new contest. The Sansar Lounge Contest runs until September 30th, and three prizes of 5,000 Sansar dollars (approximately US$50) plus an Oculus Rift VR headset with Touch controllers (estimated value US$399) will be awarded to the best Sansar lounge experience featuring streaming media in each of the following three categories:

  • Sports
  • Anime-Inspired
  • Pets

Here’s the official contest rules and conditions in all their glorious legalese.