The Stayin’ Alive in Technology podcast’s most recent episode is a detailed, wide-ranging, hour-long interview with the virtual world visionary and Second Life and High Fidelity founder Philip Rosedale. The topics which Philip and his interviewer, former Linden Lab staffer Melinda Byerley, cover range from the very earliest days of Linden Lab to his thoughts about the so-called “3D web”. Have a listen:
I’m pleased to announce that Episode 6 of the Metaverse Newscast is now available for public view on YouTube (my Patreon supporters got a sneak peek yesterday).
My producer Andrew and I paid a visit to Scurry Waters, the tropical paradise created by Medhue and Bagnaria. Scurries are animated creatures made by Medhue, who is already well known for his Zooby cat and other animated creations in Second Life. Scurry Waters is full of things to do and see: ride an airboat, shoot pistols and try to trap each other in large floating bubbles, even blow up a pirate ship!
Bagnaria and Medhue discuss their creative partnership and we even get to discussing why some virtual worlds attract an older crowd than others. We wrap up the tour at Scurry Canyon, a fun and challenging shooting game. Can you make it to the very end?
If you are looking for previous episodes of the Metaverse Newscast, you can find them on the Metaverse Newscast channel on YouTube. We are still aiming to release one episode a month.
And if you want to support the show, may I steer you over to my Patreon page, where as little as US$1 a month unlocks exclusive perks and benefits? Whether or not you are a Patreon patron, thank you for your support!
I am happy (can you say, ecstatic!) to announce that episode 3 of the Metaverse Newscast is finally available on YouTube! (Bronze and higher-level patrons on my Patreon page have been able to watch an earlier version of this video for several days already, as a special “thank you” for financially supporting this blog and the fledgling pre-taped show. I will continue to offer Patreon patrons exclusive sneak previews of our work every month, as well as other nice perks and benefits in future. Thank you for your support!)
Actually, this was the very first episode my producer and main cameraman Andrew William recorded last August (along with Carlos Perez as second cameraman), but the way things worked out, the first two episodes about events in High Fidelity were released first. Andrew and I have learned a lot since August about how to conduct interviews and record and edit the videos, which means that future endeavours will be even better! We are challenging ourselves to raise the bar for each new video in the series.
(By the way, we are looking for an assistant video editor for the Metaverse Newscast. It will be a volunteer position to start, but we do hope to work it up to a paid position at some point in the future. If you’re interested, please use the Contact page on my blog to send me a message. Thanks!)
But this is the very first video we recorded, and you can tell how stiff I am in my avatar! You will notice that Galen looks much more comfortable and natural during our interview than I do. (You can even tell from this photo! And I look like an insurance salesman or a Jehovah’s Witness or something…I never wear a suit in real life!)
In particular, I seem to have a great deal of trouble figuring out what to do with my avatar’s arms as I am holding the Oculus Touch hand controllers in VR! So I do apologize in advance (and I also believe that Linden Lab has also improved their inverse kinematics a fair bit since this interview was taped last summer). I swear, I will hire a personal trainer and get in some arm exercises! 😜 I’ve also discovered with experience that my avatar looks much more natural when I conduct interviews standing, instead of seated.
So, without further ado, here is my interview with the talented Sansar scripter Galen, shot in the studio created for us by Tyler Scarborough:
The next Metaverse Newscast video will be released in March 2019, and will be an interview in Sansar with the wonderfully creative avatar fashion designer Solas NaGealai, who is perhaps best known for her work in Second Life for the brands Silvan Moon Designs and Lune Bleue (the latter being a label she has expanded to Sansar).
If you missed episodes 1 and 2, you can watch them on the Metaverse Newscast channel on YouTube.
P.S. If you enjoyed this interview, Andrew and I shot a ton of extra footage in a couple of Galen’s experiences in Sansar, which we hope to issue as a follow-up show sometime later on in 2019. So stay tuned!
Although VRChat does not (yet) have an in-game economy, there are many people who are already earning hundreds, even thousands, of dollars by designing and creating custom user avatars for the platform.
Here’s a recent episode of the Endgame talk show, where the topic of discussion was how people are making money by creating and selling 3D avatar models for VRChat. I find it interesting that many of the various other ideas for earning money within VRChat that were being thrown about are very similar to what people do for money in older, established virtual worlds like Second Life (e.g. tour guide, performer, etc.)
There is another very recent interview with Ghoster, the operator of the VRC Traders group (one of the most popular venues for avatar buyers and sellers), on the popular Gunters Universe show in VRChat. I can’t embed that video here, but you can watch it on Twitch at this URL: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/250896991
After watching these videos, I interviewed Ghoster, and asked him some questions about VRC Traders. Here is a transcript of that interview.
Can you tell me when and how you got started in the business of creating avatars in VRChat?
I believe it started back in September, I was looking to have a model of a DND character I was playing as, made for me so I could wear it during the DND session. That’s when I realized it’s really hard to find a VRChat user who is good at modeling and rigging and not already busy. So after thinking it over, I contacted a coder for a custom bot and possible website host. And that’s how VRC Traders got started.
What kind of technical/computer background do you have? How did you get attracted to social VR and virtual worlds?
I work as a CNC setup/operator and that requires me to know a bit of basic coding. I’ve also been an avid gamer for many years and have been working on worlds and Avatars for about a year. As for social VR, well, gaming is fun but I have always been interested in what other peoples ideas and thoughts are like, and when I saw all these clashing, yet causally talking, personalities in one space, I was blown away.
What experience have you had in previous virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life) before you started with VRChat? Are you active in other social VR spaces/virtual worlds?
So a good friend of mine, who goes by the name of JTravelin, showed me VRChat shortly after its Steam release. But before that, I was in AltspaceVR (maybe eve Rec Room). I’m still active in Altspace as a cameraman for a few shows still to this day. When I was heavily active in Altspace the one thing I liked about it was performance and how a simple color was all that identified you and you would meet people that are disabled, and you would know, self-conscious, and more importantly from different regions. This led to a kind of unspoken understanding or be respectful and have a good time in VR especially for those with the Rift or Vive since the upfront cost was big.
When did you decide to set up VRC Traders and the Discord server? What kind of work have you had to do to organize and promote VRC Traders?
I belive it was early September that I had plans to set it up and by the end of that same month I went public. Rather recently though, I have been on two talk shows along with word of mouth promotions, spreading VRC Traders (VRCT) around as a viable option to make money in virtual spaces. Before that, though, it was a word of mouth in VRChat to spread it and as VRChat grew, so did VRCT. Being a Discord server on the main VRChat Discord helped a lot in these times, along with some of the dev team referring people to the server. There are plans to advertise in VRChat more, but I can’t tell you about those.
What different types of work/expertise do you offer to consumers (e.g. animators)?
Well as avatars are the main focus, everything avatars. And I mean literally anything you can think of or need done, the commissioners of the server are able to make it happen. In addition to anything and everything avatar related, there are sections for 2D artists, world creation and fixing, shader technicians (people who create custom shaders) and, soon to come, audio engineers (people who work on various elements of sound mixing, making and setting up).
How does a new VRChat user actually request a commission?
To many people’s dismay, the server has a 10 minute explore period, where new users are supposed to take a look around and see how the server is organized. VRCT has a guide channel near the top where people can find out a standardized way to post commissions so others can easily read and understand the commission. While we don’t enforce any said rules on what to post, we do prefer a new user to place as much info as they can, so interested commissioners can contact them directly to get the work done.
How do you deal with the intellectual property issues that arise when a user wants an avatar that belongs to a company (e.g. Disney)? Are there any avatar commissions that VRC Traders declines as a matter of policy?
Well, that’s a hard question to answer, since I don’t think VRChat has determined its view on the matter. All I can say is, the only commissions we don’t allow are NSFW models, and for obvious reasons. I recommend that people make commissions for original character models or large edits to existing models, but like I said, it a very hard question to answer since it’s the internet. (These are my opinions and may not be representative of the VRC Traders server or VRChat in the future.)
Where do you see this industry going in the future? Where do you see VRC Traders in a year from now?
As far as the industry of 3D avatars and world creation goes, I see this type of business becoming a viable marketplace and job for many users. In the talkshow Endgame, I said that 10-15 years ago, game asset creators took years of practice with highly expensive tools on computers about as advanced as the computers of today, and it was a highly restrictive field because of that. But with better PC components that are faster and more powerful, alongside cheaper or even free modeling software, 3D modeling has gone from a highly skilled restricted class of people to now a more accessible [job] but still very difficult. Not only that, but as more games, especially sandbox style games, come into the community, you want to have something you can call yours and no one else’s. [This] will only grow as more and more people turn to the internet and gaming to relax and have fun. For VRC Traders, I would love to see direct integration with the VRChat service, where you can go in-game on to the server and request something. Not only that, I hope in that time to make VRC Traders not only a service server, but a great sub community within VRChat with various events and tournaments happening or being sponsored by the server.
If you are interested in VRC Traders, you can join their Discord server.
UPDATE April 28th: Obligatory link back to the VRChat Events website (because I promised them I would do it if I cross-posted over on their Discord server, and I forgot!): www.vrchatevents.com