How realistic virtual reality experiences impact your mind
Widespread adoption of virtual reality may depend on bringing people together in familiar ways like going to a party, seeing a band, or networking at a conference without leaving your couch. How real do VR connections feel?
Here’s the complete video segment on YouTube:
I like how this segment includes the part where the reporter steps into the Doob scanner to create a photorealistic avatar of herself. I would love to be able to do that, but alas, I live too far away from any of the locations that currently offer this service.
And then, I love the part where Philip Rosedale leads the reporter to a mirror within High Fidelity so she can see what she looks like…absolutely wonderful! (By the way, does Philip do anything else lately besides public relations for social VR in general and HiFi in particular? He’s popping up everywhere lately! Does the man sleep?!??)
And I still chuckle whenever I see tarted-up AltspaceVR avatars (such as Katie Kelly’s avatar in this video), which look way better than the limited default options offered to the regular customers! AltspaceVR avatars are still totally unappealing compared to what other social VR platforms can offer such as Sansar and High Fidelity. When is Altspace going to get off their butts and fix that? They’ve got all that Microsoft money to work with, for Pete’s sake! Do something!!
Anyway, my carping at AltspaceVR’s dreadfully cartoony avatars aside, it’s a great video. The reporter’s sense of awe and wonder were genuine, and quite infectious! This video segment will introduce social VR and its possibilities to a whole new audience. Well done, CNN and BEME!
Here’s a snapshot from High Fidelity, showing CEO Philip Rosedale addressing the crowd:
Frankly, I am having a bad weekend. The urologist has put me on a heavy-duty course of industrial-strength antibiotics post-surgery, and it is wreaking havoc with my body.
But I’m glad I did pop in just to experience the madness. I’m still really impressed at how well the High Fidelity platform can stand up to the stress of over 400 avatars in a single domain! Congratulations to Philip and his team.
UPDATE Oct. 9th: Here’s a one-and-a-half-hour video of the event, which gives a good sense of what an event with over 400 avatars present looks and feels like! If you don’t watch the whole thing, be sure to skip ahead to the 42:20 minute mark, where you can see the Ganesha blue elephant god avatar, which was my personal favourite of all the contest entries and the grand prize winner! The Ganesha avatar took two weeks of work in Maya and Substance Painter to create, and it features extremely well-done rigging, including flapping elephant ears and trunk movement!
With HFC now being exchangeable for USD at the bank, we’re thinking about how best to help get the marketplace started and lots of people putting up new things for sale. How best should we go about doing that? Any ideas?
Pay HFC for commissioned items, like we’d often been doing on the worklist?
Buy one copy of everything everyone puts up?
Get HF employees to put up some amazing stuff that can then be freely modified?
I must confess, that I really don’t see the point of having High Fidelity buy one copy of everything that everybody puts up for sale on the Marketplace. What purpose does that serve? High Fidelity should be encouraging its usersto buy items from each other, rather than buying up items themselves!!
It would appear that there are still some impediments and bottlenecks in the whole process of putting an item up for sale in the High Fidelity Marketplace. Some users have complained that the whole procedure is quite awkward.
“Unfortunately we do not feel this submission is up to quality standards on the Marketplace and have decided not to approve it at this time. We encourage you to continue improving on this submission and greatly appreciate the work you have put in.”
If High Fidelity is actually going to screen each and every item for quality, they’re going to create a huge bottleneck that will negatively impact the Marketplace. This is one of the fatal mistakes that Blue Mars made. Tell me this: how many staff is High Fidelity going to throw at this quality assurance task? What are the standards to be used for assessing the “quality” of items? Will there be an appeal process for rejected items? This opens up a huge can of worms.
I’ll just bring up my concerns I’ve had for awhile in addition to people from Second Life who I’ve worked with, who have held back due to the security concerns.
I get the knowledge of some people will always be high and as a result will mean their knowledge on how to work around securities will be a never ending battle, but now that the push for wearables has been made, no one bothered to think of the consequences, and as a result, I’ve had a few of my own items copied without full concern. Were they certified, marketplace items? No, but the fact that the same even applies to them degrades my trust and the contacts I’ve met on the topic of putting things into the marketplace.
Now there’s this:
How can anyone put something up when most issues regarding the marketplace, regarding the security for it, and the issues with even the PoP have not been addressed?
Heck, I’ll go even as far as to address the other elephant in the room: as Richardus has pointed out, the approval process is slow, and now suddenly there’s a desire to push people to fix or upload new items, and at that, with a price tag. A consequence I hope someone has predicted are ones who did submit something for approval early only to not have it approved until after the date. If that happens, and word spreads, the trust in the system will only worsen.
These are all excellent points that need to be addressed by High Fidelity, and quickly.
As mentioned above, Proof of Provenance (PoP) is yet another area of concern with the Marketplace. There was a great deal of controversy when this was first proposed, but the document referring to it has since been taken down from HiFi’s website. It’s really not clear to me what the status of this initiative is. Is High Fidelity is still planning to conduct PoP verification services for items listed on its Marketplace? If they are, then what fee will they charge for this service? Everybody seems to have questions, and nobody seems to have any answers.
The online instructions for uploading your content to the High Fidelity Marketplace are split up into several sections, each of which is fairly technical in nature. Take a look for yourself:
Here’s a sample screenshot of a section from the Add Your Item page, complete with instructions on how to edit your .JSON files (yes, you need to know how to edit code!):
I can certainly understand why some people feel that the whole process is daunting, confusing, and cumbersome.
The overall impression I get here is that there are still significant obstacles standing in the way of content creators who want to place their items up for sale in the High Fidelity Marketplace and earn money from them. Why on earth aren’t Philip Rosedale and his team taking a page from Linden Lab, where they have already set up not one, but two highly successful online stores: the Second Life Marketplace, and the Sansar Store?
Many argue that mobile smartphones and social media have made us less connected to our fellow human beings. VR has the potential to course-correct the isolating nature of much of today’s technology and the opportunity to make us more connected and even more human.
Here’s a livestream of the hour-long talk, which I thoroughly enjoyed (and I even got an opportunity to ask a question at the end!). If you missed the event, I would encourage you to watch this wide-ranging and fascinating discussion about virtual reality and the various social VR platforms, held within High Fidelity.
I have to say this: I am really quite impressed with the level of innovation recently coming out of Philip Rosedale’s metaverse company High Fidelity. (It might be the result of all that new venture capital money they are spending!) Yesterday they had their third in a series of monthly stress tests of the virtual world platform, and they officially beat their old record by quite a margin: 356 avatars in a single HiFi domain!
They started off with a half-hour trivia game, where you had to stand on one of four coloured squares (A, B< C, or D) corresponding to what you thought was the correct answer to a posted trivia question. Each wrong answer teleported the losers automatically off the playing field (to watch from a raised platform on the sidelines) until there was only one winner left standing! There were a few glitches to the system, but overall it worked fairly well, and it was a fun way to start off the event!
The following picture of me standing in front of the main stage at The Spot with the official avatar counter in the background was taken by Andrew, who is the very hard-working producer and video editor of my upcoming pre-taped show, Metaverse Newscast. (High Fidelity hired him to be the official photographer at yesterday’s event!)
We already have two taped segments of the first episode of Metaverse Newscast, and we hope to add a third segment and release the program to viewers sometime this fall. We’ll be interviewing the personalities behind social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse on various platforms, including High Fidelity in the future!
High Fidelity, a social VR startup founded by one of Second Life’s original creators has bagged a $35 million Series D led by Blockchain investment firm Galaxy Digital Ventures. Also participating in the round were Breyer Capital, IDG Capital Partners, Vulcan Capital and Blockchain Capital.
It’s only natural to want to compare two of the newer, VR-capable social virtual worlds: High Fidelity (founded in 2013 by Philip Rosedale), and Sansar by Linden Lab (the company founded in 1999, also by Philip Rosedale, before he left to start HiFi; the current CEO is Ebbe Altberg). With similar roots, the two virtual worlds have a lot in common, but there are still some significant differences between them. Earlier this year, I recently posted an infographic comparing the two platforms (which I probably need to update).
Now, my preferred virtual world happens to be Sansar, but there are some areas where High Fidelity still has an edge over Sansar, at least right now:
Making friends: You can “shake hands” with another avatar and they are automatically added to your friends list in HiFi. Very natural and very cool.
Paying an avatar: You can pay or “tip” an avatar directly from the tablet UI in High Fidelity, something you can’t do in Sansar.
Blockchain: High Fidelity stores currency, object information, and identity on the blockchain. It’s a new, relatively untested technology which some feel is problematic, but Philip Rosedale has embraced it boldly. Sansar has decided to go in a different direction with a commerce system very similar to its flagship product, Second Life.
In-World Building Tools: High Fidelity does offer you the option of building items in-world, in a way very similar to the “prim building” in Second Life. It’s still a crude tool, but it works. There’s no such ability in Sansar, nor is one planned as far as I know. Most content creators in HiFi and Sansar do decide to use external tools such as Blender or Maya (or even Windows Paint 3D!) to create content, then import it.
Have I missed any other advantages to High Fidelity over Sansar? Please let me know in the comments, thanks!
You also have a lot more control over custom avatars;
On the fly Scripting and scripts that can run only on your client
CUSTOM avatars, not just customizable ones with attachments
In-world freedom to do things
Let me give some examples:
You can manipulate object behavior on the fly, instead of relying on things to occur: Like in this silly video where i just experimented with Attaching a camera to the end of a stick, then making it physical. I also bound my track pad to change my emotion state on the fly while in the HMD.
Avatars can also be, honestly a lot more expressive, in HiFi compared to Sansar, due to the ability to have completely custom shapes instead of attachments, which also are completely doable (my coat is an attachment I can change on the fly)
There also is quite alot of flexibility of creation of addons: like the clap script, allowing you to clap while in HMD. Scripting it self extends the possibilities to be quite large:
Or even cast a spell using gestures and vocal control, if you have the scripting know-how. This also demonstrates me switching out my attachments via a script.