NeosVR on Twitch: Cheerful Chaos Reigns

I’m going to say this again: NeosVR is a social VR platform to watch.

NeosVR recently started a series of Twitch livestream broadcasts where Nexulan plays the role of genial host, gently herding a group of avatars from place to place within NeosVR to demonstrate various cool experiences and features. Tomáš Mariančík (a.k.a. Frooxius), the extremely talented software developer who is building NeosVR, comes along for the ride. They’re doing this to gain followers on Twitch and promote awareness of their social VR platform.

Nexulan

Among the amazing things demonstrated on the most recent livestream were:

  • a working grappling hook to allow an avatar using it to swing from place to place like Batman or Spiderman;
  • a planet launcher that launches custom-designed mini planets into space, where the planets have gravity and you can actually run around the entire circumference of the planet (including being upside down at the “south pole” from the perspective of other users);
  • an actual milkable cow—you pull on the udder and the milk fills a pail!

The livestreams really show off the capabilities of the platform. There’s a wonderful sense of cheerful chaos (even anarchy at times) in these videos. It looks like fun, and it makes me want to explore NeosVR more!

If you’re interested, you can download the software for free from Steam. They also have an active Patreon page, where they are pulling in almost $2,000 a month in donations from supporters!

I leave you with a relatively recent 4-minute promotional video for NeosVR, narrated by the lead developer Frooxius. I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth watching to get an overview of the project if you’re new to it:

If you are interested in following the development of this project, you can follow NeosVR on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, or you can join their Discord server.

Advertisements

I Had a Dream…

Photo by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash

You know that something has really become an integral part of your life when you starting dreaming about it! Well, I am on holidays from work this week and next, so I turned off my alarm clock and slept in late this morning, and I just woke up from the most vivid and detailed dream, where I was at a social VR conference!

Here’s my dream, in as much detail as I can remember, first thing in the morning while many of the details are still fresh in my mind:


I wound up at this conference, held at the University of Western Ontario, quite by accident. I am an alumni of UWO (which is true in real life), and I was there visiting my old campus residence, when I stumbled across this conference, which was being held on campus. Attending were venture capitalists, designers, and representatives of various companies who were building and selling social VR platforms.

A cameraman had captured a video of me trying out a VR experience, wearing a VR headset and holding a rifle-like gun, and I got to see the video. I was having an ecstatic first-time user experience, and he captured it for all to see! I was so happy that I asked for a copy of the video, and he sold it to me for $60. (I even remember hunting around in my wallet for the right amount of cash!)

I was talking with vendors and having them give me business cards so I would remember their details so I could blog about them later. In once case someone, whom I recognized as a fellow computer science student when I was at the University of Manitoba (which is a true detail from my real life) asked me for my phone number so she could call me, and I tried to tell her first my work number, and then my cell number—and each time, I discovered that I had forgotten the last few digits!

One of the events at the conference was Strawberry Singh‘s wedding—to a woman named Raspberry! In real life, Strawberry looked exactly like her avatar! (I had absolutely no difficulty recognizing her in real life.) At one of the events afterwards at this conference, I went up to Strawberry and Raspberry to congratulate them—only to discover that I had laryngitis and I couldn’t speak above a whisper!

One of the VR companies showed a promotional video about their new social VR platform, which included pictures taken in real life at various locations of people trying out their product. I immediately recognized some of the locations as pictures taken at the high school I had attended, Transcona Collegiate (which is true in real life), and in the video I also saw a photo mosaic of people trying out their product, which included a picture of me!

Just before I woke up, I was at the lunch for the conference attendees. I had to hunt around a little bit to find it in the building, and in one of the rooms I looked in before I found it, the walls had large displays of various bloggers’ blogposts about social VR—including posts from this blog! I remember standing there looking at this and thinking: Holy shit, I’ve made it it. People are talking about me at a conference.)

At the lunch, I asked the moderator for permission to come to the podium to speak to all the conference attendees. She said yes, and I went up to the podium to speak, and the microphone was having technical problems and I seemed to have some sort of laryngitis, which were interfering with my attempt to tell everyone how wonderful this whole experience was and to thank them for letting me be there, even though I hadn’t registered for the conference…

And then I woke up.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

This has got to be one of the more vivid and detailed dreams I have ever had! Several times throughout this dream, I actually thought to myself, “This is a dream, this can’t be real“, only to wake up in my dream while still dreaming and realize that it wasn’t a dream—it was really happening to me! Crazy. I wonder what my dream means, if anything.

I love how the dream sprinkled in various details that corresponded to my real life, including my old high school. And I do find it interesting that at least three times in my dream, I had difficulty in communicating with other people at the conference. I’m not sure if my subconscious is trying to tell me something significant, or not!

P.S. I forgot to mention that in my dream, in one room at the conference, there were a bunch of well-known drag queens from my favourite reality TV show, Ru Paul’s Drag Race! I recognized Shangela there. The drag queens tried to warn me about someone who was at the conference, from whom I had obtained detailed information about their soon-to-be-released social VR platform, which was still being kept secret from the public. They warned me that he was not a good person and that I should be careful!

Traveling Between Social VR Platforms: Does VR Market Success Depend Upon a Seamless, Interconnected Metaverse?

Did you know that you can help support my blog (as well as the newly-launched Metaverse Newscast show), and get great rewards in return? Here’s how.


One of the people I follow on Twitter is Ben Lang, who is the co-founder and executive editor of the popular virtual reality news website Road to VR. Yesterday, he posted:

I’m starting to think that VR won’t have its consumer mainstream moment (smartphone levels of adoption) until a comprehensive metaverse emerges that interconnects and makes *all* VR content social to some extent. Stuff like this awesome immersive music video is really freaking cool, but would be 100 times richer if discoverable through something a simple as a ‘VR hyperlink’, as well as easily being able to bring a friend along to experience it. Telling a friend ‘hey there’s this cool new thing, come check it out with me’, and then asking them to download an app and then coordinating a time to get online together to invite each other and then *finally* seeing the thing for 10 mins isn’t tenable for smaller experiences.

The immersive music video he refers to is a new free VR experience on Steam called Sheaf – Together EP, and it’s truly a wonderful, relaxing experience, which I can recommend highly:

Ben is making the point that it shouldn’t be so difficult to share VR experiences such as this with friends. And a seamless, interconnected metaverse would probably give a huge boost to the consumer VR market.

Another Twitter user called Matrixscene responded to Ben, with a link to a two-part report on how a metaverse working group did a field test for traversing disparate virtual worlds to see how they interconnect with each other.

Part 1 of the report gives several examples of links or portals between social VR experiences, for example:

  • Portal links in JanusVR
  • Links in Cryptovoxels to other WebVR sites

Part 2 of the report details a “field trip” the author and several other people undertook to see how well they could navigate between various virtual worlds. The places visited included:

The author, Jin (Madjin) writes:

We were communicating over Discord’s voice chat the entire time. Anarchy Arcade served as the most premium base reality we ventured to on this trip for several main reasons:
– Shortcuts were easy to launch
– Universally compatible
– Optimized heavily in the background

So, as you can see, the first tentative steps in cross-linking virtual worlds have already been taken. However, the work of creating a much more comprehensive and seamless metaverse to benefit VR consumers still faces many significant hurdles—including a patent filed by IBM in 2008 that appears to cover teleporting avatars between disparate virtual worlds.

How soon do you think it will be until we get a truly seamless VR metaverse? Or do you think it will never happen? As always, you are invited to join the ongoing conversations on this and many other topics on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server, the first cross-worlds discussion group!

Taking a Look at Current Academic Research on Social Virtual Reality (Part II): Treating Substance Abuse Disorders with VR

ENDGAME is a long-running talkshow set on the social VR platform of VRChat:

Don’t panic! The end is always nigh for the old world. Endgame is a talk show / group discussion that takes place in the Metaverse (the social layer of virtual reality). Its focus is on technology and the future. Change is inevitable for all species; will we eventually destroy ourselves, or are we destined to transcend what we currently are? Get involved in the conversation by joining us every other Wednesday at 7pm PST / 10pm EST in VRChat. Or you can watch our livestream and previous recordings here at our Youtube channel. Come share your thoughts about the future of the world we share together.

One of the three regular hosts of ENDGAME is Noah Robinson (a.k.a. Psych; Twitter; LinkedIn), a clinical psychology doctoral student at Vanderbilt University and the founder and CEO of Very Real Help, a compnay devoted to building a new Internet-based clinical research platform “that can both treat and inform our understanding of psychopathology”.

In a recent episode of ENDGAME, Noah gave an hour-long presentation of his academic research on how social VR could be used in the treatment of people with substance abuse disorders. Here’s a two-minute YouTube video overview of his research:

Noah’s research interest focuses on exploring how VR social networks can be used as telehealth interventions to treat mental health disorders. He stresses that VR will not replace, but rather supplement, in-person therapy, and that there are still not nearly enough counselors to provide services to the millions of people suffering from addictions in the United States and around the world. Especially after getting out of rehab, patients experience a lot of distress and anhedonia, which tends to lead to relapse. Noah suggests that VR may be particularly effective to prevent relapse in patients with substance abuse disorders.

Here is Noah Robinson’s presentation in full:

Although there is already plenty of anecdotal evidence that virtual reality has a positive impact on mental health disorders (including my own personal experience), there is still a strong need to collect and analyze data in well-designed academic research projects. Noah’s research is fascinating and exciting to me, and I look forward to any papers that are published as a result of his pioneering work.