This week saw the launch of a new weekly talk show, set on the social VR platform of AltspaceVR, which I must confess I haven’t written much about lately on this blog.
Jesse Damiani is an emerging technology journalist for such publications as Forbes, and an editor-at-large for the VRScout website. Last Monday was the first episode of his brand new talk show, called Tech Tock. Jesse describes the show thusly:
Tech Tock is a weekly talk show about the future. Through intimate conversations with entrepreneurs, developers, and artists, we’ll peer into the world technology is creating—and have some fun with the people creating it.
As his first guest, Jesse invited the author Blake J. Harris to discuss his latest book, titled The History of The Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality (which I am currently reading, and I can recommend highly).
I arrived in AltspaceVR with about half an hour to kill before the show, so I attended an AltspaceVR 101 session hosted by the company to orient newcomers. At the end of the training session, the hosts opened up the floor to questions, and I asked my one burning question: was AltspaceVR ever planning to upgrade their extremely low-poly, cartoon-like avatars?
Unfortunately, the answer was “no”, but the person who answered the question old me that AltspaceVR was looking at the possibility of allowing custom-made avatars sometime in the future, as many other platforms have done (VRChat, High Fidelity, and Sansar).
Although I am not a fan of their cartoony avatars, one area where AltspaceVR really shines is in their event programming. AltspaceVR is probably the social VR platform with the most events scheduled every week, as even a brief glance at their upcoming events listings can attest:
There’s something for everyone in their events listing, which of course is one of the reasons for their success as a platform. Another strong point is the fact that they pretty much support any VR hardware you have, from cellphone-based VR to high-end systems like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive—even the Leap Motion headset!
Next Monday, Jesse will have as a guest Nancy Baker Cahill, a multi-disciplinary artist and founder of 4th Wall, a free Augmented Reality (AR) app which invites viewers to place art in 360 degrees anywhere in the world. Her recent work in Desert X has been profiled in the LA Times and The Wall Street Journal.
UPDATE March 9th: Lorelle says in a comment to this post:
The AltspaceVR 101 is not produced by staff but by volunteers, as should have been explained during the event. So it is likely the person answering your question didn’t know the answer. The answer is complex.
AltspaceVR works hard to stay an agnostic platform, enabling both mobile and tethered access, which few social VR platforms offer, thus less cartoony avatars are coming as devices improve. As are improvements in world building and environments. Stay tuned, and consider volunteering yourself to help with the 101 events.
I stand corrected; thank you, Lorelle!