Utherverse and the Red Light Center: A Brief Introduction

In covering as many of the products and platforms as I can for my comprehensive listing of social VR spaces and virtual words, I realized on Saturday that there was still one I had not yet visited, called either Red Light Center or Utherverse. (Yes, I know, it’s very confusing! I had thought they were two separate products, and I didn’t realize they were the same platform until someone told me in-world.)

WARNING! Utherverse and the Red Light Center contain adult content, and are not safe for work!

The emphasis in Utherverse/RLC is pretty much squarely on sex, as you might tell from these website screen captures I took (and I had to blur out all the naughty bits, since this is a PG-rated blog):

Utherverse 1 26 May 2018

Utherverse 10 26 May 2018

Red Light Center 26 May 2018.png

(Note that afterwards, I discovered there was a PG version of Utherverse/RLC called WebWorlds, which I did not investigate.)

Billing itself as “the first adult massive[ly] multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG)”, Utherverse/RLC feels like a low-rent version of Second Life, with rather dated-looking avatars giving me flashbacks to the Second Life of 2007. (They don’t look anything like the “Live Your Fantasy” picture above would lead you to believe.)

Here are a few (safe for work) screenshots I took of my travels:

Utherverse 9 26 May 2018Utherverse 8 26 May 2018Utherverse 6 26 May 2018Utherverse 5 26 May 2018Utherverse 4 26 May 2018

As you can see, there is no shortage of avatars online in some places like the Pulse nightclub in the topmost picture. (Or were most of them bots? When I came back the next day, the nightclub was empty, which leads me to believe they were all real users, not bots.) The first time I tried to enter the Pulse nightclub experience in the top photo above, my computer crashed. I was luckier the second time around.

One aspect of Utherverse/RLC which I found rather disconcerting was that the avatars would load in greyscale first, then in colour. (It reminded me a bit of the science fiction novel Snow Crash, where the poorer avatars could only afford to be seen in low-resolution in the metaverse, compared to the richer ones.)

And also, sometimes other avatars, and even your own avatar, would appear see-through, like a ghost. You can see that a little bit in the bottommost picture, where I wandered around a medieval market. You can barely see the cobblestones through my torso!

So, I can now check RLC/Utherverse off my list of virtual worlds to visit. Unless you are really into adult content, I would advise you to steer clear. And if you really were that much into adult content, why you would choose Utherverse/RLC’s unappealing, 2007-era avatars over the much more modern and aesthetic mesh avatars that Second Life offers, is a mystery to me.

But obviously, there’s enough people using Red Light Center/Utherverse to keep it going. They do seem to have regular, well-attended events, like this Sunday morning dance I attended:

Utherverse 11 27 May 2018.png