The O’Neill cylinder (also called an O’Neill colony) is a space settlement concept proposed by American physicist Gerard K. O’Neill in his 1976 book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space… An O’Neill cylinder would consist of two counter-rotating cylinders. The cylinders would rotate in opposite directions in order to cancel out any gyroscopic effects that would otherwise make it difficult to keep them aimed toward the Sun. Each would be 5 miles (8.0 km) in diameter and 20 miles (32 km) long, connected at each end by a rod via a bearing system. Their rotation would provide artificial gravity.
There’s a new world in VRChat which is attracting a lot of attention! It’s straight out of a science fiction novel: an O’Neill cylinder that is 8 kilometres in diameter and 32 kilometres long, and it features curve gravity, where you can actually run around in a full circle to land up where you started!
(VRChat is not the first social VR platform to feature such a build; I have visited an similar O’Neill cylinder with curve gravity in NeosVR, writing about it here.)
To my surprise, there’s very little in the way of blogging about VRChat; my Google searches consistently pulled up only two blogs which discuss VRChat regularly, my own blog, and Wagner James Au’s venerable blog New World Notes, which has branched out from its original coverage of Second Life to write about other virtual worlds (here’s a link to all of my VRChat posts, and a link to all of Wagner’s).
As for Discords, there are any number of popular Discord communities:
As I have written about before, it can be difficult to find good directories of VRChat maps (i.e. worlds) to explore (other than the Worlds listing in the VRChat client itself).
There is a Japanese-language website called The World of VRChat, a website directory for VRChat worlds (if you turn on Google auto-translate in your Chrome web browser, it works well enough). I don’t know how up-to-date it is kept, however, and I have been unable to find any other website directories like this one.
Also, VRChat user CatRazor has created a very useful Discord server called VRChat Maps, where users can post their favourite maps to various channels. Check it out!
If you know of any other VRChat map/world directories which exist outside the VRChat client, please drop a comment, thank you!
Here’s a couple of examples of YouTube videos from iListen and iamLucid, to give you an idea of the content you can expect in these interview videos:
Other VRChat videos tend to be edited or unedited recordings of shenanigans happening on the social VR platform. Your mileage may vary; some of funnier or others, but overall it comes down to your personal sense of humour. Here’s the results of a keyword search for “VRChat” on YouTube; dive in! If you’re looking for the most popular VRChat videos, start here (but be warned; some of these are not for the faint of heart!).
Do you know of any resources which should be listed here? If you know of a Discord server, a YouTube channel, or a Twitch channel, or some other social media that should be included in this blogpost? Then please feel free to leave a comment, thanks!
On Wednesday evening, I joined the XR Social Club in their weekly explorations of VRChat, and our hosts took us on a tour of three of the wonderful worlds created by a Japanese user known as ケセドCHESED. These are, without exception, beautifully crafted worlds, many featuring fireworks, shooting stars, or even aurora borealis!
The first, called simply CHESED’s Cave, is a cozy bar with a hot tub, and several outlooks over a landscape with fireworks! The particle effects are particularly well done, and everybody in our tour group marveled at the work on display. This is somebody who has some serious skills in world-building! It’s got all the hallmarks of a comfortable gathering spot, even though it is in a cave.
The second world was the Sakura Ryokan, a wonderfully detailed Japanese inn with a communal bathing area, as well as a lovely spa carved into the rock behind it, where you can relax in the water, under a night sky filled with stunning fireworks.
We wrapped up our tour at CHESED’s Sea of Clouds, a cozy home built into the side of a cliff, where you can watch the fireworks amid the gently moving clouds:
Afterwards, entranced by the detail and beauty of these worlds, I went on a solo exploration of several other of ケセドCHESED’s worlds, including CHESED’s Tea Party, where you traverse a long pathway of vines, in order to reach an oversize, food-laden table! Flocks of seagulls fly under a rainbow to complete the serene scene.
Carlos Austin, our videographer, shot the following livestream of our adventures yesterday, which you might be interested in:
To see a list of all ケセドCHESED’s worlds, just visit his/her profile, and click on the plus sign next to Worlds to see all the worlds he/she has created. Also, almost all of these worlds are tagged “chesed”, to make them easier to find.
Enjoy! Many thanks to VR_Christine of the XR Social Club in VRChat for introducing me to these fantastic worlds!
UPDATE 12:36 p.m.: Carlos was kind enough to share a group photo he took at Sakura Ryokan (VR_Christine, who discovered all these worlds, is the big hot dog at the centre).
The XR Social Club meets Wednesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. PST/8:00 p.m. CST/9:00 p.m. EST in a private instance of their club. New members are always welcome! The best way to join is to friend a current member of the club (such as me, my username is ryanschultz) and request an invitation near the start time. See you there!
Since I have upgraded my Oculus Rift to a Valve Index, I have been spending more and more time in VRChat lately. VRChat in 2021 reminds me of nothing so much as Second Life circa 2007, when I first joined: the wonderful sense of exploration and adventure, never quite knowing where you were going to land up and who you would encounter!
However, there is still one problem that I encounter in VRChat, and that is the topic for today’s blogpost: the need to set up a better in-world directory of worlds to explore. I have written about this topic before, but the need has now become acute. Finding cool worlds in VRChat has become something of a crapshoot, a time-consuming, trial-and-error process.
How many VRChat worlds are there? VRChat is surprisingly tight-lipped about world statistics. The VRChat website still says “Over 25,000 Community Created Worlds and Growing”, but this December 2018 promotional video says “Over 50,000 User-Created Worlds”:
So I asked around within my network of contacts for some updated statistics, and learned that there are now over 55,000 publicly-accessible VRChat worlds (not to mention countless private, invite-only worlds). My source tells me:
55,000 public worlds. 10 times more that are private, probably…
[I] asked someone in the prefab community who [is] very much tied with VRChat developers. A FPS said that very confidently. I can try to ask them where there is an actual figure count.
They told me: “Try to access on vrcw.net, you can see total public world as number. 55,458 public world has been updated so far. (include one already deleted.)” But thats still an unofficial number.
Another quote: “I think the unofficial number is something like 55k but remember how many of them have been abandoned on older SDK updates to the point they might not even be useable anymore. I wonder how far back you can go before it starts not working correctly. Source is https://en.vrcw.net/world at 20 worlds a page, 2779 pages, for a total of 55580. Although that site does list deleted worlds as well, also if they uploaded duplicates”
This is actually a very clever way to estimate the number of public VRChat worlds! However, the fact that we are relying on a third-party directory for this information simply underlines the problem that VRChat users face: it’s still too difficult to look for a particular kind or category of world.
Right now, the only way to find a world is to do a keyword search under Worlds in the pop-up menu, which matches on words in the world’s name, plus any tags which the creator adds to the description. What VRChat needs to do is set up something along the lines of the Second Life Destination Guide, a curated directory of worlds by category and purpose:
Now, VRChat is not the only social VR platform with this problem; it is common to all social VR worlds, and different platforms tackle this problem with varying degrees of success. Right now, everything relies too much on word of mouth, which can be hard if you’re not in the loop!
Now that 2021 is the year where the monthly active users (MAU) stats for Rec Room and VRChat begin to consistently surpass that of venerable Second Life, perhaps it’s time that these and other social VR companies invest in creating curated directories (and no, don’t just rely on volunteers, hire and pay staff to do the work). Think of it as a necessary investment. It could be the start of a virtuous circle, where better directories lead to more traffic to excellent or unique worlds, leading in turn to more and better directories!
Something to think about. Also something to think about: how about some destination guides or curated directories of private VRChat worlds? 😉