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Future of the metaverse, and all that


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2 hours ago, Drakonadrgora Darkfold said:

That is a bit of generalization of gamers.

It is and generally we should avoid generalisations of course.

But I did have an important point to make. When we talk about gamers, it's easy tot ake that as a term covering everybody who spend a considerable time playing computer games (let's keep consoles out of it in this context). There are lots of those people, no doubt about that. But computer savvy gamers, that's a much smaller sub-segment/market niche.

 

2 hours ago, Drakonadrgora Darkfold said:

As someone who is both a pc gamer and a console gamer I find this a bit insulting.

Don't be. It just means you know more about computers than the average gamer does. :)

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18 hours ago, ChinRey said:

How do we know that? I'm not saying you're wrong but you are making a baseless assumption there. Nobody has ever made a bona fide attempt to create a virtual world for "regular" grown ups yet and that means it's impossible to tell if there can  be a market for something like that.

Yes a little bit a generalisation however, any of the major VW's such as Second Life, VR CHat, Avakin, IMVU etc fall into the game genre (yes I know SL isn't a game) which influences who populates those worlds. When we are talking about the metaverse as this thread is, most of the pushers of this such as Tim Sweeney are pushing it more towards the gaming side as it is more lucrative and offers far more users of VR tech than other demographics.

In addition to this, notice the heading of this webpage as well as the descriptions of all of the VW's https://www.moregameslike.com/best-virtual-world-games/ . Even the very description it offers for a virtual world is a 'simulation game' with players etc. Whilst I would like to say that not all are geared to gamers, they are automatically assumed to be a game and therefore shown to that demographic far more than regular adults. That is why I said that more gamers play a VW than others because they have the best knowledge and tech surrounding that. Take VR Chat for instance, almost its entire userbase are gamers as they are the largest demographic that uses VR tech.

In hindsight, I should have said in my post you quoted 'VR Virtual World' as that is where it is all heading. Other than the basic VW's like IMVU almost all proposed and current VW's, apart from Second Life, are geared to gaming as that is the largest demographic that use VR.

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Besides, gamers may have expensive top notch hardware but that doesn't necessarily make them computer savvy. Most gamers I know would struggle if they were asked to do some basic text formatting in a word document. Give them anything beyond "Se Big Red Button - Push Big Red Button" and they're out of their comfort zone. How are people like that supposed to handle the convoluted trainwreck the SL viewers have as a user interface substitute?

The average gamer does know a lot about computers and consoles tech wise, you would be surprised. Whilst I'm sure there are plenty out their that don't know much about tech, most do recognise that they couldn't run most modern games at good quality on a 8 year old pc. You also just need to go to a twitch stream where someone is playing a new game and the first thing people ask is usually what comp specs the streamer has so they can get an idea on what is needed to play at good quality.

My system is a little more over the top than the average gamer as I also use my computer to render high quality architectural images. That said steam surveys done every year give an indication on the average gamers comp and clearly shows that SL's recommended specs need a major upgrade.

https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

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Steam's automatic survey of their users indicates that most users have an NVidia 1060 or better. The NV 1060 came out in 2016. That's much more GPU than the average SL user.

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More Metaverse coverage in the press: TechCrunch talks about Wave, which is yet another system for virtual concerts.  Not much of an article except for one part: "The Wave has features for its virtual reality users that allow them to communicate and enter private virtual spaces where they can share unique visual experiences — Arrigo likens it to taking virtual drugs or having a virtual drink. There’s no reason why a venue couldn’t sell those experiences to concert-goers for a fee." But, of course, no sex.

Forbes, in another article, addresses whether the metaverse should be story-driven.

"(Metaverse-like) online experiences have been available for some time. Yet, these virtual worlds have failed to approach the popularity of modern video games. Linden Labs, the developer of Second Life, which began in 2003, intentionally differentiates its platform from video games by having "no set objective." In short, it lacks the story-driven goals of modern video games."

"Early video games were not heavily story-driven and were targeted to a rather narrow demographic of young male gamers. This is changing as modern video games are delivering story-driven content in an expanding variety of genres and gameplay types that appeal to a broader audience than the traditional gamer. By comparison, on-demand cable and OTT content is almost exclusively story-driven and attracts a larger audience than AAA games."

The downside of having a story is that, after a while, the users have seen the story. So the story line needs new episodes regularly, which gets expensive. Nostos just ran into this. It was supposed to be a big open-world metaverse built on the Spatial OS backend. It's really just a grinding/quest MMO that takes experienced gamers about three hours to finish. Great artwork, though.

There's a place for big worlds between story-driven and having no set objective. GTA V Online lives there. It has about the same number of concurrent users as SL, interestingly.  Drivers of SL, and GTFO, are low-key examples of that model. They live in the big world, not their own dedicated world, but have game-like structure. Interesting to think about what else could be done in that direction.

 

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More Metaverse press commentary:

Where Is the Metaverse to Help Us Through the Pandemic Era? (ExtremeTech)

"So where is the metaverse today? And why is it not available to help us through the COVID-19 pandemic? Those are fair questions given the technological advances that have been made since the publication of Snow Crash. The closest we came to one was Second Life, an online virtual world developed by Linden Lab. This is a commercial effort that has been online since 2003 with nearly one million active users. Second Life looks like a 3D video game but includes a virtual economy and professional activities. Despite its beautiful graphics and sophistication, Second Life is dwarfed in popularity by much simpler social media platforms such as Facebook, which has billions of active users. Why is this? Why is our daily online experience limited to simple email, social media, and video conferencing?"

"A simple answer is that most people were mentally and physically consumed by going to school and work before the pandemic. Our daily lives were filled with commuting, meeting, and shopping. We did not have the time or energy to adopt a metaverse when real life was so demanding. What happens when you take the daily grind of living away? That is exactly what has happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now forced to live and work in our home environment. It is this new reality that has left some wondering why we do not have a metaverse to take us away from what for many is a suboptimal existence."

That may be about right. Second Life is for people with too much free time.

But maybe not. The median Fortnite player spends 6-10 hours a week in there. 8%, over 21 hours. SL probably has roughly similar stats.

 

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“The internet makes human desires more easily attainable. In other words, it offers convenience. Convenience on the internet is basically achieved by two things: speed, and cognitive ease. If you study what the really big things on the internet are, you realize they are masters at making things fast and not making people think.” - Ev Williams, the guy who founded Twitter and Medium.

LL needs to work on those two items.

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For me the start of the Metaverse was in 2008 when some Lindens and reps from IBM jumped from Secondlife to a grid on Opensim. Unfortunately LL didn't take it any further but at least Opensim devs did and created the Hypergrid which many there call the Metaverse.

Where I would like to see that go is to eventually have an avatar of my real self who can go from my own selfhosted Grid to Amazon and shop for clothing, trying it on virtually first before I decide to purchase for real. Then maybe jump over to a car dealership grid to sit in and try some of their new models to see if any tickle my fancy enough to buy a real one. Then head over to look at a house on another grid while driving my virtual car through the Google street view map to get an idea of the neighborhood on the way. 

I don't particularly like shopping in R/L but at the same time I don't care for ordering stuff from virtual stores that I can't get a feel for in 3d so to me, virtual shopping for real goods would be a happy medium if they can make it lifelike enough. The more "senses" that can be brought in on it the better.

I'm not overly confident that either S/L or Opensim would be a part of that in the long term but at least between them, they have shown it is possible to do. Ultimately I doubt that any one company can "own" such a metaverse though I am sure some will try.

 

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  • 2 months later...

Dual Universe finally made it to beta.

This is a really big open world MMO. Multiple planets. Building. No shards; everyone is in the same world. 20,000 users already, they claim. It's a classic MMO, with mining and combat. This should appeal to people who play Space Engineers. The technical issues of a large number of users have been addressed, somehow. That's why it's interesting as a step to the big-world Metaverse.

Building is about at The Sims level - you can stick prebuilt pieces together. Clothing is terrible; everybody is in what looks like space armor. There's a lot of grinding - go out and look for rocks, find bauxite, make aluminum, craft something... There's an in-game economy in those resources.

Give it a few weeks for the user videos to appear, and we'll know more. Anyway, somebody finally shipped a new big seamless open world.

Note the name similarity to Second Life.

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58 minutes ago, animats said:

big open world

What do you think about XRSpace VR....I just came across it.  Sick of the Oculus connection to Faceborg...soon we'll have to sign in with a Faceborg account....wish I'd gone with another headset now.

Even the new Facebook world, Horizons, seems creepy...they can monitor you remotely and the headset captures your interaction so you can send in AR's.

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3 hours ago, Luna Bliss said:

What do you think about XRSpace VR....I just came across it.  Sick of the Oculus connection to Faceborg...soon we'll have to sign in with a Faceborg account....wish I'd gone with another headset now.

Even the new Facebook world, Horizons, seems creepy...they can monitor you remotely and the headset captures your interaction so you can send in AR's.

XRspace was announced, but it's not live yet, is it?

So Facebook Horizons made it to beta, finally. From the videos, it's all bright and cartoony and safe and clean. It looks like it's aimed at ages 6-13. 

Any idea how they do in-world movement? That's a big problem. About 5%-10% of the population gets nauseated in VR when the visual world moves differently than the real world. That's why Beat Saber, where you never move outside your standing location and are always in sync, is the biggest VR success.

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1 hour ago, animats said:

XRspace was announced, but it's not live yet, is it?

So Facebook Horizons made it to beta, finally. 

Any idea how they do in-world movement?

On the XRSpace website one can pre-order their headset for $500 but not sure when it officially opens.  I can't imagine they'll have a lot of content to start with. It very much reminds me of Sansar in terms of having a full-body avatar and less of a game focus as Sansar was in the beginning.

I don't know about the movement in Horizons, but I will be checking it out even though my legs will be missing    :)  Yeah, let's hope it isn't too nausea-inducing as there's a lot of gameplay and zipping around.

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News coverage in the South China Morning Post: “Covid-19 has accelerated the path to the metaverse … primarily because those who typically would not have been a gamer, have now become gamers … and we believe that the first citizens of the metaverse will be gamers,” - Razer CEO.

Tencent is getting into the Metaverse business, according to NASDAQ: "With the launch of its Mini Programs, companies are able to build richer experiences within the WeChat ecosystem. In some ways, WeChat is a mini, 2D Metaverse. As Tencent quietly orchestrates the adoption of the Metaverse via its minority investments, it will be interesting to watch how much inspiration the Metaverse takes from the WeChat ecosystem." Tencent, for those who don't know, runs WeChat, which is a phone app that runs everything in China.

When I search for Metaverse news lately, I find it in the financial press. Not the gamer outlets. Money is going into this area. We may be at the beginning of the era where systems like Second Life become really big. The dream of the founders of Second Life may be realized. If Linden Lab doesn't fumble the ball.

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Dual  Universe, the big open-world MMO, came fully online late last month. Luca Grabacr, who does those great Second Life promotional videos, went over there and did live streaming for eight days. See her YouTube channel if you're interested.

Dual Universe is a huge single seamless modifiable world. They're not saying how it scales, which is a technically interesting question. They claim to support crowds, and it will be interesting to see what happens when a few thousand users go to the same area. That's been the killer problem for everyone who's built an un-sharded metaverse, including SL.

It's voxel-based. Users can build, but not as freely as in SL. Users can build voxel-based objects from (I think) 25cm cubes. There are mesh objects available, but users can't create new ones. It's like The Sims in that respect. Finer-grained than Lego. Ground is voxel-based and you can dig holes. Mining is a big thing. Blowing up stuff is a thing. Combat is a thing. Commerce is a thing. It's much more of a game than SL, although the world itself has no built in notion of "winning".

However, it's more directed than SL. The tutorial tells you you're supposed to claim some land, start mining, and build yourself a base. You don't have to, though; you can just be a tourist if you like. As a society builds up, other jobs may appear. There are organizations, like SL groups.

Like SL, the world started out empty. Emptier than SL; no road system. Everybody flies. There are infohubs, and huge amounts of bare ground.  You claim some bare ground and start building. Parcels are a hexagonal grid. Land is free, but you have to mine and refine to build, so you can't fill the world fast. It's going to be interesting to see the place after six months of building. Everybody starts out now with their own little enclave surrounded by emptyness, but in time the planets will fill in.

Everybody is in a space suit. No clothing options. Also, no sex. It's amusing how the newer virtual worlds dodge that. Facebook Horizons' avatars have nothing below the waist. The industry is terrified of making sex possible.

It's all very bright and shiny. Most stuff looks like SL objects from Delaunay Industries and Solares. Dual Universe has trees and plants, but they're not very realistic.

It's more for people who like EvE and Space Engineers than SL users. Useful to see what others are doing. For a long time, SL had the big seamless world biz all to itself. Now others are doing that, and it's worth tracking what they're doing.

So that's Dual Universe. They're trying to cold start a big world. It will be interesting to see how its society develops.

One small step closer to the Metaverse.

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3 hours ago, animats said:

Dual  Universe, the big open-world MMO, came fully online late last month. Luca Grabacr, who does those great Second Life promotional videos, went over there and did live streaming for eight days. See her YouTube channel if you're interested.

Dual Universe is a huge single seamless modifiable world. They're not saying how it scales, which is a technically interesting question. They claim to support crowds, and it will be interesting to see what happens when a few thousand users go to the same area. That's been the killer problem for everyone who's built an un-sharded metaverse, including SL.

It's voxel-based. Users can build, but not as freely as in SL. Users can build voxel-based objects from (I think) 25cm cubes. There are mesh objects available, but users can't create new ones. It's like The Sims in that respect. Finer-grained than Lego. Ground is voxel-based and you can dig holes. Mining is a big thing. Blowing up stuff is a thing. Combat is a thing. Commerce is a thing. It's much more of a game than SL, although the world itself has no built in notion of "winning".

However, it's more directed than SL. The tutorial tells you you're supposed to claim some land, start mining, and build yourself a base. You don't have to, though; you can just be a tourist if you like. As a society builds up, other jobs may appear. There are organizations, like SL groups.

Like SL, the world started out empty. Emptier than SL; no road system. Everybody flies. There are infohubs, and huge amounts of bare ground.  You claim some bare ground and start building. Parcels are a hexagonal grid. Land is free, but you have to mine and refine to build, so you can't fill the world fast. It's going to be interesting to see the place after six months of building. Everybody starts out now with their own little enclave surrounded by emptyness, but in time the planets will fill in.

Everybody is in a space suit. No clothing options. Also, no sex. It's amusing how the newer virtual worlds dodge that. Facebook Horizons' avatars have nothing below the waist. The industry is terrified of making sex possible.

It's all very bright and shiny. Most stuff looks like SL objects from Delaunay Industries and Solares. Dual Universe has trees and plants, but they're not very realistic.

It's more for people who like EvE and Space Engineers than SL users. Useful to see what others are doing. For a long time, SL had the big seamless world biz all to itself. Now others are doing that, and it's worth tracking what they're doing.

So that's Dual Universe. They're trying to cold start a big world. It will be interesting to see how its society develops.

One small step closer to the Metaverse.

When you talk about new MMO's, you really need to mention something about their economy structures.

Maybe also talk about character customization as well.

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3 minutes ago, Lucia Nightfire said:

When you talk about new MMO's, you really need to mention something about their economy structures.

Maybe also talk about character customization as well.

Good point. Dual Universe does claim to have an economy, and there's a role for creators. But I don't think you can cash out, as you can in SL.

Character customization? What character customization? Everybody wears a spacesuit at all times, even indoors.  "The character be male or female, and currently four different parts of the character's suit are color customizable. Character can also equip pets, gear, weapons, and other upgrades that change their visual appearance and game statistics. There are no other character customization options at this time, but this feature is expected to expand in the future."

I'm mostly interested because they claim to have solved the big-world technical problem. That has two parts - smooth movement through the world, and crowds. They claim to have both. SL almost has the first (come on, guys, you can fix it - you're close!), but crowds do not work well at all.

(I wonder if variable size SL regions and setting up clubs and big events as lots of small regions,, like 64m x 64m, would make crowds work. It would take a lot of servers, but if, say, the Fashion Week area was only turned on during short periods, it could be affordable.)

 

 

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6 hours ago, animats said:

Character customization? What character customization? Everybody wears a spacesuit at all times, even indoors.  "The character be male or female, and currently four different parts of the character's suit are color customizable. Character can also equip pets, gear, weapons, and other upgrades that change their visual appearance and game statistics. There are no other character customization options at this time, but this feature is expected to expand in the future."

one day somebody is going to make a avatar. Then make a world for it

millions and millions of dollars gets spend the other way around. Make a fairly good world scene-wise and often quite good toolsets. Then stick a box in it as the avatar with a promise that one day the box is going to be awesome. And it never is, it stays as a box with stuff stuck on it

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1 minute ago, Mollymews said:

one day somebody is going to make a avatar. Then make a world for it

millions and millions of dollars gets spend the other way around. Make a fairly good world scene-wise and often quite good toolsets. Then stick a box in it as the avatar with a promise that one day the box is going to be awesome. And it never is, it stays as a box with stuff stuck on it

Now that's a good insight. Almost all the attempts at a metaverse other than SL have cartoon-grade avatars. Games, on the other hand, are getting close to photorealism. It's not that it can't be done. There's a reluctance to go there.

Where should SL go? Further towards realism?

 

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17 hours ago, animats said:

One small step closer to the Metaverse.

I share your enthusiasm for the Metaverse.  Ideally I'd like to have an avatar that could transport to all niches of the Metaverse  :)

For now though, I'm going to check out Nostos, even though it's not ready for prime time and likely to be buggy.  The graphics are just so beautiful. Hopefully, it won't be a waste of 20 bucks.

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3 hours ago, Luna Bliss said:

I share your enthusiasm for the Metaverse.  Ideally I'd like to have an avatar that could transport to all niches of the Metaverse  :)

For now though, I'm going to check out Nostos, even though it's not ready for prime time and likely to be buggy.  The graphics are just so beautiful. Hopefully, it won't be a waste of 20 bucks.

Nostos is gorgeous. It's a game that you play and finish, though. Some people claim to have cleared Nostos in 3 hours. It's not a place to live, like SL.

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I am going out on a limb and say fortnight is not a metaverse or even a good candidate it misses a key feature.

A true metaverse  has diversity of reasons why people log in people in fortnight log in pretty much just to fight. second life people log in for many reasons and as a result we get to meet the many wonderful and sometimes not so wonderful people, also a true metaverse needs to have user created content it is not rilly a world you live in without persistent content we made or decorated ourselves.  And don't get me started on the ability we as users of a true metaverse platform have to enjoy this place on may different computer platforms Windows, Linux, Mac its even possible to get a limited experience on IOS or android. this only adds further to the diversity we enjoy in SL. 

 

Take away any of these factors and you don't have a metaverse the lindens did second life right and i don't think it is replaceable.

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"Fortnite is a game. But ask that question again in 12 months." - Epic CEO

Fortnite has tried concerts and special events with success. Users can create "skins". But it's what we in SL call "getting dressed". It's just putting together an outfit from items made by others.  Users can create levels. All that is tightly controlled; you can't just make something. Epic takes a cut of revenue above 90%. They're terrified of losing control.

Second Life has a social culture that works, and doesn't need heavy governance. Linden Lab does well at running a municipality. Property rights let the users do most of the work. LL's big problems are over them falling behind in technology. SL ought to be the Metaverse, but it's not happening.

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On 9/5/2020 at 7:18 PM, animats said:

Where should SL go? Further towards realism?

 

realism I think in the sense of a tighter binding between avatar skeletons, surfaces, physics and animation, with an emphasis on the physical interactions with other avatars and objects. On top of which can be laid things like cloth physics

Edited by Mollymews
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45 minutes ago, Mollymews said:
On 9/5/2020 at 2:18 AM, animats said:

Where should SL go? Further towards realism?

 

realism I think in the sense of a tighter binding between avatar skeletons, surfaces, physics and animation, with an emphasis on the physical interactions with other avatars and objects. On top of which can be laid things like cloth physics

I'm with Molly. I've been here 12 years and there's been no improvement at all in avatar collision handling. I went dancing last night and watched half the crowd dancing through each other's bodies and fully a quarter of them with feet buried in the floor. I got tired of seeing that 11.95 years ago.

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11 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

I'm with Molly. I've been here 12 years and there's been no improvement at all in avatar collision handling. I went dancing last night and watched half the crowd dancing through each other's bodies and fully a quarter of them with feet buried in the floor. I got tired of seeing that 11.95 years ago.

A full fix to visible motion would be really hard. But a partial fix, with some viewer side collision detection during animation, could help. So can systems that do implicit motion based on the situation. That's pretty standard in games, and SL does it with animation overriders. It's easier to fix this for moving avatars than for stationary ones being animated by user animations. In motion, the AO has freedom to do the right thing, and if it did a smarter right thing, like having a clue about foot placement, that would be OK. Here's the next generation of that technology.

The part of the UE5 demo where they show off the motion warping and control system.

The character moving around has a relatively simple model for control purposes. It has a "super AO" that's reacting to the objects around it.

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10 minutes ago, animats said:

A full fix to visible motion would be really hard. But a partial fix, with some viewer side collision detection during animation, could help. So can systems that do implicit motion based on the situation

for SL then pretty much yes. It would be viewer side collision detection. So that depending on the capabilities of our computer we can turn it on or off.  In the same way that we can with jiggle body physics

when Off then avatar animation is phantom as it is now. When On then it collision detects viewer side when a physics+animation effect is contained in the asset created by a user

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