Second Life and VR INteractions

A friend asked me about second life recently. I thought I’d comment here is a bit more detail than my facebook response…

I have limited exposure to second life. I do have an identity there as NineCrows. Haven’t used it in some time but I checked after you mentioned it and reset my password to something I know.

It would be cool to try that environment with room scale VR and I’ll look to see if they have software for that sometime soon. I did check and it looks as if they took a run at a VR product but gave up and sold off what was left.

My take on web- next with them is that they have the AOL or CompuServe walled garden model and that is limiting.

The web took off when HTTP and HTML were released openly and without royalties. Add in the free mosaic browser and free web servers (i admit that apache is the earliest I can remember…there may have been earlier options) and the web exploded.

I would think that an immersive VR web could happen if some group put together the equivalent for VR worlds with an open and relatively uncluttered protocol, a free open source client and server (these don’t need to be fancy, just work reasonably well with an assortment of hardware) and a URL equivalent for doorways between independent servers.

That would make it possible for a merchant or site to host their own environment with various implementations of fancier servers and clients in the mix and doors acting like links in the VR environment. Would be cool, I suspect we need more good quality VR systems and better internet links (lower latency?) out there for something like that to retake off.

I’m thinking that the protocol design would be the hardest part. You need to be able to push the complex information needed to render a virtual environment out quickly, handle the interim situation as assets load in a way that doesn’t make people upset and end up with high enough quality at the end that users would enjoy the experience.

Interesting challenge but one that is huge enough in scope that I’m not currently in a position to even poke at it 🙂 I do have a friend who wants to try VR chat sometime soon though so I may be able to get a basic idea from that as to how things perform in terms of latency and overall experience.

On reflection, if I take the random dungeon generator toy project in Unity far enough this might be an interesting ‘stretch’ goal. Allow doors to pull layout and assets from a remote machine (on my local net for simplicity) and render them in VR. Cool idea, probably too challenging to get to any time before something else catches my attention for home projects though…

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