What is Altspace VR? Just about everything you’ll need to know.

What is Altspace VR? Just about everything you’ll need to know.

Introduction

AltspaceVR feels like the future.

And the Spaces is has created feel like Aech’s basement, or maybe a room where you could find a key to a gate.
(yes, references from the book ‘Ready Player One’ if you didn’t guess)

This is super-geeky, fun, and fast.

The team have created a 2D and 3D world, which really springs into life when you are in 3D of course.

Who is it for?

If you have a VR headset, you probably know about it already.

And I would say it is for the open minded, curious geek.

You can also host your own event (the usual is 30 people max, but you can connect them if you want to run something larger) as well as attend events hosted by the AltspaceVR team.

There is a fun ‘games’ aspect to it, including hosted events (like quizzes, and a sketchfest) as well as simply being a place to experience new 3D world.

You can also watch YouTube videos on a big screen, with your fellow Altspacers there too.

What equipment will you need?

There is a full 2D desktop version, but of course you will want to have a VR headset for the full experience.

These are the headsets that are compatible right now for the Virtual Reality experience:

HTC Vive

Samsung Gear VR

Oculus Rift

Note: I’ve spoken with the team and there is no plan to have a version that is compatible with Google Cardboard.

The Spaces:

There are many spaces you can join (start with the ‘Welcome’ Space),

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Then you will be given the option to customize your avatar, choosing from the options to be a robot of a humanoid:

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Then you are in the space:

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And there are loads of Spaces, with games you can play:

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And you can even create your own and invite friends to join you:

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What is ‘SDK’ medium?

I asked the Altspace team to explain this…
“SDK stands for Software Developers Kit. We have an SDK for developers interested in building 3D web app experiences for our platform. They can code using the three.js javascript library, in addition to HTML and CSS. Our SDK developers are a big part of our thriving community. Some of the experiences they have created that Altspacers are familiar with include air hockey, or the globe that is often in the Welcome Space.”

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How to connect with other people?

Let me run you through the desktop options in relation to this…

 

If you select ‘Social’ you will be able to see people online now. Just ‘Follow’ to add them to your list.

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If you then click on ‘Following’ you’ll get suggestions if you don’t already have people in that list:

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And if you are a little lonely (like me) you won’t have anyone following you back.

(aww) but you can share to Facebook/Twitter/Email…

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And see if anyone else in your network wants to meet you in AltspaceVR too:

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The culture

Everyone who arrives is still exploring, so know it is all ‘very new’.
The social norms haven’t settled yet.

The AltspaceVR team are super attentive though.
Any questions you have, pop by ‘The Welcome’ space and ask of the team a question.

They may well look like this:

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You’ll need to unmute your mic to speak, but from there you’ll be able to ask questions and connect with people there and ready to help.

Applications

This network is growing very much due to the events they are putting on.

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And as you can see by this Facebook post, they are very fun too, including the hottest VR party games:

Today, Join us with Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes for an AMA inside AltspaceVR at 11:00 am PST!

Posted by AltspaceVR on Friday, 26 February 2016

What would you say are the main applications? (ALTSpace)

The team says, “We are a communications platform committed to creating shared experiences inside virtual reality. This includes gaming experiences, like Dungeons and Dragons or our latest experiences Sketchy Quiz and Disc Golf, or meeting up with friends to watch YouTube or play your favorite Twitch stream. We also have larger entertainment events we host like VR Comedy and VR Storytelling for the users to come and enjoy each other’s company.”

Shared video watching

Watching YouTube videos together in VR gives a focal point of shared experience. And is something that is easy to explain to newbies too.
I had this experience in the Welcome room and all members stopped and watched – i.e. it held our attention completely.

How to record your session:

If you are keen to show people what’s going on here, you have a few options…

You can record you screen and upload to YouTube/Vimeo
You can live stream to YouTube (from your desktop)

You can record the view via your tethered Oculus

From the AltspaceVR team:
“If you want to stream via a desktop or desktop with Rift/Vive, that can be supported with third party apps. We recommend using OBS recorder (https://obsproject.com/) and setting it up with your YouTube account.”

Note: If you are using a Samsung Gear VR, it may be possible to record via the split screen/headset, but I don’t have the app as yet.

It is possible, but YouTube streaming is the recommended format for the widest array of functionality.  You can use an app like MirrorOP or Annotate Mirror Client for the Samsung Gear VR headset.

What does the future hold?

“AltspaceVR offers a new form of communication, where people meet, do things they could otherwise only do when they are in the same place, and really feel as if they are together. Products like Samsung Gear VR are making VR more affordable and easier to use, and therefore more accessible for a broad audience of consumers  For AltspaceVR, this enables the realization of our mission to make available the most natural, fulfilling and effective communication online to users worldwide.” AltspaceVR Team

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And walking around in VR may not be far away, if you don’t mind more geek gear taking over your house:

Lots of fun, and something that is simply going to grow as consumers get their hands on devices, with Gear VR being the way in for millions this year. See you there!