Life and Art in Cluster
Social VR Platform
To be honest, my first encounters with other humans in Virtual Reality were rather traumatic. It was my first day with Oculus, so I installed VR Chat. After several world-beams, I found myself being harassed across the virtual landscapes towards freakin’ hell by a weird Banana Avatar, who was shouting at me with a teenager's voice:
I JUST WANNA BE YOUR FRIEND!!
And next day, and overmorrow were full of such encounters. Being a fan of solitude and contemplation, I found the VR Chat world as being populated by adolescent weirdoes who were spending their time bullying newcomers. (And many VR Chat worlds weren’t accessible via Oculus, but only by Link).
With AltspaceVR, I’ve got quite great experiences: high-quality worlds, exciting people. I participated in several VR Conferences like Immersive X (by VM People) and held several speeches like “Do Androids Dream of Electric Poems?”:
"Do Androids Dream of Electric Poems?" | X-TALK | AltspaceVR
Welcome to X-TALKS! Every second Thursday of the month we invite you to an international meet-up in our virtual venue…
Here is a recording of this speech.
But anyway, I was looking for a place that might meet my weird interest for 1) social interaction, 2) contemplation and 3) aesthetic visual experiences (three not always compatible things).
And I found it:
What is Cluster?
Japan-based VR platform Cluster Official is a growing collection of worlds. It represents the best aspects of all VR systems I know: the variety of worlds like in VR Chat, the communication-friendly system like in AltSpace VR, even World Crafting is available. Plus — cross-platform: you can use your Oculus, Mac/PC application, even smartphone (which seems to be probably the most used device here). Oh, and it’s free.
What can you do in Cluster?
First of all, you can just hang around and communicate.
Chat and audio communication are available (pretty standard but very useful).
You can take part in virtual concerts.
You can even participate in lectures and virtual workshops.
You can build your worlds — with Cluster-Internal World Craft system or with Unity (using Cluster Creator Kit). Cluster organizes World Creation Contests, like Cluster GameJam this March. For this contest, many Cluster artists created manifold realities — which you can roam around in now.
And you can wander around different worlds, which number is growing daily.
You know my passion for Japan. Coming back to Cluster is like coming home to Japan — the same inspiring atmosphere, the same friendly people, the same mindblowing diversity in realities. You don’t need to speak Japanese (if you do, of course, you’ll have a richer experience) to be part of Cluster — it is becoming more and more international and has its own International Lobby Hall. And people here are absolutely not toxic, compared to other VR systems.
As you see, I’m very inspired by the Cluster Worlds; that’s why I begin with my new series (not again) by reviewing the worlds which impacted me at most.
For today, I want to begin with manifold worlds that impressed me.
by: ほびわん / Hobione
Created by the famous Hobione (who already designed multiple unique worlds).
I cannot describe this world. Far away from noisy VR cities and neon signs, there is this small island amidst the ocean. With a colossal Sakura tree and a view of the ̶M̶o̶o̶n̶ Earth. You can start fireworks, write with 3D pencils in the air, drink virtual saké, drive across this small world with tiny aircraft. Or you can just stay here, far away from everything, listen to the silent music, and look up to the skies. 見上げてごらん～♬
Here is a video made by Marks.
by: あんこ / Anko
There is a huge Robot standing within constructions and stairs. This reality was recently featured as Weekly World. Its uniqueness is not only in its hugeness.
The worlds’ designer Anko created this world — and a series of other worlds — entirely by using just her smartphone with the World Craft function by Cluster. Here you can see her designing another world:
Her other constructivist and mazy world パーーーーン 〜One bread〜 consists of white shapes and hidden objects.
This reminds me of MERZbau by Kurt Schwitters, who mixed geometry with artifacts from reality:
By: 遥ノ音ハル / HalHarunone
A comfortable and cozy small apartment with everything you need for creative time: music instruments, computer, paintings. Even with the kitchen and bathroom.
Architecture and design are well presented on Cluster — and this is one of the finest pieces I’ve seen so far.
cluster art room
By: かわしぃ / S_Kawasy
But if you are still starving for creativity — Cluster Art Room is THE way to spend hours in a typical art classroom in the school. Provided with different creative tools like pencils, stamps, spraying cans, you can create your masterpieces here — alone or together with friends.
With these worlds, I just glimpsed into the rich virtual Universe.
This sounds like I’m doing marketing for Cluster.
I just share with you my fascination with Cluster and its worlds. I mean, don’t listen to me; just install Cluster on your phone/PC/Mac or Oculus/Vive, make an avatar, and dive in. Who knows, probably you will be the next world creator?
The journey continues. In my following article, I’ll show you some other stunning worlds in Cluster.
Yours, Merzmensch aka merz 「メルツ・アート」 on Cluster