A Map of Social VR Spaces
Hi. It is late. I am gonna crank this in 20 minutes so pardon errors. UX Designers love to classify and catalog. We love mind maps and seeing visual correlations. I will make a cartography of social VR spaces. These aren’t all the places in the VR universe and the ones I list are limited to the HTC Vive. But hopefully this paradigm will inspire another UX designer to make something far superior.
The allocentric map
Being a Ready Player One fan, I created a username in each place that was either Parzival or Wade Owen Watts, the protagonist. I visited Rec Room, High Fidelity and AltSpace VR. There are other places but these ones stick out.
Rec room is just what is sounds like, a place with a bunch of activities from basketball to dodgeball and everything in between. You can pick stuff up and take selfies. It is pretty fun.
I promise it doesn’t look this bad. I couldn’t figure out how to get a preview from my desktop so I took one inside the headset with my phone. People seem to be able to pick our how they look far more than the low dimension polygons in rec room. Neither is better. They just have different feels and purposes.
Altspace has a few rooms that could actually be mapped including disc golf, a maze and an easter egg I won’t tell you about. There are some other places to. I am not being exhaustive. It is late and I just want to map the place. Imagine that you and I are travelers in the late 1800s on the front range. We are in an inn and I’m the old guy just telling you not to go through grizzly pass because they have jack rabbits that have rabies. I don’t know…
Why was my map from a 3rd person perspective and not a traditional 2D top down? I don’t know. I wanted to. It seem fun. Here are some other places on the vive:
Star Trek Bridge Crew, Arizona Sunshine, Onward, Big Screen Beta
I think Facebook has a place on the Oculus and there are probably other places accessible from the Occulus. I don’t know. I don’t recommend one headset over the other.
Do you have a cool idea to map the social spaces or to improve on my approach? I certainly hope. This article is the equivalent of drawing an island we are deserted on in the very sand of that island. Bad idea but we have to start somewhere!
VR and AR are coming at us full speed. The interesting thing about Ready Player One is it takes place when resources are depleting and economies are getting worse. No one can afford vacations so they go into VR. That book speculates and interesting future. Who knows what our future will be on earth but it seems at least possible that people will want to go to VR from time to time. At least now maybe they know the lay of the land? A big downside to mapping digitial places is that there is no physical distance between the places you want to go other than the time it takes the signals to cross fiber optic wires and satellites. So should we use physical distance to denote areas? Humans will keep sense of space for a good time to come. What should we do? How will we use hyperlinks in VR?
WebVR has orbs you touch to go to other worlds and when you get to the new world the old world you were in is shrunken into an orb.
What would you do? How would you design it? The future is ours to determine.