Stuck Inside? A Quick Guide for using VRChat to Stay Connected
We’ve been closely following global events relating to COVID-19, and we know it’s difficult to isolate yourself. Keeping social distance is a massively important step in keeping everyone safe. However, communication and spending quality time together is vital to staying connected and healthy. How do you spend time with friends and family while staying safe?
VRChat is a free 3D social app with chat rooms and avatars. Most of the content is made by our amazing global community, who have created over 50,000 worlds and 4 million avatars.
You can experience this too, but you don’t need a VR headset. Any modern Windows computer will do! Many in our community use VRChat with mouse and keyboard or a gamepad.
We’ve put together this short guide for using VRChat to get together. You can get out and socialize, explore together, play games together, create together, and more — all from your home.
If you’re not familiar with VRChat, here’s a primer on how to get started. We’ll cover four sections.
This step is pretty easy! Visit our website and click “Login” at the top right, then click the “Registration” tab. Alternately, just visit this link. After you’ve created your account, check your email for a verification message — if you don’t see it, check your Junk folder!
VRChat is available on a few platforms. We’ll talk about Steam and Oculus here.
Steam is the largest game and software distribution platform in the world. Installing it is pretty easy, just head to their site.
After you have Steam installed, either search for VRChat or click on this link. Click on Install, wait a bit, and you’re done!
To launch VRChat in VR or Desktop mode, simply click Play in Steam. You’ll be given the option of VR or Desktop play. Steam is the easiest way to access VRChat if you’re using Desktop mode (as in, you don’t have a Virtual Reality headset).
If you’ve got Oculus hardware (like the Rift S or Quest), the Oculus app is the best way to go! If you’ve got an Oculus headset, you should already be set up with VR. Simply search for VRChat in the Oculus software and install.
To launch VRChat in VR mode on PC or Quest, simply click Start. To play in Desktop on PC, click the three dots below the icon, and click “Start in Desktop Mode”.
A Little Bit of Setup
Now that you’ve got an account and the app, go ahead and boot up VRChat. Use your email address and password you created to log in.
You’ll be placed into a short tutorial, where you’ll be taught how to move around, change avatars, and interact with our Menu.
Once you’re done with the tutorial, go ahead and exit VRChat. You’ll get a pop-up asking if you want to install a “VRChat Installation Helper”. Click OK!
This will allow VRChat to use web links to join worlds.
There’s a few ways to make a world instance. Let’s walk through creating a private space for you and your friends and family.
Using a Web Link
If you’re trying to create a hangout or meetup with a few people in private, this is the best way to go! Let’s start with creating a world instance of the VRChat Hangout Bunker.
Click on this link to find the world page for the Hangout Bunker. If you scroll to the bottom, you’ll see a box labeled “New Instance”. In that box, select “Invite”, then click “Launch”.
This will bring you to a page that you can link to others!
This page lets you “Launch World”, which starts the VRChat application using that link helper you installed earlier.
However, if you’re already in VRChat or are about to hop in, you can use the “Invite Me” button. This is a new feature! This button will send you an invite notification in the application, so you can join immediately. This works on Quest, too.
Most importantly, we provide a Share link. This is a shortened link you can provide to people as a gateway into the instance. Right click on it, copy the URL, and share it with the people you want to meet with. When they click on that link, they will see the same page with the “Launch World” and “Invite Me” buttons.
Using the VRChat Application
When you’re in VRChat, it’s easy to create an instance. Open your Quick Menu (ESC), then click on Worlds. A new menu will pop up. Find a world in this menu and click “New Instance” in the bottom left. Choose “Invite” or “Invite+”, then click Go. You’re in!
In order to invite someone to a world instance, you must first be Friends.
Adding friends is easy. If you’re in the same room as them, open the Quick Menu (ESC on Desktop), point your selection laser at them, click on them, then click “Send Friend Request”. They’ll get a notification asking to accept. Once they accept, you’ll be able to find them in your Social menu.
Whenever you send a friend request to someone or someone sends you a request, you’ll get a notification icon pop up. Open your Quick Menu and click the notification on the top of the menu. Click accept, and you’ve got a new friend.
If you’re not in the same room, you’ll need to search for them. Open your quick menu (ESC) and click on Social. In the top right, click on the Search bar. Type the name of your soon-to-be friend, then press OK. Find the person you want in the results, click them, then click “Send Friend Request”. Once they accept, they’ll appear in your social menu.
You can also send (and accept) Friend requests from the VRChat Home site. If you want to make it very easy for someone to send you a friend request, just go to your own profile and link it to them. You can find your own profile by signing into the VRChat Home, clicking your avatar icon on the top left, and giving your friend the URL to that page.
A Note regarding Non-Private Instances
We’re instructing you to use Private instances here to meet up with people you send links or invitations to. Private instances are the best way to do this. However, we’ve got other types of instances: Friends, Friends+, and Public.
These instance types are very popular for social and hangout sessions, but we’ve got more restrictive instance types that are better suited for smaller groups with your friends. You can read descriptions of what each instance type means in the “New Instance” menu in VRChat, when you choose what type of instance you’re creating.
Many users in VRChat inhabit open spaces in Public or Friends-restricted worlds. Fair warning: these Public worlds can get a little hectic or spicy!
We won’t cover Public or Friends instances here, but we strongly suggest getting a handle on things in Private instances before heading out into Public, especially if you’re trying to meet up with specific people. Once you’re ready, you can explore more open spaces and instances.
Our community has created tens of thousands of unique worlds for you to explore. Here’s a few we recommend for meeting up in your first few sessions.
VRChat Hangout Bunker
If you’ve followed along, you’ve already been here! The Hangout Bunker is a version of the world we use for meetings. There’s pens and a system for sitting down and “putting your hand up” for a turn to talk.
Room of Summer Solitude — by LuciferMStar
A cozy, comfortable, and calming place, Room of Summer Solitude is a great locale to slow down and chat with a few friends. Soft lighting and lots of nice furniture makes it easy to chill out.
The Great Pug and The Great Pug West — by Owlboy
A certified VRChat classic (and modeled after a real-life location), The Great Pug and the Quest-compatible The Great Pug West is an excellent location for casual hangouts and discussion.
Bamboo Temple — by 1001
Comfortably compact, pastel colors, and a warm summer morning feeling come together in Bamboo Temple. This world is a wonderful place to make your first steps into VRChat.
Since we’ve started our journey to build VRChat, we’ve heard countless stories of how the platform has helped people make new friends from around the world, see and interact with family while away from home, cope with social anxiety, collaborate with others, and feel less isolated. We want to show everyone those stories, and let people find their own.
As an aside, the entire VRChat team works remotely — VRChat is the primary way we’ve been getting together as developers for the past five years. Not only do we work using VRChat, but many of us hang out with friends and family in our own product. We want everyone to know how much of a difference VRChat has made both us and our community.
We have seen VRChat bring many people together. We hope that, in our small way, we can help people deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you for reading, and welcome to the VRChat Community.
If you have any problems or have questions, please feel free to contact us. We’ll be glad to help get you started.