Happy April Fool’s from Blend4web??

Oh, man, I saw this in my Twitter feed this morning, from Blend4web Community, and the cognitive dissonance is rolling through my head like virtual thunder.

Unity Technologies Switches to Blend4Web for its WebGL-Based Solutions

April Fools Blend4web
The black and white “Spy vs. Spy” appeal of this graphic re-enforces my belief that this is some kind of (clever) April Fool’s joke. But, may as well blog about it before I find out for sure…

Continue reading “Happy April Fool’s from Blend4web??”

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Virtual Worlds vs Virtual Reality

What is the difference between a virtual world, and virtual reality?

A virtual world is a fake place you can visit. Virtual reality is an immersive way of experiencing virtual worlds.

The difference between virtual worlds vs virtual reality is kind of like the difference between a web page and colour monitors. A virtual world, like a web page, is a container of content. A VR headset, like a colour monitor, is a way of looking at content.

Continue reading “Virtual Worlds vs Virtual Reality”

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Introducing Idoru.js

idoru.js is an experiment I’m working on with artificial characters in virtual worlds. The idea is that to provide good “user experience” (UX) in a virtual world, a character must have good “stage presence” to stimulate engagement.

The idea is to create a framework for an artificial character that is charming and attentive to the user. This character can then be “dressed up” with any imaginable avatar. It can be given any “job” that anyone cares to script.

A screenshot of the very first prototype of idoru.js - with a rudimentary avatar and chatbot.
First idoru.js experiment.

A good suit and deep knowledge are not enough to make a person engaging in the real world. A person needs body language. A person needs to be attentive to the person they are engaging. They need to make eye contact. They need to interact with a person’s personal space in a thoughtful, polite way.

Continue reading “Introducing Idoru.js”

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Immersive Media – the biggest media revolution since audio

Cave Paintings - early static mediaIn the beginning, there were cave paintings. And with that, mankind moved into an age where thoughts could be shared with others, in the absence of the original thinker. Mankind had invented static media.

Then, not long ago, mankind invented dynamic media. Audio. Movies. Video. Streaming media. Call it what you will, it differed from static media in that it had an element of time. One second worth of content takes one second. Most unlike static media, which is timeless. Continue reading “Immersive Media – the biggest media revolution since audio”

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The Dawn of Virtual Reality

The dawn of virtual reality.
The Dawn of Virtual Reality

Over the last couple of days, the very first “Oculus Rift” headsets have been arriving on the heads of ordinary consumers. And those who write about such things are going wild. This, they say, is the dawn of virtual reality. As far as a lot of people are concerned, this is the beginning of a whole new medium. And given what I’ve seen about the sweeping psychological implications of “immersive media”, it could be true.

For example, Matthias Mccoy-Thompson of The Medium makes the bold statement:

Today marks the biggest revolution in gaming since Pong took games from the realm of boards into the digital.Continue reading “The Dawn of Virtual Reality”

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Virtual Vertigo

I’ve learned that chatting with my daughters’ friends is a great way to glean insights into what people think about virtual reality. Because they actually do think about virtual reality.

Screenshot of my daughters and I standing atop a waterfall, in our bathing suits, in Minecraft.
My daughters made their own “swimsuit” skins for a pool party in Minecraft. So I made one with a sunburn.

One of my daughter’s friends, who is in grade 6, introduced himself to me yesterday. He was a very polite, well-spoken young man. We got to talking about Minecraft. Pocket edition, Realms, Minecraft summer camps, and I turned the conversation over to virtual reality. Continue reading “Virtual Vertigo”

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Responsive VR – Virtual Reality that responds to any device.

Whether websites work in laptops but not phones – or whether VR works with goggles but not without – the solution then and the solution now, is to make web content that responds to whatever the heck hardware is being used to experience it.

Boris Smus is a man who understands the motivation behind “reponsive” web content, and responsive VR. From smus.com:

VR on the web threatens to cleave the web platform in twain, like mobile did before it. The solution then and the solution now is Responsive Web Design, which websites to scale well for all form factors. Similarly, for VR to succeed on the web, we need to figure out how to make VR experiences that work both in any VR headset, and also without a VR headset at all.Continue reading “Responsive VR – Virtual Reality that responds to any device.”

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Beloola – Social VR

Beloola is social virtual reality on the open web.

Screencap of my first visit to Beloola, a social virtual reality website.
(I’m the girl in the leather jacket)

I kid you not. I saw it. I tried it. WebVR, no plugins. It works. Today, March 7, 2016.

They’ve got everything you’d need to have a social experience in a virtual world. Avatars with moving parts. Pick your clothes and appearance. A bunch of gestures you can control. Many different worlds. Freedom of mobility. And a chat window. Continue reading “Beloola – Social VR”

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