3dxchat - yes, it's sex VR, and that's a good thing


#1

On the Second Life forums, someone mentioned 3dxchat, which I hadn’t heard of before, even though it’s been up since 2013. It got a major technical refresh last year, and now it’s impressive, based on the videos and reviews. The graphics are quite good, up to modern video game standards. VR headsets are supported. There are “rooms” and areas, so it’s more like HF/Sansar/Sinespace than Second Life. It costs users $20/month, plus in-game purchases. There’s no in-game economy; you can’t sell objects to another user.

Because support for sex is designed in, it has much better character physical interaction than the other VR worlds. Most VR systems just punt on this - you can’t do much with other avatars except look at them, bump into them, or shoot them. A VR world designed to support sex can do much more - combat, martial arts, dancing, and simple things like handshakes become possible. Sex forces the designers to deal with the hard technical issues of avatar physical contact. The result is the next generation of VR system.

Users are starting to use 3dxchat for non-sexual purposes. There’s roleplay. There are vehicles. User are creating large buildings. It’s turning into a general purpose virtual world. One which may have more users than Sansar, HF, or SineSpace.

The mainstream VR world has been ignoring this thing, because it came from porn. It shouldn’t.


#2

Looks like they have 1 avatar system that is very specific (then very elaborated).

In HF it’s wide-open architecture, but not even 1 avatar provider at the horizon… I guess it’s going to be a bit more challenging to reach such a level of sophistication in those conditions. (Assuming that each user will be enough skilled to create an avatar from scratch as today. )

I wonder if there is still someone to think that people will like to buy pre-made avatar. (Like if you can buy your soul in a market place… seriously… )

Avatar question… still the wooden wheel of HF.


#3

It’s puzzled me for years now that nobody associated with Hi Fi is offering custom avatars. Isn’t that like the #1 first thing we all want to do: get a custom avatar that suits our personality? I would think there would be a great demand for it - I would certainly plop down a decent amount of cash for something that I felt was unique and original that only I was wearing.


#4

Most people from HiFi Inc are tech oriented. They have their own creative team, but thats usually so that they support B2B orders. Orders they cant handle they hire individuals from the community to do them.

Then there are creators around who do make avatars like @Athauxan or Me, but usually to keep the demand low usually orders are done through private channels, as true custom avatars quite a bit of time to do.

Because avatars do take a lot of time to do, it can get quite an expense to have someone create you an avatar, and some of us do quite a lot of things at the same time. (such as I am focusing on getting better tools to the table)

In HF it’s wide-open architecture, but not even 1 avatar provider at the horizon… I guess it’s going to be a bit more challenging to reach such a level of sophistication in those conditions.

The main issue with the avatar creation is the fact that it is still a very heavily tech specialized thing to do.

As of the moment requires knowledge from

  • The creation to the avatar (Mostly documented)
    • Mesh Creation
    • Mesh Weighting
    • Texturing
    • Rigging and Weighting
  • And know how to host the avatar online. (Web Dev knowledge)

Right now the theory is that having no easy way to host the stuff is dampening things with the creation of avatars especially when we discuss about where to host the adult oriented avatars.

Basically whats stopping avatar creation for avatar creators is hosting of the files (as that can without research be though of being an expense), while those who know about the tech side may not know about how to create avatars.

Some of us are working on better tools to make it easier to bring in avatars to supplement such creations. The Architecture being open helps, but having better tools, and quicker methods of deploying avatars will help tons.

I can say this: It’s being worked on :wink: atleast Blender Side


#5

To also add, custom avatars can be pricey in addition to taking awhile. I had to wait about 8 months for mine to finish and cost roughly $500. I have found other artists who will do about the same for maybe $250-$300 and be done within less than a month, with some extra charges depending on other requirements. Considering that High Fidelity isn’t as popular, most artists I have come across know VRC avatar creation and don’t know all the quirks with HiFi development.

That also being said, when I stated there was no real limit to the system, with the understanding of an agreed consensus, some artists I have spoken to do like that a lot, but are held back by hosting options (which is why I just ask about modeling work since I can handle hosting without issue).

The other part that is holding back avatar creators for market purposes is that until HFC can be withdrawn as USD to pay their bills, they will only see it as monopoly money, despite how much information you can give them or try to entice them with being early adopters and getting a hit on a possible untouched goldmine. To each, their own, but that was pretty much the most asked question I’ve had to given many arguments in favor of early adoption that is countered due to no export ability, and as such does not yet have value. Not to mention, the whole wallet system is still very user unfriendly, which brings back the ‘tech vs art knowledge’ concern.

There’s also the issue on accessories and clothing. Clothing for my own custom avatar will not work (or not fully work) for anyone else. Things written for my tail may not work on another avatar which may also have a tail. Compatibility issues will be as rampant as Second Life’s mesh clothing market.

All that downer stuff aside, here are the facts as I can see them:

  1. The first successful High Fidelity avatar will most likely be modular by design. Readers of Snow Crash and shoppers of Second Life will know what I mean: you will most likely buy a base avatar, or a base avatar kit. It will come with some modifications (eye lash styles, eye color , bust size, skin adjustments) and others will be available for purchase (clothing, accessories, avatar augments). Using the script system, setting this all up will be done as an app and be made to create an ideal user experience and perhaps allow previews of clothing before they are purchased, as demoed back in Avatar Island. The current thing holding this back is a lack of rigged avatar entities.

  2. Demand for custom avatars will not diminish. Just like how people still make and buy custom cars, shirts, and other accessories, custom avatars will not be affected by generic avatars. There will always be a market for people who want something more that the stock system cannot offer and wants something that is genuinely their own. If anything, a market full of generic avatars may increase the demand of a custom identity.

  3. The community will be the ones to define the true standard. What I mean by this is that over time, the community may be the one to define additional bones or rules for avatars in the system. Perhaps later on down the road, the demand of an avatar to have an extra spine bone will be a thing, or a flag in the FST file that adds extra information for the user when going into a domain.

Overall, from what I can gather, 3Dxchat’s benefit of a limited system is that the scope of what to worry about is also limited, which is why it’s working so well for them. High Fidelity’s scope is much, MUCH wider and as such, the worry on what to work on and deal with is also much larger. The Flow system, for example, works great for hair and if you want absolutely free flowing items, but for things like tails or other organics, it doesn’t always work too well. It isn’t to say it’s a bad system, but it was written for hair and clothing physics, and the ability to interact with the two. Things like thicker tails was outside the scope, and as such, works but not quite what would be desired without some kind of modification.


#6

Great explanation, thanks. A follow up question, just because I’m curious: can you elaborate on the hosting issue? Is this talking about secure ways to do commerce, and keep people from stealing avatars or something? Thanks!


#7

Thanks for this. This is the best avatar discussion I’ve found. Much appreciated, I’m sure by more people than just me.


#8

I’m going to assume he means hosting like any other set of files, a server that can serve the avatar files quickly and efficiently whenever it’s needed. To me, that’s the easiest thing someone can do but I suppose that’s because of my experience and understand that many artists who are well versed in their craft don’t usually dabble on the technical side of things.

Overall though, it shouldn’t be too much trouble to get going. However he notes ‘adult avatars’ being a tricky thing to pull off. However, when you own a VPS or Dedicated Server there’s pretty much zero oversight as to what’s going through that server, and if the traffic is encrypted then good luck for the providers. Generally, webservers are the ones being monitored for website types and files hosted on such.

However running a VPS/Dedi that can serve files is quite a bit more complicated to get working and stay working than a web hosting provider ever will be. This is because you have to setup an HTTP server or FTP (if the application like e.g. High Fidelity supports transferring over FTP) and when errors or issues inevitably come up, you’re going to have to learn a lot about how these systems work in order to get it all working and stay working.

The reason why the AWS or DigitalOcean solutions may not be ideal is because it’s direct storage by a large company which may very well induce oversight into what you’re doing with your content and files. Also it may become prohibitively more expensive depending on the content host as bandwidth becomes a major concern when every time the avatars have to load for people it will be pulled over and over again depending on the platform.

VPS/Dedi’s usually have more bandwidth and wiggle room to work with. But for say a few avatars under light load https://www.digitalocean.com/pricing/ isn’t a bad deal, not at all. However one must consider the longevity of that if they decide they don’t want adult content or certain types of adult content on the host. So finding hosts that you are confident in with their rules and the laws of the host country is extremely important.

Having to change servers after the fact is never good unless you have a domain name assigned to it or else all the links will break and have to be changed wherever they’re being pulled from. Oh but now I’m getting into technicals with that one, but that should be a given: always use a domain name to cover a dedicated IP that is being served to external sources, this is purely important for reliability purposes.

As for stealing avatars? You can always steal avatars, just like videos you can try and lock the content as much as you want but if your computer can see it then there are ways to take it directly from the memory or elsewhere. Only if the models were not stored on the computer then that would make them secure, but that’s like streaming your entire screen via a service like how Teamviewer or Steam In-Home Streaming does it, and that will not become the norm anytime soon (one can hope), especially not with VR.

Secure commerce can only go so far. The safest way to safeguard against piracy is to not fight it at all. Piracy is free advertising, if you make a product worth buying whilst remaining humble and fair in your pricing then not only will people want to support your continued efforts, the effort it takes to pirate outweighs the value so they might as well just buy it from you anyway.

All in all, piracy is a solved problem for products that are mass-released.


#9

Yep this basically.

I was of the same mind 2 years ago as you, but since then I’ve heard time and time again from content creators that visit, and it keeps being a reoccuring theme. They dont know how, even with guides, or services from amazon or digital ocean.

But you have to remember an artist whos only done 2d and 3d art will not be that knowledgeable about hosting file in anything else than drop box.

Those who are familiar with vrchat, sansar or second life are more acustomed for having a service built into the client or editor.

Messing with servers, or dealing with amazon or digital ocean can be very intimidating to those who dont do much programming.

Now going to security:

I usually say: Content is rippable as soon as its loaded into memory It is just a matter of how dedicated you are to doing it. right now though you could just pick up the url to assets from the logs.

High Fidelity could create equal false assurance by obfuscating urls in logs and making sure urls are not visible on client end. Ofcourse those dedicated enough could just continue ripping things via http sniffers or opengl debugger; so it would only make only a bit more difficult to do.

One step at a time though


#10

Yep, you can always rip it directly so piracy is better off being handled by reasonably pricing things and constantly adding to line-ups. If there’s incentive to pay you to continue your work, you’ll get paid so long as it’s reasonable.


#11

Thanks for all this - I appreciate the detailed answer.


#12

The “I want this widget but it doesn’t work with my avatar” is why I want a market for 3rd party tailoring.


#13

Do you mean to have custom clothing made for avatars you already have or are already available?


#14

Again, just want to say thanks for this - for any of us out there wondering about stuff like custom avatars and even just understanding the uniqueness of HiFi, this is a great discussion.


#15

@philiprosedale mentioned today during the stress test event that they are working on a feature that will allow avatars to change clothes. That would be amazing and it will populate the marketplace with lot of new clothing items for sure.


#16

I mean paying people to make the accessories you can already buy off the market work with your avatar.