Design Direction: Metaverse Places and People


Hi all - had mentioned this doc in the alpha meeting today - here it is for your review and comments. Let me know if it all makes sense.

Design: The Metaverse

“The Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space,[1] including the sum of all virtual worlds,augmented reality, and the internet.”

The Metaverse consists of the many inter-networked virtual world servers using the High Fidelity virtual world protocol. Many of these servers (which are called domains) will want to be referenced using globally unique names, and may also want to occupy locations in a public 3D space in which they can be seen relative to each other.

High Fidelity provides a lookup service allowing you to find people or places in the metaverse. You register these uniques names with High Fidelity (usernames or placenames) for an annual fee, in a manner very similar to registering a domain name. High Fidelity also provides a service allowing the 3D positioning of domain servers within larger regions of the metaverse which are controlled by regional operators, in a manner similar to how you might register a domain name with a top level domain provider (e.g. “.TV”, etc).

To find a place in the metaverse you do a search for a person or place. You can use a web API for this, or in the High Fidelity interface client, you can bring up the address bar. To go to a person, type @username, and to go to a place type placename.

When you register a placename with High Fidelity, you can choose to make it either a domain, or a location. If you register your placename is a domain, you are given an ID that is used by your domain server to tell High Fidelity the hostname where this server can be found. If your placename is a location, you provide High Fidelity with the domain as well as path (the local place inside the domain) where you want that place name to send as the result of a lookup. Both domain names and location names are part of a single globally unique list of placenames.

More Details

The web API place lookup (e.g. will return JSON address data allowing you to go to the place you requested. The JSON data will give you either a domain (in the case where the place name corresponds to a specific named domain), or both a domain and a path that will give you the exact location within the metaverse for that place.

Lookups return data allowing the creation of a High Fidelity address, which is used to connect to that location within the metaverse. The returned address is of the form:


can be an internet hostname or IP address (e.g. “”, or “”), or the placename of a domain (e.g. “sandbox”).

The path contains an optional string of local names that are resolved by the local domain server (e.g. “/noeValley/starbucks”), followed by an optional viewpoint containing a position and orientation (view direction), e.g. “/downtown/buildingC/23.2,13.0,1015.3/120,0,0”

The final part of a path optionally contains a viewpoint containing a position and orientation, e.g. “23.2,13.0,1015.3/120,0,0”. The viewpoint is relative to the last place resolved in the path.

Hifi addresses can also include local paths, which is similar to a web server - the path following the domain is resolved by the local domain server, e.g. in the address hifi://GeneralElectric/plantHeadquarters/kitchen , first the placename “GeneralElectric” would be resolved by High Fidelity into a domain or location (domain plus path), and the “/plantHeadquarters/kitchen” would then be resolved by the domain server into a specific position and orientation (AKA viewpoint) within the server.

Domain servers will specify the ‘index path’ for the domain, which is the viewpoint to which users will be sent if there is no path specified when they connect to the domain server.


I see this brings the virtual worlds (domains) together to form the metaverse.

You said

3D positioning of domain servers within larger regions

Trying to visualize this and understand what a region is, it sounds like domains are physically located within a larger space forming part of the metaverse, (like a galaxy or planetary system) but if individual domains are resizable then I cant see it working, unless each domain root is in a relative position to its neighbour and a max size is set. Then the region (galaxy) almost needs no dimensions or boundaries, it can just get as big as people hook on more domains(up to some limits of course), because each domain inst really within anything, just allocated a distance and bearing from a central point in the region.

Or have I got it all wrong?
I get a picture of domains being like planets, regions like galaxies all in the one metaverse, like universe.

If the domains are within a relative distance from each other will we be able to see other domains off in the distance? Perhaps as voxel representations of a domain (planet) and perhaps see distant regions (galaxies)?

So about domains/metaverse, what will we eventually see when we look out from any given domain? just the domain, or beyond? And how does the big white planet beneath us play into this at all?

I registered my domain adriania and got an ID, I can go there by typing adriania into the address bar,
But I tried to set a location at my domain and it said

Your domain is not registered with High Fidelity
You cannot create a global location in an unregistered location.

I am hosting on my home connection, dynamic IP with a (DUC) desktop DNS serving
is the system able to deal with a domain name served this way?


Adrian FYI:


/me momentarily removes head from spinning quaternion land…

@philip - I have a couple of points / questions on this:

Just to confirm, this means that avi names (usernames) will need paying for and renewing annually - is that correct? I only ask, as offering a subscription only option for an avi name seems unusual. Is HiFi going to offer free accounts, or will there only be premium, paid for accounts?

If I’m working on a particularly knotty problem, I don’t want to be found until I’ve solved it! Will it be possible to ‘appear offline’ like on Skype?


  • davedub


@davedub Am sure there free accounts, otherwise you dont get residents.
the people that want a HiFi domain name for there land can/need to pay for that.
But users that just want to be inworld can be free, the pay for clothing and items at some point :wink: Thats what i understand from this.


I think that’s exactly how things will end up. Yes seeing domains in the distance is what we are thinking, a-la-ready player one. The big white planet is the default atmosphere settings, we need to turn that off it doesn’t make sense.

You can’t assign a global location to a domain server until you have registered the domain with us and changed your settings so that your domain server tells us which one it is and gives us its network address when it starts up. More coming on that soon.


No, we are thinking that basic avatar names are free - like google or anything else. But placenames will cost something annually.


Hmmmmm… “basic avatar names,” does that mean there will be premium avatar accounts, too? Say, something that gets a stipend and/or gets a discount on domains or housing?


I think a good option with premium would be a free domain name and/or username. something like that. But whats premium adding compared to just paying for domain name ? if hifi get premium, it need to be really intressting. free land maby. and not some tiny 512sqm :expressionless:


Let me preface these and any further comments by saying that we have thought relatively little about exactly how we will try to make money, so this is work in progress.

We see placenames as being very similar to DNS as a service, so similar pricing and model.

Richardus, you are talking about owning or renting land… that would be something I guess we could charge for in cases where we are hosting the domain servers, but remember that High Fidelity is open source so you can either run your own server (and pay us nothing for that), or buy/rent hosting from someone else.

WRT to ‘premium’ avatars - we haven’t thought at all about that.


This generally makes sense, I think people are getting a tad confused with the reference in the following line

You register these uniques names with High Fidelity (usernames or placenames) for an annual fee, in a manner very similar to registering a domain name.

I think one of the challenges you will face initially is to get people to think more in terms of how the 2D internet works rather than the 3D virtual worlds many people will be familiar with as well as this being a far more open and distributed model than that which many people are familiar with.

A diagram or two may help but generally it makes sense.


@philip , i know. and i like to run my own domain. but there are enough people that done have the skills for doing it. so if the want land the need to rent it from someone. It where just something that come up after @nathan talked about premium :smile:

Its more important to have a stable base and protection system first, so there’s something to really build on. I think the aim for high fidelity is to keep busy with the core and storage / marketplace, not renting land. that gives extra support problems etc. other sure going to fill that hole. (not sure who…)

I think this talk about possible options.


Hmmmm… well, HiFi inc COULD provide something akin to Linden Homes for those that want them. I.e. a parcel or apartment space on a HiFi-owned domain, so people could start out with somewhere to park their av (and to set their home location to TP back to) until they can move onto something bigger later… but yeah, we’re getting off topic.

One thing I AM curious about is… will there be other independent-from-HiFi-owned-servers username systems? That is, will all our user accounts be stored AT, or controlled by, HiFi company servers, or will there be several independent ways of a having user account that can then travel the HiFi metaverse?