(Can also be moved to the “Suggestions and Requests” Forum)
Hi everyone !
I’m a science-fiction author and Blender user, and I’ve been working for a few years on an open-source project called “Game Master dit GM” https://game-master-dit-gm.deviantart.com (which I’m still translating). I really started getting interested in Highfidelity when I saw that independent developers can create new features via Worklist (and get paid for it). In my project, the idea is quite similar : Because artists who want to contribute can be sponsored… Until the project can generate enough revenue.
Since my project is open-source, I’ve already started thinking about its video game version. That’s when I started wondering how it would be possible to create the ultimate experience, by integrating some new features into Highfidelity : The “Ignore Me” zones and “Do Not Disturb” zones (that I’ll talk about in detail later).
However, I must point out that I WILL USE Highfidelity in the near future … When I’ll have enough money to invest in all those expensive VR equipment (and here I’m not even talking about the current cost to setup a server for intensive use).
Could we be able to create video games in Highfidelity ?
That’s actually the big question, because HiFi already allows you to do lots of interesting things (if you have decent VR equipment). But it’s not a video game platform, right now it’s a “SOCIAL virtual reality platform”, so it is difficult to know how far it will be possible to go. However, certain features allow us to be optimistic : Like it’s already the case with the integration of the Limitless speech recognition tool, which by its simplicity of use, will surely make the developers want to creat things that look a lot like what we can see in some video games.
Here is a concrete example of what Highfidelity could do :
It is already possible to create virtual coaches such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE3hEKbDF3E in HiFi. However, it’s still impossible to create a serious game that will take full advantage of all its the features.
Nowadays, the virtual coaches in serious games can ask players to collaborate, so that each player can do some part of the work. Collaboration between users is a key feature of HiFi, but creating complex experiences with NPC remains out of reach (for reasons I will mention later).
For example, it is currently very difficult to design an experience where the user can talk to a NPC alone (without anyone being able to listen to that conversation). It would be an important feature, as some studies show that it is easier to talk about sensitive topics with a virtual avatar that won’t judge you (at least, if its creator didn’t install any backdoor ).
In other cases where chatbots are simply unsuitable, two users could meet in a place where they would not be disturbed. Speaking of which, HiFi should really include a feature to support P2P communication between a few users : In order to guarantee greater confidentiality, but especially because in this case it would require less work on the server side. Another good point: There wouldn’t be any “uncanny valley” problem, since the user would know that there is a real human behind the avatar.
How to do it ?
HiFi servers not only relay the gestures and voice of users, they also control lots of things, for security and privacy reasons. And it’s thanks to this control that users can, if they wants to, avoid being overwhelmed by all kinds of notifications.
The control of the server may in some cases make it possible to stream different content for certain user groups… And for talented developers, this could lead to some very interesting things.
In the the blog post “Taking Preventative Action on Nearby Users”, we can see how easily users can create an “alternative reality” (or rather some kind of “parallel reality”), free of certain behaviors that may not be very appropriate. In that “parallel reality”, the user can for example decide to not receive certain information such as the voice of anonymous users, or not to see objects that may be counterfeit (soon possible thanks to the digital certificate).
Such feature could be used to create “Ignore Me” zones or “Do Not Disturb” zones, where some users wouldn’t see exactly the same version of the virtual world than everyone else (in fact, only administrators could see it as a whole).
And at the end, Highfidelity could really become some kind of “Nested Simulation” (A Dream Within A Dream :)… Where it would be much easier to create real video games.
The concept of "Ignore Me" zone :(a very clear term which doesn't allow any ambiguity, but in reality things could be a little more blurred)
When one or more users enter that type of zone, they cross the border of a parallel world. By entering the zone, the user automatically triggers a script that will close it after a few seconds : So he will become invisible from the outside.
Looking at the way HiFi is currently working, we could say that at this very moment a server script starts some kind of instance … But an instance that isn’t necessarily totally isolated from the rest of the domain : Because depending on the design of the place, the user in the “Ignore Me” zone could continue to see and hear what is happening outside of it.
Such feature could allow users to purchase an apartment in a potentially infinite building (it will soon be possible thanks to the new “Highfidelity Currency”). The user would be able to invite some friends, once the apartment is customized : Either by allowing all people of the friends list (or a group) to join the instance, or by creating a permanent URL to the instance (but this method could cause some problems).
Since it’s always possible to know your own location in the virtual world, teleporting via URL may not be the best option… Unless such a teleportation automatically brings the users into an entrance hall (or any type of waiting room), which will allow them to select the instance they wants to join.
Here, it would be interesting to have an instance that wouldn’t be totally disconnected from the rest of the domain, so that users could see what’s happening outdoors just by looking out the windows.
The concept of "Do Not Disturb" zone :
If we want to simplify things, we can say that whoever enters a SIMPLE “Do Not Disturb” zone can be seen by any users, but is behind a totally hermetic transparent wall (which can deactivated at any time).
That type of zone could also be configured as a “privacy bubble”, where users inside it could hide their names from those of the outside, and use P2P communications (if they are not too many).
I sincerely believe that if Highfidelity decides to integrate this kind of features, content creators will be able to create very sophisticated experiences… Without the need to invest outstanding amounts of money.
We all hope that VR will reach new heights in the next few years, yet the number of VR users is growing very slowly. Users don’t want to invest in expensive devices that they will rarely use, and small video game and entertainment companies still fear to invest in projects that could attract only a short audience… I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m pretty sure this vicious circle will continue until someone proves that it’s possible to do great things in VR even with little money.
The ideas of “Ignore Me” zone and “Do Not Disturb” zone could go in this direction (like the integration of the Limitless speech recognition tool or the Highfidelity Currency) : Convince people that Highfidelity will become (as soon as possible) a really a great environment for all kind of VR experiences.
Looking forward to hearing your ideas