Hey folks! I just wrote up a little guide to setting up a simple reality portal akin to the MULTIVERSE Initiative pioneered by SVVR… my solution’s a little less sophisticated and requires an external service, but it does work and is pretty easy to set up! Feel free to add comments or questions, if you’re interested.
SVVR’s pioneering Reality Portal at work! Picture courtesy SVVR & VRScout
Reality Portals for Fun & Profit
How to set up a Reality Portal in VR
A reality portal is a two way window between virtual realities and the real world. It allows users in virtual reality to converse and interact with people in the real world, and vice versa. Done correctly, a sense of real human contact can be accomplished. This document describes how reality portals work, and how you can set one up for your own classroom, office, meetup or hangout, or in your home. Reality Portals were pioneered by Karl Krantz and others at SVVR. You can learn more about their more sophisticated MULTIVERSE Initiative program, and their technology on VRScout..
How’s it work?
In a nutshell, you need to stream video and audio between the real world and the metaverse. To do this, you need the equivalent of a screen, a camera, a mic and speakers. On the real-world side, this is real hardware in the form of a laptop or desktop PC with a webcam and a video screen. On the VR side, you set up an avatar to act as the ears and mouth of your real world users , and then set up a web entity as a video screen for folks in VR to see the camera view.
Here’s a super easy, step-by-step process that uses Screenleap to use your mobile phone as the video source for your viewers in VR. Streaming the video from your phone camera makes it easy to move the camera around as needed! Screenleap is a service with free and paid options, and we recommend it because it’s very reliable and easy to set up.
Set up your VR environment for your VR users
- Set up or go to a domain where you have edit rights
- Add a Web Entity using the create tool
- Set the URL in the web entity to the Screenleap URL you choose below.
Set up the computer for real world users
- With a laptop or desktop PC, connect your video out to a projector or screen
- Hook up a mic and speaker. Most laptops will do a good job. But if you want really good feedback cancellation, SVVR recommends Jabra 510MS.
- Choose the mic & speaker in your audio settings
- Connect to the domain in step 1 with the PC. You should now be able to talk to and listen to users in the domain
Set up your streaming camera
- Easiest solution out of the box is to install the Screenleap app on your phone and use that for your camera. This will provide an easy to use, portable camera solution which will transmit only video to the Web Entity screen in step 2. Get the Screenleap app on your phone’s app stores, here:
- Set up a screenleap account if you havent yet. If you are going to have a lot of users in world (like, more than 8) you will want to just buy a basic account from them, otherwise if it is small and you are OK with the limit, use the free version.
- Start up the Screenleap app and choose Broadcast Camera. Leave Assign Access Code blank and press Start Broadcast.
- Your phone camera video is now being broadcast to web browsers! Just point your browser to the address at the bottom of your screen. It will be something like:
- Put that URL in the Web Entity in Step 2.
Now people in-world can see your mobile phone’s camera! There’s also a screen mode, where you can show the contents of your phone’s screen rather than camera.
Congratulations! You have become a trans-dimensional cosmic entity!
If you’ve got any ideas, questions or comments feel free to add them below.