Text chat that can work in VR... sort of


There’s this idea that VR means voice chat and nothing else. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Look to how early online console games solved the no-keyboard communication issue. Phantasy Star Online, the first online RPG for consoles, featured gameplay that depended heavily on communication with other players - despite being designed to be played entirely with a Dreamcast controller and no keyboard. You could use a keyboard, but it wasn’t necessary, thanks to an incredibly innovative in-game “Word Select” system where you could choose from a huge selection of preset words (that link does not show all of the words, BTW - the full list was much bigger). You could string together many words or phrases together quickly in seconds to create more complex sentences. All without a keyboard. You could say everything from short common phrases like “Hello”, “Good to see you”, to personal questions like “What is your favorite food?” (Food was a word you could select from many others)

The best part of this system was that it auto-translated messages for you depending on your language setting (the preset messages were included in many different languages by the devs, and you were simply shown the one for your language). You could talk and get to know people from all over the world without even knowing the same language. Thanks to that, I actually made several Japanese friends in-game, learned what their hobbies are, what they did for a living, etc, despite not knowing a lick of Japanese.

VR seems like a good opportunity to bring a system like this back. Such a system would allow VR users to communicate with desktop textchat users without using voice. I don’t think I need to re-iterate why voice is not always optimal or even physically possible for every user.


My issue with the ‘VR excludes chat’ thing is that it assumes that VR should be just as limited as RL.

I already have a feature-limited RL. I don’t want another one! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


For real, I’ve seen a worrying amount of people on another forum say that flight shouldn’t be implemented into social VR platforms because “that doesn’t happen in the real world.” :roll_eyes:

Can’t help but wonder what sort of horrible event must’ve happened in these people’s lives to destroy their capacity for imagination and wonder. Maybe they simply never developed one.

If the VR metaverse ends up being just a copy of the real one, with all its limitations, why on earth would I need VR. I can just turn off my PC and go outside.


If we’re vr only lets loose the desktop mode
If we’re keeping desktop mode why can’t we make hi-fi user friendly

Middle way would be a vr touch typing training program
Can’t look at your fingers in vr

But hifi is a vr bowser Judas they don’t have text chat
True but they don’t have voice either
So no text or voice seems like the sensible way forward


HiFi seems to want all the drawbacks of a web browser

but none of the benefits. That’s what I’m seeing right now.


Who needs to look?


With finger tracking from a LeapMotion or a hand controller with appropriate sensors you might not even need the physical unit above.

Disclaimer - I haven’t used the TAP, but I do use an Infogrip BAT, which presumably works on a similar chord system. My own experience is that a chord set is no harder to learn than the positions of all the keys on a matrix keyboard were when I first started using computers.

You can even roll your own: http://home.exetel.com.au/statelessmachine/keypad.html :smile:


If you have an AR headset you can even use a real keyboard - Bluetooth connection to untethered headset.


Or put coded marker dots on the corners of a real keyboard so it can be tracked from a HMD camera and perfectly lined up with a virtual image of one in-world :grin:

Answer for some of Social VR problems?

I also have a little “chatpad” module for my X-box controller in anticipation of the occasional need to text while VR-ing. (I have nothing against voice, even as the only first-class communication method, but text is just too useful at times to discount as a secondary channel.)


I’ve been meaning to look into this after some other projects. I guess I can better bump it in my idea list.

What I was thinking was just a simple chat system with messages appearing in the corner of the window and fading out after a set period of time. Users could then bring up an input window to type in a message or to view chat history.

To hep out VR users, the tablet would be the window, but still keep the messages thing on the side, which will now appear as an overlay. This means a user doesn’t need to keep the tablet out to see chat and can use it for other things.


We have all made a text chat, if its not in the default scripts, its a pointless endevor because noone will use it.


Make a ‘community client scripts’ default loader script manages all our favorite versions, put that on the marketplace to use as a single source for consistent text chat and better edit.js to name a few.

It’s like a preset idea… could have different ones for different use cases.



I think it would be interesting to explore what can be done with such a ‘word suggester’.
Maybe it could suggest words by searching on our own chat log… the more we chat better would be the suggested words.

For sure we need something faster and easier to chat in VR rather than just a virtual keyboard.


Or in translation, “We would really really like SWIPE” please.

(PS, I’d totally be for that)


Yes! Let’s have HiFi be geolocated. that way people near each other will be near each other. … :thinking: and you have to travel the world in RL to go places. :stuck_out_tongue:


Just made a little test:

It returned a list of words as buttons based the log of a conversation (which is here only with yourself)
In theory, more there is text better it must be.

This certainly buggy and not performant… (It would have to be re-coded in a better way)