Why are big worlds so magical?


As many have written about in other threads and in the discussions about concurrency records, there is something undeniably magical about the appeal of a single shared space - one in which you can walk or fly and encounter many people and perhaps also their property. As many have pointed out, ‘rooms’ or otherwise non-contiguous systems miss that target.

I’d love to ask you guys to take a crack at answering WHY these kinds of spaces are so compelling? How would you describe it?

This is something I am thinking about in planning what should be next for High Fidelity.



I think it comes down to how humans process memories and tie them into a place. Like getting up at night and being able to find the bathroom in total darkness… An imprint of your hallway etc exists in your mind… This is how our brains try to make sense of VR, spatial memory.

It is also nice to feel like you part of something bigger.

It’s very hard for indie devs and treams to do big worlds. the density and variety of content is often key to feeling like a vr space is interesting, but again is challenging for a small shop.


I wanted to do communal building in here since I had a plot on the strip
Problem is people are big on saying what they want to make and small on doing any work .
Anything u make they can do better
They never do
So now I just antisocially build
Keeps me outta trouble

But re the question
I like a domain I can loose myself in and explore
Go check out the vankh domain
By @Alezia.Kurdis


I like the realtime side of a world / domain.
You can test something and see what happens,
WIthout waiting for things to compile, load, save etc.


these are great thoughts, very helpful, already things I hadn’t thought about. Keep them coming… I want to keep reading.


Humans have an innate need to connect. It is akin to an instinct, imho. The feeling at the load tests is one of being part of something important and meaningful and big.
I love that I can see people I know and those I haven’t yet met interspersed through the crowd. It’s like being at a community event in my first life neighborhood, where I know I will run into people I know. That’s nice.


I was to say the same thing… except that I can’t loose my-self in the domain I create… so I wish I could walk from it … or cross an ocean or the outerspace to discover those of the other people. Right now I can only go to the Travel Agency (goto app) and pick a destination…
There is not too much new continent to discover in real… It’s probably why we would like to have this ability in Virtual.

That said, the current model is far to be bad, we have a significant amount of space.


When I go on a vacation in a new city, I almost always allocate a day to just wander around aimlessly. Maybe I’ll look up what districts are worth generally wandering around, but that’s about it. I mean, yeah, I could look up the “top 20 places in Prague” ahead of time, but I doubt “that one awesome, independent bookshop in the back alley” or “the field I ran across a bunch of people flying drones from some club” would have been listed.

To me, the appeal of a shared online space is similar. It gives you the chance to just meander and stumble across things you might otherwise have missed, and encourages interactions that are unplanned to a greater extent.


I think it is the human element, its what we do, As I mentioned it this post nearly 2 years ago humans are gregarious creatures, we want to go where there are people. simple as that.
Facebook had a million users before it had any whistles and bells because it was a place people could connect with each other.
VRChat was popular because it was popular and for no other reason, that might sould like a hollow statement but it speaks to the essence of what people do, they look for other people. They want to do what other people do and they want to be with their friends.
It almost doesnt matter about the experience (exaggeration to make a point). it matters that people can easilly come in and find other people and communicate with them, and the wonderful immersive 3d experience is the bonus that people will talk about coming out.
The load tests currently being conducted are working towards this, keep doing that, the minute you stop the people will stop coming. Until there is a critical mass of regular users that come in after the load tests.
You are on the right track.


Big worlds add to the illusion of reality. When there are no apparent boundaries our minds equate this with real world… otherwise the immersion is not quite as complete.


The edge of the world is indeed an immersion killer. The worst case is when you get behind the decor and feel the trickery.
To avoid to our visitor to reach the edge of the world we are forced to confine it… on an island, surrounded by cliffs impossible to climb, by very deep canyons, void, infinit land of desolation and nothing-to-see-there, inside a building without any door of open on a walled garden…

How large do you prefer your prison? That is the question.
This is why big world are interesting, because you can go “there”.

Personnaly 32km X 32km is not bad… it would help to have feature like visibility zones to help us to build large be keep it optimal. (because the polygon limit is the ennemi here)
We could even build on a 75km circumference sphere if we can get the radial gravity (that’s start to be an interesting size for prison)


So true… Many open worlds use procedural generation which gives us the impression of infinite worlds. Why can’t the same be done in HiFi? Content can be rezed relative to the avatars position which could simulate a really big world. The burden would be on the builders to ensure there was enough content in the world, however since it is proceduraly generated certain objects could be duplicated.


You mean a kind of optional super-world where you can position your domain on it, providing Ground/water/atmosphere/sunlight/outerspace ?

And possibly see the neighbor’s domains?


That would be excellent. Of specific note is the use of “optional” in your comment, as people like choice rather than being pushed down or route or another. Various options though would be great to allow bigger worlds and spaces to be put together.

At the moment HiFi is like a collection of parallel universes. They all exist at the same time, but not in the same space. People can teleport from place to place, but not travel there.

What would be nice is if you could choose to have your region geographically associated to one of more other regions. This geographical association could then either be:

  • locations on a flat plane. The space in between the regions could be procedurally generated based on certain parameters such as ocean, desert, mountains, mixes. This would still lead to edges but give a larger space to work with.
  • a world (eg. sphere). This would work similar to above but without the immersion breaking edges. Essentially the flat plane would wrap so walking far enough in any direct bringing you back into the opposite side of the plane.
  • purely relative 3d coorindates. This could work for doing regions as planets or floating flying islands. And like above there could be some settings for how the space between the regions is handled, eg. star field, clouds etc.

This could then be taken a step further by allowing collections to be associated to each other, by similar collection types. So you could have a number of planar collections collated together onto a world, or a number of worlds associated by 3d coordinates to create a planetary system.

These options would allow creation of many different complexities of world and people could get together to create larger connected spaces, or an individual/company could run multiple connected servers to service their needs.

Anyway, that was way too much typing for me. I better get back to work :slight_smile:


That’s an interesting idea but it would require some permission and there would need to be some kind of snapshot from the relative position so that things could be seen in the distance. Not sure how it would work.


I like this idea very much. Very difficult on the programming side of things…


Just find out that, on Earth, the curvature of the planet hides a human being height at a distance of 16 km. It’s probably enough to not feel psychologically embarrassed to run naked on our own local domain. :wink:


I’m not sure it actually requires a huge domain to create the illusion of space… Look at games like skyrim, when you go into a tunnel dungeon it’s a separate domain. The difference is the ‘portal’ to get to new areas, clicking on the tablet app is not immersive, opening a door or walking down a hallway is.


Why are big worlds so magical? - in VR we get a true sense of scale. The bigger something is, or the more enveloped we perceive ourselves to be; the stronger the effect of presence, but on the other side of the argument, people want people around.

My solution to diverging problems? - create very large plausible areas that have truly high population density. The first time I saw Mt. Rainier it blew my mind. It took up so much of my field of view I was just awe struck. I had a similar thing happen to me when I stood next to a large cruise ship for the first time. However, that was a human-made creation. In VR we are limited with our field of view (currently) so what I do is build things that are plausibly large, and place the user in a ‘sweet-spot’ near said object to give them an internal trigger that hints to them, "… this could be happening … " when something so large takes up a lion-share of your field of view, your mind FORCES you to accept it as real. At a minimum it forces the user to acknowledge it’s presence…

It’s just enough to do the trick with today’s technology. Go wireless and let someone walk around a 20’ by 20’ with foot and finger tracking and you have lightning in a bottle. No doubt about it.

-my two cents-


You have to start with the avatar and its limitations. Uncomfortable inside small spaces. Uncomfortable when sight lines blocked. Big spaces work better. The avatar is patterned on the human, and we like to orientate ourselves with landmarks. We like to situate ourselves in a space.
I’m looking around HF quite a lot these days, planning to try a space of my own. The ones that make me feel the most comfortable are the ones with a horizon. Even if it’s a fake horizon. Personally, I prefer an ocean, like the ocean that unites all of Second Life. It suggests possibilities, you can incorporate it into builds. What I like least is a door into another space. I feel like a bug in a bottle, so I would limit that in any build I did.
The most important thing about a big space for me is sound. Put in a sound file for a tree, and all of a sudden you can see every leaf, you can feel the shade. So for me, wandering down a road and hearing crickets fade in the distance is a big deal. It emphasizes the time taken to pass through the space, and it’s also another kind of landmark.
So I guess I would say, the bottom line is Nature. As close to the natural world as possible. If the space must be limited, it should be given the impression of being limitless. For me, that’s what makes it immersive.