Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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Philip Rosedale's New Virtual World to Launch With Oculus Rift Integration "Out of the Box"

Philip Rosedale High Fidelity Oculus Rift

Philip Rosedale in High Fidelity via Oculus Rift

Second Life creator Philip Rosedale is making a new virtual world through his new startup High Fidelity (which is quite impressive, as I said last January), and here's an important thing to know about it now: It's already integrated with Oculus Rift and will launch that way: "High Fidelity runs on the Rift 'out of the box'," Philip tells me by e-mail. "It's very straightforward. We have a couple Alpha users with Oculus using High Fidelity now, and hundreds more with Oculus (Oculi?) on waitlist." Here's the Alpha waitlist sign-up he mentions.

Speaking of which, this is what Philip says about the Facebook acquisition of Oculus Rift everyone's talking about today:

"It's going to be a great time for Virtual Reality! Facebook acquisition confirms that the experience delivered by the Rift (and other devices) is ready for large scale adoption. We've know that for a while, having been able to experience the various versions of the Oculus first-hand."

I haven't experienced Philip's new world via the Rift, but I did get an early demo, and think it's a strong contender for leading virtual world integrated with that VR system. Perhaps most impressive is the solution Philip and his team have created to minimize lag and latency. It's so freaking brilliant I think it'll probably be imitated by a lot of other companies, both for MMOs and beyond. But with Oculus Rift, low latency is going to be key. For shared virtual reality to work, it really needs to have, you know, high fidelity.

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Running on a MacBook Pro...right on.

Ajax Manatiso

It will be interesting to see where this leads, as at first look this seems so uber-geeky it will make the fat guys in momma's basement look cool


"Philip Rosedale's New Virtual World to Launch With Facebook Integration "Out of the Box"

Pep (FIFY!)


This technology makes me think of the Ellen Jamesians from John Irving's "The World According to Garp" Ya know, those women who cut their tongue out.

The Oculus Rift is like losing your senses to stand in solidarity with Hellen Keller.

This technology is like a can of human "Raid" to everyone around you.

There's only so much disconnect that sane people are going to tolerate from those around them.


High Fidelity still sounds nice, but I'd like to see something practical soon.

When will we see the voxel building tools; will they be something custom or licensed like Voxel Farm which EQ Next is using?

How will traditional polygonal modelling, texturing and animating fit in with the voxel stuff?

What're the details of the virtual currency and economy? I guess we can assume it'll be largely like L$ though if Philip sticks to his guns. He did similar with Coffee + Power.

How will the "world" be partitioned up? Since we have human avatars by default, I assume terrestrial, meaning the land abstractions again. Do we pay for land? Does our peer-to-peer assisting in simulating the world afford us an allotment of land or whatever the partitions are?

It would be nice to hear about some of these things soon. The constant talk about the technology underlying and attached to High Fidelity reminds me of the Steve Jobs quote:

"One of the things I’ve always found is that you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it. And I’ve made this mistake probably more than anybody else in this room. And I got the scar tissue to prove it."

It's starting to seem like High Fidelity is experimenting with and promising all of this technology but has yet to establish what's in it for the customer. Sure, for a niche amount of us fiddlers the technology and customer experience is one in the same, but just as in SL a majority could care less about how the pixels got on the screen, the majority won't care about things like latency and what hundreds of dollars in peripherals work with High Fidelity out of the box.

What does it do for anyone as a free or paid install out the box?

Gwyneth Llewelyn

I have this strange feeling that Philip is not interested in developing a new virtual world. Instead, he's developing technology that allows others to create their own virtual worlds instead. Something a bit along the lines of Unity. He will just license the technology to whomever might be interested in it. In that case, one wonders who his customers might be. Two, of course, come immediately to mind: Linden Lab and... Facebook.

We'll see, I might be wrong on this, but it's just HF's own website and all the news surrounding it are all about the tech and never about the world. That should ring a few alarms...

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