#172: Social VR is a feature, not a platform. How the VR Chat SDK can bring social features to your VR experience

Graham Gaylor & Jesse Joudrey have been working on VR Chat for well over a year now, and they’ve been consistently providing social spaces for some early experimentation with Social VR experiences. They talk about some of the latest features that they’ve been implementing in their platform, and what they’re doing to help make their dreams of the metaverse a reality.

Jesse says that social interaction within a VR experience a feature, not the final destination of a VR environment. More and more people will want to be doing or seeing something specific within the VR experience, and so that’s part of the reason why VR Chat has created an SDK with a set of unity scripts to help easily add social experiences to your VR experience.

grahamgaylorThey’re also interesting in being able to link virtual experiences together as well and helping to do some early experiments in building out the metaverse using tools like Unity that are capable of creating highly-performant and interactive immersive environments.

One of the requests that people have had with VR Chat was to be able to know when their friends were online, and so Jesse and Graham have been implementing user accounts so that people can have friends lists. They also have a whole system for being able to create rooms within VR Chat, and whomever creates the room has a set of moderator privileges in terms of whether it’s hidden, open, and access only given to a white list of people or friends of the moderator. They’re starting to implement the technological foundation in order to have the type of chat room environments that were described in Ready Player One novel. I think that this is going to be really, really powerful to be able to invite people over to your personalized VR chat environment, much like you might invite people to come hang out at your home.

Some of the other features that VR Chat has implemented was being able to have different types of games and interactions while hanging out socially. For example, Jesse created a race track where you can ride around in a car with four other people while racing other people. But these types of physical proximity constraints start to replicate taking a road trip with friends, but in a way that’s super silly and a bit absurd. Jesse says that one of the biggest lessons and reactions of creating experiences like this is that people tend to laugh a lot more together.

In the future, I foresee that Virtual Reality has the capability to allow us to play with a way that we don’t tend to do in real life. It’s going to break us out of socialized patterns for how we normally connect and relate to each other, and I think there’s a lot of rich opportunities for finding new and fun ways for people to play and spend time together whether they live across the country or if it’s just something that people decide to do within a room-scale VR environment or VR arcade.

For more information, be sure to check out VRChat and drop by one of their upcoming events.

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