HelloVR, a social VR studio, has partnered with Andreessen Horowitz-backed tech company Improbable to deploy distributed operating system SpatialOS in the hope of enabling a new breed of massive-scale, social VR entertainment. In HelloVR’s MetaWorld, players will share a persistent world where they can interact, build and play on PC, Mac and PS4.
In theory, you could build, play in and score the winning goal in your very own Fifa World Cup. Or take part in and win the Singapore Night Race. Or play chess on a giant board.
“We are creating something magical with Improbable,” says Dedric Reid, Founder and CEO of HelloVR. “Creating a social VR experience poses new challenges like head tracking on a massive scale, and networked physics so people can realistically interact in a persistent shared space.” He aims to overcome the technological challenges and open up a “new breed of entertainment”.
I would walk 10,000 (square) miles
MetaWorld will place players in nearly 10,000 square miles of virtual environment in the first-ever massive, physics-based virtual social space of its kind. The scale of the simulated world, and its networked physics, is enabled by SpatialOS.
Simulations built on SpatialOS can harness the power of hundreds or even thousands of cloud servers in a single interwoven fabric. According to the developers, this will allow real-time, high fidelity simulations at levels of scale and detail that were previously impossible. SpatialOS distributes the computing tasks and power required to create the world across thousands of servers and intelligently balances the load. This ensures MetaWorld stays available, smooth-running and persistent across its whole huge area. SpatialOS also allows HelloVR to focus on filling it with objects, games and experiences for people to discover and enjoy.
“HelloVR has designed MetaWorld from the ground up to take full advantage of room-scale VR and 360-degree freedom of movement,” explains Herman Narula, Founder and CEO of Improbable. “That means that, standing inside this massive VR world and looking out at the horizon, there’s something distinctly otherworldly about knowing that ‘out there’ really does exist. Building on SpatialOS means that there are no loading tricks or fake backdrops: if you can see it, you can travel to it, step by step if you want to. And if you make a change to any part of the world, that change persists and can be experienced by everyone else who visits.
“Your actions have lasting consequences; they matter. That’s a key part of making a virtual world feel real.”
MetaWorld VR toolkit
By building MetaWorld with SpatialOS, HelloVR is creating a world where people can build structures using pre-existing MetaBlox or using a simple but powerful toolkit, working on their own or collaborating with friends, and know that they will be able to return to them at any time – there are no “world wipes” to free up server space.
The realistic physics enables a wide range of physical activities and games that can be played with others or enjoyed alone. And the unprecedented size of the environment can be explored by literally walking around in room-scale VR, or using other control methods, without loading screens or artificial gateways. The whole MetaWorld exists in a shared space, populated by all its members, and with each member having their own private “volume” where they can decorate and create whatever and however they want. The computer-generated world is always on and will feature cognitive wildlife with cognitive behaviors controlled by
SkyNet IBM Watson.
Later this year, the studio plans to release an early version of this vast open-world experience. The release, entitled MetaWorld Pioneer Edition, invites early adopters to begin populating and shaping the new world. Visitors will be able to participate in outdoor physics simulations including: camping, fishing, farming, archery, hot air balloon flights, road trips, meditation retreats and more. A suite of creative tools for building and making in MetaWorld will follow next year. MetaWorld Pioneer Edition from HelloVR is currently in closed alpha, and will be available for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR.
Visitors will also be able to experience the world without a VR headset using standard computers and mobile devices.
To sign up for early access, visit Metaworldvr.com