PC VR headset owners can start a band in VR with music-making app EXA: The Infinite Instrument.
The added multiplayer functionality in a new Early Access build gives players the ability to share music-making sessions with others around the world. One player hosts a room and EXA keeps layouts synced for the various instruments as well as “items, playback states, metronome, and live ringer events.”
“The room can be made available publicly, can be hidden until a player enters the room name, or can be limited to your local network (LAN). The room creator can even put players into a ‘spectator’ mode by disabling some of their room permissions,” developer Zach Kinstner wrote in an update explaining the change.
Calling All Bands
A video further explains the syncing functionality and how it might work better over lower latency conditions. Players can talk to one another and record loops in any network condition — arranging instruments, adding sounds and building up compositions together. Loops, however, transfer to other players upon completion. That process could take several seconds for detailed loops with lots of data to transfer, according to Kinstner. Musicians can add live sounds on top of the loops via their shared instruments — just like a real-life band — in extremely low latency sessions, like over a local area network.
“When latency is low, each player’s ringer events can transfer fast enough for other players to hear the full ringer sounds at the correct time,” Kinstner explains. “In these conditions, you could conceivably play a live performance in EXA, with everyone playing their virtual instruments at the same time, rather than sharing loops. With higher latency levels, you won’t hear the full sound from a ringer event. For example, if an event reaches you 80 milliseconds late, you’ll miss the first 80 milliseconds of that ringer’s sound. As latency increases, it becomes more difficult for live performers to stay in sync with each other, and players should collaborate using recorded loops instead.”
EXA lists support for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.