Seattle-based Against Gravity released an enormous update to Rec Room that adds clubhouses you can customize and have friends visit even when you’re not online.
The update represents a huge step for the cross-platform app available for Rift, Vive, PlayStation VR and Windows-based VR headsets (through Steam). Now, visitors to Rec Room can express themselves more and drive additional creativity. Creators can also connect their rooms together using doors, so each room can become part of an interconnected system.
Rec Room is the latest VR app to get a huge update this week. Yesterday Bigscreen issued its most significant update since launch and the day before Mindshow added sharing. Each of these apps is free-to-use and represents some of the most exciting work being done with VR software design. It might be easy to miss because of the cartoonish art styles employed by these startups, but each startup is developing an innovative and fun social application that works incredibly well despite the limitations of current VR headsets. VR is currently held back by high costs, relatively low resolutions, limited body tracking and a player base split across so many headsets and disconnected virtual worlds that it can be lonely to explore a virtual world all on your own. These startups are erasing that loneliness and innovating rapidly to make their software both increasingly fun and useful.
Here are some details from Against Gravity providing some background for this update and how the new clubhouse features work:
- We’ve had a lot of players asking for the ability to save all of the awesome things they’ve been making in Rec Room. Up until this point there was no way to save a really interesting item you had created, a favorite room, or custom activity. Besides parking your headset in that room and never logging out. Which we did see quite a few people resort to.
- With this update we’re taking a big step towards a world where more and more of the interesting things you’re doing and discovering in Rec Room are created by players. We wanted to start with enabling players to create great social spaces where they can feel at home with their friends and communities. In future updates we’ll be adding support for a much wider set of use cases. This means more features to better support rich player designed games, a greater variety of player hosted events, and improving the ease of use of our creative tool set.
- Saved Rooms Alpha – You can now choose to save and recall any custom room you create! This includes placement of objects, Maker Pen creations, whiteboard drawings, photos, etc.
- Here’s how to do it: Open your watch and tap “Custom Rooms”, then “Create”, then make sure you’re creating the room in Sandbox mode. Once you’re in the room, make some changes then open your watch again, tap “This Room”, then “Save”. You’ll be prompted to type a name and description for your room. Now whenever you return to this room, it will load the saved version!
- You can also restore the saved version at any time by tapping “Restore” in “This Room”
- Saved rooms have a unique ^roomname. We use the ‘^’ symbol to mean “room”. So if you see us say something like “come to ^partytime” that means you should come to a room called “partytime”. Every saved room must have a unique ^roomname (it’s kind of like a URL).
- If you know the ^roomname and you want to go to the room, do this: Open your watch and tap “Custom Rooms”, then “Search”. Type the name and hit Search. You should see the room appear… tap the little button to go to it!
- Saved rooms are public by default (anyone who knows the ^roomname can join, and your room will appear in the Custom Room Browser if someone is in it), but you can set your room to be private if you want. This makes it possible to create a clubhouse, for example, that is only accessible by you and our friends, which has been a popular request at our Q&As. Expect us to add additional features soon for more/easier control over access, and maybe the ability to boot directly to your clubhouse (bypassing the Dorm).
- Note that you (the creator) don’t have to be present for people to visit your saved room (if you made it public)…
- This is a very new system that will take a while to settle in, so expect bugs and weirdness!
- Please be aware that we will continue to update Rec Room at our usual breakneck pace, and some updates might break saved rooms. We obviously don’t want that to happen, and we’ll try to avoid it as much as possible, but we have to be clear that it almost certainly will happen from time to time.
- We also reserve the right to delete inactive rooms (e.g., no-one has visited for > one month) and release the ^roomname. It’s way too early in Rec Room history to guarantee permanent persistence, so you need to be actively maintaining your room for it to keep working! This is not (yet) a “build once and forget” system.
Against Gravity is looking for feedback on the new features.