SculptrVR, Oculus Medium and Oculus Toybox are the three most enjoyable experiences I’ve had the chance to try in VR.
The latter two have been offered as examples of what’s possible with Oculus Touch, the forthcoming tracked hand controllers from Facebook. Those should be coming later this year, but SculptrVR is available now on the HTC Vive for $20 and recently was updated to include multiplayer in a beta version.
“Creating is hard when you’re alone,” said Nathan Rowe, the lead developer on SculptrVR.
Rowe is right. I’ve opened up Google’s Tilt Brush software on multiple occasions only to find myself alone and devoid of a creative thought in my head. That didn’t happen, though, in a recent trip through SculptrVR. I got the same sense of joy in this software that I got out of Medium and Toybox.
In case you’re unfamiliar, Medium is a creative tool for sculpting in VR and Toybox is a playground where you can fire silly guns or shrink yourself down super small. Both experiences are made incredibly compelling with social integration, so you’re not alone in either world. Someone else’s head and hand movements are shown so you get the sense there’s actually someone there with you. A multiplayer beta version of SculptrVR, available now on Steam, essentially crosses the creativity of Medium with the playfulness of Toybox.
I met up with a friend in SculptrVR and we spent 20 minutes building things together, teleporting and resizing ourselves to become super small or super big. Very quickly we found the rockets and started firing those at each other and the things we created. Then we built a house together and I exported it as a 3D object that I could get printed. I teleported outside, transformed into a giant and fired a single enormous rocket to destroy the house where my tiny little friend was hiding inside. IT WAS A BLAST.
Recently, SculptrVR underwent a major upgrade to its creativity engine that should allow a couple people to create in the space for much longer without coming up against limits. This, in turn, is allowing the developers to introduce multiplayer. It’s been in development for a long time, but without the improvements to the engine a couple people could max out what’s possible to show within minutes. With the upgrade, that’s not as much of a problem.
The Las Vegas-based developers of SculptrVR are clearly onto something. Google knows social VR is incredibly compelling and Facebook recently showed a jaw-dropping extension of its social VR technology at its developer conference. Facebook also offers social trivia, watching movies together and a Software Development Kit. VR is often better together, and SculptrVR is proof of that.
The feature is available in a beta branch of SculptrVR. The developers are expecting to release the update to all buyers of the software in a week or so.