Social VR is a bit of a buzzword used to refer to VR experiences that allow you to talk and interact with other people while inside the virtual world. Games like Rec Room do a great job of making that fun, Altspace gives you a ton of features and possibilities, but there are very few purely social VR experiences that focus on little else other than simply allowing you to exist and communicate with other people inside an HMD. The most notable and polished of which is likely vTime.
In vTime, users join VR versions of chat rooms. Instead of sitting at a computer screen, staring at a box with words on a flat monitor, you’re sitting around campfire, or floating in outer space, while you talk with other users, all represented by fully-3D avatars, rather than a string of letters denoting a screenname. You choose a location, an actual virtual space, rather than a chat room.
Today, a new update titled “New vYou” for vTime is launching that’s focused on celebrating the diversity of the program’s user base (which spans nearly 200 countries and over 300,000 downloads) and allows for more detailed and customizable avatars than ever before. Rather than just choosing from a handful of pre-made avatars or face options, this update really expands the possibilities.
“This update, prioritised by us following extensive user feedback, celebrates difference, by allowing our community to bring more of themselves into virtual reality,” explains vTime Managing Director Clemens Wangerin, in a press release. “The new system sees vTime become truly diverse and inclusive, allowing us to see the faces and uniqueness of each of our users – something that has been missing from the wider social VR community, until now.”
As a complete overhaul, the update is quite impressive. Everything from your avatar’s body shape, clothing, skin tone, age, hair, eyebrows, eye shape, eye color, nose, lips, cheeks, ears, jaw, and facial hair can all be adjusted. And each of your adjustments are entirely gender-agnostic, ensuring you can accurately capture yourself inside the application.
The update brings features that are, in some ways, similar to the customization offered in Bigscreen — the social desktop streaming app for virtual reality. The biggest difference, however, is that not only is vTime specifically and exclusively focused on social interactions, but it also has full-bodied avatars wearing clothes and offers a more immersive and lifelike environment.
vTime is currently available for free on Gear VR, Cardboard for Android, and the Oculus Rift DK2 and CV1. Soon, it will also be brought over to HTC Vive, Cardboard for iOS, Daydream, and PlayStation VR.