Some thoughts by Jessyka Richard
Last updated October 9, 2014
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Right now, Second Life is the only shared virtual reality space that I'm interested in, so I'm only really able to speak about my thoughts about the future of VR based on that. I know there are a few other virtual worlds out there, but none have the popularity or user base of SL. Please excuse any typos, run on sentences, general bad grammar and the like. I'm really just collecting my thoughts to maybe revisit in a blog post, should I ever get a blog going again.
There are many new vworld platforms on the horizon a year later in 2015.
In the next virtual world, you will have many ways to authenticate. Where Second Life has you log in with a specific first and last name (or more recently, a username), the next virtual world will have many ways to authenticate. Most likely, connecting with Facebook will be popular and easy. I will probably not do this as I don't like Facebook, even though I have one. I have a feeling that as virtual reality becomes more common, people will be able to authenticate using more services. You'll eventually be able to log in using your Instagram account if you want.
There will be no need for 'alt' accounts. When you log in, you'll be presented with a choice of avatars, both those you've created and those provided by the service. Generally, ones provided by the service can be customized and saved so next time you log in you can use your custom avatar. Of course, you can also log in with no avatar and customize from scratch. The service will probably decide what 'no avatar' looks like. Maybe a ghostly cloud similar to unrezzed avatars in SL now, or maybe a giant question mark with cartoon hands and feet.
The avatar you choose will also determine your profile information. Hopefully profiles stay similar to how they work in SL now. You can show off your best self-portrait and have a space for a breif paragraph explaining who you are to whoever will read it. The ability to share your favorite locations through your profile would also still be appreciated, even though most people use their picks in SL to further explain themselves and the people they know. If landmarks function similar to how they do now in SL, being able to stick your favorites into a 'shared landmarks' folder would be ideal. When someone views your profile, they can also see all your shared landmarks and you can save your most favorite for your picks.
Talking about other avatars in ones picks is very popular. This should probably be fleshed out. Adding a 'my friend' type section where you can post your favorite picture of you and your bestie and share your favorite funny quotes would be a good idea.
Once HMDs become mainstream, people will start having rooms in their houses specifically for using their HMD. Many people have 'offices', or 'computer rooms', or 'game rooms' in their house. A 'VR room' is pretty much the same. Your computer is in there. But there is also a small camera in each corner of the room to assist with triagulating your position within whatever game you're playing. There may also be some target markings on the walls to help triangulate as well. I would like to build a room in a virtual world that lines up with the furnashings of a room I have in real life. That way if I move around the RL room, my avatar moves around in the virtual space. If I sit on the couch in my RL VR room, my avatar sits on a couch in the virtual room. The next step would be to work in some holographic projectors so I could take off my HMD and see my in-world friends projected into my RL room, but they can still see me moving around because of the wall mounted cameras.
When the Wii came out, people went crazy for the bowling game included with Wii sports. Everyone knows how to bowl and the controls are second nature. It's also a good way to show off the physics engine of your game. The first person to script a good looking bowling game will probably make a lot of money off it in the next virtual world.
Right now, there is only one avatar skeleton and it's designed for a human avatar. If you want to have a shape other than human, you have to use animations to contort your body into position. If that shape has more than 4 limbs, you have to animate prims using a script or rig more than one limb of the avatar to the bones. In the next virtual world, a new content creator will be born. In my mind, I call them 'the boner', but I'm sure we can come up with a better name than that. The boner will create new kinds of avatar bones for other creators to rig their meshes to. Different sized humans, like child sized avatars, or humans with different proportions like little people (dwarfs/midgets) will probably be the first to roll out, but soon lots of different bones will be created. Dog, cat, and horse skeletons will probably show up next, and then skeletons with more than 4 limbs like bugs. Perhaps special bones will be created for car and plane type avatars.
must wear provided avatar to enter the space, but the avatar has scripted customization options
In order to enter a 'corporate experence' (which will be branded with a name like 'Diet Coke World', [ or maybe a paid game like a COD shoot around type game that is really popular with the kids these days but i don't understand it] ) you will be required to wear the provided avatar. The avatar is scripted to allow customization approprate to the experence.
Second Life does not have two factor authentication which is absolutely rediculious because even regular video games that don't involve real world money have two factor authentication. I'm sure many people would love to buy a physical keyfob to generate their secondary password, but a mobile app or system that can send an SMS would be fine as well. Pretty much every website worth logging into has two factor authentaction either as an option or a requirement. There is no reason for SL to currently not have it, but the next virtual world will definatly have two factor authentication.
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