vTime, the social VR platform from Starship Group, today released an update to their avatar creation tool that now gives users access to thousands of avatar customization options, promising to “let you reflect more of yourself inside vTime.” The new feature is available across all of the app’s supported headsets including Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift and Gear VR.
With the so called ‘New vYou’ tool, users can control a wide range of characteristics such as body type, skin tone, hair, eyebrows, eye shape, eye color, nose, lips, ears, cheeks, jaw, face length, facial hair, and even age—providing users with a much more detailed way of recreating themselves in virtual reality. Something the devs intentionally didn’t include however was a clear gender distinction, meaning you can mix and match whatever clothes or body style you like to get the desired effect.
vTime Managing Director Clemens Wangerin says the new gender-neutral avatar 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.”
To test the system, I tried to rebuild my face without looking into a mirror or picture of myself. The results, although not perfect, are pretty good for only about 5 minutes of playing around with the tool’s sliders and color swatches.
But as anyone who spends an exaggerated amount of time in character builders knows, a nondescript white guy is probably the easiest avatar to make, so I set off to max out the sliders and create something with a little more flair. In all earnestness, I was hoping for a result that the McElroy brothers over at Polygon’s YouTube show Monster Factory would be proud of, but the result was decidedly much more human than monster.
Disheartened somewhat by the fact that in my quest to build a monster, I actually ended up making a funky web developer, I then drifted on to the second favorite pass time of avatar creators: Celebrities.
With the basic swath of pre-set avatars at my disposal, I was able to create Samuel L. Jackson’s character from Django Unchained (2012) and a hipster version of Mahatma Gandhi, both of which were made in about 10 minutes.
Overall, vTime’s new avatar system proves to be pretty robust, offering a wide enough variety of clothing options, skin tones, and facial feature sliders to create any basic human form, be it young or old.
vTime says that the social VR app, along with the new character builder, is coming soon to iOS, Google Daydream devices, PlayStation VR and HTC Vive. The studio maintains that new features, events, tools and further customization options will coming out next year.