Up until now, multiplayer games on Oculus Home have relied on their own individual avatar selectors, meaning you couldn’t have the exact same avatar in two different apps. In an effort to socialize the entire platform, Oculus is introducing an avatar editor that will let you style a single avatar and use it across multiple apps.
Mike Howard, product manager for Oculus Avatars, demoed the editor, changing his virtual appearance through a slider-based system. An interactive virtual mirror renders your new choices before you and even lets you physically swap out accessories using Oculus Touch, the company’s soon-to-release hand controllers.
The new avatar editor is said to offer “more than one billion permutations,” letting you pick clothing, accessories, hair, face shape, and avatar texture.
From what we’ve seen at Connect, Oculus Avatars doesn’t provide a few things that other avatar editors do like a full body or detailed color options, meaning you’ll have to pick a single texture that will cover your entire avatar—certainly not as detailed as the Facebook social VR prototype we saw only moments earlier on stage.
Notably, Oculus Avatars also doesn’t animate any part of the head/upper chest asset, instead opting to light up the avatar momentarily when speaking through the microphone. All of this may be necessary to maintain fluid cross compatibility when the feature launches on both Gear VR and Rift.
The Avatars SDK, according to co-founder and VP Nate Mitchell, “makes it easy to integrate Touch interactions into your game, and additionally, true hand presence. Because it brings people’s avatars into your experience, people can actually feel like themselves and easily recognize their friends.”
According to an Oculus blogpost, Avatars will be available for Rift at Touch launch and for mobile in early 2017.