While most may know him from his popular, (mostly) weekly live VR streams, Road to VR’s “Cymatic” Bruce Wooden is also head of developer and community relations at AltspaceVR, a venture-backed company in Silicon Valley with plans to bring the web experience into a social virtual reality environment. I recently sat down with Bruce at the company’s Redwood City, California headquarters to chat about AltspaceVR and explore this new world first-hand.
AltspaceVR is creating a virtual social browsing environment which, at its core, includes the ability to open virtual browser windows around you to interact with the 2D web. Additionally, the company is working to make it easy for web developers to extend beyond the browser window by deploying content directly from the web into AltspaceVR’s virtual environment. The company recently announced a $5.2 million seed investment round to build out their platform.
In this interview, Bruce shares information on what AltspaceVR is, how it’s been received after coming out of stealth, how it will enable social web experiences, and more.
With regards to the soon to come beta of AltspaceVR, Bruce told me that the company is “targeting within the next two months to have something roll out. It’ll probably be exclusively limited, starting with the VR community mostly.” He encourages interested parties to sign up on the company’s website for more info on availability.
Next, Bruce takes me on a guided tour of AltspaceVR.
Navigating around the AltspaceVR environment is different than most VR applications we’ve seen. Instead of walking from A to B, you can use the mouse cursor anywhere on the floor to teleport to that location. Furthermore, rotating your forward position happens in incremental jumps (as pioneered by Cloudhead Games’ early work on The Gallery: Six Elements), by using the left/right scroll function (found on some mice), rather than the smooth turning that you’d find in a standard FPS. Presumably, both non-standard navigation decisions were made to limit the potential for sim sickness.
In addition to being able to pull up multiple windows for viewing webpages—only visible to you— it’s also possible to ‘beam’ a page to a big screen in the room to share content with everyone.
Full Disclosure: “Cymatic” Bruce Wooden, who is Director of Developer & Community Relations at AltspaceVR, contributes articles to Road to VR.