And like a social(able) network, once a request is mutually accepted, you then have access to that person in your ‘Connections’ submenu, and will receive notifications whenever they pop into From there, you simply send a chat request, wait for it to be accepted, and you’re chatting face-to-face with your buddy in VR in the location of your choosing.
Meeting people isn’t just done by scouring your friends-of-friends like on Facebook though, as the app An intuitive, gaze-based UI makes navigating the app a very simple and refreshingly easy affair.
What you see on the screen is what you get and the best you can hope for is a bit of sexual humour, although some people do have intense relationships.
"Obviously the sex is not the same as in real life, but you're still expressing yourself in a way that would, maybe reasonably, upset a partner." Participants can verbally communicate by voice or by typing speech that appears in a bubble above their character.
As is now in open alpha, there’s little we can do but applaud their innovation, but at the same time I hope to see character animations fade into the metaphorical background until real hand-tracking or positionally-tracked controllers come to mobile VR.
This early in VR’s path to mass adoption, the question remains whether the userbase will be large enough to sustain a program that essentially functions as a social network.
Paul Hollywood, Starship‘s Product Development Director, told me that soon the platform’s content library will allow you to upload images and video to their cloud back-end and share them in a session with other people.
And although they can use the mouse and keyboard to move their character and pick things up, he says, the on-screen graphic depiction is very rudimentary.
Undressing another character without their consent is not possible.
Hollywood told me that the complex scenes I saw around me were in fact a clever blending of a rendered space and pre-rendered 3D 360 video.
If he hadn’t clued me in to that, I don’t think I would have noticed.
That would be a first for mobile social VR, and could open the door to showing photos and home video to friends and family while connected remotely. Themed chat rooms, like the vacuum of space at low Earth orbit, or below a reproduction of Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan rock formation, currently allow up to 4 people at a time—making it small-scale environment for intimate chats rather than the free-for-all of larger scale social VR.