Jo got her Oculus Rift DK1 working and tried out the CtrlAltStudio Viewer and the SL Oculus Beta Viewer. She relates her experience of being IN, as INSIDE, Second Life™ as opposed to seeing it on a computer screen. Her story is well worth the time to read. I suspect we will hear more in this week’s Drax Files Radio Show.
Her article is here: My first Oculus Rift experience in Second Life.
From what she says things were pretty awesome. But, there are a number of problems, which she gets into. The big problem as I see it is the complexity of Second Life. New Oculus users coming in are likely to be overwhelmed by the massive number of viewer controls and the complexity of basic tasks. Jo’s solution is to create viewer-user-levels, beginner, moderate, and advanced that can easily be switched between. She remembers when the Lab tried the basic viewer. But, she still believes the approach would help player retention.
Another significant problem is how little of Second Life is built to scale. Her experience is this scale thing is seriously in a visitor’s face. Furniture, houses… everything seems built for giants. This is a problem I think most people simply do not see because of the default camera values. See: Second Life Camera Tips. Until the Rift goes retail I suspect a large number of Second Life builders will remain oblivious.
I’m not sure, but from Jo’s account most Rift users are going to be using first person views of the world. Try walking around SL in mouse-look. That is sort of how people will see Second Life. The difference in perspective between 1st and 3rd person views is sticking for those using the default camera settings.
For some time now I have used modified camera settings for my default view. I drop the camera position and its focal point so my 3rd person view is much nicer. Try it. You’ll like it.
While there are some problems to fix in Second Life, it is still going to be an impressive experience for Rift users. Unfortunately the majority of the fixing work to be done that will affect immersion falls to SL builders. Jo wants the Lab to build some show cases to get around this problem. Personally, I like the idea of finding existing places and adding them to a category for Oculus Rift users.
I would also like to see the Oculus viewer detect Oculus mode at start up and change login locations based on that . Rather than bring new people into a new-user-hub bring oculus users into a gorgeous to scale location. There are problems with that idea. New-user-hubs have the introductory stuff that helps them, supposedly. Plus there are others there and they can ask questions. The interaction they can have is also one of the big factors in better player retention.
The Lab has user observation stats and studies of new users. So, they have an idea of what does and does not matter. I just hope the people doing the planning for Oculus have access to that information and are aware of it.
Whatever the Lab does, I think SL builders and land owners are now in a position to make a huge difference in the success of Second Life. As users, those not building regions, about all we can do is point people to the best builds. Jo asks you contact her with places you find that are well built and to scale.