Virtual world Utherverse has rolled out a major update to its avatar technology. CEO Brian Shuster says the updated avatars should open up new clothing and design options for members of Utherverse’s creative community. Shuster says that while previous Utherverse avatars had a fixed body type and limited mesh options, the new avatars will have a broader selection of mesh options. This will allow users to design avatars with a broader variety of body types and design entirely new types of clothing.
“With the prior avatars, there were limited options for skirts or dresses. They couldn’t leave the body in dynamic winds. There was a fixed set of layers to the dress, you couldn’t get them to puff out properly. With the new mesh, there’s more options for that and for things like veils that properly leave the face. In addition, the resolution of the avatars has become much higher. New faces have more detail and skin tones. The system for rendering avatars has also been dramatically improved,” said Shuster, speaking exclusively to Engage Digital.
Under the new avatar system, more users should be able to view greater numbers of avatars in one location without experiencing lag. Under the previous avatar system, most users could view at most between 50 and 100 avatars before lag became an issue. Under the current avatar system, most users should be able to view between 100 and 200 avatars in a single location while enjoying a normal frame rate. Shuster says this upgrade is particularly relevant to Utherverse because it will allow for larger virtual events, like concerts, comedy shows, and karaoke.
How To Grow Virtual Worlds
Shuster also hopes the upgraded avatars will open up business opportunities for Utherverse’s third-party design and development community in the near future. Users can now design entire new categories of accessories and jewelry for avatars. Even basic fashions like shirts and ties should see new demand, as now avatars can have ties that are separate layers from their shirts and shirts that have true standing collars rather than collar-like textures plastered over the basic shirt mesh.
Shuster attributes decline elsewhere in the virtual world industry to companies that were unable to create engaging reasons for users to visit a 3D virtual world instead of a 2D Web page. He says that simply creating a virtual world and expecting users to fill it with content is “like trying to start a car in fourth gear.” Shuster says that companies succeeding in the virtual world space are coming up with attractions that drive user traffic. Shuster says that Utherverse’s karaoke events draw substantial numbers of new users to the world, because the event blends voice chat, the virtual nightclub environment, and the presence of user avatars in a unique way.
“Cars have to start in first gear. You have to look at what makes a 3D space compelling, it can’t just be play. A real industry is driven by core advantages, things that people can’t do any other way. They need to have real cost savings or real entertainment value. Users can’t come up with that, but a real entertainment company with a real staff can come up with them,” said Shuster.
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