OC6: Facebook to Create a New Social VR World Called Horizon
During the Oculus Connect 6 this week, Facebook revealed plans to create a new immersive entertainment environment known as Horizon. Facebook showcased early footage as well as details about the new social VR space during the developer conference. The virtual universe is geared at coaxing people to spend more time in virtual reality.
Horizon will provide users with a mix of social spaces where they can chat and mingle. There will also be other environments where users can play games against one another. Users will inhabit these spaces and explore the virtual spaces via cartoon characters. The app will be released and tested by a small group of Facebook users in early 2020.
There is a freedom that comes with constructing your own virtual world and a social VR experience such as Horizon enables users to immerse themselves into this world, hang out with friends, play games and watch movies.
According to Facebook, anyone will be able to use Horizon VR to summon human guides that will assist them in navigating and familiarizing themselves with the virtual world. The environment also includes tools that will allow users to manage their interaction with others. There are options that allow users to shape and build their own unique virtual environments. Users are also able to design their own avatars.
The whole space has a cartoon-like feel as it is built for the Quest headset which does not possess the high-resolution graphics in the PC-based virtual reality headsets. While Facebook has put some work into the Horizon, it is still a combination of apps, avatars and chat functionality, something that Facebook has experimented with for a few years.
You can do so much with Horizon
According to Facebook, users will be able to indulge in numerous activities as the social VR platform unlocks boundless possibilities for users in the virtual environment. The experiences are driven by curiosity and connections, enabling users to meet in virtual reality, play games and watch movies together.
When new users sign into Horizon, they will be immersed into a town square where most users can meet one another. The virtual reality space then expands into an interconnected world where users can do plenty of stuff including exploring new spaces, building communities, playing games and creating their own experiences.
Design your own virtual avatars
Horizon allows you to be whatever you want. You can customize your own avatars with plenty of styles and body options to pick from. Horizon is yet to release detailed information on its avatar system but there is most likely going to be a lot of options that will enable users to create highly customizable avatars.
Facebook Horizon Experiences
Users are transported into a town square in Horizon once they have created their avatars. Here, they can experience the virtual world and also immerse themselves into the experiences that have been created by Facebook like the multilayer aerial experience Wing Strikers.
Horizon experiences will also include games and competitions as well as activities such as building and painting to keep users engaged. The social VR platform also allows for collaboration with users from around the world to perform tasks such as solving puzzles, taking up challenges or simply exploring the digital landscape.
Build your virtual landscapes
Horizon users will be able to create their own virtual space. Even without the coding experience, you can easily use building tools known the World Builder. You can master these and use them to craft your virtual worlds and activities within Horizon. Facebook also wants users to experience the new social VR space safely and with ease. The Horizon virtual space will feature human guides known as Horizon Locals who are there to offer assistance and answer your questions.
There is so much that you can create with Horizon including complex 3D objects. There is a huge library of shapes and tools that you can leverage for this. You can also use visual scripting to create complex multilayer games and experiences. Users can subsequently show off their creations with others both in Horizon and via Facebook’s content discovery and distribution tools which will expose your creations to more users.
The Facebook Horizon social VR platform will be released in beta in early 2020. You can sign up here to join in as an early tester. Registered users will be notified once the beta is live. Users will need either an Oculus Quest or Rift headset to join the virtual reality social network. With its social VR focus now geared to the development of Facebook Horizon, Facebook will be shutting down both Oculus Rooms and Facebook Spaces on October 25.