Opinion: AltVR 2020.3.9 The AltSpace New World Order Update

I wrote an article a few weeks ago titled “Will AltSpace limit the number of templates and worlds you own?” and I went into speculation that I personally suspected that Microsoft/AltSpace would find a way to reduce the number of templates and assets on the system. As there have been no restrictions, and logically it isn’t sustainable in the current business model to let AltSpaceVR expand and not charge or have real revenue capabilities to support the growth of the platform.

That being said, AltSpaceVR put on a demo using Microsoft Mesh and it makes sense that kits and worlds be updated and converted so that seamless world transitioning be possible.

I do understand from a technical aspect why these sudden changes need to happen. But from what I have heard, one of my friends claims this is the fourth reset they have had to do with their worlds. The difference is that this migration is one-way, and there hasn’t been clarity with the sketchy official posts.

But I can only be understanding to a certain point

Waking up to a poorly written news post that did not specify crucial details of this update, such as how long we have with an exact time frame. Instead, we got a loose timeline of a couple of weeks before updates are pushed that essentially breaks all kits and templates.

The reality is that this update will change AltSpaceVR again, and it has personally tarnished my confidence in the platform at present. Sure, I have both worlds built from kits from the earlier days on AltSpace, and I will be sad if my Brick Shed event world that I spent hours placing objects was no longer there.

Now, kits assets can always be found and reuploaded as well as templates. Heaps of houses that people have been downloaded off SketchFab and Unity asset stores for the most part. But if that template is not updated, that template must be recreated and remapped to the same scale so that all the world objects load properly.

This also means that inactive users even those who may have left AltSpace in recent months, their content would need to be updated.

Best Case Analysis

  • Worlds and kits will need to be updated.
  • Because MRE’s use kit artifacts, they need to be updated too. Still, because MRE’s are usually externally hosted (popular MRE’s), they will likely be updated promptly and before the due cut off date.
  • The majority of old-world builders and creators may contact former AltVR users on other platforms, which they can ask them nicely to come back and do an update. *pretty please with sugar on top*
  • Majority of the featured kits like the camera kit (confirmed by the dev to be updated) and other kits that Jimmy (AltVR Staff) control. But there will be kits, no doubt that won’t be updated.
  • Fewer lost worlds, kits, templates & mre’s.
  • AltVR & Microsoft update their tools to make the migration process smoother and have the relevant documentation.

Worst Case Analysis

  • Slow migration process due to little documentation and support on the touchy frustrating issue. This claim is supported by the odd wording of the official posts on the aspects of these changes. That I talk about here.
  • Developers & content creators who have been through this process, again and again, may not commit to updating which I can personally understand why.
  • Many beloved templates particularly those owned by AltSpace users who have passed away or quit won’t be accessible and see the light of day again.
  • Because this is a new roadmap of development there may be bugs planted by this update that may need to be fixed in the future which may complicate the process.
  • Uncommon yet popular kit assets may just vanish which may detract from the detailing of worlds.
  • AltSpaceVR will purge all assets not migrated in X amount of time to save room on the platform and to fulfil compliance.

I really feel the AltVR community right now. There are world builders like Daisy & Darren who have built most of their collections of worlds using kit objects. And I am frustrated that the events recently involving AltSpace glitching for an hour and loading wrong kits and worlds for people had caused so much anxiety in the community, which I feel wasn’t acknowledged and addressed.

I also spare a thought for those users who build VR worlds proffesionally and have Patreons where their users have the expectations to access their content. And this update requires immediate action from the creator so that the expectations (therefore cash flow) is met. No one likes having a month’s+ work just dumped on you at the last minute with a early deadline.

I woke up yesterday to the announcement and became confused because it feels like AltSpaceVR already has so many problems that should be taken care of first.

  • Microphone / audio issues
  • Builder uploader issues
  • Kit issues
  • MRE stability issues
  • Resolving video playback issues with the web projector timing out
  • Fixing MacOS support
  • Encouraging existing content creators to update their existing assets to support Mac OS
  • Adding a cache delete button, so you don’t clog up storage on your device while using AltVR
  • Fixing playback issues

I could write a list all night on so many small issues if fixed would make AltVR honestly ten times better but they haven’t addressed dozens of bugs.

I believe in my own opinion that AltSpaceVR is feeling the pinch of having to create a form of revenue from the platform, so these changes made will embed and support further monetisation for the AltVR platform. Servers to run and host content aren’t free, right? And we don’t pay currently to use AltSpaceVR, and I don’t think there are enough sponsored events to pay for the costs.

There are people in the community who are angry and I don’t know if particular content creators are going to hang around and the reality is that we may lose valuable members in the community over this.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Of course, it depends on your perspective. People will always come and go on AltSpaceVR. The reality is even though there are so many people unhappy and frustrated, there will be in a few weeks oblivious to what has just happened and will grow their content and hear stories as I did months ago about these resets.

I had heard about these resets and how frustrating they were but these update goes an extra step and this extra step means there is no way going back.

The people who will quit will be replaced; new people will rise and take the place of the people who left. Life will carry on on AltSpace, and if the user count does drop, AltSpace does have enough momentum to bounce back at this stage eventually.

If we aren’t talking about another reset update next year, this time next year, we will have more users and maybe even more worlds than we have right now on the platform, despite the possibility of us losing heaps during this update.

There are more and more world builders and those world builders are teaching others

Just like my website documents how-to-guides people, it really feels like there are more competent world builders on AltSpaceVR now than there were when I joined in December. In the last few months, so many of my friends have picked up Unity. These new people are now stepping up and teaching others.

This translates to a growth rate of the collective knowledge of troubleshooting and skills in the community that people can bounce off each other when they need help. This means the people who are learning today will naturally become teachers in a few months teaching the next influx of users.

So although I think this update isn’t fantastic, it’s hard to say if this pain and change will be worth it for the unannounced features of Microsoft Mesh that may actually turn AltSpaceVR into a superior social VR network. The problem is, we may just not be able to see it yet, and time will tell.

This opinion post was written by AussieGuy92. I am not affliated nor work or represent AltSpaceVR or Microsoft in any way. My thoughts are my own and I have sought clarity from official staff, Discord and other community members before writing this post to seek details and a general understanding of the status quo. I am passionately covering the events of AltSpaceVR and adding commentary that reflects perspectives held within the community.
Published By: AussieGuy92
Published: June 4, 2021
Section: Opinion Posts

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