World Builder FAQ for AltspaceVR

Sometimes there are questions and topics that don’t come up in discussions on AltVR Discord or general world-building channels and events all the time. This Wiki article will try and cover the most frequent and uncommon asked questions.

Can I download the world I made/created and take it to another platform? #

Generally no, but also depends on the context of the question. If you have had a world shared with you on Altspace by a friend you cannot download an ‘offline’ copy of your world. Technically you could rip the assets using tools, these tools are against the terms of service to use on assets that you don’t own the rights to.

However, if you are a Unity builder and you have a project that you have uploaded to AltspaceVR under your own account you could take that build, remove the Altspace uploader and use another tool such as VRChat’s uploader and upload that same project to another platform. In the case of migrating your Altspace-ready projects to VRChat, you would need to downgrade your materials to non-URP so there would be work required. Migrating worlds from VRChat to AltspaceVR would still require the same amount of work.

My ‘friend’ builds worlds using kits and has access to all these worlds but they don’t use Unity, I don’t understand how they can build worlds without Unity. #

There are two main ways that people become ‘builders’ in Altspace and both have talents and qualities of their own. It should be said that I have seen some amazing worlds using the default Altspace blank templates built solely using kit objects as some users have perfected the craft of sourcing assets and making the most of the internal world editor panel. The other type of builder is Unity world builders which use Unity3D to pull in assets.

Let’s explain the two types of world builders.

  • World Editor builders
    • Use the built-in world editor panel and upload skybox images to Altspace via the website, they are users who use assets shared with them to create their world. They may also have a network of friends who can supply them with particular assets.
    • World editor builders often think outside the box and use assets in different ways to achieve the level of work seen produced by most Unity world builders with some limitations not being available such as ‘absolute’ custom lighting detailing.
    • The advantage of using the built-in world editor panel is you only require access to AltspaceVR and have access to the website. If you have a mobile phone you can access the website through your phone but it is best accessed through a tablet or PC.
  • Unity3D World Builders
    • Users who upload assets as templates and kits to AltspaceVR using the uploader tool provided by Altspace. This requires a compatible Windows PC or MacOS system to run Unity3D and the uploader tool. You will also need to consider having at least a mid-tier PC to handle graphic processing functions such as rendering if you wish to create custom worlds.
    • Users who have low-end machines can still find success in uploading already generated objects and terrains with a little bit of inconvenience in waiting added.

I want to start learning Unity to upload my own kits/worlds where the hell do I begin? #

First of all, you need to make sure your PC is compatible to run Unity. It doesn’t have to be a super machine but in short terms, you need the best PC you can get your hands on within your budget and means. The better the hardware, the quicker and easier it will be to perform GPU and CPU consuming tasks such as rendering.

Assuming you have scrolled down where I touch on the question “Can I run Unity on my PC?” I will jot down the basic pointers.

  • Downloading Unity3D
    • You need to download Unity Hub. Unity Hub allows you to install the specific Unity version you need to use on AltspaceVR which is 2020.3.18f. If you have Unity hub installed you can click on a direct link on that page to install it directly.
  • Downloading the Unity Uploader for AltspaceVR
    • You can download the AltspaceVR Unity Uploader and install it var tar-ball in your Unity 2020.3.18 project via ‘Package Manager’ which you will find in Unity under the ‘Window’ menu at the top. You locate the uploader tool and install it into Unity. This allows your project to communicate with AltspaceVR once you are logged into the uploader tool.

What types of assets can I use with Unity3D #

Asset types compatible with Unity3D #

  • FBX, DAE, OBJ, DFX, SKP, STL

If you are using software compatible with Unity such as Cheetah 3D or a .BLEND file from Blender you will need to export as a FBX inside the software so that you can bring it into Unity. You will also need to make sure your materials are exported and imported correctly. This will vary depending on the software you are using. 

Not all assets downloaded from asset stores or imported will work in VR #

If you are hoping to upload a house into AltspaceVR for Quest 2 users that contains tons of 4K resolution textures, your expectations are too high. However, if you go to the effort of optimising your scene, compressing textures and generating only require lightmaps and using low poly assets where possible you can get away with having high-quality scenes. Just don’t expect a world filled with animated trees, grass and high detailed textures.

Can anyone learn Unity? #

Yes and no, it’s a skill set that requires many, many hours of practice and trial and error before you reach a competent level. Even when you think you are competent you are often proven again and again by other builders that there is still so much more to learn.

If you have experience with photography, you will understand lighting at a greater level than someone who has only designed graphics, Unity users who come from a graphics background may have acquire the basics of manipulating textures quite easily. The flip side is they have to learn how lighting works and dive into textures and shaders to advance their graphical skills.

Users who have used Adobe software for animation might find the animation sequencer interface familiar enough to get a head start. Regardless of your experience or if any at all, you can watch thousands of tutorials on YouTube and do courses to help upskill.

But the golden question that is asked: How much do I need to know about Unity to use it for AltspaceVR? I will try and address the minimal required knowledge set needed.

  • Knowledge of installing and managing software on your PC
  • Understanding the specs of your PC
  • How to position, move and hierarchy/nest objects inside each other
  • An understanding of the AltspaceVR website
  • Understanding what a kit and a template is and what the difference is in correlation
  • How to locate and access files within the Unity editor
  • How to locate and find the package manager inside Unity this is required to install the uploader
  • Knowledge of renaming objects
  • Knowing the difference between an object and a prefab
  • How to find, locate and remove Unity script files and script components from objects and prefabs

Created within my first year of learning Unity3D

I created this world with a simple pool, and a seven-room house after spending a month working on it. I would say that I could build the same house in half the time it took me to build originally with the experience acquired in the learning process.

I’ve used ProBuilder to do custom modelling and used materials I already own or created myself using Gimp. I have knowledge of basic animations, shaders and lighting and feel confident in sourcing my own assets as well as troubleshooting problems on my own using the internet as a resource.

Before last year, I had zero experience with Unity so I hope this can be a benchmark for the level of achievement obtained for 1 year of experience doing full-time hours each week.

Can I run Unity on my PC? #

Although you can use MacOS to run Unity the hardware variation is a lot smaller from device to device due to MacOS using proprietary software and hardware. For Windows users, the task of finding a suitable PC to work with Unity is a more complicated venture. However, Windows PC is the preferred environment to run Unity3D on.

Recommendations to run Unity3D:

Unity3D can be run on most PC’s as the software itself is light and reasonable to run. If you have at least 4GB of RAM and an i5 or equivalent processor you will be able to run Unity and maybe upload some small assets with a bit of struggle.

The reality is unless you have a high powered PC you will have to spend time waiting for assets to be built. The amount of time you are waiting depends on how powerful your PC is beyond the minimal requirements.

Ballpark considerations:

16 GB Ram, i5 processor or above, 1TB and at least 2GB of GPU graphics memory.

It should be noted every PC is different and performance and vary depending on multiple factors. If you see the specs below the above, you may still be able to use Unity but you may suffer stuttering and slow-down of your PC.

AussieGuy’s Setup (Example) #

I have a PC I have maintained for the last 10 years which I am working on retiring this year with a new workstation. This PC is 10 years old but at the time it was the best hardware. I have updated the graphics card every few years and maxed out my 4 RAM slots to a max of 32 gigs of RAM. I also have a 8GB RTX 2070 graphics card that allows me to play games like Microsoft flight simulator at mid-tier specs, but also allows me to bake my worlds with custom lighting.

Tip on finding a computer for Unity3D #

I recommend searching for a used second-hand computer on a marketplace website such as Facebook. Typically gamers are obsessed with having the best PC’s and will often want to sell their existing just to get a new one. Often at times there is nothing wrong with the PC and would still work for years to come. These PC’s used by gamers are often loved and cared for and would most likely be sold in good working order. You should always do your due diligence before buying but gamers are naturally obsessed with getting the best for their cash.

General rule: Buy the best gamer’s PC you can buy #

You could be spending a few thousand dollars, it is better if you can get a custom PC shop to buy the parts and assemble a machine for you. If you can’t, the machine that you can get that allows you to swap parts in the future or as you can afford them is the second better option. My PC originally came with 8GB of RAM but had 4 slots of 8GB in total. I recommend a PC with at least 16GB of memory & 4GB of graphics (GPU) memory with 1TB+ of hard drive space with at least a modern i5 or i9+ processor or equivalent for AMD computers.

If you want the best of the best I recommend viewing this guide for recommended specs for benchmark and enterprise use. But for the average user, this would not be a feasible expense. The entry price starts at what would be typically a top-tier gaming PC to a workstation designed for the maximum workload.

Source: https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Unity-188

If you are using a Windows PC you can check your system Information from your search bar. This will give you all the information regarding what hardware your PC is using including RAM, motherboard, and graphics card. This can help you find out if your PC is compatible.

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