Among the companies creating Metaverses, Meta and Epic Games stand out. Both companies aim to create a virtual reality world with its own economic system and great freedom of action. We will tell you what technological developments are helping the companies realise their plans and what kind of user experience they will offer in the future.
Technologies in Meta
The Mark Zuckerberg Corporation is shifting its focus from social media to creating a new generation of the Internet. It will be possible to live in it, almost like in the real world: work, communicate, build a life and share it with other users.
The existence of a new habitat offers many technological resources. They are based on special gadgets and software. We will describe to you the current developments of Meta and their ambitions in this area.
Oculus Quest 2 is a virtual reality headset developed by Meta. It is used in most of the company's developments, from Horizon Worlds to FitXR gym. The screen resolution is 4K, 2K for each eye. The helmet has a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor with 6GB RAM. The device comes with handheld controllers.
The Oculus Quest 2 is one of the main gadgets in the Meta metaverse. Source: Virtuality Club
Quest 2 is a successfully launched VR gadget by Meta that ranks first in its segment in terms of sales. Its main feature is autonomy. You do not need a computer or a smartphone to use Quest 2, because all the necessary technologies are built into the helmet itself.
Meta plans to develop the idea of a VR headset and create a device that fits into regular glasses. It is known that the device is in development and that the design and frame will be adopted by RayBan.
Project Cambria. This is the new meta headset for virtual and augmented reality. The company discussed its development when it was unveiled in October 2021, calling it a "high-tech" and "high-end" device. At the same time, Project Cambria will not be a continuation of the Oculus Quest line, but a separate gadget.
Estimated design by Project Cambria. Source: Holography
The main feature of the device will be facial tracking technology, which will allow the glasses to be controlled by facial expressions and body part movements. The device will also show end-to-end videos where users can see virtual and real images simultaneously. The technology will enable the integration of the physical world into Project Cambria applications.
Spark AR Studio, a platform for creating effects and objects in augmented reality. It was originally used to process content on Instagram, but over time its functionality has expanded. Now Spark is widely used in business as a tool for product promotion.
Modeling a mountainous landscape in Spark AR Studio. Source: Neon Marketing Technology
Spark AR Studio augmented reality helps marketers connect products and customers. Beauty brands create a mask to try on makeup, fashion houses download clothes from the new collection, and furniture factories create virtual samples of their work. Customers do not have to go into a store to pick up a product - with Spark AR, they can do so with a smartphone.
Another advantage of Spark AR is its ease of use. You do not need to know code or have experience creating mixed reality objects. To start modeling, all you need to do is study a few tutorials and a user guide provided by the developers.
Presence is a platform that enables interaction between virtual and real worlds on Oculus Quest devices. According to The Verge, software development kits (SDKs) are a part of the system. They are needed to facilitate the creation of Metaverse applications. These are the Insight SDK, the Interaction SDK, and the Voice SDK.
The Presence platform can be used to teach you how to play musical instruments. Source: The Verge
With the Insight SDK, developers can add objects to the Oculus Quest, as well as “snap” them to a specific area to keep them in place. The Interaction SDK provides improved hand tracking and the ability to create your own gestures. The Voice SDK is needed for voice interaction in the Oculus Quest: navigation through the system, search, and communication during the game.
Horizon Worlds, an application for human interaction inside virtual reality for the Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest headsets. The program has been under development since 2019, and since August 2021 it has been beta testing. Participating in the test and trying the app is by invitation only. Horizon Worlds includes 2 directions.
The first area is Horizon Workrooms. This is a 3D workspace that will bring together many collaboration tools: whiteboards, conferences, chat, and even a possibility of personal presence.
Horizon Workrooms. Source: Holography
The program will create all conditions so that working in a virtual space feels feel natural. For example, you will hear the person sitting next to you better. The voices of colleagues will move closer or further away, depending on the distance at which they are. This is achieved through spatial audio processing.
The second direction is Horizon Home. Meta only announced it at the end of October 2021. It works the same way as Workrooms, but it’s designed for shared leisure activities. Users have the ability to create their own home and invite friends to play, watch movies or just chat.
Relax with friends at Horizon Home. Source: Upload VR
Metaverse is about the business part of life. All conditions for work, meetings and business development are created here. The rest of its elements work in a more fragmented manner. For example, sports in Fit XR, leisure in Horizon Home and games for Oculus Quest are perceived as separate applications with little to do with each other.
Epic Games Tech
Tim Sweeney's metaverse is different from what Mark Zuckerberg wants to create. The company doesn't make gadgets, it doesn't have as many platforms and applications as Meta. There are differences at the conceptual level as well. In Tim Sweeney's metaverse, there is hardly a word about work. Let's talk about the main developments of Epic Games.
Unreal Engine. This is a game engine, that is, a program for creating video games. Epic Games released the first version of it in 1996. And by November 2021, different versions of the engine have become the basis for more than 400 games, many of which are popular with gamers.
Unreal, the game, the first game powered by the Unreal Engine. It is in this game's honor that the game engine got its name. Source: Mod DB
Launch of the game engine Unreal Engine 5 on Playstation 5. Source. Shazoo
In November 2021, Unreal Engine is one of the most popular game engines in the world. For this achievement, it was included in the Guinness Book of Records in 2014. The engine combines manufacturability and availability. For example, starting with 2015, Unreal Engine has become free for game developers - now they pay only a percentage of the profit if it exceeds $1 million. And in the spring of 2020, Unreal Engine 5 was announced, the main innovation of which is the ability to create photorealistic objects.
MetaHuman Creator is a tool with which you can create realistic models of people. You can change everything from the shape of the eyes to the teeth. At the same time, 3D modeling skills are not required to work with the tool. For example, to change the size of the nose or cheeks, just hover and drag in the desired direction.
MetaHuman Creator interface. Source: 3D Art
The tool is used in various fields. Filmmakers can use it to create extras or stunt doubles for the main characters, and developers can create game models. Finally, MetaHuman Creator is suitable as a leisure activity.
Fortnite is a popular game that was originally developed in the battle royale genre. Fortnite quickly gained an audience and went mainstream. In the first year, its audience amounted to 78 million people, and in 2021 350 million people play it.
With growing popularity, developers began adding various innovations to the game that steered it away from the battle royale genre towards social interactions. For example, it became possible to create your own worlds and hold various events in them. In recent years, Fortnite has hosted Travis Scott and Ariana Grande concerts, Tomorrowland EDM Festival, Star Wars Episode 9 premiere, and more.
Ariana Grande in Fortnite. Source: The Verge
In addition to the opportunity to spend leisure time, the game has its own full-fledged economy. And third-party developers can also develop content for it. Therefore, Fortnite can be called a trial version of the metaverse.
Epic Games' Metaverse is about spending leisure time in a massive digital space. It contains many opportunities for creating activities, from concerts to ordinary communication. And although Epic Games' toolkit is slightly smaller than Meta’s, its capabilities are greater and the audience is wider.
Meta's metaverse brings workflows to the virtual world. This is done using VR and AR devices in the Horizon Worlds environment. In the future, the company will provide access to sports and computer games.
Epic Games' Metaverse gives you the opportunity to spend your leisure time outside of work. This is implemented in Fortnite, a flexible game with an emphasis on social interaction. This openness and flexibility to change is provided by the resources of the Unreal Engine.
Появление бренда в метавселенной может помочь лучше взаимодействовать со своими пользователями. Поэтому компании, такие как Gucci или Netflix, обычно обращаются к дизайнерам виртуальной реальности. В России подобные услуги предлагает студия Maff Metaverse.
Author: Mikhail Babkin Editor: Dmitrii Egorov
Illustrator: Ekaterina Yarmarkina