Friday, 30 August 2013

Extreme Adult Virtual Reality, Oculus Rift & Opensim

It would appear that Oculus Rift has attracted the adult sex industry, which could be taken as a sign that this new technology is definitely going to become big. Sex sells and without it Second Life would probably not have done so well as it did. In fact, the adult section of SL still does appear to be the grid's main growth area while it steadily loses regions otherwise. On the other hand the free Metaverse is not attracting much in the way of adult grids yet but maybe Oculus Rift will help change all that in the near future as Opensim develops further and wily entrepreneurs realize the low cost and other advantages of Opensim to bring immersive virtual sex games to the adult market online.

Sinful Robot, which has become Wicked Paradise for Oculus Rift is one such game and is set in a world where all erotic fantasies are lived in the virtual at a much deeper physiological level due to the highly immersive nature of the technology. Opensim has features which, if properly exploited, could serve the adult trade in a variety of useful ways. Opensim has NPC (none-player characters) for example which are actually proving to be very effective with scripted AI giving them a life of their own. They are cloned from existing avatars so are indistinguishable from other avatars in the scene and, as sexual partners in an erotic fantasy,  NPC's could be adapted for erotic purposes with very little extra work. In deed, NPC avatars might actually be more appealing to guys who worry over the true gender of the online partner they just met in a virtual world. They know, at least, the NPC words and actions are just pre-coded responses to what the user is saying and doing.

Oculus Rift is funded by a very successful KickStarter campaign
to the tune of $2,437,429 when the original
goal was just $250,000.

Van den Bosch, the man behind Wicked Paradise has said Storyline is very important. he told Oculus-Rift blog "We want to generate erotic tension between the player and the virtual characters. You need a solid storyline in order to achieve that. It will be a modern day setting, I think the best way to describe is like an adult version of Heavy Rain but completely designed for virtual reality." Van den Bosch let it be known he has wanted to bring an adult game to the market for a long time "but in the past playing strip poker with Japanese robots was as good as it got." he said. He noticed that there is a lot of fantastically crafted shooters so why not a well-designed adult video game? he thought, and it was when he got to test a very early prototype of the Oculus Rift which, he told OculusRift blog, "blew me away. I immediately realized that Virtual Reality is the perfect medium for a highly immersive adult videogame."

Linden Lab let it be known earlier this year they want to support the Rift and enable the technology in their viewer which might happen later but CtrlAltStudio’s David Rowe, an independent virtual worlds developer, has already released a forked version of Firestorm viewer for owners of the per-release development Kits to experience Second Life and Opensim worlds. However, Rowe told Hypergrid Business blog there are presently some limitations to overcome. "because users are wearing a headset," he said, "they can’t see their keyboard. Asking them to use arrow keys to move around is simple enough, but if they need to type, or enter keyboard shortcuts, it can be hard to do blind." Touching objects is also an issue and, because the viewer uses arrow keys to move, this presents some slight difficulty with the Rift which uses mouselook to change the viewing direction.

Whether the adult use of Rift will find serious use in Opensim worlds is impossible to say at this stage but a lot also hangs on the quality of scripted objects in Opensim like sex beds and toys, and also personal wearables like slave collars, leashes and cuffs which form such a huge part of adult activity in Second Life. Up until recently scripted sex objects in Opensim were still troublesome and lacking the polish found on the Linden grid but there has been a lot or improvements in Opensim in the last year or so and the LSL functions are pretty much complete while Opensim also has it's own scripting functions in the form, OSSL scripting and more specialized functions for NPC's in the form OSSLNPC. In fact, Opensim NPC's are arguably more advanced than anything that Second Life has and users are making considerable headway with AI and ALICE bot to give the NPC'very life-like responses. I have bot's that dance on request and will hold a limited conversation and even recognize your avatar's gender provided you wear a simple HUD which the NPC can communicate with to obtain basic information. It will even remember you and your name if you tell it to the bot. It will also recognize some or your actions provided you use the "/me" function to describe them. I have one bot serving at a bar and another at a table who can actually activate a table function so a drink of choice - the drink you asked for -  will appear. When the drink appears it can be touched and a copy is delivered to your inventory so you can wear it on the hand to simulate drinking, thus completing the picture. It doesn't take a big leap of the imagination to envisage much more sexual activity or even something like a casino croupier dealing the cards and taking bets.

Wicked Paradise will be heavily influenced
by the erotic nature of the
Mass Effect videogame series.
Van den Bosch is developing an adult video game which has predefined aims and goals to arrive at some form of sexual gratification for the user and undoubtedly Opensim NPC bot's could do all that and look good too with mesh skins and clothes but Opensim, like Second Life, is much closer to social media than a video game. Generally, there are no predefined goals in virtual worlds and most things happen on the fly. People meet, socialize, possibly role play, then might engage in cyber sexual activity for which the Rift can add a deeper, more immersive experience. Presumably, some individuals can get close to a pretty NPC bot too. However, to date, attempts to get adult grids going in the Opensim worlds has not been greatly successful. Some have come and gone and most recently at least one Gay community opened Virtual Gay Kingdom and a femdom community, Avalonia Estate Grid where strong women dominate willing male slaves. There is also the moderately successful, Littlefield Grid  which started out in OSgrid and the owner, Walter Balazic still has portal regions there. Littlefield is a BDSM community and stands as an example of development by getting involved with the wider Metaverse community. This is how you get more traffic and, while Second Life can and does provide a steady trickle of the curious which helps to swell the numbers, it would probably help a new adult grid to spend money on serious advertising on the net with targeted Google adds and advertising on the forums and social media that virtual worlds users tend to frequent.

Opensim is open source and so it is completely free to use but traffic will not come to your grid without you expend considerable effort in promotion and expense in advertising. But there are clear advantages in using Opensim and not just it's low cost. It is free from Linden Lab's Terms & Conditions which rule Second Life and has become increasingly restrictive. You set your own Terms or TOS and if you enable Hypergrid access the latest Opensim server code ensures avatars can travel from one grid to another with their full appearance. You will gain visitors and you don't even need to force everyone to registers. In fact, controlling registration while having open borders has special advantages in helping stop griefers.Sex sells! That is well known and it probably drives about 60% of Internet traffic. Oculus Rift looks like adding an exciting new dimension to virtual worlds and video game companies are getting seriously interested. Virtual worlds are well placed to take advantage too and the cost is not that great. It is still early days and the final production model is scheduled to go on sale in the spring of 2014 so plenty of time to set up a grid and adapt features suited to the use of the Rift, especially in the area of adult entertainment.

Into The Free Metaverse...

If you are planning or contemplating setting up your own small world or full grid then look in on the Google Plus community, Opensim Virtual. There you can learn more about the free Metaverse and promote your grid free of charge. Opensim Virtual is a large community of Opensim users from across many grids and  standalone worlds. They are a friendly bunch and very helpful to new comers. I set up Opensim Virtual at the end of 2012 in order to learn more about the Metaverse community and discover it's true extent. I must say, to my delight, Opensim Virtual has been very successful and presently the largest Opensim community on Google plus. Many grid owners promote their grids and tell us about events and role play they support. There is plenty of News to keep up on Merchants too tell us about their virtual wares. Some grid owners have their own G+ communities as well so we are developing across many grids which is in keeping with the whole idea of Hypergrid and a free Metaverse. Come join us. You'll be welcomed!

See my top links for more pages of free textures, resources and vendors with both free and sale items on offer. Check out the Metaverse link to and search for grids and worlds of interest.