FIRST LOOK: Somnium 3️⃣.0️ — A Comprehensive walk-through of the Upcoming Monumental Update
With increased SDK openness, decentralization, and enhanced capabilities, we’re paving the way for absolutely all VR creators to unleash their imagination.
We stand on the precipice of a new era as we unveil the latest evolution of our platform — Somnium Space V3.0. This milestone release is a testament to our steadfast commitment to revolutionize the virtual reality landscape and shape the future of SocialVR & digital interaction.
Over the past year, our team has been operating in overdrive. Almost doubling our manpower and spending 40.000+ man hours, we embarked on a mission of reinvention, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within our platform. Our relentless pursuit of innovation has culminated in the creation of this upcoming transformative V3.0 update that redefines the meaning of immersive digital experience.
Every facet of the platform has been meticulously overhauled, starting with a Unity version upgrade. We’ve enhanced multiplayer capabilities and redesigned the Worlds, Avatars, ITEMs, Unity SDKs, Full Body Tracking, Live Forever Mode, digital AI powered players and fully redesigned and optimized Base Reality scene — bringing a new level of realism and flexibility. We’ve revolutionized the marketplace with a user-centric focus and integrated a novel, decentralized VR payment system to ensure secure, transparent and seamless transactions. These are not just the headlines; the update brings myriad enhancements that further expand the universe of possibilities within Somnium Space.
The introduction of Somnium Space Platform V3.0 is a remarkable leap forward, not just for our team but for our entire user base. This blog post is an invitation to journey with us into the future of virtual reality. In the subsequent sections, we’ll delve into some major features that are soon to arrive with V3.0, offering a first look at how these advancements will shape the next generation of virtual experiences. Join us as we turn the page to a new chapter in Somnium Space’s story.
Our roadmap is charted out ➡️ a Closed Beta, exclusively for our active community, is scheduled for this coming September with plans to launch an Open Beta in Q4 2023. Our team has worked tirelessly to bring all these and more innovations and enhancements to life, for the enjoyment and benefit of all VR enthusiasts.
1) Unity version upgrade
Somnium Space is being updated from Unity 2019.2.2 ➡️ Unity 2022.3 (LTS) which represents a significant step forward in expanding the possibilities for world builders, as well as aesthetic appeal of virtual worlds. This change means that creators will have access to a suite of enhanced features, including improved rendering, AI, physics engines, and artist tools, to create more intricate, realistic and immersive virtual worlds. Furthermore, the new Unity version offers superior optimization, allowing for smoother gameplay, reduced load times, and enhanced performance, crucial for the richly detailed Virtual Reality worlds that Somnium Space supports.
One of the major advantages of this upgrade is the opportunity to port Somnium natively to 🍎 Apple’s visionOS. This compatibility with visionOS means that Somnium’s upcoming standalone VR client will work seamlessly with the Apple Vision Pro device, Apple’s cutting-edge augmented reality headset. By making this move, Somnium Space is not only responding to the current technological demands but also preparing for the future, broadening the accessibility of its immersive virtual reality landscapes to a wider audience.
2) New Launcher
As part of our continuous effort to refine and enhance your virtual experience, we’re delighted to announce significant upgrades to the Somnium Space Launcher as part of the V3.0 update.
Central to this update is the new Worlds menu. It gives you a comprehensive overview of active world sessions and base reality sessions, making it easier than ever to hop into ongoing interactions.
A significant leap has been made in social capabilities, integrating advanced features that allow you to chat, friend, and stay connected to your VR friends directly from the Launcher. These features make it seamless for you to maintain your social connections within the platform.
We’ve reworked the Map and My Profile page, each offering a more user-friendly and immersive experience. The updated Map provides clearer navigation, while the revamped My Profile page gives you more customization control, letting you tailor your profile to your individual preference.
To further enhance transparency and financial management, we’ve added a Wallet Menu. This provides a clear overview of all in-game transactions, connected wallets, and more, giving you a clear snapshot of your trading activities within Somnium Space.
Additionally, the new Avatars window offers an immersive preview of your Avatars before you enter a VR session, helping you make the perfect choice for your VR adventures.
In an effort to keep you up-to-date with the latest developments, we’ve re-worked a News section which now combines automatic updates from Twitter, Medium, and Authenticity.io sources. This ensures you won’t miss any exciting news or updates from Somnium Space.
3) Upgraded Base Reality World & Weather System
In our ongoing quest to push the boundaries of virtual reality, we’ve carried out extensive updates and optimizations to our Base Reality World in the Somnium Space V3.0 update. These improvements are geared towards hosting hundreds, potentially thousands, of players in a single, persistent instance, cultivating a sense of community and shared experience on an unprecedented scale.
We’ve completely reworked the city center, the floating island, magic forest and more areas, enhancing their visual appeal and performance. In particular, our water system has undergone a major overhaul, leading to more realistic and immersive aquatic environments.
The mountains too have seen significant upgrades, now boasting intricately designed caves, cascading waterfalls, and meandering mountain rivers, enriching the exploratory experience for our users.
But perhaps the most exciting update is our reworked weather system. With more immersive volumetric clouds, falling snow, realistic rain, dramatic thunderstorms, enveloping fog, and varying wind patterns, we’ve brought the outdoors to life in a way that truly captivates the senses.
These enhancements serve to heighten the immersion in VR, enabling users to experience and interact with their environment in entirely new ways. By bridging the gap between virtual and real, we believe these improvements will fundamentally transform how our users experience, and are affected by, their VR environment.
4) Marketplace & VR Transaction Pipeline
The upcoming decentralized Marketplace from Somnium Space is a significant enhancement powered by CUBE & built on Polygon, introducing a new paradigm of user empowerment and financial autonomy for creators. This system is equipped with a new user-friendly interface, allowing users to mint their items uploaded through the SDK. Creators can conveniently place their items on the Marketplace or directly in VR (inside Base Reality or user generated Worlds) for Sale, Auction, or Dutch Auction, as well as make purchases and bids on items from other users. In addition, users are given the ability to create their own collections and add items to them, further enhancing the platform’s flexibility.
Certainly, one of the key upgrades to our Marketplace is the addition of the Creators Royalties system. This groundbreaking feature allows creators to activate a perpetual 5% royalty on their items, which is applied each time an item is resold. What makes this especially notable is its transparency and on-chain operation. This not only ensures creators are fairly rewarded for their work over time, but it also strengthen the entire process with an unparalleled level of transparency, engraving trust and security in every transaction.
This comprehensive upgrade positions the Marketplace as a monumental step forward in empowering creators. By providing the capacity for creators to mint and monetize virtually any item, scripts, or services, it offers unparalleled monetization capability for world builders. It democratizes the virtual economy, allowing thousands of creators to truly monetize their creative skills, retain full control over their possessions, and maintain their independence. Additionally we have implemented royalties, allowing original creators maintain steady stream of income by benefiting from secondary sales. This pioneering system is set to revolutionize the concept of ownership and economy within the metaverse, reinforcing Somnium Space’s commitment to leveraging blockchain technology for a more democratized and immersive virtual experience.
5) Somnium Unity SDK: Full-Scale Scripting in Somnium Space WORLDs
Here at Somnium Space, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of virtual reality and empowering our community to unleash their creativity. Our latest development involves expanding the capabilities of Somnium Space Worlds by enabling full-scale scripting using the Somnium Unity SDK. This exciting advancement opens up a world of possibilities for users to create and customize their virtual instances like never before. In the past, scripting in Somnium Space was primarily accomplished through Bolt macros, providing an accessible solution for users who may not have programming knowledge. However, we recognize the growing demand for more robust scripting capabilities. As a result, we are working hard to integrate full-scale scripting into WORLDs, overcoming a few notable challenges along the way. One key challenge lies in the compilation of such code. We are diligently working to ensure seamless integration of user-generated scripts into Somnium Space WORLDs.
Our goal is to create a user-friendly experience that enables individuals to unleash their creativity without unnecessary roadblocks. Additionally, we are aware of two crucial considerations that must be addressed during this process. Firstly, for code to be seamlessly integrated, it needs to be self-restoring and self-managed, allowing it to unpack and find references independently. We understand that this can be a complex and intricate process, and we are committed to finding elegant solutions that streamline the experience for our creators. Secondly, we must address compatibility issues with AOT compilers, specifically concerning iOS and possibly visionOS devices. It is important to note that scripts in these Worlds may not be readily available on iOS due to these compatibility challenges. While we strive to provide a consistent experience across platforms, we want to ensure transparency regarding this limitation. In conclusion, full-scale scripting opens up endless possibilities for customization and personalization within the virtual realm. Although challenges lie ahead, we are actively working through solutions to overcome them and deliver a seamless scripting experience to our users at launch of Somnium 3.0.
Furthermore, as we delve into the realm of full-scale scripting in Somnium Space Worlds, we are also exploring the potential for easier porting existing Unity games into our immersive platform. This exciting prospect opens up a world of opportunities for game developers, allowing them to bring their creations to life within the unique and dynamic environment of Somnium Space. By leveraging the power of our Unity SDK and the customizable nature of WORLDs, developers can re-imagine their games and offer players a truly immersive experience while utilizing full power of our decentralized economy and monetization systems.
6) VR Tablet, Menus & Hand Physics
Somnium Space’s new VR tablet represents a significant leap forward in terms of design, functionality, and user experience, reshaping the way users interact within the virtual realm. It now includes an array of main apps, including the Camera, Browser, Inventory, Gallery, Avatars, Mirror, Map, and many others, all of which have been re-imagined and upgraded from the ground up. This broad suite of applications provides users with an extensive range of capabilities, creating a dynamic and comprehensive tool for interaction within the VR environment.
The tablet itself has undergone a transformative redesign. It now features a dynamic size that adjusts based on the application in use, ensuring an optimal user experience. Its new semi-transparent design elegantly blends into the VR environment, enabling users to remain aware of their surroundings while simultaneously engaging with their favorite apps.
Alongside the many advancements in the Somnium Space Tablet, we’ve made significant enhancements to hand physics. The new system provides a more precise and accurate representation of hand interactions with objects and physical obstacles, such as the new VR tablet. These enhancements allow for more intuitive, natural movements, and create a much more immersive and realistic experience when interacting with the virtual world around you.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this new launch is the opening of the platform to user-created apps following the Somnium 3.0 launch. Through integration with the SDK, users will be able to craft their own applications for the tablet using the Bolt visual scripting. By providing an app template, Somnium Space is fostering an environment of creative independence, enabling users to construct and integrate their own bolt modules. This pivotal development empowers users to contribute to the platform’s evolution, underscoring Somnium Space’s commitment to creating a more user-centric, dynamic, and immersive virtual reality experience.
7) New Camera App | PRO mode
In this new release, we are pleased to announce a significant upgrade to the Somnium VR Tablet Camera. Through a complete redesign, we’ve transformed the camera into a powerful, professional-grade tool that provides you with a high degree of control and flexibility.
The basic camera now features enhanced capabilities such as layer filtering and integrated Depth of Field (DoF), enriching your ability to capture the essence of your virtual reality experiences. But the star of the show is our new advanced camera. This mode is designed to meet the needs of even the most demanding videographers, offering the ability to set up multiple cameras simultaneously, thus opening up an entirely new dimension of storytelling possibilities.
We’ve integrated advanced screen effects, including real-time post-processing, giving your captures an immersive, cinematic feel. Layer filtering capabilities have been expanded, along with the addition of an extra light sources to illuminate your scenes just the way you want.
Additionally, we’ve introduced new camera follow and look at targeting modes, giving you even greater control over your shots. Whether you’re looking to create dynamic tracking shots or focus on specific elements within your scene, our advanced camera has got you covered.
For the explorers and innovators out there, you will be thrilled to know that we have also incorporated a drone mode. This provides you with a bird’s eye perspective, allowing you to capture expansive aerial shots or navigate intricate spaces in your VR world with precision. Even more excitingly, our system allows you to spawn up to 10 drone cameras simultaneously, giving you an unparalleled level of versatility and control in creating your virtual reality masterpieces.
From basic and advanced camera modes, multiple camera setups, and camera transitions, to per camera post-process control, hand shake effects, camera follow and look at targeting, additional camera light, per camera layer filtering, and camera remote drone control — we’ve pushed the boundaries of what’s possible with the Somnium VR Tablet Camera, catering to every video maker’s needs. This exciting feature promises to transform the way you interact with, and document, your virtual reality experiences.
8) New Wearables System
The Somnium Space Platform V3.0 also introduces an exciting new Wearables System, expanding the boundaries of personal expression and avatar customization in our virtual realm. The system allows you to dress your avatar in a variety of virtual clothing items, lending a more personal touch to your virtual persona.
Furthering our commitment to customization, these wearable clothes can be attached to any bones, offering a higher degree of flexibility and realism. For an even more immersive experience, you now have the ability to utilize physics-based clothing that reacts dynamically to your avatar’s movements and the virtual environment.
But we didn’t stop there. Our new system allows you to adjust each piece of clothing to fit your avatar perfectly. Whether it’s a virtual tee, jacket, or a pair of trousers, you can tailor it precisely to your avatar’s dimensions, and the system will remember your specifications for future use.
One of the most exciting aspects of our new Wearables System is its integration with NFTs. Any wearable item can be minted as an NFT, giving it unique provenance and value. These wearable NFTs can be traded directly on the Somnium Marketplace or in user owned VR stores / directly in VR between two users, immersing you in a seamless, decentralized trading experience. Alternatively, you can also trade your wearable NFTs on any decentralized marketplace of your choice.
This advancement revolutionizes the way users can express themselves, interact with, and monetize the virtual world, offering an unprecedented level of immersion and personalization. We are thrilled to see the myriad ways in which our community will utilize this new Wearables System to express their creativity.
9) New Social System (Chat, VR calls, Groups, Friends etc.)
As part of the Somnium Space Platform V3.0 update, we’re thrilled to introduce a newly enhanced Social System that’s designed to foster deeper and more dynamic interactions in our virtual realm.
Our new chat functionality is a central aspect of this upgrade. Users now have the freedom to create both private and group chats, allowing you to build more personalized social circles within Somnium Space. Additionally, we’ve added options to rename group chats, add or remove participants, and view user profiles directly from the chat interface, creating a more user-friendly and intuitive communication environment.
To bridge the gap between the virtual and physical world, we’ve integrated our chat system directly into the Launcher. This means that even if you’re not yet in VR, you can still communicate seamlessly with friends who are exploring the virtual world. We’ve also prioritized your privacy with this new chat system; chats show in real time, with no user-to-user communication saved on our servers. We have taken this step as part of our commitment to protect the privacy of our users.
Building on the immersive nature of VR, we’ve incorporated a VR video call feature, enabling real-time video calls between users. This innovation allows for quicker, more intuitive communication, enhancing your ability to connect with others while exploring the myriad of virtual worlds in Somnium Space.
Complementing these communication upgrades is our new Map System. Designed to improve your virtual navigation experience, this real-time map provides detailed information about worlds, user locations, navigation paths, and much more. It allows you to engage more intimately with your virtual environment and makes locating other users and points of interest a breeze.
The new Social System in Somnium Space Platform V3.0 takes virtual interaction to new heights, intertwining advanced communication tools and an intuitive map system to enrich your overall experience within our expansive virtual universe.
10) AI research, Live Forever Mode, Experience Data Format (EDF)
Over the past year, we’ve made substantial progress in the realm of artificial intelligence research and development at Somnium Space. This groundbreaking work has led to the implementation of an array of innovative features in the V3.0 update, paving the way for transformative user experiences and valuable scientific contributions.
A standout feature is the new Somnium Space AI & Data Systems. These revolutionary tools empower users to collect data and integrate machine learning and AI models into their VR experiences, serving a multitude of purposes — from content creation and training digital twins, to contributing to scientific projects and more.
In order to facilitate data sharing and analysis across various disciplines, we’re proud to introduce the Experience Data Format (EDF). This open standard has been designed to capture multimodal data about lived experiences in VR, creating a common language that unifies the realms of AI, science, art, and engineering.
The initial release supports recording of comprehensive data including full body motion, finger tracking, eye and face tracking, speech, hearing, vision, avatar and animation data, and even basic physiological data. This can be collected for any number of users interacting within our VR environment.
A crucial aspect of our AI and data system’s design is its commitment to user privacy and data ownership. At Somnium Space, we firmly believe in your right to control your own data. As such, WE DO NOT COLLECT OR STORE any user data on our servers. Instead, all data gathered from your VR experiences are stored locally on your own PC in the universal and sharable Experience Data Format (EDF).
This user-centric approach not only empowers you with complete control over your personal data but also opens up possibilities for decentralized and transparent data sharing or trading. Researchers seeking to gather data for various purposes can directly connect with users within the Somnium Space platform. Users can then choose to share or trade their locally stored data in a manner that is both consensual and transparent.
In essence, the Somnium Space Platform V3.0 offers a secure and decentralized solution for data collection, storage, sharing & trading, designed with your privacy and data ownership rights in mind. We’re excited to see the new avenues of exploration and discovery this will open for both users and researchers alike.
To maximize accessibility, we’ve developed EDF read and write tools in both Python and C#, with plans to create further tools to integrate with common workflows in machine learning. Our aim is to advance research into highly multimodal machine learning and virtual humans.
The flexibility and robustness of EDF comes from its format design, which consists of Apache Avro files and optional referenced media files, akin to the design of GLTF and other multi-modal files. The Avro files adhere to the EDF metaschema, which defines the structure and semantics of EDF records. We chose Apache Avro for its robustness, efficiency, compression capabilities, inter-process communication support, and schema evolution features.
The EDF metaschema is the backbone of the format, providing a detailed ontology of all possible data categories, including bio data, peripherals data, objects data, physical environment data, virtual environment data, and activity data. It also supports data recorded at different frequencies, organizing data into Avro files based on the frequency of change. This separation allows for more efficient storage by avoiding unnecessary repetition of static data.
To complement the new data system, we are adding an AI system to allow you to interact with AI characters and integrate AI models into your VR experiences. These characters can be customized using by allowing users to easily fine tune the models with your own data. With this tight and easy-to-use AI integration we hope more users will explore and use the latest AI advances as part of their own experiences!
Lastly, we’re thrilled to announce that these advancements are paving the way for the launch of the highly anticipated “Live Forever Mode Alpha” later this year. This mode will be a testament to our commitment to creating a platform that is as dynamic, engaging, and interactive as the users it serves.
11) 11-Point Full Body Tracking (FBT)
In our continuous pursuit of providing the most immersive and lifelike virtual reality experiences, we’re excited to announce major upgrades to our VR Full Body Tracking capabilities in the Somnium Space Platform V3.0 update.
At the heart of this enhancement is the expanded support for 11 tracker points, a significant leap forward that brings a new level of precision and realism to your VR interactions. Along with this, we’ve implemented a new calibration logic that refines how these tracking points are interpreted and utilized, leading to smoother, more accurate avatar movements.
In addition, we have introduced greater flexibility for personal customization. Now you can easily change the position and rotation of each tracking point by simply grabbing it. We’ve also added the possibility to adjust the angle offsets of bend goals such as the chest, elbows, and knees. This provides a more personalized and comfortable experience, allowing your virtual movements to mirror your natural motion more closely than ever before. While these updates mark a major step forward, they represent only a glimpse of what’s in store. We are currently working on even more advanced full body tracking capabilities, which will be available upon the final release of Somnium Space V3.0.
12) PC Desktop Control App
Another exciting addition to the Somnium Space V3.0 update is our brand new VR Desktop Control feature. This powerful tool grants users the ability to create any number of screens, each capable of mirroring your real-life PC monitor. This essentially turns your virtual space into a customizable, multi-screen control room, facilitating a highly productive and immersive work or leisure environment.
But we didn’t stop there. The VR Desktop Control also provides the ability to interact with your PC using your VR controllers and a virtual keyboard. This means you can now manage and control your real-life PC in VR through your virtual screens, bridging the gap between your physical and virtual worlds in a remarkably seamless way. Whether you’re working on a project, browsing the web, or playing a game, you can now do it all from within the immersive confines of Somnium Space.
13) Browser, Teleportation, Locomotion, Mirrors & more!
In addition to the major updates we’ve detailed above, Somnium Space V3.0 also comes packed with numerous other features and improvements that include an upgraded browser, advanced teleportation and locomotion options, realistic mirrors, and much more. However, this is just a glimpse of the immense value we’re bringing to the Somnium Space platform with the V3.0 update. Detailed specifications for these and many more features will be released soon.
14) Somnium WebXR Client
While the VR aspects of Somnium Space often garner much attention, it’s essential not to overlook our WEB client, an essential component of our platform that has served as the gateway to the Metaverse for hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. From mobile phones and tablets to laptops, the Somnium WEB client makes the Metaverse accessible from any device. Many stunning creations, from both companies and individuals, have been brought to life inside Somnium WEB. You can see a selection of the best in the video below.
But we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re currently hard at work developing a substantial update: the Somnium WEB Client 3.0. This upcoming update will bring numerous enhancements, including compatibility with mobile and mobile VR, including hand tracking. Desktop and desktop VR compatibility will be improved, with enhanced visuals and controls. We’re also introducing gamepad compatibility, support for both 1st & 3rd person modes, and support for ReadyPlayerMe male & female skeletons, alongside generic Somnium male & female skeletons.
Every late night and every solved challenge brings us a step closer to making this dream a reality. The anticipation of seeing you — VR enthusiasts, creators, explorers — experiencing, shaping, and growing with our upcoming updates, fuels our passion and dedication. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on in Somnium Space V3.0. Together, we will shape the future of the Metaverse, a future that is open, diverse, and most importantly, crafted by you. Stay tuned for the journey that lies ahead! ❤️
Most active Creators & Builders Tribute
At the heart of Somnium Space are the innovative minds of our community, tirelessly creating, experimenting, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within our platform. Our most active builders and creators are curating some truly incredible experiences that stretch the limits of our collective imagination. Harnessing the power of advanced layer two solutions, AI integration, in-world gaming, and even creating ‘metaverses within the metaverse’, they are revolutionizing the way we interact with virtual reality.
Their creations range from intricate shows, lush parks, and diverse experiences that blur the line between the virtual and the physical world. But it’s not just about what they create; it’s the passion, dedication, and ingenuity they bring to the table that truly inspire us. As we move towards the launch of Somnium Space V3.0, it’s this collective energy and innovative spirit of our community that will catalyze the next leap forward in our platform.
These ongoing collaborations continue to redefine what a metaverse can be and underscore the value of community in shaping the future of virtual reality. As we proceed, we eagerly anticipate the awe-inspiring worlds our users will create within Somnium Space V3.0. Stay tuned to see the future they’re building today!
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