Your first Virtual Reality Room with JanusVR and VRSites.com

If you haven’t checked out JanusVR yet then you need to stop reading and go do that now. You don’t need a rift to use it. Go!

Ok, now that you’re back you’re probably wondering how to create your own rooms in Janus. Luckily it’s pretty easy because the creator of JanusVR, James McCrae, has written a very clear and simple guide, so get started by giving it a quick read over here.  Here’s a template you can use to get started creating your own VR site:

<html>
<head>
<title>Hello VR World!</title>
</head>
<body>
<FireBoxRoom>
<Assets>
</Assets>
<Room use_local_asset=”room1″>
</Room>
</FireBoxRoom>
</body>
</html>

You can play with your room locally but getting it online is more fun. To get your site online go to VRSites.com and sign up. Now put your room’s code in one of the 10 rooms editors and save it. You can then find your room in Janus by going to the VRSites room (big portal on the right) and finding it based on the address on the top right side of the editor window, or just press tab in Janus and enter your room’s URL. The url is simply james.vrsites.com followed by the room number and then your user number. For example, my user number is 288 and so my Room 1 is found at http://james.vrsites.com/1/288.

You can also use SketchUp to create rooms, but try creating your own from the mark-up language first!

JanusVR Screenshot

JanusVR Screenshot

Facebook buys Oculus

Facebook is buying Oculus for $2 billion and I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. I was hoping that VR tech would make it into the hands of developers and consumers before being snatched up by the tech giants. I was imagining the possibilities of having  FOSS based social development around VR that could bring in more innovation and creativity without the interference of the existing giants. Imagine IRC with VR chatrooms created, hosted and moderated by individuals or tribes. When combined with PrioVR we could have some seriously fun and interesting worlds to explore. What if Facebook decides to lock down the device so that it can only be used for social purposes through some kind of Facebook API? That would make them the gatekeepers to our virtual reality.  Will those that do not want a facebook account be locked out of the VR experience as well?

If I was a backer of the Oculus Rift Kickstarter I’m not sure how I’d feel about the the company I backed selling out before they’ve even shipped the product I sponsored.  When you sponsor a project on Kickstarter you are also buying into the vision of the creators and I think I would feel ripped off if that vision get absorbed by a larger corporate story before I even get my hands on the device. On the other hand I feel that I can trust John Carmack and Michael Abrash and if they think Oculus is still worth supporting then that makes me feel slightly less concerned. Let’s just hope some competitors arrive in this market to keep it more open and transparent. If someone wants to start a FOSS VR headset on Kickstarter I’d gladly be a backer!

You can read more here:

Facebook to Acquire Oculus 

Facebook buying Oculus VR for $2 billion

Facebook to buy Oculus virtual reality firm for $2B

I’d especially recommend Peter Berkman’s tumbr post, Wrong and Right Reasons To Be Upset About Oculus, not just because of the article itself but because John Carmack personally responded to it in the comments.