High Fidelity Open Alpha Phase starts


Philip Rosedale announced on Wednesday 1st April that High Fidelity has moved into the early open alpha phase. Please note that this is a very early release with loads of bugs in it and that many things need to be improved. If you love testing early developments then this is something for you to try out.

In recent weeks invites have been sent out to start testing High Fidelity and I’m glad it’s moved into the open alpha phase. I have signed up today to High Fidelity and I will publish what I think soon.

High Fidelity’s open source software is now available for early alpha use, enabling you to download client and server installers, deploy your own domain servers, create user accounts, register unique placenames, and start building and experimenting.

This is a very early release, and High Fidelity is still very much a work in progress. The look and visual quality is far from complete, and big things like avatar movement animation and physics are still not in place. There are lots of bugs to fix, and content formats will continue to change. But enough systems are now functional to make us feel that High Fidelity is useful for some types of work, experimentation, and exploration. Having run a small and controlled early alpha to iron out the really show-stopping bugs, we’re now eager to engage a larger group and recruit open source contributions from other developers working on building the metaverse.

You can download the client and server installers, create domain servers, create user accounts and start building in this early open alpha phase. There is a alpha version of the High Fidelity marketplace where you can find scripts, building materials, avatars and much more. There is work being done to add payment systems in the near future.

You can create your own virtual world by downloading and running the Stack Manager.  The client software that you use to enter your world or those others have created is available by running Interface, and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.  We are working on a GearVR/Android version as well, but it isn’t ready yet.

You can build content by importing models and using JavaScript to create interactive objects and behaviors.  You can communicate with your voice and with facial expressions, and you can optionally use the Oculus Rift HMD and other input devices like the Razer Hydra to touch and edit the world.   We will also support the HTC Vive HMD and hand controllers as soon as they are available.

3D Audio is operational:  If you are using a high-quality headset, you can hear other people and objects in the environment at their correct locations, with very low latency, and with the echoes of your own voice off the virtual walls.  Sounds can also be made by interactive objects in-world, and audio is mixed together by a server node so that many people can talk together without increasing the audio bit-rate each person receives.

Avatars can be created with a variety of characteristics, whose faces are animated in real time using both head motion and audio (for HMD users) or more highly detailed expressions gathered from a depth-camera  (for desktop users), as you can see in this video from our recent funding announcement:

The transition from the alpha phase to the beta phase will happen within the year or so bringing greater stability along with much more. For now it’s a work in progress and its far from complete.

You can expect continuous and substantial changes as we complete new features; we will likely break content as we continue to design and experiment.   The transition from ‘alpha’ to ‘beta’, which we expect will happen over a year or so, will signal greater stability in the content formats.  But as an open source project with contributions from many developers and with a broad set of features working, we think the time is right to open things up completely for early use.

For the latest news on High Fidelity visit the blog to stay updated.

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