Welcome to the Developer Update for November 3rd, 2022!
If you’d like to catch up, you can read our previous Developer Update from October 27th.
It’s out! VRChat on Quest now has full finger and hand tracking, including locomotion methods!
(that’s the open beta video but you get the idea)
For now, this is a Quest-only feature. However, we’re working on getting this to work with PC via Quest Link and Airlink. There’s a few things holding us up, but we think we can pull it off.
There was also a bunch of other cool stuff in this update, like VRCGraphics, a whole networking overhaul, and more! Check out the release notes for a full listing.
It’s November! Spooky time is done! But… that means something even spookier is looming-- the holiday season!
Although there’s two months left in the year, a significant portion of that time is holiday time. In November, VRChat takes time off to observe Thanksgiving in the United States. We also take the last two weeks of the year off to observe the winter holidays. We’ll still have vital teams on staff – shoutouts to the always-awake DevOps, Support, and Trust & Safety teams!
That means we can’t release anything even remotely risky after a certain point. As such, you won’t see any major releases from VRChat past about December 6th or 7th.
In other words, we’ve only got about 3 “full” weeks of development time left! We’re trying to spend it wisely, and want to ensure that whatever we do release is low-risk.
We’ve got some things planned! Keep an eye out!
Spookality is done! Thank you to everyone that participated! All of the entries were truely terrifying. Or cute. A lot of people did the whole “scary cute” thing which I don’t mind.
Anyways, you’ll notice that the world category is still up! It’ll stay up until November 14th. After that time, the world category will be taken down.
However, the Spookality 2022 Hub world will remain public, as will all the Jam entries (as long as the authors keep them up)!
Go check them out soon!
As we’ve talked about in previous Dev Updates, the VRChat Creator Companion is the new entry point for creating things for VRChat! It currently includes our new VRChat Package Manager (VPM), and will eventually house documentation, examples, news, jam info, community prefabs and more!
Learn how to get started with the Creator Companion here. That site includes guides for starting a brand new project, as well as migrating previous projects over.
We plan on swapping entirely to the Creator Companion starting in January 2023. This means that you’ll only be able to get SDK updates through the VCC¹, and UnityPackage downloads for all SDKs will no longer be available.
You’ll still be able to use UnityProjects in your own projects, of course, and you’ll still use Unity to make your stuff. Think of the VCC as a “Unity Hub” for VRChat projects.
Furthermore, since the VCC does not support SDK2, this also means that SDK2 will no longer be offered for download starting in January 2023.
The core of the Creator Companion, the VRChat Package Manager, is cross-platform compatible. Although we do not QA or test the VPM on Linux or MacOS, nothing should prevent it from working. Users report back that it works after installing the appropriate .NET6 frameworks.
We don’t directly support Linux or MacOS content development for VRChat. But, we don’t go out of our way to break it, and we try to do things in ways that don’t make it harder. We do not currently have the resources to directly support creation tools on more than Windows right now.
If you’re not familiar, VRChat does a big New Years celebration! We have a world where there are countdowns to each one of the New Years for EVERY timezone (yes, even UTC +14, Kiribati). Hang out with your friends from around the world, and celebrate their New Years with them!
There’s going to be tons of VRChat community content in the world, from Posters to Food Trucks and Storefronts, just like last year! We’re inviting a bunch of VRChat community members and leaders along with content creators to contribute content. We’ll also be putting posts out VERY SOON polling the community to see who they think should be involved!
We’re also running a fully managed video stream consisting of both live and pre-recorded content for New Years Eve 2023! The stream will start at the first official New Years celebration at UTC +14. It will continue onward, with peak hours highlighted by live music content from various VRChat communities! We’ll be publishing a schedule at a later time.
However, we’re changing things up a little bit.
We know things were pretty music-heavy last time, so we’re angling more towards a bit of a “New Years Show”, but with a VRChat vibe. We’ll still have plenty of music to jam out to, but we’re thinking something like really late night Adult Swim, the kind of stuff they play at 2-3AM to mess with half-asleep people.
We want to have lots of content to fill this out. We’re thinking that, during transitions, waiting periods, and timezones where we aren’t playing live content, we want to play all kinds of prerecorded content!
Now, that’s a lot of content, yeah? How the heck are we gonna fill out ~15 hours of pre-recorded content?
This is where you come in.
Do you want to show off your community? Do you make worlds in VRChat? Do you make avatars? Do you tell stories? Run an event? Do you make animated content? Make music? Do you want to make a fake commercial? Do you dance? Want to make sure everyone stays hydrated? Do you want to wish VRChat a happy new year?
Can you think of literally anything even remotely VRChat related that’ll fit in a video?
Now’s your time! Create whatever you like, submit it, and we’ll take a look. As long as you follow the rules and the video is good, we’ll play it! These submissions will be completely open!
Take a look at this video one of our team members made-- we think its a great example of the short, simple, kind of content you could contribute!
These are similar to last time! We’re reaching out to people that we want to participate. There’s no way to sign up for this directly.
That being said, we’re going to have a few ways for the VRChat community to “tag” creators and community members that they think should be in.
These slots are super limited, and it can be tough to get all of the community into the world. That’s why we have the video stuff!
Expect this messaging to go out soon.
Groups is chugging right along! Right now, a lot of work is going on for Groups in basically every area – UI, API, web front-end, and more.
We’re actually aiming to get the intital release of Groups out before the end of the year. We’re trying our best! It will not be feature complete (as we want Groups to do TONS of things) but it’ll be a great foundation for us to build on. We want to get the intial version into people’s hands as soon as possible so we can watch what people use them for, what issues they run into, and where we should focus on improving.
We’ll have a whole set of communications and documentation once we get closer to Groups release. However, for now, I’ve got another video for you!
Have fun picking it apart! (there’s a lot!)
This didn’t make it into 2022.4.1, but it should be coming in the next release!
We’ve added new controls to the Tracking and IK options that are visible when you’re in Full Body!
We’ve added sliders to adjust wrist and knee angle to help fine-tune your preferences!
We’ve also added sliders that replace settings that were previously launch options – Calibration Range and Arm vs Height Ratio. Using these, you can REALLY dial in how your avatar matches your movements in Full Body!
Gestures are now fixed for Desktop users when the camera is open!
Additionally, gesture icons got a new animation to move to the sides of the Desktop and Quick Menu when they’re open.
FINALLY, renaming avatar favorite lists is here!
Next up, we have to do a pass to rename favorite “groups” to “lists” for avatars/friends/worlds. This is so there’s no confusion with actual Groups, which is coming Soon™️…
VRChat 2022.4.1 introduced Udon API hooks for Graphics.Blit, which allows you to copy a source texture into a destination render texture with a shader! This is super performant compared to previous methods that were in use, and allows for some really cool world features to be built in an optimal way.
To show it off, we made an example scene using Graphics.Blit!
It renders a minimap that shows yourself and other players in the instance overlayed on top of it. It ships with the SDK so people can just drag and drop the prefab into their world, and use it as-is if they want.
We’ve added some new icons for user profiles for more common sites we’re seeing users link to!
Every once in a while we’ll peek at our analytics and fill out icons for sites that people are linking to more often.
There’s a bunch of instructional posters in the VRChat Home that show new users how to use different parts of VRChat. We’ve brought them up to date with UI 2.0 graphics!
There’s not too much to show right now, but a portion of our team has been hyper-focused on improving performance in VRChat. We’re focusing heavily on VRChat for Quest, but these changes will also affect PC.
Initial results are promising, with reduced world load times, and efforts making headway on various optimizations to our avatar technology (see note). We’ll update you when we’ve got more!
Note: When I say “avatar technology” I don’t mean “don’t make bad animators” or “stop using always-on blendshapes”, I am instead referring to the technology that drives VRChat’s avatar posing, networking, etc. Things that avatar creators don’t touch.
That being said, if you’re making poorly performing animators, pls stop
In a previous Dev Update we noted that the VRChat API will no longer provide the username of other users to you. This has been deployed! Usernames are dead. At some point in the future, they will be removed completely. We’ll post here and inform relevant parties when that occurs.
This API change was rolled back because it broke the client in some ways! Turns out we didn’t check everything. Whoops. We’ll get back to it after a client patch.
As one final bit to cover, we’ve continued to investigate toxicity in VRChat, and methods to help address it. We’ve talked about this previously!
A large amount of both of our indirect (subreddit posts, tweets, etc) and direct (T&S and support tickets, discord posts, etc) feedback regarding toxicity point to Public instances being the primary place where toxicity occurs. This makes sense, especially when our own investigation and analytics confirmed a fairly obvious point: toxicity almost entirely occurs between users who don’t know each other.
Furthermore, we’ve determined that in most cases, toxicity usually comes from a very small subset of consistently toxic users rather than a large spread of users being toxic sometimes. Again, while pretty obvious to anyone that’s been in any online space ever, we wanted to confirm our data. (that’s science, baby)
One of the most important tools users have in VRChat is the ability to Block other users. Not only does Blocking allow you to completely delete someone from your point of view, knowing to use Blocking early and often seems to be one of the more important factors for players to have a good time and stick around.
We’ve been improving the way we’re surfacing guides and information regarding our moderation systems to both new and existing users. We’ve got more changes on the way, and plan on making improvements across the board to our self-moderation systems, on-boarding process, and improving the way people find their way to like-minded individuals, rather than being dropped into the “pachinko machine” of public instances. In fact, a lot of the changes we’ve made recently and have coming soon are the direct result of our continued efforts to improve this process.
Of course, there’s also the other side of the coin. Although we don’t talk about it much (as it is a somewhat sensitive subject), we’ve been improving a lot of our internal Trust and Safety tooling and processes. We’ve also been growing the team, and have improvements in design for better reporting, better feedback, and more.
However, that’s not all we want to do!
We’ve been brainstorming ideas to help tackle this problem of dealing with toxicity across tens of thousands of live instance effectively without causing problems or “butterfly effects”. There’s a lot of potential landmines here: some solutions work, but are brute-force and far too large-scale. Some are less brute-force, but involve compromises of various kinds that we need to make sure people are willing to make. We’re mindfully seeking a middle ground.
We have an idea of what we want to do, and we want to talk to you about it here soon. We’re very interested in your constructive feedback to help us migitate the internet-wide problem of toxicity!
That’s it for next week! Thanks for tuning in!
Our next Dev Update will be posted on November 10th.
See you then!