Trying out Mozilla Hubs

  • Mozilla Hubs is a VR/3D chat room, sort of like IMVU, Second Life, etc, except semi-private instances. That should be quite interesting. It doesn't need a client, it uses the browser, so I opened it in Firefox, assuming they're favoring their own. Whoo, listen to those computer fans, this thing runs hot, to get me 30-45 FPS (admittedly on a 5K iMac…)

It uses a horrible no-password email-link token login flow. Almost just stopped right there. I have a password manager, I'm fine with entering long passwords; I don't like opening email every time I come to a site.

Picking name and avatar seems persistent, but the avatar choices are either box-headed robots, round-headed robots, or super creepy human busts on floating buttplugs. I did eventually find a Bender avatar, so that's sorted for now.

You start in a tutorial on a terrible little "River Island" with painted-on water. It took me a while to realize you can create and edit objects you place, but the "stuff" in the room is created in a world editor and you can't edit those while you're in the scene. Nothing can really be interacted with, you can't sit, but it doesn't matter because you don't have a moving body to animate. 1990 called and wants its VR back.

Controls are weird. It does WASD, but Q/E rotate you by 45° per tap, left-mouse drag turns you, right-mouse drag sets a destination, which is backwards from every MMO & FPS. Shift sprints, which annoys me since Minecraft has shift=crouch, ctrl=sprint, but whatever. Flight is G or /fly in chat, to go into no-clip flying mode, which can be disabled by the room's owner. Tab or space open a GIANT emote bar, which is frustrating since holding space is also how you edit items. I have to back way up to see the popup menu over the giant emote bar.

Hamburger menu, Change Scene lets you pick from quite a lot of worlds. Some you can bookmark/copy to "My Scenes", some you can't, and I don't know why. The scene list doesn't keep your place, each time you open it, you start at page 0 (actually, all pages say "0"; so you're just paging forever with no idea where you are).

Scenes I've liked so far:

  • morning dew: Nice open café.
  • Atmosphere Lounge: Cool cathedral floating in the void, but can't bookmark it.
  • Viewing Room: Nice little basement room with sofa.
  • Wizard's Library: World of Warcraft-y cute tower with two levels and little nooks.
  • Mad Scientist House: Rick & Morty's house. Not every room is detailed, but the doors are pass-thru.
  • TheNightClub: Dark hallway, dance floor, and stage. Tastefully black and purple. Seems useful.

But many others are weird models with no interiors, and almost no place you can walk. I've seen one scene so far that had sound effects, so it's possible, just nobody else bothered.

I'll probably go back in and try making a scene, and then make it permanent(?) and see how the user interaction is. I'm not expecting much given these terrible avatars, but world-building is fun.

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