VRCHAT

  • VRChat is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online computer game social platform created by Graham Gaylor and Jesse Joudrey. It allows players to interact with others as 3D character models. 
  • The game was released for Microsoft Windows as a standalone application compatible with the Oculus DK1 development kit on January 16, 2014, and Steam’s early access program on February 1, 2017. 
  • It supports the Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, and the Oculus Quest via the Oculus Store, the HTC Vive series, Windows Mixed Reality headsets and the Valve Index through SteamVR. Notably, it also supports full-body humanoid avatar tracking via Vive Trackers, though none of those accessories are mandatory to play. 
  • The game later launched on the Oculus Quest on May 20, 2019, supporting limited cross-play with the Microsoft Windows version.
  • Imagine a world where anything is possible. Join a game of capture the flag in space. Share stories around a campfire while roasting marshmallows, then moments later experience a retro game of bowling with an alien and robot. 
  • In VRChat there’s something around every corner which will delight, because of the facility of true user-generated content. Jump into many awe-inspiring environments and meet unique avatars a day. 
  • Watch a movie on the moon. Ride the Titanic. Step into a replacement world whenever you come online. In VRChat, you are one of us. Enjoy your stay.
  • Chat using full spatialized 3-d audio during a big variety of environments.
  • Use emotes, emoji, and hand gestures to speak fully together with your entire body. It has avatars with incredible technology, including mouths that realistically match your speech and eyes that really check out you. 
  • All in all, VRChat has the foremost expressive avatars around!
  • Feeling active? Jump into a match of Capture the Flag or enter the old west and rob a bank in Steel n’ Gold. Go head-to-head in Battle Discs or bowl out a couple of frames with friends. Feeling more creative? Put on some Bob Ross and convey out your inner artist in Sculpt Studio or enjoy an evening of VR Karaoke. Whatever your mood, we’ve got something for you.
  • Want to watch YouTube videos in a space station with friends? Check. How about catching a show during a jazz bar? Check. desire brainstorming your next million-dollar concept in our presentation room? Double-check.
  • With many unique worlds and more opening up weekly, there’s always a special place to relax and socialize with others.
  • Join the community of builders using Unity and SDK to create worlds and avatars in VRChat!  Unity SDK allows you to create a good sort of VR experiences. 
  • Build a new world from your own imagination. Create an avatar that expresses your unique personality.
  • Don’t want to stop with avatars and worlds? Start your own event! VRChat is home to Gunter’s Universe, the primary chat show in VR. Host your own show, teach a category on the way to integrate VRChat, create a performance, or start your own VR acting studio! The possibilities are endless!
  • Show off your latest creations to your friends, our entire community, and therefore the whole world!
  • Snap a Polaroid with our in-game cameras. Pass the photo around in VR or share your desktop version anywhere.
  • You can even snap and share a 3-D 360° panorama anytime in VRChat. Thanks to our integration with VRChive, regardless of where you’re in VRChat, you’ll easily take 360° panos. Snap away!

CONSIDERATIONS

  • Let’s keep it loose and friendly. No hateful speech, excessive profanity, explicit sexual behavior, self-promotion, or solicitation.
  • By entering VRChat, you’re agreeing to our Code of Conduct, a complete version found on our website.

Gameplay

VRChat’s gameplay is analogous thereto of games like Second Life and Habbo Hotel. Players can create their own instanced worlds during which they will interact with one another through virtual avatars. A software development kit released alongside the sport gives players the power to make or import character models from various franchises and adopt them as their personas. Player models are capable of supporting “audio lip synchronization, eye tracking and blinking, and complete range of motion. It also includes several minigames during which players can “Capture the Flag, rob a bank in Steel ‘n’ Gold, and lob digital discs at one another during a match of Battle Discs.”

Although the sport is known as “VRChat”, it’s not necessary to possess VR equipment to play the sport. The game also offers a desktop version for those that do not have VR headsets, but it’s limitations like the lack to freely move an avatar’s limbs, as well as certain content which requires the user make use of both hands, such as a shooting game where the player must use their other hand to reload a weapon while holding it with their primary hand. Desktop Mode users are restricted to one hand for interaction but can make use of a windows compatible game-pad for further interaction. As the majority of content in VR chat is user-driven, making “accessible” content cross-platform is up to the designer.

Hardware support

VRChat has extensive support for an outsized number of VR headsets and accessories, like the Oculus Rift DK1, DK2, CV1, and S headset variants running on Microsoft Windows with or without the Oculus Home launcher, as well as the Android-based Oculus Quest standalone VR platform. Unique to VRChat, users on the Android platform can fully interact with users on the PC platform, provided the player-created avatar is uploaded and optimized for the search. Quest users can view the PC user’s avatars in their “full-body” configurations, and physical movement is accurately synced between clients.

Additionally, all VR hardware that’s compatible with the SteamVR/OpenVR platform is supported to varying degrees. This includes (but is not limited to) the HTC Vive and Vive Pro, as well as the more recent Valve Index as of June 5, 2019. Depending on the headset used, models for the respective controllers will appear while the player is navigating the in-game menu. Controllers which support finger positional trackings such as the Valve Index Controllers and the more limited “cap-sense” of the Oculus Controllers allow users to make natural hand gestures such as “fist” or “victory”, which may then be further customized to trigger linked animations, like a corresponding countenance.

The game allows additional add-on support for hip and feet tracking, among its user base commonly mentioned as “full-body” tracking. Humanoid movement is calculated through unity inverse kinematics. Officially, only the HTC computer game System Tracker, better referred to as the “Vive Tracker Puck” by many, allows this support. Users must purchase one or three tracking “pucks” (one placed ahead of the hips, one on each foot). Users can have “hips only” for extra tracking fidelity without the necessity for left and right foot tracking. Unofficially, players have made “frankenstein” VR setups like employing a PlayStation VR headset to trace the top, Xbox’s Kinect for the hips and feet, and Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons for the hands (alternatively, PlayStation Move controllers) to simulate the full-body tracking the HTC Vive supports, with SteamVR facilitating the combination through custom OpenVR drivers.

Community

The game’s popularity has been attributed to use by YouTubers and Twitch streamers. VRChat has spawned media like a weekly newspaper in its forums, and talk shows and podcasts dedicated to a discussion of the sport.

Controversy

VRChat has come under fire several times due to NSFW activities within the game. With large communities built around the idea of an 18+ atmosphere, VRChat has often been criticized for a lack of aged protection for and against younger users of the sport. As well, online child predators have become a problem within many of the communities, and continue to be an ever-present danger that is shared with much of the Internet.

In popular culture

Ugandan Knuckles

VRChat gave rise to a meme known as “Ugandan Knuckles”, in which players use in-game models of Knuckles the Echidna from the Sonic the Hedgehog series while repeating the catchphrase “Do you know the way?” during a mock African accent.The players’ model and mannerisms originated during a review by YouTuber Gregzilla and Forsen’s Twitch stream respectively, additionally to lines from the Ugandan movie Who Killed Captain Alex? This has generated controversy from many sources; Polygon’s Julia Alexander labeled it “blatantly racist” and a “problematic meme”, comparing it to Habbo Hotel raids, and Jay Hathaway of The Daily Dot called it a “racist caricature”. The creator of the 3D model utilized in the meme expressed regret for having made it, and urged players that they “do not use this to bug the users of VRChat.” In response, the developers of the game published an open letter on Medium, stating that they were developing “new systems to allow the community to better self-moderate” and asking users to use the built-in muting features.

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