SceneVR was my virtual reality project from 2014-2017. My goal was to create a markup and multiplayer server for social virtual reality experiences on the open web.

Early versions of Scene had some awesome technology, like webvr support, webrtc for voice chat, a node.js server with collaborative games like chess and competitive pacman, and art galleries generated from reddit albums. We were heavily inspired by JanusVR, and it was awesome when an early version of Janus supported the SceneVR protocol.

In 2015 I released version 1.0.0 of Scene and had a solid but small developer community. In 2016 SceneVR moved into office space with BeVR in Wellington. I got a HTC Vive and started work on future versions of Scene.

However, the more I spent time in Virtual Reality, the more I discovered I didn't actually enjoy it that much. Space Pirates is fun for half an hour, tiltbrush is a fun way to while away some time, Anyland is an amazing vision of what might become the metaverse, Altspace is sort of fun for while, but when I left the VR world, I never had a strong burning desire to re-enter into it.

It wasn't the metaverse I'd dreamed of when reading snowcrash.

As time went on, I came to realise that although I think multiplayer virtual worlds are really exciting, virtual reality isn't my cup of tea. I can sit on the couch with my wife and we can play with our phones while being present together. When you slap on that virtual reality headset, it isolates you from people.

I hope that it's just early in the VR lifecycle, and there are some amazing and awesome social experiences coming down the pipeline that will connect people like never before. The idea of spending time with my friend Nick from Indigo Renderer in a virtual world is great, because he's in London, and i'm in New Zealand, but to be honest, we chat on slack, and hang out once a year over new years, and maybe that's enough for now.

Anyway, I look forward to the future of VR. I don't think I'll sell my vive, so who knows, maybe once webvr support lands in mainline browsers and I can package up an electron app to put on steam, maybe I'll get back in the game.

But for now, SceneVR is on hiatus. It was a hell of a ride.

All my work on SceneVR has been opensourced and is on github.

Ben Nolan