Meta opens up access to VR social platform Horizon Worlds

The image is called "create a world of your own".

Meta is finally opening up access to its virtual reality social platform after more than two years. People in the US and Canada who are 18 and up will be able to access the free app without an invite.

The first attempt at releasing something that resembles the vision of the metaverse is by Meta. It is an expansive platform that meshes Ready Player One and Roblox. It requires a Facebook account and lets you hang out with up to 20 people at a time in a virtual space.

We can say we have interesting things that people can do.

In September of this year, the private alpha of the game was announced, and has evolved into a social platform for building games. Thousands of people have attended comedy shows, movie nights, and meditation sessions. They have built elaborate objects like a replica of Ghostbusters. "Now we can say we have interesting things that people can do, and we can open up and say that," says Meta's VP of Horizon, Vivek Sharma.

The Plaza, a central gathering place used to enter custom worlds and games built by users, used to be where I was greeted by a few Meta employees. We went to the creator lounge area where you can try out custom items, like a bow and arrow or paper plane launcher, and enter building contests to win cash prizes. We went to another world and played a game called battle Royale. I was given a demo of the building tools that allow you to create a world and items from scratch.

The ability to write basic code that sets rules for how objects work is a key part of the game. The code, which Meta calls script blocks, acts like layers in the same way as layers in Photoshop by letting you chain together rules to create complex interactions, such as a leaderboard that automatically updates after a game is finished. One of the biggest innovations that I am proud of is attaching behaviors to objects.

The company plans to release a free library of the script blocks once they are made by employees. An asset library of objects is also on the way. Meta plans to allow script blocks to be built from a desktop computer in the future, but right now the coding for them is done in virtual reality.

Safety is a big concern for a virtual reality environment, where you can easily interact with someone you don't know. The alpha tester posted on the official group on Facebook about how she was groped by a stranger. She wrote that sexual harassment is no joke on the regular internet, but being in virtual reality adds another layer that makes the event more intense. I was groped last night and there were other people who supported it.

The company determined that the beta tester didn't use the safety features built into the game, including the ability to block someone from interacting with you. If an incident is reported, a rolling buffer of what you see is saved locally on your headset and sent to Meta for a human review. He wants to make the blocking feature easy to use.

The human guides that greet new users as they travel from the Plaza to different worlds is a unique aspect of the world. These guides are used by Meta employees to train them to follow behavior rules. It is one of the areas where we are doing unscalable things to keep the environment clean.

Creation is kind of a product.

There is no way to make money in the game. The plan is to eventually tie it into its other products, such as its virtual reality work collaboration software. Meta hopes that the world-building aspect of Worlds will entice people. The act of creating itself is part of the appeal. Creation is a product.