Kitely adds VR-friendly island template

Kitely's new Evergreen Island starting OAR.
Kitely’s new Evergreen Island starting region.

Kitely released a new starting template for customers renting land, the Kitely Evergreen Island, optimized for virtual reality viewers.

Ilan Tochner
Ilan Tochner

“Virtual reality requires a high frame rate to maintain the feeling of presence without causing the user to start feeling VR sickness,” Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner told Hypergrid Business.

VR sickness, similar to motion sickness, is when your body says you’re not moving, but your eyes say that you are.

“A VR-friendly virtual world is one which is optimized to reduce the number of draw calls that are required to render it and has an environment layout that doesn’t place the user in situations that are known to cause nausea,” said Tochner. “Steps are one example of something that you want to avoid as climbing steps is a known trigger for VR sickness.”

Universal Campus by Oni Kenkon Creations.
Universal Campus by Oni Kenkon Creations.

Previously, customers had a choice of uploading their own starting region OAR file, or choosing between empty land, the OpenVCE OAR, and the Universal Campus OAR.

Former OSgrid president Michael Emory Cerquoni — also known as Nebadon Izumi in-world — built the Universal Campus OAR for the Institute of Genomics and Bioinformatics at the University of California Irvine and released it to the public in 2011. The Open Virtual Collaboration Environment dates back to 2009, and was created by Clever Zebra. And customers uploading their own OARs typically used region files that they created themselves, or a Linda Kellie OAR.

Linda Kellie's Country Cabin region OAR.
Linda Kellie’s Country Cabin region OAR.

These OAR files are not necessarily optimized for virtual reality, said Tochner.

“The freebie OAR files that are widely used in OpenSim grids were generously provided by their creators but they don’t quite suit that purpose,” he said. “They are full of prim-based content that has a much higher triangle count than the equivalent optimized mesh-based content. In addition, those OAR files usually include a large number of textures which increase the number of draw calls required to render each frame.”

Eventually, he said, customers will be able to choose from an entire library of VR-optimized pre-built regions that they can use to get started.

“Today’s update is a first step in that direction,” he said.

Customers will still have the option to choose empty land, the Universal Campus, or to upload their own OAR.

Premium mesh

The Kitely Evergreen Island OAR contains premium content from some of Kitely Market‘s top merchants, Tochner said in today’s announcement.

“Kitely Evergreen Island is an example of how a great looking world can also be highly optimized,” he wrote. “This world starts up in seconds, and requires very little CPU resources to run.”

All the content included in the Kitely Evergreen Island OAR is free, can be copied and modified, and can be reused throughout the Kitely grid. However, it cannot be exported to other OpenSim grids.

Exportable versions of the content can be purchased individually on the Kitely market, he added.

For example, Ozwell Wayfarer designed and built Kitely Evergreen Island. Almost everything included in this world is a contribution from his Kitely Market store Worlds End Landscaping & Roleplay. Zuza Ritt contributed a cabin from her Kitely Market store 21strom.

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is a science fiction writer who covers cybersecurity, AI and extended reality as a tech journalist at her day job.
Check out her author page on Amazon or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Her first virtual world novella, Krim Times, made the Amazon best-seller list in its category. Her second novella, The Lost King of Krim, is out now.