Jul 2017 - Feb 2018
VRCHIVE has been founded by Ka’i Kau whose company is currently focusing on continuing the development of its platform.
With over 10 years of experience in web development and graphic design, Ka’i has long been an advocate of educational software and virtual reality. Founder of Hawaii Virtual Reality Meetup, he is passionate about cutting edge technologies and building communities around them.
Image sharing is becoming a new standard for the social VR experience today. VR game and app users often need room to upload just a few select screenshots that highlight their achievement best. Others may wish to allow the public to tag their uploads or share them straight to SNS.
A number of companies are currently maintaining content platforms for video sharing in Virtual Reality, while platforms focusing on 360-degree images are few.
On getting a clear vision for the future result, our team has identified a set of aims:
VRCHIVE is a specialized platform that empowers anyone to be a VR content creator by taking photo-sharing into Virtual Reality. The service offers space for storing and viewing monoscopic and stereoscopic 360° images and panoramas online along with the opportunity to connect with the global VR community.
VRCHIVE user account can be accessed from various VR apps. Integration of WebVR API functionality enables users to explore photo galleries and the rest of the website right from their headsets. Manual uploading process is drag-and-drop simple, while enhanced filtering options allow navigating through images really fast.
In addition to the website, we have introduced ‘Eyeshot’ plugin for Unity which is a free and simple utility for saving 3D screenshots. The plugin captures a 360° equirectangular panorama of the player’s in-game surroundings and saves it for later views.
The in-game camera shoots photos from 6 different positions to create a cubemap. Two cubemaps are required to go on: one that contains the scene without post-processing, and one that contains post-processed images, but before the rendering has completed. This action takes up to 1 second.
In other words, with ‘Eyeshot’ cubemaps are generated instantly. Everything that follows comes as a background action, while the player maintains control and the game proceeds.
The two obtained cubemaps glue together into one spherical panoramic screenshot. To ensure proper rendering and optimization of the final spherical image, we’ve introduced computer shaders. The shaders help to minimize time on processing and obtaining the image. All calculations run on GPU, while the overall procedure has been optimized in such a way that users don’t really feel any FPS drops.
The final spherical screenshot can be uploaded directly to VRCHIVE user account.
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