A thousand-person virtual social experience, is a multi-dimensional universe scene really feasible?

How to do it with 4000 people online on one server

A thousand-person virtual social experience, is a multi-dimensional universe scene really feasible?

As early as the “World of Warcraft” era, we have experienced the charm of virtual social interaction: on a large-scale game map, you can meet the virtual characters of various players, and you can interact, form a team, and trade, just like It’s like in real life. Previously, we hardly needed such a virtual scene that could accommodate multiple people at the same time, except for games, and now with the rise of the Metaverse concept, it seems to make sense to render the virtual avatars of all users in the same virtual world.

Actually, it’s not hard to run multiple clients in the same server, but it’s hard to see the value in practical application. It is technically not a problem to connect dozens of people at the same time in video and voice calls, but there is no way for these dozens of people to talk at the same time, because they are all displayed on the same 2D interface, and the speaking voice cannot be distinguished in real time. If you expand dozens of people to hundreds or thousands of people, think about it, it will be a disaster. So, in the same virtual social scene, is it more reasonable to access thousands of users at the same time?

A thousand-person virtual social experience, is a multi-dimensional universe scene really feasible?


First, social activities in virtual scenes have a certain sense of space, which is reflected in both visual and auditory aspects. For example, you can control the avatar to move in the scene, and you can hear 3D audio with a sense of space during the movement, that is, the sound close by is stronger, and the sound in the distance is weaker, which will better distinguish users from different locations dialogue between. If the user’s visual image and voice can be distinguished, in theory, running thousands of clients at the same time may be less confusing. So if it is practical, what is the effect?

About Metaverse Social

There are many problems to be solved in developing the Metaverse. In addition to technical architecture, social and privacy regulation, etc., a network architecture that hosts all users at the same time is also necessary. Even if all clients cannot be run on one server, at least tens of thousands or tens of thousands of people are allowed to interact in the same virtual space, so that it has the appearance of a “Metaverse”.

A thousand-person virtual social experience, is a multi-dimensional universe scene really feasible?

Yuga Labs

Not long ago, Qingting.com reported that Yuga Labs and Improbable held a 3D virtual event that accommodated 4,500 people at the same time. In this event, participants could play virtual avatars and experience complete physical simulation effects, 3D audio interaction and other functions.Coincidentally, a company called RP1 recently demonstrated a thousand-person social experience, which features more than 4,000 virtual avatars running simultaneously in WebVR.

A thousand-person virtual social experience, is a multi-dimensional universe scene really feasible?

In World of Warcraft, Blizzard claims that each server can support 5,000 users. Still, you’ll be hard-pressed to meet 1,000 people in the game at once. Each server of VR applications supports a limited number of users at the same time. VRChat and Horizon only support dozens of users. In contrast, RP1 believes that it is possible to render avatars of 4,000 users simultaneously in WebVR, allowing them to interact and talk.

It is understood that the principle of “World of Warcraft” is to use the “Sharding” technique used in some open world games to separate thousands of people according to areas, and you can only interact with 50-100 people at most in each partition. Interestingly, the RP1 supports 4000 simultaneous users in each partition, which means that with more partitions, the number of simultaneous users that can be supported will exceed 4000.

In each partition, 4,000 users can move, speak, and even support face tracking, finger tracking, and full-body tracking. In the current test demo, users can walk around and not only see avatars of other people, but also hear spatial audio that changes with distance, just like in a real-world scene, RP1 says.

About the future

In the short term, RP1 plans to place 10,000 people in the same virtual stadium and provide dynamically generated 3D spatial audio functions. Participants can see the dynamic images of thousands of people around them at one time, and the virtual scene also supports day and night cycles. . In this scene, you can even play a ten thousand football.

RP1 does not stop there. In the future, it plans to expand the existing network architecture, accommodate 100,000 people in a virtual space of 20 square kilometers, and add games and interactive content on this basis. While it’s difficult to run a large number of high-fidelity avatars at once, the RP1 and Improbable’s technology already enables effective 3D audio, giving users a degree of spatiality.

In terms of application scenarios, this technology is suitable for holding large-scale events, such as meetings, concerts, or MMORPG games. However, RP1 currently only solves the problem of network servers. Whether it can render thousands or tens of thousands of 3D virtual avatars at the same time also depends on the graphics computing power of the local device. Running on the Quest 2, it’s almost impossible to render 4,000 high-fidelity 3D images at the same time.

RP1 says the Metaverse’s networking issues are being addressed, with technology already being tested that can support 4,000 people in the same virtual room at the same time. In addition to RP1, cloud streaming service Improbable can also provide similar large-scale virtual scenes. For example, the Otherside event reported by Qingting.com not long ago carried 4,500 people at the same time.RP1 said: Improbable’s server architecture is more complex, requires higher server performance, and is not optimized for VR, nor does it support full face and pose tracking. The RP1 boasts that its virtual world is rendered dynamically, with virtually no loading time as people move through it. RP1 is planned as a development platform that allows designers and developers to develop immersive VR scenes just like building websites.

It is worth noting that the RP1 builds the virtual world entirely in WebXR, which can be easily accessed on any VR device through a link without downloading an app. This is also the strategy and development direction of RP1, which believes that: 3D virtual social is an evolution of the Internet, and a 2D website is like a room or building in it, which can be quickly accessed through links. Each website will become a space that accommodates only a subset of users, just like a real house.

user experience

The foreign media used the Quest 2 to experience the prototype of the RP1 virtual world. At present, the graphics of this 3D world look rough, but the gesture tracking and face tracking can work normally. The prototype version of the current demonstration does not use a live audience, but is mostly simulated by robots. To simulate real users as closely as possible, the bots connect to different ports on the server, connect and disconnect at random intervals, move randomly in virtual controls, or play YouTube audio to simulate conversations.

In order to avoid crowds and clutter, the RP1 supports volume adjustment, which allows you to adjust the ambient sound you can hear. Experiencers say: Spatial audio is synchronized with the avatar’s movements, so I can see all the other users’ legs, hands, fingers, and faces move in real time. The refresh rate experienced fluctuates between 30 and 70fps, sometimes higher (50-70fps), sometimes lower (30-45fps), depending on what I’m doing.

Since vision is a bottleneck, the system allows you to choose the maximum number of people you want to see and hear, say 60 or even 200 people. If you increase the number of people rendering at the same time, the application will still run, but the Quest screen will start to flicker and the refresh rate will be reduced to 19fps. This also verifies a problem. The bottleneck limiting multi-person 3D social interaction is not playing, but graphics rendering capabilities. WebXR also has limitations on refresh rate and graphics rendering. In the future, it may be possible to optimize the smoothness of 3D model rendering by adjusting the LOD, or wait for the VR hardware configuration to improve.

But the question is, what’s the point of having 4000 people on Quest’s servers if I can only see 60 people?

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