Throwback to PXR 2020: Our first virtual talk!

Almost exactly a year ago, we took the stage at PXR 2020 and gave our first ever talk completely in virtual reality. Was that a sign of things to come?


Was that...you know...the metaverse?


We've Gotta Say...

As a team who’s been exploring the wilds of virtual reality since the early days of 2013, it’s been quite the experience to wake up and see the world suddenly abuzz with “the promise of the metaverse.”


Understandably, curious folks have put forth some very interesting questions. What is the metaverse? What does “working in” the metaverse mean? What do metaverse events look like? Feel like?


We might not have all the answers just yet, but we here at Archiact can provide some hands-on insight on one of those questions...


A screenshot within the VR social app, AltSpace VR, showing creative director Tyler's avatar gesturing in front of a large floating presentation.

Our First Brush With The Metaverse Virtual Talk

Flashback to autumn 2020!


Many of the games industry’s usual tentpole conferences had been indefinitely postponed due to the global pandemic, but a few brave events took their first tentative steps into virtual space. Among those were our fellow Canadians VRTO and the PXR Symposium, the latter of which invited us to present a talk on VR design.


Speaking about VR development isn’t new, but this time we were doing it entirely in VR.


Specifically, in AltSpace VR. This free and newbie-friendly VR app continues to grow as an easy, accessible way for folks to meet remotely. Events like standup comedy nights, support groups, art workshops, and other casual meetups have become especially popular during the pandemic.


Within AltSpace, PXR 2020 featured an all-virtual space that had been structured by the organisers to foster conversation, encourage exploration, and to focus a crowd on a single speaker for each talk.


And so, our Creative Director Tyler McCulloch took to the stage and guided our virtually present audience through a robust (and brightly coloured!) talk on the challenges and rewards of designing specifically for VR.


If you missed it, you can read the written version of his learnings here!


How Did It Go?

As nervy first-timers, we were pleasantly surprised at how seamless the experience felt. Meeting new people was a bit awkward at first let’s be real, when isn’t it? but once questions about our talk started to flow, and conversation grew naturally from those initial icebreakers, it felt like any other conference floor.


The audience reacted with applause and happy-face emojis throughout the talk, and fielding off-the-cuff questions from the crowd was a breeze thanks to some helpful assistance from the ever-present PXR team.


A promo image for AltSpace VR, featuring a large group of virtual avatars gathered to watch a single speaker. They are in a beautiful forested valley at sunset.

Would we do it again?

Absolutely! While some promises of the metaverse can feel far off indeed, the specific functionality of VR within the world of events and industry connection seems more attainable in the near future. We look forward to our next opportunity to present an all-virtual talk!

Logo for PXR 2021, featuring cartoonish cyborg illustrations around the lettering.

CURIOUS?

If you’d like to check out virtual events while supporting Vancouver’s growing VR scene, we can heartily recommend PXR. As it so happens, PXR 2021 is kicking off this Saturday, November 13, with an all-virtual lineup of fantastic events, talks, and workshops.


Register and get your tickets while you can! Maybe we'll see you at our next virtual talk, somewhere out in this early-stage metaverse.