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Avatar Pieces for Every VR Environment

With all graphical elements for 3D VR there is a further issue beyond finding a program or library capable of meeting your requirements.

The vast majority of 3D virtual environments are constructed graphically, out of industry standard or ex-industry standard model types. Blender, Maya, Lightwave, Poser, and others may at one time have been used, or, if you are lucky, are still being used today.

However, once actually ready to go into the world, the majority of platforms either convert the model into their own proprietary format, or demand the model is converted first. The latter case, offering the most potential for headache: What do you do if your chosen package does not convert into that format?

The olden days of every world using the same format are long gone, but might be coming back in the next few years. That is a big might, and regardless, does not help the now.

There are several stages you are strongly recommended to go through before settling on your package of choice, for a given environment.

  1. Check up on the VR environment's documentation, website, or manual, as to which 3D formats it supports for avatars.

  2. Check that the avatar creation tool you are using, supports that format. If it's a library and not a platform, which format are the file pieces in?

  3. If the formats of the models, platform and VR environment do not match, all is not lost. Seek out a file format converter program that is capable of converting from the one, into the other. Such do exist, but expect to shell out for one.

  4. Have to hand a 3D modelling program capable of reading either the original models, or the converted versions.

You will find, that each virtual environment not only uses different proprietary formats, but they also scale the avatars by different amounts. The 3D modelling program will be used to adjust the scale of models you are trying to submit, as necessary to make them appear normal.

As an example, when we tested this by importing avatars created with the VR platform Second Life into the VR platform Activeworlds, the files converted easily as per the above steps. When they were loaded into Activeworlds, they were complete in every detail. They were also about six inches high, creating a slight social awkwardness in interaction.

You should expect to have to scale.

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