back to article Reg scribe spends 80 hours in actual metaverse … and plans to keep visiting

I've spent over 80 hours in an online environment that nails the Oxford Dictionary's definition of a metaverse – "a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users" – and I find it so useful I expect to visit it frequently in future. Is this thing a metaverse? My …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge

    Second Life

    Is 2nd Life still going? This appears to be the same thing with better graphics.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Second Life

      But at least Sadville had lots of flying willies. Allegedly.

      https://www.theregister.com/2008/11/21/reuters_sadville_end_of_an_era/

    2. thosrtanner

      Re: Second Life

      Apparently: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-59180273

      1. LordHighFixer
        Megaphone

        Re: Second Life

        Worst article ever. Comparing SecondLife to Roblox or Minecraft. Sorry, but after 18+ years secondlife is still going. And the rest of the world is starting to catch up with it.

        Next time don't interview a 4 month old NOOB. Grab someone who has been inside the entire time, ask them how it is. ((anyone in SL for less than a year, more like 5, is still a noob))

        And if you are too much of a nancy to put up with a few flying penis, you should probably just turn off the computer, you are only going to get hurt.

        https://secondlife.com/ you can still play for free.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Second Life

          I guess this is what happens to your after 18 years in 2nd life!

          1. BrownishMonstr

            Re: Second Life

            I would upvote you, but I like how your upvote has hit 18.

        2. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: Second Life

          Second Life is a moribund corner of the internet that nobody gives a damn about any more. It sucked even at the height of its fame and it undoubtedly sucks even harder now. Maybe if you're into furry porn it serves its purpose as a niche. Not so much for anyone else.

    3. Ozan

      Re: Second Life

      Still around but mostly empty sims. Lots of weird things but not many people to see with.

    4. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Second Life

      I still remember attending a symposium in Galway where one speaker was telling our company to get into Second Life because it was the hot new thing all the cool kids were using. Since I had already experienced SL I knew what a joke this statement was even if nobody else did. It was a libertarian hellscape of monetized content, flying dicks and furry porn cheek to cheek with broken corporate content.

      I think the main issue with most efforts of virtual worlds thus far is they're either boring and/or lawless. The best virtual worlds are actually games where there is a purpose in standing there and it's not playing some stupid mini games in in the Bank of America pavilion or whatever. The content needs to be compelling and fun in its own right.

  2. Detective Emil
    Pint

    And it costs … ?

    €14.99 a month for us mainlanders. I'd rather spend that on ==>

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: And it costs … ?

      I switched from Zwift to the free RGT when free the trial ran out

  3. LDS Silver badge

    What? What flight sim people are doing for ages?

    Since flight simulators became "realistic" enough that's exactly what we are doing since many years ago, already....

    1. ssharwood

      Re: What? What flight sim people are doing for ages?

      I think the word "Sim" undoes this argument. Zwift and its ilk measure the state of your body, and your real world body determines the outcome of the game, while the game places new demands on your body. But I certainly agree that the flight sim community has been social and networked for ages, and uses virtual recreations of the real world.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: What? What flight sim people are doing for ages?

        Flight Sims have the same demands on your body as flying a plane - you sit in a comfy chair looking at screens for hours on end.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: What? What flight sim people are doing for ages?

        Any "metaverse" is actually a SIMulation. Actually, as most flight sims do recreate the real world, and let you go anywhere - you're not bound to a pre-defined track - they are better simulations.

        To my knowledge, nobody made a model of the Gossamer Albatross or the like still, so it's a bit difficult to make any use of devices designed to pedal on a bycicle.

        Still good flight sim apply to the plane most of the real forces - including those from weather conditions and mechanical stresses.

        Some support force-feedback controls, although those kind of controls never became mainstream because of the costs to make really good ones.

        Sure, they cannot replicate forces applied to your body without expensive mechanical devices - but that's true for most of those real world replicas. You won't get acceleration forces from this bike simulator too - nor weather (or you won't cycle inside a volcano....)

        1. andy gibson

          Re: What? What flight sim people are doing for ages?

          I remember a networked set of these in an arcade many years ago

          https://www.amusements.co.uk/a-to-z-games/prop-cycle

        2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: What? What flight sim people are doing for ages?

          "You won't get acceleration forces from this bike simulator too"

          Actually you'd be surprised what they can simulate. The higher end trainers already simulate different road surfaces (via juddering a magnetic virtual flywheel) and its surprisingly good. Some higher end ones also simulate cresting a hill via the sudden loss of resistance, and tilt the bike vertically to simulate going up and down hills. There is also a bluetooth front wheel block that allows you to steer naturally, and a bluetooth fan to simulate wind at speed.

          There is a new smart bike trainer launching next year which has motorised L-R tilting for cornering. Some of the serious folks already use a damped rocker plate to do the same effect.

          1. PerlyKing

            Balanced turns

            I'm interested in how left-right tilting can simulate cornering. I'm not much of a cyclist, but I'd expect turning to be balanced, with the net acceleration vector pointing straight through the frame of the bike, making you feel heavier rather than feel like you're leaning over. Or is it more complicated than that?

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: What? What flight sim people are doing for ages?

      Are you suggesting that this "game" should introduce a pedal powered plane and plug it into MS Flight Sim?

      1. JDPower666 Bronze badge

        Re: What? What flight sim people are doing for ages?

        I have a vague memory of a pedal powered flying game in an arcade many moons ago. I remember, as a cyclist, being intrigued. I also remember being deeply disappointed that I'd just wasted 50p on a such a shit game.

        1. andy gibson

          Re: What? What flight sim people are doing for ages?

          Prop Cycle and it was AWESOME!

          1. JDPower666 Bronze badge

            Re: What? What flight sim people are doing for ages?

            *googles* That's it. I see it was popular too. I found it dull as dishwater so am obviously the odd one out lol

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this the new Zuck empire?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thankfully not. If cockbook ever borg it I'm off.

  5. Filippo Silver badge

    Metaverse?

    By that definiton, almost any online game is a metaverse? I don't think that's what Zuckerberg is talking about.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Metaverse?

      Zuckerborgs definition includes a bit where he controls what you see to flood it with ads. Like most of the Tech Bro's he's failed to understand that Snowcrash was a cautionary tale not an instruction manual.

      1. Chronos

        Re: Metaverse?

        Never mind Snowcrash, it's the third book of Gibson's Sprawl trilogy I'm thinking about. Even if your mind doesn't get wiped with a fancy pattern, it'll still be addictive escapism once to technology advances enough. Many people won't want to jack out, which is exactly what Zuck seems to want.

        There won't be an evolved AI at the Centauris system to visit, either.

        1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware Bronze badge

          Re: Metaverse?

          The casual handling of the metauserverse people living in squalor for that 'Ready Player One' movie comes to mind.

          They put an upbeat soundtrack behind it and people accepted it. Might be we're too late.

  6. wiggers

    Is there a version for eBikes?

    Asking for a friend...

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      It's perfectly fine to use an e-bike but a bit pointless unless its the only bike you own. The effort you put in is electronically adjustable with the cursor keys anyway so if whizzing up hills floats your boat - knock yourself out on a normal bike. The only time power is checked as mentioned in the article is on the Virtual racing circuit - there you would get banned for power doping.

  7. Chris G Silver badge

    Aside from the exercise, the main joy of using my bike is being out in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery and riding in new places.

    I realise Zwift has come into its own in lockdown but for me would be a very poor substitute.

    In the house I use a cross trainer and loud speedcore, industrial core or a bit of thrash metal to spur me on.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      It's a compliment - not a substitute - it lets you do MORE or an equal amount of cycling regardless of the weather or the time of day. You can literally wander downstairs in your jimjams on a freezing/rainy/pitch black day and do an hour or more of a workout in your own home.

      If you are into the training/enhancing your fitness side of things you can work in a far more controlled environment where there is no wind and an inconvenient hill doesn't show up right in the middle of your 110% effort.

      It's also pretty cost effective - base model trainers with bluetooth controlled resistance start at £500 and include in-built power measurement which is considered the gold standard for cycle training. There are only a few powermeters for bikes that come in under that - most being in the 500-1000 range. Obviously you have to add in a bike and a laptop/tablet/AppleTV but keen cyclists are likely to have both those already. A keen cyclist will probably spend similar amounts on their kit to a keen gamer to put it into perspective.

      1. Jay 2

        For me also it's not a replacement but compliment. I use it during the winter or inclement weather (I'm a very fair weather cyclist!) just to get some kms in and usually do a lot more work than I would do outside. Also I get back pain when I ride outside, not so much inside.

        Also as other say, sometimes it's easier to motivate yourself to do an indoor thing than to get everything ready for outdoors and then deal with weather, road surface, traffic etc.

        The payoff is when it's (briefly) nice and sunny I can go outside and cycle around various terrains without too many problems... unlike one of my somewhat less fit friends who tend to struggle a lot more.

      2. Pen-y-gors

        Added bonus

        The added bonus here is that no-one outside your home will see you wearing all that terrifying Lycra.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      It seems more like an improved exercise bike. People do buy exercise bikes. Some of those people even use them from time to time

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Mine is in almost constant use - mostly for drying/hanging shirts......

  8. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Travel through the virtual worlds

    One of the reasons our roadsides are littered with trash is that drivers perceive the artificial private world inside their car as more real and important than the actual world outside and hence they'll just chuck stuff out of the window to ensure their personal environment remains attractive without really considering the consequences.

    There probably is something genuinely "meta" about an increasing number of people cocooned in virtual worlds while the actual world burns or drowns just beyond their peripheral vision. But not in a good way.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Travel through the virtual worlds

      "There probably is something genuinely "meta" about an increasing number of people cocooned in virtual worlds while the actual world burns or drowns just beyond their peripheral vision. But not in a good way."

      Now, if we can convince these people to use their imaginations, while attaching their static bikes to generators to produce electricity, maybe fit the meat-sacks with feeding and evacuation tubes...

      Which pill will you take?

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Travel through the virtual worlds

      One of the reasons we have litter by the roadsides is because the people who dump it there are selfish inconsiderate bastards and decent people consider them to be obnoxious.

  9. steelpillow Silver badge
    Trollface

    Zwiftbook

    I have it on bad authority that Facebook Meta is buying Zwift and all its virtual routes will soon be sprouting advertising billboards -- with clickbait "manage this ad" buttons opening drop-down lists of preferred ads. :(t)roll:

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Zwiftbook

      A good reason to cycle straight into the volcano*.

      * Real or virtual...

  10. Omnipresent

    ugh.

    This is not a game kids. You've made the real world so unbearable you have to escape in the very companies that destroyed your world in the first place. You cannot take away what you put into their servers... it never goes away.... not until the sun eats the earth. Every time you breath it's being collected and databased to create a virtual life form. All so you can play God. You are being bought and sold like cattle.

    1. ArrZarr
      Facepalm

      Re: ugh.

      Yes, because it's the "kids" that made the world this unbearable.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: ugh.

        Everyone was a kid once. Some have grown taller but are still kids. And some of those tall kids are the ones building Dystopia.

        1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware Bronze badge

          Re: ugh.

          I am a 50yr old, 5ft short man and I approve this message.

          Damn tall people-- think they're so big.

          Yes, I'm a heightist.

    2. Filippo Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: ugh.

      Aw, don't be so glum. I think Facebook will expand into other solar systems way before the Sun eats the Earth.

  11. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Ah, the depressing second phase of a tech hype

    After the first phase of the wow-look-at-the-amazing-new-thing launch, we then reach stage two where everybody attempts to shoehorn their existing thing into the amazing new thing, explaining that their existing thing was really the new thing, before the new thing.

    This is especially easy with this metaverse rubbish, because it is really nothing new, and is all encompassing, therefore there is a huge amount of existing stuff that can be hitched to the hype with little to no effort.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Ah, the depressing second phase of a tech hype

      That's a bit meta.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Ah, the depressing second phase of a tech hype

        That's a bit meta(tm).

        FTFY :-)

  12. PhilipN

    Sidebar description

    Pretty much describes my life.

    Gonna try Zwift for a dose of reality.

  13. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    Potentially expensive

    OK, some quick beermat maths..

    Subscribing to this service requires you have a "trainer" for your bike. These start at £500. The service costs £14.99 a month, or £180 a year. However, you also need a decent PC, with some sort of decent display, because I suspect you aren't going to get the same "immersion" if you run this on a 13 inch laptop, and it may not be practical to heave a desktop PC to the bike every-time you want to use it. That's likely to cost between £500 and £1,000. So, your first year is going to cost you between £1,000 and £2,000 in your first year. Although that cost goes down to £180 per year after that.

    That's still a lot of money to do something you can do for free in your local area, just without the pretty graphics and the vague feeling you are competing with someone you'll never actually meet. But maybe I am wierd. When I was going to the gym, I preferred to just listen to my iPod (which was loaded up with the bulk of my music collection, and hundreds of podcasts) and not have to deal with *anyone*.

    1. Jay 2

      Re: Potentially expensive

      I don't know about potentially :)

      As the old joke goes: "Get your kids into cycling and they'll never have enough money for drugs".

      Cycling doesn't have to be expensive... but invariably is.

      You don't need a super-duper PC to run Zwift. I run it on a 7 year old iMac. You can also run it on iOS/'droid phones/tablets and even AppleTV. Many people either put a portable device on a stand in front of them, or just connect to a TV.

      Subscription seems to be par for the course for almost anything nowadays. You do have a good point about a suitable bike and trainer though. They don't start off amazingly cheap and just get more expensive.

    2. Alan_Peery

      Re: Potentially expensive

      If you want you *could* buy a dedicated laptop. Most people would use the laptop they already own. Or the iPad. Or the Android tablet. Or the iPhone. Or the Android phone. So £500 + subscription of £180.

      I tend to use my entertainment PC hooked to the TV, but when that's busy getting an OS update, I'll fire up my Samsung phone, casting its screen to a Chomecast device to get a large screen.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Potentially expensive

        RGT is free to use (it has a premium upgrade) so no need to pay for Zwift. I prefer it over Zwift anyway.

        And RGT is not the only alternative.

    3. Nick Porter

      Re: Potentially expensive

      Most cyclists I know who run Zwift do it on a tablet or even a phone. They're not gamers, they're cyclists who use it for training and virtual racing in the off season.

      I run it on an old laptop and it works fine.

    4. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Potentially expensive

      Like everything there is no end to what you can spend. But you can also do it reasonably on less than a keen cyclist would spend on a winter or commuter bike.

      Minimum entry point is a basic bluetooth trainer (£300) - you could go lower if you are willing to compromise

      Subscription for Zwift (£12.99pm some others are free)

      Laptop/Tablet/AppleTV - existing

      Bike - existing one or get a dirt cheap second hand one from ebay.

      So more like £450 for the first year. Til you feel the need for more Shiny of course....

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Potentially expensive

        The kind of competitive riding that is available on Zwift and similar, where you can ride in pursuit of, or attempting to gap other riders is just not really very available riding round your local area. Especially at the drop of a hat any time of day, any day of the week.

        The presence of other riders (and bots) to compete against is motivational to pushing yourself on.

  14. sam.swanson@gmail.com

    Cultural Appropriation

    Let's not let Facebook/ Meta steal the name 'metaverse' - they are clearly attempting to associate their brand with this already established word and concept.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Cultural Appropriation

      It worked for Microsoft.

    2. Sixtiesplastictrektableware Bronze badge

      Re: Cultural Appropriation

      'Cultural appropriation' seems a stretch. Sub-cultural maybe?

      Also, am I the only one that calls them MetaFace?

      So... MetaFace, metafacers... MF-ers.

      The disparagements write themselves.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Cultural Appropriation

        Fookbace.

        (Fookbase?)

        1. SuperGeek

          Re: Cultural Appropriation

          Fookface?

  15. xyz

    Why ride in VR?

    Pr0n... Nuff said.

  16. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Good heavens. The Metaverse doesn't even exist yet and already there are annoyingly self-righteous cyclists in it. Can vegans be far behind?

    1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
      Devil

      Can vegans be far behind?

      If the volcano environment had a bit more architecture and some pitchfork-waggling pedestrians, they could call it home.

      Depending on what flavour of vegan you're talking to, some do have a point ( and others are just pricks).

      Its not whether they are trying to save the world, or just think animals are 'icky', it is how much misery they try to inflict on other human beings.

    2. SuperGeek

      "The Metaverse doesn't even exist yet and already there are annoyingly self-righteous cyclists in it"

      These bloody cyclists, they get where Lycra can't! /s

  17. thrillster

    I hate this adoption of more 'hidden' technology. Strapping your face to a device to be part of some SciFi novel realised.... Its not progressive and feels like it plays to the Trillionaire's narrative for the future and modern life.

    I'm one of those people who worked in the first wave of VR for six years and then left to do other things.

    Watching this new wave of VR wash over society, this time its got serious investment but also in terms of accessible technology. Where as it would take us a good 45 minutes to establish the hardware to run a crude VR scene - I now put the Occulus on in seconds and I am there.

    The real trick with this and all modern technology is to strike the balance.

    Take what YOU, need from the technology and then leave it. ALWAYS prioritise reality.

  18. Jim-234

    I have this suspicion that the lately renamed Zuckerbook company will build the worst kind of dystopian corporate controlled virtual prison.

    You can only do and say what ZuckerFace allows you do do and say and anything not to their liking will be banned.

    Intrusive advertising all over the place and your every movement, word and chat sent to advertisers.

    Then if you behave in "good" according to Zuckerbook, things go well, when you are a bit of a rebel, things go bad, eventually they start selling the ability to manipulate people to other companies (much like they did on ZuckerBook for "research").

    I would much prefer to enjoy something such as Second Life (which I used for years), where you can pay and be the actual customer, not the product.

    Yes, you meet the worst of people in an open setting but you also get to meet the best of people and the rest of people.

    I guess it will all come down to, do you like doing exactly what some ZuckerFace like character does and be under their control for "free" and maybe "safer"? or do you want to take risks like in the real world, pay your way and be able to enjoy doing things the way you want.

    I'm guessing in near future where you own nothing but rent everything from your corporate overlords, they will let you enjoy the virtual world to distract you from the horrible hovel of a corporate owned beehive apartment you are forced to live in.

  19. doublelayer Silver badge

    This isn't the metaverse

    Using the basic definition (metaverse = video which changes based on your actions), maybe this counts as one. However, I don't think it really does. You're using this game in order to cycle, but you're not doing anything else in this environment. The video of a landscape as you move through it makes it entertaining I'm sure, but until this is an open environment in which you can perform lots of interactions other than climbing hills, it's at most a metatrail.

    Other people may be visible in this game, but they're also visible in a video meeting. It still doesn't have the lifelike quality that VR implies. Whether it would be popular if it did is another question, but we at least have to get that before we can find out. One major problem with VR is that the hardware can present a visual and audible environment, but it can't simulate tactile information. That's a lot of stuff we use for sensing our environment, from detecting heat and airflow to holding or manipulating objects. However, it doesn't seem like this game really makes much of an effort to handle the two senses it can do, and only for one type of action. You may enjoy cycling using this game to simulate things, but it doesn't follow that you'll like an open virtual environment.

  20. Alan_Peery

    Better/different app for virtual cycling

    While the gamification of Zwift can sometimes lead to pushing a bit harder and thus getting a higher level of fitness, it isn't my favourite virtual cycling app. BigRingVR focuses on bringing you beautiful landscapes from around the world that you can cycle through.

    Recommended.

  21. HildyJ Silver badge
    Coat

    SMBC sums up VR

    https://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/1636392211-20211108.png

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SMBC sums up VR

      Wasn't it the same for the home VCR market?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems expensive to me

    If the graphics were realistic and the scenes were actual places it might be better.

  23. David Roberts

    £500 bike?

    I took part in a 24 hour cycle challenge a couple of years back, on static bikes kindly loaned by the local fitness centre.

    These bore very little resemblance to a real bike in the set up of pedal/saddle/bars and getting an equivalent riding position to my real bike was impossible.

    Just wondering how good the £500 bike is for comfort, or if the real entry level is higher.

    To my mind the static bike needs to have the same fit as your real bike(s) or you develop a different set of muscles.

    Or is the £500 entry level just a rear wheel replacement? Which assumes that you have a suitable bike spare to fettle in.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: £500 bike?

      The most development you are doing is the cardiovascular, it's not a body building process.

      Your heart and lungs are what sustains a decent power output for a long period, it's not really about sprints (although there are attaque sections in the games).

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well, Zukkyboy has just proved

    to his paying customers that his advertising really does work.

    After all, a huge amount of people are discussing some trashy escapist thing that almost nobody had heard about. Including me. I must be a far sadder twat than I thought I was.

    And he intends to make money from it.

  25. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Meh

    Is this a metaverse?

    I guess that means the island in Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort are too.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get a life!

    FFS!

  27. Slx

    A slight challenge …

    Now all he has to do is convince all the pensioners and conspiracy theorists on Facebook to put on VR headsets…

    I’m reminded of British retailer Marks and Spencer, with its trendy food hall, catering to the grab and go generation bolted a dowdy, but desperately trying to be trendy, clothing store that is your go-to destination for pyjamas if you suddenly need to go to hospital, bland medium quality business attire, or sensible Christmas presents for elderly relatives. It’s a national treasure, but it’s a gloriously mismatched set of target audiences.

  28. DiViDeD

    Ah, Nostalgia - not what it used to be

    This article prompted me to download the Second Life client and go take my first look in something like 15 years.

    Apart from my sudden untold Linden Dollar wealth, which I hadn't expected, the old place is pretty much the same - lots of avatars standing still, choppy graphics and fsck all going on.

    Although the half naked women avatars appear to have way bigger tits than they did back in the day.

    Uninstalled and proceeded on my way, but still a salutory reminder of the old adage "You can never go back, but even if you can, it hasn't got any better"

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