Last year, former Oculus CTO (and current corporate advisor) John Carmack dropped the glove For Meta’s short-term metaverse plans. Carmack says it hopes to have its headset plugged in by last October until the 2022 Meta Connect conference. [virtual] I’m broadcasting on multiple platforms in front of thousands of people, walking around the halls or on stage as my avatar.”
Carmack’s vision did not materialize on Tuesday when a jerky and clumsy Carmack avatar delivered one of his signature, hour-long unscripted speeches in a deserted virtual reality space. Plain old 2D video on Facebook.
“I said last year at Connect that I would be disappointed if we didn’t have Horizon this year,” Carmack said. “Here, that’s not what I mean. For you, being an on-screen avatar in a video is basically the same thing. [just] to be in a video.”
This set the tone for a presentation where Carmack said “there’s a bunch of people I’m grumpy with” regarding the current state of Meta’s current VR hardware and software. While that moodiness had softened a bit when he talked about recent developments and hope for the future of virtual reality, Carmack seemed generally disappointed with the way Meta was showing its VR efforts as a whole.
Forcing quantity over quality
Take, for example, Horizon Worlds, Meta’s first product for socializing in its corporate version. metadata store. On the one hand, Carmack said that watching Mark Zuckerberg’s Connect presentation in a Horizon room with a few dozen people on Tuesday offered “some real benefits” over watching the same presentation on a laptop screen in the middle of his messy desk.
On the other hand, this is far from a vision of “arena-scale support in a completely uniformly shared world… in at least hundreds of large rooms… with thousands of avatars”. Carmack said he wanted to “be with a live audience in a virtual space where anyone can stay later and talk as much as they want.”
“I said last year that I would be disappointed if we didn’t have Horizon in Connect this year… That’s here, that’s not really what I meant.”
Former Oculus CTO John Carmack
If you could get a truly virtual conference space like this, “You could give people a free headset and still stand out,” Carmack said. Carmack noted that such a broadly shared world is a formidable technical challenge, and while Horizon “absolutely can’t handle it… [challenge]”
Carmack also spoke of “public ridicule about avatar quality earlier this year”. A low-detail Mark Zuckerberg avatar that went viral in August After meta sharing online. This reaction is because “many people internally [to be] paranoid about showing anything but top quality avatars.”
However, Carmack expressed some serious doubts about this push for the avatar’s authenticity. He stated that while Meta pushes for this sort of thing, he prefers areas filled with lots of low-detail avatars. almost photorealistic “codec avatars” consumes a lot of processing power to allow crowded virtual rooms. “We have limited resources on our headphones here, and cloud rendering won’t save us in most cases,” Carmack said. “I definitely tend to optimize for quantity, not quality.”
Carmack said he’s happy with the current state of Meta’s avatars, noting that the Connect rollout took place within a “custom Horizon structure” designed to ensure that the level of detail in his avatar never drops. It also turned off the very battered face-tracking features on the Quest Pro headset because, in the software’s current state, I “at least have a chance to do something that looks very embarrassing” in a very public environment.
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