In 2004, Tom Preston Werner created something huge. His idea was cemented in history as Matt Mullenweg and Automattic acquired the service in 2007. Matt and his team developed WordPress, and integrated Tom’s creation into the code base. What what is creation? Gravatar.
The idea was simple really – a central repository for your digital persona. Create an account with your email address, upload a photo (or photos), and any developer that uses the Gravatar APIs would automatically have access to your data to fill in profile information. It meant you could update and maintain your profile in one place and that data would be updated all over. It’s a one to many internet profile.
The time is now for a multi-dimensional version of this application. Here are a few ideas:
- Open, and decentralized using an IPFS style storage engine
- 3D avatars – as many as the user can create, but only one active at a time
- Support for the major model formats (3ds, max, c4d, maya, blend, obj, fbx)
- All avatars would have a well documented skeletal API for movement controls when used in 3rd party systems
- Tight integration with OpenSVR – the Social VR API
- Character inventory storage and retrieval – think cloud storage for the “bag of holding” with pouches for each application using the APIs.
- Toggles for things like user name display, microphone control, bubbles, and content rating controls
- Enable API based import – Sketchfab -> OpenAvatar with one click.
This concept would allow developers to spend less time building avatar systems, allowing them to focus on the thing that matters most – the experience. Users benefit by having the same avatar everywhere that matters. If you want to play Robo Recall as a fairy princess from wherever… well this makes that possible.
Being able to recognize other players by their avatar across all Social VR experiences would make the experience feel closer to reality. It might seem strange to see a photo realistic avatar in a cartoon world (like Rec Room), but that’s what needs to happen.
What do you think? Leave a comment below?
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