Over the last 7 days, a festival full of glow has been taking place inside Somnium Space celebrating a wide range of music and art. Images of large neon stages shining on the night sky served as a beacon in attracting visitors both old and new visitors with the colorful, sometimes psychedelic experiences on display.
This free festival, originally billed as a section of the official Burning Man virtual experience, was later re-branded to the Take Me To Your Burn festival due to bureaucratic complications. Politics aside, it actually turned out to be a fantastic showcase for Somnium Space and the possibilities which are waiting just around the corner.
There is no doubt that on certain levels this festival has been a success. Below are just a few of many facets which formed encouraging signs for future festivals in Somnium…
1. Community Organization – It is hard to believe that this entire event was organized independently (and so meticulously) by just two community members, upcoming artist Natural Warp, backed up with some excellent support and negotiating skills from Sun Tzu. Dedicated members like this are invaluable to any community and it is exciting to think about what will come next from this talented duo.
2. Headliners – Ninet Tayeb has had millions of views on YouTube and is a superstar in some corners of the world. Her performance in VR towards the end of the event was a spectacle and a great way to finish on a high. This is the first time a performer of this calibre has been seen in any virtual blockchain world.
We are extremely excited to present a Worlds Exclusive: Official Ninet Tayeb #VirtualReality performance! Do not miss this unique opportunity to immerse yourself into a parallel reality. This Sunday, 6th of September at 23:00 CET! #NinetTayeb #Ninet #liveshow #TakeMeToYourBurn pic.twitter.com/ZBqNOjOXsC
— Somnium Space VR (@SomniumSpace) September 4, 2020
3. DJs – Every day there were different DJ’s tearing up the decks on various stages dotted around Somnium. It is unclear whether they were streaming live or pre-recorded, but either way, they seemed to go down well and create a party-like atmosphere which has been lacking somewhat at other events throughout all virtual worlds.
Wake & Shake & Party hard but always help a friend in need who’s crashing near the chill out tent indeed.
— Natural Warp ? ? ? ? (@Natural_Warp) August 31, 2020
4. Art – As usual, the Crypto Art community was well represented at the event with a good mix of both well known artists such as XCOPY, Angie Taylor and Spaced Painter, as well as a hoard of newer artists breaking onto the scene all eager to display and sell their new artworks for a slice of Ethereum pie.
— Natural Warp ? ? ? ? (@Natural_Warp) September 6, 2020
5. Ticketing – This is one of the first times we have seen an event successfully selling VIP tickets for extra content and experiences. Tickets appeared to sell well which will hopefully help encourage more organizers to step up and start creating their own take on what virtual festivals should look and feel like. These events take hundreds of hours to organize and run behind the scenes, so it is only right that there is incentive and support from the wider community to help reward organizers for their time and effort.
— Natural Warp ? ? ? ? (@Natural_Warp) August 26, 2020
6. Graphics & Some Tech – The buildings shone bright, the video streamed seamlessly and the audio (even voice chat) was crisp and clear for most VR users.
As well as demonstrating the possibilities that lay ahead for Somnium Space, it also put a spotlight on some of the issues facing the platform at the moment. Below are just a few of the standout issues which need to be urgently addressed…
1. The Client – The time it takes to download the client for the first time must be improved. Enticing new users to new platforms is already challenging enough, but when you add at least a 30-45 minute first install time, it is likely most gave up before even getting to create an account, let alone get to experience the festival.
2. The Client (again) – Even when you have the software installed and an account created, it can still take up to 15 minutes to install all the patches and eventually get logged in…every time. Quite simply, that’s just not good enough.
3. 2D Mode – It is very clear from management that Somnium Space is being developed almost solely for the VR user. 2D mode feels more like an afterthought, clunky and buggy even on a high spec computer, giving the impression that the user experience for 2D users (mass market!!) is of low importance. A perfect example of this is how a revolutionary handheld tablet enabling VR users to walk around and record full 360’ video has already been developed (and looks great!)… yet the 2D avatar walking motion still looks like Forrest Gump walking in braces after a pint of vodka. Not a good on-boarding strategy considering most people don’t own any VR equipment.
4. Attendances – Whilst user numbers are growing (slowly) in Somnium Space, for all the sexy graphics and noise on social media, there should have been MANY more people in attendance. This was likely let down by the client and people leaving at the first barrier to entry. In 2020, people expect almost instant game play.
Somnium Space is still in relatively early days of development with improvements constantly being made. Was it ready for a festival of this size? Probably not. Did it serve as a good example of how things could be once the tech problems are ironed out and it’s more user friendly to the masses? Absolutely.
There is clearly a lot of work to do on the tech side, but by working with the forward thinking and creative community that it currently has, hopefully we will see much bigger, brighter and well attended festivals in Somnium Space in the not so distant future.
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