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Immers Space — Grant Report #1

Will Murphy
Helping to save the metaverse from corporate domination
・6 min read

Immers Space header

What is Immers Space?

The decent(ralized) metaverse.

The metaverse is here: an immersive Web full of social virtual and augmented reality experiences. However, mega-corporations want to lock it down and wall it up to make another addictive, toxic ad-selling platform. We’re taking it in a different direction because we dream of a democratized new era of the Web where creators own their content, users own their data, and no single entity exhibits undue influence on the community as a whole.

Immers Space seeks to free the Immersive Web from the pitfalls of the social media era by using a decentralized model based on open Web standards such that it cannot be controlled by a tech giant oligopoly, bringing people together across platforms in live shared experiences, and providing content creators an alternative monetization model that respects user privacy.

Project Update

The Immers Space GftW project is progressing as planned. We’ve had amazing opportunities to demo and present at the 2020 remote Chaos Communications Congress, a Hubs Creators Meetup, the (Superhighway) New Years Eve Immersive Web gallery tour, and the Light Lodges YouTube channel. With the foundational work completed, the second half of the project will be spent perfecting the chess game user experience and adding new monetized and social features.

Progress on objectives

Milestone Scheduled completion Status
PR and branding Month 1 (Oct-Nov) Marketing website with branding to differentiate the project as a whole from individual experiences
Pre-alpha release Month 1 (Oct-Nov) We had our first public demo of the non-interactive spaces on December 16th with the Hubs Creators Meetup
Alpha release Month 2 (Nov-Dec) We released the alpha, playable chess game on December 31st as a part of the NYE (superhighway) event
begin social media marketing Month 2 (Nov-Dec) Details in communications & marketing section
Activitypub-express open source library v1.0 release Month 3 (Dec-Jan) Released on January 11th

Key activities

What’s going well

activitypub-express

activitypub-express, our open-source library for adding interoperable social networking to your app, reached it’s 1.0.0 release with full implementation of W3C specification requirements

immers

Immers Space emoji passwords
immers, our open-source decentralized social networking server specifically for Immersive Web experiences, has been upgraded with Web Monetization support and a streamlined login system for users in virtual reality headsets, including our new invention Emoji Passwords

Virtual Reign

VReign vaporwave scene and chess game
Virtual Reign, our cross-platform online immersive chess game, is in a playable alpha stage

VReign Alice in Wonderland scene
Premium, unlockable spaces, avatars, and battle-animated chess pieces for monetized Virtual Reign players are in development

Web Monetization for the Immersive Web

Fireworks over castle

We’ve been experimenting with monetized premium features for Immersive Web experiences, and have created a multiplayer monetized add-on for Mozilla Hubs that allows content creators to mark certain parts of their environments as requiring monetization. When any one user in the room is monetized, the object, e.g. as the fireworks show over the castle in the screenshot above, appears for everyone.

Collaboration with Coil development team

Worked with the Coil development team to increase support for the Coil browser plugin, published an open-source library to help developers implement it, and added it to fellow GftW project the Awesome Web Monetization list

Where we’re still working

  • A key market segment for us is users of Mozilla Firefox Reality browser on portable VR kits like Oculus Quest 2, but we were surprised to learn the Coil browser plugin has not yet been published for Android Firefox builds. We’ve helped to make connections between the Mozilla and Coil teams on this and hope to see a release soon
  • Integrating monetization into functional features (e.g. room capacity) has proved difficult in Mozilla Hubs, but we’ve been working with the Mozilla team and they are planning to release a customizable authorization system and new API soon that would make streamline this for us
  • We haven’t yet locked down a cooperative development consultant to help us design the legal organization for the Immers Space collective, but we have a couple leads and some more time before this milestone comes due in Month 5
  • We may need to reconsider our plans to partner with youth maker programs in public libraries and schools in Chicago to be remote learning based as COVID closures continue to impact these programs

Communications and marketing

We created social media accounts, a branded website, a Medium Newsletter, a monthly Newsletter for subscribers and a robust presence in the community by featuring experts Will, Quinn and Dulce in events.

Marketing Links

We also pitched several platforms including TechCrunch and Forbes on the notion of monetization. We also pitched partnership opportunities with companies such as nReal. With a little bit more traction and now that our technology is up, we should be able to expand our coverage.

The next phase is to ensure that people who are non-technical understand how they can participate, so more educational workshops and engagement opportunities over the next several months.

What’s next?

Milestone Scheduled completion
Playable beta release Month 4 (Jan-Feb)
Begin monetization upsell marketing Month 4 (Jan-Feb)
Legal organization/incorporation of Immers Space collective Month 5 (Feb-Mar)
Virtual Reign chess game full release Month 6 (Mar-Apr)
Immers Space documentation publication Month 6 (May-Apr)

What community support would benefit your project?

  • We’d love to see a new release of the Coil browser plugin published that has the improved support for Content Security Policy pages and compatibility with the web-montization-polyfill that we’ve been working with the Coil team on and to see it submitted to Mozilla for addition to the mobile add-ons catalog
  • We are looking to hire a cooperative development consultant - let us know if you know any co-op experts
  • Want to play a game of immersive chess in Virtual Reign sometime? Hit me up

Discussion (7)

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silvia_disco profile image
Silvia

Hey, congratulations on the great report! We at DisCO would love to talk to you guys to see what we have in common and how we could support you in co-op development. Keep up the amazing work!

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syndic_will profile image
Will Murphy Author

OMG I've been loving the DisCO publications but I had no idea y'all were also GftWers. Yes I would really like to chat.

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Benedict Lau

Yes! COMPOST (another GftWer) is also a big fan and we operate very much as a DisCO :)

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syndic_will profile image
Will Murphy Author

oh I just saw you on social.coop!

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benhylau profile image
Benedict Lau

COMPOST is also hosted by our co-op Hypha, which is a non-profit worker co-op based in Canada. We are pretty young, incorporated mid-2019 with 7 members. Here are some resources that may be helpful:

Hope this helps!

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Chris Lawrence

This is a great report! You may want to talk to @stacco from the DisCO.coop team about designing co-ops.

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Adelya Aksanova

Fantastic write up. Congratulations on all of the progress!

P.S. I am down for some immersive chess in the Virtual Reign!