Frame makes it easy to create your own collaborative 3D spaces. No downloads, no installs, no code - right from the web browser. It’s the metaverse made easy, while unlocking powerful creativity and collaboration.
We’re proud to introduce Frame Beta 4, our last big beta release before we leave beta. This update makes Frame easier, more customizable, and more powerful. We also have a new integration with Ready Player Me avatars. Whether you’ve been part of our community for a while or this is the first time you’re learning about Frame, we think Frame Beta 4 will delight you.
I'll tell you all about it here, then write for a bit about the metaverse at large.
Connections is a feature that adds a new dimension of social connectivity to Frame. Simply put, you can now connect with other people in Frame. Once someone else accepts your connection request, they will appear in a list of your connections. No matter what Frame you’re in, you can see if your connections are online in the metaverse, and you can see where they are! With our seamless transition feature, you can move right from your Frame to theirs, without even loading a new website.
Pro tip: Have an annoying boss that keeps invading your Frame when you’re trying to stay in the zone, now that he has a way to find what Frame you’re in? No problem - you can choose to stop sharing your metaverse location to your connections whenever you please.
Our connections feature is powered by Immers Space, an open-source identity layer that you can learn more about here. Beyond being aligned philosophically with our ideas about the metaverse, Immers Space provides sophisticated tooling that we’ll be using to build other powerful features on top of this foundation.
Our hope is that other metaverse providers adopt it too, which would let you jump to a connection even if they were in another service entirely. The metaverse contains multitudes.
We are big believers in web technology and we see the web browser as the last bastion of hope in a world of walled-garden ecosystems. It’s why we built Frame for the web.
Now, you can bring the web inside of Frame with the new web browser asset. For now, we’re only letting you have one of these in your Frame at once, but this new asset lets you browse the web right inside of Frame. It’s fully synchronized, so if you scroll the page it will scroll for others, and if you play a video it will play for others, etc.
It has spatialized audio for when the site you’re viewing has audio, so when you’re binging Netflix with someone in your office, people in the office down the hall will be none the wiser. On this topic, screen shares on a Streaming Screen have spatialized audio too!
With great web-slinging power comes great responsibility - so a few words of caution. For now, we’ve made it so that only admins can use the web browser, and in fact multiple admins can interact with the browser at once, quickly handing off control of it to someone else.
This is a sweet feature, but you’ll want to be cautious about authenticating into websites that might contain sensitive information. You’ll want to make sure that you log out of things that you've logged into. When you delete the web browser from the scene, its browsing history will clear out in about a minute, so when a new one is brought in it won’t have any of the old browsing history or be logged in automatically to anything.
We don't look at or store your web browsing history. Right now, the page defaults to load our website at learn.framevr.io, but we’re thinking about letting you change this in the future if you want a different page to appear there as the default.
Try it out! If you have enough space around it, we even made a little UI you can use to input urls in VR mode, and you can fully interact with the websites as well in VR mode.
We'd love to hear from you about how we can make this powerful feature more useful for you.
We try to find the balance between making Frame customizable while still making it easy to do “the basics”. One of these basics is the ability to put things like webcams, streaming screens, images, and pdfs up on walls. There are walls in lots of Frame environments that we’ve noticed are commonly used as places to pin these assets.
We made this a little bit easier a few months ago with “snap to surface”, a feature that lets you select an asset in Edit Mode, turn on snap to surface, and then click on a surface to snap the asset there. This was an improvement, but it’s still too many steps to simply get a streaming screen up on a wall.
Some of our environments now have super handy little buttons right on the walls themselves that you can use to add assets to the wall. The process of “just getting a streaming screen on a wall” has gone from 6 or 7 clicks down to 2. You can use these buttons on desktop, mobile, or VR. That’s a win.
On the topic of assets, you can also now add more assets into Frame when you’re in VR mode, like whiteboards, effects, web browsers, and shapes.
Avatars: Ready Player Me and Silhouettes
Avatars are a big deal. Ready Player Me is a fantastic avatar creation tool and we’ve heard from many users that they would love to use their Ready Player Me avatars in Frame. Now, you can! These are the torso + head avatars, not the full body avatars. You can set up your RPM avatar on the connect screen of Frame, where you will see a new AVATARS button.
We try to find the balance between performance and detail. In an ideal world, we could have both. In the meantime, we make compromises and try to let users decide what they want to prioritize. Some of our users care more about large scale events or compatibility on lower-end hardware, while others care more about access to detailed avatars or more avatar customization options. These things aren’t always at odds, but they can be.
The Ready Player Me avatars are much heavier in the scene than our Frame avatars, so for large scale events we recommend that you choose the regular Frame avatars. For interactions under 15 people, Ready Player me avatars should be just fine
The new avatar silhouettes feature makes it so that we display super-simplified avatars if we detect that your frames-per-second is really low. We also let you try to override this if you want to try to render the full avatars instead. Also, users who are admins will always be seen as their full avatar.
We’ve launched a simple, flat dashboard to help you manage your Frames. This admin dashboard simply lets you adjust the settings for your different Frames without needing to be inside of them. It also lets you tweak your profile and we'll be introducing other things to it soon.
As this dashboard matures, we hope you’ll find it a good place to go before going to your 3D destination. It will show you the Frames that you’ve recently visited, Frames that your connections are inside of right now, and more.
You can check out this early version of the dashboard by clicking the home icon at the top left of the Frame sidebar. You can also see it if you open up our new Progressive Web App.
Progressive Web App
Mobile has always been important to Frame, but we know that people sometimes prefer interacting with Apps instead of pulling up the web browser and then navigating to a page. You can now save Frame as a “Progressive Web App” to your mobile Android or iOS device.
You can do this by navigating to Frame on your mobile browser. On iOS safari, click the share button, and then select “Add to Home Screen”. On Android, you’ll see this after clicking the settings icon on Chrome (three vertical dots).
There’s no better time to launch this feature than in the midst of the NBA Finals! If you enable basketball for your Frame, users will see a new basketball button down in their toolbar. This lets you shoot some simple hoops with others in your Frame. While not a full mini-game (there is no “score”), it’s a fun thing to do while chatting with a colleague after a meeting - or during it.
Technically, we’ve now integrated a physics engine into Frame which we’ll be using for many other features in the months to come.
Odds and Ends
You can adjust the position, rotation, and scale of assets in your Frame manually using numbers, instead of relying on dragging
You can set images, pdfs, and 3D models in your Frame to be downloadable
Ukrainian translation and speech-to-text support
Click to move (you can turn it off in your user preferences)
Webcam icon in toolbar has been replaced with a better one
Fly mode works in VR
The metaverse is an exciting but nebulous concept, a mirror that often reveals more about the person trying to explain it than anything else. The way that some people and companies are projecting their hopes onto it, one might think it was the second coming of the internet itself, a phoenix rising from the ashes that can do wondrous new things while solving all the problems of the first version.
For some, the metaverse is inextricably linked with “web3” (an even more nebulous concept) and crypto. You may hear that it’s what can save remote work from becoming an infinite, monotonous hell of video calls.
And yet for others, it’s a dystopian, avatar-riddled fever dream, one that gives the illusion of connectivity while keeping us farther apart. Or, it’s the new, unexploited frontier that companies see as the next revenue sponge, ripe for the squeezing now that their other sponges are squeezed out. There’s more they can sell you in the metaverse, after all: virtual land, 3D clothing, and avatar accessories for when you’re off work, and digital twins of your office, 3D versions of enterprise software, and fancy immersive hardware for when you’re at work.
Of coursethe metaverse will be huge, we're told by those who stand to profit from it.
Well, I’ll hold up the mirror. For me, the metaverse is another dimension to the internet, certainly not something that should aim to replace the internet before it. What number of “the web” we’re on doesn’t matter, and the metaverse certainly doesn’t need crypto or NFTs to be compelling.
The metaverse alone won’t magically make remote work some paradise of productivity or joy, and skeptics are right to be concerned about how much time we spend as 3D embodiments of ourselves.
That said, I think there’s value in the playfulness of the metaverse, in worlds that inspire curiosity and exploration, and in having a sense of shared space with people online. I think the metaverse opens up powerful ways to collaborate and fun ways to chill. I like that it can sometimes blur the lines between those things.
I appreciate video calls once in a while but know we need more. I like in-person interactions, but I also like working with some of the most extraordinary developers and artists around the world on the Frame team. Frame makes our own work more fun and gives us some superpowers that we don't have on video calls.
I’m excited about the metaverse, not because it’s one of the buzziest industry trends or because the technology is fun to work with - but because for the past 15 years I've seen the positive impact that interacting in 3D spaces has on communities, classrooms, and companies around the world.
The metaverse will be what we make it. With your help, we’ll keep making our little corner of it at Frame a place worth going to.
We’re excited to take Frame out of beta in early 2023.