Introducing Frame 3.0
If you're new to Frame, Frame is the easiest way to create your own corner of the metaverse. It works on desktop, mobile, and VR because it runs directly from a web browser. Frame is great for immersive meetings, events, classes, and more. It lets you create spatial, multi-user sites with ease.
Fundamentally, we believe that the web browser IS the metaverse, and that we're entering a new era of spatial computing that will result in many traditional web sites, apps, and services existing on the spatial web alongside the 2D interfaces that we're used to today.
We just released a huge update to Frame. It includes analytics, a new API, experimental full body avatars, new graphics capabilities, a redesigned user interface, and a whole lot more. Let's dive into Frame 3.0.
There's a new button in the sidebar menu that looks like a little graph. Click it and you'll see the analytics pop-up.
This gives you a graph and also an activity feed. Where tracking a few event types at first: connected (for when someone connects to your Frame), assets added, links clicked, and poll responded. You can see who has done these things and what time they did it. For connections, you can see what website people came from to get to your Frame. For links clicked, you can see what assets people clicked on. For poll responses, you get to see how people responded to various polls (but if those polls were anonymous, you won't be able to see who responded!).
We'll be adding more events to our analytics view in the months ahead, but we think this is a great start.
Note that if you're an enterprise, metaverse-as-a-service customer, you get a separate analytics dashboard that reflects all the Frames throughout your domain for a birds-eye view of activity throughout your whole metaverse.
Frame is built so that non-technical users can use it to create compelling, useful immersive experiences with just a few clicks. That remains one of our core missions.
With this release, though, we're also making it possible for developers to use code to modify their Frames' settings, assets, and members/admins lists. We've launched a Frame API.
This API lets you do a lot of things. You could set up an endpoint so that people who get onboarded as users to your applications or companies automatically get added as members to particular Frames. You could set up a script that replaces the source URL for an image in your Frame, letting external triggers determine what image shows up on a wall.
Your script could also replace the source .glb reference for your 3D models. Or, your script could modify any of dozens of other properties on Frame assets. Your scripts can even create assets dynamically.
Because Frame can be embedded in other websites with an iFrame, you could make buttons on the parent website that cause changes in the Frame itself!
You can find your API key in the Profile section of the sidebar menu. To modify an asset with the API, you need its asset ID. You can find this in the Asset Edit Menu when you click on the asset, or in the Asset List for your Frame in the Sidebar.
We're excited to see what you do with this API, and we'll be augmenting it quite a bit in the months ahead in response to your feedback.
We plan on putting this API behind some limits that you can get bypass by getting on a pricing plan, but for now we encourage you to play around with it and see if you get value from it.
More Environment Capabilities: Lights, Shadows, Nav-Meshes
We typically try to make graphics in Frame as optimized as possible to ensure decent performance across a wide range of devices. This means limited geometry, baked lighting or lightmaps, hyper-compressed textures, and many other tricks we've picked up over the years. That said, we know that many of you want to take your graphics a bit further, even if it means your Frame will no longer will run smoothly on lower end hardware.
The metaverse contains multitudes. Some of those multitudes just won't work on that old iPhone.
Now, Frame environment creators can incorporate lights, animated lights, shadows, and custom navigation meshes into their environment uploads.
We have documentation on bringing lights into your environment here, and you can turn shadows on inside your Frame settings. Notice that shadows will only appear if your environment uses lit textures. Expect an fps hit if you activate this. Notice you can now also turn off our default scene lights in your Frame settings, if you want to rely entirely on your own custom lights.
For navigation meshes, by default we will still create a navigation mesh for your uploaded environment model automatically. Now, though, if you want to provide a custom mesh for the navigation mesh to have more control over it you can do so by including another .glb file in your upload with _nm in the file name.
We'll continue to find the balance between sophisticated graphics and performance, and let you make the trade-offs you want to make in favor of one or the other. We are working on some features, though, that will let you upload different versions of your environments for lower-end or higher-end hardware.
Improved User Interface
As Frame gets more features, our user interface gets more cluttered. We reached a clear breaking point in our sidebar interface. Our sidebar has always been a bit cramped because we put so much into such a small, narrow window. In this release, we've simplified things dramatically and done some rearranging. Look at the before (left) and after (right):
There are other areas of the user interface that have gotten design tweaks. For veteran Frame users, these are the ones that might take you by surprise:
- In the Asset Edit Menu, you have to use the trash can at the top to delete the asset. We got rid of the large "delete asset" button at the bottom
- In the People Menu, the buttons to go to a user, see their social links, and more are automatically expanded without requiring a click. We know this makes the People Menu a lot taller and we're still evaluating this change
- The Go To Menu has been given a minor redesign. This is most relevant for our enterprise customers who have a Go To Menu applied across all the Frames on their domain, but everyone will notice a difference
- For adding assets to Frame, you have to use the blue plus button in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. We've gotten rid of the "Add to this Frame" dropdown in the sidebar.
- We recommend using the mic button and edit mode buttons in your toolbar, but if you want to access them in the sidebar then use the new "Quick Settings" dropdown at the top of it
- You can now rename assets in your inventory or your asset lists.
To be full-bodied, or not to be - that is the question. And either way you answer is okay! You can opt in to our new experimental full-body avatars and try them out.
Note: doing this will change the scaling of the Frame environment you have in your Frame, so your assets might look misaligned or need re-scaling. This doesn't affect any of your custom environments. We recommend making the adjustments you need so that you can make this transition.
The Frame art team has figured out some really clever tricks to bring these full-body avatars to life. They are performant and playful. We also have some other facial shape variants.
Please note that these avatars are still experimental - we have noticed some issues with them on Quest 2 that we are actively resolving, but until then if you have people joining from Quest 2 you may want to stick to the torso avatars for now.
Anyway - we love our new full-body avatars and we hope you do too.
Question Queue for Support Centers or Classrooms
Sometimes you may want to raise your hand without repeatedly clicking the hand emoji. Or, you may want to indicate that you need help without roaming around and talking to everyone who will listen to you.
If you enable the "question queue" feature in your Frame settings, users will get a new "I have a question" button at the top of the screen. If they click this, then admins in the Frame will be able to see a "someone has a question" indicator at the top left of the screen. If an admin opens the people menu, they can see which users need help. The users that need help will also be sorted by what order they asked the question - so you shouldn't hear any "BUT TEACHER I ASKED FIRST" complaints. We know who raised their hand first!
This might also be a good time to try out the new "bring user to me" button that you'll see under a user in the People Menu!
This question queue feature also pairs greatly with our new.......
Support Center + Experiments Environments
We have two gorgeous new Frame environments that you can choose from for your Frame: the Support Center and one called Experiments.
The Support Center is designed for customer support teams who need a space for handling lots of users who need help. There are plenty of private voice zones, support tables, private offices, and also a chill outside area for more casual mingling.
Our other new environment, Experiments, is designed to showcase some of the graphics techniques that are now possible in your own uploaded Frame environments. You'll see real-time shadows, lights, and PBR materials making using of reflectivity. We know that the web can create really compelling visual experiences and we have more to share here too. We also can't wait to see your environments that leverage some of these techniques.
Note: we don't expect this environment to work on lower-end hardware, and this space will also be evolving quite a bit as we experiment with more capabilities. I wouldn't get too attached to the specific arrangement of assets you put in a Frame with this environment. There's a good chance the environment will change dramatically in the months ahead.
For our enterprise, metaverse-as-a-service clients, you can now incorporate SAML-based authentication into your application, or use something like Okta if your company already uses that. Our metaverse-as-a-service offering is for clients who need custom deployments of Frame that are fully whitelabeled with custom hosting, design, development, and more.
Our #1 source of traffic to Frame has always been our users telling other people about our metaverse platform. Now, if you share Frame with someone and they pick up a subscription, you can make some $$. Read more about our new Partner Program here.
This is a big update to Frame, one of many we have planned this year. We're excited to hear your feedback and see how you make use of these new features and tools.
We're already cooking on what's next.
If you have any questions about Frame or if you're interested in our enterprise, metaverse-as-a-service offering, don't hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time,
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