FRAME Update: Single User Mode, Bigger Videos, the Neon Hall, and More
Me three weeks ago: "Sorry, but there won't be any FRAME updates until late October".
Me today: "Okay there's an awesome new FRAME update go check it out right now".
FRAME September Update
For those that are new - what is Frame? FRAME is a browser-based immersive communication tool that is being used for online classes, remote work, virtual showrooms, and a wide variety of online events. It works on desktop, mobile, and VR right from a browser (see our latest blog post about WebXR). It's come a long way since we launched the beta in January, and there have been more than 150,000 connections to FRAME since we launched. This usage has been fueled entirely by word of mouth from the FRAME user community. We haven't spent a dime on marketing.
We aren't slowing down. There are powerful changes we're announcing today, with other momentous changes in the works that are coming later this year. We continue to grow the team, with the recent addition of Eric Eisaman as a contributor.
Okay, so what's new in this update? Let's dive in.
Single User Mode
Inside of your FRAME settings, you will see a new toggle . This toggle lets you set your FRAME to be "single-user" or "multi-user". What's the difference? If a FRAME is single-user, then when people go to it they will be exploring it entirely on their own. No other avatars, no voice chat, no text chat, etc. If a FRAME is multi-user, then visitors to the FRAME will interact as avatars and enjoy the other collaborative features that FRAME offers. People inside of single-user FRAMES can still change pdf pages, expand photospheres, and pause/play video or audio.
Why would you want your FRAME to be single user? If you're interested in making a more traditional web site that people can explore on their own, then single user mode lets you use FRAME as more of a traditional web site creation tool - a Squarespace for spatial websites. Also, you may want to use a multi-user FRAME for certain meetings or events, but in between those events you could toggle your FRAME to be single-user so that people that visit it just explore it on their own until those designated times where you want it to be multi-user.
Giving you the ability to toggle single-user or multi-user simply gives users more flexibility over how their FRAMES get used and viewed. Not interested in single user? Just leave the toggle alone! By default, FRAMES are multi-user until you change it.
There's a new FRAME environment: the Neon Hall. This environment was created in collaboration with Bitmovin, an awesome company that is shaping the future of video streaming. Thanks to their generosity, the entire FRAME community is able to use this environment inside of their FRAMES.
The Neon Hall is a visually powerful, three-chambered space that provides an effective way to tell a story about your brand, product, or any topic of interest. Creating this environment with Bitmovin has been a provocative, rewarding creative process. The Bitmovin creative vision + the FRAME artists/devs = a beautiful outcome. We all hope you enjoy it!
You can pick the Neon Hall as an option for your FRAME in your FRAME settings.
Bigger Videos, More Video Controls, More Video Formats
Wait, you mean 10MB isn't big enough for your videos? We would never have guessed! Kidding, of course. We've heard your feedback loud and clear, and we know it's tough to get videos under the 10MB limit, no matter how many times I say that "you can compress yours mp4s though!"
We've entirely redone our video asset architecture in FRAME. Now, when you upload a video, we transcode it and then serve it up inside FRAME as a streaming video. While you do have to wait for the video to be converted before it can be shown in the FRAME, this typically doesn't take too long and there are a lot of benefits to this approach and this update:
Storage: Because the videos are streaming now, we're raising the file size limit to 100MB. We are also putting a cap on the total amount of video storage you can have in a FRAME or in your Inventory, with a limit of 500 MB total. If you need an even higher limit, let us know and we may be able to work something out with you. Note: we also aren't guaranteeing that these will be the precise limits in the future.
Revamped Video Controls: With the new video controls, you can seek through the playback position of a video, and if you use the seeker to move the position it will sync up for everyone in the FRAME. You can also adjust the local volume of the video with a slider. These video playback controls now appear only if you hover over the video, so they don't clutter the FRAME if you aren't using them. On mobile, you just have to tap once on a video to show the controls.
File Type: Beyond just .mp4, we now let you also upload .avi, .mov, and .webp files. The more the merrier.
Adaptive Bitrate Streaming: Because the videos are streaming, this gives us more control over how the video gets displayed. For people on slower internet connections, the resolution could be lower but this will help ensure that FRAME doesn't lag. Note - even if with this change, playing a bunch of videos at once will still probably lag. The same thing would happen on any site that tried to play 10 embedded YouTube videos at once - video takes bandwidth. We expect to do more enhancements to the way we leverage adaptive bitrate streaming in the future.
We Have a New Home Page
People that simply visit framevr.io are taken to a single-user FRAME that tells visitors what FRAME is about and encourages them to get started. We haven't updated this page in a while, so we gave it a small revamp so that it reflects the latest and greatest features in FRAME. Feel free to check it out.
Odds + Ends: Audio Autoplay, Transparent PDF Support, New Load Screen, Bug Fixes
Audio Autoplay: We've made further improvements to audio assets, now letting you toggle whether you want the asset to autoplay or not when people enter the FRAME. This is an easy way to help set the ambiance of your FRAME, and we've already seen people testing the new build use it with great impact. Click on an audio sphere in Edit Mode to see the autoplay toggle in the bottom left.
Transparent PDF Support: If you upload a pdf with transparency, you can now toggle that transparency on or off in the edit menu. This can make it a little easier to get complex text to display in FRAME, depending on the tools you use for graphic design.
Bug Fixes, How-to Updates: We fixed some bugs, and we updated our "How-To" section.
Assets Spawn Better: I wasn't sure how better to describe this one, but now when you bring assets into your FRAME they will start out facing you. No longer will you need to rotate those streaming screens or whiteboards in order to use them immediately!
New Load Screen: Last but assuredly not least, there's a wonderful new load screen you'll see as your FRAME is loading. This is a much nicer looking screen than the big blue screen you would see before while a FRAME was loading. Once this load screen disappears, you will also immediately see the model that is the base model for that FRAME, instead of always seeing the Small Gallery. So, if you have the Neon Hall selected as your environment, you will see the Neon Hall load immediately and can click "Connect Button" to connect to the FRAME as usual.
So there you have it. Now, I'm saying again that there won't be any other FRAME updates until late October. :)
We can't wait to show you what else we have in store.