We have a small, but fun update that adds a few neat features, fixes a few bugs, and continues our mission of making FRAME the easiest way to create your own corner of the metaverse, right from the web browser on desktop, mobile, and VR.
There were more meetings in FRAME this week than we've ever had, and it's only Thursday. We're excited to add more practical, playful features to your metaverse toolkits.
Let's dive right in!
This was a feature request from our friends at the Oculus/Meta Browser team, and we're happy to finally deliver it. If you turn on Edit Mode and click on an image, 3D model, or effect, you will see a new "Spin" toggle in the Edit Menu. With that turned on, you can then pick the axis the asset will spin on, and the speed of its spin. This is a simple but effective way of making your Frame a bit more vibrant or showcasing your gorgeous 3D models. No coding needed, just flip the switch.
We appreciated some key help from the team at Babylon.js in bringing this feature to life so that it works with Edit Mode on or off!
Note: For those that missed our post about this last year, Babylon.js is the open-source 3D development framework that we leverage in Frame. Here's a blog post from them about our partnership.
At Frame, we want to unlock no-code creatives as well as those that might have more technical chops. This next feature is one for the 3D artists who bring their own 3D environments into Frame. For a long time, we've let users upload their own 3D models as environments, and we've gradually unlocked more sophisticated capabilities for these models. For example, in our December update, we let you upload lightmaps with your environments to achieve more sophisticated lighting and higher resolution textures.
In this update, if you have animations baked into the .glb file of your 3D environment, Frame will play them. If we detect that users are on low-end hardware, they may not see the animations. We try to keep Frame performant across different devices as best we can - and we know we have a lot more work to do here.
See the butterflies swooping above the water in the GIF above? Those animations are actually baked into the environment model itself! Make your metaverse more magical.
You must see our two new environments. One of them, the Serenity Garden, is designed specifically for smaller meetings or gatherings. Outside of the meeting area, there's a relaxing garden area with a lily pond, butterflies (see above), and trees. Throw up a photosphere in the background to liven up the sky. Note: you can use a photosphere as a backdrop to an environment by expanding it then turning on the setting "show environment when sphere is expanded".
More Languages in Speech-to-Text
We use APIS from Microsoft Cognitive Services to power a number of tools in Frame, including speech-to-text. In this release we've included a few more languages that will work with "Speech-To-Text" mode. Remember, you can choose to have your text chat translated into a wide variety of languages. With Speech-to-Text combined with text chat translation, Frame becomes a powerful venue for global, cross-language collaboration. Find these in your "Chat Settings" dropdown of the Sidebar if you're logged in.
Active Speaker Notification
We show dots above an avatar's head to reflect their speaking volume, but you might not always have someone's avatar in your field of view in Frame. To make it easier for you to know who is talking at any particular time, we have a little notification up at the top center of the screen to show the active speaker. You can also see that in the GIF up above. I know, that GIF deserves a raise!
Name Input On Connect Screen
We've always made Frame super simple to get into, because we think getting into an immersive, collaborative space should be a click or two away - no downloads or installs. That's the beauty of the web. That said, we know it can make sense to do some "setup" before you enter a Frame itself. We try to let users enter a Frame with just a click while also giving them opportunities to set a few things up.
In a release late last year, we added a device picker pop-up to help you pick the right mic/webcam prior to connecting. In this release, we've added a "Name" input to the Connect Panel so that new users can set up their nametags before they enter the 3D space. It's not a requirement, and if users don't put anything there then we will give them a default "Guest" nametag, a friendlier upgrade to our previous "Anonymous" default nametag.
Audio Spatialization Options
We heard your feedback that audio assets playing in Frame seem too loud. We've lowered the default volume, but also given you a few options so that you can make the spatialization range of the audio smaller or greater, making it quieter or louder for anyone in your Frame.
Always Face Camera
Turn on Edit Mode and click on an image in your Frame. You will see a new toggle for "Always Face Camera". Once you set this, you have to refresh the Frame to see it take effect. If you edit the asset again, you will also need to refresh to get this effect back. While that can be annoying, this is a really practical feature for items that you want to make visible to your guests no matter where they might be standing.
Odds and Ends + Bug Fixes
We've added the ability to include more response options in your polls, up to 10 instead of 5. We've also added a subtle animation you will see when you bring many assets into Frame. They sort of "pop" into view instead of simply appearing. There's also a nice pop when you delete them.
Of course, it's not always about new features. There are a number of bug fixes included in this release. Here's a few of them:
Copies of now show up if they were on separate scenes
The video storage meter is accurate and not full for no reason
Frame staff can now create infinite Frames again (haha)
Text assets near whiteboards no longer cause strange flickering
Default voice zones work before adding new custom voice zones
General stability improvements (Frame hasn't had a global outage for a week, for starters)
We have a lot more in store for you. Stay tuned!
Here to help if you have any thoughts or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org