I did it. I spent a whole entire week inside the Metaverse!
Before we get into it I’m going to be doing a giveaway of one of these so stick around to the end of the episode and I’ll have more information on how you can enter.
So, I bought this bad boy to understand how it could work for me in a business context with this I asked myself how could I work productively how do I do zoom calls in VR and how will I do presentations well I decide to challenge myself by spending an entire week in virtual reality so that I can answer all of these questions I already knew, I could bring my monitors into VR using an app called immerse but I hadn’t really put it to the test, I wanted to learn what other things I could accomplish with the work that I do and what technical issues, I might encounter in order to resolve them and be best prepared.
So, how this all came about was that a few years ago before the beer flu epidemic happened I was actually just what some might describe as a digital nomad but I was traveling and I was working but then I moved back to London to stay put while the world quite simply turned to shit.. since then I’ve grown a bit attached to having a focused office space with a desk and most importantly extra screens three years later in 2022 that’s when this has been recorded I recently got inspired to go traveling again and a kind of small anxiety that I have was actually leaving some of these productivity like comforts behind.
But then I remembered I have this VR headset and as I mentioned the main reason I bought it was to experiment to see what I could do in a business and work context so, I thought there’s no better time to test all of this stuff in the safety of my office when I’m not stranded on some desert island drinking from coconuts because we know how awful that would be so as I said I have the oculus quest 2-128 gigabytes I started the challenge with the original kind of head strap and we’ll get into all that but I also have these uh VR optician lenses inside so I don’t have to wear my glasses uh in VR which gives me a wider field of view and just a little bit more comfortable to be honest so enough with the boring stuff let’s jump into what was actually like working in VR.
So, day one I spent the day coding in a react project which I think really took advantage of having multiple screens I kind of had visual studio in my main monitor kind of a browser and research on the left hand side and the rendered output of my code on the right hand side then I also had kind of slack and my email open on the screen below what I did find on day one is that my eyes and my head hurt a lot I had to basically take breaks nearly every hour but as were all things so far I knew I just needed to kind of persevere and hope that eventually I’d kind of get used to it and the pain would disappear.
And as I mentioned the other thing was the head strap and the face mask that came with the headset after using it for a long long time it looked like I’d been punched in the face I’d read marks all over this prompted me to purchase the kiwi head strap that I’d had my eye on for a while I’ll leave affiliate links to these in the description below I bought this as well as their face mask as I can’t be dealing with having to explain myself about what all the red stuff was all over my face so with some new items on the way I continued to work through the day another aspect to this challenge that I learned is whether you consider it a good thing or a bad thing is that people tend to not disturb you.
Now, I don’t mind being disturbed truthfully but that was an interesting kind of side effect that I observed final note to make is that I had to leave my headset on charge all day I had a cable extending from my USB dock that’s on my desk and you know kind of plugged into my to my headset so while I could be cable-free for a short burst I’d still have to make sure I was kind of charging for most of the day.
Day two I had to create a presentation and keynote and do a little bit of design designing in proto pi still waiting on my new strap I decided not to spend as much time in VR as the sort of work I was doing didn’t really require multiple screens. It’s worth noting that I didn’t feel as much eye pain on day two but this could be that I was using it far less than day one maybe my body was getting used to this life I don’t know during the day this actually prompted a few discussions about people in VR.
I would get comments like it’s not right and I want to live my life and I don’t want to be isolated like nor me I can take it off and I can go spend time with my friends if I like you know often people speak to me as if it was a kind of permanent choice it was one or the other in my eyes VR is a tool and I use it for certain experiences I do realize it’s not going to replace human contact as do many people who choose to enjoy VR and that’s why I take it off it sounds stupid to say that but I people just seem to not really get it.
It’s obviously early days yet for VR and people are still coming to terms with it so I do enjoy these debates and like hearing other people’s opinions and perspectives but most of the time they are just assuming having never actually used it.
My headstrap has arrived late on day two I didn’t really get a chance to use it day three was my chance and it like improved things dramatically. It was way more comfortable than the basic one that came with the oculus and the balance was better because it kind of hooked on the onto the back of my head it was still leaving marks on my face but as the day went on I sort of learned to adjust it so it was mostly balancing on the top of my head with lighter pressure around my face.
Work-wise I needed to do some video editing which was disastrous I think the graphical throughput that’s needed for video really kills the headset it was slow it was sluggish that was just final cut pro I decided to do that in VR and retreat to my usual setup. Up until now I had escaped having to do any calls on zoom the way zoom calls work in VR assuming your guest doesn’t have a headset is that within immersed.
You can set up a virtual WebCam uh where you can kind of move wherever you like and it sort of shows a graphical version of yourself and you can choose that as a camera input from within zoom like I say what they see is a graphical version of you you can see your hands and it tries to emulate what your voice is doing like with your mouth moving and they also see the scene people actually really enjoyed it I mean I think it’s a step better than just someone having a static photo of themselves you know it’s at least a little bit animated it’s not as good as obviously have a new camera on um but it was still a kind of good compromise I think.
On day four I had a couple of podcast recordings and I actually do these at home where all my recording equipment is unfortunately the first was cancelled so I set about writing this script which of course I did in VR, I had my doc out in front of me my notes to the side and then kind of media playing on the left then I had to create some YouTube thumbnails once again the kind of graphical work slows down the connection with the with the VR headset so I couldn’t do that but I prefer to do this stuff on my iPad anyway so, I continued to just create my thumbnails in on my iPad.
Today ended with coincidentally with a podcast recording with gravity sketch founder Daniela parades which you haven’t tried gravity sketch it’s an amazing VR 3d design tool I’ll leave a link to that episode when it when it’s out I don’t think it will be out when this this goes out. So, bear with me on that one.
Ultimately it was just like another zoom call or being a little bit weird with a stranger although I knew that Daniella was in this world and kind of well versed in VR so I was kind of com I was comfortable explaining that I was doing this challenge and that I’d be doing the podcast in VR so that was quite fun I guess the only issue was finding the mic, I kept on kind of bumping into it or whatever but again it was just kind of a funny experience while doing the podcast.
Finally Friday came and by this point I wasn’t experiencing any pain any fatigue I was kind of glad to be honest as I’ll explain more in my summary besides we’ve just started a new project which we’ll be using which will be a kind of website on this huge 55-inch touchscreen so I had a bit of time coding in the morning in VR but the rest of the day was spent setting the TV up.
One aspect that I did play around with which I thought was quite interesting was actually the co-working uh space feature within immersed and this allows me to actually talk to people uh who are just working in different scenarios I chose to see a cafe here but there were people around me on meetings just chatting but you can see people working here that’s another aspect which actually could add to the community aspect of working in VR which I really enjoyed.
So, as I said we’re going to be giving away this fellow carter everywhere mug that’s been engraved with my company’s logo so information on how to win is down below in the description good luck.
So, after spending a week in VR I have to say I’m much more sold on the idea if that I need productivity while I’m away that I can get that from virtual reality and using specifically the immersed app with multiple screens isolation creating focus and no adverse side effects other than maybe looking a bit silly I see it as a viable productivity machine but unless you need multiple screens all of the time I don’t think it’s something I can see myself spending every single day in VR.
Zoom call seem just absolutely overkill unless you’re prone to using a virtual background to hide environment around you it just seems too much of an ordeal to specifically go for a VR headset just for a call. What I didn’t get a chance to do and what I would love to do is actually run a workshop with other people in VR I think this is where VR really will shine however barely anyone has a VR headset to kind of test us with unfortunately.
Hypothetically speaking though I’ve been experimenting with other apps and some that show promise are arthur meat and VR spatial and even horizon workrooms I have set up my own office in arthur which I could bring people in to present and I also wanted to present in spatial but I can’t get my presentation like up on a screen and have my notes out in front of me and that’s kind of really important unless I memorize the the presentation itself, which could be an option but oftentimes you need those notes to to do the presentation.
The closest I could get was having kind of two pdfs one on the wall and one on the notes in front of me and every time I would change the slide on the presentation I’d have to change the slide on the on the pad in front of me I think that was using spatial or something I’ll leave a leave a comment around that.
Of course I lose animations when I’m doing presentations if you have any thoughts about how you would do this in VR do let me know in the comments because I’m just I’m racking my brains trying to figure out how I would present in VR overall collaborative work seems really promising in VR and what I’m really excited about but where productivity in VR really shines for me at the moment is in solo mode and working with multiple screens.
I was actually able to get more work done with more screens and focus I just want to end by saying that over on my full stack agency discord we have a VR and Metaverse channel so I’ll leave a link in the description below to that free discord server so that’ll do it for this episode I’d love to know your thoughts down in the comments would you use VR for work and productivity and what apps do you use that help you get work done in VR either like on your own or with a group of people.
I’m not stopping with my quest to be more productive in VR so I genuinely want to know your tips do leave them below so if you did want to win one of these fellow carter everywhere mugs then the information is down below in the description so once again thank you so much for sticking around to the end make sure you like and subscribe or join me on my free discord and until the next one I’ll see you soon