by 0x9a739c2e212754c3d8432cb717dc9437e5b3dfae (Sean#dfae)
Should the following Tier 6: up to $240,000 USD, 6 months vesting (1 month cliff) grant in the Platform Contributor category be approved?
The team behind Decentraland’s DAO-funded VR client is seeking a grant for continued development and expansion of VR support for Decentraland. The proposed scope in this grant expands the current VR client to include native Android support so that devices such as the Quest 2 can be supported without the need to connect to a PC. We also seek to enhance the VR client to bring more functionality by converting more keyboard/mouse interactions to VR controller interactions and implementing a unique hand/controller-based UI that is more suitable for a VR client. The team is honored to be considered for a DAO grant for the continued development of Decentraland VR.
In December 2021, the community voted to approve a Decentraland DAO grant that launched one of the first significant VR efforts to the Decentraland ecosystem.
Read the previous grant proposal here.
That grant proposal covered both the development of Byldr to support creating content for Decentraland as well as a viewer for users to experience Decentraland in VR.
That grant proposal specified that the VR viewer was not the primary focus of the grant, and the original intention of the proposed approach was to integrate the viewer with Byldr. However, after starting work on the project, the team quickly realized that Decentraland would better benefit from a separate, open source VR client and that the addition of a VR client would be an enormous benefit for Decentraland. Therefore, the team spent significantly more effort on the VR client portion of that grant than originally planned for and have since received remarkably positive engagement and enthusiasm from the Decentraland community.
Under the previous grant, the team was able to successfully port Decentraland to run on PC-based VR devices (SteamVR headsets, Quest via PC link, Windows Mixed Reality, and other PCVR headsets) and began to convert most 2D UI elements and interacts to operate in 3D space within the VR experience.
Decentraland VR support to run natively on Quest
The team spent significant time investigating porting Decentraland VR to run natively on android in order to support devices such as the Quest 2, without the need to connect the headset to a PC. After much investigation and attempts, the team learned that the Decentraland architecture would require significant effort to get the Decentraland kernel (the core component of Decentraland that handles scene state) to run on an Android-based VR headset. The team proposes to tackle this challenge in this grant in order to build a native Quest Decentraland VR client. This will significantly reduce the difficulty and cost of accessing Decentraland VR and make Decentraland a true, portable immersive experience for the masses.
Continued development of Decentraland VR
Decentraland’s in-world interactions are primarily built around PC-based inputs such as keyboard and mouse. While the team has ported many key interactions to work with VR controllers during the previous grant, there are still many in-world elements, UI, and interactions that work only with keyboard/mouse input. The team proposes to continue development on this to bring Decentraland VR up to parity with the desktop/web clients so that VR users can do anything that PC users can do.
The team seeks to build upon the previous VR client effort by submitting the current grant proposal, which is fully dedicated to the Decentraland VR client. The team is honored to be considered for a DAO grant for the continued development of Decentraland VR. We are excited to be part of Decentraland’s journey toward making the metaverse a fun, immersive and vibrant economy that increases accessibility and financial opportunities to Decentraland citizens all over the world! We would like to thank everyone in the Decentraland community for your support and the integral part you play in building the XR future for all generations to come.
Decentraland Native Quest Support.
The team previously explored multiple pathways for native Quest support. Although the team was able to successfully achieve a Quest port of the Decentraland renderer, without the kernel no content would load into the scene. A full port to run Decentraland VR on Quest would require that the Decentraland kernel is also ported. Pathways explored included running the kernel on a PC and connecting it to the headset, running the kernel remotely, and running the kernel on the VR headset. The preferred pathway is for the kernel to run directly on the headset so that a PC is not required. The team’s proposed approach is to launch the kernel within an in-app container or to launch a backgrounded on-device server. Once the kernel is running, then the Decentraland renderer will be able to load content from the kernel and provide a functional experience. The team will then investigate and tackle any potential android-related incompatibilities with Decentraland, providing robust Quest support. The team intends to work closely with Decentraland foundation for publishing the Decentraland VR application and for any kernel- and renderer-related core contributions as part of the port to Android.
Decentraland VR continued development and improvements.
As mentioned in the description, the team has ported many key interactions to work with VR controllers during the previous grant, however there are still many in-world elements, UI, and interactions that work only with keyboard/mouse input. The team proposes to continue development on this to bring Decentraland VR up to parity with the desktop/web clients so that VR users can do anything that PC users can do. For any UI elements that only appear on the 2D PC screen, such as dialogue text and some pop-up messages, the team will bring these items into 3D space, and where appropriate, ensure that they are located in the context of their associated content (e.g., a pop-up text will appear next to the item that spawned the pop-up.) There are also some in-world games and custom experiences that rely on keyboard input (e.g., “press E” or “Press F” to do to shoot a ball.) Although it will be difficult to universally convert all custom keyboard functionality to VR – the team proposes to standardize inputs to VR controller buttons and investigate any logic that can map keyboard keys to controller buttons, depending on context. The team will also implement a unique UI that is more suitable for a VR client. This UI will involve being attached to one or both controllers, allowing for convenient, nested menu options that are easily accessible within VR.
The items outlined in this grant proposal will be managed and completed by the Ong Innovations team and our associated partners.
The team comprises
Sean Ong (Team technical lead / manager)
Varun Siddaraju (Technical project manager and senior developer)
Clint Campbell (XR developer)
Paul Gumpert (XR developer)
Clinton Reddie (XR Developer and Ong Innovations development partner)
VeeRuby Technologies (Ong Innovations development partner)
AppVolks LLC (Ong Innovations development partner)
XR Dev Studio (Ong Innovations development partner)
Additional information on our company, team members, and partners can be found in the links below
Roadmap and milestones
The team will report progress to the Decentraland community on an ongoing basis and will monitor the project’s forum and DAO Discord channel closely for questions or to provide updates as needed. The team will summarize major activities formally in a monthly report.
The proposed project will be completed within 6 months based on the following milestones and timeline:
Deep dive into kernel port for native Quest support. Bring all on-screen UI elements into in-headset. Initial development of custom VR menu UI for Decentraland.
Continued work on kernel port and preliminary beta testing of native Quest VR support by community members. Community beta testing / iteration of custom VR UI. Work towards converting any missing keyboard/mouse interactions to VR controller interactions.
Continued beta tests expected. Testing, bug fixes, user feedback collection. Full release of Decentraland VR for Quest with custom VR UI.
Vote on this proposal on the Decentraland DAO