Answered By: Genista Kippin
Last Updated: Aug 31, 2021     Views: 17

AltspaceVR Beginner's Guide


This Guide is designed to assist new users in AltspaceVR. All users on the Altspace platform must adhere to the Community Standards. As you begin your journey into Social VR please keep in mind that the general rule of thumb for conducting yourself in a virtual environment is to conduct yourself the same way you would in-person. 

You will learn:

  • What Altspace is
  • How to download AltspaceVR
  • How to create your account
  • How to create your avatar
  • How to navigate and interact in AltspaceVR
  • How to use Altspace features
  • How to access Altspace 2D mode
  • About additional resources 

1. AltspaceVR

Altspace is a FREE Virtual Reality platform designed to facilitate social interaction within VR. It is compatible with nearly all VR headsets and also offers a 2D desktop mode for those without a headset. 

2. Download AltspaceVR
If you are using a tethered headset, please ensure your computer meets the minimum specifications recommended for Altspace

In VR, download the app from the Oculus Store (for Oculus headsets), Steam Store (for HTC headsets) or Windows Store (for Windows Mixed Media headsets). Then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the installation process.

You can also download Altspace for desktop mode if you do not have access to a headset, or prefer this method. For more details see the 2D mode section below. 

Find additional assistance downloading and installing Altspace in VR for all headsets at docs.microsoft

3. Create Account
To create your account, ensure you have installed AltspaceVR on your device. Then launch the application. Select ‘sign-up’. Complete the registration form, and then select ‘Create’.  

Some things to know: 
"Display Name"- what other users will see above your avatar
"Username"- will be displayed in the friends tab of the menu for people who have added you as a friend
Both your Display Name and Username will be visible on your avatar's nametag (see below).

Find additional assistance downloading and installing Altspace and updating your display or username at docs.microsoft

4. Create Avatar
You can customize your Avatar. This means you have an opportunity to create and express your identity in AltspaceVR as you choose.  

You’ll be able to change your avatar’s clothing and clothing colour, body shape, body size, facial features, skin tone, hair style and colour and more. 

To customize your avatar, select ‘Me’ from your Main Menu. On the left hand side, there will be main categories including: Body, Head, Face, and Clothing. You can open each main section to see all the options within. Select any option to see it in the preview of your avatar. Once you are satisfied select “Save”.

5. Features

a) Menu

You can access your menu at any time in Altspace. To access it simply look to the bottom right of your screen. The menu will follow you to always be accessible. 

To access the Main Menu, select the Altspace logo in the middle of the Menu.
Other options include (from the top clockwise around): 

  • Mute: You can select this to mute yourself. You can unmute with the same button anytime.you can also use this to adjust the volume level.   
  • Emojis: Use this button to open a menu of emojis. You can select an emoji and it will appear by your avatar's head and then float up and away. You can use the clapping hands to clap!  This is a great way to interact with other users while on mute.
  • Bubble: You can use the bubble button to create  a bubble around your avatar, to ensure that other avatars can not enter your space. 
  • Selfie: Use this button to capture a virtual selfie of your avatar, and any others around you. 
  • Camera: this button allows you to capture your view in Altspace at any time. Your avatar will not appear. Other avatars may appear in your shot.
  • Home: use this button to Go to your home space at any time. (the home space is where you appear upon logging in to Altspace).  

b) Main Menu

The main menu can be accessed from the basic menu by clicking the Altpace logo in the centre. 

It has multiple tabs to know about. 

  • Events: this tab shows all current and future events happening in AltspaceVR. Across the top are different sections or ways to filter which events you see. Choose an event here and you'll be able to enter it. 
  • People: this is where you search for Friends, view incoming Friend Requests, see who is Here in the room with you. Also contains the list of users you have Blocked. For more information about friends in Altspace read on about the nametags. 
  • Me: this is where you can customize your Avatar. You can customize as often as you choose. 
  • Settings: this allows you to control your experience. There are subcategories you can select along the left hand side once you select this tab.*
    • General: allows you access to options like Early Access Program and Worlds Beta. Turning these ON enables you to visit user-created worlds by offering you an additional tab called ‘Worlds’. Note: You will temporarily log out and back in when you enable these. Personal Space Bubble: the same option as on your Radial Menu. User Nametags: enables you to see users nametags when you have your cursor over them. We recommend turning this on so you can use the nametag feature. Re-Enter Space: enables you to immediately exit and re-enter whichever event or world you are currently within. This is sometimes very useful for initial troubleshooting upon entering a space. 
    • Comfort: Auto Open Menu makes your Main Menu open automatically as soon as you log in. Teleport Transition determines how you move while teleporting. BLINK will instantly cut your view from point A to B while DASH smoothly moves your avatar from point A to B, which also slides the entire world past your view. Some people find this disorienting, some simply love it. Try both and see! Turning smoothly can also cause nausea or discomfort for some users, so there are options to limit your turning to various degrees of angles. Here is another option you will need to try all of to find the one right for you. Turn Speed only applies if you have Turning set to Smooth. You can also Show Speech Bubbles of anyone currently speaking.
    • Input: Some worlds and events permit you to Fly. Use Throw Shadow applies a small circular shadow to all interactive items. Rumble & Pulse Haptics vibrate your controllers depending on your headset and controller capabilities.Cursor On Primary Action will switch which hand your cursor is on, if desired. Left/Right Cursor Always On allows each of your hands to be useful, if desired. Teleport Aiming style can change between an Arc (better for heights) and a straight Line (better for distance), as desired. 
    • Display: UI Scale will double the size of all menus that pop up. In World Render Scale determines the quality of visuals. Higher values will look better, but some headsets may have frame rate issues at too high a value. 
    • Audio: contains volume sliders. Audio Input Selection is where you set your input source (mic). Mute Mic By Default causes your microphone to auto mute when you enter a new world or event. Mute When AltspaceVR Is Idle automatically mutes your mic whenever AltspaceVR is not the app in focus. 

*There are other setting options, but these are enough to ensure you can create an experience that works for you. For more information visit docs.microsoft. 

c) Nametag

Each avatar has a nametag, which becomes visible when you hover your cursor over them. Nametags show user’s Display Name and Username. Some users will also display an Admin Badge on their nametag. These avatars will be able to moderate spaces and assist with questions. From another user’s name tag you can select: 

  • Mute: a temporary mute option, and you can unmute the user with the same button at any time. If this users' mute icon is already red, it means they've muted themselves.
  • Block: The block feature will allow you to remove a user from your experience. You'll no longer see or hear that user, and they'll no longer see or hear you. To unblock a user, open up your Friends panel, select the block tab, then unblock the user.
  • Friending: The friend button will send that user a friend request, after friending another user you can message them across spaces, see when that user is online, and easily join their room. That user's nametag will also include a blue border so you can easily recognize them as a friend. You'll also notice a counter at the bottom of their nametag, which will show the duration that you've been friends with that user.

6. Navigation and Interactions
You can navigate to different spaces in Altspace in a few different ways. 

  • Walk: you can walk by using the controls for your device, this works well for navigating within a space over short distances. 
  • Teleport: You can teleport using the controls for your device. This works well to go longer distances within a space nor to go between spaces.
  • Fly: you can fly within a space by using the controls. This works well to cover small distances and to enjoy the extraordinary abilities that VR allows users to experience. 
  • Select World: you can travel to and discover new spaces (known as worlds) within Altspace by accessing the Worlds tab in the Main Menu. 

You can also interact with objects within a space in Altspace. You can pick up, carry, toss, move, scale and otherwise manipulate objects. To do so, follow the controls for your device.   

Find the controls for Oculus here and the controls for other headsets here.

7. 2D Mode
Altspace is also available in 2D/desktop mode for Windows. It is available in Beta for Mac as well. Download the 2D version for Windows or the beta for Mac, and follow the prompts. See above sections to Create your Account and Create your Avatar if you are a first time user.  
The controls for PC mode can be found here. Before downloading ensure your computer meets the minimum system requirements.  
Find more support for 2D mode at altvr.com

8. Additional Resources 
The MRU Library’s Experience Lab is a great place to get assistance from our staff. You can drop by during our hours, book a time, checkout the contacts section on our webpage or email vizspaces@mtroyal.ca.  

When you first create your account and create your avatar, you will spawn into your avatar's Home. You will appear in your Home each time you log in to Altspace. You can also return Home anytime by using the Home button on the Menu. 

Altspace Tutorial: The first time you appear in your Home, there will be prompts for a basic tutorial in Altspace. The tutorial is a great way to ensure you know how to navigate and interact in basic ways within the virtual space. You can access the tutorial anytime through the Main Menu, in the Settings tab, under General

For additional information getting started with Altspace the following guides may be helpful: 

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