LONER Online Pushes the Boundaries of Gaming and Night Clubbing on VRChat [Interview]
Protag0nist Vrchat 1920x1080 2020 10 16 22 56 59.845 Loner 17.jpg

The Internet. You are currently reading this article, and it continues to connect people around the world in fresh and innovative ways. This is especially true in 2020 as more and more people are staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As bans and quarantines become the status quo, the world is unprecedentedly relying more on the internet for work and play.

This is especially true in the music industry as live events have been postponed and relocated to the internet. Despite great efforts on the part of the organizers to re-host live events in a safe and successful manner, the urge for online shows continues to grow. For example, EDC Las Vegas and Tomorrowland streamed their custom virtual raves and reached a large online audience last summer. In these cases, both festivals filmed artists' DJ sets in special DJ studios built for the event, or shared streams from home or from the artist's own setup.

Meanwhile, other artists and festivals have brought things to more interactive spaces for online festival goers. While deadmau5, Dillon Francis, Steve Aoki, and Diplo have gone into the ever-changing battle royale kingpin Fortnite to host their sets, Zedd, Disclosure, and Mat Zo have dug deep into Minecraft's customizable block world to hang out with fans connect. And recently, a group of committed players in the space exploration game No Man’s Sky created "rave planets" with terraforming and game music. What happens when all these promoters, artists and games get more creative and more accessible for online audiences to interact with music?

That's where PRChat Developed in 2014 by two game developers, VRChat is a free, massively playable, online, multi-player social media platform that allows users to interact as 3D models in virtual reality. Gamers with virtual reality consoles and headsets can use avatars that support audio lip-syncing, eye-tracking, blinking, and complete freedom of movement. However, for those without the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, there is a desktop version of the game with limited functionality for the avatars. However, even desktop gamers can still interact with other players and customize which avatar they can be and what rooms or rooms they are in while playing mini-games or just hanging out.

(Screenshot from LONER Online Vol. 17)

That's where LONER online LONER Online was originally a series of live shows hosted in Australia. It was an online show with user generated content originally intended for Garry's Mod. As they got more serious, they decided to work with VRChat and started creating an online landscape that included live music with a nightclub aesthetic. What started out as friends booking each other on a video game has grown into a bimonthly event with around four pieces of music, each with around 30-minute sets.

"The event begins with the VR World opening 30 minutes before the event," said Zeal. one of the organizers and founders of LONER Online. “The club entrance is blocked by a bouncer in the game while the guests wait outside in the parking lot like a normal nightclub. We spend this time getting set up before the event starts, and our Twitch viewers can watch our livestream during the event countdown. “According to Zeal, guests usually split up and enjoy the event between the dance floor, bar, bathroom and lobby parking lot. There are even places for Easter eggs that aren't obvious at first glance and that users can explore to get more out of the room than meets the eye.

(from left to right: Zeal, Shoelaces and Velatix)

The team behind LONER Online is a community of passionate music producers, visual artists and accomplished promoters. Manage bookings for events are zeal, Shoelaces, and Velatix. The latter was and is responsible for the world design of LONER Online. "We have Reka Who does graphic design for the brand LONER and VJ crims Who does our live visuals? "Says Zeal. "2ToneDisco and Clyde Machine Recently also joined in the past few months to really help with the backend stream work for Twitch. We have Illegal pressure Who makes our social media and other members of the Loner crew who support behind the scenes such as Kenta204, Outcry and m0ri.59. We also have Nick and Nathan helping to edit and create videos for us. "

Compared to more lucrative and popular games like Fortnite and Minecraft, which have taken virtual music festivals to daunting heights, the LONER online minds create and curate a unique atmosphere in VRChat. That includes the way they designed the dance floor in their lobby's basement and the large sound system, a dirty bathroom full of sticker bombs and graffiti tags, a small bar for users to wrap up in, and an inner-city outdoor alley that leads to July 11th. "A lot of the VR music events we'd seen went pretty overboard when it came to creating these crazy, ephemeral worlds with insane effects and stages," said Velatix. “But ultimately, (they) failed to provide their audience with a personal, immersive experience. Right from the start, I really wanted to capture that intimate, underground feeling that prevails in small basement rooms. So I decided to model most of the world from the real layout of Sub Club (in) Melbourne and Mogra (in) Tokyo. "

But creating these worlds in VRChat is no walk in the park. Velatix explains that despite almost months of work building the LONER online world and configuring weekly updates, he still had to learn how to use the game's Unity engine while another LONER comrade was named Smart has carried out a complete backend overhaul of the game world. While this work can be more complex than creating a special map in Minecraft, it is the team who work on these little details to cultivate this unique experience for the loyal audience. As Velatix puts it, "The idea of ​​emulating a real space wasn't just an aesthetic choice either. A small basement room like this one increases the immersion and ultimately encourages the audience to be social and get actively involved."

(Screenshot of the background from LONER Online)

With the visual and graphic sound setting and rolling paired with a rotating list of DJs, LONER online events can feel like a niche. But that's the point. "LONER Online comes from a history of running shows focusing on internet club and niche online music trends like IDM, Jersey Lub and Hyperpop / PC music, as well as electronic dance props like UK Garage, Bassline, Bass Music and DNB," said Laces. "We try to appeal to all types of audiences with an emphasis on energetic, forward-thinking and practical DJ performances."

And in weird ways, shutting down their own real world LONER shows resulted in them having acts as part of the brand that weren't conventionally available before. "Our goal at our IRL parties (in real life) was to serve the niche … but it wasn't always possible to get there," Zeal said. "With Lockdown we had a unique opportunity to try something that was previously considered crazy and impossible, but we felt incredibly inspired by our discoveries in VRChat and the possibilities the game offered us."

However, the LONER Online team faces some hurdles when they rave about the Internet. For one thing, not everyone has access to virtual reality headsets. While not required due to the game's desktop mode and can be played for free, gamers who cannot move or interact like their VR peers will lose intimacy. "VR events can be a little tricky to understand when you consider the needs of a powerful PC that can already set you back," said Zeal. “If you want the full experience outside of desktop mode, you'll need a VR headset to experience the event as it is meant to be experienced. The Twitch stream manages to capture enough of it to be over the music for To speak to people who are not concerned with the game aspect or who cannot participate in the game due to technical limitations. "

Another problem is the recent lineup of Twitch developers who have been hit with DMCA takedowns. This problem is usually caused by having licensed music playing while a stream is in progress, as more and more Twitch users have been notified by the company that anything flagged as copyright infringement will be deleted without the possibility of counterclaims being sent. What was once unregulated for the streaming giant is now a big problem for streamers on the platform who now have to worry about losing their content and potentially their channels.

"We definitely cannot rule out the possibility of DMCA issues with Twitch at some point, and we are aware that we are currently on thin ice," said Velatix. "Unfortunately there is currently no alternative or solution for us in the area of ​​live streaming." However, this doesn't seem to stop the LONER Online team from developing the best gaming experience, even without a platform to stream. The goal, as they put it, is to host great events.

LONER Online is on the brink of a new movement for online events. It connects people with a digital dream landscape that cannot be interfered with in the physical world. It allows users to endlessly adapt and express themselves in ways that they cannot in the real world. Through VRChat and live streaming, LONER Online could lead the indictment into a new way of looking at how we continue to connect online when the world around us is closed. And until the bans and quarantines are no longer mandatory, we will be more integrated into the World Wide Web than there are possibly more LONER online clones and offshoots with their own successful growth. However, pioneers such as LONER Online have paved a previously unknown path due to three key components. Opportunity, connection and music.

(Screenshot of the LONER Online family)

And they don't stop. LONER Online Vol. 20 will be their biggest event yet. Four members of the LONER online team and three musical guests present individual one-hour sets for a seven-hour stream. Takes place on November 27th at 11pm. (EST), this will be an award for a team that has come a long way and has a longer way to go. Click the link below to find out how to watch the show.

LONER online socials::
LONER online website
LONER Online Twitch Channel

LONER Online is proud to present our 20th event, a celebration of the incredible community we've built over the year.
Enjoy this look back at our last 19 events and see you this weekend for Vol. 20 ☹️https: //t.co/CCjV46NXOf pic.twitter.com/FxBhdShKj5

– Loner (@Loner_Online) November 24, 2020


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