In Somnium Space: The power of immersion we investigated immersion in Somnium Space. An important aspect that contributes to the feeling that you are actually present in this world is the sense of depth and space. Creating such a sense of space is one of the most powerful tools in VR. But Somnium Space added another dimension by working off the premise that immersion is further enhanced when traversing that virtual space or distance takes time.
Anyone who has been in Somnium Space knows you will need to put in a real effort to discover it. That’s not a burden at all according to the Somnium Space members we talked with. And who doesn’t remember Somnium’s beautiful and atmospheric scenes while Carlos La Borde walked from east to west and north to south furing his record 12 hours in Virtual Reality inside Somnium Space? He walked and walked, discovering the land, just like a real world tourist would do in an outdoor adventure. He was often overwhelmed and really enjoyed himself.
That moving around in Somnium Space takes time is deliberate as mentioned. Imagine that you at any time could jump from one spot to any other spot on the map. It is not only a matter of distance losing its meaning, it would actually chip away at your perception of being fully present and part of this vast, continuous, persistent world together with everyone else. Also, if random and instant jumps were possible, you’d see people hopping in an out of sight constantly. They would potentially popup right in front of you or leave you in what you thought was an interesting conversation. This, in turn, would chip away at the social aspect of Somnium Space.
So will walking be the only option? What if you start a business far away from Somnium Waypoint where your avatar spawns when logging in? Do you need to walk 30 minutes every time to get there? Not quite.
Apart from walking or running, it will be possible to use teleporters. Teleporters are owned by members – who purchased them on OpenSea – and can be placed on parcels they own, at their discretion. Other members will be able to use those teleporters and jump to any of the other connected teleporters in Somnium Space. For a small fee to be paid in Somnium Cubes, the in-world currency.
The teleporters will be part of the Somnium Transport System and while it brings you closer to where you want to be, it is not the same as random, instant jumps from any place to any other place. That it takes time and effort (and a small cost in case you want to teleport) moving around remains an important cornerstone of Somnium Space.
Over time new ways of transport could see the light of day. Think of cars (5 special edition Abyssus Somnium Space CryptoMotors were auctioned a few days ago) and public transport. Maybe we’ll even see hoverboards, bikes, planes and balloons at some point. But whatever the mode of transport, the overriding principle will always be that it will take time to go from A to B.
That’s also what makes Somnium Space unique.