When Facebook Horizon debuted during Oculus Connect 6 (OC6) in 2019, it offered a glimpse at the tech giants plans for a fully integrated virtual world. A closed beta has been running for the past few months but there haven’t been any updates on the social platform until now. Those beta testers have been creating lots of new worlds which Facebook is just starting to unveil.
Facebook Horizon is very much being built around user-generated content, rather than a lot of in house experiences. Users all have exactly the same tools to let their imaginations run riot, whether that’s an environment to hang out with friends in or a fully interactive gaming world. Apart from the central Plaza, everything else is up to the community.
With that in mind before Facebook Horizon launches the platform needs plenty of worlds for new users to explore and understand what the platform is capable of. A new blog posting focuses on four of these worlds and what can be achieved with a bit of ingenuity.
Take Deep Sleep for example by Liam McKill, a sci-fi thriller where you play a spaceship crew member recently awoken from hypersleep who needs to restore power to the craft. Playable solo or with friends, they can either help or betray you whilst solving the various tasks. “A big inspiration behind Deep Sleep was the video game Bioshock, one of my favourite video games,” McKill explains. “The plot twists, sense of isolation, and the eerie atmosphere in Bioshock inspire me to build Horizon experiences.
Alien Catacombs by Micah Allen, on the other hand, is an obstacle course with a fantasy adventure theme. Grab a sword and a few friends to head out on this journey. When asked about a favourite aspect of the platform Allen said: “My favourite aspect has to be the scripting capability. You can create a world and make it do almost anything you want.”
That openness to do what you want is also met with social safety considerations as Facebook wants to maintain a comfortable, friendly environment. These features are laid out in the video below, where users can tap a shield icon on their wrist to enter a ‘Safe Zone’ where they can Mute, Block and Report other people. Facebook Horizon continually captures footage for proof, the last few minutes of your session added to any report you file.
Still in its closed beta sign-ups are still taking place, ahead of an official launch later this year. That will first occur in the US and Canada with no confirmation about other territories. For further updates you know where to come.