(VRfun18) Meta Horizon Worlds Spotlight: tMARKbirman

Welcome back to our weekly spotlight on the people building for Meta Horizon Worlds and their amazing creations.

Last week, we climbed into the cab of a giant crane hundreds of meters in the sky and honed our wrecking ball skills by smashing glass and concrete atop huge buildings in ubiquitouz’s Ubi’z Crane-gry Skies.

This week, we discussed creativity and the dramatic value of cinematic Worlds entrances with tMARKbirman, the creator of a wide range of worlds, including MARK’s Fantastic Planet, a place for a strange adventure in outer space.

Tell us a little about yourself and what got you interested in VR.

My career has been in clinical, community, hospital, and, most recently, oncology pharmacy jobs. I have degrees in biology and chemistry, and I’ve performed professionally as a pianist.

As for VR, my interest comes from having always enjoyed 3D movies and experiences. I didn’t own a gaming computer, so when Oculus Go came out, I had to try it. I loved it because I could watch 3D movies and play VR games. When Meta Quest was introduced, I got one and it was even better because it offered 6DOF.

What do you draw upon for inspiration when building in Worlds?

It usually begins with memories and impressions from my personal life, ranging from childhood to the present. They can be from real life, movies, or anything I’ve seen or heard that interests me. Other Worlds creators have told me that I’m one of the few builders who can create from memory without needing to research images before producing objects and scenery.

What do you want people to take away from their experience with your worlds?

I want people who visit my worlds to enjoy an immersive VR experience set in what feels like a real space—a complete world with ambience, aesthetics, and immersive features. I want my visitors to intuitively recognize what I’ve built as soon as they arrive and begin to explore.

Other builders sometimes refer to me as a master of making large worlds look complete, and it’s humbling to receive such a compliment from my peers. Part of that is creating cinematic entrances. For example, in MARK’s Ski Resort World, instead of the visitor entering the world by immediately teleporting to the ski resort, they first arrive in an aerial tram station where they board the tram and then descend to the ski resort. This builds excitement and anticipation as it comes into view.

Are you a programmer/creator as your day job, or do you see this as a hobby?

It’s a hobby and an enjoyable activity that can sometimes be lucrative when I build worlds for others.

Do you collaborate with others, and if so, what’s that experience like for you?

I do. I’ve collaborated on more than a hundred published worlds, and it’s a very important thing for me. It’s a way to learn from people who have experience I don’t have, as well as share my knowledge with others.

I was fortunate to have great collaborators when I started building in Worlds. I had a lot to learn, and the contributions by creator friends greatly enhanced my projects.

And when you do have help with your worlds, be sure to show your appreciation by leaving a credits display which recognizes the creators who helped you.

What’s your best advice for getting started building for Worlds?

I think as humans, we’re all born with an innate desire to create, so make friends, visit some worlds, and then roll up your sleeves and give it a try.

Depending on your previous experience and background, building may or may not involve quite the learning curve. For example, when I started, I didn’t know anything and I wasn’t even going to publish my first world. But the friends I met in Worlds encouraged me to publish it, so I did. To my surprise, it was the first world featured in the Plaza that wasn’t built by the Worlds development team. So I always tell people, “If I can do it, then anyone can.”

The bottom line is that you can make some form of anything you can imagine. If you get stuck, there are always builders willing to help. Everyone has different strengths in creating, so focus on using yours to your best advantage and collaborate with others with different expertise.

I think it’s also helpful to remember that a world doesn’t need to be complicated to be fun and enjoyable. A simple world, when executed well, can be a delight.

What do you think the ultimate potential is for Worlds?

It can eventually be a place where people from all over the world meet, make friends, and enjoy social activities together. It doesn’t matter whether those activities are games, exploring, adventure, education, or anything else because it’s a place where we’re not constrained by physical distance or other things that separate us in real life. So we can make friends with people we might never meet in real life.

How do you think VR fits into the future vision of the metaverse?

It’s a piece of the puzzle—a social layer of activity and an outlet for creativity.

What’s your favorite VR experience?

Interacting, creating, and exploring with others in Worlds.

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