Horizon Worlds Spotlight: hyperjoule

Oculus Blog
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September 2, 2022
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Welcome back to our weekly spotlight on the people building for Horizon Worlds and their amazing creations.

Last week, we explored the galaxy and asked some of the most philosophical questions facing humanity in Felix & Paul StudiosSpace Explorers Agora.

This week, we spoke with hyperjoule, the prolific creator of numerous worlds including ’80s- and ’90s-themed roller rink Hyperdrome Rollerama and casual game Butterfly Battle Royale.

Tell us a little about yourself. What got you interested in VR?

I’m a life-long technophile, and my dad was an early adopter, so we had a home computer in the 1970s. Being exposed to technology at such a young age definitely influenced me and my career choices, and by the mid-1990s, I was a web developer. By the early 2000s, I was working with some of the world’s largest technology companies. But then I took time off to raise a family and only returned to work about six years ago. I’m now a full-stack software engineer.

I attended some local technology meetups about development languages and was director of my local chapter of Women Who Code. And during the pandemic, since I was working from home and have long had an interest in VR, I got a Meta Quest 2.

At first, I wanted it for gaming, but then I started exploring the various experiences that are accessible on the headset. And when I got a beta invitation to join Horizon Worlds, I knew right away I wanted to learn how to become a world builder myself. I saw it as the future of the internet and believed I could master it. I’ve fallen in love with the creativity of the Horizon Worlds platform and community, and I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with others.

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

When I’m building worlds for myself, I draw inspiration from my life. For example, I have family members who love roller derby, so one of my first worlds, Hyperdrome Rollerama, was a love letter to the sport.

At the same time, I’m always trying to stretch the limits of what I can do with code blocks, so a lot of my inspiration is the challenge of trying to be a better scripter—and I love making character costumes, toys, gizmos, and fun games.

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

I want people to find something whimsical and fun in them and maybe use some of that energy to take them away from their daily grind.

I'm all about the fun, the ridiculous, and the unexpected. For example, I included floating ducks in my hub world because why not? There’s also water blasters, a magic paintbrush, and magic flower wands. None of these things are particularly useful, but they’re fun and they add life and interaction to the world.

In fact, all the worlds I’ve been involved with, whether as creator or contributor, are highly interactive and highly scripted. That’s because I want to give visitors an experience they can’t get in other worlds in Horizon Worlds.

Do you collaborate with others, and what has that experience been like for you?

I’ve collaborated with lots of other builders and scripters, and I love doing that. It’s part of what keeps drawing me back to Horizon Worlds—because it’s so much better to bring a creative idea to fruition with friends. I learn so much working with others, and I prefer to work that way whenever possible.

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

Just get in and start playing around with the edit tools, pull some shapes out, and see what you can make! Once you’re comfortable enough, definitely watch all of the tutorial videos provided by Meta and the community. For example, Vidyuu has posted several that are really helpful, and the Horizon Creators Academy offers beginning and intermediate scripting classes on Thursdays.

Get to know the community members and the resources that are available to you, and be confident that there are plenty of people who can point you in the right direction to get started. I'm one of them!

What do you think the ultimate potential is for Horizon Worlds?

I think it could be the primary place online where we gather to communicate, learn, shop, work, and play—and where we meet with our old friends and make new ones.

Eventually, I see VR and AR being the primary ways we use technology, and Horizon Worlds is a great first step in that direction. When I’m with friends in a world, I enjoy the experience almost as much as if I were with them in a coffee shop. And when I'm teaching in the Horizon Creators Academy, it feels no different than if I’m standing at a podium at a technology meet-up.

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

I believe that VR and AR will eventually replace all of our clunky and expensive computers and monitors and become the primary ways people communicate online.

This is the new frontier, and I'm super excited to be on the modern Oregon Trail.

What’s your favorite VR experience?

It's hard to pick just one, but I was surprised on my 50th birthday when someone took me to a whole world dedicated to me. It was such a genuinely unexpected and touching surprise. I was verklempt.