I recently started playing around with High Fidelity, an open source virtual reality content creation platform. It’s a distributed, self-hosted way to create your own virtual reality domains and socialize in VR, and I’ve been interested in the technology for a while, so I decided to document the process that I went through to get everything set up and running on my local machine and give it a go!
There are two components to High Fidelity, the Interface (what you’ll run when you hop inside and start exploring) and the Sandbox, which is how you customize and host your own content. I spent a bit of time on Monday hanging out in one of the High Fidelity domains, and decided it was time to stake out my own little part of the world – so I “bought my own place!”
Okay, technically I’m still a renter, but now I can make my own little space however I want! Domains from High Fidelity are $20 each for a year.
Tracking down the proper documentation for getting up and running with my own space in High Fidelity was a bit tricky, but I’ve found an order that worked out really nicely for me that helped me get started with my own customization and domain setup, which I’ve documented below.
- Install High Fidelity – I think that my Steam setup for this was kind of wonky, because I wasn’t able to find the Sandbox installed from the Steam installation when I got it. On round two, I decided to install directly from the High Fidelity website, which included the Interface and the Sandbox executibles. While you’re here, you should also create a High Fidelity account, too – you’ll use this to connect to any domains that you create.
- I went ahead and bought a custom domain after I signed in, though I believe that you get your own space that you can use just by signing up. You may be able to skip that part if you’re not interested in sharing your world / not looking for a simple name, but I’m still not entirely clear on that part. Once I bought my domain (which may be revealed at a later date!) I set it to point to my home domain, an address that I found under My Profile > Domains
- Back on my desktop, I launched Sandbox, which started up my local server and created a system tray icon (the caret next to the clock on the bottom right of the task bar). Right-clicking on the Sandbox application showed me several options, and I could see that my local server had started up.
- In your browser, you can see your local server settings by going to http://localhost:40100. This is where we’ll get into a number of different configuration options in the future, but for now, I just focused on setting up my local server to be the one that my domain pointed to. To do this, I connected my High Fidelity account (I log in with Steam) to my localhost box. From there, I could fill in the text on the ‘Domain ID’ box to specify which domain pointed to the server running on my local machine. I chose from my domains and picked the one I had registered in step 2.
- Finally, I restarted my local server and connected by going to the system tray to the Sandbox icon, right-clicking on “Start Server”, and then clicking “Go Home”. When I connected in this time and clicked on the ‘Go To’ button in the HUD menu, I was able to verify that I had connected to my domain by looking at the temporary text in the ‘Your Location’ box and noticing that it had my domain name there!
From this point on, I get to spend a bunch of time customizing my home in High Fidelity (and perhaps even inviting folks inside!) and having my domain point to it. Ideally, in the next few weeks, I’ll have a fully fleshed out place to hang out in the metaverse, completely hosted on my own machine, as a private, friends-only hangout space for VR. I’m not going to lie, I’m really excited at the potential of High Fidelity, and getting my own VR domain up and running in the cloud someplace for easy access and restoration. For more details about Sandbox and setting up your server, these Wiki links from the High Fidelity website may be of help:
I will note that it seems like some of the stages of the home domain are a little different than outlined in the Wiki, so be aware that it may not match up 100%.