Almost a year ago, Meta made a significant announcement during Connect 2022 regarding its metaverse avatars. They revealed their plan to give these avatars legs, thus making them appear more human-like. Now, after all this anticipation, the day of implementation has almost arrived. The latest beta version of the Quest software includes avatars with functional legs.
However, if you were expecting to see legs when you look down in virtual reality, you might be disappointed. As pointed out by UploadVR, the legs are only visible in third-person view or when you’re looking at a virtual mirror, similar to the mechanism in many first-person shooter games. The reason behind this decision is simple: current consumer virtual reality systems lack the leg tracking feature. Consequently, Meta doesn’t have to worry about intricate leg animations and instead can focus on other aspects, avoiding any potential strange or unrealistic physics.
Moreover, it seems that in the third-person view, when you bend your knees or sit down, your avatar’s legs won’t crouch accordingly. This might create some awkward situations where maintaining eye contact (as much as possible within VR spaces) with another user becomes challenging.
It’s important to note that the legs feature is not yet available in the VR version of Horizon Worlds. However, those testing the mobile and web versions should be able to see it. This is interesting because last year, Meta stated that “legs will roll out to Worlds first” before being introduced to other avatar-friendly experiences. Another detail highlighted by UploadVR is that Meta has not updated its software development kit for avatars publicly, which means external developers using that toolset won’t be able to experiment with legs in the company’s virtual spaces just yet.
All of this could potentially change next month during the annual Meta Connect event. There’s a possibility that Meta might provide more details about the implementation of virtual legs. One thing that has been confirmed about the event is that Meta will unveil more information about the highly anticipated Quest 3, building up the excitement for the event.
In conclusion, the journey towards implementing legs for Meta’s metaverse avatars is almost complete. Although these legs won’t be visible in first-person view, their presence in third-person view and virtual mirrors is a significant step towards enhancing the human-like appearance of the avatars. The exclusion of leg tracking allows Meta to focus on other aspects and avoid potential complications with physics. Yet, some limitations remain, such as the lack of leg movements corresponding to crouching or sitting down in the third-person view. The availability of the legs feature in Horizon Worlds is still pending, while the software development kit for avatars is yet to be updated. However, with the upcoming Meta Connect event, there’s hope for more exciting announcements, including further insights into the Quest 3. Meta’s dedication to continuously improving the metaverse experience is evident, and users eagerly await the implementation of legs in various virtual spaces.