Resolving "Content File Locked" issue

Occasionally one of our Steam users will be prevented from starting the Rec Room client with an error that says "Content File Locked". Here's some things to try that may resolve this issue:

First thing to try is temporarily disabling anti-virus software (e.g., Avast). We've heard from some users that this has resolved the issue.

If that doesn't help, you can try re-installing Rec Room:

  1. Uninstall Rec Room by going to your Library in Steam, right clicking Rec Room -> Uninstall...
  2. Go to your Steam Apps install directory (usually something like C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common) and manually delete any folder named Rec Room (use Administrator privileges if necessary) that might be left there.
  3. Also delete any files inside the Steam downloads folder (usually in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\downloading). This folder should be completely empty (including hidden files) before trying to reinstall.
  4. Reinstall Rec Room through Steam.
  5. Launch as normal.

Please email us at support@againstgrav.com if you continue to have issues!

Debugging Login Issues

Sometimes players have trouble logging into Rec Room (e.g., getting stuck on the loading screen, or seeing a "Failed to connect to RecNet" message).

If this happens to you, please follow these steps to help us debug the issue:

  1. Download and unzip this file: https://www.againstgrav.com/s/RecRoomConnectionTest.zip
  2. Run the .bat file for your platform (i.e., Steam or Oculus)
  3. Email the output to support@againstgrav.com

This will test the full RecNet login and connection process and print out errors that we can hopefully use to help track down the problem!

Eye Tracking in Rec Room

Recently we spent some time experimenting with the latest and greatest eye-tracking technologies. We’ve been really excited about the impact eye-tracking would have on social VR, so we were extra pumped to start experimenting with the tech.  Check out the sneak peek below:

 

There are many uses of eye tracking in VR, and you’ve probably seen a few of them in the past.  We’ve seen eye tracking used for selection, aiming, foveated rendering, auto IPD measurement, and even authentication.

 

Those features are all incredibly exciting, but we wanted to spend time experimenting with ways we could use eye tracking to enhance the fun and silly social interactions that are uniquely Rec Room.

 

In the course of our experimentation we found two fun ways to enhance the Rec Room experience with eye tracking .  The first is pretty straightforward.  It’s gaze tracking.  This lets users see where other people are looking.  We experimented with a few different art styles. 

One which is subtle:

 

ezgif.com-crop.gif

 

And one that’s more caffeinated. 

 

We like sharing both our successes and our failures with all of you out there in the Rec Room community, and those caffeinated eyes are more in the latter category than the former.

 

We ended up going with sticking with our more subtle art style.  I guess the lesson here is, don't overdo it.  In real life, humans are laser attuned to the tiniest cues that come from the eyes.  The same is also true in VR and in Rec Room.  Simple and subtle can yield tremendous impact.  Just being able to see eye direction and blinks added a surprising amount of tone and context to 1:1 conversations.  

 

We noticed an even bigger benefit in group settings.  The tiny movements of the eyes are a powerful social cue indicating whose turn it is to talk.  With eye tracking enabled, we actually observed a noticeable decrease in people talking over one another.   

 

The second feature we added was something called VR Emojis ;)  The facial expressions of Rec Room avatars are driven by a wide range of variables, but we let a few new expressions be driven entirely by the eyes. 

 

When we see that someone closes just one eye, we show a wink, complete with hammy smile.

 

When we detect that both eyes are pointed up we show a perplexed face.

 

And when we see that someone is crossing their eyes, we show a silly face.

 

These facial expressions give people another opportunity to act a little goofy.  So naturally, they mix nicely with the rest of the Rec Room.  

 

You might be wondering when eye tracking is going to make it into a playable version of Rec Room.  The answer is, we're not sure just yet.  A lot of smart people are working hard to get eye tracking into a consumer headset, and when that happens, it’s a technology that we’re excited to support.

 

It’s hard to fully describe the impact of eye tracking with just words and photos.  Like VR itself, this is something you really need to experience to fully appreciate.  We here at Against Gravity are really excited for what eye tracking can bring to the future of social VR.

A thank you to Rec Room community

This is it.  History in the making.  This is the world’s first virtual reality fist bump.

 

This deeply historic event took place on May, 6th 2016.  That was the day we knew we were onto something.  Moments later, one of those little peanut shaped avatars was “bucketed” and the world of Social VR was never the same again.

 

 

We launched Rec Room a few months later on Steam, and we were just floored by the amazing community that formed around the app.  Every day, you all surprised us with:

 

Your skill…

 

Your gunslinging...

 

Your backflips…


 

Your dedication…

 

And your ability to walk through walls...

 

It’s no secret that the community has really been what’s made Rec Room a special place.  Over 100k of you came through Rec Room in the second half of 2016.  You played over 1 million games together, exchanged over 1 million high fives, and fired nearly a billion paintballs at each other (some of you should probably work on your aim...).  You’ve also been spending a long time hanging out with each other, the average play time is now up over 35 minutes per session.  

 

We’re honored that you’ve made us the #1 Social VR app on Steam with a 98% positive review score, and we’re excited to show you some new stuff for the new year.

 

Alright, so here’s a little preview of what’s to come:

 

Brand NEW Stuff

To start, we want to give you some cool new activities to try out.  We’re working on a new activity that will require teamwork and cooperation.  It’s called…. The Quest, and it’s Rec Room’s very first co-op experience.  Groups of people can party up, and do battle and collect loot.  Grab a bow or pick up a sword and get to work.  The only way to make it through The Quest is to coordinate your strategy of defense and attack.  Happy adventuring!

 

Expanding social

Next, we plan to make several aspects of the current app even better and more streamlined.  We want to make it easier to find your current friends and to make new ones.  We also plan to give you more ways to interact with those friends, both inside VR and out (oh my!).  We’re even going to give the watch menu some love.  We plan to make everything more powerful, streamlined, and beautiful!
 

 

A fun and welcoming community

Just as important, we want to double down on our commitment to ensure that Rec Room is a fun and welcoming place for people from all walks of life. So we'll continue to invest in systems that foster positive community and minimize trolling and harassment.  With your help, we'll be improving and extending both active and passive systems that let you manage specific situations based on your personal preferences, and that help us understand broad community trends to minimize bad interactions in general.

 


 

So that’s just a few of the things to look forward to in 2017.  As always, if you have ideas, suggestions, or rants please email us at info@againstgrav.com or join the conversation at http://recroom.reddit.com.   We read everything that comes through.  Your feedback is a huge part of our development process, and we appreciate all that you provided in 2016.


 

“Wait... if it’s free, how are you staying in business?”

We’d also like to recognize another group that has helped make Rec Room possible this past year, our investors.  We were incredibly fortunate to find a group of people who believed in our vision of real-time social interaction, and were inspired to help us build an app that doesn’t follow the conventional model.  Importantly, they’ve supported our commitment to keeping Rec Room a free download, so anyone can join our community.

 

With the help of Sequoia, First Round, Acequia, Vulcan, Maveron, Anorak, Betaworks, The Venture Reality Fund (The VR Fund), and our many angel investors (including Charles Fitzgerald who’s joined our board), we’ve raised $5M to continue to build the future of Social VR.

 

Thanks again to all of you!  We’re really excited for the year to come.  See you in Rec Room [|=)]

Performance test at 9PM GMT (1PM PST) today

There will be a group of us playing at 9PM GMT (1PM PST) today, testing a potential fix for the performance issue that forced us to roll back to a previous version over the weekend. If you've experienced the perf issue (sudden bad framerate after the "Look Who's Talking" update), we could use your help to test this potential fix.

You'll need to get a special beta build... here are the instructions for that:

https://www.againstgrav.com/blog/2017/1/20/finding-a-performance-issue

If you can't join at 1PM, it would still help if you just grabbed the build whenever and took us for a spin.

We are looking for:

  • Do you see unusually bad performance (i.e., it was fine a few weeks ago, but now it's really bad for you)
  • Do you see any weird graphical glitches (beyond our normal jankiness =])


Thanks a bunch for any help, and no sweat if you're too busy or otherwise can't help!

Finding a performance issue

Some users have reported performance issues since we the "Look Who's Talking" update on Tuesday Jan 17th.

If you have definitely noticed a major performance degradation since Tuesday's update (i.e., it went from "fine" to "unplayable"), we need your help!

Please try this and report back:

  1. In your Steam LIBRARY, right click on Rec Room
  2. Select Properties-->BETAS
  3. In the beta access box, type "TooManyDroppedFrames2"
  4. Click CHECK CODE
  5. Now select the "perftest2" beta from the dropdown
  6. This should trigger a Rec Room update!

Now run and play as usual.

Functionally this build is the same as the default public build. It has some behind-the-scenes changes that we hope will address the performance issues.

If we've found the issue, your experience should go from "unplayable" back to "fine"! You also shouldn't see any weird graphical issues or other new bugs.

Either way, let us know!

Update: The Lounge Edition

Big updates to Rec Room today! Head to the Steam Store or the Oculus Store to grab it. Here's what's new...

Invite-Only games

  • Rec Room members can now create Invite-Only games.
  • As the name suggests, Invite-Only games allow you to play only with your invited friends. So if you want to play in a controlled environment, this is how to do it!
  • To create an Invite-Only game, go to your watch and select the "Create" button at the bottom of the "Play" menu:
  • Once you're in your Invite-Only room, use your friends list to invite others!

The Lounge

  • There's a new space to enjoy in Rec Room! Welcome to The Lounge:
  • The lounge is an invite-only event room and hangout space suitable for all kinds of VR gatherings...
    • E.g., something we've been enjoying is Rec Room poker night:
  • The Lounge is Invite-Only, so you must be a member to create and invite your friends.
  • We think of this as "version 1.0" of the lounge. We want to hear your thoughts, recommendations and requests for how we can make it better! Don't forget to send us your feedback...

3D Charades

  • Enjoy a freeform game of 3D Charades with friends in The Lounge!
    • No rules, no timers, just a selection of random cards, and the 3D Pen to play with...
    • Let us know what you think! We know some people preferred the more freeform version of 3D Charades before we added the podiums, etc.

Paintball CTF  tweak

  • The flag carrier now has a longer teleport cooldown, to make CTF games a little more competitive.
  • We did this in response to your feedback. Let us know what you think... Like it? Hate it? Should flag carrier move even slower?

Whiteboards

  • We've added a fun new tool to Rec Room. The whiteboard:

Why would you want a whiteboard?

  • Draw a picture!
  • Keep score in a game you play with friends in The Lounge
  • Have a VR meeting!
  • Just as with The Lounge, we think of this as a version 1.0. Please tell us what you think, and how we could make whiteboards more useful for you.
  • For now, whiteboards are only available in The Lounge, and there's one in your Dorm Room.

Ghost mode improvements

We've made some more updates to Ghost Mode (some context here). Here's what's new:

  • Ghost Mode now happens quicker - press and hold the Menu button for one second (was two). Or select it immediately via the watch menu.
  • Ghost Mode now works in selected games (3D Charades, Disc Golf, Paddleball). Previously, Ghost Mode was disabled when a game was in progress. Ultimately we'll make it available in all situations, but that's going to take us a bit longer.
  • Ghost Mode long press now works even if you have something in your hand. Previously you had to drop the item first.

Thumbs up/down gesture

  • Show your (dis)approval with the new thumbs up and down gestures!

Change your display name...

We've added some features to the Rec Room Profile Page (accessible via any web-browser):

  • You can access your profile here!
  • Login with your Rec Room member name (or email) and password
  • You can now change your Display Name at any time!
  • You can also change your password, or issue a password reset if you forgot.

Find and make friends more easily...

Also from your profile page (accessible via any web-browser):

  • Click on "Friends" to see your friends list
  • Click on "Find new friends" to search for Rec Room members by name
  • Send a friend request with a single click!
  • You can now make friends with a guest (previously, both players had to be members). Just shake hands, and it should work =]

Tweaks and bug fixes

  • Rack space is now handled better when you have a lot of avatar items in the dorm room
  • Fixed bug where mystery item could appear in center of the room
  • Fixed bug where some players would receive empty boxes (sorry about that)

Social VR: A double-edged sword

Last night a video went viral on /r/videos. The video ends with a Rec Room user called Handibot (and an unknown accomplice in a viking helmet) advancing on a streamer (dasMEHDI) in a way that prompts dasMEHDI to eventually quit the game. dasMEHDI seems somewhere between amused and shaken by the weirdness of what just happened.

We wanted to use the video as a jumping off point to talk about how we think about social VR generally, and what we’re doing with Rec Room specifically to achieve our goal of creating a fun and welcoming environment for people from all walks of life.

The starting point is our Code of Conduct, which we expect all users to respect while playing:

  • Rule #1: Be excellent to each other!
  • No sexually explicit behavior or language in the locker room or public activities.
  • Whatever you choose to do in a private activity, still make sure everyone is cool with it.
  • Sexist, racist, discriminatory or harassing language is not welcome in Rec Room.
  • Don’t mess with other people’s games! We don’t want to implement a million rules to control your behavior in every game. Don’t make us.

But we’re not going to pretend it’s that simple. We can’t just post some rules and call it a day. Because as users like Handibot can demonstrate, one person’s “hilarious” is another person’s “creepy”.

VR social presence - the sense that other people are physically there with you - is real, and it’s a double edged sword. On the one hand it can make you feel like you’re hanging out with real people. On the other hand it can make you feel like you’re hanging out with real people =]

So what to do?

Luckily, we are blessed with a community of players who have been great about providing feedback and suggestions, and patient with us as we slowly improve features that are intended to be helpful in situations like this. Seriously, much love to all of you who’ve worked with us on this! Let’s talk about two specific features.

Ghost Mode

Ghost Mode is designed for situations like this. If you ever feel overwhelmed in Rec Room, press and hold the menu button for a second. Nearby players and objects will be “ghosted” (rendered translucent so they can’t block your vision), their hands are hidden, and their voices muted. Here’s what it looks like. A user is getting up in my face in a way I don't like. So I press and hold the menu button (That's "Menu" on Vive, B/Y on Oculus Touch) for one second:

The user turns into a harmless, translucent ghost! Her hands are hidden, so she can no long mess with me. With the situation under control, I go to my watch menu and initiate a Vote to Kick (more on this in a second).

You can also initiate Ghost Mode via the watch menu:

For players you really don’t want to deal with, the Ghost effect can be made permanent via a clunky and confusing UI that we really need to make better (find them in the player list and select “Mute” or “Ghost”). We have some ideas for how to make this easier to access even when a Handibot is threatening to tickle you.

So, Ghost Mode is generally quite effective at resolving situations like this. We encourage players to practice initiating Ghost Mode in their Dorm Room, so it's second nature if they ever feel the need to use it.

EDIT: We have since updated Rec Room so Ghost Mode would work in this exact situation (during a game of Charades). I'll leave the following in place for posterity!

Except… it wouldn’t have worked in this case. Due to the complexities of suddenly hiding players and their hands mid-game, Ghost Mode is currently unavailable during gameplay. It works in the Locker Room, and before and after the games. But it actually would have failed here, even if dasMEHDI had known to use it, because the 3D Charades game was in progress.

So there’s two things we’re going to do:

  1. Do a better job of introducing and teaching Ghost Mode to new users.
  2. Revisit the decision to disable Ghost Mode while games are in progress.

Please keep the feedback coming, as we are committed to making this tool as useful as possible, in as many situations as possible, for as many people as possible.

Vote to Kick

Awareness of this one is much higher (we see people using it a fair bit). If a player crosses the line from “hilarious” to “creepy”, others in the room can vote to kick them out. If enough other players agree, the player is removed and cannot rejoin that room for the duration of that session. If a player is getting kicked out repeatedly, it will take them longer and longer to rejoin the public locker room.

Something we don’t love about both Ghost Mode and Vote to Kick is that they are purely reactive features. It puts the onus entirely on you to react to the situation. We don’t consider this ideal, but we’re still in the early stages of figuring out the right mix of reporting, moderation, and other tools to increasingly prevent (as opposed to react to) unwanted interactions.

This has gotten long, so I’ll leave it there for now. We are committed to our goal of making Rec Room a welcoming environment for people from all walks of life. We will likely never do a perfect job, but we are going to try our best and we welcome all feedback - positive or negative - on this or any other Rec Room topic.

Thanks, and please be excellent to each other!

Rec Room x Raw Data Weekend

We've partied up with the good folks at Survios to create a fun event this weekend.

  • If you're a Rec Room member, when you next enter Rec Room you'll receive SIX packages containing Raw Data-themed avatar items. 
  • You can wear these items immediately, and yes you get to keep them!
Bishop and Saija invade Rec Room!

Bishop and Saija invade Rec Room!

NOTE: If you don't get the items, it's probably because you're not a member. Sign up (it's free) at one of the kiosks found in the Locker Room or Dorm Room. 

What can you do with these items? Well other than look cool, there's also a prize drawing where you can win stuff: 

  • Grand Prize (1 winner): Asus GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card and Raw Data game key 
  • Runners-up (3 winners): Survios/Raw Data swag pack (Raw Data game key, custom Vive controller charging station, flash drive, t-shirt and notebook) 
  • Third Place (5 winners): Raw Data game key

There are two ways to enter the prize drawing:

  1. Dress up as either Bishop or Saija, then take a screenshot of your avatar and tweet it to @Survios. Please include #FreeKeyFriday in your tweet! 
  2. Dress up as either Bishop or Saija, then visit woobox.com/vsjbnk and enter the drawing via email.

OK that's it! Have fun, and let us know what you think.