For the final part of our four-part “Building Your Multiplayer VR Experience” blog and video series, we’ll discuss the Platform SDK multiplayer features in Quest by exploring our open-sourced SharedSpaces sample made in Unity and show you how to use the sample to build your own multiplayer application. If you're interested in learning by watching or listening, check out this video on the Meta Open Source YouTube channel.
In today’s blog, we’ll go over some more features that the Multiplayer SDK offers and learn about travel reliability, best practices, takeaways and resources. If you missed how we made a simple Multiplayer VR game on top of the SharedSpaces sample, catch up on our blog post and video.
The Platform SDK multiplayer features in Quest provide useful features that make it easy to enter multiplayer experiences and handle edge cases. For example, the SDK provides an API for invokable error dialog to let players know that they haven’t completed the tutorial required to join the group.
This can help players understand what went wrong and helps narrow down the reasons why travel to a destination may not be working as expected. For more details on how to use this API and a full list of error messages that can be shown, check out the documentation.
The SDK also provides users with an option to rejoin a group through the Rejoin dialog in case a user loses connection as shown below.
It should be noted that this feature only displays a dialog, and you are responsible for handling the detection of the lost connection, the actual rejoining and deep linking. Also keep in mind that if everyone leaves the session while a user is trying to rejoin, it is the application's responsibility to notify through an error message that the session is not joinable since all participants have left the session. For more details on how to use the Rejoin APIs, example use cases and best practices, check out the documentation.
Webhooks allow you to receive real-time HTTP notifications of changes that may be relevant to the multiplayer experiences in your app. For example, Quest could send you a notification when any of your app’s users join a new lobby or session, without you having to query for changes. To learn more about how to configure and use webhooks, check out the documentation.
Quick Invites is a multiplayer feature that allows you to integrate Oculus invites into your app experience without needing to show an Oculus overlay.
The Quick Invite API is available once Invite to App has been implemented and allows apps to display cross platform users.
The API provides a list of available users, direct invites and invites that have been sent. To learn more about the Quick Invite API, its prerequisites, restrictions and how to use the APIs, check out the documentation.
Group Launch is a multiplayer feature that makes it easy for people to join destinations, allowing users to travel together in-app using deep link URLs.
Group Launch allows you to create links directly to best experiences of your app and share it to your community on any platform. You can use these links to promote a new map, set up a play with the developers event or give out limited rewards.
For more information on how to use these methods, and to learn about example scenarios where Group Launch can be used, check out the documentation.
In our recent Oculus Developer Hub (ODH) update, we included new capabilities and improvements to existing features that will improve your daily development workflow. One of these is Multiplayer Testing, which allows you to test Group Launch directly from ODH on multiple devices. Multiplayer Testing works for any app that has Group Destinations registered and at least one binary uploaded to a release channel. Launch your app on one or more devices with a specific destination and lobby session ID. To learn more about Multiplayer Testing, check out the documentation.
This feature eases implementation and improves reliability of group destinations. To begin utilizing Multiplayer Testing in your workflow, check out our documentation guide.
Next, let’s discuss some of the measures that you can take to make sure your multiplayer VR experiences are comfortable and welcoming.
Travel reliability means that your users successfully reach their intended destinations reliably and correctly. It is crucial to make sure that travel reliability is high so as to not break users’ immersion and prevent any unwanted surprises.
It’s important to only show valid destinations that the user can travel to. If a destination isn't available to everyone, you should show an error message to the individuals who cannot go to that destination if they attempt to travel there.
Identifying where the travel fails can help in error handling and informing the user about what happened. Making sure that users travel reliably to their intended destination is very important when designing multiplayer VR apps to ensure a smooth, fair and comfortable experience. When a user is traveling, you should strive to minimize the user input required for the user to complete the travel.
Here are some common scenarios where simple changes in design decisions can potentially help improve travel reliability and make your users’ travel experience more enjoyable:
Next, let’s look at some best practices to keep in mind when developing your multiplayer VR experiences.
By integrating the Platform SDK multiplayer features into your app, you make it easier for people to get together in your app, which can help drive engagement and retention. Incorporating platform multiplayer features in your multiplayer VR app can help reduce friction. Having consistency between the apps helps new players quickly understand how to group up and start playing together, without needing to learn any custom system. We recommend incorporating destinations and Group Presence first, followed by Roster, Invite to App and Invite Link. A best practice for integrating Invites is for apps to have an easy to find invite button within the app to start the invite to app flow.
One of the best resources to learn about Platform SDK multiplayer features and their associated APIs is the multiplayer features documentation. Here you’ll find all the SDK features we’ve discussed, the best ways to use them in your application, sample use cases and examples to help you get started.
The Connect 2021 session Building and Growing Multiplayer Apps for Quest reviews multiplayer features in detail and discusses how Echo VR incorporated these features in their game. It also includes a detailed walkthrough of the SharedSpaces sample.
If you’re interested in reading more about how Ready At Dawn used Oculus Platform Multiplayer Features to elevate Echo VR, check out our blog post where we met with Ready At Dawn Project Lead David Neubelt to learn more about how their incorporation of these features impacted their community’s growth.
To learn more about the SharedSpaces sample, check out the SharedSpaces Multiplayer Showcase blog post, which discusses how to invite a friend to a match, edge cases and API references. The blog How you Can Quickly Bring People Together in VR details the underlying technologies that are used to create the SharedSpaces application.
Be sure to check out our previous blogs in the “Building your multiplayer VR experience” series to learn more about what Platform SDK multiplayer features in Quest offers, what you can build with it and how you can use the SharedSpaces sample to help you get started:
In this series, we discuss the Platform SDK multiplayer features in Quest by exploring our open-sourced SharedSpaces sample made in Unity. This blog is the fourth of a four-part series of blogs supporting the video series “Building your multiplayer VR experience.”
To learn more about the Platform SDK multiplayer features and how the SharedSpaces sample works, check out this Connect session that discusses building and growing multiplayer apps for Quest. Try out the Unity SharedSpaces sample by visiting App Lab and running it on your own headset. To learn more about how to use Platform SDK multiplayer features in your own apps, checkout our documentation for multiplayer features.
To learn more about Meta Quest, visit our website, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, please let us know in the developer forums.