There are two things you need to know about me before reading the rest of this blog post. First, I am a fat dude, and have been for most of my adult life. Second, I like to use avatars in VR that can represent me as accurately as possible.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Facebook had finally released their Facebook Spaces during the F8 Conference this week. After it was briefly teased by Mark Zuckerberg at last year’s Oculus Connect Conference, I was excited to jump in there and customize the hell out of my avatar and make it look as lifelike as possible.
When I got home from work last night, I downloaded Facebook Spaces from Oculus Home, logged in, and was immediately presented with a range of pictures from my Facebook Timeline that I choose for a preliminary guess as to how my avatar should look. None of them were exact, but one gave me a good base to work with.
I began customizing everything on my avatar. The hair selections were plentiful, and I chose one that closely resembled mine. Same with glasses, beard, eye color and shape, and eyebrows. I was especially surprised at the amount of noses I could choose from. Once I had my head looking like a groovy cartoon version of myself, I went looking for the next obvious option, my body shape and size.
I stood there for a moment, staring at my grinning avatar in VR. It just didn’t look right. The longer I looked at him(me), the more I craved the need to adjust his(my) body. I found a way to change the color of my shirt, but nothing else. Why wouldn’t Facebook take that into consideration?
I posted a picture of my new cartoon avatar on my Facbook Timeline. Immediately, a few snarky comments indicated things like, ‘Where is the rest of you?’ and ‘That doesn’t look right.’ One person even suggested that my avatar looked like I had some terminal illness.
The wonderful thing about the human body is that we are all different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Not just our heads, but our entire self. Some of have a good self image and accept our bodies as our own. Many people take pride in being husky, buxon, or tall. Not everyone wants their avatar to look like a bobble head toy.
I understand that this is still an unfinished product. As a developer, I get that not every feature will be built into a beta release, and that there is a possibility that body shape and size will be a feature that can be changed in a future version. I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t have added it in the initial beta release, seeing that the main feature of the beta is to make your avatar.
I seriously doubt that Facebook is intentionally forcing everyone’s VR avatar to have the same body on purpose. I really hope I don’t have to spend the rest of my virtual life with my head stuck on Mark Zuckerberg’s body. That just wouldn’t be right.
Fix this, Facebook. I don’t want to hate your VR innovations because of something ignorant.