My inspiration for Amore comes from the innate desire to love and be loved. During the pandemic, I found it difficult to form connections, whether it be friends or loved ones. In a world where face masks are required and social distancing is the new normal, experiencing intimacy becomes near impossible. Dating apps limit who we meet, where we can go, and how we create lasting relationships. Discrimination, whether it's based on race, gender, or anything else can not be tolerated any longer. As a society, we have forgotten how to truly love one another. That's where Amore comes in.
What it does
Amore is a virtual world that aims to fundamentally change how people meet, interact, and love one another via fully customizable 3D avatars. The avatars move when you move, speak when you speak, and can even express emotions. In the world of Amore, anything is possible. You can dance the night away in the nightclub, participate in meditations, and even meet your soulmate, all while in the comfort of your own home. You can also improve your social skills and rid yourself of your social anxiety by interacting with the Amore AI. People need a new world to escape to, and Amore provides exactly that. There are events such as movies, virtual speed dating, and more. Users can draw together, view 360 content, play sports, and even take selfies. Conventional virtual worlds allow for people of all ages to communicate, but miss the mark when it comes to forming intimate relationships. That is why it is an adult-only virtual world, and how the name came to be.
How I built it
I built the app using a combination of Unity 2019.3, VRIK for Avatar Movement, Salsa for Realtime Lipsync, Photon for Networking, UMA (Unity Multipurpose Avatar System) for Avatar Customization, and Google Cloud for the AI. Amore currently runs on Oculus Quest, and is compatible with other PC VR headsets like Rift S and HTC Vive.
Challenges I ran into
Challenges I ran into had to do with porting the app to work on the Oculus Quest, as Salsa needed a patch in order for it to be compatible with the latest version of UMA. Frequent network crashes were also an issue using the Oculus Quest. I also ran into the challenge of testing, as I am only one person and although I own multiple VR headsets it makes it near impossible to test the multi-user functionality in realtime.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I am proud of being able to integrate multiple popular plugins together to create something valuable and immersive. I am proud that Amore solves the problems that run rampant through our society, such as discrimination, loneliness, and depression.
What I learned
I learned that in order to build an app for multiple platforms, developers really need to write code that is compatible with various different SDKs and hardware devices. That is where the plugins come in.
What's next for Amore
I plan on continuing development of the Amore platform to bring the Amore world to the people who need it most in today's society and fundamentally change how we form lasting relationships and strengthen our bonds with one another.