Those using High Fidelity’s open source software toolset, which lets people create shared VR environments, will now be able to build interactive characters with Limitless’ technology starting on Wednesday.
Limitless, a Bellevue-based startup created by former Pixar and Bungie character designer Tom Sanocki, last year launched a platform that lets anyone — film companies; advertisers; educators; regular consumers; etc. — create interactive virtual reality characters.
High Fidelity, meanwhile, debuted its beta product one year ago. Rosedale previously built online virtual world Second Life; his new company is similar, but geared toward virtual reality. It raised an $11 million Series A round led by Vulcan Capital in February 2015 and reeled in another $22 million this past December.
High Fidelity users will be able to create characters that respond to voice, gestures, and other human social cues, similar to how Limitless’ technology was used in this VR experience.
“VR worlds are made more alive and believable by emotional connections to characters within them.” Philip Rosedale said in a statement. “We want to give people the ability to easily create interactive characters, getting as close as possible to the magical experience of having other living people in the space with you.”
Sanocki said the partnership will “give us a glimpse into the future of VR.”
“High Fidelity’s users are generally pro-sumers with basic technical knowledge, and range from educators to enthusiasts to professional animators,” he said in a statement. “Our integration within High Fidelity further validates that our storyteller-first approach to interactive characters is ready for widespread adoption.”
In October, Limitless rolled out its animated character development toolset for developers to leading film and animation studios. The 12-person company has raised investment from music and film producer Jay Rifkin, who worked on “The Lion King” film’s original score; and Masi Oka, a game startup leader and former Industrial Light & Magic digital effects artist better known as the character Hiro from the NBC series “Heroes.”
Limitless was also just accepted into HTC’s Vive X accelerator fund and named former Dreamworks Animation executive Ian Richter to its advisory board. Recent hires include new COO Pamela Choy, who was previously a member of Pixar’s senior management team, and Jon Collins, the new creative director and head of animation who has experience at companies like ToyTalk, Pixar, Blue Sky, ILM, and Blizzard.