Jazz Cafe

Jazz Cafe is an AltspaceVR world built for the virtual burning man event BRCvr 2021.

After trying my hand at creating vehicles I was looking for more opportunities to develop my modeling skills. I was keen on mastering this one aspect before moving onto other things.

However, as fate would have it Doug from BRCvr offered me another project, only this one was much more than modeling – it involved looking over various photos and videos to recreate, in 3D space, the real Jazz Cafe from the playa. This project pushed me to do modeling, texturing AND lighting – YIKES!

With many caveats and advanced apologies for potentially falling short I gave it a go.


The first challenge was establishing the right scale. From photos I guestimated how big to make things – and just to be clear: I’m lousy at guessing distances. Looking at photos I counted how many people might be able to fit side by side in the space, I looked up the size of a rental truck for comparison, I even looked up sizes of “standard” geodesic domes (geodesic domes come in a lot of different sizes).

Some Reference Photos

Ultimately I picked a size and then after some in-VR feedback I distorted it a bit to make it big enough from side to side but avoiding it looking to tall. Frankly I still think I got the size all wrong but it is what is and it didn’t look horrible. Time to soldier on because I still had more modeling to do and many texturing and lighting YouTube tutorials to view before I would be ready for the next steps.

Sizing stuff. (looks like a spider)

Now an “expert” at modeling simple shapes I decided to take things to the next level in Blender where I used cloth physics to drape the parachute over the geodesic dome structure. Many compute cycles later I had discovered several ways NOT to achieve the desired results.

Getting Closer…

It became apparent that all those settings that control the physics properties were actually important to understand – up to that point I was simply looking for the drape-parachute-over-geodesic-dome preset.

At long last. A decent result.


Texturing turned out to be rather fun. I’m not sure why I was so intimidated by the process initially. I am now on speaking terms with texture coordinates.

Of course I had to try my hand at manually creating a texture atlas – something I think I’ll leave for tools to do in the future.

Texture atlas for the Jazz Cafe.


By now I’m on a roll. The deadline for the BRCvr event is fast approaching but I wanted to learn more. Time to explore AltspaceVR Kit items. These are interactive objects that you can pick up in the virtual world. I thought it would be cool to pick up some drumsticks or an upright bass and “play” along with the music that would be piped into the world in its final form.

I made a keyboard, trumpet, drum set with sticks and an upright bass. I especially like the way the bass turned out.

Instruments – Kit Items

For Altspacers you can find the kit at https://account.altvr.com/kits/1802711014769164346

And you can get even more interaction using MREs. These are not Meals Ready to Eat as my military experience would suggest. These are Mixed Reality Extensions – bits of code that allow for more sophisticated interactions – like wearing hats – or glasses.

I figured this is a Jazz Cafe so the avatars had to look cool. So I modeled some glasses and built the sunglasses MRE – Aussieguy92 has a great MRE tutorial that helped through my first experience.

For Altspacers that would like to try the MRE out use wss://mres.altvr.com/helmets?content_pack=1803951617221853864 for your MRE URL.


The final task was lighting.

Early in my VR experience I had the good fortune to drop into a VR event series on world building hosted by Educators in VR. It was this course that really got be jazzed (see what I did there?) to get into VR world building. And this particular project brought me further along than I had ever come before.

I’m pretty proud of the final result. I was able to accomplish way more than I originally set out to do – i.e. just modeling – when joining this burning man community. I’m so glad I did it!

You can view my development Jazz Cafe world in AltspaceVR (world code JHU189)

The Finished Jazz Cafe