Designing Custom Maps for High Fidelity

Here are some best practices for creating your own High Fidelity maps, or background images.

Requirements

  1. Maps should be created at 2048px by 2048px (4k)
  2. Maps should be saved as JPG or PNG (24 bit)
  3. Borders are automatically blended into the default black background with corners radiused by 350px. Because of this, map art should go edge-to-edge without any frames or borders.
  4. The world scale of a background map is set by default to 43 meters across. To set a custom scale for your map, click here.

Design Considerations

  • The world scale of the map not only determines how big it feels, but also the relative size of the avatars, how quickly they move across the map, and how far audio can be heard. 
  • Design the scale of features to feel right for the size of avatars. The world scale of the avatar is just under a half meter across. 
  • Because High Fidelity is viewed top-down, and users can rotate their point of view, avoid maps with obvious perspectival bias that would look wrong when viewed from upside down or at strange angles. 
  • Avoid features that totally obscure the ground. It is generally a poor experience if a user expects to walk into a house on the map but instead walks over it and stands on the roof.
  • Create niches where groups of different sizes can congregate and hang out. 
  • Space distinct areas so that they are far enough apart that audio from adjacent areas isn’t too loud to hear those nearby. Typically, 15 meters apart is about the minimum distance, but 25 meters is better.
  • Think about where users should arrive in the map and dedicate an area for that purpose. Newly arriving users sometimes have to get their settings right and the noise from them can disrupt the experience of others nearby. You can set where guests arrive via your invite link.
  • Use distinctive landmarks in the map that users can easily recognize and refer to (e.g.: “meet me at the fountain!”)
  • Include cues to users about how you expect them to move around the map, like paths or lighting or even arrows. It is easy to get disoriented and these small affordances can help alleviate it.

Test Your Map!

Test your map repeatedly as you work on it, and adjust accordingly. It is very hard to get all of these considerations just right in one shot. It will help improve the quality of the final result dramatically if you test as you go.

  • Upload it to a server where it can be accessed via an https link (Dropbox, S3, web server)
  • Copy the link to your file
  • Go to your High Fidelity space. If you don’t already have one, you can get your own here for free: https://highfidelity.com
  • Once you get into your High Fidelity space, in your browser's address bar, add ?map=[your map url] to the end of your space's URL. An example can be found here.
  • Hit Enter. NOTE: To view changes, you may need to do a hard refresh.

Examples

Below are links to some examples of images that adhere to the the design considerations above:

Further Customization

For more advanced customization, please see the following: