You might know Rey not by “EmberWolf” but by the shorthand wolf face staring back through text characters - ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ. The musician, artist, and creator got our attention with a dazzling array of original immersive environments, which he’s shared on Discord and his TikTok channel alongside PatchWorld tutorials and instruments. He can make a world feel like a stage or TV set, even with the simplest sonic and visual elements.

It’s hard to do those words justice in words, images, or even video - but you can check them out for yourself. You’ll find many of EmberWolf’s worlds published on the Hub, with more on his profile.

“As somebody who worked in TV, I see PatchWorld as a sandbox opportunity to experiment with sound and visuals in a three-dimensional environment,” EmberWolf tells us. “I’m a musician who’s a visual artist, and I came into PatchWorld expecting music - but became a world builder.

“I’m not much of a shoot-em-up person when it comes to VR – motion sickness – so I prefer creation and experimentation,” he says. And our tool he says is unlike anything else he’s found on the platform: “PatchWorld is full of happy accidents. When it comes to creating graphical art, you have all these possibilities.”

“Oh, yeah, and then there’s the blocks. The constant addition of blocks – it’s basically like the Holodeck from Star Trek. It’s been constantly improved for the past couple years,  and gains more functionality with every update.”

It’s hard to keep up with EmberWolf’s pace of invention, so in recent weeks, he took us on some tours of his favorite worlds. One is a multi-level realm full of studios.

“It’s basically MTV Cribs,” says EmberWolf, “… three levels, and slowly but surely, I’m adding studios in rooms. There’s a pool; there’s outside equipment as well. Just like a real house party.” Another world features a spaceship, with television screens that display live images (as with PatchWorld’s 360-degree video). You can add planets and motion, and as the outside world transforms, so, too, can the virtual TV images staring back. This kind of trippy reality-bending and attention to detail is packed into every corner of his work.

Once you understand how PatchWorld’s components work, EmberWolf says, you have open-ended possibilities to explore. That sets PatchWorld apart from other VR software, he says, because devices are “more malleable - a device isn’t set in stone. That makes it easy to develop that sweet spot - where you mold things to fit VR and not a two-dimensional perspective we’re used to.”

As PatchWorld has added support for new asset formats, EmberWolf has kept up, exploiting this ever-changing medium. Most recently, that has meant working with 3D GLB files (the format used by SketchLab). But warp into one of his creations, and you’ll see how adept he is at working with elements of collage, treating two-dimensional images and videos in the 3D space. That simplicity can be “very artistic and organic, in a way,” he says, even with “low-poly” creations. 2D graphics elements and layers take on new possibilities in spatial dimensions: “I started using PatchWorld as an advanced form of Photoshop - I can just throw a video in the background with that cityscape that I’m building.” 

“Just like in regular reality,” EmberWolf says, “when you have a piece of paper in front of you, you can wiggle it, you can look at it from the top and bottom, you can see through it. The same thing works when you’re in VR.” And that TV background comes into play, too. “You start considering the things that you use in television - foley design, how sound moves around you.”

Take notes because as VR accelerates, you can say you saw EmberWolf try out ideas first. He isn’t one to brag, but you can hear he’s aware he’s at the bleeding edge. “I love building stuff, first and foremost,” he says. “I started connecting the dots and saying - okay, this will be a first in VR, this will be a first in VR…”

Don’t miss those creations; these are brave, new worlds. And for his part, EmberWolf says he hopes he can evangelize the idea of these tools for not only music, but a new paradigm of visual creation. “People who don’t understand music can still use PatchWorld as creative software,” he says, “ - something like Photoshop or a video tool.” So first, you see the world - but then, you see the possibility of imagining creation in space and not just on a flat screen.

Welcome to my crib, indeed.

An example of some of EmberWolf’s tutorial content:

And here’s Emberwolf in his PatchWorld habitat: