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Beyond Reality: Shaping the Future of Immersive Projects

What was your first experience in immersion?

Stefan: the most recent experiences had are being “flavored” by experiences had as a child, visiting German castles. Got into immersive content because I liked the idea of transporting yourself. Using real life as a marker for how immersive should be.

Denis: first impression of first VR was that something was missing, immediately starting building on it. You figure out what’s missing to create and further the experience. Recently, doing a lot of room scale, adding a physical dimension.

Basheer: first experience was disappointing, but then was sold on TiltBrush and Rick and Morty game.

What have you seen within user testing?

Basheer: Users passively watching vs interacting and differentiating those experiences. Being able to pick up stuff makes that memory and makes you remember the experience.

Stefan: Even being in a tiny castle feels real. Miming physical actions, brain supplements feelings of things when VR provides visuals.

Kim: The bridge of entertainment to immersion plays with your brain to create that memory.

Denis: Being able to pick things up let’s the user add more. Example, learning about the Thomas Edison pen, user picked it up to learn about it and can draw with it. Users would draw without any instructions.

What tools do you use both in planning with your team and in conveying the idea of a game?

Stefan: Saying you can’t explain VR isn’t true, but it’s much easier to understand when you do it. I use Unity to build prototypes, just download assets to stand in instead of doing Photoshop mockups.

Denis: I just discovered Storyboard VR. I put together an idea in half and hour. VR is positioning these 2D planes, and Storyboard let’s you add audio too. I think it’s gonna be a really powerful tool. It works really well for cinematic VR.

Kim: You’re pretty much doing the same thing as a movie set, you put up the set and the lighting.

Basheer: We do something similar, we put up panoramic mockups from C4D and put those on a bunch of Google cardboards.

What do you think is going to help the adoption of VR as a medium?

Basheer: I think expectations is a huge issue. We need to rethink what we expect of the output medium.

Denis: You have a diverse range of ideas, I think somewhere in there people would draw interest. This medium has more hardware than there is software. More people need to be making things and sharing their thoughts. New takes on old games.

Stefan: There’s a catch-22, people won’t invest in a headset because it’s expensive until they see content, but people won’t make content until there’s a demand. The location-based VR theaters are a good stepping stone to get people involved and believing that content is coming.

Tell me about what you see in the VR arcade landscape.

Stefan: IMAX is getting involved as well, it’s doing really well, China is a massive market. The plan is to make China the content creators like Hollywood is for film.

What do you guys think of retinal projection, and how it’ll roll out for the masses?

Denis: It’s scary for people, even the HoloLens is scary for people. People’s first thought will always be about their health, they have the same concerns about VR.

Stefan: As long as the content is impressive, or if the device provides a way to improve my daily life. VR is really about going to some other place. Mixed reality is good because you never really leave reality. It has to be good, helpful, small.

Basheer: I think the bar is high, like glasses have a crazy value but we can’t convince some people to wear glasses. I think there’s a lot we can do up until fully integrating AR like starting with audio-only. If you have earbuds you wear all day and we can know your location and tell you things to help you out.

Kim: I wonder about the situational awareness of people, it’ll bring up all these human interaction problems.

Basheer: Technology can’t solve the problem of not being able to hold a conversation.

Do you guys have any magic wish ideas?

Stefan: I can’t wait until we have social experiences, like public places in VR. When the virtual landscape starts to mimic the real world. Will there be virtual parks you can go to with friends on different continents? That’ll be the thing that makes VR more social, rather than isolating.

Denis: More tools that make it easier to sketch out what they’re thinking so they can get past the intimidation of getting into Unity, make it easy for people to make stuff.

Basheer: The unsproken trend is what happens in VR stays in VR. I’m curious how we can make VR a medium for making stuff in the real world, like building a house. Ideally, they would then have more interest in building for VR.

Have you done the eye-tracking demo?

Kim: I tried it, I was talking to a hot anime character and if I look at her eyes, she’s happy, if I look at her chest, she’s upset.

Stefan: VR is so much more like real life over TV or video games. We’re gonna make money in VR through hats, being able to personalize and decorate avatars. People portray the person they want to be, rather than who they are. And which one is the real one?

If FITC took place in a zoo, what avatar would you be?

Kim: I’d like to be a giraffe with the mouth of a croc.

Stefan: cowboy dolphin

Basheer: lobster kangaroo

The future of VR?

Kim: Training simulators for safer work environments, datavis

Stefan: Firefighters, mixed reality helmets that give blueprints of a building