Immersive storytelling has grown new roots with technology. Spatial stories are now possible with a 360-degree experience thanks to augmented and virtual reality. Now, together with TransmediaSF, Codame, and NeuroGaming, swissnex San Francisco showcases the latest trends and experiments in this field during the Game Developers Conference (GDC).
At swissnex, test Swiss design studio apelab’s collaborative game Geek Run (from alumni of HEAD) using giant cubes and a Kinect controller. Experiment with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab through the Oculus Rift headset. Defend a physical tower from virtual attackers in a demo from Disney Research and ETH Zurich, check out the world’s only technologically induced out-of-body-experience game studio, and much much more!
Young Swiss studio apelab, alumni of the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD), uses dynamic audio and animations in their IDNA project, a six-episode “spatial storytelling” series. Each scene is designed in 360 degrees and the story never unfolds the same way twice: according to the user’s focus, the narrative seamlessly takes a different path. IDNA is one of the winners of “Best in Play” at GDC.
apelab’s game Pass the Salt, developed in conjunction with Aprobado Studio, is a collaborative game played with physical cubes and a Kinect. By moving the cubes—void of technology and electronics—in front of the motion controller, they become the interface between the player and a virtual world.
BandFuse: Rock Legends
BandFuse: Rock Legends was created by musicians for people who aspire to play music. BandFuse provides a true pick up and play experience for players of all skill levels. It teaches tablature and supports up to four players jamming together as a band. The system connects REAL guitars, bass, and a microphone to your console and unleashes a full band experience for players of all skill levels.
Disney Research, with research partners at ETH Zurich and across Europe, brings two Pervasive Gaming applications. In the Augmented Resistance demo, a physical tower must be defended against hordes of virtual attackers seen through augmented reality. Augmented Reality Tracking, another demo, incorporates a light-probe to illuminate the virtual content for better matching of the virtual and real worlds.
LaTurbo Avedon is an avatar whose identity is only connected to online expression. Avedon’s work offers a sensibility that is geometric, architectural, and uniquely digital.
Major League Wizardry
A big part of playing the virtual card game Major League Wizardry is collecting the cards. Choose your school, build your deck, and trade with friends. Defeat enemy wizards by bringing monsters, spells, and traps into the strategic game. Play against random opponents or challenge your friends. Each card has its own animated character—watch them come to life in the arena.
See and control yourself from a third person perspective as you compete or collaborate in various physical tasks, games, activities, and puzzles. OuterBody Labs moves your eyesight and sense of self into a video camera aimed at your body. The mind-hack has unique and wonderfully dissociative effects. Will you be able to put your subjectivity into perspective?
Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab
Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) demonstrates how virtual reality can be utilized with pro-social narratives to reduce human energy use, encourage altruistic behaviors, and make environmental messages more vivid. In their Environmental Narratives and Virtual Reality demo using the Oculus Rift headset, users witness ocean acidification in a virtual coral reef and reflect on the impacts of climate change.
Wotokah: Black Island
You find yourself in the dark on the beach of a mysterious tropical island. But soon you discover that you are not alone. Black Island is a dark game made by wotokah, a three-person team from Zurich, Switzerland. It is a truly beautiful and immersive experience that capitalizes on the fact that, with a VR headset, you can’t look away but you can look behind…
Photo: Myleen Hollero