- Storytelling for virtual reality: methods and principles for crafting immersive narratives by John K. Bircher ( Chapter 7 — Creating Narrative Structures, 2017)
- Narrative as Virtual Reality 2: Revisiting Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media by Marie-Laure Ryan (Chapters 3 & 4, 2015)
- Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion by Oliver Grau (Chapters 8: Evolution & 9: Perspectives, 2002)
- Voices of VR Podcast #611: “Sleep No More” Creative Producer on Blurring the Lines of Reality with Punchdrunk’s Immersive Theatre
Storytelling for virtual reality
Within this piece, John Bircher highlights the main difference of designing a narrative for a virtual experience from the traditional story book. For example, there is a different type of immersion for an user experiencing VR content as opposed to reading a book.
In addition, the main part I enjoyed was one of the concepts provided by Chris such as “Technical limitations should not be considered in the earliest stages of immersive designs, as they can inhibit imagination”. I believe this should be standard for every designer out there as it is too easy to get caught up on your own technical and skill ability in producing content that you immediately eliminate some ideas and therefore could also vastly reduce the fun factor.
Although one may argue that at what point should technical limitations come into play? The other problem a developer may have is that if they try to optimize at one of the later stages, there becomes the strong possibility of the game breaking and features being either cut or changed regardless.
Another point by Steve Peters highlighted that “True VR should allow the user agency and the ability to interact with the environment”. I feel this is especially true as almost, if not all, of the VR experiences I have tried, they allowed me to interact with the majority of objects in the scenes. Either by directly picking up or pressing an object or by doing so, it affected the environment overall.
Narrative as Virtual Reality 2
Personally, I found both of these chapters to be quite confusing as it took a while to get into the main body of the issue being addressed.
For example, the first chapter, Text as World: Theories of Immersion, focuses on different theories such as textual world and transporation. The part that resonated with me the most was that in order for a world to immerse its user, it must still derive aspects from our world. Such as, it must be believable or plausible in both behaviour and appearance. This relates to my project as the environment is representative of the Arctic landscape but still has aspects of non-realism with the players’ agency of picking up the penguins and moving them around by a touch of their hand.
Secondly, within the chapter on “Varieties of Immersion: Spatial, Temporal, Emotional”, it explores these theories in depth. Spatial refers to how the space is used — how does the user move? Where is the location?, Temporal is associated with time such as a clock or objective. Likewise, Emotional refers to the reactions by users in response to content they have viewed or interacted with. A common example is with players becoming overly attached or connected to a video game character and thus become upset if they die.
This was an interesting read as it explored more indepth the concepts we’d explored in class a few weeks prior. In particular, the section on emotional immersion applies directly to my project as I aim to produce an empathic response from the user in relation to the penguins habits being destroyed by climate change.
Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion
There were two chapters selected for this week such as “Evolution” and “Perspectives”. The first chapter focuses more on content being produced that draws from nature. One example even goes as far as to involve a plant being utilised as a “natural interface”. This is great and helps to directly argue against the on going idea of technology destroying nature.
Following on, it also discusses a project named “A-Volve” which focuses on implementing genetic algorithms to recreate biomechanical mechanisms like growth, mutation and procreation. It’s particarly fascinating as it draws from the existing idea of evolution but almost modernizes it in the form of technology.
Voices of VR Podcast #611
This podcast was interesting as it was an interview of a representative from Punchdrunk Immersive Theatre. The introduction stated that in the beginning they received mixed reviews as reviewers were not sure what style of media to judge this under such as is it an art piece or theatre etc?
The part that stood out to me the most was when he described creating content specifically for students originally struggling to engage in traditional educational learning. To do so, they worked with a lot of schools and the age groups of 7–8 (this is the age bracket I am aiming for with my experience) and 14–15 year olds.