Future of Storytelling, Part 3

After Pearl, my mind was buzzing over the potential for storytelling in VR. Inspired, I moved to a booth where I was met by a familiar and unromantic scene: a grown man precariously maneuvering his space and tethered by cables running from a powerful computer to a VR rig on his head. It was a live demo of Google’s Tilt Brush running on the HTC Vive. I love to draw and have wanted to try the Tilt Brush ever since I saw a video featuring famed Disney animator Glen Keane using it. I eagerly waited my turn.

First of all, let me just say that not all VR headsets are the same. A Google Cardboard is different than the HTC Vive in that the Google Cardboard provides what is known as “passive virtual reality”. Think of passive VR as going on a roller coaster at an amusement park. You can look around, but you can’t get out of your seat and explore unless you want to upset the ride operator and everyone that has ever loved you.

In passive VR, which is usually powered by a smartphone, you are limited to a pre-programmed show. This keeps processing power requirements to a minimum. On the other hand, headsets like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR (Apple is rumored to be working on a VR headset, fingers crossed) provide a more immersive experience. They are driven by powerful computers. With these advanced headsets you can actually explore and interact with the virtual world you’re in. Unfortunately, these immersive VR experiences require large amounts of data, so they all have fat cables that stick out of the back of their headsets. For now.

When it was finally my turn, my host put the headset on me and made sure it fit correctly. She then handed me the controllers. In my VR world I saw two controllers floating at me. I grabbed exactly where they appeared and was almost startled when I felt the actual devices in my hands as expected. She explained how to navigate my world’s interface, choose a brush, select a color and even how to draw in fire (yes, fire). I was itching to start, so I began drawing before she finished her explanation.

When I was a child, I played out imaginary scenes in front of my face and used my fingers to position objects in space. I could play this way for hours. With the HTC Vive, I could now do that for “real”. I drew several lines which hung frozen in mid air. I walked around them and bent under them. I drew a tree and a cloud. I loved it.

What could I have created if I had an hour? Or a day? Or a thousand years? I wanted to draw an entire world. Before I had a chance to start on the blades of grass, my time was up. It was difficult to give up the headset and controllers, but I had to. I thanked my host and moved on.

+ There are no comments

Add yours