Monday, February 27, 2017

An Idle Note on Virtual Reality

There is something about the current push for Virtual Reality that I think is getting missed. Formerly, the big home-user thing for Virtual Reality was the ability to take virtual tours of places that one could otherwise not literal visit or would be unlikely to do so. This should not be dismissed, but I think reassessed.

Let's say that I'm making a Star Wars film, and I'm making use of a starship as more than an external model that gets damaged or destroyed in that film's story. In other words, I'm making internal sets. How about getting more usage out of those sets by making a virtual tour and using that as a value-added element? How about making those tours interactive, specifics varying on the ship's capabilities?

We've seen some full-on games, so that's already been considered and executed; adding a tour, as a way of using that immersion to teach the player how the ship's controls (or ship's station controls, for larger ships) work. Using ongoing productions, when that is possible, to piggy-back VR productions seems like good sense to me.

For me--and this is why I got into role-playing games over 35 years ago--what I want to do most is to dive into that setting, and there is only so much that wearing a costume or handling a prop (or re-reading or re-watching the source material) can take me- I cannot tour a Star Destroyer as none exist in reality and films (for obvious reasons) only construct what faces the camera. Games follow films in many respects, and this is one of them; the only parts of a large object that get seen are those relevant to play. I want more than what the extant offerings allow.

I would like all of the major franchise managers, and those aspiring to make new ones, to consider applying Virtual Reality as part of their transmedia strategy. Allowing people to inhabit and explore the fictional environments wherein they set their stories is desirable in and of itself; making this something that can also be the frame for a game is useful, but not strictly necessary.

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