Report – Presentation 2: Realtime VR Storytelling – Heading for the Holodeck
Speaker: Nick Pittom, Fire Panda
Takeaway: VR presents challenges to storytelling – but also a virtual world of opportunities to try something different and create your own rules.
Nick gave a whirlwind beginner’s guide to some of the technology used in virtual reality creation, and introduced some of the pros and cons of both Realtime VR and 360 VR platforms.
He said there are still limitations to both, including time, man hours, cost, technology restrictions and even motion sickness, but the technology keeps advancing, which is exciting.
Nick highlighted things to consider in terms of how storytelling differs in VR. On traditional platforms, the story takes place in a box or on a screen, but in VR the user is inside a whole world and so storytellers need to think how users would feel being inside the story with the characters, rather than having a traditional ‘from the outside’ perspective.
Storytellers should factor in that viewers are likely to feel a greater empathy for the virtual characters – for example, if one gets hurt while the user is standing next to it, it has a strong impact. Depth, spatial awareness and consistency throughout the world are also important.
Despite these differences, he said that, like in any platform, it is important that the story is still strong and the character is still powerful – developers shouldn’t become over-consumed with the technology and the platform.
He concluded by saying that VR is still developing compared with traditional film, so makers need to experiment: try new things, make their own rules, tear them up and start again.