Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Guest Blog: Virtual reality isn’t just for gamers (or porn)

Virtual reality is often portrayed as a reclusive activity — you immerse yourself in an alternative world and shut out the ‘real’ one. But innovative applications of virtual reality are starting to show how effective it can be as a tool to enhance people’s lives rather than just escape from them.

Virtual reality for social good

Doctor Sonya Kim is a virtual reality entrepreneur who is exploring the possibilities of the technology for older people. She hopes that VR may help to relieve problems such as loneliness, chronic pain, and dementia.

“There are over 100 clinical research papers that are already published that show proven positive clinical outcomes using VR in managing chronic pain, anxiety and depression.” Dr Kim explains. However most virtual reality games involve complex puzzles, not to mention a wide range of physical movement. Many of Dr Kim’s clients are in wheelchairs, or are unable to move quickly around a virtual environment. So she came up with Aloha VR — it’s a simple, scenic environment which users can explore, with text prompts that are designed to make them feel welcome and comfortable, as well as offer reminders to do things such as take their medication, or get in touch with family and friends. Dr Kim’s use of virtual reality is less to do with entertainment and more to do with maintaining good mental and physical health, and she’s seeing positive results, as users respond to the prompts and use their virtual experience to help improve their real-world lives.
And it’s not just patients who are benefitting from the virtual reality experience — Embodied Labs has come up with a virtual reality programme called ‘We Are Alfred’, which allows young medical students to experience life as an elderly person with sight and hearing problems. Students play out a range of different scenarios which are ‘seen’ and ‘heard’ through Alfred’s senses — allowing them an insight into how their patients experience the world, and hopefully making it easier to work with them through treatment.

What can virtual reality do for your life?

Virtual reality technology is still in fairly early stages: if you want to experience virtual reality for yourself, decent hardware costs upwards of £1000. But as the technology comes down in price, expect to see more applications of virtual reality outside the gaming space. In the future, VR could help enhance other areas of your life — including your sex life.

When people think of VR and sex, the most obvious go-to answer is porn. And it’s true that many of the mainstream porn studios such as are busy creating plenty of virtual reality content — often films which put you right in the picture, shooting from ‘your’ point of view to try and give a realistic impression that you’re the star of the show. But there are far more potential applications.
CamSoda is a company which has combined virtual reality with teledildonics: intelligent sex toys that connect to each other over long distances. On their platform, users will be able to connect their sex toy to another person’s (with their permission, of course), don a virtual reality headset, and have virtual sex over the internet.

In practice it may look quite strange to start with: a helmet covering their head and a sex toy covering their genitals. But the connection they are having will be a real, intimate exchange between two people. If it takes off, and again if the tech comes down in price, the sight of someone having sex with their partner over a long distance might not seem so strange after all.
Along similar lines, virtual reality could also take some of the risk out of anonymous encounters. Some people have speculated that VR could be used in future to ‘augment’ crowds — meaning those who can’t attend an event could instead be there virtually. This technique could be applied to dating too — to enable people to have realistic virtual ‘dates’ before they choose to meet in person, or even to facilitate anonymous virtual sex — without the associated dangers of meeting in real life.

Can sex help to drive innovation in VR?

There is a surprising amount of crossover between technology as it’s used in caring professions and sex: in both areas advances in technology can help put people in others’ shoes, and give them experiences that they may not be able to have in the ‘real’ world. ‘We Are Alfred’ gave medical students the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of their patients, and virtual reality could allow us to explore sex through different bodies — experiencing how other people have sex, and potentially giving us a valuable insight into other genders’ experiences.
As well as technology teaching us more about our sexuality, there are plenty of instances where sex drives tech innovation too. Sadly the often-told story about porn killing the beta-max tape is a myth, but as Eric Buchman points out in Digital Trends, porn has had a huge impact on other technological changes. For example developments in e-commerce, because people needed to pay for porn safely, as well as uptake of broadband and improvements in download speed.
So what can virtual reality bring to our lives? Well, alongside simple entertainment in the form of games and movies (both X-rated and family friendly), virtual reality can also bring us closer together. Whether that’s facilitating sexual encounters over a long distance, helping us to keep in contact with loved ones, or giving us the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes. And the great news is that the cost of virtual reality is coming down rapidly, meaning we’ll see more experiments and innovative uses of this tech in the next few years.
Are you ready to make the most of it?

Stephanie Alys
Co-Founder and Chief Pleasure Officer (CPO)MysteryVibe

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Guest Blog: Hosting a VR Gamejam

Earlier this month, we hosted a 24hr Oculus Touch VR Hackathon at The Old Market Theatre in Hove, UK as part of their #TOMTech series of events that run over the course of the month-long September “Brighton Digital Festival”.

The lucky winners clutching their prizes, with judges from Unity & VR Focus

The purpose of holding the event was to allow access to unreleased technology that many indie developers interested in Virtual Reality hadn’t been able to get their hands on, as well as expanding knowledge and understanding of VR development as a whole, whilst promoting community and building relationships within the local area.

The overall winners

Attendees came from nearby or far away, with one flying over from Prague specifically for the event as Oculus Rift is not available there yet, let alone the Oculus Touch motion-tracked controllers. Over the course of a day, night and a bit of the following morning, two working minigames were created as a result and the winners judged by representatives of Unity and VR Focus.

We decided to include the two working mini-games into the vrLAB showcase (something we were also co-hosting at the theatre over the following few days) as a reward to the developers.

Runners-up with special recognition for fun factor

In a short period of time, we were able to reach out and gain support direct from Oculus through our existing relationship manager, via the provision of Oculus Rift VR headsets and Oculus Touch controllers for the teams to use. Sponsorship came in the form of last minute saviours AMD providing x5 VR-Ready PCs so that each team had a VR-capable machine to develop / test on.

Food and drink was provided by our other main sponsor Unity, who have a local office in Brighton and love to support the community. Promotion sponsorship was assisted by local organisations Wired Sussex and Brighton Digital Catapult Centre who are co-sponsors of the overall TOMTech events.

Whilst this was our first hackathon / gamejam that we had organised and it was successful overall, there were some key lessons we learned that will share with you now, ready for next time or if you want to host your own. We had reached out to a couple of seasoned gamejam and VR hackathon event organisers in the US, namely Eva Hoerth (@downtohoerth) who provided some excellent advice, which will be included below.

Lessons Learned

  1. Hold it on day/s / night/s that are easy for people to attend - due to scheduling of other events around the day we had available, our hackathon had to be held on a Thursday leading into Friday and only ran for 24hrs. Allow more time for more development, more sleep and hold it over a weekend when people are able to not have to juggle work commitments and attend.
  2. Charge a nominal fee - whilst free is always best and most attractive, charging a small fee for events organised on Eventbrite helps guarantee signed-up attendee actually appear on the day. Donate the money to a worthy related charity or towards the food / drinks if you do not want to appear to be profiteering.
  3. Make sure teams have appropriate hardware to develop on - whilst it is typical that gamejams require devs to bring their own dev hardware i.e. laptops usually, the nature of VR means that a minimum spec VR-Ready PC is needed for efficient development, prototyping and importantly, testing on. Whilst we initially planned on having one or two available for all teams to hop onto, AMD providing a PC for each team was a life-saver.
  4. Make sure there is adequate internet access, wired and wifi, so that teams are able to access asset stores, tutorials, necessary software patches and installers that they may not have setup prior to the event (NB. We provided a long list of required tools for the development environment with Unity, Oculus SDKs and links to tutorials etc in the event listing but still, prepare for the unprepared.)
  5. Run workshops prior to the main development event itself with experienced developers in the area/s related to the gamejam presenting talks and tutorials - developers of all ranges and abilities will be interested in attending and whilst you can pair novice with expert level devs, it’s best to provide a grounding in the design processes, methodologies and technical aspects of VR development so that everyone can start feeling confident and focused on the long hours ahead. We unfortunately could not arrange this in time but will do for the next one.
  6. Ensure that there is enough breakout space for teams to spread out and setup their own design and development area as they wish - we were lucky in that we had the whole main hall of a theatre to use so space wasn’t an issue for us with the number of attendees we had.
  7. Ensure that there is enough quiet space for developers to sleep and/or take a break - whilst our hackathon was only 24hrs, devs took off approx’ 5 hrs each on average away from coding to sleep with short breaks between to eat, drink, walk about and stretch their legs. With a longer event with higher number of attendees, this would have to be factored in but from experience, a sleeping bag under a desk or on a sofa is good enough for many. We were fortunate in that the theatre had a host of interconnected rooms for a variety of purposes, from the green room with long sofas and lazy boys, to dressing rooms, bar area, back stage and more. Sleeping in a dressing room made up to reflect The Guardian’s “6x9” 360ยบ film solitary confinement experience was a little un-nerving however.
  8. In relation to point 7., as organisers be prepared to have a shift team rotating presence throughout the event or as with ours being 24hrs, be prepared to sleep at the venue too - this ensures that you see what’s going on, can monitor any issues that arise, troubleshoot technically and maintain a sense of connection to the developers working away.
  9. Ensure that your event is open to all, inclusive, encourages diversity and everyone of any ability - developers want to create experiences, no matter their background or interests, in a safe, unthreatening environment. Whilst personally haven’t witnessed any issues in this country, advice from abroad was to ensure all genders are made to feel welcome and valued, especially in an industry that typically tends to be male-dominated. Have clear guidelines as to outcomes of unacceptable behaviour.
  10. Have fun! Don’t forget the purpose is to create games or interactive experiences that whilst under pressure from the clock, stress around development and organisation can and should be reduced so that everyone has a good

Uniquely mostly for the event we ran in relation to the subsequent VR showcase, remember also that things created quickly aren’t going to be the most stable or bug-free finished products, nor are they necessarily going to be designed for repeated use by the general public at that state of development.

Whilst putting the resulting two finished mini-games into the vrLAB showcase was received very well by all who tried them, bugs and real-world usage resulted in more time than expected having to be spent running the installations and even a couple of Oculus Rifts getting broken. But they had fun, we had fun and we would totally do it all again (in fact we will be in December, watch this

By Sam Watts

Sam Watts has been involved in interactive, immersive content production for over 15 years, from learning development and simulation to AAA and casual games. Currently employed as Operations Lead for Make REAL and Game Producer for Tammeka, he keeps busy by evangelising the possibilities and real world benefits of immersive technologies like VR and AR to anyone who will listen. Tammeka’s first VR game ‘Radial-G : Racing Revolved’ launched alongside Oculus Rift in March and HTC Vive in April 2016. Make REAL are currently powering the McDonald’s “Follow Our Foodsteps” VR farming experiences at numerous agricultural and countryside shows around the

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Why is marketing still a blind spot for indies?

What early lessons can VR devs take from the indie scene, where the marketplace is already mature and getting crowded? We asked indie game marketer Hannah Flynn to write a follow-up to her Develop 2016 talk about this indie blind spot.

I work within a medium-sized team, covering all aspects of comms with my marketing manager. Our meta-job is to ask questions, raise flags, and encourage the right amount of thought about how the rest of the world will perceive our games. Sometimes that results in changes to the games! But marketing monsters with ridiculous demands are a thing of myth (or possibly just of AAA, I can’t be sure - I haven’t worked in AAA).

The videos of sessions from Develop 2016 have just been released to ticket-holders, meaning you can go back and pick up sessions you missed.

I spent probably three or four days working on my session, You Need to Hire a Marketer, to which about 10 people came, most of whom I knew by name.

Other than making a clear attempt to tug your heartstrings and get you to watch my video, I want to ask: why didn’t people come? Why do so many indie studios still treat marketing as a hindrance?

I’ve got a few hypotheses:

Marketing is evil. Or so the popular narrative goes: marketers are suits who interfere with game designers’ craft. Pushing poor decisions based on what will sell and blaming devs when games fail.

Marketers are expensive. Some of us are. But these days there are different ways to pay people, options for flexible working, and more graduates than ever wanting to get into games. There are ways to afford marketing support which don’t break the bank.

Marketers are scammers. As soon as you’re on Steam Greenlight you’ll probably be approached by marketing firms offering you services. Some of these make sense but others will sound like they’re promising the world, meaning they couldn’t possibly deliver it.

I can do it myself. Anything looks easier from the outside. I’m sensible enough of my abilities to know that I couldn’t make a game, and I’d invite you to consider that marketing is a career path in itself which requires its own skills. Some people are excellent self-promoters, bloggers, tweeters - this is wonderful. Hire someone who can help you with the rest of the marketing mix.

Marketing is scary if you have no experience of it, but releasing is scary without marketing. It’s far better to investigate getting marketing support early than to bury your head - your money, time, life - in a game, in the hope that people will just find out about it because it’s good. That can’t happen for all of us.

Hire a marketer. Give the responsibility to someone who likes doing it. Spend more time on your game. Be happier. Sell more games. Make another game. Survive.

If you can’t watch the video, you can view my presentation here. I hope you’ll have a read and tweet to me @h4nchan with your thoughts!

Hannah Flynn is Communications Director for Failbetter Games, makers of Fallen London and Sunless Sea. She has previously worked for Penguin Books, Tate and the NSPCC.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Guest Blog: Developing for VR - Lessons from the Leaders

In this article I’ve interviewed seven leading VR/AR developers to better understand their motivations, challenges, and hopes for the future of the platform. I’ve summarised their answers below.

The people interviewed were:
Patrick O’Luanaigh of nDreams (VR only)
James Marsden of Futurlab (traditional and VR games)
Martin de Ronde of Force Field (VR/AR)
Dave Ranyard - independent VR developer (VR only)
Jason Kingsley of Rebellion (traditional and VR games)
Sam Watts of Tammeka Games (VR only)
Mark Knowles-Lee of Fracture Games (AR only)

Q1. What motivates you to develop for VR?
New challenges - the unknown.
New experiences – possible through new interactions.
Innovation – new possibilities for creativity.
New opportunities - cutting through the noise of other games.

Q2. How do you decide which platforms to target?
Target them all. Many of the studios stated that they’re device agnostic.
Target platforms with unique differentiators. i.e. if a specific device has a differentiating feature, how can you make best use of that.
Go where the audience is. E.g nDreams only develop for devices which they think will sell over one million units.)
The game concept dictates the platform.
Make use of existing partnerships. E.g Futurelab have a fruitful relationship with Sony so it was natural for them to begin working on PlayStation VR.

Q3. What are the specific development issues you face?
People’s variation in sensitivity makes it difficult to design for. Several studios comment about always needing ‘fresh’ players who have not yet built up a tolerance to VR.
Risk. Studios commented that they weren’t sure how big the market will be for some platforms. E.g. Sony have a huge advantage in this area due to its large install base and lower cost of the VR headset.
The lack of a VR IDE. In particular judgements made on scale, lighting and legibility makes development a clunky iterative process (guess, build, test).
Difficulty in accessing hardware.
Need to prototype even the smallest feature. Some things you think will work just don’t. Don’t assume anything or rely on your past experience.

Q4. How do you design for VR?
Test everything – assume nothing.
Comfort is king so be prepared to throw things away - if a feature reduces player comfort for any reason, it has to go.
Change your thinking. Whereas in traditional game dev you want to turn everything up to 11, be more reserved for VR.
Is your experience unique to VR? Could your game only exist in VR? If not, then perhaps it’s not really a VR game, but rather a VR ‘version’ of a traditional game.

Q5. How do you evaluate the VR experience?
User test with as many people as possible due to player variation.
Aim for player comfort first, then emotion.
Is it compelling? The experience should be unlike anything else players have experience before.
Get platform owner feedback.

Q6. What are the key lessons you’ve learned so far?
Player comfort is king. A variety of issues emerged from the studios, however above all is player comfort and making sure your tech and design choices are in line with delivering it.
Experiment. Some things you think will work don’t, and some things which shouldn’t work do.
Technical aspects underlying VR are hugely important. It doesn’t matter how great your game idea is, no one will enjoy it if the tech can’t support it.
Poor design leads to motion sickness, not just frustration.

Q7. What kinds of new games / genres / interactions does VR allow?
It may be go beyond games, into experiences
A greater range of input, such as whole body interaction.
Increased presence - the potential for a greater social experience than ever before.
Design specifically for VR. Don’t ‘port’ your game from the traditional screen into VR.

Q8. Do you have any concerns?
Health and safety.
Market adoption.
Business models.
‘Bad’ VR games may put many people off. There are already some awful VR experiences out there getting high profile exposure, and these may put people off for a long time.

Q9. Will VR be a Success?
VR will be a success.  Our experts are  certain that VR will be a success, however that may take longer to happen than expected.
VR will not replace ‘traditional’ games, it’s just another way to experience them.
AR is likely to eclipse VR for non-entertainment applications.

Summary - Developing for VR Top Lessons Learned
Bear in mind that I only spoke to studios who had already invested in VR development, so this is not a representative sample of developers. So, taking the most popular responses from these developers, here’s the top lessons learned:
Player comfort is key.
Test your assumptions.
There is an opportunity here, but it is a risk.
Is your game unique and compelling for VR?
VR will not replace traditional games, it’s an alternative.
VR will be a success, but it might take some time.

Graham McAllister, Director, Player Research
Graham is the Director of Player Research, an award-winning games user research and playtesting studio based in Brighton, UK. 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Guest Blog: War Child

1995 saw the release of War Child’s famous HELP album; a revolutionary project where some of the most high profile British musicians came together to record an album for children in war torn Bosnia. 20 years on, I find myself working at War Child working on a project which aims to follow in the footsteps of that famous record – but with a twist.

War Child’s new project, HELP: The Game, mirrors the collaborative efforts of the 1995 record, which asked artists including Paul Weller, the Stone Roses and Blur to record a song in a day to be released on a live album.

This time round however we’re working with some of the most talented gaming studios in the world who will take part in a unique game jam; each studio have been allowed a total of six days, the same time it took for the original album to reach number one in the charts, to bring their creation from concept to completion.

Funds raised will be used for War Child UK's ongoing activities to support conflict-affected children and their families. The result of all of this international collaboration will be brought together as HELP: The Game, a compilation of games which will be published by Sega on Steam as a digital download this summer.

As War Child UK’s gaming manager, it’s been a real honour to lead this project for our charity. But it’s important to note that the game is the creation of the War Child Gaming Committee, made up of the great and good from all over the gaming industry, including Sports Interactive, Gamer Network, YouTube, Sheridans and Bossa amongst others.

The bundle includes games from some of the world’s most innovative and exciting games studios, including Sports Interactive, Rovio, Team17, Hardlight, Creative Assembly, Bossa, Curve, Sumo Digital, Modern Dream, Spilt Milk Studios & Torn Banner.

And it’s really great that here at War Child we’re able to expand our involvement in gaming. The process began when Sports Interactive first got involved with us, contributing 10p from every game sold for War Child since 2007. Our other gaming partnerships include 11bit Studios with their charity DLC and now an additional $1 donation per sale of The Little Ones DLC as of June and’s charity packages – which was then topped up by the studio in aid of world’s most vulnerable children.

When it launches later this year, HELP: The Game will take the collaboration between gaming and charities to a new level. For me, knowing how many more conflict-affected children will be supported as a result of the money raised for War Child, I cannot wait to see it get started.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Guest Blog: Kate Russell

I’ve been writing about gaming and technology since 1995, the year the dot-com boom started. Back then, less than 1% of the global population was connected to the web – today that figure is around 40%. There are 6.5 billion mobile connections globally – almost one for every person on the planet.
Today’s gamers live in a hyper-connected online world where community and the ability to play together, and against each other, are often at the heart of enduring success for a game. The human desire to connect, be social, be part of the creation process, to interact and not be restricted by narrative or geography, manifests today in the phenomenon of live streaming on platforms like Twitch. 

I am one of over 13k streamers who earn a living playing games for others to watch. Last year Twitch had half a million average concurrent viewers devouring 459,366 years’ worth of video, with viewers on average watching over 7 hours of content per month. Those kind of sticky numbers are metrics traditional broadcast and entertainment producers can only dream of. And they are liquid, trackable gold to the advertising industry.

More and more indie game studios are approaching influencers on these platforms to tap into their audience for up and coming games, getting their support for crowd funding campaigns by providing early release download codes to whip the audiences up into a storm that often raises hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you’re in the process of developing a game or looking for funding and support, you’d be a fool to overlook these avenues. But it’s not just shouting about your vision and hoping people will hear. ‘If you build it they will come,’ does not always work. Building a strong online community is a real art form that begins by understanding your audience and finding ways to relate to them.

You’re going to need to be friendly, interesting, honest and transparent. You’re going to have to involve your fans in conversations about the development process and as a result will likely be put under constant pressure to get it right. And you’re going to have to learn to take criticism on the chin. 

But get it right and you stand to gain a rock solid army of supporters, promoters and friends behind you, who are personally invested in seeing you succeed; emotionally as well as financially.

And that is a pretty good engine to build the success story of your future on.

I’m going to be talking more about this in my upcoming Develop keynote in Brighton on 14th July. During the session I’ll be revealing some of the tricks I’ve learned along the way - having successfully ran my own crowd funding campaign and being a partnered Twitch Streamer for almost a year. I’ll also be suggesting a few ways you can structure your own community activities to increase engagement and motivate your fans to campaign on your behalf. 

If you have a game to promote or get funding for, I hope to see you there.

Journalist, reporter and author, Kate has been writing about technology and the Internet since 1995. Appearing regularly on BBC technology programme Click she is also a partnered Twitch streamer and speaks at conferences and lectures in schools and universities inspiring the next generation of technologists. Her website, , won the 2015 UK Blog Awards for best individual digital and technology blog, and in June 2016 she was voted the Computer Weekly 13th most influential woman in UK IT. Her debut novel was published in 2014 under official licence to space trading game, Elite: Dangerous, the childhood passion that inspired her love of technology. As part of the licensing deal she got to name a planet in the latest release, Elite: Dangerous. She called it Slough.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Guest Blog: Stories Are Places We Go To

When you think about your favourite place, I bet it’s not just a location – it’s the people who are there with you, and the things you are feeling. It’s a magical place. I think the job of a storyteller, particularly a visual one, is to elicit wide-eyed, open-mouthed wonder from their audience. And great stories make us feel like we belong inside them, they transport us to different places.

When you experience a good story, you feel like you’ve gone on a journey, returning to your own life changed by the experience. The first time I saw The Breakfast Club when I was 15, I felt like I came back older, wiser and a bit taller. And I remember watching Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend one afternoon when I should have been in school and emerging blinking into the sunlight a changed person. That was a seriously messed up place to visit, especially on a Tuesday. 

I read somewhere that stories are survival training, giving you a chance to try things out in a safe environment before you might need to face them in real life. In hero’s journey structures, there’s always a phase where the protagonist acquires and tests out new skills before they master them in order to triumph in the climax.

Like dreams, stories are places we visit in our minds. The fantastical, and unsettling, nature of dreams and stories intertwine in cinema, television and games. Nightmare on Elm Street is a brilliant example of this, or the work of David Lynch, like the creepy scene in Mulholland drive where a man has brought his friend to a diner because he has dreamt about being there with him, and being scared. The source of the fear is a third man, “in the back of this place”: someone so scary that our erstwhile hero hopes never to see his face “outside of a dream”, yet before we know it, he’s headed out back to see if the man is really there, at which point Lynch switches the a point of view shot and we become the man, travelling towards the place which terrifies us.

In Back to the Future, we find ourselves aligned with the hapless Marty McFly, struggling at home with our cowardly father and alcoholic mother. However did these two deadbeats even wind up together? The mum recounts the story of how they met, but something doesn’t ring true. Marty ends up visiting the story himself by travelling back in time. In doing so, he smashes the story to bits and has to piece it back together in order to return home. Back at home in his own time, he momentarily becomes a helpless observer in his own story, watching as his friend Doc Brown is shot down.

I’m rambling on about this stuff because I think it’s particularly interesting given the surge in 360 degree video and virtual reality; advances that might herald a new era of immersive storytelling. Anyone who’s a cinephile and telephile knows what its like to want to live inside a favourite film or show. Good stories have always allowed us to do that, but using head-sets and 360 degree environments, we might take one step further.

I got really excited when I first discovered you could create interactive video that responded to what the viewer was doing: sharing control with the viewer over how the story unfolds rather than it carrying on regardless. Edits and music that change dynamically depending where the viewer is looking or what they are looking at with their mouse cursor (now finger). My first major foray into this world was a horror experience called The Burning Room, and I still love the sense we managed to instil of being present in a haunted place.

Sitting in a cinema or living room while the stories play out on screen allows you to experience love, terror and everything in between while simultaneously feeling the comfort of not really being there, of the characters being oblivious to you spying on them. Some filmmakers have played with this brilliantly, like Lynch’s POV shots, Michael Haneke acknowledging our complicity in his brutal Funny Games, or the classic fourth wall breaks in comedies. Deadpool prides itself on having a fourth wall break within a fourth wall break; “That’s like, sixteen walls!”

When you are free to look and roam around inside a story world, there’s potentially even more fun to be had with these concepts. Like immersive theatre in which the characters/actors are simultaneously aware and unaware of your presence. You can be acknowledged or ignored, the centre of the action or on the periphery. Perhaps you get left in one place while the story is happening down the corridor and its up to you to go and find the next act. Like real life, you can be anonymous in a crowd, a star in the movie of your life, or free to explore and find meaning – assuming you’re not supposed to be at school or work, or perhaps then also.

Stories are places we go to. Good virtual reality stories could be places you want to stay.

Jon Aird
Producer, writer and creator with a track record in making smash hit projects across online, social media and TV. Passionate about future trends and harnessing technology to delight audiences. Past projects include the BAFTA award winning digital Psychoville Experience and the viral hit interactive video The Burning Room.
Jon will be delivering a session at 11.15 on Thursday 14 July entitled Virtual Reality Thrills, Spills and Bellyaches