VRTogether goes interactive
Year 3 of VRTogether has started, which is the final year for the project. The first year saw our first pilot, a virtual experience surrounding the death of Elena Armova and the subsequent murder investigation. Two users were able to observe two police interrogations from behind a one way mirror. Taking on the role of savvy observant investigators, the users could discuss their view on the case with each other, while represented by Point Clouds or Time Varying Meshes.
Pilot 2 undertaken in the second year pushed the boundaries of social VR and introduced a live component. Increasing the number of simultaneous users to 4, the users were made audience members of a live news broadcast on the subject of Armova’s shocking passing, and the mystery surrounding it. Combining various indoor and outdoor environments as well as content formats, users were offered the shared live experience of being together in a dynamic environment, while in reality the geographical separation could span the continent.
Pilot 3 shakes things up with a focus on interaction. No longer are users mere observers in a socially engaging and immersive experience, but they will take on an active role driving the scenario. Based on a scenario developed by our consortium partner Entropy, up to 5 simultaneous users will form a Civilian Oversight Committee tasked with overseeing the crime scene investigation of Armova’s murder, helping out along the way. While such nosy interference is less than appreciated by the responsible sergeant, actions taken by the users, as well as responses provided to questions from the investigators will directly affect the scenario.
Artanim will bring in its considerable expertise on interactive VR experiences, responsive characters and environments to pilot 3. Building upon proven technology and previous expertise in interactive VR content production, such as demonstrated in the sold-out five months long run of “GENEVA 1850, A Revolutionary Journey” showcased this year at the Museum of Art and History of Geneva, users will be able to interact with both the environment and the clues it contains, as well as with the virtual characters present.
The pilot will provide a set of interesting technical challenges on content creation, synchronization and interaction for the consortium to address in this third year. Through virtual grasp and touch, users will be able to pick up objects, press buttons and interact in ways which directly affect the progress of the experience. The prerecorded and body scanned 3D virtual characters in turn will redirect their attention as indicated by gaze or gesture to the most appropriate user present. And they won’t hesitate to inform you to pay attention and help out where required.
Split into two groups, the Civilian Oversight Committee is tasked with finding the appropriate clues to help solve the murder. Will they figure out what happened to Elena Armova? Stay tuned and who knows, maybe you will be the one to uncover what secrets lie behind this mystery.
Text: Bart Kevelham – Artanim
Come and follow us in this VR journey with i2CAT, CWI, TNO, CERTH, Artanim, Viaccess-Orca, Entropy Studio and Motion Spell.
This project has been funded by the European Commission as part of the H2020 program, under the grant agreement 762111.