March 09, 2015

Virtual Fiction

I've played around with Google Cardboard a bit and I've watched a few experiments and the content at JauntVR.  As far as "Virtual Reality" goes, it's fun but I wonder if the best use-cases are educational rather than story-telling. Flying above a fast-flowing river watching bears catch salmon is neat yet Discover channel/National Geographic has better close-up and slow-motion shots of the action. It's one thing to fly 20 yards away from the action and quite another to get a look at just the paws and jaws snapping up a tasty meal. Hanging out on-stage watching Paul McCartney play Live & Let Die is fun for one song; might get exhausting for a whole concert. And the JauntVR trailer for a fake WWII movie is a great premise, but I had to watch it several times - the first couple times I was always looking in the wrong direction and missed the action. Maybe I just have attention-deficit disorder, but in the VR simulation, I was looking at my environment - the trees, mountains, sky - while the Nazis were killing my platoon-mates. On the other hand, reality dictates I take stock of my position before determining situational tactics; meanwhile, well, sorry guys. There's also a "BlackMass" horror sequence which works well, especially when moving your head to watch someone running past you.

The 3-D part of the experience is great, as is the (somewhat) surround-view capability. But if the brilliant fiction over the past several hundred years relies on authors picking and choosing what to describe (or in movies what to show), perhaps giving me 360-degree views of that world will be more distraction than engaging. The contrary argument is that new story-telling forms will emerge. Great; keep at it.

N.B. more reviews/science/computer bits are tweeted from @netrc

Posted by netrc at March 9, 2015 08:39 AM