User modifiable story worlds

When you show a movie or a traditional animation — even a computer generated animation — the work of “rendering” the image has already been done. Every audience sees exactly the same result.

But this is not true for many films made for virtual reality, particularly those made for room-scale virtuality (one in which an audience member’s position in the scene can change). For those films, the actual rendering of the scene happens only at the moment the film is viewed.

And this creates an opportunity. Rather than thinking of a story world as fixed and immutable, we can design the world of a VR story as something that can be evolved over time by audiences.

In the spirit of Star Wars Uncut, the visual and sound-track decisions in a VR film can be opened up to crowd sourcing. Ideas for backgrounds, character appearance, lighting, pictures on walls, music tracks, all of these elements can be made subject to change.

For example, audience members can propose variations, and those variations can then be voted upon by the public. Those variations that prove the most popular become incorporated into the official presentation.

There is no one correct way to do such a thing. Many variations on this theme are possible, and it is not yet clear to me which of those variations would be the most successful. Maybe that could also be crowd sourced. :-)

3 Responses to “User modifiable story worlds”

  1. Luiz Velho says:

    Dear Ken,

    I am very glad to read your considerations about this subject!

    FYI, we have done just that, earlier this year. Please, take a look at the link:

    PS: The post is, unfortunately, in Portuguese – since the presentation was for a Brazilian audience 😉



  2. admin says:

    Awesome! What has been your experience of how successfully the world was evolved by its audience?

  3. Luiz Velho says:

    In this first experience the audience proposed changes only to the way the story is presented, but not to the story itself – we plan to incorporate this in our current project.

    However, it was amazing to see people from the film industry: directors; cinematographers and actors taking a new role in our show!

    The best thing that happened was when they realized that every presentation was unique and different from all the others, thanks to their participation;)

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