Xiaofei Hong | GSD , Harvard
Ninaad | Berkelee | Sound designer
Gabriella | MIT , MBA
Environment Design (Blender)
VR Interaction Development (Unity C#)
10/2021 - 12/2021
"PALACE" is a 7-min room scale VR experience with a strong narrative structure punctuated by moments of interactivity. The designer want to create a personal journey about telling a story of confronting fear and expanding boundaries.
The participant is lead through different environments by several hidden clues and must solve certain puzzles . The participant will experience a metaphorical journey from trust, doubt, lost to relived. Through this journey , we hope one would gain inner power.
Chapter I - Collapse
Story begins with a crystal like landscape.
Little odette always had her little buddy (a joyful little bubble), they were always around each other, and been through wild adventures.
One day, Bubble lead her to a mirror maze, all of a sudden, she's lost.
Odette was lost in the middle of the mirror maze, and found herself in the middle of a exotic squre, surrounded by fog.
Her friend Bubble is no longer like before. Something happened, and now, she has to avoid the HUGE little bubble, trying to escape from the unexpected change.
Chapter II - LOST
Escaping from the square, she was all on her own, wandering in an endless hallway.
Now it's her own journey, and she must make a choise whether or not to go deep into the unknown or stay at the oringin.
From this point on, she made a choise to open the box and confront her past.
She had already been through a long way, yet there's still more to go...
Chapter III - FIND
She went into the wild nature,steadily following the path she chosed. Bit by bit, she's gaining her courage and power back again.
Walking towards the door, she was reaching the end, with unexpected wonders happened from time to time.
Chapter IV - LIBERATION
The end is a new start.
Her journey goes on.
PHASE I : Brainstorm
Virtual Reality is a powerful Medium which has a lot of potential. First time encoutering VR technology, I ask my self several questions
What's the strength of Virtual Reality?
What contents performs better in Virtual Reality?
If I 'm about to design an VR Experience, what it could be, and why it has to be in Virtual Reality?
Opt 1 : Sextual Reality
“Sexual Reality: Sexual Explorations and Sexual Harassment Training in VR” would serve a dual purpose of subtly educating players about sexual harrassment prevention while allowing players to explore their sexual needs.
With the #metoo movement and other contemporary reawakenings, we’ve seen that many grown adults have not been adequately educated about sexual harassment prevention and their sexual bounds. Employing this software for workplace training or college workshops would definitely help with better educating our society on sexual harassment. This software would be best expressed in VR because experiences that require tactile sensations, like sexual experiences, must be immersive for the experience to reflect deeply in the person.
Opt 2 : Travel Through Your Body
“Being a woman, I don’t know my body well enough from an anatomy perspective. I’m afraid to explore my own body until the age of 18, and I discovered the same situation is going on with my friends. “knowing your body is the first step you love yourself, and also get along with the second sex(or the same sex)
Travel through the body from the perspective of a sperm enable user to guide themselves thorugh a woman’s body from am anatomy perspective
To decrease the mystique would further prevent sexual harassment
Visualize how each contraceptive method actually work may help people become more responsible to themselves or their partners
Opt 2 : Second-sex Embodiment / A Parallel Self / Odette's Journey
Odette is a 8-yr-old girl who loves to dance and draw. Once she has become an adult, Odette realizes she was abused, and immerses herself body and soul in her career as a dancer while trying to deal with her past.
I‘m assuming "dark moments" like sexual harrasment could left life-long impact on victims, it might be hard to help victims open up and build connections because they doubt if othere's can resonate and empathize.
VR embodiment is a powerful tool for embodiment experience. And I'm assuming letting players experience the "dark moments" , would help them build empathy.
Odette is one among the many victims. Inspired by the movie, I want to explore how I can re- tell the story in VR.
PHASE II : Scope Down
"Definitively a big theme that would invite collaboration with Mel Slater. This experience would need to rely a bit more on rigorous existing research in the field then the other ideas but if done right it could have very big applications. Something I’d be really curious to see is how an experience like this could be hidden inside a game. Not as a “surprise educational content” but more on the side of, how could a game or other recreational activity could slowly teach you about dealing with sexual harassment? "
"This one actually hits home, at Maku we are about to start working on a sex education VR app that teaches consent, anatomy, pleasure and curiosity with increasingly realistic immersion techniques. I love the reclaiming of the idea that the fact VR is huge on the sex industry from a pejorative to a positive thing. Bound to cause controversy but in my mind even though someone is definitively going to download it for self-pleasure purposes, as long as they learn something on their journey, it’s a win. "
Due to technical issues, we abandoned option one. Among opt2 and opt3, we saw more potential in opt3 and choose that for further exploration. We asked the question :
How an experience like this could be hidden inside a game ?
VR Embodiment Theory
Mel Slator : Becoming a better person through VR Embodiment
Most people think of VR as being about being somewhere different, but it can also be about being someone different.
Embodying men in the body of a female victim of sexual harassment resulted in a reduced tendency to harm women
Embodying white people in black bodies reduced implicit racism
Interactive Story Telling
That Dragon : Cancer
An immersive adventure game that retells Joel Green's 4year fight against cancer through about two hours of poetic, imaginative gameplay.
When Darkness comes
When the Darkness comes is a walking simulator whose glitchy and dark tale tries to illustrate the hardships of depression and anxiety through a variety of imaginary digital landscapes.
The Key is a magical realism experience that will take you on a journey through dreams, facing challenges and difficult decisions, leading to a shocking reveal. The Key is NOT a video game. So relax, and let the story guide you. (20-minute, standing interactive theatrical VR experience)
Enter a realm of enchantment with "FIREBIRD - La Péri", and play the role of Iskender, a prince seeking the "flower of immortality". You will appear on the stage, visit the ethereal world of La Péri, and witness a magical and poetic encounter as one of the characters...
Psychological Effect of Sexual Violence
Guilt, shame, self-blame
Sadness or anger
Isolation or loneliness
Lack of control
Flashbacks and Nightmares
Irritability and outbursts of anger
Other common reactions
Alcohol Misuse and dependence
Self-injury and self harming behaviour
Transient psychotic episodes
Borderline Personality Disorder
Dissociative Identity disorder
Somatisation – Emotional distress experienced as physical pain
Confusion about sexuality
"Palace" is a first person storytelling game that narratively takes place in several dreamy settings. My previouis intention is to cure trauma left by sexual violence in VR. Gradually, I found out this topic is too big, and the charming part of a game is to generate different interpretation. So, instead, I treid to come up with scenes which would evoke multi-laer emotions, which would urther evoke deep empathy. Going through the journey, the designer tried to alter the previous bitter memoreis by giving it a powerful and peaceful ending. The designer is deeply attracted by islamic art, inspired by "All the flowers are for me", I included islamic pattern clues through the main theme, hoping to stress the issue of freedom and equity.
Compared to traditional films and games, VR enhances expeirence in multiple ways: deep imersion, spatial reality, 3660 surrounded sound, color scope etc. Based on that, I treid to explore different aspects of how VR would augmenting spatial experience.