Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tech: 360 Degree iPad Animations

Movies are great.  They're stories where someone else has already made all the decisions.  All you need to do is sit back and watch.  But video games represent a growing segment of our entertainment dollar for a reason.  Our generation is sick of its passive role.  

Well, HEAD-Geneva is developing a hybrid genre it has termed IDNA.  Devised by Sylvain Joly, these stories use "spatial storytelling" to put you in the middle of a story.  All the scenes in the story are totally explorable in every direction thanks to your iPad's gyroscope, and the story you're in customizes itself as you watch, branching off into sub-plots depending on which characters you focus on.  It's like Star Trek's Holodeck and the eighties' Choose Your Own Adventure novel hooked up and birthed sweet little Apple babies.

An especially nice touch is that the audio is also in "3D," with different audio tracks rising and fading depending on where you're looking.  Sounds in the "background" recede relative to where your attention is.  The current prototype was hand drawn in Photoshop and arranged in After Effects before being imported into Unity 3D.  If this catches on, though, I wouldn't be surprised to see software design especially for this sort of storytelling being developed.

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