This is my first year delving into the VR scene, and goodness, I am thrilled about all of the cool projects that I’ve been finding. Most notably is the Venice VR Expanded Festival of 2020 as put on the famous La Biennale di Venezia Film Festival. This VR Expanded Festival is huge! It really just inspires me for the future of the virtual reality scene. There are so many well told stories on display with such a wide diversity of flavors and genres and creators.
The best way to experience Venice VR Expanded is the following steps:
Step 1 – Launch the festival’s specific VRChat World to take a gondola tour through the canals of Venice, as guided by some of the festival’s hosts. This section serves as an introduction to what the festival is trying to accomplish with its interactive socialized storytelling, while also detailing some of the basic information about the event.
Step 2 – Step into the Festival Hall, and explore the full lineup! There are dozens of theaters to experience in the theater hall, so why not choose some randomly to experience! Mind that some experiences run in 3dof and native to VRChat, meaning viewers will get the full experience by entering the theater; while others are only previews of wider, 6dof experiences that can be downloaded separately.
Step 3 – Download and play some of the 6dof experiences that seemed interesting from Viveport. Most of them are available as free demos in the Venice VR Expanded section of the application.
Step 4 – Tell me what you thought! I’d love to hear what your favorite VR experiences were of the Venetian festival!
I’ll start with what I found and enjoyed –
The event that drew my eye to Venice VR Expanded was a project called The MetaMovie. Imagine an improv team working in the moment to entertain a player with a Game Master to create a custom game experience, as the player makes choices that affect minor characters and their dialogues. It sounds like a logistical nightmare to pull this off, and I’m really rooting for The MetaMovie: Alien Rescue to succeed!
I also really like the look of the upcoming VR “choose your own adventure” film Baba Yaga starring Daisy Ridley. It has this really cool popup book look to it that I haven’t seen in many VR things, and the animation in the preview looked lovely.
One of the first things I tried in the VRChat section of the festival was the First Steps film, which started off leaving me kind of unsure how to feel. The writers were using sweeping artistic statements in this retelling of the story of Man’s First Steps on the Moon, and it felt a little over done? But I must say there were a lot of cool visual moments for what it was. Like, for some reason seeing the space shuttle orbit the moon in a time lapse was a really cool VR effect.
The last one I experienced was Gnomes & Goblins, which was so dang cute. We play as a human walking through a goblin village, and all the little gobbos are like, so tiny and cute and happy to see us! And we go on a boat ride and see their life by the river, and keep going and see more of their culture. It was all very nice and cute and fun.
There’s a lot more on the festival that I haven’t seen yet! I know that later today I’m excited to go experience The Great Hoax: Moon Landing, which looks particularly great.
As always, let me know your thoughts on this article or about any indie games you’re playing or working on through Twitter! I’d love to hear from ya’ll!