How I became an action hero @ VRLA Spring Expo 2015

Two weeks ago, a few of us Woofberters went to LA for a number of reasons. We met with folks at the Getty Museum and LACMA and I attended the VRLA Spring Expo.


After the long New York winter, attending a VR expo in a darkened hotel ballroom in sunny LA on a Sunday afternoon was not something I thought I could look forward to. But, after reviewing the program with my 13 year old son, I realized that I was about to experience something really exciting. We’ve been working away at Woofbert building amazing arts content and I knew that it would be really helpful and inspiring to see what other developers are working on and how they are achieving it.


Here are some of the highlights from my perspective:


Kite & Lightening developed the Insurgent experience. By coincidence, I had seen the Insurgent movie the Friday night before, so I knew the storyline and understood that I was going to experience a series of SIM tests to determine which faction I would belong to. I went into the demo in DK2 sitting in a chair that vibrates with headphones. Kate Winslet (one of the stars from the film) is standing in front of me and starts talking to me. It was pretty powerful. Then I was sitting on top of a building and able to look down and all around me. I could even look down and see my lap and my feet. A flock of crows started circling me. Having all these birds flying around my head was a little unsettling, and I admit to bailing out at this point.


JauntVR’s demo reel which I viewed was spectacular. Immersed in the cinematic VR experience, it seemed as if I was on stage with Paul McCartney. In the next clip, I was rock climbing with some seriously skilled North Face climbers out west. The sensation of being there was awesome!


I was impressed by ElemenTerra  an interactive sandbox VR game. It was exciting to see a group that, similar to Woofbert, is interested in engaging younger audiences and using the technology for educational purposes.


I also stood in line at the WEVR table but was unable to secure the opportunity to demo The Big Blue on the Valve and HTC Vive. I contacted their terrific marketing director (@onwever) the next day and was able to visit with them at their very cool offices in Venice. It was great fun to be under water walking on the deck of a sunken ship as a big blue whale swam around the bow. I was able to look into his eyes and see the hair on his fin. This was pretty magical.


I walked out of VRLA into a bright, sunny LA afternoon with a much better understanding of the huge impact VR will have on our near future. The creative opportunities with this new medium are limitless and the ability to bring the world and all of its great experiences into our homes is immense.


And, by the way, according to Kate Winslet: I’m “Dauntless.”

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