Designing for Immersive

As we move towards a new era of storytelling in a world of not only immersive storytelling, but also with AI systems that  / it becomes more important to consider the role of data in building out responsive storytelling. 

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Implicit Storytelling

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Breaking that down, within this canvas of the world, there is a lot that we have to consider that conveys narrative, including a lot about the environment that conveys information. Especially if the participant has agency within the space, it’s important to realistically fill the space in with narrative. 

 

Given that we are situating participants so thoroughly in a world, I think it's helpful as much as possible to use that world to speak for itself--strengthening not only the narrative, but the integrity of the world. Worldbuilding and building out a world that is strong enough to stand on its own while the character explores is key. This is where I think its most helpful to include all information diegetically within the world, whether in regards to wayfinding, text overlays, etc. Within this type of framework, text overlays often work as diegetic AR in a futuristic world or books in a fantasy one...

In fact, there’s a very interesting interplay between story as evidenced through the environment and story as seen from the perspective of the characters.

Want to move the character within the world? Let them pick a form of transportation to get there.

Want to give them goals? Have the space reveal intention in terms of actionable contexts.

Want to communicate something? Converse with them, whether explicitly or implicitly.

As the environment conveys information and narrative, the character becomes a vehicle for discovery. Discovery becomes a core narrative and interactive mechanic underlying interaction with the world. Especially given the general lack of knowledge of VR interaction, each virtual experience 

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The Aesthetics and Affordances of Objects

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Virtual space and physical space are not the same. For one, the sensory affordances of each medium—at least for the near future—are quite different. While we have a range of perceptive senses to draw from in the real world, that number in virtual space is much smaller—we sometimes have haptic sensation, but predominantly we are working with auditory and visual stimuli.

What are some of these affordances of the embodied self? Looking beyond the sensory affordances of VR to the way that VR situates participants in simulated environments and interpersonal contexts

A virtual area that is built as a 1:1 map of physical space doesn’t maximize the elements of experience design that are uniquely available in virtual space. Actions/affordances and our ability to act are very closely related to the capabilities enabled by our body.

In virtual space, our fundamental affordances are very different. 

If all engagement is based on the scaling up of assets, ie. the desire for more to explore, rather than depths of exploration, worlds will be designed very differently. Procedural design. For example, No Man’s WOrld, which boasted a near-infinite number of planets to explore.

Depth of mechanics and systems.

Right now, there are some things that scale more than hours wrt to the flywheel of engagement. There's a difference between creating 5 assets, and then creating a mechanic based engagement. What does that require from the backend?

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Attention

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At a more fundamental level, even virtual spaces with limited space for agency hard-coded into the world, just by the fact that they are immersed within the world and can look around. In this case, they have agency of perspective to choose where they are looking. Although this type of agency doesn’t involve active feedback from the world/experience, it does enable the user to control the frame through which they are seeing the world.

As the environment conveys information and narrative, the character becomes a vehicle for discovery. Discovery becomes the core narrative and interactive mechanic.

What does agency actually look like within these spaces? Agency arises out of the affordances of a world, as well as the layers of rule-making that are applied on top of it.

Of course, depending on the rules that you as the creator/designer have hard-coded into the world, it is possible to

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