Post Magazine

November 2016

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Page 47 of 51

VIRTUAL REALITY 46 POST NOVEMBER 2016 irtual reality (VR) is an amaz- ing and unique new format that allows us to whisk away viewers into worlds where anything seems possible. However, with this much freedom, we are challenged to make these worlds acces- sible and comprehensible — and fun — to newcomers of the medium. One key thing I've learned is that people form expecta- tions and conceptual models on how the real world works and are able to suc- cessfully transfer this knowledge into the virtual world — no matter how unfamiliar or outlandish that world may seem. For instance, buttons can be pressed. Levers can be pulled. Pages in a magazine can be turned. Infusing VR experiences with these relatable models lets viewers easily get acquainted with the new VR envi- ronment, and gives them the freedom to explore and experiment without a sense of being coddled. At Deluxe VR, one way we follow this approach is our use of virtual tables. Using a virtual table has many obvious and some less obvious benefits. The obvi- ous: we all interact with tables every day and we know that we can place objects on or retrieve objects from a table. Less obvious benefits are that a virtual table can function as a visual anchor and there- by focus the user's attention to what is on the table instead of what's in the environment. Another benefit is that we can adjust the table based on the us- er's body height, making the experience more ergonom- ic by making it individual instead of a 'one size fits all' approach. The preconceived notion of how a particular system works relies on a combi- nation of various compo- nents and learned behavior. Pressing a button in a virtual world should provide a multitude of feedback: visual, acoustic and haptic. Merely looking at an object should make clear which constraints are in place and how the interaction relates to the user's environment. Interaction should confirm one's suspicion. A more haptic example is the use of a rumble motor in VR controllers. The vibra- tions caused by the tiny motor inside the controller create the illusion of physical interaction when the timing and vibra- tion are devised properly. Our interaction designers are able to define curves of intensity with peaks and valleys, as well as inclines or falloffs, to give the vibration a shape. Together with the proper timing, we can create a small little 'tick' when the user hovers over an interactive element. The feeble 'tick' turns into an encouraging 'buzz' once the user decides to activate the element. Matching the different inten- sities of vibration with sound effects con- veying the same intention is crucial. The immersion would suffer if the small 'tick' makes a more meaningful sound than what the vibration feels like in one's hand. The more intense 'buzz' on the other hand needs to sound more substantial to match the haptic feedback. Since humans are great at detecting patterns and forming relationships be- tween concurrent stimuli, haptic feedback can be used to let users know that they are on the right track. If the goal of the experience is to combine two objects, we vary the intensity of the vibration de- pending on the proximity of the objects. Most users who are exposed to increasing feedback while they bring two objects close to each other are compelled to pro- ceed because amplified sensations build excitement and encouragement. The examples mentioned above show that interaction design in virtual worlds is not limited to known, real world archetypes. But introducing a new form of interaction requires consideration, refinement and continuous reinforcement until it becomes common knowledge. The whole world underwent such an experi- ment rather recently. Instead of pressing buttons, we started swiping, pinching and tapping on our smartphones and tablets. After a few years, we all have come to un- derstand this new paradigm of interaction. For the first time ever, VR offers a new way to engage that's not bound by any material limitations. Exploring these possibilities lies at the heart of under- standing the medium at Deluxe VR, and how we create meaningful experiences for our customers and partners. We are part of an industry that still needs to define a global language for a medium that is at the very beginning of its potential. So far, importing more of our everyday reality into virtual reality has helped us to keep our experiences more accessible and intuitive. It's all about making virtual reality part of our ever-expanding reality. THE REALITY IN VIRTUAL REALITY TRANSFER- ING PRE- CONCEIVED NOTIONS TO THE VIRTUAL WORLD V Deluxe VR's GE Store VR experience. BY DANIEL OBERLERCHNER DIRECTOR OF CONTENT OPERATIONS DELUXE VR LOS ANGELES WWW.BYDELUXE.COM/ CREATIVE/VIRTUAL- REALITY

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