Studio 2: Statement of Intention
There is little use of mobile AR in storytelling, however there is a rich opportunity to experiment and innovate in this space. How can narrative be used in an interactive mobile AR experience in a way that captures a mature, traditional movie-going audience and pushes boundaries of storytelling in this relatively new medium?
In terms of interactive AR narrative for mobile, Wonderscope is a sweet example for children. It’s intended as an educational literacy tool, but uses narrative as a way to navigate the experience. The way the narrative is still there even in the calibration part of the experience is interesting. The experience is aimed at a much younger audience than I am intending for my project.
Wallace and Grommit AR ‘The Big Fix Up’ is coming out in September and I think this will be the first AR experience of its kind – definitely in the space I am trying to experiment in. Looking forward to trying it out (hopefully it’s released in Australia at the same time). Again, this experience is aimed at a much younger audience than I am looking at.
Other types of AR experiences like Dr. Grordbort's Invaders (Magic Leap, WETA Games Workshop) show how blending the real world/physical space and the virtual can add to the narrative in an immersive way. There are fantastic narrative possibilities around this, especially if you add in spatial mapping and object recognition ie a couch is recognised as a couch, a table as a table and a chair as a chair – meaning characters and objects can potentially be assigned particular behaviours depending on their environment. WETA Games workshop is making their next magic leap AR game a multiplayer one and a little birdy told me that real players/people’s faces and bodies have a rich potential of taking on new physical attributes as they become characters in this experience.
FRAGMENTS (Hololens crime drama) is a good example of AR narrative and game play, but being more of a storyteller than a gamer, I feel the user interface and menus to be a bit of a distraction from the narrative, so I’m keen on exploring more gestural ways to interact.
References for the style I’m going for include The Stanely Parable (because of the overbearing narrator), Solaris (because of the plot and creepiness).
Interactive narrative VR experiencse worth mentioning are A Fisherman’s Tale (an interactive ‘chapter book’) and The Line. Both use narration as a key way to interact with the player. I also like how lighting is used in The Line to draw attention to certain elements of the ‘set’.
I intend to create a functioning prototype alpha of a mobile app which would comprise one scene of a mobile AR narrative.
This narrative starts with a ‘phone call’ between the user and the main character of the narrative, which leads to the user launching the markerless AR experience: A museum of sorts. In this museum there are various artefacts including an 80s boom box and cassette tapes which help to drive the story forward when the user interacts with them.
This will be built with Unity AR Foundation with the help of collaborator Hizi. I’ll source most of the assets, except for the narration, from the Asset Store and then spend most of my time on the UI and UX, experimenting with what interactions feel good and help you to feel like you are a part of the virtual environment, as well as the real. I’m wanting to create a slightly embodied experience, integrating gestural interactions (like gaze, stare, proximity etc) and other ways of reducing on-screen menus and buttons etc. In addition I will experiment with my favourite themes, the compression of time and space as well as the distortion of truth.
A mobile phone app for android: A functioning prototype alpha of a mobile app which would comprise one scene of a mobile AR narrative, aimed at a traditional ‘movie-going’ audience.
This mobile AR experience will hopefully help extend expressive storytelling in the medium of mobile AR and serve as a distinct format for mobile AR storytelling.