What a buzz it was to show off the teaser of Downloaded to attendees of the 3rd annual VR/AR Global Summit at the PARQ Casino in Vancouver this week. There were over 70 exhibitors, including many of the biggest names in VR/AR and the broader tech sector.
Our biggest of thanks go out to Downloaded co-producer Daniel Japiassu and the whole team at YDreams Global for their ongoing support and for generously sharing floor space with us next to their megalithic (and very fun) Arkave installation:
After several hours of the kind of setup challenges that are unique to a VR convention (if you’ve ever tried operating an HTC Vive in a room with several others all interfering with one another, you’ll know exactly what I mean), we were all set up and good to go. We ran over 100 people through the 3 minute teaser these past two days, including members of the media, fellow industry insiders and a trickle of the general public. It was a fantastic first public outing and generated a lot of great feedback.
For the record, if you’re into statistics:
- 57% of participants successfully completed the teaser puzzle
- 12% chose the wrong outcome
- 31% ran out of time, without completing either of the possible interactions
- 0% bailed out due to nausea or boredom
The Element of Surprise
One of the deliberate differences with this VR project and something that I’ve been adamant about, is that we are very stingy when it comes to giving anything away about the experience to people who haven’t tried it yet.
I want everyone to experience a sense of wonder and novelty when they first enter the world of Downloaded and I specifically don’t want to influence their actions in the virtual world based on watching another person’s experience. As such—unlike most other VR experiences on the convention floor—bystanders and passersby do not see a first person view of what the current participant is seeing. Instead, the HD monitor connected to the VR workstation shows only a still image and some cryptic status information.
On the one hand, this has the desired effect of giving everyone the chance to discover Downloaded for themselves. But the downside is that it is somewhat less intriguing to passersby and means that people who are waiting their turn need to find another way to kill the time. I don’t intend to change my policy on this, but we will work to make the conference floor installation more enticing and we’ll also look to have some spoiler-free media playing that people can watch while they wait their turn.