by Bill Boulden
Rob, that's amazingly cool. I've struggled with mental illness myself (as so many of us have), and I'm glad you are able to speak about it like that. The idea of what you are doing is just so innovative, and meaningful, in my opinion. Good luck with the school stuff, and I'll be watching with interest to see how this project progresses.
Hello everyone, It's Rob here (having to use Bill to comment thanks to the fact that I am in fact not a backer originally) and I'm the Director of the VR piece you've hopefully just read about and I'm sure I have a lot of explaining to do, so let's get straight to what we're doing:
The current plan for this version (known as the gallery version) is to allow players to put on the headset, lie down, and experience an effects-based interpretation of the music itself while incorporating the stories and a bit of our own lore into it. Currently the system is reliant upon a user at the keyboard hitting buttons to activate these effects, so think of it like someone DJing the visuals for a VR experience, allowing us to adapt and make all manner of crazy things happen, so think of it like a guy controlling a VR movie in which you listen to some great music, enjoy some colourful and interesting visuals to match up, and enjoy the soothing voice of Laura Bailey all while we mess with your visuals and perspectives to make you enjoy a fun laser light show, just ended with a slow simulation of your own asphyxiation and subsequent death from lack of oxygen.
So, while I must admit the rushed, and almost amateur state of the trailer (it's a long story about forgetting minor deadlines) myself and Alessio are taking this beyond seriously, we are university students and I am approaching my final assessments, this is my graduation piece, the culmination of years of study and, ultimately, something I beyond care for, and the version you will see early may in, what should ultimately be a more representative trailer, will be hopefully more akin to the quality that University students nearing their graduation should be expected, and if we're lucky, far surpass it. I say this now because I'm now going to get to the more serious, honest, and slightly morbid parts of this thread, so if you don't want that heavy stuff, basically we hope you like it, it's making good progress, look for far more information in may, and have a lovely day :)
Okay so for those who want to keep going, I'd like to explain some of the more serious elements and ideas this comes from, and the personal goals we have for its future:
So I'd like to start off and say that, as of right now, I am fine, I say this preceding a talk about my own wrestling with my own suicide attempts about a year ago. I have in my lifetime attempted to drown myself twice, both in 2015, a recent rollercoaster of diagnosis, meds, coming off said meds, and the realities of my own potential danger to myself led me to obsess over how close I got during one of those attempts to actually succeeding, for a second I experienced a wave of emotion and life, regret and cold dark fear, something I'll never forget. So when it came to ideas for my final graduation piece (a decision that could genuinely affect the rest of your life's work) I had a desire to tackle that feeling, and, upon seeing the album and Spruke's ideas behind it, I came to an ultimatum: I am alive right now because in an oxygen-less moment I saw something beautiful and made the choice to be alive...what if I never got the choice, and what if I knew it, in 47 minutes could I ever come to terms with the fact that with no hope I will die. This is the core of what we are creating, it is entertainment, and hopefully something beautiful, but it is heavily reflective, and beyond lonely. The astronaut in the album dies alone and afraid. That moment of "the universe is singing to me" is contrasted so magnificently by the anticlimax of her demise itself, it's not ceremonious, it's slow and excruciatingly quiet. Songs like Neutrinos let us have fun with the visuals, create something unique and put a smile on people's faces, but songs like spacesick is where get to really do something a tad unique, in the advent of VR we are learning how to stop motion sickness, what not to do so that your users can be comfortable, with moments like spacesick it was imperative to us that, no matter what, you could fully immerse yourself in the astronauts words....so yes, we've learned how to induce motion sickness rather quickly, and yes, we fully intend on using such research to the benefit of the song, because we're not here to be fun, we're not void of fun, but we're currently here to make something that will be shown in an alumni art gallery amongst other contemporary works, this version right now is not a public product, it is made for a gallery, it's interactions are currently minimum, and it's ideas are, game-wise, minimalistic, however, this is not necessarily the case forever.
Right now our focus is 100% on the Gallery/our degrees, this piece will be marked and seen be our artistic peers, it is imperative that we get this right, so until the end of May, that is what this is, it's for us and our future, a showcase of VR on a more transmedia, artistic level, the ultimate music video if you will. But we're passionate people, and our dream is to become independent creators, forge our own lives in our own company, and sadly that means one thing: money.
We love this project, and we truly believe in it, but by the time it hits the gallery it'll be something worth experiencing, but not necessarily something you'd go out and pay 15$ for on steam, but just because a gallery showed it, that doesn't make it done, and the potential for fleshing things out, whether it be through gameplay, or instead a more create and share aspect, or even a platform for VR music video experiences in general, the potential to do stuff afterwards relies on 2 things: 1) the Gallery version has to be something special, not just good, but genuinely great, so that we could do step 2 with no hesitation; 2) We'd have to collaborate and think of ideas with Bill Boulden to make something of it that is actually worth something money-wise and that he would want to help out with with no hesitation, and whether this means kickstarters or early access programs or whatever, the future of the project and the rights will be given directly to Bill, and if we have proven ourselves and if he is able to get along with us in our passions and love for it, then we can together create something great for you all to enjoy together. But as of now it's wishful thinking on our part, because we have a goal right now, and the reality we create for ourselves relies on our skill and passion to shine through our own creations.
I apologise for the overly long cluster that you've all had to read, while our ideas our cool, I know that the early footage is not something that has necessarily proved ourselves to you all, the album is nothing short of astounding, and to truly do justice to it, we have to equal that level of quality, but, if we can, let's up you'll hear a lot more from us soon. So I'll leave this here so far, right now we've work to get to :)
P.S. I know I can't read the comments you all give, but hopefully Bill will give me a general roundup of how you lot feel about this all, and if so I'll always be good to replay to you all with something more, either way, we'll see you all in a month for some wonderfully shiny new footage :)
The wait will make the product that much better. Thanks for all your hard work that you're doing. This is going to be awesome! Well, not grinding on the somewhat monotonous tracks, but the overall product; you know what I mean. The gritty ones come out sounding great... so visceral and they stick in your gut and reverberate in your skull. Woohoo!