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Experimenting with virtual spaces

Virtual reality pioneer and CEO of Emblematic Group Nonny de la Peña, talks about their web-based virtual reality platform Reach.
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Most recently we created a platform in a tool set that’s just button-based in the browser called Reach.love that, really, it’s a way to offer anybody an opportunity to start making full volumetric spatial content without having to learn the game engine coding that would normally be required. It’s been hard to get headsets. They’ve been expensive. They’ve been bulky, difficult to use. And on top of that, the cost of making content was so expensive. I think people originally gravitated a lot towards 360 video, because essentially, it’s just filmmaking. It’s just cameras in every angle. But I’d really focus on embodied storytelling. What does it mean to move through a piece? And that required coding skills, C Sharp coding.
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We really wanted to democratise that. We really wanted to make it easy for anyone to make embodied content and for them to make spatial material and be able to share it easily. So we started focusing on WebXR. Mozilla, which makes the browser Firefox, has really been a leader in this. They started out working with something called A-Frame. They became a partner of ours. And we started- created Reach.love with the goal that anybody could just use buttons and start assembling content from all kinds of stuff that’s already out there. There’s lots and lots of libraries, like sketchfab, that let you just download really amazing full-volume objects and use them in your storytelling.
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So Reach.love really makes it easy for anyone to begin to produce in this medium and really enjoy the ability to share very quickly across all devices. The headsets have also become cheaper and more accessible. The Oculus Quest is $400, and you don’t need a computer, and there’s no cables. You can put it on your head. It’s still a little heavy. We’re going to see things become lighter. But that’s as much as a mobile phone or less. And you can start really experiencing things very quickly. I’m amazed how much content is out there already that can be played on that headset. So if anyone wants to get started, I would think about, can they get access to a headset?
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Can they start playing around? They’re welcome to come to Reach and start playing with Reach. I think these are really, really good ways to begin to understand the lay of the land. But then the really number one thing that I will go back to over and over again, before you begin to create your content, close your eyes. Imagine your body in the space. Now, this is really important, because for a lot of people, they come in, and they just start to move the camera, like they do in film, like a pan or zoom. But in VR, the body is along for the ride.
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And that can make people nauseous, because if their eyes say they’re panning and zooming, but their inner ear says they’re sitting in the chair, that disconnect, I find, is the number one thing that will make people sick. And 30% to 40% of the audience will feel nauseous. You’ll get a huge percentage, 70% who won’t, but if you want to get everybody so they can enjoy your piece, lock the virtual camera down. Remember that the body is there. Plan your storytelling as if the body is moving through the story, not the camera. And that is a really different approach to making content.

Virtual reality pioneer and CEO of Emblematic Group Nonny de la Peña, talks about their web-based virtual reality platform REACH.

Emblematic has made it possible for anyone to start building volumetric VR via a simple drag-and-drop interface. It allows users to place real people in high-res 3D environments, and then share the results via a simple web link. Nonny also explains where to get started with hardware and shares her most important advice for building an immersive experience.

A step-by-step guide to using REACH is included below in the downloads section, so you can start to experiment.

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Introduction to Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality

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