BBC / Plug-in Media

Plug-in Media has released our first VR Project: Angie’s Party. Made for the Google Cardboard and other VR viewers, this application can be installed on a mobile phone, placed inside a cardboard head mounted display and then viewed in full 360° 3D! Our very first VR project was featured on BBC Taster and was highly rated by the viewing public.

Angie’s Party is an interactive sitcom wherein the user is a fly-on-the-wall at a teenager’s house party. A character will enter or leave the room at key moments in the story and players must decide who to follow in order to advance the narrative. At the climax, all the characters resolve the story in the same room, though the perspective of the viewer might change depending on which characters they have followed and how much of the story they have uncovered! This encourages the user to play again and choose another path, and by doing so, make sense of the story they have only seen from one perspective.

Making a VR app for the first time presented some unique challenges. The format of the project is similar to a TV or live action sitcom, but all of a sudden we are able to put the player into the centre of the action. We've placed most of  the main action in front of them, but we have hidden little gags and interesting items around the room to reward those who do look around the house!

The interactive sections in the experience are controlled using the ‘long gaze’ method of interaction – the player needs to look at a character for a set period of time in order to make a selection. This method of selection is the most accessible for users of casual VR who may not be using a headset with an input button, and we added a viewing reticle at these points so users know when they’re in the process of making a selection.

We’re really proud of our first foray into the world of virtual reality. The app was downloaded thousands of times and well rated on the BBC Taster website, but it’s short time online is now over. We’re looking forward to working on more VR projects in the future and seeing where this new technology takes the world of storytelling and gameplay.


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