Freelands debuts at the 2016 Adelaide Fringe
This year the Adelaide Fringe has embraced virtual reality and people loved it. The Digital Playground was run the the entirety of the 2016 Adelaide Fringe Festival from the foyer of the State Library on North Terrace in Adelaide. Novus was proud to be invited to be a part of this exhibition and so pleased with the audience response to our first public VR display Freelands.
We wanted to create something brand new for this event and for the thousands of visitors most of whom have never heard of let alone tried virtual reality. After many sessions sitting around drinking coffee (read “wine”) talking about what we could do we came up with a shortlist of possible virtual reality experiences. We ended up discarding many ideas mainly on the basis that we wanted this experience to be an easy, gentle and most of all enjoyable introduction to virtual reality. Given the wide variety of users who would be trying the experience, essentially the entire range of demographics, we wanted to make sure that the experience wasn't too hard or complicated to play, that it didn't freak people out or make them feel sick and most importantly that they came away with a sense of the immersive and other worldly experience that virtual reality can provide.
We finally decided on one experience from the short list and ran with it. The experience is called Freelands and it provides an open world experience in an imaginary, and slightly mythical, world called Freelands.
The Freelands story is about a world in which all life and energy has been drained away by the misuse and mismanagement of its people. As the user of the experience you have the power to restore energy and colour to this world as you walk around and explore the space. The land is split into three zones representing three base colours that make up all colour.
Once all the hard work of the build and installation was complete it was great to sit back and watch the audience roll through. The joy on faces as people realised they could look around in 360 taking in the virtual world from all angles was fantastic. We spoke to so many people about their experience and without exception they all loved their time in our virtual world.
We have plans to expand the Freelands experience in the coming year or so and perhaps release it for public download.