Of the 27 projects in the Tribeca Immersive program this year, 17 are made with Unity. From multiplayer musical playgrounds to powerful mixed-reality documentaries, the lineup this year was yet another reminder that ambitious design, thematic creativity, and technical innovation are still flourishing within Unity’s global community. Below are just a few of the many inspirational projects at this year’s festival.
This mixed-reality airport security experience is driven by the participant’s dialogue choices. As an immigration officer, you must ask the digital person in front of you a series of personal and often uncomfortable questions before deciding whether or not he or she is allowed through. “Defining the reality of the future is a huge responsibility,” says creator Asad Malik, “but also an unprecedented opportunity for change.” It is projects like Terminal 3, using Unity to tell stories of cultural, humanitarian and social issues, that have inspired the launch of our Unity for Humanity grant. Get a closer look into the making of Terminal 3.
Chris Milk and OK Go’s Damian Kulash have created a whimsical, curious environment where you and a friend (or stranger) can collaborate on writing a song in virtual reality, via a multitude of synthesizers, microphones, and the odd giraffe or bird. Facial animation matched to your voice makes discussing what to do next with your partner that much more delightful. And like other WITHIN darlings, such as Life of Us and Chorus, you’ve never seen anything quite like it.
This interactive virtual-reality experience also has a companion 360 film, narrated by Academy Award-nominee Lupita Nyong-O. As a keeper on an elephant sanctuary, you must feed and provide healthcare to a rescued baby elephant named Dudu. By placing Vive trackers on an actual sponge, milk bottle and more, the creators offer a tactile, highly immersive experience that will have you wiping your eyes beneath your headset. After a few short minutes, you’ll not only have a better understanding of what’s involved for these rescuers, but you’ll also feel a powerful bond with your photogrammetry-powered friend.
Where Thoughts Go
In five chapters that you move through at your own pace, this VR experience asks you deep, personal questions and invites you to listen to others’ (real) responses and even add your own. Thoughtfulness of interactive design, combined with the vulnerability of subject matter, make this project a touching and introspective journey – made all the more atmospheric through how you choose to engage with it. “Unity is getting more designer-friendly every year,” says creator Lucas Rizzotto, who began teaching himself Unity only two years ago.
Biidaaban: First Light
A feat of technical artistry that offers a surreal, futuristic look at downtown Toronto after nature has reclaimed the city, this reflective virtual-reality experience utilizes voiceover in the Mohawk, Wendat, and Ojibway to explore indigenous futurism. “Technical artists are worth their weight in gold,” says Dana Dansereau, from the National Film Board of Canada, which helped produce the project. Using photogrammetry, particle effects and other techniques, this meditative project crafts a series of paradoxical scenes open to interpretation about what beauty may lie in the notion of “the end of the world.”
Other experiences at Tribeca Immersive include the eagerly awaited Vacation Simulator by Owlchemy (creators of smash-hit Job Simulator and Rick and Morty Virtual Rick-ality), sci-fi platformer StarChild by Playful Corp (the creators of Super Lucky’s Tale); the highly original augmented-reality art-exhibit Objects in Mirror AR Closer Than They Appear by the creators behind Zikr, a Sufi Revival, BattleScar (narrated by Rosario Dawson), and Dinner Party, both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival New Frontier earlier this year.