Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Sun is a Tangerine - Storytelling in VR

We're doing something a little different today. Rather than a horror game, I wanted to tell you about The Sun is a Tangerine, the first book in a trilogy of dark sci-fi thrillers from the critically-acclaimed mind of Brian Kirk. The book may not be strictly horror, but it has some aspects that are pretty close, and aims to include VR features that I'm sure you'll find interesting. 

The Sun is a Tangerine is set in a future that seems not too far off these days; a world where virtual reality has been integrated into daily life and is weaved throughout all of society. Brady Manes, a gifted man with one of the most influential VR companies and a young daughter, leaves the bright lights of Los Angeles behind for a simpler life in Old Montana. Not only does he leave behind a "society of the verge of artificial utopia" and his company, but he leaves behind his daughter as well. Now, the world needs him to go back.

Someone is blurring the lines between reality and virtual reality, "trapping people’s minds within simulated worlds, turning their bodies into human avatars controlled by someone or something on the other side." See, I told you it was dark — that's what you're all here for. 

Now, with Jake Shaw, a Native American man that taught Brady the ways of a simpler life in the Montana wilderness, he must return to LA in order to save the users of VR. He just may be the only man who can. Of course, it also means returning to a daughter who has grown up with a lot of questions and resentment, in a world that believes him to be the main suspect in the mysterious incidents taking place.

As if the story itself wasn't interesting enough, Kirk wants to bring two specific scenes to life within virtual reality. Kirk hopes those that these VR scenes will add a new level of immersion to the story, and if the feature is integrated in the right way, I can see myself agreeing. VR marks a new era for storytelling. There's no reason that shouldn't apply to the written word just as much as it does for the world of gaming (and elsewhere). 

Each novel will come with a Google Cardboard headset, enabling readers to turn their smartphone into an entry-level VR headset, and there will be an app that readers need to download in order to access these VR features (potentially priced between $0.99 - $3.99). This app would also include behind-the-scenes content and teasers for the sequel, giving more bang for your buck. Don't worry if you're not quite sold on VR yet, or have no plans to ever be sold on it, as these virtually-realised scenes will also be on paper for anyone that would still prefer to read them in the most traditional sense.

Interested in Kirk's immersive VR trilogy? He's looking to get in touch with anyone working in VR as a way of bouncing off ideas, discussing the ins-and-outs of what VR can do for his novels, and altogether, in his own words, "make history." You can get in touch with him via his contact page on his website, or by starting a conversation on Twitter

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