Virtual worlds that have inspired and impressed us through lockdown
Just as our physical lives have been curtailed during this unusual time, technology has opened up opportunities for us to connect in ways that many people would never have considered doing before. Many businesses, events and exhibitions have found themselves offering virtual experiences as an immediate reaction to the lockdown.
While virtual worlds are nothing new to us at POPcomms we have been interested at the diversity that has emerged since lockdown began. And it is an area that is set to expand and evolve. We anticipate that these environments will become more immersive and a blend between what you would expect to find in a physical world and the unbounded possibilities of virtual.
The POPcomms team have a compiled a list of our most notable so far, spanning many different countries and industries.
Javier Serrano, Creative Director
Launched during the COVID-19 lockdown period, The Shutdown Gallery is a virtual art space aiming to keep ideas in motion while the outside world is standing still.
Updated every week with the work of a new artist, it allows for a relatively quick and cost-effective programme rotation, giving access to a host of new and up and coming artists who would otherwise find it harder to host solo exhibitions. Designed as a point-of-view experience, this immersive experience works in different ways for mobile, which is motion based, and desktop which is navigated with a keyboard.
I love the simplicity of it and the Easter-egg-like discovery journey.
Hovercast is a customizable menu interface for virtual reality applications. Initially a research, experimental project on interactive mechanics, it is now released as a tool for developers.
Its highly customizable arc-shaped menu interface follows the 3D position/rotation of a user’s hand, the interface provides virtual reality applications with support for complex sitemap navigation controlled by simple hand movements and reliable gestures, opening the door of VR to a wider range of commercial applications.
Stuart Janicki, Head of Customer Experience
This is a great example of a simple to use immersive world created for an Australian interior design company. We love the excellent use of labels and annotations and the haptic feedback, with the light pulse, which captures attention and encourages you to explore.
This narrative-led immersive 3D environment engages the audience from the very beginning, encouraging them to follow a story to learn more about Soletanche Bachy’s engineering projects. It is a great example of how a 3D environment has been used to great effect and with real purpose. It immediately captivates the audience and allows the projects to be presented and explained with greater clarity.
Holly Worthington, Co-Founder & Director
While we’ve been unable to travel I’ve been discovering with Google Earth new places to dream about going to. It’s the ultimate immersive virtual world, and when it’s viewed on Oculus Rift its quite breath taking with all that 3D detail right in front of your eyes – giving you a real feel for the size of buildings and topography of the areas around you.
You have the freedom to go literally anywhere experiencing how vast and beautiful the world is, or you can always choose to stay close to home discovering your own local area, but I think we’ve been doing more than enough of that recently with Lockdown!
The Paris Catacombs
If you want to tap into your spooky side you can visit this eerie landmark – the Paris Catacombs, a network of subterranean tunnels lined with the human skulls and bones belonging to over six million Parisians.
The Catacombs stretch for over 200 miles and date back to the late 1700s when cemeteries in Paris were overflowing with bodies. Legend has it that if you are inside the Paris Catacombs after midnight, the walls begin to speak. Disembodied voices will try to persuade you to venture deeper and deeper into the Catacombs until you can’t find your way out!
So, on that creepy note if you would prefer to stick to viewing it from the comfort of your own home click here and you can explore five areas:
Leander Woodbridge, Marketing Manager
Hauser and Wirth
The contemporary and modern art gallery, Hauser and Worth, debuted their first virtual reality exhibition on the site of their future gallery in Menorca at the beginning of lockdown. The collaboration between the art gallery and ArtLab, their new technology and research division, gives a preview of the gallery before it is unveiled in 2021 and features the distinctive work of Louise Bourgeois.
In April American rapper Travis Scott debuted his new music to an earth-shattering 28 million Fortnite gamers over 5 online events. The record-breaking Astronomical Experience virtual tour saw 12.3 million concurrent players, including my son, participating in the experience. Crucially, unlike other events of this kind, it didn’t attempt to mimic a concert in the real world and created an event that you couldn’t see anywhere other than in a virtual world. Scott, first appeared as a huge teleporting avatar who manipulated and transformed the space around him whilst performing a live 10-minute set.
Fortnite have since launched a hangout space, featuring a concert stage and virtual TV screens for advertising collaborations. Gamers can go online to socialise with friends and access exclusive events.
We’d love to hear what virtual experiences you have seen since lockdown, follow us on Instagram and let us know.