Kept VR will be at PAX
Gearing up for our premiere at PAX Australia in Melbourne next week we wanted to share our comprehensive 'everything-you-need-to-know' guide to Kept VR, and why we feel it is the virtual reality experience to check out this year.
For those still getting up to speed, Kept is an interactive virtual reality journey where you are the story. It is a spiritual adventure that takes you between visually fascinating worlds to free a forsaken soul.
Using motion tracking and virtual reality technology, Kept was created to challenge the notion of what a game could be. Unlike our other forays into virtual reality, Kept stands alone as an exciting piece of work for its approach to interactive storytelling. It is a cross between a game and a film, giving players the chance to control how the journey unfolds by using their physical bodies to interact within the virtual world.
What is Kept VR?
Kept VR is an interactive virtual reality journey to free a forsaken soul that explores the path we take when others pass. It is an experience that was built exclusively for virtual reality using the HTC Vive. In the experience, visitors are able to explore mythical new worlds by physically manoeuvring down grand rivers, crawl through ancient caves and scale towering obelisks.
Featuring fantastical environments and reflective soundscapes Kept delivers an immersive experience of self discovery where you are the story. In this new storytelling format the line between games and films are obscured as Kept delivers an entirely unique concept that we hope will challenge what it means to create a virtual reality experience in the future.
The visuals and artistic direction of Kept were inspired by the environment composition, texture and design of Scott Willis and the painterly aesthetic of traditional art. Using these paint influenced materials we were able to create an effect that replicated digital brushstrokes. The end result was a bold and heavily stylised form of 3D art that dictated the mood and tone of the world in which you are immersed in.
Starting with why
Why is our favourite question to ask, and one that is important to understanding how Kept came about. In our early days experimenting with virtual reality, we were commissioned to produce a series of client projects ranging from live-action filming to real-time applications for brands. Kept, however, is our first attempt at creating a virtual reality experience that is independent of client or investor direction.
Funded by ourselves with help in design from promising AIE students, our goal was to create an experience that utilised our expertise in virtual reality to create a game that treated the narrative as essential rather than accompanying. In putting story front-and-centre, Kept stays true to our company ethos – Story 1st – and we hope that audiences resonate with our intention to create an experience that pioneers how virtual reality can be used.
How do you play?
The experience takes audiences through a wondrous landscape full of magic and mystery using physical based puzzles to help develop the story. To facilitate this, careful consideration was given to the game mechanics and bodily movement of the player once inside the game.
Actions were inspired by innate human interactions with the natural environment. These intuitive mechanics encourage players to enter the world without any preconceived idea of what to expect, and allow players to know what to do without having to learn new means of interaction.
Currently the game is played out across a 3×3 metre space representing both the physical space required and the area inside the game world – however this can scale to your living room. Using hand movements and visual cues the player is able to interact with the story as if they were there inside the virtual environment.
In the Kept world, players are encouraged to explore the landscape by looking through holes, brush aside leaves and even jump into deep chasms leaving a truly memorable impression on audiences.
Where + when
Kept VR will debut at PAX Australia, in the Melbourne Convention Centre, which runs from 4-6 November this year. Come and find us at booth PR07 (see the floor plan below) to try out what is sure to be one of the most compelling virtual reality experiences to date.
Work on Kept was carried out by the entire S1T2 team however special mentions goes out to Inge Berman and Stephen O’Callaghan from AIE for art design and Ben Romalis for work on music composition.