A brief introduction, edited by Constantinos Schinas.
Real Myths in Virtual Cities is a proposal for a Virtual Reality application with extensions to a sister Augmented Reality app.
It’s present status is under development, and subject to change.
The project is about sparking user curiosity, exploring and building a reverse relation between myths and reality, through nonlinear metaphors and symbols, while providing sneak peaks to each city and culture. It is an interactive way to share common wisdom, archetypes and at the same time explore and wander into specific locations in a foreign city, while acting agents perform the myth.
Myths, Wisdom, Envision, Reality and the Continuity of Time are the main elements in both contextual and UI aspects and are visualised through a unified virtual world, constructed of multiple spaces with differentiated behaviours.
Myth itself appears as a mysterious VR space, which is where all Myths live and are remembered. It lies in between a symbol and a real city, a free roaming field for thoughts, memories, choices and a juxtaposition of parallel Myths.
Wisdom (A), each myth’s meaning, is symbolised by a playful light path which gracefully flows betwixt city roads and alleyways. Thought is free to get lost into voices, crossroad choices and surprises hiding in the dark lanes, yet can always find its way back to the path.
Envision (B) appears as the power to see things from above, the outcome of curiosity, comprehending and processing. A myth can fit any time and any whereabout, and outlines the city, like a mental subway network.
Reality (C) comes as a fixed, pinned point of view, in complete contrast with the incoherent, fluid world of thoughts.
Continuity of Time appears as a subtle direction. Are these people or mythical animals? What do they gradually identify into? When are they? Bounds between time, myth and reality, become obscure.
For the present demonstration, the city of Amsterdam was chosen, together with three renowned Myths from Aesop, circa 560 BC. Aesop was a slave who used short stories with animals and he would always finish with a moral that comes out of each story.
He has written many myths out of which 126 are saved through the Millenia.
You can read more about Aesop here.
The fable that appears in our example (Crow and the Fox) can be found here.
Assembly of the main VR interface was done in Unreal Engine and the other parts as a 3D/2D composite preview.
After putting on goggles or run the app on a screen, user selects a city, and enters a 3DVR space, where he/she searches for locations that activate stories, when clicked.
When the story is found and selected, he/she is flown over a map, covered by the sketch of an animal, where he/she can select dots that represent each segment of the story.
Each segment dot lies on the animal’s sketch path, like on a subway map.
When the user points and shoots with the touch controllers, he/she is lowered and teleported on the actual location.
The user lands on the location and watches a short story that is relevant to the myth. When the story ends, the user can return to the drawing and visit other points that will take him/her to the next location.
After viewing the 360 video of the narration, he/she is brought back at a random point of the 3DVR space or back to the map, to visit other points and be taken to the next location.
original concept: Panos Kostouros
concept development: Constantinos Schinas, Panos Kostouros, Lydia E. Vairaktaraki
art direction: Constantinos Schinas
3D graphics, VR environments, compositing: Kiki Giangoulas
sound design: Konstantinos Bokolis