“Like the entomologist in search of colorful butterflies, my attention has chased in the gardens of the grey matter cells with delicate and elegant shapes, the mysterious butterflies of the soul, whose beating of wings may one day reveal to us the secrets of the mind.” -- Santiago Ramon Y Cajal
There’s neuroscience before Santiago Ramon Y Cajal, and neuroscience after, and they’re not the same. Long before MRIs, Cajal was interrogating consciousness, dream states and the inner universe of the brain through the lens of his microscope. He was co-awarded the Nobel prize in 1906 "in recognition of [his] work on the structure of the nervous system."
What it does
"Dreams of Cajal" is a virtual dive into mind of the forefather of neuroscience. Viewers are transported through his lab onto the microscope where he discovered, in vibrant detail, the structures that power the human brain.
How we built it
"Dreams of Cajal" was built in Maya, Tiltbrush, Unity, and Audition.
Challenges we ran into
You try making accurate representations of human neurons into playable game objects some time.
The tracing mechanic is so intuitive in concept, but it turned out to require quite a few hacks in order to make it work.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Making accurate representations of human neurons into playable game objects.
Crafting a satisfying feeling tracing mechanic.
Budgeting our time and adapting our original concept repeatedly in order to get not only a working prototype of the core interactions, but successfully putting everything together into a narrative experience.
What we learned
We learned that there's a rich vein of opportunity for immersive storytelling at the intersection between science and art. Also, it takes many talents + a heaping pile of collaboration to pull something like this off in 2.5 days.
What's next for "Dreams of Cajal"
We would love to go back and really iron out fine grained user interaction, make all custom objects and refine the environments, and we would love to just generally build more richness into the experience.