The fire hose of digital news has created a false illusion of knowledge. In truth, we are increasingly polarised about the issues that shape the world - incapable of seeing others' views. Since 2015, over 1.3 million people risked their lives by crossing the Meditteranean to reach Europe. How can VR help us understand these journeys from the perspective of their agents? How can we highlight the urgency for action?
What it does
You start standing on a boat at sea with no coastline in sight - a view rarely seen by anyone but the migrants. An audio narration explains why you are here. A carousel of photographs, each narrated to convey stages of the crossing. Several images are an entry point to video providing further context.
How we built it
We wanted this important issue to reach the maximum audience, so selected the cheapest, most widely accessible VR solution. We used Unity as a development platform to create a VR app for Android devices. Audiovisual news content was sourced from Reuters and edited. We focused on the boat crossing as it presents a dramatic choice for migrants and is a view rarely seen by others. A script was researched, composed and recorded for audio narration.
Challenges we ran into
Our developer had almost no experience of Unity so had to learn the environment on the fly. We didn't have enough capacity to realise our vision! It was also a challenge to source compelling content and edit it into a cohesive narrative.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of having created our first VR environment for a story that matters!
What we learned
We both learnt the importance of considering purpose upfront. We used paper to draw and model our VR environment. Roye learnt how to code Unity.
What's next for Times of Crisis
To add additional spaces to continue the journey from the sea to the land and on to home. We would like to add multiple users to the virtual boat, emphasising the critical issue of overcrowding to maximise profit. We would also like to enable users to take action by sharing content beyond the platform.
6th floor, desk 37
Entertainment/Storytelling (Gaming, Film Journalism, Art/Design)