What makes a dream feel real? And how do we know a dream is our own? In Shapeshifter, Prox & Reverie are developing innovative XR technology to explore ideas of identity, the circle of time and the inevitable choices we make as we try to find out who we are.
Prox & Reverie are working together with performance capture specialists The Imaginarium Studios and Volumetric partners Dimension Studios to develop a groundbreaking new free-roam immersive experience that blends the two formats in heightened ways for the project. Along with exploring new character formats, Prox & Reverie is also developing a new tactile XR installation called “Threshold”, a freestanding doorway system that allows the audience to step through to other dimensions.
The experience begins with a single participant putting on a VR headset, and entering into the Shapeshifter room. In the room stands a doorway. As you orientate yourself in the room, you gradually become aware that there is someone else in the room with you. A knock at the door invites you to explore, and stepping over the threshold of the door takes you into a different world. You will encounter strange characters that become more aware of you as you proceed through the experience. As the story reaches its conclusion, the full truth is revealed about the shadowy character that is leading you on.
Prox & Reverie are exploring ideas of the uncanny valley in XR while psychologically tapping into the idea of a feeling that is impossible to describe, but often felt. Prox & Reverie are aiming to tell stories that can only be told in an immersive form, and Shapeshifter represents part of their work exploring how worldbuilding can be informed by XR technology.
As well as developing new models for audience experiences, Shapeshifter will also become a technical showcase to expand the commercial offerings of Prox & Reverie and Imaginarium Studios in the feature film, TV, games and XR content markets. Designed to be experienced as a location based installation at festivals or in other public spaces, the goal for the team is to eventually be able to tour the piece and offer audiences at international film festivals and cultural events the opportunity to take part in the story.
Prox & Reverie are supported on this project by academic partners at the University of Leeds, working collaboratively with expert staff and facilities within their Centre for Immersive Technologies. Significant contributions will be made by Dr He Wang (Lecturer in Computer Graphics, School of Computing) and Dr Tom Jackson (Lecturer in Digital Media, and Academic Lead for Cultural Engagement with the Centre for Immersive Technologies).