VRDC | Entertainment Track


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This page reflects VRDC@GDC 2017. Please check back for updates. The Call for Submissions for VRDC@GDC 2018 is now open until September 29th, 2017 at 11:59pm PT.

Learn about virtual and augmented reality applications, design, implementation and development across multiple industries including filmmaking, travel, retail, fitness, product design, journalism, and sports.

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WestworldVR: Combining Linear and Interactive Content to Tell Character Centric Stories
Colin Foran (HBO)
Jesse Schell has been teaching the Building Virtual Worlds class at Carnegie Mellon University for over a decade. In that time, his students Over the last two years, an internal team within HBO has worked closely with showrunners to prototype storytelling experiences using compelling new technologies. The result, "WestWorld: A Delos Experience" is a room-scale VR installation that tells a coherent, character centric story using several new technologies. Combining realtime rendering, 360 video, interactive props and a physical set buildout staffed with actors, the piece represents a strong statement of intent to embrace new storytelling methods.
This conversation will cover general production, and the problem solving strategies the team used to marry traditional linear content production with rapid design iteration.
Lessons Learned from a Thousand Virtual Worlds
Jesse Schell (Schell Games LLC)
Jesse Schell has been teaching the Building Virtual Worlds class at Carnegie Mellon University for over a decade. In that time, his students have created over 1000 experimental VR worlds. In this talk, through copious examples, he will present lessons learned from watching, guiding, and experiencing these experiments. Lessons span from prototyping (importance of gold spike, find the toy first, do what your tech is good at) to neurology (eye tracking feels like mind control, the magic of mirror neurons) to showmanship (escalation blows people's minds, liveness is magical).


Pete Isensee
Oculus Research
Pete has been in the digital entertainment business since 1994. He's made video games, shipped three generations of Xbox consoles, created VR experiences at HBO, published dozens of technical articles, and provided C++ insight to game developers worldwide. Pete currently works at Oculus Research helping unlock the potential of virtual reality.
Aaron Lemke
The Wave VR
Aaron is a musician and VR developer from Austin, TX who has shipped 9 VR titles. Interested in experiential and transcendent applications of VR, he has been creating VR experiences since the Rift DK1 days back in 2012. His first VR endeavor was Unello Design, the studio responsible for many relaxing and meditative VR titles like 'Eden River', 'Waking Man', and 'Zen Zone'. Aaron is a three-time Proto Award nominee for Best Original Score. He is currently co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at The Wave VR.
Ikrima Elhassan
Kite & Lightning
Ikrima Elhassan is the co-director of Kite & Lightning, developing 'Bebylon Battle Royale', the much-anticipated VR satire party brawler premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival 2017.

Founded by film industry veterans in 2013, the studio is known for creating immersive computer-generated (CG) worlds that meld cinematic storytelling with interactive gaming. Known for its unprecedented technical and creative innovations in VR storytelling, the Los Angeles-based startup has succeeded in many genres to critical acclaim such as the Cannes Lions festival and the Toronto International Film Festival POP exhibits. Recent projects include a 4D VR experience for NBC's The Voice featuring Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, & Gwen Stefani; and Lionsgate's first VR narrative, a hybrid live action and CG experience starring Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer and Miles Teller.

Prior to Kite & Lightning, Ikrima's career spanned 14 years in the tech industry at Microsoft, Intel, NVIDIA, as well as academia as a Turing Scholar at the University of Texas researching real time advanced image synthesis.
Ethan Stearns
Legendary Entertainment
As the VP of Virtual Reality at Legendary Entertainment, Ethan Stearns is responsible for spearheading Legendary's content expansion into both virtual and mixed reality. Ethan works closely with filmmakers and industry professionals seeking education and deeper knowledge of emerging platforms, while collaborating with creatives to bring unique interactive titles into the market. Through partnerships with industry leaders such as Google, Oculus, and Microsoft, he has already assisted Legendary in producing several interactive cinematic experiences in both virtual and mixed reality. His most recent role was VR Producer on the VR installation piece, 'Carne y Arena'.