It's been a long time since I have updated everyone about DEEP. Rest assured, I have been quietly working away whenever I have had a free moment. I have taken the next 2 weeks off of my regular work to focus on DEEP and move it on to the next stage.
First a recap, what is DEEP?
DEEP is a meditative and psychoactive VR game that is controlled by breathing. The aim of the game is threefold:
- To explore the psychoactive potential of VR and to see if we can induce altered states of consciousness.
- To teach players yogic breathing techniques to help alleviate anxiety and mild depression.
- To offer a safe and relaxing escape for players, a portable Zen garden.
I recently got a chance to show the project at the amazing Playful Arts Festival in the Netherlands. This led to a series of happy meetings and events that will shape the future of DEEP. I will elucidate on these over the coming days. For now, I want to talk about what I learnt by showing the last version of the game.
It was very scary to show DEEP at the event. The prototype is still in a very early stage, and it was being showed alongside final, polished and amazing games. But I am a big believer in showing my work and I am really glad that I did. If I had not, I would have spent the next stage of development fixing what I thought was the biggest problem, the way the game looked.
In DEEP the players buoyancy was controlled by their breathing. As such they could move up and down, but in no other axis. I think that this is a cool idea, and I will be coming back to it, but it was not the right implementation. To create the effect I am after it is necessary to establish a very strong link between the players breath and their vision. The buoyancy was just too subtle, so I am going to try doing it a little differently. The other big find was that people really liked just looking around. This meant that when something caught their eye, they got flustered when they were trying to manage their buoyancy and frustrated that they could not move closer. This was way off the feeling I was trying to create.
With these findings in hand, and this time off, I will be crafting the next version of the project. If you are interested in the progress, you can follow along here, where I will be updating my progress daily. You can also sign up to the newsletter bellow and I'll let you know when DEEP is being shown so you can try it out yourself.