(UN)REAL is a Virtual Reality documentary about the experience of having psychotic episodes. Susan Weinreich is an American artist that experienced these episodes on and off for ten years straight and wrote a book about it. (UN)REAL lets users experience our vision of her book to open discussion on psychosis.
I developed the experience using Unity and an HTC VIVE. Together with a group of six students, we developed a full sensory and interactive VR story. To immerse the user in the story, we have developed a new smell and interaction mechanic, mainly focussed on making VR feel like the real world.
- Unity and C#
- SteamVR 2.0
- Visual Studio Code
- Experience programming
- User testing
- Concept design
An important goal was to stimulate multiple senses. We achieved this by processing scent, touch and vibration in the experience. Embracing the limitations Virtual Reality has in this day and age, we developed these new mechanics.
We designed a smell mechanism that rotates between different scents, which depends on the location of the user. Because the person can’t see himself, the mechanism is applied on the VR headset – right under his nose. The user gets surprised by the perfume, paint and (real!) sweat odors, immersing him further in the documentary.
To stimulate interaction in both realities, the VR room is scaled to match the room in real life. This makes it so that every attribute in the room is present in both worlds. To stimulate this mechanic, the user gets three attributes to interact with at the beginning of the experience.
With controllers in your hand, VR could immediately feel like a video game. To counter this, the user puts on two straps with the controllers attached. With these straps, the user’s grabbing ability is not limited. It also adds hand presence in VR – further reducing motion sickness.