The Heroic Mode

Extreme Virtuality Experiences.

All the projects that came out of the blue, like Altair, which should or could have died out, stay alive because they have a kind of beating heart, which will develop them, expand them, keep them alive until they live on their own.
Let’s call it a heart, a source, a lighthouse, a horizon – whatever you call it, it’s such a huge urge that it’s imposing itself in spite of everything. Altair’s heart is right here – in this iconoclastic desire to create heroic & legendary experiences in virtual reality from what is inside a theatre.

I have no hindsight on this – I just know that without it, I would never have taken a minute of my life to invent a new kind of theatre.

So I’m not going to take a step back and tell you – a little – what it is, the heroic mode and where it comes from.

Originally, it’s an absolute player’s delight: the moment when video games proposed levels of difficulty for their games – and then the moment when these levels had a name. Genial. To the simple game was added a literary experience – we played in heroic mode – and now it’s no longer fun, it’s addictive.

Then it’s an almost as absolute teacher’s delight: I’ve tested this move to Legendary levels on all my students. Can you imagine, to realize the Legendary mode of an exam? The weakest ones wanted “to play” at least in Confirmed mode. The most adventurous played in Legendary mode. And they succeeded. Because of the word, which carries with it all the power of imagination, of the great stories that made us dream.

So when I saw how the theatre halls were filled with gray and white hair, how difficult it was to bring youth between those walls, I began to have Altair’s sketch – how to use the power of the Legendary, the Heroic, in the field of the performing arts?

Here’s what I wanted.
If I’m going to go to the show in Heroic mode, then I have to become a hero.
You’re not a hero by standing stupidly in a line. Nor by saying: “Sorry, sir” to the creep who’s pushing you to get in front of you.
You are a hero when you fight – for others. When you take risks – when you fail and you can really lose.

So when we play Altair’s Heroic Mode, the theatre will be closed. You will be outside. No doors, no windows open. If you want to lose your ten minutes of experience running around the theatre, you’ve lost it – and so much the worse. You will have missed and really lost.
But you will have on your conscience the death of all the spectators, all the artists, all the technicians, all those who are in the room where you were supposed to go. You will see the catastrophe and then you will be able to take off your helmet.

You will have ten minutes to enter the theatre and prevent this catastrophe. Then you will be able to sit comfortably in the place you want and enjoy the show.
For a number of minutes that you will have earned – in the games you earn skill points – Altair will save you show time to watch.

If Altair can ever look materially like what Obvious Architects invented for sports halls, you’ll have a lot of fun getting in.
There, you’ll do in sports: there you’ll have to climb, sneak, slide, jump, catch up – wonder how to get in – find exits (no doubt about the realization of this by players, it’s a basis of the games now, where players are less and less guided) – don’t forget to look at the stopwatch – and then find out what’s wrong and prevent the catastrophe.

Alas, at that point you find yourself on stage – caught in the totally evil spirit of Altair’s creator – and your positioning will be random.
That’s a nod to the developers of Civilizationin the Divine mode of Civilization, if you open the World Editor, you’ll find that all the non-player characters who are your opponents start with everything – when you go off with your little knife and your two prehistoric men – they cheated, and that makes this mode almost impossible to play.

For Altair, it will give a possible and potential positioning in as many places as possible, and you will be sent here, there, left, right, up, all the way down, hola all the way up, on the actor’s forehead, on the bottom of his pants?
You amplify the idea; you’re attracted as if by a magnet, and so much the worse for you – which you’ll have already experienced a little bit in the Experienced mode. But you’ll have the opportunity to get rid of that magnetization – you’ll have to get your bearings in space fast enough and well enough that you’ll understand when it’s time to act to turn it off. And once that’s done, you should have time to save the world. Just time. No more than just time.
Saving the world in this case, of course, will depend on the show – and the funding put into Altair so that it’s not always the same thing to do. A bomb to deactivate – ramps to reattach – a fire to put out – terrorists to neutralize – the list is as long as a movie catalog.

You’ll tell me you didn’t enjoy the show at all – it’s true.
You were, in an imaginary and almost real way, a member of the theatre crew, in charge of saving it.
As a result, you have earned, like all the crew members, the right to watch the show your work.

You will have been heroic, because you will have fought against everything: bad luck, the buildings, the demonic spirit of Altair, the disaster that is coming.

The mode will be Heroic and not yet Legendary, because what will be expected of you will be difficult but doable.

It will be a matter of determining a few variables for this mode: its feasibility (as a player/spectator) – and the show time added to the basic 10 minutes. Alpha/beta versions to be expected in this area before having a consumer product. As I said, these versions allow to attract those who will be the base of the target audience. The more they participate, the more they have fun, the more they will be a solid and durable base.

Moreover, what’s fun with these modes of experience – and therefore potentially quite promising – is that, based on these general principles, we will be able to propose experiences that will be built on the canvas but always different. The access to the theatre will be moved – so the whole part of getting in will be new – the show will necessarily be different – your views will be different too and what you have to do will not be the same.

I know – I’ve crossed the line, it’s not reasonable at all and we can stick to the novice mode, that’s fine, that’s enough.
That’s enough, but for two or three years no more.
After that it’s boring. And above all it becomes a kind of gadget that doesn’t attract the expected audience: youth.

And then… since Altair’s plans – the plans of the real theatre – will be modeled in 3D…., there’s no need to tell me that it’s going to be hell to model them for my stupid ideas – it will already be done.
It’s not enough, I agree – but it’ll be a hell of a good start.

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