VR / Sweet Mode
A little more time in my VR fantasy – if you will.
This time, we are going to the little ones.
Let me remind you in two words of the moral frontier I crossed last year: virtual reality for children.
I had come to imagine a mode of Virtual Reality where the little ones would be like dragonflies or fireflies, able to fly here and there in “their” story.
There was no question of scaring them.
There was no question of putting them in danger in any way.
No way to leave them alone in the game, they need an adult to give them a hand – even if the hand is virtual.
You may remember this.
Since I first imagined “levelled” Virtual Reality for the entertainment world, I have always planned short experiences, lasting a few minutes.
For me, being at the end of the shoe of a prima ballerina who is doing her fouettés in a hoop at two meters from the ground – 6 minutes, that’s enough time.
That’s why it’s important to program short pieces to give the audience a virtual experience and a show – and to give them value for their time and money.
All this I maintain – and I am satisfied with it.
But – this is for adults.
I have to admit to my great shame that I did not anticipate enough the expectations of children – little children.
To understand an audience, you have to be with them regularly, right?
So a short time ago, I found myself with little ones. It was raining, everyone was exhausted – so here I was, offering to read a story to the kids.
One child in each arm, another on top of me, and the book more or less on my lap, off we went.
It was a story that was much too long to be read in one sitting, so I had planned on 6 pages.
6 pages, imitating the big voice of the bad guy, imitating the sweet little voice of the little princess, imitating the dog, the bear, the chicken and the fox, imitating the thunder and the rain and everything else that makes a noise in a story – I couldn’t take it anymore.
The kids, on the other hand, were passionate about it.
There was no way you could stop there, Barbara – keep going, keep going.
In my defense, the story was 42 pages long.
The children are five years old – at five years old, it is impossible to spend that much time listening to a story.
Yes, so this one, I will remember.
Of course, I read all 42 pages – they didn’t stall for a second – on the contrary. At the worst moments, they were clinging to my arms… & the parents didn’t come to my rescue. It was ? A Ma Zing, for them. So far, so good.
But I didn’t expect what happened next.
What happened next was that the next day, when the weather was nice and it was time to go outside to play, the little ones jumped on me with another book, come on, let’s read.
At that moment, I understood that my idea of 6 minutes of show for the “lovely little ones” in virtual reality, it would not work.
6 minutes, like 6 pages, when it’s exciting, is definitely too short.
So, if we want to offer this mode of virtual reality to small children, we will have to resign ourselves to offer the whole show.
The objection is – but still – financial – since lalala, everyone has understood.
A show for very young children is quite short: between 40 minutes and one hour and ten minutes. These are not the big machines planned for the older ones.
This reduces the cost. All right – & in this case, it is a question of proposing to fly in the scene, in the scenery, between the artists. No question of points of view too difficult to understand and follow.
So I choose the option: okay, let’s start the total magic. Because it will be wonderful.
So that gives a proposal for a child and an adult, or a group of children with adults that would look like this:
They’re in a pretty visually reassuring room, pretty comfortable. They’re slightly elevated, so they feel like they’re flying – but the kids who are scared will be able to get out of the system and see the show on the screen, along with the adults who are there making sure everyone is okay.
As soon as they enter virtual reality, they can recognize themselves either by their dragonfly appearance, and they fly a little fast, or by their firefly appearance and they make light. They can hold hands in real life, which makes it possible to create a little farandole in virtual reality.
it’s always better than grabbing a butter plate to throw it in a cart –
If they stop moving, they see the show according to the height they have reached.
If they fly this way or that, they change their view – they can see the bad guy coming before the others or go hide faster than the others.
So they will need to have perfect places to hide AND still see what’s going on.
This, being part of the recreated setting for virtual reality is not a real concern – just keep it in mind.
This will allow them to have fun, to stop and listen and see the story, and to get to safety if they feel that things are going wrong.
Moreover, as the adults are obliged (but absolutely obliged) to accompany them in the flight of the dragonflies, all the adults who would be a little jealous not to be entitled to the treatment of the children will be able to also come to take themselves for dragonflies or for fireflies, according to whether they want to fly a little fast or to be small lights in the decoration.
This is, I think, the conditions under which we can offer virtual reality sessions for small children.
This has as another consequence that the companies who play for children will have this work of virtual scenery to imagine, so that the little ones can play, fly and land at their ease during the show.