Here’s My Storymap!
One of the questions brought up on Monday was the ethics of VR, which has been on my mind all semester. I think about worlds like Wizard of Oz and Wonderland, and I don’t really see a problem with creating these worlds and surprising people with them in our VR projects. However, I wonder the ramifications of putting someone in a VR world based on a text like Handmaid’s Tale, especially if that person is a woman. What would that do to their mental and emotional state, if it were a scene at the wall or the moment where they stoned that man to death? VR is supposed to replace reality, at least for the duration of the experience, and that can be a negative experience as much as it can be a positive one. It’s like have a nightmare as your VR. But what are the ethics when someone has purposefully constructed that nightmare and wants to put people in it? How ethical is that?
During my work on the Virtual Reality project, I have really come to enjoy working in Unity. For starters, it is fun and exciting to create a virtual world. Additionally, I enjoyed the process of creating a world – which, in our group included coding a collider and animating some objects (no spoilers)! The other day, after most of the group had gone, I was finishing saving the files when I had the urge to run through the VR world by myself. I wanted to see how my perception of it would change with no one around. I found that when I entered our virtual forest area, there was a lot to explore. Even though our project is meant to end at the culmination of the transition between scenes, I found myself virtually walking through the forest, jumping around cliffs and exploring. It felt a little bit like traversing the forests and hills of Fortnite, except with no other players.
What I didn’t expect to happen was how heavily immersed I would become. With no one else in the lab, I felt comfortable continuing my exploration – all the way to the end of the map. At the end of the forest the world drops off into a limitless ruddy abyss. Earlier in our project after we accidentally deleted a few floors, we virtually fell into the abyss, and this created a very strange sensation of falling while watching the world disappear thousands of feet above. Oddly enough, when I had fallen before with my group around, I never felt scared. But suddenly as I explore on my own, I felt more afraid of the cliff. It almost felt…real. I wasn’t completely stoked about this either and I quickly pulled the headset off to experience my reality. Or is it?
Anti-Gone figures film as a prominent theme in the book. From our discussions, film can be seen as a medium for virtual reality. Since the characters in Anti-Gone are on a journey into a series of films, they should be viewed as entering the virtual throughout their journey, even though their journey is mainly in the real. Film becomes a mode for the virtual. One of the issues in the book is how the different designer drugs influence the reality of the film. Watching a film not under the influence is a different experience than watching one under the influence of designer drugs. I wonder if Spyda and Lynxa experience this difference too.
Additionally, I found the ideas of the perspectives intriguing too, especially with the little man in the hat. While he looks comical, he also has an almost nefarious side. Something about him being comical makes me feel more worried about what his character wants, and his minimalist drawing is heavily juxtaposed to the more descriptively drawn Spyda and Lynxa.