Transmedia, Narrative and Ecology: An Immersive Environment Case Study

by Carlos Sanchez-Lozano (HapticMind)

When talking about immersive worlds, they are normally associated with cutting-edge technology and high budgets. Whereas the advanced technology used is a bonus, the time and cost of developing these projects is not that attractive for small organizations. This presentation focuses on an immersive experience I created for MarViva, a non-profit organization operating in Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama, with the support of USAID and BIOREDD+. The objective was to familiarize consumers with the first principle of their standard of responsible commercialization and consumption of fish in the tropical Pacific.
Two virtual spaces were developed: a game for mobile, touchscreens and web, and an immersive game that can be controlled with a Kinect sensor or a Leap Motion device. Applying principles of transmedia, narrative framework, ecological perception and agile development models, a successful project was delivered in a relatively short period of time.
The presentation aims to explain how the concept of a single story across different platforms (transmedia) guided the design of the immersive space, how a narrative framework was used to elicit from MarViva’s team the key elements of the story, the role ecological perception played in selecting the narrative’s salient cues to be applied to the virtual worlds to ensure learning, and finally how agile development models allowed delivery of a successful product in just five weeks.
The presentation topic is hopefully of interest to the meeting’s audience as it not only suggests a theoretical framework but also shows how it has been applied to a real case. In addition, it proposes that although very sophisticated immersive spaces are very valuable, their design principles can be applied to smaller problems for organizations that have limited budgets.