On one side, there are the roars of military equipment, the screeching of tank tracks, hectic shooting, and the cold as steel eyes of the Soviet paratroopers; on the other side, there are patriotic Lithuanian songs, shouts of encouragement, and silent interlocking hands to create a protective shield of human bodies.
That’s the setting of the biggest VR project I’ve been working on since May. It will bring the user to the area of Vilnius TV tower on the night of January 13th 1991.
A team of around ten people is working on initial development and now we’re starting to see some results, so I can share them here. Since its a learning-by-doing VR blog, I will be posting the updates on our progress over the upcoming year or so.
I’ve taken real events and, by adding gamification elements, created a story for a VR documentary. Bloody Sunday VR is a 15 minute VR experience, in which a user enters the bloodshed at Vilnius TV tower on January 13th 1991 as a journalist with a camera and has to make the toughest decision of conflict journalism – to film and make evidence of Soviet army aggression or to help wounded peaceful protestors.
Bloody Sunday VR is an experience based on real events that happened on January 13th 1991 in Vilnius, Lithuania. Using the real archive audio and real setting of the event animated in 3D, the VR experience will create a documentary where the user can make their own decisions.
A foreign journalist comes to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania – which declared independence in 1990 – to cover Soviet army aggression in January 1991. On the night of January 13th he is driven by car to the premises of Vilnius TV tower where the Soviet army turned their weapons on an unarmed, peaceful crowd of people who had gathered tightly around the building of strategic importance with the intention of protecting it with their own lives.
The journalist has 15 minutes until the car leaves. He goes straight into the middle of action where on one side he sees Soviet tanks and elite Soviet paratroopers and on the other side unarmed and peaceful defenders singing national songs. The journalist has 15 minutes to walk around and to make the biggest decision of conflict journalism – whether to film and make evidence of Soviet army aggression or to help wounded peaceful protestors. The participant of the experience has to make their own choices in that very moment, i.e. to film how the tank is driving on people or help get a wounded person stuck in the tank’s caterpillars.
If the journalist manages to get back to car in 15 minutes, the unique footage he has chosen to film is uploaded online. Later, the recorded piece will be saved and shared online to show user’s behavior in the hypothetical environment – there will be a database of unique recorded experiences/reportages.
That’s the basic idea of this project. We decided to make it open-source, so everyone can follow the project on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BloodySundayVR/
Also feel free to join the team, add comments, leave feedback and generally spread the word!
* Roadmap: https://trello.com/b/fb8qnu9w
* Join the production and discuss with team members: s13vr.slack.com
* Fork on github, contribute to the code and assets: github.com/S13VR
* Google drive storage (assets, media etc): https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxRpwSYrA2QdVF9uWkxCTVRGWEk