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Ascension VR: An idea for a Transcendental VR joyride

Level 4
Hey Forum,

In addition to storytelling in cinematic VR.....

I am also interested in seeing some more high abstract mind blowing awesomeness in the cinematic VR space. The kinds of experiences that Kite & Lightning are known for, such as Senza Peso.

So naturally I dreamed of my own iteration of one.

But first lets consider what these experiences are and what they represent (in my mind)

These kinds of high-abstract awesomeness type experiences are more then just joyrides. There is ambiance to them. One can almost call them transcendental VR experiences. They are not just relaxation rides. They are not trying to tell a story. There is no game, goal or challenge to them. And while they can be thrilling they are more then just thrill rides. They have great music and sound almost like the VR equivalent of a music video. But most importantly they have great visuals....

To put it simply they are high abstract mind blowing awesomeness.

I don't even know what to call them, as they are in a league of their own. Transcendental VR experience sounds like a term with a catchy ring to it.

Before I info dump. Please feel free to post links to other VR projects that attempt to go for a fully transcendental joyride vibe and pull it off with style. Has anyone one topped Senza Peso? Is anyone even trying to top it?

Level 4
Ascension VR: An idea for a Transcendental VR joyride

The experience will start in a deep dark abyss at the bottom of the sea. From there the observer will ascend towards the surface.

Once reaching the surface the observer will be a drift on fairly calms seas until a bird plucks the observer into the sky.

The bird carries the observer towards land where a thunderstorm is brewing. Think of this phase as an intermission. A joyride. As the bird gets close to the storm the gale force winds knock the observer out of the bird's talons and carries the observer aloft in an updraft.

And from here the observer falls towards land like a rain drop.

When the observer falls onto land and the storm VFX passes the ascension experience continues from ground towards space.

And escalates from there….

During the ascension from the depths of the abyss, the observer will see exotic sea life. Starting with a kaleidoscope of bio-luminescent creatures, to jellyfish, to giant squids and perhaps even see a rare giant sea serpent.

After the observer ascends above the abyss and the light from a rising sun starts to reach out towards the observer's eyes the next marvel is a giant whale that casually swims by gobbling up swarms of plankton.

Then schools of fish, coral reefs, sharks, dolphins on and on until the observer hits the surface.

Once on the surface of the ocean the observer is like drift wood calmly floating across the sea. Here the observer will start to see birds swooping down catching fish and flying off.

Eventually a bird swoops down and grabs the observer while trying to catch a fish.

The bird sequence is just a break from the ascension. A neat little joyride within a joyride. As stated above the bird flies towards a thunderstorm. The wind from the storm knocks the observer loose from the birds grasp and carries the observer high into the sky through the heart of a thunderstorm where the observer gets to marvel at lots of very awe inspiring cloud imagery and lightning.

That is until the observer falls back to earth like a rain drop.

When the observer hits land they find themselves in a vast field or meadow. And from here the ascension will continue towards space during which the observer will marvel at what I call a “maelstrom of Darwinism”.

The maelstrom of Darwinism sequence starts first with grazing animals that are massive because the observer is the size of a small rodent. But the ascension phase will make the observer feel like they are growing taller slowly but surely. Then unleashes the predators on them like it is some VR national geographic documentary and it escalates from there showing the evolution of human combat from sword to gun to weapons of mass destruction to far off into the future with giant mechs battling it out until space ships descend and destroy them escalating it out into space.

Mental note: I would like to experiment/utilize the illusion of scale through slowly increasing the altitude of the virtual camera. Perhaps just increasing altitude will suffice for the illusion? Anyways... With that in mind the grazing animals start off as massive giants, but as the observer ascends and grows taller in scale to more of a seated position then a standing position, then a drone looking down from above so forth to where the observer is the size of a giant by the time the "maelstrom of Darwinism" sequence ends. The idea is that if you use scale in this manner you could perhaps limit the pov and slowly pull back the curtain on an otherwise wide open meadow like scene/landscape.

Near the end of the “maelstrom of Darwinism” sequence one of the space ships captures the observer in a tractor beam and brings them aboard.

This begins the “celestial chaos” sequence.

It starts off with some highly advanced human carrying the observer to the bridge of said spaceship like the whole reason they came to earth was to capture the observer. From the bridge the observer watches as this advanced form of humans destroy earth. Shattering it into pieces exposing the core, gases and rocks and so forth flying around in space. But the ships are at a safe distance away.

And just as the ship is about to warp away an alarm goes off the humans start freaking out and an ominous looking space ships drop out of hyperspace and blasts the fleet of ship into pieces almost instantly. The ship litterally rips apart around the observer. And the observer is sucked out into space.

After the ominous ships blows up the fleet that destroyed earth it takes off towards the sun.

Now the observer is floating in space among the debris of ships and the remenants of earth's destruction getting closer like it is some asteroid cloud moving in.

This is the final sequence.

The observer is drifting through space marveling at the planetarium like imagery for a brief moment, until the sun goes supernova.

After the VFX of supernova wave passes through the observer shrouding the observer in a dense field of orange and red colored VFX when the field passes a black hole is revealed which pulls back the supernova wave again reversing all the effects for a second go. After that the observer is pulled towards the black hole.

The final sequence is the observer falling into a black hole

Which upon breaking the event horizon puts them in a deep dark abyss back to the beginning at the bottom of the ocean.

And the ascension continues without pause and will replay endlessly until user closes the app..

I would like to experiment with each cycle mixing up little details here and there. Even perhaps have procedural type stuff.

In the experience the observer will be a puzzle sphere object thing. A sphere that looks mysterious or alien. The sphere like object that represents the observer/audience/virtual camera will have various hieroglyphs and some energy orbiting it.

This object will represent the icon of the app and the loading graphic.

When the observer puts on the headset they will stare at the animating sphere for a brief moment until it shatters into flowing energy that swarms around the observer for a brief moment.

Then the energy explodes and radiates outward like some sonar light pulse, which cues up the bio-luminescent creatures to come out and begins the first ascension phase out of the abyss.

The advanced human aliens are actually on a mission to retrieve said orb. But there isn’t much of a story here other than that. Its more of an ambiguous visual and audio experience. More of a marvelous mind blowing joyride then a story.

Aside from the bird that grabs the observer and the advanced human aliens that capture the observer in a tractor beam the observer is an invisible astral object for most of the ascension experience. Animals, humans and energy passes right through the observer.

Level 4
And the final info dump....

Below is the original conceptualization of the "maelstrom of darwinism" sequence cannibalized from Butterfly Dream and turned into its own thing. I tried to write it with a writers voice so it may be a bit of a slosh to get through. Naturally I have made a few minor tweaks to the escalation points here and there, but feel free to give it a read it if you want to get an idea of how the “maelstrom of darwinism” sequence would unfold.

FADE IN: Maelstrom of Darwinism

And we are in a field. The great plains. Floating on a sea of green grass for as far as the eye can see. Suddenly we hear galloping sounds. Thousands of hooves slamming on the ground. We look around and see hundreds of grazing animals, some young, some old, coming at us from every direction. Cattle, sheep, deer, buffaloes, even Zebras are present and accounted for. The herds settle in and feast on a field of grass. They don’t even notice us.

We hear a lions roar. Predators descend upon the prey from every direction. Lions, tigers, bears, wolves cheetahs and even hyenas struggling to eat and survive. Chaos ensues. Every direction we look we see the dark side of the life cycle unfold around us. Our presence still goes unnoticed.

Suddenly a war cry from an Indian echoes across the field. The animals pause in bewilderment. Man appears and descends upon nature. Cave man, Indians, nomads, aborigines hundreds of small hunting packs come at us from every direction. Man vs Beast.

Next the sound of marching, and the sound of drums approaching echoes across the field leaving behind a brief moment of silence. All the tribesmen stand in bewilderment. Small armies of swordsmen from knights of the round, to Samurai appear from behind the horizon. Armies from the north, south east and west preparing for battle. A war cry sends hundreds of men rushing onto the scene and eventually they clash. The tribesmen with their crude weapons and small numbers are no match for the oncoming tsunami of steel. A shadow dances across the field. We look up but it is not clouds. Thousands of arrows rain down on the swordsmen. Those who survive continue the fight.

A loud thunderous bang washes over the clashing of steel. A man made explosion. The swordsman pause in bewilderment. We look around and see cannon balls descending upon the field, taking out swaths of men in their path.

Among the chaos we look to the east and see a British Army preparing to attack. We look to the West and see an Army of American revolutionary soldiers appearing from behind the horizon.

The battle of steel is overtaken with a rising tide of Calvary, musket rifles, crude pistols and intermittent canon fire. The swordsman are no match. Now we feel like we are in the middle of the American Revolution. Our presence still goes unnoticed.

Soon all we can see are redcoats and American soldiers fighting all around us. Then a familiar sound approaches. Its the sound of an airplane. The soldiers look up in bewilderment having never seen a man made flying machine before. Suddenly bombs fall onto the field. The sound of musket fire replaced with the sound of M16 rifles. The sound of cannon fire replaced with the sound of mortar fire and tank shells being launched onto the field. Now we feel like we are in the middle of WW1 and WW2. Soldiers from around the world fighting each other everywhere we look.

Suddenly an ominous sound, a whooshing leading up to a massive explosion much louder than anything we have heard thus far. Off in the distance a mushroom cloud rises high in the sky. The men fighting on the field stand in bewilderment. An Atomic bomb dropped near the battlefield. Their fate has been sealed there is no escape death is certain. The shock wave from the nuclear reaction wisps across the field wiping the slate clean. Tanks and men are whipped up into the air like dead leaves in a gust of wind. The wave rushes past us shrouding our view in dust.

As soon as the dust clears we bear witness to modern warfare. Drones fly overhead followed by missile strikes. Small skirmishes popping up all around us.

A small unit of marines take cover next to us. As the unit leader prepares to check in and motivate his men to push harder we hear a sound, like that of hydraulic actuators, and thunderous steps as if a metallic giant robot is approaching. The Marines stand in bewilderment as we see massive sized Mechs approaching from the east and from the west. The mech open fire with bright red and green energy weapons. Now we feel like we are in the middle of a Sci Fi battle.

The battle rages on. Massive squads of automated battle robots take the field. The massive Mechs releasing smaller mechs and staying near the horizon peppering each other with large energy blasts. Suddenly waves of smaller robots class near us. On one side we see robots fashioned after various insects and animals on the other side we see mechs fashioned after humans.

Suddenly we hear a whooshing noise above us. Small circles of shade start appearing across the field. We look up and a fleet of alien space ships are dropping out of hyperspace and appearing in the sky above us. The mechs from both sides, pause in bewilderment. Then almost simultaneously open fire at the alien ships. The highly advanced space ships have shields that absorb most of the damage Moments later the fleet of alien ship release an emp blast immediately disabling all the mechs on the field they fall over like tin cans.

Next a very large ship appears much larger than the rest. It releases a massive column of energy that vaporizes the ground, and sucks up anything into like a sinkhole. The energy blast phases out for a second. Silence. A small orb of light is dropped into the large hole. Implosion sound and suddenly the whole planet implodes in on itself then explodes.


And we are drifting through space now, large debris field around us where the planet once was. Seconds later as the debris shifts we start to see thousands of space ships of various shapes and sizes engaged in space combat.

Suddenly a massive tetrahedron appears. A space ship much larger than any other space ship. All the ships pause in bewilderment then almost simultaneously open fire. The tetrahedron absorbs all the energy. Pause for a moment. Suddenly the tetrahedron opens up revealing a singularity inside. The singularity pulls everything, including us into it.