Congratulations, you’ve just been nominated for a Viveport Developer Award. How do you feel?
We are super happy! A tremendous amount of work and care has been put in by the whole team in France and in the US to bring Firebird : La Péri to life, and it feels terrific to know that our experience is being nominated alongside other great pieces!
Where did the idea for Firebird: La Péri come from?
It all came from Paul Duka's music, which essentially became the script for the whole experience. The music stirred up images of a grandiose, magical story in the mind of Balthazar Auxietre, Innerspace's co-founder and CCO. How could we bring justice to such a beautiful piece ? How could we enable the viewer to experience the music, the story and the "on-stage" experience of this ballet piece ? Those were the key questions that drove the creative process.
Paul Dukas who composed La Péri, is also the composer of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the key piece of Disney's Fantasia. Back then Fantasia was something new, the love child of Walt Disney's creative ambition and drive for innovation. It was made from the beginning to exploit a medium, animated motion pictures, which faced skepticism as a viable entertainment platform and eventually took the entertainment world by storm. In that way it seems quite fitting to use Duka's work in VR, which is facing similar challenges while showing unprecedented potential.
How big is your team and how long did Firebird : La Péri take to develop?
Firebird : La Péri was developed by a team of 10 people over the course of 12 months. Crafting this experience was a long process, since the project was in constant R&D mode, with new ideas coming up and being implemented along the way. The team at Innerspace is growing and we are much more efficient now but taking the high road was an essential part of creating the experience and honing our skills as VR entertainment creators.
Tell us something about Firebird : La Péri that we wouldn’t know from just experiencing it on Viveport.
The book, which is so central in Firebird : La Péri, was actually a very late addition in the development process. It fits so naturally in the narration and the experience that it might seem unthinkable that it was not present until the final release. But now it's here, right at the center of the piece, and our artists and designers have done an amazing job on it - I suggest viewers actually take the time to scroll through the pages and look at the illustrations in it!
During the development process, did anything surprise you along the way you didn’t expect?
The overwhelming feeling of immersion the motion-captured ballerina brought to the piece, was a great surprise. We felt like we had something really cool that surpassed our expectations, and that it was essential to get it out of our studio and bring it to audiences worldwide.
What do you hope people take away from Firebird: La Péri overall?
First and foremost we hope that users love the experience, and that it feels fresh and new and beautiful to them. The second thing we want people to realize is that VR can truly be a platform for meaningful and compelling entertainment for everyone, not just an amazing technology.
Are you planning future updates and adding more features to Firebird: La Péri? Or what’s next for InnerspaceVR?
Firebird is VR's franchise for classical music and visually stunning entertainment pieces. We are already hard at work on the future episodes to be released in 2017 so if you love Firebird : La Péri and want to see more, stay tuned !
What's been the best reaction you’ve heard about Firebird: La Péri?
I love that people immediately personify the characters in Firebird : La Péri. Many times we've had users tell us they wish they could stay longer with La Péri, that they were falling in love with her.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other developers?
Be daring. Try things that are new, that seem scary, and test your ideas early at a small scale before expanding them. There are a lot of amazing VR pieces out there, but still innumerable new ideas that haven't been tried out yet - the tools and technology are here and more affordable than ever, so there is no reason not to try building something crazy!
Firebird: La Peri is available to download on Viveport.