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|Session Name:||2 Immersive 4 VR: Reinventing 'Rock Band'|
|Company Name(s):||Harmonix Music Systems|
|Track / Format:||Design|
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|Overview:||Developers have spared no processing power in search of immersive "presence", that white whale of VR. However, Harmonix's experience in working on 'Rock Band VR' shows that the immersive flow state induced by action gameplay can actually inhibit "presence"; how can a player feel present in the moment if they're hyper-focused on responding to visually-oriented, millisecond-sensitive gameplay challenges originally designed for flat screens? Thus far, most VR experiences have avoided this paradox by eschewing mechanical depth, but Harmonix believes there are other options. This talk provides a framework for evaluating the trade-offs between mechanical depth and presence while discussing how we reinvented the classic 'Rock Band' franchise in order to resolve this implicit tension in VR by utilizing other sensory channels and somatic cognitive processes.|