VVV: Volumetric Video in Videogames

VVV: Volumetric Video in Videogames is a practice based research inquiry that uses full motion video (FMV) videogame design patterns to scaffold the design of new games using volumetric (spatial 3D) video. It aims to advance critical discourse and design knowledge surrounding volumetric video and other emerging forms of hybrid captured media, within videogames and related immersive experiences. VVV is a multi-institution collaboration between experimental game designer Dr. Cindy Poremba (OCAD University), game historian Dr. Carl Therrien (Université de Montréal), and Prof. Nicolas Hesler (Sheridan College); in partnership with Simile, the engineers of the volumetric video platform DepthKit. VVV leverages an extensive historical archive of cinematic videogames housed at Université de Montréal, the advanced game development skills of Sheridan's students and faculty, and Dr. Poremba's research-creation work exploring captured media in game worlds (Poremba 2011), as well as her prior exploration into volumetric capture (Eyebeam 2013, Anderson Ranch 2016). It will result in opportunities for student training at both the undergraduate and graduate level, presentations to both academic and public audiences, the publication of two journal papers, the delivery of an advanced workshop, contributions towards a scholarly manuscript, and a creative work that will be showcased at high profile events locally and internationally.

Volumetric video is a computational fusion of digital video recording and depth sensor data, resulting in a spatialized, and potentially navigable, 3D captured moving image. Volumetric images are becoming increasingly prevalent and sophisticated, driven by interest in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) production. Although there is an emerging maker community surrounding this technology, creators have yet to explore its full expressive potential, particularly in procedurally intense, interactive forms such as videogames. Canada's videogame industry contributes $3 billion annually to our GDP, and 54% of Canadians identify as videogame players (ESA 2015). But games struggle to diversify their content, creator, and player base. Volumetric video content, appearing snatched from the world and evoking feelings of presence and actuality, could be a powerful addition to a game development toolkit, but it has properties that differ from what audiences and creators expect to encounter in games. A poor understanding of the use of this material, in both design and critical contexts, can damage our perception of the value and potential of emerging works before they have the opportunity to develop. How can we take an informed, critical approach to the integration of volumetric video in games? What theoretical and design resources can we draw upon to scaffold experimentation, critical understanding, and ethical critique in this area?

VVV: Volumetric Video in Videogames will investigate how design patterns (formal solutions and responses to common design challenges) from underexamined game genres such as fullmotionvideo (FMV) videogames can suggest future paths for design using captured content such as volumetric video. Taking a new materialist approach to hybrid capture technologies, this research aims to make visible the increasingly complex entanglements that make up digital media forms we casually refer to as "real." In doing so, it will support critical dialogue around hybrid captured media, particularly involving real people and places, and further reinforce Canada’s creative leadership in this emerging area. VVV will also contribute to a growing body of game design research on the application of design patterns to new work, and mobilize design knowledge from an underutilized body of research into early videogame design. It has the potential to expand and enrich artistic, documentary and commercial game development and audiences, and to broaden the expressive palette for other forms of media using volumetric content, including nongame AR and VR applications.

 

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Creator: 
A screenshot of volumetric capture of a figure
Sunday, July 1, 2018 - 4:00am
Lab Member: 
Cindy Poremba

Archivism: artist archives, intergenerational knowledge transfer and hybrid art production

ARCHIVISM: ARTIST ARCHIVES, INTERGENERATIONAL KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER AND HYBRID ART PRODUCTION PRACTICES

This research-creation project asks, how a contemporary form of archive in the Lac La Croix First Nation can be launched, based in intergenerational knowledge transfer and hybrid artistic practices? This archive will include digitized recordings of elders that will be made available to both the local community and project participants.  It draws upon documentary and literary sources produced by the Lac La Croix community and artists Judith Doyle and Ron Geyshick in the mid-1980s.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

Archivism aims to disrupt traditional boundaries between inside and outside the archive, mobilizing artist’s archives as dynamic, generative production tools. (1) This research-creation project asks, how a contemporary form of archive in the Lac La Croix First Nation can be launched, based in intergenerational knowledge transfer and hybrid artistic practices? This archive will include digitized recordings of elders that will be made available to both the local community and project participants.  It draws upon documentary and literary sources produced by the Lac La Croix community and artists Judith Doyle and Ron Geyshick in the mid-1980s.

Using the archived recordings as a starting point, this research will develop site-specific art and curatorial projects and educational workshops taking place at OCAD University and the Lac La Croix First Nation. These endeavours will be well documented and the information will be disseminated as artworks, refereed articles, publications, conference participation and a project website.

The research engages creative participants from Lac La Croix First Nation, Northwestern Ontario and OCADU in Toronto. We focus on creating new archives, engaging intergenerational knowledge transfer. Our research asks the following questions:

  • What can contemporary hybrid media approaches contribute to making things that become repositories of knowledge and affect?
  • Is an open access form of archive most appropriate? What are the balances between community use and broader accessibility?
  • How can archival recordings of elders who may have passed away, as well as documentation of altered, lost or endangered places and activities, become starting points for new works in different media? 
  • What mutual benefits accrue when urban artists and remote communities collaborate to respond to archival community materials?
  • Can we pair excerpts of archival recordings with creators who respond to the original record, either because they remember the person who spoke it, are a family member, or otherwise respond, leading to artistic collaborations to create affective new works?

Through collaborative processes we strive to create studio spaces and practices where contradictions and complexities within the stories emerge, where the specific texture and content of experiences of the community are affective and present. We neither seek nor avoid strong sensation and difficult experience.

This project seeks to create bridges and networks between studio and community practices grounded in both traditional materials and contemporary fabrication. It supports meaningful archival development, research, and material creation by and with indigenous communities, particularly the Lac La Croix First Nation, and provides a context for artists, students, and academics to engage with practice-led, research-creation and indigenous research methodologies.

(1) Interview, Simone Osthoff, ‘Archivism (the dynamics of archiving)’, Neural ISSUE 58/Autumn 2017.

For more information and to view the original documentary, please visit http://www.readingpictures.com/project_laclacroix.html.

Creator: 
Video still from "Lac La Croix (1998)" of two men
video still from "Lac La Croix (1998)" of Ron Geyshick standing before a cloudy sky
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 2:15pm
Lab Member: 
Judith Doyle
Embed Video: 

Meet & Greet with the Office of Research and Innovation

Clip art of two yellow figures shaking hands while standing on blue puzzles pieces
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 3:15pm to 4:30pm

Discover what services are available to support your research, learn about upcoming funding opportunities, and get to know the Office of Research and Innovation. A selection of OCAD U research projects will be on display and light refreshments will be served.

This meet-and-greet event runs from 3:15 to 4:30 on Wednesday March 7th 2018 in Room 187 (Lambert Lounge) at 100 McCaul.

For more information, please contact research@ocadu.ca.

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Venue & Address: 
Lambert Lounge, Room 187, 100 McCaul Street
Website: 
https://www.ocadu.ca/research
Email: 
research@ocadu.ca

From Within an Active PoV: Feminist VR Game Making

From Within an Active PoV: Feminist VR Game Making is a research-creation project that investigates a feminist intervention in virtual reality game-making. It aims to build a generous and inclusive coalition of feminists in games by bringing feminist VR makers together and studying how, what, and why they make VR games.

From Within an Active PoV builds on the research of ReFiG, a 5 year project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Composed of an international collective of scholars, community organizers and industry representatives, ReFiG is committed to promoting diversity and equity in the game industry and culture and effecting real change in an often myopic space that has been exclusionary to many. ReFig accomplishes this by intervening in four areas: game cultures, the games industry, informal learning environments, and formal education.

Unlike the world of commercial digital gaming, the VR ecosystem includes diverse voices: marginalized makers are visible in this emerging sector of technology (for example, CFC Open Immersion lab is open to indigenous artists and artists from the global south).  The inherent physicality of VR (which involves two audiences: the immersant and the voyeur) is also an opportunity to explore feminist approaches to game-making. From its development in the early nineties VR art has been driven by female artists, including works such as Catherine Richards’ Spectral Bodies (1991) and Char Davies' Osmose (1995). This clearly indicates a feminist interest in the ability of VR technologies to extend and reconfigure embodied experience. By featuring a living body, performance (and subsequently VR) allows women to “assert themselves as the active and self-determining agents of their own narratives” [1].

Through feminist game jams (distinguished by methods engaged and identification of participants) supported by multiple approaches to research documentation situated in OCAD University’s game:play lab, From Within an Active PoV will produce a series of VR sketches that explore, document, and instantiate a range of feminist approaches to processes of capture, design and development and interface.​ Engaging politically motivated activity in game cultures should grow from a purposeful playfulness in approach: playfulness is a much more potent force than direct conflict and offers an important means of engagement. 

​This will culminate in public exhibition and a co-Laboratory. Interested ReFiG researchers will join an open call for participation to these research jams. The jams will be documented using multiple methods (audio, video, note-taking, sketching, mapping, etc.) and the outcome shared in a range of channels including publication (academic and on the web), learning kits (for use in community and classroom) and via exhibition.

Additional Resources:
ReFig Website 
CFC Open Immersion Lab

1. Wark, Jane. 2006. Radical Gestures, Feminism, and Performance Art in North America. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press.

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

 

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Creator: 
Photographs of immersants interacting with VR technology
Photograph of girl kneeling while playing a VR game
Photograph of two people: an immersant steps forward while interacting with VR and is observed by a second person
Photograph of a person using VR. Their right arm is extended forward as they move through the game world.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 11:00am