Home - Prototyping Hackathon

In the last Three Days of the Steamer Salon Lab we all gathered in Wix headquarters in the beautiful port of Tel Aviv, for a full-power Hackathon.


Yeah, no time for shaving.

With 72 hours, true zeal, no knowledge in Unity or programming I had to turn those mysterious dreams into (virtual) reality. That's what you have amazing creative friends for no? With a lot of help from the amazing three - Shiri Blumenthal, Almog Melamed and Yinon Kuperstein (AKA MojoKid) - we created a working prototype for GearVR. Here are some snapshots:

I was really exhilarated seeing what we could accomplish in just three days of work! The ease in which I could compose the world: sculpting and texturing the terrain, using the Skybox and lighting to get the right atmosphere, and get that First Person Controller up and running in no time. I was falling in love with Unity fast. But that was only the beginning. Leaving Wix, Almog said he thinks I could actually do the whole programming myself. Coming from the founder of CaptainUp, that meant a lot. This was a turning point for me. I learned to believe in my abilities more than ever before.

and now the real work began!

Home - The Story Begins @ Steamer Salon Lab, Tel Aviv

The story begins in Fab 2016. I get a phone call from my friend Tal Haring, talented director I worked with for a few years now. He invited me to Steamer Salon Lab, a 12-day Cinema & Technology accelerator program he was organizing. While I wasn't enthusiastic at all to work in VR, as he had suggested, I was having a lot of ideas for an experimental video game floating around for quite a while.


The program was packed with lectures and workshops and meeting with mentors, including net artist Olia Lialina, director Yoni Geva and some prominent Israeli researchers of interactive storytelling and cinema.

I have learned much about the medium of VR. But my project was clearly out of everyone's comfort zone and I was mostly urged to inject a narrative into this abstract philosophical brew. It was at that moment that I understood the project is a strange animal. It is a hybrid between interactive documentary and an art video game - something you would see in a gallery but also in a film festival or even play at home alone.

While adding a narrative was out of the question for me, I did manage to crystallize my ideas in a way: I had visual frames and compositions, locations and architectural elements,  and images of abstract interactions, emotions and moments. These were visions of a world. They were abstract, but they were something to follow:

I think that there is nothing like this strange conviction. When you imagine a world, strange as it might be, and you feel it is comprehensive, it has a distinct nature. For me It's a sign that you have something and your role now is to just be loyal to it.

Loyalty inside my sketchbook was one thing though. After 9 days of thinking and learning, it was time to do. Next thing you know I had to form a team, and in three days produce a working prototype. I just heard of Unity for the first time, last time I programmed was with Pascal in high school, and my 3D skills were flaky at best. Well, that's what friends are for, right? 

More on my next Post!