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.

Steamer

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!