CGI Interactivity and Navigation

Adding interactivity and user navigation into a live-motion virtual reality environment is both very helpful for journalistic output, and also very cumbersome.

There is currently a deficit in out-of-the-box tools, software, and established protocols for adding interactivity and navigation into live-motion VR environments. Consequently, for this project, both had to be custom developed—an expensive and time-consuming process. In fact, the process to create virtual reality narratives is so new that enabling any type of interactivity requires the unique combination of four or five software packages. It also demands a significant amount of trial and error to continually export the “build” of the VR project from an already complicated software workflow just to test whether or not it works on the device running the application (desktop or mobile) and the head-mounted display. An additional challenge is that different headsets already have different interfaces and navigation options, primarily driven from the computing power necessary to run these virtual reality applications. This is because the power to run the complicated 360-degree field of view, additional video frames, and interactivity is substantial. Hence, you must make decisions and compromises on file size, graphical fidelity, and user experience when distributing on multiple different platforms.

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