Quarantine Dream: An Endless Roar 3D build
Screenshot of Quarantine Dream gameplay.
Having been exposed to VR and AR as possible formats for the classical arts at a conference called Opera Beyond in Helsinki, and having begun to tinker with game engines to build 3D virtual worlds, I began to conceptualise a music release in the form of an interactive game world.
During quarantine in the summer of 2020 I approached Endless Roar and Vestards Šimkus to record improvisations on their instruments at home, at specific tempos, and to send me the results.
I knew I wanted to mix them together, but I also knew that the presentation needed to fit the nature of the isolated recording situation. So I began trying out different game engines and started building prototype virtual worlds that could be explored in a way that rewards music discovery in a 3D space.
Each solo instrument is placed in a different location in the Quarantine Dream virtual world. By listening for the direction of the sound of the music, a person is led from one area to the next. It’s a place that can be explored, and you can spend as much time in each area to hear the part contributed by each musician.
At the end, the person arrives at a platform which acts as a 3D spatial mixer. Standing on the corners, you will only hear one instrument at a time. Walking along the edges you can hear 2 instruments overlap and interpolate between each other. Stand in the middle, and you will hear a mix of all four instruments. The parts loop and are of different length, but are of the same tempo. Thus, you could stand in the middle of the platform and listen to dozens of unique arrangements of the complete and combined piece.
This represents my first try in this format. Those with training in 3D and game engines recognise it as an early attempt. However, I thought this example may give some ideas on possible new formats for creating, releasing, and experiencing cultural content in a virtual way. I think it would be fascinating to see music released, or concerts, operas or theatre attended in some kind of virtually embodied way. The infrastructure built by online multiplayer games exists people interact and participate in online events as an avatar - Festivals have been organised within these virtual worlds. Once again, this format has mainly been restricted to games, but now we are seeing the potential for people to navigate around a virtual concert hall for example, share screenshots or chat with fellow attendees. Releasing music in the future may include story narratives, interactive films, games, or immersive VR environments.
You may play the game yourself if you’re curious. It’s not that easy to reach the end goal - it may take a few tries. But if you do manage to find the mushroom in the end, I hope you will find the experience rewarding in some way.
The game is hosted on the Unity play site, and is embedded here below.
Alternatively you may play it here: https://play.unity.com/mg/fps/quarantine-dream
• The goal is to follow the sound of the musical pieces to find different locations and reach the end zone: Sound is interactive in a 3D environment- Use headphones for best results!
• Try unmuting on the bottom right of the screen and using headphones.
• Try using the Chrome browser if you don't hear sound or the frame rate is slow.
• Find and use the jetpack to extend jumps to reach the final goals.