I'm proud to announce that I've just been invited to join the Advisory Board of "Incarna", a start-up that is developing an exciting new collaborative gaming experience that mingles virtual reality, live action and role playing. Startup 42, an "acceleration program for ambitious early-stage B2B-startups lead by hackers", accompanied them through their first development phase and they have now just moved into their brand new office space here in Paris.
This week I was lucky enough to participate in one of Incarna's early play tests. Although I have now watched plenty of VR films, this was my first interactive VR gaming experience using the HTC Vive and it was a total blast! I can't give you many details at this stage, but I can tell you this - Incarna is a mutli-player experience in a dedicated space, where the entire team has to collaborate to solve the puzzles that will lead to the next level of the game. Various elements are triggered by a game master, so the experience is shaped by the players, and evolves according to their choices, creating a different experience each time.
I participated in a "gray box" test, where I was given little to no information about how the HTC Vive worked or how I was supposed to interact with the environment, which was a collection of geometric shapes that could be moved and manipulated. These shapes will, of course, be replaced by the beautifully rich artwork that will come later. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of the whole thing, but once I did, the adventure was on! What surprised me the most was that even though the world we were travelling through was mostly gray and abstract, the level of emotions that were triggered were incredibly exciting. I can only imagine what it will be like with the finished artwork and sound!
I'll keep you posted as the project evolves, but in the meantime, don't hesitate to head over to their website and sign up for their newsletter. Those who sign up now will be able to participate in the next round of play tests early in 2017. And just to give you a foretaste of what's in store, check out Incarna's Facebook page...