We’ve been curious here how we can expand the use of our dome beyond presenter led real-time and pre-rendered shows. In these programs, the audience is being feed information while being for the most part, passive. After reading “Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter” by Steven Johnson, I’ve become much more interested in how the gaming model works and how we can utilize it. In a nutshell, Johnson explains that video games are popular because they put the user in complex situations and challenge them to figure something out, as opposed to a more traditional method of spoon feeding ideas. He also shows similarities to this in more complex TV storylines from shows such as Lost. These challenges and mysteries, once solved, give a sense of satisfaction and a better understanding of material to the viewer.
We’ve been talking with Eric Knisley over at RENCI about experimenting with the Unity game engine on the dome and how we can extend the challenging gaming experience to some of our presentations. The difficulty, beyond technical issues, getting 200-300 people to play a game that is typically controlled by one person. People have experimented with IR and other techniques that have been sucessful for simple interactions. But maybe there are other ways to create presentations and even pre-rendered shows that really challenge the viewer to figure things out on a different level.