City of sand

Role: Creative Producer, Narrative & Environment Designer, Voice Performance

An interactive narrative VR experience for the Meta Quest 2 built as part of the Oculus Launch Pad program.

"City of Sand," is inspired by the true story of Bayocean, OR, a turn of the 20th century coastal resort town that was washed away into the Pacific when they built too much too fast.

 

On a stormy night in the resort’s crumbling old hotel, you will discover how to use your grandfather's magical “sandpunk” contraptions to travel through time and uncover the town’s lost secrets.
 
At its core, "City of Sand" is a story about climate change and how our desire to build and create wealth without considering the consequences on the natural world has created a global crisis. Players’ interactions with the environment determine how the story will unfold and offer a chance to explore possible approaches to big existential problems, all within a world of curious contraptions, magical sand spirits, and time travel.

Vertical Slice Core Collaborators: Robert Quillen Camp, Christopher Lane Davis, Gil Ramirez, and Lisa Szolovits.

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Creative Producing: Encompassing project management and creative direction, I facilitated the development and creative process from inception to completion.  I worked closely with the entire creative team to synthesize each member's contributions into the larger vision for the experience.

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Narrative Design: The concept and storyline grew out of research I had done on the history of Bayocean, OR for a multi-media, live performance project in 2015 called "Head in the Sand."

 

Working closely with the rest of the creative team, I crafted the narrative for the vertical slice to give the player a satisfying narrative and interactive journey in just 6 minutes. A journey that introduced them to the world and its central character as well as to the types of puzzles and time travel that are central to the full VR experience.

Environment Design: We wanted to create a world that was both intimate and larger than life. One that gave hints and clues about the larger story world and the character of the Grandfather, who had created much of it.

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The Hotel: Much of the vertical slice takes place in the office of a dilapidated hotel.  There are many curious items here to interact with while the desk provides a central focus for the main action in the scene. A stormy night with a raging ocean out the window sets the mood while practical lights and animation transform the space and guide the player's attention.

Flashback: To give a hint of the town's lost glory, the flashback scene conjures a sense of the town being brought to life through Grandfather's generator. Working closely with animator Christopher Lane Davis, the player is able to see the town through the animation, allowing us to tease out the environment and present it in a highly-stylized fashion.

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VR Storyboarding in Tiltbrush