UK govt invests in VR and AR to create immersive entertainment
The brains behind British TV successes such as Wallace & Gromit and Peaky Blinders are joining new projects in the games and immersive entertainment sectors to develop virtual and augmented reality entertainment, backed by millions of pounds of government investment.
Award-winning Aardman, the brains behind Wallace & Gromit, are part of a consortia with developers Tiny Rebel Games, digital specialists Potato, creative agency Sugar Creative and the University of South Wales.
Together, they will build on successes of Academy Award-winning films including The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave by taking the characters into the future of storytelling.
The consortia will be benefiting from £4 million investment to develop new immersive storytelling experience based on their famous creations which will put fans right at the heart of the action, enabling people to join adventures with Wallace & Gromit, looking in any direction, and see and feel part of the action.
A further project is a new virtual reality drama game based on BAFTA-award winning Peaky Blinders using Artificial Intelligence technology: launching in 2020, it will mean that for the first time, characters will respond according to the players’ gestures, movement, voice, sound and body language. The project is being led by London-based immersive VR studio, Maze Theory.
Through its modern Industrial Strategy, the government is investing £33 million to ensure the UK’s immersive technology industry cements its place as a world-leader in film, TV and game productions for the future, remaining at the cutting edge of the latest technologies and creating thousands of highly-skilled jobs.
Aardman and the consortium are behind one of the 21 projects benefiting from Government investment in the creative industries – receiving a share of £12 million of the £33 million Ministers have made available.
Other projects that the government is investing in include:
• Making it possible for people to meet their heroes, with personalised storytelling and conversation through virtual reality. Forever Holdings will bring together a research group to transform these immersive encounters, by improving filming techniques and boosting voice interaction.
• Offering businesses immersive learning solutions for employees where they can use virtual and mixed reality headsets to learn at their own pace and repeat tasks as often as required. Holohub would make this platform available to businesses for them to distribute it to staff and track performance.
Creative Industries Minister Margot James said: "Immersive technology is changing the way in which we consume entertainment, and the Audience of the Future programme will demonstrate how we can take people closer to the action than ever before."
UKRI Challenge Director for Audience of the Future, Prof Andrew Chitty said: “Their aim to revolutionise Augmented Reality gaming along with the advances in AI, haptics, audience interaction and film production technologies from our other competition winners means the public will be able to try out some truly ground breaking experiences over the next 18 months.”