See the universe through the eyes of an International Space Station astronaut or walk into a cozy French café.
In doing so, you’ve seen the unusual experiences offered by Otherworld Interactive, a Los Angeles-based virtual reality content studio co-founded by three USC School of Cinematic Arts alums that’s breaking down boundaries while building new worlds.
Andrew Goldstein MFA ’14, Robyn Gray MFA ’14 and Michael Murdock MFA ’14, the visionaries behind Otherworld’s impressive slate of VR experiences, met as students in the master’s program in the school’s Interactive Media and Games Division.
After graduating, the trio combined its talents to form one of the most highly sought VR development studios in the growing industry.
Their projects, such as Spacewalk and Café Âme, have been featured at festivals and conferences throughout the country, from the Game Developers Conference to the Interactive Playground at the Tribeca Film Festival’s Innovation Week. Among fans of the emerging VR field, they’ve developed a reputation for creating some of the most transcendent virtual experiences available.
The world at large
Their latest project, World’s a Mess, is a music video adapted for Android devices via Google Cardboard, a low-cost VR viewer that allows phones or other mobile devices to be used as basic VR headsets. To make the experience possible, Goldstein, Gray and Murdock teamed up with Grammy Award-winning artist Steve Jordan and The Verbs, a New York City-based indie group he created with his wife, Meegan Voss.
We created a world that exists all around the audience.
The experience uses simple, look-based controls and head tracking to allow users to explore a custom-built animated environment that changes in response to the musical cues and song lyrics.
“We created a world that exists all around the audience, creating a visual experience that mimics and complements the auditory,” said Gray, who serves as Otherworld’s chief narrative designer, in addition to being a co-founder. All of the animations, visual effects and colors are dynamically driven by the music.
As one of the first experiences of its kind, World’s a Mess is one more definitive step toward VR’s imminent mainstream popularity as a potent storytelling medium. The World’s a Mess audio-visual experience is available on Google Play.