Many advancements in today's Virtual Reality have made for isolating single-player experiences, which inspired a group to develop a new game that creates productive social exchanges. HOLO - DOODLE, the centerpiece of SIGGRAPH 2017, explores the interpersonal possibilities of VR, using headsets to transform users into genderless, anonymous pink robots that play pictionary with virtual paintbrushes.
The game was directed by queer activist and Tom of Finland Foundation Creative Director Daffy London, alongside Professor Ken Perlin and SIGGRAPH's Terrence Masson. What started as a small idea in a Stuttgart, Germany bar, became a positive tool for social interactions. They designed HOLO - DOODLE to allow users to transcend their own physical body and meet strangers in nonhuman form. This helps people develop a newfound sense of confidence, as they navigate the world unbound by reality.
To make users feel more comfortable while in VR, London created a surrounding screen that projects GIFBOX.TV, an interactive GIF player. This helps shield people from SIGGRAPH onlookers, so they don't feel like they're being watched. After they've completed HOLO - DOODLE, users are encouraged to continue engaging IRL with those they met in VR. They're given a sticker of their avatar and guided to a bar to exchange stories of their shared experience.
"HOLO - DOODLE aims to bring players out of their shells—to dance like no one’s watching," London says. "When you step out of your preconceived self, your true self emerges. Tapping into what we love to do communally and in such a lighthearted social interaction shifts the focus of VR from dark, solo experiences to something far more positive: the ability to interact without the burden of judgment tied to our physicality."