What's Up in Wonderland?

A Virtual Reality Exploration of Fantasy Tropes

What's Up in Wonderland? was created for Dr. Janet Murray's Prototyping eNarrative (PeN) Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology during the Fall 2018 semester. Inspired by Lewis Carroll's novel Alice in Wonderland, this VR demonstration designed for the Samsung Odyssey platform examines the recurring "growing" and "shrinking" phenomenon experienced by the character Alice in the story and aims to construct a narrative around this fantastic occurrence in the context of an impossible virtual reality space.

Almost immediately upon entering the castle environment of the demo's first scene, the user will witness the March Hare pick up and run off with the Queen of Hearts' ruby from her crown! In an effort to retrieve the jewel from the March Hare, the player must follow him through the castle and into a mouse hole. Realizing that they are too large to fit through the mouse hole, however, the user will notice a glowing bottle (filled with magical fairy dust!) on a shelf above the hole labeled "Shrink Me." Upon reaching out to touch the bottle, the user will shrink to an appropriate size to pursue the March Hare through the mouse hole into the vividly colored gardens of Wonderland. Once entrance into Wonderland has been achieved, the March Hare, noticing the user following him, will discard the ruby on the ground of garden next to another bottle containing fairy dust labeled "Grow Me." Following their retrieval of the discarded ruby, the user will proceed to touch the nearby bottle and grow to the size of a giant, realizing that the gardens of Wonderland are actually nothing more than a small patch of vegetation on the balcony of the castle.

 

The element of perspective is explored through the varying viewpoints the user encounters in the demo. By experiencing the Wonderland universe from different sizes, the user is able to more closely explore their surroundings, heightening not only their appreciation for the virtual space, but also their own sense of size and self-awareness in relation to their physical body. Since humans cannot shrink and grow in reality, What's Up in Wonderland? provides them the chance to undergo an otherworldly experience that plays with a person's notions of size and perspective.

My role in the creation What's Up in Wonderland? was project manager. Not only did I oversee the group's general progress and provide instruction and direction for all team members to complete and submit assignments in a timely manner, I also recorded and synthesized both internal and external user testing feedback, designed and created seminar posters to showcase the demo during GVU Center exhibitions at Georgia Tech, wrote the description found on the PeN Lab website, recorded and trimmed audio clips of the March Hare's dialogue using Adobe Audition, and created and edited the video above using Adobe Premiere. I worked very closely with fellow teammate Karthika Jayaprakash on the narrative, user testing, and collection of assets used in the demo, as well as consulted with teammates Anuraj Bhatnagar (lead programmer) and Edward Zhang (level design lead) on their creation of the demo using Unity.

The final storyboard poster for the What's Up in Wonderland? VR demonstration created with Canva.

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