Week 4: The Initial Approach

At the beginning of Week 4, the team pitched an initial experience concept to our faculty members. We suggested that we could make a VR experience where users could enter one of the quarterbacks’ rooms and pick up objects that have special significance to that quarterback. When a user picks an object up, a video clip showing the importance of that object could play. Our faculty members agreed that this experience would be a good use of extra footage that did not make it into a QB1 episode, but felt that we needed to give the user a story to tie the footage together, as well as a choice that would allow the user to affect the story, in order for the experience to be engaging. With that feedback, we went back to the drawing board and came up with the following interaction loop:

In this loop, the experience would start with the user receiving a text from one of the quarterbacks, asking for a favor. To fulfill the request, the user will have to go into VR. Once the user has explored the VR environment, they can choose whether or not to successfully fulfill the request. Then, the quarterback will respond by giving something to the player, which the player can see through AR.

Here is an example scenario:

1. Tayvon asks you to go to his room and find his locker code, which he forgot. He needs to get into his locker to get his equipment for a big game today.

2. The user goes into Tayvon’s room in VR and searches for the code. After moving an object, the user finds a doctor’s note that indicates that Tayvon is injured, and shouldn’t play in today’s game. Then the user finds the locker code.

3. Back in text, the user can choose to either give Tayvon the code and know that he might injure himself further in the game, or refuse to give Tayvon the code so that he won’t play today.

4. Depending on which choice the user made, the user sees a video clip from – either Tayvon getting injured, or sitting out of the game.

5. Tayvon gives the user something in AR. For example, if he was able to play in the game (and get injured), he gives you the trophy the team won in the game.

While the exact experience is getting ironed out, the team knows that we want to try to use Google AR, Google Daydream (VR), and a messenger bot, so the programmers started prototyping simple interactions using these technologies. At the same time, the artists finalized the team’s branding materials, and started making assets to populate the VR and AR experiences.

Week 3: QB1

Early this week, Verizon got back to us with the story they wanted us to use in this project. In the end, Verizon selected “QB1: Beyond the Lights,” a reality/documentary show on their Go90 video platform. QB1 follow three of the country’s best high school quarterbacks as they complete their senior year football season. The show depicts how the they train/prepare for games and lead their teams. It also shows the quarterbacks hanging out with their friends (both informally and at big social events like prom) and handling the glory of being local celebrities.

Our client told us that he didn’t have specific demographics to show who QB1’s target audience is, but that the Go90 platform in general is targeted towards high school and college students. The team deduced that because QB1 focuses on high school players, it was likely to attract high-school-aged fans. To test our theory, we enlisted John Balash, an ETC faculty member whose job is to connect the ETC with schools in the area. We gave John a survey to distribute at a local high school that he happened to be visiting at the end of the week. The survey was designed to help us determine not just if high-schoolers are interested in QB1, but which high-schoolers are interested. For example, does the show appeal mostly to males or females? Do kids on sports teams watch the show to see how other high school athletes balance sports with the rest of their lives, or do football fans watch the show to get a preview into up-and-coming football talent?

While we thought that the survey results would give us insights into QB1 fans that would help us design extra content, we couldn’t wait for the results to start designing – after all, the semester is flying by! Therefore, we decided to try to make educated guesses about what might appeal to people. Since the show revolves around getting to know the lives of the three quarterbacks, we thought it would make sense to create trans-media experiences that let the audience learn even more about them. Thus, we decided to prototype a VR experience where the user can see into the bedroom of one of the players, and interact with objects in the room. Each interaction would trigger a video clip from the show footage that showed the significance of that object.

Week 2: Exploring Reality TV

This week, the client told us that the story we would be working with over the semester would be one of the reality TV shows on Verizon’s video platform, Go90. The client did not initially know which reality show our project should focus on, but did give us two examples to review: Road to Race Day, and The Runner.

Thus, our first order of business for the week was to investigate these shows. We found that Road to Race Day is a documentary-style reality show about a NASCAR team, and what they do to prepare for a big race. On the other hand, The Runner is a competition show where teams of Chasers have to track down a Runner who is sent to mysterious locations across America. To figure out where the Runner is headed, the Chasers must decode riddles. The show also had an interactive element in which viewers would help the Chasers solve the riddles by posting answers on social media platforms such as Twitter.

The team thought that The Runner was a good candidate for this project, because it was already attempting to engage viewers in off-screen content (riddle-solving) to aid the Chasers. However, because the show was already completed, we were not sure that the client would want us to create additional storytelling elements for it. Therefore, we decided to focus our brainstorming not on The Runner specifically, but on competitive reality shows in general. We reasoned that for any competitive show, we could follow the model set up by The Runner and engage the audience in challenges that contributed in some way to the challenges faced by the contestants.

To that end, we made a Composition Box of thoughts regarding trans-media storytelling for competitive reality TV, and took it to a brainstorming seminar held by ETC faculty member Mike Christel. There, we collected information from our peers regarding which portions of their favorite competitive TV shows they would want to experience, and what questions they had about our proposed project. After the seminar, we sent out a survey to students and faculty, so that we could get more insights into the kind of extra content fans of competitive reality TV shows would be looking for.


Composition Box 1

Composition Box 2 (Inspiration)


Week 1: The Beginning

And we’re off! The semester has started and we dove right in to work. The first order of business was to figure out each team member’s role(s), which determines how each person contributes to the project. Knowing what everyone plans to work on will help us determine the scope of the project, once we get specific project requirements from the client. It’s especially important to decide who the Producer of the project will be, because the Producer is the point of contact for the client, and is responsible for maintaining project deadlines. Here are our roles for the Storiverse project:

  • Xiao: Artist and Producer
  • Tim: Artist
  • Tauseef: Programmer
  • Nick: Programmer
  • Yuxing: Programmer
  • Brynn: Designer

Speaking of Storiverse – what’s in the name? We decided on the name “Storiverse” because it’s a combination of the words “story” and “multiverse.” Since our goal this semester is to tell a trans-media story, and use each piece of content on various media platforms to build out our story’s universe (so that the story feels as though it takes place in an alternate universe – one of the overall multiverse), we felt it was appropriate.

The final big milestone of the week was sitting down to our first meeting with the client, Verizon. We discussed what Verizon wanted to get out of the project, and how we could use the talents of each team member to achieve that goal. For Week 2, our main task will be to define more detailed client expectations, and set a plan for how we’ll meet them over the course of the semester.