Raktor makes participatory virtual reality theater events. In this test broadcast series, the remote audience watched over Facebook Live Video, and when they chatted on the stream, our system assigned audience members on-the-fly to an NPC in the VR environment, and their chats appeared over the head of that character. In a Raktor show, you might temporarily become an unkempt villager, a drunken centaur, a hilariously ugly troll, or a member of the fairies, made entirely of light. Our in-person audience helped by giving suggestions and making sound effects using props. In the future, Raktor will build tech so you can attend the show while wearing a VR headset, and the motions of your head will affect an in-world character. You might be just an extra in the show, or you might be the quirky sidekick of the hero if you indicate you’re up for something more immersive.
The script of the demo series was semi-improvised. We laid out sets, character models, and some of the fiction in advance, but the world of the show is affected by audience input. The live audience, and so they truly have ownership over the show. It’s hard to do interactive shows that tailor to an audience well, and our combined backgrounds in longform improvisation, vaudeville and immersive theatre mean we know how to make an engaging story on-the-fly.
In Broadcast Zero, the hero started as a bartender in a medieval town. The town had been troubled by trolls in the nearby woods, and seeing an opportunity to get rid of him, the bar owner (The Wizard) sent the hero on a quest to defeat the trolls. While wandering through the woods (including 7 years spent in a lake of acid), he found a fairy who helped him open a magical portal down to a troll dungeon. There, the Troll King’s minions (played by the remote audience) rudely trolled the hero to break his spirit, but the hero managed to dispatch them all. Finally, the hero returned to town later, celebrated by the new mayor, who had become a pirate in his absence.
In Broadcast One, Raktor had in-person audiences in two physical locations: San Francisco and Toronto. We also revealed the larger story: Raktor is a rag-tag group of freedom fighters fighting against the evil AI Eccentricon, who imprisons humans in various simulations. Whenever we go to a new world in the show, it’s actually a new simulation, and it’s up to the audience hero to determine what is wrong and somehow set it right.
In this Broadcast, we teleported an audience hero onto a stage in the center of town as a town crier was trying to quell a protest. The townspeople were protesting The Wizard, who kept cursing them accidentally. In the next scene, the hero went into the tavern and heard The Wizard confess a deep secret - that he was in love with a fairy from long ago, and had a crystal ball from that time. We had actually made the crystal ball in Tiltbrush, including the characters on the side. To get advice from another magical creature on how to solve the Wizard’s woes, the hero visited the troll dungeon, which led to a troll dance number, and the troll casting a spell enabling the hero to go back in time and inside the crystal ball, which was a full Tiltbrush scene. There, the hero spoke with the fairy (in the past) on how to help the Wizard get over her, and then returned to the bar to set everything right.
Broadcast Two and Three were back-to-back, like a two-part TV episode, where we set up a crisis in the first half, and solved it based on audience suggestions in the second half. We only had 48 hours in between episodes, so it was also a test of whether we could put together fresh content really quickly.
In Broadcast Two, our hero was sent to a simulated western town whose simulation had started to fall apart. Nearby, an “uncanny valley” had opened with several poorly-animated monsters coming out of it. The hero went and spoke to Uncanny Jack, the leader of the Uncanny Gang, who explained he was jealous of all the well-animated characters in town and wanted to take it over. In the final scene, the evil AI Eccentricon appeared as a massive floating head flying over the town, and even though the hero made a triumphant speech explaining why the townspeople shouldn’t have their town taken over, the hero perished...
At the end of Broadcast Two, we asked for how to solve the problem in Town. We received “with a three-point shot” from the in-person audience and “with a dragon” from the remote audience.
Broadcast Three started with a “previously on” segment summarizing what happened in Broadcast Two - with the simulated western town held in stasis and inaccessible. The Raktor Organization managed to hack the hero into an ancestor simulation when Eccentricon was in AI school. On a school bus full of other AIs, the hero themselves pretend to be an AI by covering themselves in tin foil. While talking to Eccentricon, they found that they were haunted by memories of not making the AI basketball team. Then Raktor came up with a plan - implant this bad memory inside a basketball, and throw it directly into Eccentricon. First, we did a live Tiltbrush painting where we implanted the memory inside the basketball. Then, we needed magical assistance to break the stasis barrier, so we went to the simulation with The Wizard in it and convinced him to help. The final triumphant scene had the hero riding the back of the dragon, with The Wizard, around the sky of the western town, and making a three-point shot directly in the mouth of Eccentricon. This fix temporarily disrupting the simulation that the in-person audience was in, so we made them wear fake moustaches and pretend to be stuck in an alternate reality full of zombies for the remote audience.