Studying the witch trials in the 1960s was interesting. Interesting being that I genuinely found out some information about the past that not only educated me but sparked ideas and inspiration. I used the online witch trial documentary archive and transcript project (http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/home.html), the Salem Witch Trial Musem Website (http://www.salemwitchmuseum.com/education/), the history channel documentary (http://www.history.com/topics/salem-witch-trials), Ken Radford ‘Tales of Witchery: Fire Burn’, architectural references for 17th century houses and google images to accumulate the necessary references and information for my studies.
I found these resources rich with information. The Documentary was the most help with understanding what happened within the trials and understanding the politics of the trials. The archive and transcript project contained maps and information about the residents that was vital to how I designed spatially.The book ‘Fire Burn’ was very helpful for learning about the way the witches were perceived in society, their crimes, their suspected crimes and their deaths. The Architectural references (namely 17TH CENTURY VILLAGE TOUR – ARCHITECTURE RESEARCH) was extremely great for building the models, having someone show you around the area and exactly how everything would have been put together was an incredible help.
I found my research was very saught-after and the rewards showed in the word I produced. If I could have changed anything, I would have chosen the same theme but maybe another town and/or timeframe than Salem. The other countries and eras I found were far more aesthetically pleasing and interesting.
From this assignment, I have firmly come to believe that the Oculus Rift and Virtual Reality is not just a gimmick and I would love to design for it again. When designed with the appropriate game mechanics, aesthetics, dynamics and audience the Oculus could possibly be great for the industry. I felt that this assignment made me aware that the Oculus could do incredible and eye-opening things for History and Museum within education and tourism. I also think that the Oculus from my project has proven to provoke the emotion of fear and unease within a simple environment and has great potential to be used as a tool to evoke emotions from players that traditional media can’t due to its illusion of isolation and immersion.
I believe that my project is similar to a Simulation rather than a Narrative, although the map does contain spatial narrative. The lights direct the player to moments of interest, and the sound acts as an emergent narrative as you believe within the game that there might be things moving around you – but it is up to your own mind to decide what.I could theorise about my project all day – but the main point to take away is that it is a simulation playground for a player to experience the 17th-century horrors of the Salem Witch Trials. Although I would have liked to add more objects within it to highlight the theme (and may still) I think that the over-all design of the environment is enough to entertain on an installation time-frame. The game helped me better understand spatial narrative and simulation, and I will apply this knowledge in future projects.
I think that if this project were to go further it would be better suited to a narrative-driven horror game using historical events as a driving force and main interest behind the game. Although for now it works as a simulation – its potential for a narrative game is more appropriate.I am now aware though that the Oculus can be used to create installation and educational environments.
I am happy with the amount of work I have completed in the given time – and would love to work on this project further in my own time. I think that I learnt a lot about the Oculus that can help me within environment design, spatial narrative and simulation. I don’t think the overall aesthetic was very visually appealing and in future I will provide more time for the visual design of the experiance.