VEIL VR – Oculus/Unity/Wwise – Audio creation, music implementation, spatialisation


Veil is a VR art installation that uses the Oculus Rift to transport visitors into an alternate reality where they can experience art in new and extraordinary ways; in the process subverting the gallery experience. It was designed specifically for the spaces that it was exhibited in, starting the viewer in a virtual version of their current space. A physical plinth was in both the real and virtual spaces and a crank handle on this  enabled the user to distort their virtual space by interaction in “real space”. Pretty deep! A unique collaboration between visual artist Iain Nicholls (former SEGA artist) and creative technology studio Mbryonic.

Veil appeared at the following galleries:

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  • Real world interaction mapping to virtual – the key concept was the physical handle that when turned had an effect on the VR experience, direct audio feedback was required to make this distinct for the user
  • Gaze based feedback – gaze was the main navigation / selection tool in the game, a dynamic sound that indicated the users lock on % was used
  • Distorted reality – playing with the real world space that the user entered the experience from was core to the project design, optimally I wanted to have a mic input from the space become distorted as the experience progressed but technical requirements meant that clever use of recordings filled in aptly
  • Spatialisation – use of Wwise and it’s Auro Headphone spatialisation plugin for defining accurate in world sounds, including several cues for the player to look behind them
  • Dynamic train – the climactic moment is an on-rushing steam train headed for the user, to enable sequence timings to change I created dynamic train audio in Wwise with an RTPC to control the actual proximity of the train to the user
  • Interactive audio – as there were multiple layers of user interaction in the experience, providing direct and accurate audio feedback was essential
  • Pitched inclusion of Wwise into the project, no middleware was previously planned, Wwise was hugely popular with the dev
  • No access to an Oculus for this project meant that systems of collaboration had to be developed
  • Unity /Wwise implementation / dropbox source control (don’t ever do this, it was a disaster!)