S. E. N. S, first virtual reality video game inspired by a comic book
Exploring a creative universe with technology: challenge met (hands down) by Arte. And not just any universe : that of Marc-Antoine Mathieu, author of the puzzling comic strip S. E. N. S. Graphic novel almost indescribable, S. E. N. S. tells the initiatory journey of a man who wanders in a refined universe, following the crossed arrows on his way. An immersion in a labyrinth (that of vanity ?) which did not fail to inspire the team of RedCorner, the interactive production company behind the project. “Marc-Antoine Mathieu’s comic was immersive and we saw it as a real opportunity for exploration,” explains Marie Blondiaux, producer.
An immersive graphic experience
As a result, equipped with a virtual reality headset, you will be guided by arrows taking an infinite number of shapes and activating the gaze. A special mention for the particularly beautiful “flying carpet” soaring scene (see video below). Changes of view (inner and outer) constantly revive the philosophical questioning ” who am I?”, thus taking up the red thread of the comic strip. “What I liked was that before thinking about how we were going to do technically, we had artistic discussions with the team,” adds Marc-Antoine Mathieu. Be careful, however, not to expect sensational. The user has little choice in actions and S. E. N. S is, more than a video game itself, more a virtual narrative experience, designed to be enjoyable. “Our challenge was to create movement without motion sickness*,” explains Armand Lemarchand, technical director and author. Come again? Trying to minimize the impression of displacement by the brain, with an infinite white snow landscape and a permanently visible horizon line. Another trick was to generate movement through hearing rather than sight, thanks to footsteps in the snow. And the result is effective. Still, despite an indisputable graphic quality, the image is still slightly pixelated. But it will get better when the screens are in high definition.
*There motion sickness (motion sickness) is also present in virtual reality. It occurs when there is a conflict between what your eyes see (here, movement) and what your inner ear sees (here, stillness). Faced with the mismatch between information from the eyes and that of the vestibular system, the brain fails to update your current status and the confusion leads to symptoms of motion sickness, such as nausea and vomiting.
Practical information :
Available wednesday October 5th, 2016.
* On Arte Creative, with Samsung Gear VR and Oculus VR headsets, arte.tv/sens
* AppStore and Google Play on touch screen and Cardboard
* Price: 2,99 euros on Oculus, on mobile the 1st chapter accessible for free and paid for the next 2.
Based on the comic strip by Marc-Antoine Mathieu (editions Delcourt). Authors: Charles Ayats, Armand Lemarchand and Marc-Antoine Mathieu. Coproduction Arte France, Red Corner (France, 2016, 30 min).