Immersive VR game to let users experience James Joyce’s Ulysses through character’s eyes

[From The Daily Edge, where the story includes a screenshot and the 1:34 video from the project’s FundIt page; a 12 minute interview program with Eoghan Kidney titled “The Oculus Rift and Ethics of Virtual Reality” is available on SoundCloud]

Black and white image features man wearing a hat and an Oculus Rift headset

You will soon be able to walk around inside James Joyce’s Ulysses*

*If this Dubliner’s virtual reality videogame reaches its fundraising target.

June 27, 2014

Most of us haven’t read Ulysses, with a lot of us too intimidated to even give it a go. Now a Dublin filmmaker and animator is creating an immersive virtual reality videogame designed to accompany the novel and hopefully make it more accessible to new readers.

Eoghan Kidney, who has directed several short films and music videos, is currently developing In Ulysses. “[It’s] is a short section of episode 3 of Ulysses recreated as a game, primarily designed for virtual reality headsets such as the upcoming Oculus Rift,” he tells us.

So how will it work? We’ll let Eoghan explain.

“A user will inhabit a character from the book (similar to what happens in Being John Malkovich) and move within environments from the book, while the book plays out – we hear narration, characters speaking and thinking – plus giving a user the opportunity to stop and explore the meanings behind the words.”

This incarnation of the videogame is a prototype version for a larger project, as Kidney eventually wants to create future versions that explore different chapters from Ulysses and other works.

“It will serve as a proof of concept of a wider project to both create more sections from the book, other books and a virtual world of Joyce’s Dublin, which could be served as a social environment in VR (virtual reality) and an educational tool for people to learn about Dublin in 1904.”

As he puts it, “The idea is another way of adapting literature but I think that this approach opens all kinds of possibilities.”

He is currently seeking €4000 on FundIt to fund the completion of the project. (He has so far raised €1,070 with 31 days to go.) Anybody who funds the campaign will be able to experience the finished product themselves using a virtual reality headset in Dublin.

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