This Interactive & Immersive Graphic Novel is Built From the Ground Up for VR


The Spiraloid Workshop Company (headed by Bay Raitt, former Valve employee, and known as the creator of the facial animation system for the character Gollum in Lord of the Rings) has created the VR comic Nanite Fulcrum, which the company calls a ‘3D Holographic Novel’ that is part comic, part mini game, and designed for Oculus Rift and Touch.

Available for free on the Oculus store, Nanite Fulcrum presents viewers with a series of traditional comic pages to turn; the viewer is immersed in a fitting location for the tone of the story, which slowly fills with 3D ‘collectables’ to pick up and observe as the story progresses. Taking greater advantage of VR however, some of the illustrations have a ‘holographic’ tilt effect and, every few pages, one of the panels glows with a blue outline, which indicates you can grab the page and bring it towards your face, transporting you completely into the scene.

There is usually a small degree of interactivity within these areas, such as being able to move light sources and see characters up close in 3D, and the climactic sequence involves an impressive mini game where you catch bullets with ‘lightning spiders’:

It’s a short but highly polished experience, used to show the potential of the medium, as well as The Spiraloid Workshop’s VR Comic Platform, a proprietary set of middleware that leverages popular production tools like Unity, Maya, and ZBrush to create new experiences which will be made available to content partners and a community of creators over time.

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Creator Bay Raitt, known for his work with Weta and Valve, said “We’re reinventing the graphic novel in VR. Combining what’s best about comics, games, film and maker culture into an immersive narrative experience that allows our fans and partners to read, play, watch and even make right alongside us”.

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    This experience is totally 100% badass. It really sets the bar for utilizing VR as a new medium. Bravo!

  • glyphery

    I agree 100%, CURTROCK. I’ve seen a number of early attempts at implementing graphic novels in VR, and they were all lacklustre. By contrast, Nanite Fulcrum does a brilliant job of applying the strengths of virtual reality to comics. Kudos to the dev team.

  • certainly polished, and with touch controllers, interactivity adds to the experience. Perhaps a far cry (for the better) than what I did in early 2015 with no tools at hand ;) But stepping into the pages of a graphic novel was baked with “Dirrogate”

  • Kelvin D. Olson

    I’d been away from VR for about a week, went in today, and saw a notification that Nanite Fulcrum had finished installing (presumably an update). Went in to see what they’d changed or fixed.

    Well… aren’t comics, primarily, BOOKS? Should they not be, above all, well written?

    They’re still using “too” where they should use “to”. Do they have no proofreader?
    That’s just careless.

    Still – extremely cool experience, and they have added tidbits to the thing (or I’m just noticing things I’d not noticed before).