Surge is an impressive real-time VR music video built in Unreal Engine 4 that’s definitely worth your time.
Music videos have been a canvas of some very inventive artists. With VR, viewers will be able to step into the middle of that canvas, connecting them almost directly with the director’s vision.
Surge is a real-time VR music video which shows a glimpse of how creative and awesome content like this will become. The experience, made by just one person, uses Unreal Engine 4’s physics and lightning to bring life to the music in some unique ways. It’s the work of artist Arjan van Meerten, a 3D Animator, Musician, and film maker hailing from the Netherlands.
The beginning of the experience opens with me standing on an infinite and empty plane made of blocks about 6-inches squared. Floating before me are more tiny blocks which seem to be magnetically orbiting each other in accordance as they buzz and hum. When one piece snaps to another, it flashes with a white glow and an accompanying electronic zapping sound. As the music sets in, I catch a glowing orange reflection out of the corner of my eye and look to the left to see a brilliant sun rise from the horizon complete with convincing heat haze distortion.
As I follow the sun into the sky, the music shifts from an orchestral/choral opening notes to a deep bass buzz which resonates visually from my feet on the cubed floor below me. At this point an electronic beat sets in while giant rectangles pop into the sky one by one, hovering high above like an alien spaceship fleet that isn’t bound the rules of aerodynamics.
Looking back down to the ground reveals that I’m moving backward along the cubed ground to the beat, each one being punctuated with a visualization of the bass note. What appears to be an abstract creature composed of cubes begins growing and walking out of the ground. As its cubes reach a certain high they topple convincingly, thanks to the realistic use of physics, from the top.
Looking up I see that the sun from the beginning has risen above me but appears to have transformed into the moon, now with a white glow accompanied by a darkened world around me. At this point the orchestral/choral note surges in accompanied by some impressively rendered aurora above.
Some more abstract cube movement jumps to the beat in front of me and eventually the giant rectangles in the sky fade away. By now the moon is setting in the East and appears to have transformed back into a yellow sun.
Then comes the climax of the experience. The music kicks up to a more active note and massive humanoids made from cubes appear all around me on the infinite plane, each slowly marching in the same direction as they fall apart, as though trying to reach the source that binds them together before disintegrating completely. Silhouetted against the beautiful orange glow of the sun, the sight of these lumbering giants reminded me of Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995) or Attack on Titan (2009).
If you’ve got a rig that can handle it, I definitely recommend you give Surge a shot. It’s a short and sweet experience that’s well produced and a great taste of things to come. It’s only flaw is that it’ll make you wish there was more!