Cosmo-ScharfAt VRLA Summer Expo 2016, Visionary VR premiered Mindshow, an interactive storytelling platform which allows users to animate and voice characters by inhabiting those character’s bodies.

I had a chance to catch up with Visionary VR and VRLA co-founder Cosmo Scharf, where we talked about some of the inspiration behind Minshow including the Buddhist philosophy of Alan Watts and the post-symbolic, direct experience ideas from Terence McKenna.


In Mindshow was quite a unique experience to be able to record an improv acting session within the body of a virtual character and then step outside of myself to then watch the performance unfold from an out-of-body vantage point. I’ve recorded myself with a 2D camera plenty of times before, but there’s something qualitatively different in being able to watch ‘my’ body movements while immersed within a spatial environment.

The core mechanic of reacting to a story prompt was simple and intuitive, and the number of variations in how a scene plays out is only limited by human creativity. The initial Mindshow demo at VRLA had a simple linear capture where you could layer additional characters within a scene while you have previous takes play back to you. You could develop an entire story by rapidly iterating different performances of yourself much like a looping musician might construct a song.

'Mindshow' Update Lets You Collaborate on Creations with Your Steam Friends

But the true power of Mindshow will be in the collaborative features where you’ll be able to communicate with your friends with the power of the direct experience of a story, rather than by using abstracted and symbolic language. You could pass a scene back and forth to each other like an asynchronous improv performance, or you could eventually interact in real-time, once that feature is implemented.

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