USC professors premiere VR games at Sundance

Two USC professors premiered their gaming projects at the 10th annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in January. Tracy Fullerton and Alex McDowell, professors at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, unveiled “Walden” and “The Leviathan Project,” two innovative projects that represent the future of gaming and virtual reality.

In “Walden,” gamers experience first hand what it would be like to live like Henry David Thoreau, the American philosopher who chronicled his two years living in the woods in his classic memoir about self-reliance. Fullerton, who heads USC’s Game Innovation Lab as director, previously served on the USC Stevens Faculty Advisory Committee, supporting the mission of USC Stevens to maximize the translation of USC research for public benefit.

McDowell is creative director of the USC World Building Media Lab and one of the world’s leading designers working in narrative media. He has over 30 years of experience creating immersive and interactive worlds for commercials and movies, working with film directors such as Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton. His work, “The Leviathan Project” uniquely combines video gaming and cinema, immersing participants into an underwater virtual reality world following the path of a giant whale.

The works were two of 11 projects this year in the festival’s New Frontiers showcase of immersive media projects.

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–By USC Stevens, February 26, 2016