"The Interactive Deep Dive is a nine-month intensive that is bringing together people from all across the country and as far away as Spain," says Deep Dive director Jeff Wirth, "to become next generation leaders in the field of applied interactive story and performance."
The group is about midway through the nine-month process right now, with artists and researchers working together to learn more about the field of interactive storytelling. The hope is that this research will someday impact the way virtual reality and digital worlds are created, and how people interact with those worlds.
This week, the folks at the Deep Dive are looking for some playmates. "There's only so much you can do working with our actors in the studio," says team member Kevin Percival. "So we bring in people from the outside who have an interest in this to come and do a play test, in which they get to participate and try out these new experiments we're trying."
There are two ways in which folks can participate in the Deep Dive this week -- the first is the StoryBox, which Percival and Wirth both liken to the holodeck from Star Trek. "They can step into a customized, interactive story that's based completely off them -- it's not been pre-planned, it's completely improvised in the moment," says Percival.
The other experiment involves digital puppetry. "They can come in and interact with our digital puppets and our avatars on a screen," Percival says, "and create a story with these digital characters."
They're working on these two experiments at the same time because they see them converging in the future, with digital worlds and characters reacting to stories that are created in the moment.
For Wirth, the research is important, but so is the idea of play. "As children, you don't have to be taught how to play, but as we get to be adults, we tend to stop doing that," he says. One of his goals is "to be able to give license to anyone to reengage that capacity to play with full abandon."
The Interactive Deep Dive is looking for participants this week – sign up at deepdiveaustin.com.