A Colossal Wave!

Surreal and joyous Mixed Reality experience



A rip-roaring, surreal and joyous voyage through sub-aquatic worlds and giant pink waves. Sing generative sculptures into being, drop a real bowling ball off a real tower to trigger a virtual wave, and witness that wave crash over you as you clutch onto an umbrella for dear life.

Merging slapstick with immersive technologies, A Colossal Wave! is a mixed reality experience exploring human impact on the natural world. Taking Newton’s third law as its inspiration, A Colossal Wave! serves as a timely reminder that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Developed by Marshmallow Laser Feast, the experience consists of three distinct but connected parts. Part one is a two person VR experience that reacts to voice/shout/scream/sing input. User generated content is sent over the network from here to a second VR experience, in a separate physical location. This second experience allows four users to don VR gear under giant umbrellas and together enter an alternate reality. The third experience, a bowling ball dropped from a tower in the real world, causes a colossal wave to form in the virtual world. The wave advances towards and engulfs the four VR users, plunging them into a sub-aquatic world.

All of content for the experience was designed and sculpted by Presstube using Oculus Medium. We developed a workflow for optimising these assets and incorporating them into the real-time VR experience. The audio design features multiple spacialized audio samples and several ambisonics tracks. The main VR experience features synchronised linear animation and gaze-based interaction.

The project was developed in conjunction with DPT, Presstube and Headspace. It was commissioned by the British Arts Council and initially presented as a gift from the UK to the city of Montreal where it ran for six weeks. It subsequently travelled to Hull for City of Culture and to SXSW 2018.

“Best of all was A Colossal Wave by the British company Marshmallow Laser Feast, in which a real ball, dropped from a great height, creates a virtual wave experienced by VR users.” The Times

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