I’ve been quiet the last few months but I am proud to announce that the first section of PaleoCalifornia (or PaleoCA as the web address says) is done! This WebXR project sprang from the COVID lockdown years when I watched a lot of Youtube videos showing dark rides at theme parks. As I was working on AnVRopomotron, I wanted to do something with prehistoric life that weren’t primates. I wanted to do something with the Cenozoic Era. By good fortune, the La Brea Tar Pits commissioned twenty models of Ice Age animals and put them out with a Creative Commons license. Around them, I could find other resources similarly usable and make the everything else myself.
Work started last summer with planning and research, along with prototypes of some of the A-Frame components that I have not used before. A surprise reveal at the Wolvic WebXR Browser: Assembling the Pack presentation spurred a lot of work, but then an extremely busy spring semester completely stopped progress. I didn’t start again until last June and worked hard with the goal of releasing… well, right now.
I can elaborate on the origin and the process in other posts (though I think I always say that and don’t follow through). Here are the main features of PaleoCalifornia:
- Part One is released featuring:
- Ride of nearly seven minutes
- A scale model of downtown LA
- Three (or is it four?) of the La Brea Tar Pits prehistoric animal models placed in a recreation of a pinion-juniper woodland.
- Trippy time tunnel transitions
- A homage to theme park dark rides but in the virtual world
- WebXR experience is free and works on web browsers in VR and on desktop and smartphones.
- Three narration tracks! Choose from the theme park ride Adventure, the informative Educational, or the behind-the-scenes Developer’s Commentary. Or no narration at all.
- Ride is slow-paced and on even ground for VR comfort
- Additional comfort feature of being able to see the track up ahead
- Reverse-comfort feature for VR pros: turn off the car for an unobstructed view
Go check it out at www.paleoca.com!
This upcoming semester will also be extremely busy but I hope to have a trickle of work towards Part Two of this WebXR experience. Like me, I hope you enjoy the ride.