Unlike the previous weeks, instead of a regular seminar, today we had more of a workshop, focusing on the idea of immersion and interaction. As a quick refresher/smoothing in, we all given a sport of questionnaire, asking us to briefly describe the elements of our projects (what, why, where, how, who etc.) Next up, we had to quickly breakdown the stories/plots of our films/projects (also known as nodes). Of course, in our case, this was a little tricky, given we hadn't settled on an ending.
After, Helen began to get into the brunt of today's session: discussing immersion, the concept of being involved/engaged with something so deeply that you disconnect from reality to a certain extent. It very much is multi-sensory, often invoking and involving the visual, auditory and tangible, to create a grand, almost overwhelming experience. If one can make the audience/player believe, you can engulf them in that experience. Not an easy feat admittedly, and certainly not a sure-fire with our limited resources as students, but still a worthwhile and vital part of the whole process.
Then there are the elements that can assist with the immersion, such as the modes of narrative (what way/who is telling the story), the introduction (how do you get players to explore/interact/the hook of the piece) and the affordance (how much interaction do you allow between the player and an object/part of the experience/the allowance of discovery). To use an example, the London Dungeon creates a multi-sensory experience with its set design and sound work (an introduction to the world), allows the visitors to look around the grisly history of London (a third person narrative, of sorts) and allows them to participate in the various attractions and shows (affordance).
To get us into the more practical element, the class was split into two groups, each one having to design an experience. Ours encouraged the other team to hunt around the room, trying to figure out what to do. We would eventually phone them, testing to see if they would respond or not. A crude idea, admittedly, but it got the point across and it was a good bit of fun. As for them, they essentially kept us in the room, unlit and open, warning us not to go out. Eventually, they came to take our shoes. The idea behind this was to create an air of uncertainty and unease as to what would happen next (although frankly, it more more bemusing than anything, especially the later part.)
After, we had time to do just one more exercise in this vain, though allowed to expand a little further out of the room: ours was to guide the other team around the building to help find a taken comrade, most of us serving as human signposts. The other team simply took one of us and made them play a guessing game involving what order to do a certain task with objects on three tables. Again, this served much the same purpose as before, and gave us a better, more direct idea, of how to create immersion, albeit on a very basic level. I'll keep my fingers crossed that my team's haunted rooms can pull off something effective, at least, more so than just guessing games and ringing phones!