We begin our first 2018 interview with Orly Rodriguez, the creator of THE ARCHIVIST:VR
Q: Hello Orly. Thank you for answering to my questions. First, can you tell me a little about your background and your work?
I have been using computers since I was nine years old. Probably been gaming just as long. The first game I ever fell in love with was Ultima I. Ever since then I have been hooked. It was through my experience with video games that I discovered a longing to create but I never really felt like I was talented enough. I struggled as an artist for years. I attempted photography, film and even installation art in museums and galleries. Eventually I just gave up. I guess I thought that it really wasnt for me. I had a hard time connecting with my work and finding where I fit in.
Years later I had a spiritual awakening and so I began working in Pastoral ministry. But deep inside I knew that the desire to create and express myself through the arts was really who I was and what I needed to do.
So I decided it was time I followed my heart regardless of the outcome and I began signing up for online courses with the intention of becoming a game designer or developer. Everytime I played a video game I knew that this is what I wanted to do. This is where I belonged. In that world. I had so many ideas and dreams of what I could create it would drive me mad at times.
Then one day I bought an Oculus headset just to see what it was like. Well that was a life changing moment. My heart felt like it was going to explode. I was so captivated that I felt like I had discovered a whole new world. Here in this virtual space I could create without limits. So I signed up for a Virtual Reality Bootcamp Online and I began the journey that has led me to where I am today.
In only 5 months time I have been blessed with an amazing team of developers, musicians, artist, writers and voice actors called Nothing Like You Productions. The team members are as follows: Chair of Rigel – Composer, Greth Ligon – Composer, Jason McNeil – Voice Actor, Kemal Can Kirdar – Assistant Director, Kristoffer Emanuelsson – Writer, Paul Agee – CG Artist and Sara Alhuwaimel – Lead Programmer
Q: Tell me more about The Archivist. This is a VR experience, for cardboard, Gear, Go, Rift, Vive, or for another stuff ?
The Archivist:VR is a Virtual Reality Experience inspired by and based on the world of Twin Peaks and all its numerous iterations – TV, Film and Literature. It is a fan made project that was born out of a deep love for Twin Peaks and David Lynch. It started as a homework project for my Virtual Reality Bootcamp but it eventually grew into an opportunity to recreate the world of Twin Peaks in virtual reality.
Even though we are heavily inspired by the show and the books we are hard at work creating an entirely new mystery, with new characters and of course the ones you know and love. Thanks to some amazing writers we are putting together a riveting story line, and stunning atmospheres that will use the VR experience to it’s fullest. Atmospheric lighting and ambient 3d surround sound and an all new original soundtrack by some really talented musicians.
It is currently in Beta for The Oculus Rift but we are slowly building the steps necessary to bring it to HTC Vive and if we raise enough financial support through our Patreon site we plan to make it available for PSVR as well.
Q: Whith witch tools are you creating ? From the stories to the final project? How are you using it and why did you choose them? Utity or Unreal ?
Currently we are using Unity, Blender, Substance Painter and iClone. The primary reason for most of those options is the accesibility both financially and also the resources available. Most of us are relatively still wet behind the ears when it comes to real serious experience as proefessionals. We are mostly amatuers and novices. So programs like Unity and Blender have been an absolute blessing for us due to the incredible support and community behind them. But for programs like Substance and iClone well we really couldnt acieve the level of quality and professionalism without them. iClone has been pivotal for me to be able to create all the fantastic characters you see in The Archivist. It is such a powerful tool and so easy to use that it has enabled me to skip what would normally be months creating one character to just a few hours or a few days. And yet the quality is still incredibly impressive.
Q: How long did it take to make a the red room, or the forest, for example ? And for a character ?
The Red Room was the first scene I ever made. Its where The Archivist:VR was born really. I just wanted to see how it would fel to be in that room. When I first saw the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks over 20 years ago I was captivated by it. It became a part of my dream life. I was so fascinated by it that I longed to be there. It took me about 5 days to create the initial first room but it has gone through so many make overs and iterations that it probably has had the most work of any other scene I have done.
The forest which is still one of my favorites took about 5 days to create. I made like four different versions of it and I just never felt that any of them were what I wanted. After trying a number of tools in The Unity Asset Store for terrain work I finally discovered Enviro Sky, and Vegetation Studio. There were the primary tools that allowed me to create that level of detail and quality. Whenever anyone tries out The Archivist:VR for the first time that scene always amazes them. It is incredibly beatiful and stunning.
As for our characters some of them take days and some of them just a few hours but most of them have gone through several make overs to get them to the level they are currently at.
Q : What advice would you give to users thinking about creating a VR project ?
Try everything you can get your hands on. Go to Udemy, sign up for an Online BootCamp, join Discord and ask for help. There are so many talented people out there who are not only willing to help but who can become lifelong friends on this journey.
But I would also add that you should always push your boundaries and dont settle for second best. Challenge yourself to try to do more than you think you can handle and of course have fun. Learning isnt always easy and the road is filled with lots of failures and disapointments but use that to learn and to grow and remember that its part of the process.
Q: Are you been invited to some festival ? What think about it ? It’s VR a new style of film ?o there?
I have been invited to a number of festivals and a few VR Expos. Here in Miami Florida where I live I previewed The Archivist:VR at a FIlm Gate Miami Film Festival and I had the opportunity of being an exhibitor at The MiamiVR Expo. I have two more VR Expo’s in the next few months and I am really excited about our world premiere for The Archivist:VR at The Raindance Film Festival in London.
For me the most exciting part of creating for VR is the idea of merging film with the medium of VR. The idea of having a truly immersive film like virtual reality experience where you can interact in a beautifully crafted story with amazing film like visuals and quality is fascinating. It has so much potential and I cant wait to see where the future leads us.
Q : What are your other project for Nothing Like You Productions? It’s always a VR Project ?.
Currently I began developing another VR Experience called The Question. I am really excited about this project but its too big for me to handle right now. I am always thinking about it and I have so many ideas for it yet The Archivist is where I need to put my focus right now. So its in the back burner but currently I have about 15 minutes worth of gameplay available in an Alpha build.
Thank you so much to answering to my questions.
Thank you for this amazing opportunity.