Diploma of Visual Arts (11)

Swinburne University of Technology

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Student in laneway

Emre Deniz

Studying: Bachelor of Arts (Games and Interactivity)

Shedding some light on Earthlight

In an office just around the corner from Swinburne sits a team of game designers who have just returned from NASA.

Opaque Media are the creative minds behind Australia's new virtual reality game, Earthlight .

Emre Deniz, a swinburne Bachelor of Arts (Games and Interactivity) graduate has been keeping busy as the game's designer creative lead.

Earthlight is a virtual reality game that takes players through the training of a NASA astronaut, and then sends them out on missions at the International Space Station (ISS).

"Earthlight puts the player through the journey of what it takes to be an astronaut. We want to create modules that have a perfect balance between game play and experience," says Emre.

"A lot of the skills you learn are translated skills from astronauts, because NASA actually uses virtual reality to train their astronauts."

Visiting NASA

The game has had so much hype the team were personally contacted by NASA and invited to tour the Johnson Space Center — a first for any Australian game designers.

"It was weird seeing private messages on my Reddit from NASA. We were invited to basically do a production tour and speak to staff. We learnt about missions and protocols, spoke with astronauts and got very intricate details such as the jingling sound of tools on a space suit," says Emre.

Although the visit allowed the team to get to the nitty gritty for the game, Emre believes the experience was something profound on a personal level.

"It's a form of validation for my work. As a game developer, seeing a simple idea send you walking through the ISS mock up at the Johnson Space Centre, makes your feel like your work ash value. No amount of money can get you that experience."

Changes of virtual reality

Virtual reality has some risks and the guys are doing all they can to combat these.

"Things like motion sickness can be controlled by frame rates, at 60 frames per second (fps) or lower, this is where motion sickness kicks in. We keep all our games at around 90 fps," says Emre.

Emre understand this is a make or break time for games that involve virtual reality.

"Virtual reality is essentially either at risk of becoming an industry bubble or it's going to be a substantial shift int he way we view and play games. It can go either way, but virtual reality is definitely here to stay."