My WoW midterm combined with my Fairytales in the 21st century midterm.  I came up with the concept of my story in Fairytales and used what I learned in Wow to begin executing. That being said I think it is far from done.  I have about 1/2 of what I envisioned for this project completed and it’s something I definitely want to keep working on.

The myth I was originally interested in interpreting was the Babylonian myth of the goddess Inanna’s descent into the Underworld. It starts off saying she was the goddess of heaven and earth but wanted to put her ear to the ground below.  She descends through seven gates to the Underworld and meets her sister, Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld.  At each of the seven gates she has to give up an item of clothing that gives her power (or her sense of identity) and arrives in the underworld naked. Her sister kills her and she is lost for a while.  She is eventually reborn and returns to Earth to claim her throne with more knowledge and sends someone else to take her place in the Underworld.

I wanted to make my 21st century interpretation of this myth one based on the Jungian idea of individuation.  The descent to the underworld  represents of her journey into her unconscious where she encounters her ‘shadow-self’.  

The goal of Jungian psychotherapy is “individuation,” which means the integration of our unconsciousness (shadow) with our consciousness (ego), which is what allows your complete Self to emerge.

So before she descends she is only conscious of her Ego and she has to give up her ideas of her identity to encounter her shadow, only once she has encountered, faced and accepted her shadow self does she begin her path to individuation.

Her sister represents her shadow self, the gates are represented by the tunnel of videos where she gives up her ideas, her sister killing her is the loss of her self as she knows it, her rebirth is the beginning of her individuation and becoming her full unique Self.


My tunnel scene is complete but I need to complete the forest and union levels.  I put in jpegs in the video to hold in where I’d like them to go. Video is super choppy because my laptop is about to die with Unreal and Screen capture – without screen capture it runs smoothly,

WowMidterm from Oriana Neidecker on Vimeo.

I “storyboarded” out the levels by staging everything in 3d space with stickers…photos to come


First draft of final script.

“The only journey is the one within.” – Rilke

Forest Level

Opening shot in forest. See trees look down and see body. Or look up and see trees. Try out camera movement if makes nauesous.

Once there was a girl that wanted to know more. She ran Heaven and Earth but knew little of what lay beneath. The Underworld was vast and mysterious. It whispered secrets in sleeping ears and left memories of shadows.There was a weight she felt in the forgotten secrets. So she decided to descend.


Walks down to a cave. There’s a door which she knocks.


But one can’t simply decide to descend.


She knocks again.


Going deeper is a process.  


Door slowly opens.


There are seven gates to the underworld and one must arrive bare.  


Cut to black. 


Underworld Level

Videos in Gates:

Will – put your hands up

Ego – get lost in the crowd

Mind – lose your mind

Sex – getting old shriveled

Illumination – knowledge – eclipse,lights

Magic -cults

Godhood -complete destruction


Walk up to a hand that serves as a boat.  Boat slowly takes you through the tunnel.  

Space Lady major Tom plays for entirety of tunnel.  You can look around but you can’t change the direction or the pace.


Boat exits tunnel.  Rides up to shadow-self.


There’s no guarantee of a welcome.  There’s no guarantee of return.


Shadow-self does execution motion.

Body/camera falls to the floor. Cut to black.


VR camera in middle but no body attached to it.

Here footsteps coming from in front and behind of you.

White and black selves running full speed towards you.


She ran into herself in the darkness.


Upon impact everything turns white.
Wake up in forest. Same as first shot.  Pulls out and you see she’s’ golden.

Inanna’s Descent

I want to make a story based off the Babylonian myth of Inanna’s descent into the underworld.  This combines with my Fairytales final. End goal this would be a first person VR experience but for now a 3rd person video would work.  The story is that she goes into the underworld against the advice of others in order to gain knowledge that she can bring back to the world.  There are 7 gates to the underworld and in each gate she must leave something behind.  Each gate represents something like Ego or Will.  I’d like to make the tunnel out of old videos with a symbol that represents giving that up.  For example Will is all videos of people putting their hands up.

copsHands copy


So your surrounded by this footage when your walking down the tunnel to the underworld.  When she gets out she meets her mirror image.  I’d like to make them opposite colors. They move towards each other. A death and rebirth kind of thing.  I’m not sure yet if I want to continue the story from there.  


Whirl pool that leads to a tunnel to the underworld
My first draft of my underworld
Above ground – neutral no sense of time period. Character will be rigged and colored





I ran into a lot of problems on my first iteration of the underworld. I originally wanted the whole world to be made of water and to take place at sunset. I made a few rookie mistakes that caused my program to crash continuously. I imported 3D models of skeletons I found online but failed to realized they were all rigged. After placing 8 of them in the scene my unreal wouldn’t open without crashing – making it hard to fix the problem.

2 days later I was able to open it long enough to delete the skeletons and then I changed the landscape to gold for good measure. Then I decided I didn’t really like my version of the underworld anyways and decided to start from sketch.

Over the weekend I’d tried a VR experience in a trippy mirrored world where your a robot with people dancing and praying to cats and you shoot cats of your hands. I loved the mirrored visuals in the world. I realized that this was what I liked so much about the water and maybe I could just use a mirror instead and it would take up a lot less of my computer’s energy. I played around for a bit and realized I could almost achieve this with a sky filled with clouds and highly reflective marble. It wasn’t exactly mirrored but it actually worked better.

With this new color palette I reverted back to my reference images and was struck my the one with hands coming out of the wall of a tunnel. Very creepy. But I wanted to make my world beautiful too like the reflected cave reference.

I found a 3D asset of hands (this time making sure they weren’t rigged or animated) and made a black and white version. I then planted them as foliage throughout the world. In my opinion the final effect was mysterious, disconcerting and beautiful and evoked everything I wanted my version of the underworld to. In this whole process I think I did my first application of my teacher’s advice of thinking smarter not harder in Unreal.

Underworld_Landscape from Oriana Neidecker on Vimeo.

The Glass House

Initially when making my first Unreal environment it was pretty minimal because I didn’t have a mouse.  No mouse = no easy movement = no extra things.  I quite like how it turned out though.  Once I attained a mouse I only added a few more pieces to the scene.  It looks like this weird surreal glass structure in the desert somewhere.  It’s Daliesque.  I like the emptiness of it all.  A staircase that leads to a golden platform supporting a framed smoking statue.


Exploring Worlds

Trying the Vive or the Oculus at festivals is cool but you have to wait in line for everything and the lines for the best pieces are usually already closed.  It takes about 2 hours to watch 3 things and you know that strangers are most likely snapping you gesture around in the air with a screen strapped onto your face. Cool to try, I’ll take it, but not the best experience.

This week I finally got my hands on an Oculus to use in the privacy of my school (at least here I know the people snapping me) and with a whole day to play.  It was my homework for my Worlds on a Wire class to get comfortable using an Oculus, production laptop setup and all, and watch/experience the Oculus story studio Emmy-winning short Henry and their newest piece Dear Angelica.  Best homework ever.

The whole shebang: the controller, motion tracker, headset and Xbox controller.


I liked them both very much.  Henry was very Pixaresque, which makes sense.  Apparently a whole team from Pixar transplanted to the Oculus Story Studio.  There was no dialogue, only funny noises.  It was interesting to see some of the things I’ve been talking about in my classes like sound to direct attention and different modes of interaction in “real life”.  When the piece started, Henry is on your left shuffling around in another room.  You hear him and turn to him, aware of where he is even though you can’t really see him.  A ladybug buzzing around also got you to look behind you.  These two sounds really made you explore the whole room even thought the majority of the action happens directly in front of you. Sometimes Henry made eye contact with you and it felt pretty genuine even though it came from a cartoon.  This was one of the small interactions of the piece.  Eye contact is important in VR, if done correctly it enables presence.  I’d seen a VR animation short before, Invasion, by Baobab Studios.  Maybe because this is because it was my first but I think I liked it better than Henry, mainly in terms of storyline and characters. It made me laugh more.



Now Dear Angelica, really blew my mind.  I hadn’t seen anything like.  It was like a story created perfectly with the Tilt Brush.  It was longer than anything I’d seen in VR.  It was a story about the memories a girl had with her mother, a recently deceased actress.  It was magical and dreamlike. Memories were painted all around you in a tangle of different colors.  The interaction provided was subtle but so much more effective for me.  The visual part of the story, the painted colors, grew faster in the areas that you were looking at.  It utilized all 360 space successfully, a hard feat,  so watching it in a spinny chair is a must.  I’m drawn to the medium of VR because of its dream like feeling.  Dear Angelica felt very much like being in someone else’s dream to me.  It was beautiful and masterfully done.  My only complaint, which could very well be something for all VR pieces or the Oculus in general, is that I couldn’t fast forward or rewind.  Maybe there are reasons for this (nausea) and I don’t think it would normally matter but the first time I watched it the tracker lost the headset and after fixing it I wasn’t able to jump back in where I left off.  When you pause it you can start where you left but when a problem arose I couldn’t.  The piece was long and I was 3/4 of the way through when this happened.  But luckily it’s novelty does not wear off and it is so visually beautiful that I didn’t mind watching it all over again.

I did a little extra exploring after finishing my assignment.  I ended up in Altspace.  It’s kind of like a virtual reality chat room.  I’d heard about it on the Voice of VR podcast, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in VR.  Altspace was kind of weird.  You start out in this room in a forest with all of these other avatars (which are real people) around you.  You can do ‘activities’.  I watched a Reggie Watts comedy show.  There was a whole new social etiquette and considerations.  In AltSpace, in the center of ITP’s floor I guess the Oculus microphone picked up all of the sound around me.  I couldn’t hear it so I didn’t know which is an interesting note but I assumed that’s what happened when  I was muted at the Reggie Watts show….. I could still listen to what everybody was talking about though.  People were trying to talk to eachother, some people weren’t responding.  A guy went over and talked to a girl because that’s what you’re supposed to do I guess.  It was painfully awkward.  She was a university researcher and he had a strange accent and I think I overheard him say he was in Saudi.

Different Avatars in Altspace

Back in the room in the forest I went to go and try to listen to a group of guys talking in a circle, a lot of Northern Californians.  They kept moving and it took me a second to realize they were avoiding me because of the noise emanating from me, at some point I had become unmuted.  I definitely blushed in my headset.  It’s so strange when you think about it, feeling embarassed because you haven’t figured out the rules yet by people you don’t know and you can’t actually see but you can hear that are located in different parts of the world simultaneously.  I will make it back to Altspace to explore more, but it’s very weird and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  Very interesting though, there’s so many more worlds to explore in VR.