The latest way to tap into your creativity might be Paper Beast VR, which is coming to Steam VR this summer. You may have already used one of the 3D modeling and sculpting tools like Google Tilt Brush or Facebook’s Quill. And if you have a pent-up desire to transform urban landscapes, you hopefully tried out the very satisfying Kingspray VR Graffiti, which is even better as a multiplayer experience.
Paper Beast goes in a different direction, letting you experience an immersive story or create a virtual world of your own. The delightful trailer for the VR experience showed up this week on YouTube.
Paper Beast VR
VR Focus describes the experience:
One of the more unique and unusual videogames to arrive this year, Paper Beast comes from the imagination of Eric Chahi (Another World, From Dust). Envisioning a world formed from decades of lost code and algorithms inside the vast memory of a data server, Paper Beast is a surreal world where you can explore, interact with the local wildlife and solve environmental puzzles – all without any text or verbal hints.
In addition to the main adventure, mode players can continue to experience Paper Beast having complete control over the landscape in the sandbox mode. Here you can create your own living breathing world, building mountains, running rivers, altering the weather and adding the various creatures and plants.
It has that type of premise – lost algorithms on a vast server – that we expect to become ever more compelling over the next decade. When the digital world was just getting underway, the obvious SciFi angle was what happens when technology takes over. Now that it’s overwhelmed us like a tsunami (and spurred on by the need for tracking apps in a global pandemic), the more fascinating take could be – what if there was code that disappeared? Algorithms that could have created a different world than the one we find ourselves in?
Think about that the next time you’re stepping out of a VR experience.
But Paper Beast VR is also an incredibly beautiful world that sits at the intersection of technology and creativity. As VR Focus said in its original review for the app on PlayStation,
Paper Beast offers PlayStation VR an exclusive experience like no other, a beautiful statement on the natural world and the influence technology can have on it.
That opportunity to create a virtual world will be even more compelling on the Oculus Quest headset, which will have access to it through the Oculus Link Cable. It’s developments like this that push forward the creative potential of virtual reality.
Let us know what you think when it arrives this summer.
Emory Craig is a writer, speaker, and VR consultant with extensive experience in art, new media, and higher education. He speaks at global conferences on innovation, education, and ethical technology in the future. He has published widely and worked with the US Agency for International Development, the United Nations, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Living at the intersection of learning, games, and immersive storytelling, he is fascinated by AI-based avatars, digital twins, and the ethical implications of blurring the boundaries between the real and the virtual.