In 2007 I created a class titled World Building for USC’s School of Cinematic Arts Interactive Media Division. The purpose of the class was to acknowledge the role of design in the construction of virtual 3D spaces for interactive media. Since then, the practice of World Building has grown exponentially, extending to Alex McDowell’s World Building Institute at USC and classes in both the Production and iMAP divisions of SCA.
In 2011 the equipment to experience VR was unavailable to consumers, but USC’s off-campus MxR lab was a center of VR research. I assigned my students to configure a portion of their worlds in Unity3D, a format that would work with the MxR Lab headsets. The purpose of the exercise was to provide the students a chance to experience the space they had designed. In this video, a graduate student says, “I found in the world where I was supposed to go.”