The ARCADE team was thrilled to unveil Culture Quest, a new Mixed Reality (MR) demo we built for the Meta Quest 3, to a select group of arts & culture industry professionals at Meta's London HQ.
We were invited by the team at Meta to explore how we could translate our experience in digital experience design for arts & culture to an MR headset, a challenge our design and dev teams were only too happy to take on.
The experience starts with a greeting from an alien who has studied the planet and its human occupants, and is not entirely convinced that we appreciate the richness and importance of our cultural heritage. For reasons best known to themselves, they decide to quiz us, testing our knowledge of a variety of cultural collections relating to topics such as Stonehenge, Ancient Egypt and the planet Mars. Answer correctly, and we are rewarded with a copy of a cultural artefact, to keep in our own collection.
We landed on a trivia-based experience that combines family board games with immersive experience design - and in particular focusing on some of the most impactful MR features of Meta's Presence Platform including colour passthrough, spatial anchors and hand tracking. Players use their hands to spin a compass that selects the next topic, and summon an orb of energy that can, when thrown against a wall, open a portal to the relevant time and place.
The beauty of MR experiences, where the user can see the space around them and the people they are with, is that they don't feel cut off from the real world. Full VR experiences, which places users inside entirely digital environments, can be disorienting and sickness-inducing for some, and leave others feeling uncomfortably vulnerable. VR is also, by definition, entirely unrelated to the user's actual environment; by contrast MR can create new ways of interacting that give real world context to digital content. The Quest 3 is opening new avenues to creating home-based digital immersive experiences, and as it is joined by more MR headsets such as Apple's Vision Pro, due next year, it will be fascinating to see how MR develops as medium for households everywhere.
The event also included a fun and engaging panel in which Meta Reality Labs' Adam Holmes moderated a discussion around digital experience and Mixed Reality for arts & culture with ARCADE Co-Founder Alex Book alongside Sarah Saunders, Head of Learning and National Partnerships at the British Museum, and Dan Moller, Meta Augmented Reality Specialist.